Ms. Judith Stein is an inductee in the Burlesque Hall of Fame, which has called her the Canadian Legend of Burlesque. Photo: Tyler Harper

VIDEO: International stars to perform at Kootenay Burlesque Festival

Forty-four acts hit the stage at the Capitol Theatre on Friday and Saturday

Ms. Judith Stein is returning to where she belongs — the spotlight.

Stein will join 43 other performers this weekend for the first annual Kootenay Burlesque Festival. The event, which runs Friday and Saturday night at the Capitol Theatre, features acts from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and New York City.

Standing among, and above, them will be Stein, a 70-year-old Nelson resident who first started dancing in the early 1970s as a way of making money while attending the University of Oregon. Over 40 years later, she matter-of-factly refers to herself as “internationally renowned.”

She’s not wrong. Stein, who also goes by Mama Beaver (the younger performers refer to her affectionately as Mama), was one of the stars of the documentary League of Exotique Dancers, which opened at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival in 2016. She’s also an inductee in the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, who dubbed her the Canadian Legend of Burlesque.

In burlesque parlance, the word legend is not just a title.

“Usually you’re a headliner if you are a legend,” says Stein. “A headliner is someone who’s basically earned (it). She’s done enough shows, she’s put enough work into it, she’s a top entertainer.”

And here, Stein wryly adds a clarification: “When I use the word entertainer, stripping is not the ballet. It’s a low-brow art.”

Sherry Perry, a.k.a Vesper Valentine, is the festival’s producer and one of its performers. Nelson has held burlesque shows before, but none of this size. Perry said she had 92 applicants for the festival, with several big stars taking on smaller performances just so they could participate.

“Maestro Maestra is out of New York City and he is a professional ballet performer,” says Perry. “He applied just because he wants to come to the Kootenays.”

Related: A lifetime of burlesque

The festival boasts international acts including MisRed Delicious and Foxy Tann, while B.C.’s Sasparilla Foxx and Silk E Gunz are also among the headliners. Perry hopes the level of talent draws interest from people who have never been to a burlesque show before.

“With the burlesque festival, it’s more like going to Vegas and taking in a show. You can expect the full-on showgirls, you can expect the rhinestone costumes, big fabulous boas, feather and silk fans, ballerinas. It’s going to be a sight for the senses.”

For Stein, burlesque is about so much more than putting on and, to the audience’s delight, taking off elaborate costumes.

The well-timed wink, a grin, a suggestive joke, it’s all part of her craft, one she is still happy to practise among performers more than half her age.

“I think probably because I don’t really care about being hot,” says Stein. “I don’t really care about being sexy. I just think being me is good enough, and I like to play. I like to tease. The fact that I’m playing makes people more comfortable.”

Tickets are $31 for the shows, which begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Capitol Theatre. Workshops meanwhile are $20 each or 100 for all six classes. Workshops run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at The Moving Centre, 533A Baker St.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

LeeLee La Belle and Violetta Lunetta. Photo: Tyler Harper

Lola Lane. Photo: Tyler Harper

Vesper Valentine. Photo: Tyler Harper

The first annual Kootenay Burlesque Festival opens Friday at the Capitol Theatre. L-R: LeeLee La Belle, Violetta Lunetta, Ms. Judith Stein, Vesper Valentine and Lola Lane gave the Star a sneak peek ahead of the show. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Elk Valley mines boost overall Teck production

Fording River, Elkview achieve record fourth quarter; Fording, Greenhills have bumper year

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Local DJ to take stage at Fernie Stoke Fest

Jenn Johnson - aka Jenn Frost - confirmed as closing act at Fernie Stoke Fest on April 9

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Kootenay man dies in crash near Sparwood

Accident occurred last night east of Sparwood, RCMP appealing for witnesses

POLL: Are Wildlife Detection Systems in the Elk Valley working?

In 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed two wildlife… Continue reading

Fernie Ghostriders face defeat during away weekend

Fans encouraged to wear white for first playoffs game at Fernie Memorial Arena, February 26

Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read