Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Demand for Heart-On Burlesque is insatiable

Event raises money for Sexual Assault Centre of Ottawa

Tushy Dee-Light is stumped. A long time organizer and performer at Heart-On Burlesque, she can’t pick-out just one highlight from last year’s show.

“That’s such a tough question! There are always so many women having an amazing time. One highlight would have been getting soaking wet in a raunchy firefighter scene with friends. And then there were all the silly and scandalous escapades throughout the night in the dressing room and in the crowd.”

She doesn’t elaborate, allowing imaginations to wander before continuing,

“Then looking back, it was great hearing about the amazing sex a woman had that night, after coming home from such a sexually-charged show.”

Heart-On Burlesque is in its forth year. The auditions are closed now and show prep is well underway.

The event stays true to the spirit of burlesque, offering classy but naughty and often satirical acts, clothes on or off, or somewhere in-between. 2007 was an amazing success for the organizers who sold-out the show and ended up turning girls away at the door.

Dee-Light explains that that Heart-On Burlesque 4 has grown to accommodate the interests of a large and diverse crowd.

“This year there are two nights. The Friday night Luscious Lounge Cabaret will be a more accessible environment with limited tickets and seating options, while Saturday’s Spicy Girly Show will be our traditional show with a more up close and personal atmosphere.”

The changes for this year reflect on the Heart-On Burlesque’s popularity, and keep the event fresh and inspired.

“Both nights have the same line-up of performers, but will offer a slightly different atmosphere with more variety of acts including music, skits, drag and strip tease.”

Violet VonVulva has performed in Heart-On Burlesque for a few years. Her performance last year involved a dance-oriented strip tease and a hula hoop — we’ll just let you linger with that image for a moment.

VonVulva feels the inclusiveness of the event is one of its strengths.

“We’ve tried to reach out to more and more women’s communities that have been under-represented in the queer culture. So this year were really trying to both make the event really size-positve as well as age-positive. We want to bring some of the older dykes out as well, because we, young dykes and queer women, owe and appreciate them so much.”

Boom Boom Munro is one of this year’s MCs. The 2007 show was her introduction to burlesque; she enjoyed it so much that she agreed to volunteer. For her it’s all about the community of local women, which the event fosters.

“I think it is a fabulous format to present local women acts. I love that it is all amateur performers and that it’s safe enough to express long hidden talents and dreams.”

Munro won’t give away any teasers for this year’s show but she’s been working on ideas of a character and promises to keep the audience more than entertained between acts.

Despite the light-heartedness, few are unaware of the politics of such an event. In a city with the unfortunate reputation for being resistant to the risqué, Heart-On Burlesque is especially welcome since it pushes the boundaries of our city’s conservative values.

VonVulva dives in, explaining her thoughts on the social significance in Ottawa.

“For me personally, Heart-On Burlesque is the perfect melding of the sensual and the political as the show and its organizers have always been very strongly committed to both anti-oppression and uncensored creative expression.”

Dee-Light adds that the cherry on the cake: it’s all for a good cause.

“The event raises money for the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa, which is doing important work in our community by supporting so many women. We are immensely glad that proceeds from our scandalous night go to such an amazing organization.”