Above: Me performing at BHoF in 2019.
I am grateful to be in The Burlesque Top 50 this year! It's an honor to be in such good company. I honestly didn't expect it this year, as I've been seeing marvelous shifts toward celebrating the new in our community. Congratulations to everyone on the list, and to all the people who voted!
It's exciting to see burlesque's evolution! It's becoming so much more representative of what people have said they want burlesque to be. It is so much more diverse than it used to be, and that's in no small part because audiences want it that way. Producers should never say that their audience isn't ready for fat or POC or trans or queer or neo performers. The audience has great taste! And one of the ways that has been proven has been by people who were told there wasn't a place for them gaining audiences when they make their own spaces. It isn't because privileged people deigned to include them. It's because they went ahead and did the things! Hire them!
When people in burlesque make our shows, we also create audiences. We make space for people to see themselves onstage, and to experience the quality and style we want them to see. If we as performers want it to happen, if we as producers want it to happen, if we as people who vote on lists want it to happen, if we as instructors want it to happen,we have show up for it. I'm so impressed and inspired by everyone who's making it happen and keeping burlesque relevant. It's the only way the art form can survive.
As the oldest person on The Burlesque Top 50, I'm going to keep proudly, nakedly showing up, with every wrinkle, curve, and hormone in place. Maybe one day we'll have a Top 50 Over 50.
See you soon! In fact you can see me perform tonight at Velvetina Taylor's floor show at Mister French, 218 Bowery, NYC, at 10.30 pm; and January 15 at White Elephant Burlesque at Rockbar, 185 Christopher Street, at 8 pm.
You can hire me to lecture, teach, produce, emcee, or perform! And you can keep abreast of my schedule at joweldon.com.