Did you know that Houston is fast becoming the biggest draw for burlesque and circus acts in the country?
Credit can be given to Houston’s very own international award-winning burlesque performer, radio personality, and festival producer – KiKi Maroon.
Maroon brings the third annual Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival (BCBC Festival) back to Warehouse Live, April 22.
“I’ve spent the past six years performing around the world, finding artists, and bringing them back to Houston,” Maroon said. “It’s given this city a reputation for curating the finest shows, featuring the most eclectic performers.”
This year’s BCBC Festival broke records with hundreds of applications coming in from seven countries, 26 U.S. states, and seven Canadian provinces, all vying for the chance to strut their stuff in Houston.
I was surprised to learn of Maroon’s burlesque side of life. Until I learned she favors the comedic side of burlesque, her clown act is hysterical.
Embarrassingly, I’ve only caught one performance by Maroon, but I know her off the “stage,” and she has a magnetic personality. You just want to know her, always smiling and in good spirits. I had to share with you, her amazing success in a world most of us don’t hear about often.
Do you have a troupe?
“I actually don’t have a troupe,” she said. “I am a producer who reaches out to individual performers and books variety shows based on different themes. It’s a little harder since I don’t have a steady group of performers but it also means that I get to work with so many people. Being a performer also helps a lot because I get booked for shows all over the world, find performers I think would work for the Houston audience, then bring them down! I love it.”
How did you get started doing these shows?
“I was originally a costume designer,” Maroon said. “I worked freelance for several theaters and productions, including Cirque du Soleil and The Alley. Millinery was my specialty which led to several commissions from burlesque performers in Austin. Their costumes were so detailed and opulent! It was love at first sight. I booked a couple of performers to come to Houston for a small fashion show and the response was huge. Houston didn’t have much of a burlesque scene at the time so I started filling the void. I produced shows every six months, then every three, then every other. Now, I have a monthly burlesque variety show at Warehouse Live (KiKi Maroon’s Burly Q Lounge) and The BCBC Festival.”
How many different acts will there be?
“The BCBC Festival has 21 acts, featuring over 40 artists from around the world!”
Do you rehearse and where?
“I rehearse at home every day,” she said. “I also teach burlesque classes at Euphoric Woman Studios which also has a rehearsal space.”
What’s your favorite part about burlesque and what would surprise people who have never been?
“The comedy! While I love producing shows, standup comedy is my passion. I bring a lot of that into every show that I host. It also means that I love comedic burlesque. A lot of people don’t think that a woman stripping can be funny, but some of my favorite performers have a Bette Midler feel. They’re strong, funny, sexy women who know how to put on a good show!”
Tickets are available now at Warehouselive.com or BCBCfestival.com starting at $20. Those high rollers wanting the best seats in the house, gift bags, and access to the performer and VIP only after party can pick up a VIP package for $75.
Maroon brings it. Find her at kikimaroon.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the new Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com