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NOLA Nerdlesque: Nerds, Unite!

NOLA Nerdlesque festival returns November 15-16 to celebrate and satirize nerdy pop culture.

Award winning burlesque star May Hemmer performs as Deadpool at the 2017 NOLA Nerdlesque Festival (photo credit: Mis Guided)
Award-winning burlesque star May Hemmer performs as Deadpool at the 2017 NOLA Nerdlesque Festival (Photo credit: Mis Guided)

Back in 2013, a chance viewing of a Super Mario-themed burlesque show opened my eyes to the wonderfully wacky world of Nerdlesque, a sub-genre of burlesque performance that celebrates and satirizes nerdy pop culture. I love a good Harry Potter or superhero satire, which is why NOLA Nerdlesque quickly became one of my favorite local festivals—and I’m pretty sure you will love it too.

Super Mario pops up at NOLA Nerdlesque 2018 (photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque)
Super Mario pops up at NOLA Nerdlesque 2018 (photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque)

Nerdlesque is a performance art notable for its inclusivity of all body types. It empowers performers and audience members to not just “let it all hang out,” but to feel daring and confident while doing so. Though nerdlesque is a modern art form, it is rooted in classic burlesque, particularly the smart satire. According to Persé Fanny, Co-Founder, Artistic Director, and one of several producers, “Most people think that nerdlesque is an entirely new concept, but the truth is nerdlesque is at the root of traditional burlesque. It is a parody of pop culture, a mocking of society.”

Beetlejuice appeared at NOLA Nerdlesque's 2018 festival (photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque)
Beetlejuice appeared at NOLA Nerdlesque’s 2018 festival (photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque)

NOLA Nerdlesque, now in its fifth year, “started out of a love for nerdy pop culture and burlesque,” says Fanny, when she and other local nerdlesque performers “decided to combine our dorky efforts and celebrate nerds together.” It is only the second festival in the world solely dedicated to nerdlesque, despite the popularity of nerdlesque at conventions and other festivals.

Now sexier (and nerdier) than ever, NOLA Nerdlesque’s 2019 fest runs November 15 and 16 and features over 40 performers—including local icons Ariana Amour, Eros Sea, Charlotte Treuse, and Trixie Minx. This year’s festival is curated and presented once again by Remy Dee, Persé Fanny, Vincent Gallant, Sable Switch, and Honey Tangerine, all well-known names in the local burlesque scene.

The annual festival is bursting with exciting new material. The AllWays Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.), which BBC’s Lonely Planet Travel Guide recently named as one of the 10 best places in the world to see burlesque, hosts all four of the festival’s shows, as well as its workshops. Get the dirty on this year’s shows below, and be sure to buy your tickets in advance (note all shows are 18+, and tickets, if still available, will be on sale at the door).

Takillya Sunrise performing as Finn from Star Wars at the 2017 NOLA Nerdlesque Festival (photo credit Mis Guided)
Takillya Sunrise performing as Finn from Star Wars at the 2017 NOLA Nerdlesque Festival (Photo Credit: Mis Guided)

Shows

Stripped Crusaders

Friday, Nov. 15 at 8:00 p.m.
The AllWays Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)

General Admission, $15

Stripped Crusaders kicks off the festival weekend with superheroes taking off their spandex after long nights of fighting crime and being, well, heroes. Come watch the alluring performances of talented nerdlesque performers from all around the country and beyond as they channel your favorite cartoon, comic, and video game heroes. This show features local nerdlesque performer Ariana Amour as the headliner, as well as Scarlet Starlet from Richmond, Olive Von Topp from Ontario, Canada, Risky Sour from Atlanta, and many more.

Vivacious Villainy

Friday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 p.m.
The AllWays Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)
General Admission, $15

When you grow tired of the “good guy” always winning out, the Vivacious Villainy revue may tickle your fancy. Talented and nerdy performers, including featured local entertainer Eros Sea, as well as Foxie la Fleur from Chicago, Ginger Oh Snap from Nashville, and many others, show up as monsters, murderers, and “things that go bump and grind in the night”—before taking it all off for your viewing pleasure.

Jaws onstage at NOLA Nerdlesque 2018(photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque)
Jaws onstage at NOLA Nerdlesque 2018(photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque)

Royally Nude

Saturday, Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m.
The AllWays Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)

General Admission, $15

Royally Nude, a nerdlesque revue, presents kings and queens of history and legend in a totally new light—”showing off their crown jewels,” as NOLA Nerdlesque so vividly explains it. Both the costumes and show promise to be exorbitant and suitable for royals. This show’s featured performer is another local, Charlotte Treuse, with support from many others, including Renaissance Noir out of D.C./Philadelphia, Felix Elixir of Lafayette, and Mone’t Ha Sidi out of Sacramento.

Novel-Tease

Saturday, Nov. 16 at 10:30 p.m.
The AllWays Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)
General Admission, $15

The final show of the festival, Novel-Tease, puts a spin on the world of fiction’s most beloved, and detested, characters. Come watch your favorites from The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterA Song of Ice and Fire, and more to get to know the kinky sides you never knew they had. Personally, I have my fingers crossed for a Professor Dumbledore closeup. Trixie Minx, a recognizable name in the local burlesque scene, headlines this show. Other performers include Dickie Smalls from Los Angeles, Kim Bustible out of Nashville, Heather and Lace of Chicago, and so many more.

Sable Switch performing as Skeletor at the 2017 NOLA Nerdlesque Festival (photo credit Mis Guided)
Sable Switch performing as Skeletor at the 2017 NOLA Nerdlesque Festival (Photo Credit: Mis Guided)

Workshops

NOLA Nerdlesque also offers three workshops as part of this year’s festival as a way to educate performers, would-be performers, and festival-goers alike. Hosting in Character, taught by Vincent Gallant, Movement Meditation, taught by Foxie la Fleur, Unholy, Unhinged: A Workshop on Eliciting Fear and Unease through Dance, taught by Rhapsody Blue, will all be held at the AllWays Lounge and Theatre between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 16. Be sure to check the website for more information.

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