Monday, June 3, 2013 | 4:17 p.m.
“Never leave early,” emcee Kingfish warned the crowd Sunday night at “Icons and All-Stars,” the star-studded closing event for the 2013 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender.
This was advice well-heeded, as neo-burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese made an unscheduled appearance onstage to present one of the evening’s three “Sassy Lassy” awards to Catherine D’Lish, her best friend and burlesque innovator.
“In 1994, I finally had worked up the courage to compete in Miss Exotic World for the first time,” Von Teese recalled. “But when I found out Catherine D’Lish was competing, I chickened out.”
Von Teese extolled D’Lish as a leader of the neo-burlesque movement of the 1990s who introduced extravagant costumes and props and the use of set pieces that today define the theatrical, over-the-top style of contemporary burlesque performance.
Though Von Teese didn’t perform, she was one of many surprises and spectacles that entertained audiences at the four-day international event at The Orleans devoted to the art of the tease.
Other noted appearances included a performance from D’Lish, bedazzled from head to toe in Swarovski crystals, contemporary icons Dirty Martini and MIchelle L’Amour and 78-year-old “First Lady of Burlesque” April March.
The Weekender’s top talent shined at Saturday night’s Tournament of Tease — now in its 23rd year — a four-hour slate of performances in which performers hailing from as far as Japan and Australia pushed the boundaries of sensuality and athleticism in pursuit of titles including “Best Debut,” “Best Group” and “Miss Exotic World 2013,” the “Miss America” pageant of the burlesque world. Las Vegas’ own Melody Sweets and the cast of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace also made an appearance.
Past title winners showcased their talents in Sunday's "Icons" showcase, which featured one of the weekend's several tributes to Sparkly Devil, the noted burlesque star and Hall of Fame advisory board member who was killed in an automobile accident over Memorial Day Weekend.
Performer Jo "Boobs" Weldon donned twisted, bedazzled red horns and a flame-hued cape worn by Liz Renay to lead a triumphant, Inferno-themed group number in homage to the late star, which featured men and women as her fiery minion; those who attended will likely never view red be-tassled pasties the same way again.
The Weekender, which also included classes, historical seminars and fashion shows, marked the third successful year for the Hall of Fame’s event, the proceeds of which go to benefit the Las Vegas-based nonprofit Burlesque Hall of Fame museum.
True to its namesake, The Orleans gives visitors a year-round Mardi Gras feeling with a New Orleans French Quarter environment.
Located just a short way from the center of gambling on the Strip, The Orleans offers a collection of attractions that helps to draw in a mix of locals and visitors.
In addition to the 1,885 hotel rooms and 134,000-square foot casino, the property has a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie theater, an 850-seat showroom and a 9,500-seat arena, home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The hotel also has 14 dining options, including Canal Street, The Prime Rib Loft, Koji Sushi Bar & China Bistro and Big Al’s Oyster Bar.
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).