NOLA Nerdlesque Festival is celebrating five years of tearing it up in venues across the Big Easy. Here’s the rundown on where we’ve been.
Founded by Persé Fanny and Vincent Gallant in 2015 as part of a larger New Orleans arts and culture festival, the first NOLA Nerdlesque Fest took place from November 18th through 22nd. 2015 included performances by several local troupes, The Bluestockings, Reverend Spooky LeStrange and Her Billion Dollar Babydolls, and Four Suits Entertainment. We also featured 3 themed reviews curated and co-produced by Remy Dee, May Hemmer, and Honey Tangerine. Headlining the festival were the Hysteria Machines from Atlanta presenting Sexpelliarmus, their acclaimed Harry Potter burlesque. Shows took place right on Frenchmen Street at Bamboula’s Frenchmen Theatre.
2016 moved us a little further afield with three nights of shows at the Valiant Theatre and Lounge in Arabi, Louisiana - ten minutes down the road from the French Quarter. The 2016 festival included three themed shows over November 18, 19, and 20, and saw the start of some of our favorite traditions including Sunday brunch and a private tour for performers. Stella Chuu, The Anime Queen of Burlesque, headlined with two incredible acts, and each show included a featured local star.
In 2017 we hit the big time with a move to the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. Boasting a larger stage and increased technical capabilities, the CAC was a beautiful place to perform. Four shows took place over two nights, November 17th and 18th, and the weekend included our first complimentary workshops for performers. Dangrrr Doll, The Twisted Beauty, headlined with acts as Monty Python’s White Rabbit and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The lead up to 2018 brought us to a secluded French Quarter rooftop for Burlesque Under the Stars, a show and benefit for the 2018 season. Our long time team member, May Hemmer, moved away to less swampy pastures and the incredible Sable Switch joined our team to take her place. The 2018 Festival was split between two very different and very amazing venues: Contemporary Arts Center and The Allways Lounge. Four capacity shows took place over two nights, November 16th and 17th. In addition to boasting our largest audiences, 2018 also had the largest number of performers including several group acts from across the country. Our performer cemetery tours were so popular that we had two full groups take to St. Louis Cemetery #1!
Click below to see photos of the festival in action!