Ottawa’s burlesque community is close knit. There’s a real sense of camaraderie among performers and troupes often come together to support local causes. Such is the case with Too Much of a Good Thing, a July 26 benefit show in support of Planned Parenthood Ottawa. Headlined by Rockalily Burlesque, the show will feature performers from many of the city’s seven troupes.
Among the stars performing Friday at Club SAW is Rhapsody Blue, Rockalily’s resident fire-breather. The story of how she began her career is the stuff burlesque fairytales are made of: after participating in a competition held by Rockalily as a benefit for breast cancer, she surprised everyone, including herself, by winning it. She’s been with Rockalily for four years now — and in that time taken part in many benefit performances.
“The burlesque community in general does a lot of charity work, usually for social justice or queer organizations depending on the troupe,” says Rhapsody. “We [Rockalily] feel really passionately about Planned Parenthood in particular, not only because they like to get involved in the scene but it directly relates to access to women’s health, which is very important for a lot of the people in the troupe.
“We really believe in not just making money for ourselves and promoting the scene, but also giving back to the community because it really is the community that supports performing artists.”
This is Rockalily’s second benefit for Planned Parenthood. “These things happen very naturally with social and professional connections and Rockalily makes a point of being approachable to non-profits and charities,” says Rhapsody. Friday’s show will involve a number of guests from the Ottawa scene including Bessie May Mucho, Cinnamon Sage, and Bella Barecatt. “When it comes to charity gigs troupes really do like to come together. Everybody will send a performer or two to support the event.”
The show will also feature trivia with prizes from some of the city’s sexiest businesses. As for the theme, Too Much of a Good Thing reflects ideas of overindulgence and excess. “Simply due to the nature of the organization we’re working with, we’re trying to be a little bit subversive,” Rhapsody explains. “Is there such a think as a little too sexy? We certainly don’t think so!"