Burlesque (bur·lesk.) - a humorous and provocative stage show featuring slapstick humor, comic skits, bawdy songs, striptease acts, and a scantily clad chorus.
Cosplay ('käz·pla/) - the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially Japanese manga and anime.
Cosplay Burlesque ('käz·pla/ bur·lesk.) - a performance spectacle featuring comedians and ecdysiasts dressed as popular characters bringing striptease and silliness to conventions up and down the East Coast!
Cosplay Burlesque was founded in early 2008 by Holly Ween (then Victoria Belmont). Holly felt that conventions had let their 'adult' offerings fall to the wayside as they worked to become more 'family friendly'. "I remember seeing Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue at the first anime convention I attended. It was R-rated; you had to have ID to get in." says Holly. "Since then many cons have reoriented their programming to attract younger attendees, which is all well and good, but they haven't done much for the older crowd. I was hoping to add something new and different to the lineup."
Cosplaying for years, Holly saw the connection between the pageantry of cosplaying and the spectacle that is burlesque. She contacted Anime NEXT, a convention she had been staffing at for years prior, and asked them to take a chance on her pet project. Once the finer details had been hashed out, she collected a motley crew of performers, offered them a stage and a badge, and Cosplay Burlesque was born!
Over the last 7 years, Cosplay Burlesque has performed over 35 shows at more than 15 different conventions to ever growing crowds. They've expanded their offering to include Drag acts, musical numbers, sideshow, and comedy skits, but their first love is burlesque.
Please click the question to expand the answer.
I want to perform! How can I join? ▼
First, we need to see what you've got! Please film the act you would like us to consider and send us
a file or link! It doesn't have to be professional quality - a laptop or cell phone works fine!
We go through these videos when we need to fill holes in our cast. Please be patient! We have a very large rotating cast (25+ performers), so our shows fill up quickly. This is not meant to discourage you, only to explain that you may not be contacted until we need someone, often for smaller cons.
Things to note:
- Prior to performing, you will need to provide proof that you are over the age of 18 as well as sign a performance contract.
- We are a cosplay troupe. Your acts will need to represent a recognizable character related to the genre show we are doing. We realize that not everyone is a master cosplayer, but we do expect you to be recognizable and stay in character for the duration of the act.
- Our shows are rated 'R'. We only strip to pasties and a g-string (some venues might request bikini).
- Acts do not have to be striptease. We would love to see slapstick, comedy, sideshow, magic, music, etc.
- Any images or video we take of your act are property of Cosplay Burlesque and can be posted by Cosplay Burlesque. You will receive copies of them to do with as you please.
- Your initial performances are a trial period. If we like what we see and believe you are a good fit, we'll ask if you'd like to join as a cast member. Cast members are required to perform at multiple shows a year with new acts periodically.
Why do you have a no camera policy? CPB posts stuff up after shows. ▼
This is for your safety as well as ours. On our side, it allows us to control what gets posted to the public. Some of our dancers love to perform, but do not want to be identified by family or employers that might give them a hard time about it.
As an audience member, you would need a signed performer release to post any images or videos that you took. Most attendees are not aware of this and do not realize that they can be sued for content that the performers don't want released. Also, to post anything of an adult nature you will need to have proof of age in hand for all performers. CPB will not cover for you if you post without our permission and are contacted by the authorities.
How much do your performers get paid? You asked for donations at [insert show here]. ▼
Our performers are not paid for performing. We are compensated with badges and a few other guest perks by the cons themselves. Any money we make via donations or selling merch is to cover our personal costs - costumes, travel, food, etc.
I have an act suggestion. Will you use it? ▼
Send it to us! We can't guarantee we'll use it but it can't hurt to ask. Please don't be hurt if we say we can't use it - most of our acts come from our personal favorites and its hard to do a good job with an act that you can't get behind.
How can I contact an individual performer? ▼
Most performers have an Facebook page (linked on the Cast
page). You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
and the email will be forwarded to the cast member.
How can I book Cosplay Burlesque? ▼
Please see our booking
page for all pertaining info.
I'd like to see you perform at [insert show here]. How can I make that happen? ▼
Contact that event and let them know you'd like to see us. We're happy to expand our show list.
I have costumes that I don't use any more. Can I donate them to your group? ▼
We'd love them! It's sometimes hard for us to get the money/time for a new costume every show so donations like this are a big help!