Let me just put this out there: I f#&!ing love burlesque. It’s a refreshing, fun, fancy and healthy expression of female sexuality, and burlesque itself doesn’t seem to give a crap about whether you think it’s hot. It’s way more important that you, as burlesque performer, find yourself hot, and that confidence in your own hotness then by default comes across in your performance. Plus a sassy butt wiggle and some glittery pasties is a tad essential. Society can take its unrealistic-stripper-body ideals and place them neatly up its own arse. Compared to the experiences I’ve had watching strippers perform somewhat sad routines, burlesque is stripping’s confident, mature older sister with a healthy body image, perky personality and sweet rack. Burlesque teases you with milk, and as we all know, it’s milkshakes that bring all the boys to the yard.

In this case, the yard was a backlot, and we were all watching some of Toronto’s great burlesque performers put on a show last Saturday afternoon at the annual Beards N’ Babes Backlot Bonanzabehind east end retro dress shop Doll Factory by Damzels and hosted by Toronto Facial Hair Club and Beard Team Canada (it’s a thing. And they’re really good at it).

Babes, guys with beards AND babes with beards were in attendance, some to proudly display their hairs in the Bearded Lady Fashion Show and Best Beard Contest, and some to just show support and cheer on their buds. Add to that beer (duh), Sailor Jerry’s rum, tacos and performances from catl and Leon Knights and the Neon Lights for a rockin’ golden time. I spotted in the crowd a hot dog puppy, sequined handmade pasties for sale by burlesque performer Aviva The Mirage and “garbage can rhumba” music. It was kinda the best time ever.

Becca Lemire

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)