Tag Archives: festival

Montreal / Kahnawake woman crowned Queen of Burlesque!

1st Indigenous woman and 1st Canadian to win the title

Lauren Jiles ( known on stage as Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière) has been performing burlesque for more than a decade, but her latest win as the 2018 New Orleans Queen of Burlesque is extra special, as she is the 1st Indigenous woman and the 1st Canadian to win the title.

Jiles is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake and is well-known in Montreal’s burlesque community. When she started her career 13 years ago, she was one of only a handful of Indigenous performers across Canada.

The international festival, which is in its 10th year, is known for crowning the top classic striptease dancer. Jiles was crowned on September 22nd, 2018 at New Orleans’ Civic Theatre.

Rick Delaup, founder and producer of the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, said Jiles had an edge over other contestants.

“All seven of the contestants are really established burlesque performers who are very skilled at what they do,” he said. “But when you have them all at one showcase where only one of them wins the title, you have to stand out among the others. She had everything in that performance. She had a really stunning costume. It was more original and it was just really noticeable.”

Watch her award-winning performance for yourself!

New 2017 Queen of Burlesque crowned

Raquel Reed from New York City wins the title of “Queen of Burlesque” at the 9th Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival, held in late September 2017.

Watch her award-winning performance for yourself!

Montreal’s Divers/Cité Festival On Edge Of Bankruptcy

Divers/Cité

Founded in 1994, Divers/Cité was responsible for the organization of the popular “Divers/Cité Festival”, a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transvestite pride.

As of March 3rd, 2015, it sought protection from creditors, thus ending all it’s activities. According to documents from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, total debt amounted to nearly $ 214,500. A third of the debt consists of salaries ($ 71,500) while the rest is divided between 23 other creditors.

Usually held in the Village, the festival was moved to the Old Port of Montreal in the summer of 2012, a blow by Suzanne Girard, co-founder and CEO of the organization.

“Since we were on the dock of the Old Port, we ate all our financial reserves”, she had said in the” Fugues magazine. “The fact that it is a free outdoor event, it was never profitable.”

For an in-depth article:

The Day Divers/Cité Died

Annual PowWow Trip

PowWow

It’s been a very hectic two weeks… I had to prepare and pack for another trip to the Maritimes — and with a non-functioning air conditioner in the main living area of the house, it was extremely muggy and exhausting.

I left around 4 am Wednesday morning (July 13th), and at least that meant that it was marginally cool driving, since the air conditioner in the car was on the fritz again. The dealer had refilled it with coolant and added a tagger to trace the leak, and sure enough, it had started leaking again — so no more A/C on the drive down. Starting around the New Brunswick border, it rained off an on for the rest of the drive to Miramichi. Luckily, I had replaced my wipers while I stopped in Edmunston, as during the drive through the desolate Plaster Rock park, it rained extremely heavily. There is almost no shoulder on that back road, and very few places safe enough to pull over, so it was actually safer to keep on driving, albeit a very slow 50-70 km. The rain was so loud pouring down that I had to have the sound system blaring just to hear the music over the rain hitting the car’s exterior!

I arrived in Miramichi around 8pm Thursday the 14th, and dropped into my Aunt and Uncle’s place to see if anyone was home. No one there. Ok, off to the powwow grounds to find a good spot and at least set up my screen tent. Figures, it rains again while I am trying to put it up, but some very friendly neighbours helped me to get it up quite quickly. I also added the side tarps, to protect the interior from rain, so the ground wouldn’t be soaked the next day and I could put down my ground sheet. Finished up just as the last of the daylight was going and drove over to my relatives and spent the night recuperating from the long drive.

Next day I slept in a bit and ran some errands; such as going to the bank to make sure I had enough bills for change and picked up a Subway sandwich to eat later, as well as some Tim Horton’s French Vanilla, tea biscuits for a quick breakfast, as well as a half dozen muffins, also for later.

I must admit that Miramichi is one of my favorite powwows, because it is big enough to draw a good variety of people but not so huge as to become a major commercial style event. The organizers do a very good job and the grounds themselves, located beside the Miramichi river, are beautiful. They are also one of the few powwows left that do not charge either the vendors or the attendees, which certainly helps both in terms of variety of goods on display, as well as the growing number of visitors. I understand that this year drew about 3,000 people, practically twice as big as last year.

I didn’t get to see as much of the activities up close as I did last year, as there was more crowd between my tent and the dance circle. I also rarely had relatives drop by to spell me for bathroom breaks; my Aunt dropped by for an hour on Sunday so that I could actually take some photos of the dancers and their regalia — otherwise I pretty well would have missed the best of it. Did meet a hoop dancer from Maniwaki who turned out to be the niece of one of our very old family friends; pretty cool how small a world it is sometimes!

Saturday night had a fireworks show, quite tiny compared to the annual International Fireworks Competition we have in Montreal, but it is located much closer to the spectators, so comparitively speaking it seems quite large and impressive. Was quite fun to watch as I haven’t seen that many fireworks this year…

The entire weekend was extremely hot and muggy; at one point, my travel clock that features a temperature sensor, measured a high of 38.5 degrees Celcius in the shade of my tent. Outside in the sun, it measured 50 degrees Celcius or 120 degrees Farenheit. I even took a digital pic of the temperature reading, because I was sure that nobody would believe me later… So many people commented on how cool my tent was compared to outside, so the shade was definitely a bonus for attracting and keeping potential clients to look and shop for my charm bracelets that much longer…

I didn’t do quite as well as last year (about $100 less), but there were so many more vendors than last year that the visitor’s spending money was probably spread that much thinner as a result. Still, a good part of it will go towards the repair costs for the car’s A/C unit, as well as other expenses. It was also very nice to spend some time with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, and my Mom took the train from NS to join us, so I drove her back and I am currently spending some time here in Nova Scotia.

~ Mistress Jade Dragon