Big fat meh, Mercury Prize. Bollocks to you, Brit Awards. Take this and party, Turner Prize. The New York Burlesque Festival may well be the most entertaining major arts awards ceremony this year.
“And the winner for Best Blah Blah Blah goes to Whats-Her-Name! Again. Yada yada congratulations yada. The next prize for Staying Sober All The Way Through An Awards Ceremony goes to…”
They don’t all have to be like this. On 26-29 September, the New York Burlesque Festival rolls around for the eleventh time and will play host to scores of international performers including Agent Lynch, Constance Peach, Havana Hurricane, Peggy De Lune and Tabitha Taboo from the UK.
The etymological origins of the artform may be firmly rooted in Europe but the festival’s awards show that Americans are not short on satire or self-deprecating humour themselves. On the final night of the festival, the judges will hand out Golden Pasties to the winners in sixteen different categories. A few of the categories are traditional; the rest, not so much.
- The Hottest Freshman Award for a sizzling new performer
- The Funny Bone(r) for the most comedic performer
- The Performer Most Likely To Get Cast On Orange is the New Black
- The Anthony Weiner Award for the performer most likely to text or tweet nude or lewd pictures of themselves
- The Performer With The Hottest On-Stage Bitch Face
- The Best Nails in Burleque Award for the performer with the cutest claws
- The Biggest On-Stage Showoff
- The Smiles for Miles Award for the performer with the biggest non-stop smile
- The Performer Most Likely To Rock the Walk of Shame
- The Rear of the Year Award for the performer with the derriere to which no other derriere can compare
- The Biggest Bouffant Award for the performer with the highest hair
- The Stage Mom Award for the performer most likely to force their kid into show business
- The Napkin Award for the performer who has been in more laps than a napkin
- The Defibrilator Award for the performer most likely to cause a heart attack on and off stage
- The Grinder Award for the performer with the dirtiest grind
- The Shake Is all over Showgirl Award for the performer with the best all around shake and shimmy
We look forward to the Oliviers or, indeed, the upcoming London Cabaret Awards taking inspiration from some of these quirky categories.
The New York Burlesque Festival takes place 26-29 September.