Burlesque Bible is an international magazine for all things Burlesque
Helene Phillips is the Editor of Burlesque Bible and I am delighted to say that she took the time to answer some of my questions about the Magazine and the Burlesque scene. Having been first launched in April 2011 with Dita von Teese as the cover girl, Burlesque Bible was always destined for great things. However it is with hard work and regular appearances on festival judging panels that allows Helene to boast a global circulation and a firm place in the hearts of the worldwide Burlesque community.
What first interested you in Burlesque?
I’ve always loved dancing and performing. I came across a burlesque class and I fell in love with it straight away. I loved shimmying and I enjoyed myself while being sexy.
How did the magazine first come about?
Burlesque got bigger but there wasn’t a single magazine about it. There were websites, blogs, Facebook but no printed ’guides’ where you can find everything including the latest news, tips, reviews and interviews. I am still a big fan of magazines. You can hold them and discover something new and exciting every time you turn a page… Does that not remind you of what burlesque is about?
You launched with Dita Von Teese as your cover girl, how did that feel?
It was fantastic of course. It just made sense to have this fantastic performer on the cover of our first ever issue. It’s like a symbol really.
Burlesque Bible has gone from strength to strength, with an international audience, do you think that reflects the increased interest in Burlesque?
Yes, I like to think so but it is also the fact that the magazine has been travelling intensively over the past few years and has participated in many shows. We are heavily involved in the worldwide burlesque community and our hard work is paying off.
Is appealing to an international audience difficult?
I wouldn’t say difficult but sometimes it can be tricky. Whatever their country, our readers love burlesque. They love being able to read all about the latest news and upcoming festivals, the ideas for making their own costumes and reading interviews from worldwide performers… which is what Burlesque Bible does.
However BB is not just about known performers, we like supporting the whole burlesque community so we do reviews, we interview performers who maybe aren’t internationally known (yet!), but there is only so much we can cover about a foreign country when we aren’t there.
So what is it that keeps you so interested in Burlesque?
That’s a good question. I have never asked myself that question. I guess it’s because I keep on meeting new people. When I think I know all about the burlesque scene, a new performer pops along and surprises me. Each year, a new festival will emerge, a new performer becomes the Reigning Queen of Burlesque and some more fantastic outfits will be created… it’s all I need!
Is being involved in a Burlesque magazine as glamorous as it sounds?
As a matter of fact, it is! I am very lucky to be invited to various shows. I am always very well looked after from the organisers and it allows me to meet fantastic people and discover fabulous new cities. But don’t get me wrong, it is still a very challenging job not because it is related to burlesque but because it is a magazine and at the end of the day we always have deadlines.
What can we expect from Burlesque Bible this year?
We’ve just launched our brand new and improved website which contains more news, cheaper shipping prices for foreign countries and a blog for readers to post their latest news on. This year, we are publishing 4 issues instead of 3 last year and 2 the previous years: January, April, July and September.
Any advice for others who would like to write for a Burlesque magazine or just get more involved in the Burlesque community?
Well funny you say that, we are always looking for contributors to get involved with our printed copies but due to deadlines and size of the magazine we cannot accommodate them all. This is why we’ve come up with a brand new blog on our website called ‘Community’ where people can publish everything related to burlesque: a new costume they’ve come up with, new shows or festival, for newcomers, anything really. All they need to do is email email@example.com with the story and pictures.
Do you have any Burlesque performers or trends we should be on the lookout for this year?
It all depends on your style really. We try to have the burlesque performers we think everyone should know about on each of our covers. What I would say is go to festivals and just embrace the flow of talent.
Big thanks to Helene for the Interview. If you are a burlesque performer eager for some inspiration, an enthusiast looking for the latest news or a newcomer hoping to get your first step into burlesque – this magazine is for you!
Do you like Burlesque? Do you have an image of what it is? Have you ever been to a show? Well depending on your answers you will probably have a different interest in this Blog Post. I don’t like Burlesque, I love it. My image of Burlesque is one of a sassy woman who is entertaining a crowd of people and having a hoot of a time. And yes, I have attended multiple Burlesque shows.
On telling people that I am going to yet another Burlesque show I am sometimes met with skeptical looks. My Dad on the other hand always throws me a bewildered look as if to say “how many boobs does one girl want to see?” He has asked me whether I would do Burlesque myself, and the answer is I don’t know! It isn’t easy to say. I have always been a little scared of being on stage, personally finding it a pretty cringe worthy experience. However I did attend a couple of Burlesque lessons after he asked me about it so the interest is there. (These lessons got cancelled so if anyone knows of lessons locally please let me know!)
My friends on the other hand have become used to my love for Burlesque and are eager attendees, just as thrilled as me! Having embraced Burlesque too they enjoy dressing up and cheering on women and men alike as they flaunt their cabaret routines. It is something my Boyfriend also enjoys, especially when Dave the Bear decided to give him a lap dance. Let me just say there were a lot of jealous women in the room!
Lap dances from men for men I hear you asking yourself? Well yes, burlesque can be a bizare bubble. Things that don’t usually happen, happen. (Not that I have a problem with men dancing on each other’s laps it’s just I know my Boyfriend would prefer it was me!) It’s a glittery world of intrigue, tease and confidence.
I think what really appeals to a lot of young girls is watching women of all ethnicity, shape and size dominating a stage, taking charge of their sexuality and using it to entertain how they want to. People aren’t forced into becoming Burlesque performers and it is very much a choice that can be directly reflected in the art of tease.
With a ‘Look at me I am choosing to take off my glove’, to a, ‘oh now I’ve stopped, nothing is going to come off until you cheer louder.’
‘But why do you like Burlesque?’ It’s comical and empowering and usually comes wrapped in a glittery and glistening confidence that I could only dream of. To some it might sound crazy, but to me it is inspirational. I usual get to see a polished routines, from women who represent any and every kind of woman – what’s not awesome about that? To me Burlesque is as much a celebration of womanhood as it is taking the mickey out of it with the upsurge in Neo-Burlesque.
Not to mention the costumes are always marvelous. Eliza DeLite, who was crowned International Winner of the World Burlesque Games 2014, is very glamorous in her flapper styled Rhapsody in Black routine. Whereas Violet Blaze’s Cadbury Queen act is a raucous affair featuring an amazing headdress which might actually be defying gravity. Look out science.
But don’t take my word for it, there are plenty of other people with a love for Burlesque…
I like burlesque because.. It is always fun and different every time. It is empowering for woman as they aren’t just getting their clothes off to please men. I also like how it shows that every size and shape of woman is sexy and how confident the ladies are with their bodies. I would like to go again very soon.
I love the performance of it and all the costumes. The best performances I’ve seen have had an element of comedy too!
Joshua Gidney (the Boyfriend who enjoys a lap dance from sweaty men)
I think Burlesque is a very entertaining way to spend an evening, it’s a little outside the norm which instead of being avoided should be embraced. A common thought is that it’s a bit derogatory to women and that men only go to get there fix of naked women or that it’s just a slightly classier version of a strip club. This is completely wrong, I believe the women that take part in Burlesque feel exhilarated when they’re on stage. It’s not even all about women taking off their clothes in a teasing manner, I’ve seen comedy sketches, magic acts and a martial arts inspired performance to name a few types of show. The hosts are always entertaining and I implore you to go to a burlesque show, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I’ve only seen it at Cafe de Paris in London, but I like the vintage feel and the anticipation.