Sixteen performers competed in the 2017 Arizona Burlypicks Regional Competition, a burlesque faceoff featuring a variety of performances such as singing and lip-synching, on April 15 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. in The Screening Room.
Mr. Exotic World 2015, Matt Finish, is credited with bringing Burlypicks to Arizona.
Finish hosted Saturday’s Burlypicks event, where performers competed for 10 awards between various categories. All awards except two were chosen by judges. Winners will have the chance to represent Arizona in their category at the World Championship in Denver August 25-26.
Cherry Charming and Desire d’Amour competed for “Master of Amazement.” D’Amour, while performing her routine, lit the end of her tassels on fire and continued her performance.
A handful of the performers competed for the title of “Master of Improv.” The Master of Improv performances, however, were different than the rest of the show. The catch of these performances was that Finish chose the songs, based on the time periods selected by the four competitors for the title, and the performers had approximately two-and-a-half minutes to woo the audience and judges.
Nikki Riot, a local performer, chose the 1950s. The song chosen was none other than Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue.”
Second up in the run for “Master of Improv,” was Charming, who chose 2010. Finish chose PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” and Charming embraced the themed song and threw in some of the actual dance moves that had once been so popular.
Mone’t Ha-Sidi, from Sacramento, California, also competed for “Master of Improv” and chose the 1990s.
The last performance for “Master of Improv” was Primrose Path, who also performed to a 1950s song, “Mr. Sandman.”
Ha-Sidi and Path tied for “Master of Improv.”
“Master of Tassels” was a mini competition between Maxi Millions, Miss Brawling Beauty and d’ Amour. This competition was determined by audience applause.
The performers had 90 seconds to impress the crowd, who would then select a winner. The music started, the women tasseled their hearts out and the crowd went wild.
The winner of “Master of Tassels” was d’Amour.
Another mini competition judged by the audience was “Master of Assels.” This short competition also included tassels, but instead of their normal location over the nipple, the tassels were placed on the butt. Riot and Ms. Lavender Bitters competed for “Master of Assels,” and Bitters won.
There was more to come for the evening. Finish introduced “Master of Singing,” contender Jake von Karnas as “the voice of Tucson.” The crowd soaked up Karnas’s voice as he sang “Be Prepared” from “The Lion King” soundtrack. The “Master of Singing” title later went to Ivana Schtupp.
The competition also featured several “Master of Comedy” acts, including performers Irma Gerd, Alan Wrench, Taryn Garters and Stormy Leigh.
Leigh started performing burlesque in 2006 in Tucson. Leigh said she always had an interest and that she took ballet but found it very limited.
“I was petrified,” Leigh said about how she felt about her first performance. “I didn’t have the self-confidence.”
Charming shared a similar recollection of how she felt during her first performance, saying she was “kind of nervous.”
“I performed in high school in marching band, so I was kind of used to it,” Charming said. “I was nervous because I did a solo my first time and there was a bigger adrenaline rush, but it was a lot of fun.”
When asked how she became interested in burlesque, Charming said she went to a show in Flagstaff, Arizona. This was a show that featured Finish and Fanny Galore.
As the competition came to an end, the three judges tallied up the points to declare the winners. During this time, there was a solo by Galore. One of the three Burlypicks judges was Mia PiaCherrie, a member and founder of BurlEscapades.
“I was thrilled to be a judge,” PiaCherrie said. “It was really hard, but it was so much fun.”
For more Burlypicks information, visit http://www.burlesquebitch.com/burlypicks.php.
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