By Willow Grier
CALGARY — Valentine’s Day can mean a lot of different things to people. For some, it’s the holiday of affection: a time to celebrate lovers and shower them with gifts and treats. For some, it’s an unwelcome reminder of being single. For The Garter Girls, it’s a chance to celebrate a year of think-outside-the-box burlesque performances and invite the best-of-the-best to share their stage for two nights of pure revelry.
The Garter Girls have been bringing a vast array of performers to the stage for 10 years. This variability will be highlighted in the two pre-Valentine’s Day shows at The Engineered Air Theatre in Calgary. Performers will include a stripper veteran and former Miss Nude Canada multi-award winner, a professional ballerina, last years Burlesque Hall of Fame “Most Dazzling” award winner, and perhaps most exciting of all: the former King of Boylesque, Mr. Gorgeous.
So what has brought this varied group of artists and performers together? Garter Girl Lily Bo Pique tells of her experience: “As an actor I’m always auditioning for stuff. Someone else is in charge and I’m always asking questions, and asking permission to be an artist. With burlesque absolutely no one can tell me how I should be.”
“What the neo-burlesque movement has been about is open sexuality, acceptance, body positivity, and sex positivity,” describes troupe-mate Raven Virginia. “In the burlesque industry, I’m not at the whim of someone else. I get to design things and dictate and create my own movement.”
Bo Pique recalls being inspired by frustrations of how she was being perceived in the acting world when she designed her first storybook-character-gone-ballistic routine. This is an approach she shares with special guest, Mr. Gorgeous. “We don’t just choose someone for their looks. That’s never how this works,” Raven Virginia continues. “He too has taken the image people have of him, which is of a Clarke Kent/Superman type with amazing chiseled features. And flips that on its head and changes everybody’s perception of him by doing weird shit. It’s a new, very funny and odd style that is absolutely perfect for us as a troupe. We always bring our best, brightest and newest acts to the Valentine’s Day shows.”
While Valentine’s Day can mean any number of things, the Garter Girls have curated a spectacular lineup to unite crowds for one common theme: to praise diversity, and most of all, to praise booty.
Catch The Garter Girls February 12th and 13th at The Engineered Air Theatre, Arts Commons, Calgary, for their Valentine’s Day Specials.AB, Alberta, Arts Commons, burlesque, neo-burlesque, The Garter Girls