Vancouver is not lacking when it comes to having a hot variety of burlesque performers. With a variety of events and a still-growing scene, our city provides lots of flesh, flash and fascination. Take Mz B Haven. When I first met her, I was impressed by her energy and spirit. Then I saw her perform, and I recall friends mimicking the motion of my jaw dropping. When it came time for me to profile some of the burlesque events and personalities, I knew I wanted to discuss things with this lovely lady. And so I reached out to discuss Babes of Burlesque and other things with the explosive Mz B Haven. My mission was to come back with answers and not melt from the heat.
Can you tell us about your background in performance and burlesque?
I discovered my love of the stage and sharing my energy to an audience at 19 years of age. Before that I was super shy believe it or not. I jumped on stage at a bar in Campbell River on Vancouver Island that had weekly live rock jams. I joined in to sing a Stone Temple Pilots song, Plush, and that was my first taste of feeling like I found my calling. I love to sing, it is my number one passion. Secondary is dancing…and that is where burlesque has been a beautiful discovery and adventure.
Mz B Haven exploded onto the burlesque scene in Victoria in October 2008 by joining the much loved Cheesecake Burlesque Revue. It was on the recommendation of a dear friend that this troupe was looking for some new members, so I gave it a shot. And I’ve never looked back. I have had the opportunity with the Cheesecakes to perform all over Vancouver Island and BC as well as San Francisco for Pride Week and numerous festivals and events.
Babes of Burlesque was born in November 2012 at Falconetti’s East Side Grill on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. So a year and a half! The venue was looking to bring in some new forms of entertainment, and I was approached by the manager of the establishment on the feedback of a friend who was a server there. I have great friends who refer me, lol.
We originally started the burlesque night once a month to be a “showdown” where one performer would continue each month (there are 3 performers) as a winner. This only lasted 2 shows, as it was decided that all of the performers are talented and bring something special to the stage, it’s not a contest.That is when we changed the name from “Babes of Burlesque East Van Showdown” to “Babes of Burlesque”, with monthly themes when possible. I love themes!
Babes of Burlesque is an opportunity for all performers: new, veteran, young ,old, curvy, slender, male, female, transgender, to have a safe and welcoming place to exercise their talent and skill. There is no bias or restriction here, all are accepted. It can be a challenge for a new or independent performer to find a venue to perform in, and I wanted to provide that space.
We also have an amazing band that plays, Return of the Stern : West, that has been with us since the beginning. And of course I have the wonderful job of Emceeing the evening and doing an act myself (to keep the burlesque skills up!).
What are your thoughts on Vancouver’s burlesque scene?
Vancouver’s burlesque scene is amazing and booming. The Vancouver burlesque community is full of talent and support for one another. Veteran performers mentor new performers, and the domino effect happens. There is the VBC (Vancouver Burlesque Centre) where one can take various classes in this art form by Vancouver’s best. We host the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival annually which is always a big success. Numerous venues house weekly, monthly and special events in burlesque. Kitty Nights at the Biltmore houses a weekly burlesque show on Sundays in the traditional New York style.You can pretty much find something related to burlesque nightly in this city whether it be a show or an event hosted by burlesque performers. From shows to garage sales/flea markets to photo shoots and beyond, all performers want to see each other succeed.
How does Babes of Burlesque fit into the local scene?
Babes of Burlesque is a safe and supportive environment for all performers to stretch their burlesque wings. I am all inclusive and I take anyone who wants some stage time. Background, nationality, sex, creed, or religion doesn’t hinder anyone from performing here. Variety and versatility are beautiful. It can be tough to get your foot in the door, and I want to offer a space for anyone who has the courage and desire to take the stage. Whether you are a seasoned performer who is dying to try that new act, or are new to burlesque and want more experience, BoB wants you!
Do these events add to Vancouver’s sex positive culture?
Most definitely! Open mindedness and creativity are highly encouraged at BoB. Every human being reserves the right to feel confidant, sexy, powerful and fierce. This evening provides the backdrop for a performer to express themselves without judgement or criticism. Sex is the root of the word sexy, and burlesque is one of the sexiest forms of expression out there. We aim to bend and flex the boundaries of everyday life, and spread the message that being sexy is accepted and an art form.
Yes please reach out to me, Mz B Haven, if you are interested to perform at Babes of Burlesque. I will happily have you! There is no screening process or prerequisites, only an open mind and desire to be on stage. You can find me on FB under Angie MzBhaven Balbon.
There is ALWAYS room for new babes! Spread the love.
What other plans do you have to keep Vancouver sexy?
Oh the fun never stops! I am a vocalist and sing when I can. Being serenaded by Mz B Haven is a pretty special thing. I am a flow and fire performer of poi, hoop and fans. I also aim to keep Vancouver sexy with my makeup skills as I am a Makeup Artist, graduate of Blanche Macdonald. From glamour makeup to bridal and fantasy (airbrush bodypaint and prosthetic application), who knows what sexy beasts I will create?!!
Of course I also frequent Sin City, Noir and other kinky events because hey, life is worth living. And why not live sexy!