Whatever you call it, New York City is a mecca for burlesque performers and during four nights when the New York Burlesque Festival is on, the pilgrims gather from near and far.
|The Golden Pasties- Group shot Photo by Filip Wolak courtesy Time out Magazine|
I have attended the NYBF as a member of the audience, a stage kitten and now, as a performer on Sunday night's Golden Pasties awards. More of an industry night, the Highline Ballroom's tables were full of performers, producers, New York's finest, burlesque legends and patrons willing to watch the swiftly delivered award presentations for the acts that followed.
|Photo by Angela McConnell|
But before the festival, there's the city itself, sprawling, loud, bold, New York City.
Chelsea Hostel for a few nights alone then a week in a sprawling Brooklyn loft with some Aussie friends- performers in their own right.
Two stops from Manhattan on the L train, if you're staying with 2-3 other people I would recommend messaging me for the contact (Airbnb). Cheap by New York standards, comfortable and friendly.
NYC was a new experience for Chiara and Becky which meant I could indulge the inner tourist by taking long walks through Central Park, diversions to find the carousel and Alice statue, Times Square for rush tickets to see Pippin on Broadway...
|At the Alice in Wonderland statue with Becky and a random child already learning the art of photobombing|
|Leaving Manhattan... from the Staten Isle Ferry|
Packed with rails of new and vintage clothing, we spent happy hours searching through racks of Prada heels, silk frocks, fur stoles, cashmere sweaters and beaded cardigans.
Becky and I also visited the Manhattan Beacon's on 13th street located near Union Square, we lost a lot of time there but found some unique gems to take home.
|Becky checking out the shoes at Beacon's Closet in Brooklyn|
|One stall tucked in a corner has a glut of clothing from Victorian beaded dresses to these Atlantic City showgirl costumes.|
|Bowery street Antiquing...|
I love the Wholefood Supermarket and Trader Joe's for groceries. They stock pre-made salads, fresh sushi and hot food such as soup and roast meat. If you're planning to stay in a flat or hostel with a kitchen check out their locations before you leave as you'll save money and your stomach will thank you for the fresh, organic produce you supply it- Union Square Farmer's Market is also a great one to check out for fresh produce, locally made products and baked goods.
|Pumpkins at Union Square Farmer's Market|
Schnippers and the Shake Shack are my faves for a great chocolate or coffee milkshake. Skip the lines at Shake Shack in Madison Square park and head round the corner to Schnippers on East 23rd for take out.
|The view looking uptown from Madison Square Park|
|The selection at Schmackery's is constantly refreshed... $2.75 each or two for $5... But they're so sweet you won't need anything else for hours!|
For snacking I either grabbed hommus and pita chips or else got sucked into the constantly refreshed bag of Kettle or caramel popcorn left open on the kitchen counter in the loft- pick up at a local deli, supermarket, pharmacy (yes, really) or Garrett Popcorn on 34th street.
For coffee we visited Verb on Bedford Avenue. Consistently good and when the barista thought it wasn't good enough, he made me a new one of his own volition!
In Chelsea I like to go to Think Coffee between 13th and 14th street on 8th Avenue or head 10 blocks uptown for a fresh bagel and iced coffee from Murray's bagels
|Admiring the iced cakes at Magnolia Bakeries on Avenue of the America's near Rockefeller Centre|
Back to burlesque...Thursday night's Premiere Party was preceded by a gathering of visiting international performers at Minnie Tonka's apartment in Brooklyn. Style, audience and producing was discussed over cider, beer, popcorn and a potent liquor from Sweden.
|At Minnie Tonka's before the NYBF Premiere Party|
We arrived a little late, the stand out performances on Friday for me were definitely the Aussies, Peaches and Gin doing their Harry Potter act and Lillian Starr's Feed the Horse, comedy and festish... Oi, oi, oi
Saturday we ventured to BB Kings on 42nd street- via Grand Central- my bad navigation- Murray Hill comedian, drag king, Sunday night bingo caller at the Bowery Peotry club kept the night moving. Trixie Little stole the show. Her banana act brings together all my favourite elements of burlesque. The peel, her energy and confidence, a terrific prop, costume and a big bang at the end... I could watch it again... and again... and again.(and it just ain't the same on Youtube!)
|Photo by Angela McConnell,|
L-R Minnie Tonka, Tiffany Carter, Darlinda, Just Darlinda, Lucy, ..., Lil Miss Lixx
|Photo by Angela Mcconnel|
|Photo by Angela McConnell|
We finished up with a haphazard curtain call, an upskirt look at my stockings and an un needed binge of fried food and chocolate milkshakes at Kellogs Diner in Brooklyn.
We went our separate ways the following morning, Chiara and Becky in a cab, Scott on a bus back to Canada and I hopped on the L train with my suitcase- substantially heavier- for two more nights in Chelsea, walks on the Highline and sunny Fall days in Central Park.
|My last morning in Central Park|
28 hours of Transit later and via Brisbane, I was in Wellington for the New Zealand Burlesque Festival...