The burlesque bug first bit Louisville native Holly Harvest about nine years ago when, as a flow arts performer and fire dancer, she was hired to participate in a show with a burlesque leaning.
The risqué dance form catered to her rebellious side — it was a way she could express herself without abiding by strict rules and regulations.
“It comes from people wanting to do something outside of social norm, to shed the masks we put on during the day and just indulge in a different avenue of being human,” she tells Insider. “It is a way to make fun of ourselves.”
Harvest is putting on the inaugural Bourbontown Burlesque show on Friday, and she’s gathered 16 performers from cities near and far for the new troupe. Hosted by Buster Fireel (aka Insider freelancer Eli Keel), the event will showcase a variety of burlesque acts including singing, contortion, aerials, comedy, drag and strip tease. It all goes down at the Tim Faulkner Gallery at 8 p.m.
Harvest says she’s been traveling the last few years to check out the dance scenes in other cities, and she believes Louisville is lacking classic burlesque.
“Our burlesque scene is very small compared to what I have recently witnessed in Indianapolis, St. Louis and Nashville,” she says. “The performers I am bringing into town have something that is not already here — and I want Louisville to see it.”
She says all 16 performers and five kittens (“sexy little helpers who keep the show going”) are excited to be involved, and those who come out will see performers of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.
Most of all, she hopes people can unwind and leave their troubles at the door — one of the main goals of all entertainment.
“Burlesque is a great way to express class and sexuality in a very fluid form,” says Harvest. “I think burlesque is drawing an audience because we as performers are showcasing ourselves and who we are in a very extravagant way, with no apologies. I think people find that refreshing and inspiring.”
Bourbontown Burlesque will be held Friday, April 21, at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. Doors open 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door for those 21 and over.
Before she prepares to take the stage, Harvest answered some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
To become the next Sue Johanson (sex educator and author)
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
Hermey, the elf dentist
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
Xena, the Warrior Princess
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Pepperoni, banana peppers and pineapple … Yea, I said it. Everyone hates on pineapple on pizza as if it is blasphemous. I wonder why anyone would want to limit themselves.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
The older I get, the more fun I have. I think it would be great to fast-forward for a week to an age where I truly do not care what anyone thinks anymore. I’d like to be 90 years old and run around the city causing trouble. Especially if I could get away with it because I remind everyone of their granny.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
Neil deGrasse Tyson. I am terrified of elevators. I think his soothing voice and non-judgmental teaching methods would provide a conversation that would distract my fears.