If you have never been to a fundraiser where the feel good smile gets planted on your face as soon as you walk through the door and stays there for the duration, then you’ve not been fully engaged in the event.
The art of burlesque brings entertainment that moves the audience in the most extraordinary ways: with boldly flirtatious antics and saucy sensuality built around the performer’s chosen song. And, you should see what they can do with a song – any song.
This particular fundraiser was for Sara Shaw (Betty Kruger), a fellow entertainer and show co-producer who had been in a coma since December 10, 2014. And, to everyone’s surprise, relief and delight, she came out of it only three days before the show that was in her honour. The story goes she had been vacationing in Florida and caught a virus, which landed her in the ICU in Nanaimo for all these weeks and she was able to watch the entire show from her hospital bed via Skype.
The very first song by the show’s other co-producer, Eye Candy, was Randy Newman’s ‘You got a friend in me’ in which she presented a beautiful collage of Sara and friends on and off the stage. That was the highlighted moment we were allowed to let our hearts go out to Sara and let the universe know how much we love and care about her. You know…the moment you don’t want to cry, because even though it’s a sad state you still want to maintain good feelings around it for her.
That’s when the emcee reeled us right back into the fun of the show and our spirited clapping amidst woots, wouts, and wahoos. This is one place the audience is expected to be ‘over the top’ in spurring the performers to ‘take it off’ even though they always remain partially clothed at the end of the act. That’s wherein the fun lies: the interaction between encouragement from the audience and the artist’s playfulness on stage.
There were many incredible performances of dazzle and hilarity in this non-smoke filled bar room, including audience participation in a segment called ‘Kinky Kitty’. And, if you’ve never seen a grown man pretend to be a kitty cat washing its face, then you just gotta see that, too. Yes, very engaging.
Artists of another colour
I was lucky enough to be able to sit right in front of the stage with a young lady from the sound crew. It wasn’t until the end of the event that I found out she was the artist for that beautiful hand-made portrait ‘Meow A’ that she created for the silent auction. Bonus! I was telling her how wonderful I thought it was as I described it to her and she informed me that she did it – that was amazing! I felt quite lucky to meet such a talented artist of another kind!
I can’t explain how to impress this type of show on someone who has never been, but if you’ve got a bucket list, put this near the top. The beautiful thing about burlesque is it celebrates the perfection of the human body for everyone. It offers emancipation rather than emaciation and polish rather than porn as its standards of beauty, regardless of gender, age, size or body type.
It was especially entertaining to watch this burlesque and ‘boylesque’ group raise success in charitable events to a new level along with $2500 to help Sara on her road to recovery.
Get well REAL SOON, Sara, so you can get back to being Betty Kruger again.