All photos copyright Allen Lee

The New York Burlesque Festival is always a highly-anticipated event full of talented hosts and performers, and this year’s fest brought hilarious, intelligent and sexy acts to Brooklyn Bowl’s stage in Williamsburg.

The festival is produced annually by the dynamic duo of Jen Gapay of Thirsty Girl Productions and Angie Pontani of The Pontani Sisters. This year’s host was the always charming magician and sideshow host  Albert Cadabra, with music by Michael Cunio.

One of the highlights of the evening was a cult classic tribute by the lovely Francine “The Lucid Dream,” producer of The Pink Room: David Lynch Burlesque. Our Gillian Anderson lookalike paid tribute to a show that is soon to return to our small screens with her The X-Files act, set to Katy Perry’s song “E.T.”


Of course, Scully had an important call to take on her extra-large super official nineties F.B.I. cell phone.

But as those who have watched the show know, even repressed, unbelieving Special Agent Scully has a sexy side.

Yes, we do want to believe in Gillian/Francine as a sexy alien.

Calamity Chang “The Asian Sexsation” let her November Rain pour down with an elegiac all-in-black act. Darkly bedazzled, Calamity lit up the stage with her mournful, elegant goodbye to love.

Guns N’ Roses’ power soon took over however, and what burlesque star could help but get down for the count, shedding mourning wear for rock and roll striptease?

Trick roper Chris McDaniel showed the crowd a little bit of his cowboy aerobics. “I became the Texas Skip champion,” McDaniel said. “Y’all don’t know what the hell the Texas Skip is, but I did it 401 times.”


Dallas’ Ruby Revue gave us a taste of our own bad medicine.


Tansy took a sentimental journey in tribute to burlesque legend Dee Milo, unpacking all her longing as she twirled across the stage in a stunning little red number.

New York City’s favorite delivery boy, Chris Harder, performed some stage calisthenics the likes of which no pizza in New York has ever seen before.

Nona Narcisse from New Orleans was no fringe act with her delightfully strange and teasing reveal.


Varsity Interpretive Dance Squad weirded and wowed with their absurdistly fun pop mix of Sia’s “Chandelier,” Britney’s “Work B**ch,” and on-the-beat dance skills.

To close out a wonderful evening of performance, exotic bird Mr. Gorgeous made the crowd laugh and gasp as he cawed and cooed and … oops, had a little accident onstage that he had to clean up.


This year’s Brooklyn Bowl performances were a sheer pleasure for their costumes, music, comedy and beauty.

It was a wonderful night to be witnessing the apex of the art of burlesque in one of its best cities, especially with so many New Yorkers performing in the show.


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