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 Harbeer Sandhu
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Dance Like Everyone’s Watching: Tricks and Stunts at the Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival

Dance Like Everyone’s Watching: Tricks and Stunts at the Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival
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Photo: Kris McManus


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Image by Blue Print/JSJ

Houston’s ms. YET doing a sword dance with local chanteuses Say Girl Say on the serenade…Bam Bam Bambi, the buxom doe-eyed vixen bumpin n grindin down from St. Louis…San Antonio’s smokin’ Gaige on her bed of nails…Houston’s strongwoman Midnight Joy, who will get you bent as she straightens out your kinks…the drag acrobatics of St. Louie’s Pheonyx Rayne…the bad girls of San Antonio’s Le Strange Sideshow…the voluptuous fire of Ginger Snaps from Austin…and the high flying duo from Dallas, Scully & Miss Malicious, whose act looks something like two babes flying in a hula hoop suspended from the ceiling.

Do you know what kind of centrifugal force is required to suspend two babes in a hula hoop, high above the stage? Enough to keep your eyes glued, that’s for damn sure.

You may put your eyes back in their sockets, dear reader, but feel free the leave your mind there in the gutter.

And that’s just the opening acts. We haven’t even gotten to the headliners, much less the filthy brains behind it all, the one and only Houston Burlesque Clown Princess, the inimitable Kiki Maroon. Let’s pause for Kiki’s bio:

KiKi Maroon was born the bastard child of Gypsy Rose Lee and Bozo the Clown. Fear of their affair becoming public lead them to abandon her at birth, in the elephant cage of a circus train. She was rescued and raised a carnie child, the adopted daughter of a retired ring master and bearded woman. KiKi studied the circus arts from a very young age with dreams of becoming the worlds fattest tight rope walker. Sadly, puberty brought upon a hotness that could not be contained and no matter how much cotton candy she would eat, her weight remained the same. It became clear that Burlesque Clown was the only job that could utilize her particular talents. She now travels from town to town, show to show, pitching circus tents where ever she goes.

Ok, back to the show. Let’s talk about the inaugural Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival.


Image via BCBCfestival.com

Have you ever been to a show where even the intermissions sound like more raucous, sexy fun than a swingin Friday night at the Moulin Rouge?

After a year-long hiatus, Kiki is staging a big comeback by producing the Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival, where the intermission hijinks alone are more than worth the price of admission, but Maroon’s got way more tricks [pun intended] up her sleeve than just jigglers, jugglers, stilt-walkers, interactive games, and crowd performers like Miss Lotta Poppa, who will run around dressed in balloons that audiences can pop to reveal more skin and win prizes.

What kind of sick, depraved mind thinks up such wonderful ways to make waiting in the beer line fun?

The all-day affair takes place on Saturday January 17th at the Warehouse Live — so mark your calendar and scoop up some advance tickets. (Need the pervert, er perfect stocking stuffer? Look no further — great for a woman or man or freak of any stripe — trust.)


Image via BCBCfestival.com

Headliners include LA’s Kristina Nekyia, a dancing contortionist who promises “magic bra removal.” Though she has worked with clients ranging from DJ Shadow and Lady GaGa to the Discovery Channel, the BCBC Festival will be Nekyia’s Houston debut.


Image via BCBCfestival.com

From Portland, straight out of the 1890s, slapstick performer Russell Bruner will bring a boylesque twist. With his hats, suits, and moustache, Bruner looks like a silent film villain, and in true Vaudevillian fashion he’ll bring together comedy, swing dancing, and acrobatics while giving serving as some eye candy of the peacock variety. (So that’s where the girls get their feathers…)


Image via BCBCfestival.com

Rounding out the headliner list is the only little person performing acro-pole dancing in the world, the Windy City’s Viva La Muerte, the “Pint Sized Pepper.” La Muerte mixes acrobatics, gymnastics, and sexuality into a show that is sultry and mesmerizing.






But who knows what Kiki herself has in store for her hungry fans? We’ve seen her do everything from Raggedy Ann as Michael Madsen’s character in Reservoir Dogs, torturing and torching a hapless Raggedy Andy; we’ve seen her as Groucho Marx meets Bozo; we’ve seen her as the bearded lady; we’ve even seen her as a shroom trippin psychedelic cow.


If you are anything like me, then watching Rocky made you want to take up boxing and watching Karate Kid made you want to take up karate and watching Cool Runnings made you want to take up Jamaican bobsledding, so there is no doubt that the Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival is going to make me want to run off with the circus and/or do burlesque.

Kiki has thought even of that — for people wishing to learn more about burlesque and circus arts, there will be workshops from 11 am - 6 pm, before the show. Performer-led workshops will cover topics such as stage make up, costume design, how to brand yourself as a performer, an intro to juggling, as well as other circus arts classes.  One of the workshops will cover the history of burlesque in Houston, as told by July St. Juniper, Kiki’s assistant.  These workshops will take place in an area themed “The Bayou Bizarre” where there will be shops that are set up to purchase outfits and products that are commonly used in burlesque shows.

Like pasties…and feathers…and fans…and frilly underpants…and I can’t wait til this show…January 17…Tickets here.