London Burlesque Festival producer Chaz Royal’s plans to launch his own London Boylesque Festival this year hit the buffers when he received a cease and desist letter from a lawyer representing Patriaque. Royal reacted in typically bullish form with a publicity campaign across his many Facebook pages and starting up his own petition under his real name Mark Henderson.
Patriaque responded with an open letter to the burlesque community, calling the trademark move “merely a way for me to protect my festival, which I have worked so hard on and I consider my baby.” He also commented that “what I don’t really understand is that one would go public and even viral, thus creating a shit storm with a problem right away, rather than confronting the person directly.”
If Patriaque intended his peace offering to quell the “shit storm”, he may need to think again. Royal stepped up his campaign the next day, sending a fresh message to all on the LBF mailing list to sign up to his petition. He also reproduced on the petition the letter he received from Patriaque’s lawyers.
Until now, it has been a battle of words. Yesterday marked a new and worrying turn of events when a performer was turned away after applying to Royal’s London Boylesque Festival.
Gonzalo De Laverga – who has a routine which rather brilliantly uses Tom Lehrer’s Masochism Tango as a backing track – had already applied to appear at the Viennese event. Royal rejected the Italian’s application on the grounds of exclusivity – something clearly not mentioned when he advertised for dancers on Facebook eight days ago. As far as Royal is concerned, anyone taking part in his rival’s event is not welcome to appear at his own. This is what he told De Laverga:
“Sorry but we won’t be booking anyone who is performing at the Vienna Boylesque Fest. It’s a hard decision but a direct conflict of interest for us, as they are STILL holding the Boylesque Trademark and trying to enforce it with their lawyer.
“…There is no war from me. It’s just bad business that someone wants to own boylesque and try to target LBF specifically and lie to the scene about it. It’s not personal. I just like to keep my events exclusive to people who support us when there’s bigger issues at hand. Sorry”
In a nutshell, it seems that after decrying long and hard his rival’s anti-competitive practices, the UK producer has instigated his own. Quite who the winner will be in this tussle of the tassels is unclear but we’re betting it wont be the performers or the paying audiences.