The 15th Annual NY Burlesque Festival Is Here And We Have 2 Free Tickets For You!

by Shannon Smith
Raquel Reed

Are you ready?!

The NY Burlesque Fest will be celebrating 15 years of glitter and glamour in Gotham from September 21-24, and we have two free tickets to give away! Share/comment on this link, and you will be entered into our random drawing for free passes.

portia control orig
Portia Control

This annual festival has been showcasing sold-out performances by big-name acts since 2003, with Potani Productions and Thirsty Girl Productions combining their burlesque expertise to create an unforgettable event. Potani Productions is run by Angie Pontani, a burlesque legend known for her performances alongside Lady Gaga and Snoop Dog whereas Thirsty Girl Productions is run by Jen Gapay, who was voted the #1 most influential nonperforming woman in burlesque two years in a row.


To get the scoop on the upcoming feast, we interviewed Gapay. And as to be expected, her answers were very revealing… 

What inspired you to enter the world of burlesque?

When I lived in Seattle in the late ’90s, I produced this lesbian party called Soiree De Femme and there was this dance troupe that I used to book that was mostly made up of strippers from the Lusty Lady. They would do these sexy cat numbers, and I didn’t know it at the time, but this was definitely burlesque and I was definitely into it! Then in 2000, I moved to N.Y.C. and I started going to The Slipper Room and discovered that burlesque was an actual thing that was happening and I loved it! So I started booking more burlesque performers for parties and live music shows and then it just seemed like there should be a New York Burlesque Festival, so I contacted Angie Pontani to see if she’d be interested in starting a festival with me. She said yes, and the rest is HERstory!


I see that you were voted the #1 most influential non-performing woman in burlesque in 2013 and 2014.  What about burlesque made you want to become so involved?

Live music and the circus were an inspiration to me when I was growing up, and finding a new genre as an adult that could put a big grin on my face or even bring me to tears was inspiring. I like to work with people and art forms that both inspire and exhilarate me.

This Burlesque Festival is the 15th one you’ve hosted. What changes have you seen over the years, in both performances and guests?

This year, we had more “boylesque” performers apply to the festival then we’ve ever have had in the past, so the boylesque scene is definitely growing. Also, there are a lot more variety acts than there used to be (acrobats, aerialists, singers, hula hoopers etc.), which is helping keep the scene interesting and fresh.

Burlesque can be an intimidating form of art for those who haven’t explored it much. What advice do you have for newcomers? Is it an experience that is just as empowering for the audience as it is for the performers?

Burlesque is known for accepting all body shapes and sizes and it’s incredibly empowering for both the performers and the audience. Newcomers should come with an open mind and open heart.

N.Y.C. burlesque is a culture within itself, thriving in the city notorious for never sleeping. But some of the fest’s performers are coming from other cities and countries: San Diego, Switzerland, France, South Carolina, and Nashville.  What can we expect from these visiting acts? Will this diversity be reflected in their performances?

Yes, there is always a lot of diversity when you bring in performers from all over the world, and we have an amazing line-up for year 15 with five shows in four days that will feature over 100 performers—Don’t miss it!

This 4-day festival has numerous experiences, and we’ve listed them all below for you:


Thursday: September 21st:

Brooklyn based Bell House will be holding the Teaser Party, where host World Famous *BOB* will show you how to shake into over 20 performances, featuring performers like Stache Novak and Jezebel Express. This opening event will have various vendors, so after the shows awake your curiosity, don’t hesitate to shop through businesses like Beauty Butler and Booty & the Geek!

boo bess and jenny cest quoi orig

Boo Bess and Jenny C’est Quoi

Friday: September 22nd:

Roll on into Brooklyn Bowl, for NYC-based Albert Cadabra and Shelly Watson will be hosting The Premiere Party! Come bump n’ grind to jams from Jane Lee Hooker and DJ Fresh Prince of Darkness as San Diego-based Sassy Stiletto, NYC-based The Painted Ladies, Shelly Watson, Switzerland-based Silly Thanh, and many more take the stage to bring you over 25 performances! Brooklyn Bowl has a delicious menu available to fill your desires, and vendors will be ready to fulfill all your shopping wishes!

peekaboo pointe orig
Peekaboo Pointe

Saturday, September 23rd:

Saunter on into BB Kings on Saturday, for Murray Hill will be hosting The Saturday Spectacular, and Brian Newman, an international musical sensation, will be providing a special cameo for just this night to accentuate the heart-stopping performances from international burlesque stars: Bella Blue from NOLA, NYC-based Maine Attraction, Dirty Martini, Mara DeNude coming from France, and countless more, so step out in your Saturday best: there’s a dance after-party in the adjacent Lucille’s Bar!

Kitten n’ Lou

Sunday, September 24th:

Shimmy into the Meatpacking District Sunday afternoon: from 2-6pm. The Tippler will be holding The Burlesque Bazaar, Legend Panel, and Showcase, where you can browse vendors, watch a burlesque showcase, and partake in a question-and-answer panel with South Carolina-based Burlesque legend Gabriella Maze.

After 6, make sure you have your tickets out as you prepare for the final “twirl of the tassels” for Scotty the Blue Bunny, from Berlin, will be hosting the sultry Golden Pasties Awards featuring over a dozen performers such as NYC-based Mr. Gorgeous, The House of Noire, Nashville-based Evelyn Vinyl, and more. These performers won’t be close to being pasties: attendees will participate in an awards ceremony: performers will tassel among themselves to see who is most worthy of infamous titles such as “Most Likely to Ride a Broomstick,” “The Rear of the Year,” and “Most likely to Get Blocked By Trump on Twitter!”

The House of Noire


4-DAY VIP Passes includes several perks such as access to all events, exclusive merchandise discounts, prime seating, and much more! Purchase tickets at

If it’s a busy weekend for you, don’t worry, it’s no tassel: individual tickets are also available, and can be found on each vendor’s personal websites listed below.

zyra lee vanity orig
Zyra Lee Vanity
For a complete lineup and information visit:

stormy leather orig
Stormy Leather


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