Showgirl Adventure: Toronto Burlesque Fest 2011 pt.1

Posted by RubyJoule On August - 23 - 20114,085 views

I was incredibly honored to be selected to perform in the 4th annual Toronto International Burlesque Festival and was so excited to make my international debut– but the night before I was to fly to Canada, all I could think was, “I have no pastie tape!”  I tore my place apart and rang up some showgirl friends, all to no avail; and the shops were all closed.  How unprofessional!  How could I let this happen? Could I use eyelash glue instead? Oh dear– I’d have to get past my embarrassment and rely on the kindness (hopefully) of a fellow showgirl backstage.  But I couldn’t think about that now, I’d think about that tomorrow a la Scarlett O’Hara.  I had a plane to catch!

photo by Nathan Black


The first thing I noticed about Toronto was that it was FAB-U-LOUS!  Right off the plane, the banners in the airport proclaimed “GLAMOUR!” and “CULTURE!” (courtesy of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, no less), my two favorite things.  This was my first visit to Canada, so the first thing I bought was a Canada Dry ginger ale, and adopted my new favorite word: “gingembre.”

The official hotel for the Toronto Burlesque Festival is The Gladstone; a quaint Victorian treasure for sure.  It is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Toronto, and boasts a restored (functional!) Victorian elevator and 37 artist-designed boutique rooms.  When I opened the door of suite 308, I knew I’d have to share this experience with you!  The first thing I saw was the periwinkle blue chandelier.

Feeding my chandelier addiction!

Dubbed the “Queen Suite on Queen Street,” the room was designed by Patrick Lightheart, Tim Fressen, and Darcy St. Pierre.  Pale blue, green, and white with lots of mirrors and a mural painted on one wall, it was a glorious spot to land after a long day of travel.  I adored the hardwood floors with their unpredictable slopes, and the ancient creaking wooden staircase that spiraled around the iron filigreed elevator.

Now, a Showgirl (or anyone who hopes to bring happiness and entertainment to others) must be able to quickly restore her own “sparkle.”  She must be able to find her happy place; a general state of grounded bliss.  I found mine after a long day of harried travel with: a quick lipstick and powder touch-up, registering at the performer check-in desk and meeting the fabulous Ava Noir, nibbling some chocolate, sipping “gingembre ale” from a stemmed glass, finding a 1940s costume drama on TV, and digging in to my performer swag bag.

Fionna Flauntit, the Official Sponsorship Director this year with help from Mitzy Cream, did a bang-up job collecting discount cards and tons of little goodies for the bag.  Everything from one-of-a-kind undies to condoms to a survival kit with sewing supplies and a nail file!  Alas… no pastie tape.

The opening night meet and greet teaser show was held at a cool bar down the street called Mitzi’s Sister.  Despite the sweltering tropical heat (seriously? This is Canada???), the line-up of performers was sizzling and the audience was so enthusiastic!  Sure, I’m used to the Texas heat, but we’ve also perfected the engineering of Arctic-blast air conditioning over the years.  In this steamy little club, the ladies and gents on stage kept the glamour and the energy going.  Melody Mangler was there in an adorable 50s style frock with a full circle skirt. She demonstrated its “automatic air conditioning” as she twirled around and her skirt flew up, up, up!  To keep cool, I kept an icy cocktail in my hands at all times, occasionally “accidentaly” spilling it on myself.  It was this night that inspired me to write the previous column, “10 Summer Glamour Tips.”

Melting a bit at the bar. Photo: Victor Rudik


I awoke at 9:00AM sharp to a knock on the door and someone saying, “coffee…”  I dragged myself from the bed and opened the door a crack to find a cute boy holding out a steaming cup of coffee to me; complete with cream and sugar just the way I like it.  I grasped the cup and he whirled off down the hall.  Heaven? Quite possibly!

I had a little time before my tech rehearsal so I decided to explore Queen St. a bit.  It’s an eclectic area full of chic art galleries, cafes and boutiques, with a couple of serene parks sprinkled in.  A cute shop called Nearly Naked Lingerie displayed a larger-than-life painting of Bettie Page by the front door, and carried a delectable array of lingerie and stockings… alas, no pastie tape!

Another shop nearby boasted the best name ever: Champagne and Cupcakes, and offered a rainbow assortment of party frocks and baubles.

It was recommended that I try the signature Canadian dish, “poutine,” so when I came to the cafe called Poutini’s House of Poutine, with another little sign with their slogan, “Om Nom Nom,” I HAD to stop.

I ordered the traditional poutine: a cup filled with french fries, topped with chunks of white squeaky cheese, and drizzled with beef gravy.  Quite tasty in its simplicity, and definitely comfort food…

Please stay tuned for Parte Deux, coming soon!

xoxo, Ruby Joule

photo by Chris Gomez

Ruby Joule is a burlesque performer, go-go dancer, pin-up model and bonne vivante based in Austin, TX. She is a founding member of The Jigglewatts Burlesque and strives to seek out new adventures in Showgirlhood!

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