This week marks the 11th Anniversary of the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, and from modest beginnings it has truly grown into it’s name, with international acclaim, and many internationally known stars—many of them home grown.
Erotic Vancouver was lucky enough recently to catch up with local burlesque legend Diamond Minx to talk about this years festival.
EV: Hi, Diamond Minx. Thank you so much for sitting down to answer some questions about the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival for Erotic Vancouver’s readers. First up, can you tell us a little about the VIBF’s history? When and how did it start?
Diamond Minx: The first VIBF was in 2006, and it was a joint production between Sweet Soul Burlesque and the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society. The festival ran like this for two years before they decided to turn it over to the community. A board was elected, and we applied for and received Non Profit status from the government.
EV: How has the festival changed over the years, and specifically what’s new this year from past years?
Diamond Minx: It has had a few different incarnations. The first year was three shows in three very different venues – The Red Room, The Chinese Cultural Centre, and the Raymond Burr theatre in New west (now The Columbia), then it was three nights at the Croatian Cultural Centre. When it became a non profit community run festival, it spent a couple of years with a Fringe style format, with multiple shows at different venues over the span of a week – often more than one a night. Successive Boards have had different visions for the festival, and it has since come back to a multiple showcase night format – it spent a couple of years at the Rickshaw, the Rio, and then the Vogue. This year we’ve tweaked the format again, with two tighter, shorter showcase nights at the Vancouver Playhouse, plus a Ted talks style event called “Tit Talks” at Hot Art Wet City on the Thursday, and an industry awards night on the Wednesday.
EV: I get the idea that the Burleque scene is largely a North American one, perhaps with the exception fo England. Am I on the money with that? Or is there an international scene that just isn’t widely reported.
Diamond Minx: It is much more than just North America and England! Oh goodness, Australia has a HUGE scene, as does most of continental Europe. Mexico just had it’s first Burlesque Festival, Helsinki has a huge one, there are several festivals in Italy, the scene is jumping in Prague… There’s Burlesque almost everywhere!
EV: That’s fabulous to hear. I’d forgotten about Australia, but I did not know that it was so huge in all those other places. Getting back to to the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, what personally most excites you this year?
Diamond Minx: I am thrilled about our headliners Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser – they are an amazing pair of performers, and a married couple in real life. They are going to be performing a duet at the festival, that is going to push the artistic boundaries of what has been seen in Burlesque locally.
EV: Who are the big performers this year, the ones you think everyone will be excited by?
Diamond Minx: Well, apart from Julie and Mat there is April March our Legend. This lady is amazing – she was a feature Burlesque Performer from 1952 to 1978, and she will be performing a number at the festival! We also have Freaky Candy, one of our feature performers, who has come all the way from Italy to perform in the VIBF. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us!
EV: That’s amazing, to know that someone like April March can still come back to dance almost 40 years after she stopped being a feature performer, and it’s really a tribute to just how amazing the burleque community and its fans are.
Any local unsung talents you think people will be surprised by?
Diamond Minx: There are some amazing newer performers that have just burst out on the scene like Clare Voyeur who is just incredibly creative and will be giving a totally unique performance.
EV: Thank you so much for letting us interview you, Diamond. Aside from the VIBF, have you got any upcoming projects our readers should know about?
Diamond Minx: I’m thrilled to be a part of a Screaming Chicken group number competing for ‘Best Large Group’ at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas in June, and my troupe Damask Burlesk has just expanded to six members and we have all sorts of plans for amazing shows!
EV: Thanks so much for joining us to let our readers know about this great festival, and Vancouer’s fabulous Burlesque scene. Those wishing to know more about the festival, or wanting to get tickets, can visit the VIBF website.