Review: 2nd Annual OKC Burlesque Festival

Helen Grant

Editing these photos made my computer heat up. So sorry if you too can’t handle that. Not. Sorry. At. All. Alright. To the essentials, I guess. Yes. It is safe for work.




Tech issues aside, this was yet another solid production out of Adele Wolf. Lynne, the other photographer for OKC.NET, a friend of mine who is a photographer who attend just for her own fun, and myself, who dabbles in the medium as well – we all loved the inventiveness and variety of the performers. I almost forgot about my friend Doug Schwarz, who is the real pro photog among us, he took photos as the festivals official photographer. He loved it of course. As did a lot of the guys in the audience the evening I attended, which was Saturday. Lynne went Friday. Obviously we liked if we’re committing time to un/covering (?) it.

Consider the presentation of burlesque. I think the reason it comes off as such a delightful thing, empowering even, is that performers make the audience really pay for an evening of cheeky artistry. But not only do they take your money with their tassels a twirling, they want you to get riled. Performances are an exchange of give and take. These gals are not into this because they are dead inside and this is the only way they know how to pay the bills. No. Get that out of your head now if that is what you think burlesque is about, this is a whole other kind of performance art. It is about attitude and humor. It’s about being a lively wild thing in a tongue-and-cheek style circus. It’s the costumes, the crystals, the feathers, the stripes, the poles, the acrobatics, and the thrill of the show. And ultimately, the roar of the audience.

Since I’m of the mindset to let pictures speak for themselves, my last thought on the latest OKC Burlesque Fest is this: it is worth it to go both nights. A good burlesque show should leave you feeling all a glow afterwards. I’ve been to a fair few in the Metro over the years, because this kind of thing greatly amuses me when it is done well, and Adele puts together a spectacular lineup every year. Even so, for years in a row now I’ve missed Friday night. And as I scroll through pictures of that evening to see what I missed, I catch the ones in passing that strike me as being highly inventive. Believe me when I say I wish I could have seen the creepy nightmare alien queen routine from the first annual Oklahoma City Burlesque Festival. That gal must have a special effects team. You swear you’d never seen anything quite like it.

Follow the link to Flickr to see more of Goldie Candela (pictured above) and the whole festival lineup. Hand-to-heart, it is all safe for work. No pasties. Bras? This is burlesque, remember.

You should also know Adele Wolf’s Burlesque and Variety show holds quarterly shows and she’s also hosting OKC’s Dr. Sketchy Anti Art School. The next event will be on July 11th.

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