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NOLA Nerdlesque: Nerds, Unite!

NOLA Nerdlesque festival returns November 16 – 17 for its third year 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 has quickly becoming one of my favorite local festivals—and I’m pretty sure you will love it too.

Festival headliner Dangrrr Doll closes out the 2017 festival with an act that combined Sonic the Hedgehog and classic burlesque (photo credit Mis Guided)
Festival headliner Dangrrr Doll closes out the 2017 festival with an act that combined Sonic the Hedgehog and classic burlesque (Photo Credit: Mis Guided)

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 it. 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.”

NOLA Nerdlesque, now in its fourth 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 solely dedicated to nerdlesque in the world, despite the popularity of nerdlesque at conventions and other festivals.

Now sexier (and nerdier) than ever, NOLA Nerdlesque’s 2018 fest runs November 16-17. The festival is curated by Remy Dee, Persé Fanny, Vincent Gallant, Sable Switch, and Honey Tangerine, all well-known names in the local burlesque scene.

The well-rounded festival includes four shows, three workshops at the New Orleans School of Burlesque, a closing party at the International House Hotel’s Loa Bar (221 Camp St.), and a nerd market during performances. 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 will be available 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)

Stripped Crusaders

Friday, Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m.
Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St.)

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 as they channel your favorite cartoon, comic, and video game heroes.

Tease from the Crypt

Friday, Nov. 16 at 10:30 p.m.
Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St.)

General Admission, $15

Extending the Halloween spirit just a bit, Tease from the Crypt is a nerdy revue playing on the late 80s/early 90s Tales from the Crypt. Get you heart racing as “glitter covered ghouls, stripping serial killers, [and] mesmerizing monsters” misbehave. The show’s featured performer is Juno from New Orleans.

Cyburlesque

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m.
Allways Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)

General Admission, $15

Sci-Fi nerds, get ready! Cyburlesque brings together nerds from across the galaxy for an evening of out of this world performances. Why not? Robots, androids, and Bill Nye can be sexy. Performers include Risky Sour from Atlanta, Little Bo Peepshow & Narvel P Tuffnuts from St. Louis, and Doctor Vu from Burlington, Vermont, among many others.

Just Drawn That Way

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10:00 p.m.
Allways Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)
General Admission, $15

The final show of the festival puts a spin on cartoons and comic books with Just Drawn That Way. Come see your favorite characters from the morning cartoons, fairy tales, and video games of your childhood in a totally different light. More than a dozen performers will take the stage including Lady Fingers from Austin, Ginger Oh Snap from Nashville, and featuring Piper Marie from New Orleans.

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)

Workshop: Producing for Love and Profit…But Mostly Profit

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11:00 a.m.
New Orleans School of Burlesque (830 North Rampart St.)

$10 at the door

Hear from KiKi Maroon, who produces burlesque shows for a living, about how you can make money doing what you love. During the 90-minute workshop, she will discuss enticing topics such as common marketing mistakes and production budgeting. Plus, attendees will leave the workshop with KiKi’s own project plan which she uses for her own productions.

Workshop: Floorwork with Ember Blaize

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1:00 p.m.
New Orleans School of Burlesque (830 North Rampart St.)

$10 at the door

Ember Blaize guides this movement-oriented workshop to help performers learn new techniques and safety increase their flexibility. This workshop specifically focuses on floorwork and you’ll leave with a few new tricks up your sleeve.

Burlesque performer Remy Dee, an avid nerd, is one of the local performers behind NOLA Nerdlesque Fest (photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque Festival)
Burlesque performer Remy Dee, an avid nerd, is one of the local performers behind NOLA Nerdlesque Fest (Photo courtesy of NOLA Nerdlesque Festival)

Workshop: The History of Burlesque

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3:00 p.m.
New Orleans School of Burlesque (830 North Rampart Street)

$10 at the door

While the previous two workshops are designed with burlesque performers and others in the industry in mind, the History of Burlesque is open to anyone. Persé Fanny leads this 60-minute lecture that delves into the genesis and background of American burlesque.

Nerd Market

Friday, Nov. 16
Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St.)
Saturday, Nov. 17
Allways Lounge and Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave.)

NOLA Nerdlesque’s nerd market pops up during shows on Friday and Saturday nights at the evening’s venue. Stroll by booths from local artists, festival sponsors, and festival organizers, and get your photo taken by New York based photographer Brandon Perdomo. Be sure to stop by on Saturday night to glitterize at Electra Cosmetics’ glitter sampling bar.

Closing Party

Friday, Nov. 16 at Midnight
The Loa Bar at the International House Hotel (221 Camp St.)

Free

NOLA Nerdlesque’s festival party pops up after the Friday night shows. The Loa Bar will have a late night happy hour menu, including a special festival punch. The party is free and open to all. So go ahead, live a little, laugh a little, and let your freak flag fly. You’ll be in good company. Costumes, of course, are encouraged.

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