First Timers to the Ohio Burlesque Festival

The 8th annual Ohio Burlesque Festival took place August 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the Beachland Ballroom. Black Girl in the CLE was proud to be media sponsors of the event and were excited to attend.

Both Zoe and Brittany stopped by the festival, and for both bloggers it was thier first time attending a burlesque show. Here's what they thought about thier first experience.


by Zoe Brown

I was thrilled to be in the audience for the opening night of the 8th Annual Ohio Burlesque Festival on August 2. I thought I knew what sexy was, but I realized I had no clue after witnessing beautiful people of all races, shapes, and sizes do their thing on stage. I eagerly cheered with the crowd as I watched for the first time several performers combine dance, comedy, theatrics, and striptease in a fun and classy way.

 Photo courtesy of Ohio Burlesque Festival | Taken by  Dapper Fella Photos  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Burlesque Festival | Taken by Dapper Fella Photos 

Amber Lust, by way of Panama and Cali, did a number of high energy salsa, prancing and flirting her way around the stage. Badass Ginna Toxic of Denver made her OBF debut with a provocative chair dance using her amazing gymnast skills. Raven Allure’s channeled her inner John Travolta/Frankenstein during her Stayin Alive performance. And I won’t ever forget the sexy taco costume complete with taco pasties worn by Lucy May of San Diego as she flaunted her way around the stage.

Watching them all come out of their elaborate costumes was so entertaining because I know how goofy I am. Nobody fumbled with their outfits. They were all so coordinated and stayed on beat with their music, flirted with the audience, all while still performing! That’s what I call confidence!


What a professional production! Kudos to Bella Sin, for her vision to showcase amazing WOC, POC, BIPOC, QPOC, LGBTQIA, immigrants, and performers with disabilities right here in Cleveland.

 Photo courtesy of  Ohio Burlesque Festival  | Taken by  Dapper Fella Photos  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Burlesque Festival | Taken by Dapper Fella Photos 


by Brittany Thompson

I attended the Ohio Burlesque festival at Beachland Ballroom on Friday Night. It happened to be
my first burlesque show and I had no idea what to expect. When my mother had asked what I was doing on Friday, I told her I was going to a burlesque show. She asked, “what is that.” I could only describe it as “classy stripping” because that is what I thought it was.

 Photo courtesy of  Ohio Burlesque Festival  | Taken by  Dapper Fella Photos  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Burlesque Festival | Taken by Dapper Fella Photos 

Burlesque is much more than that and my offhanded description didn’t give it any justice. Friday was the second night of the festival and the headliners were Bella Sin from Cleveland, and Nox Falls from Amarillo, Texas. The featured performer was Ms. B La Rose. I experienced over 20 acts on Friday.

The show was around three hours with a short ten-minute intermission. I thought the show ran a bit long but I still enjoyed the experience. I was surprised to find that there is a boylesque scene within the burlesque world. Two men performed on Friday.

 Photo courtesy of  Ohio Burlesque Festival  | Taken by  Dapper Fella Photos  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Burlesque Festival | Taken by Dapper Fella Photos 

Describing the event at classy stripping doesn’t begin to do this art form justice. There is a level
of empowerment in burlesque that I’ve never experienced in a strip club (I’ve been to a strip club once in Vegas – it was alarming and sad in my opinion). The women on stage were being supported by an audience (mostly) filled with women. We were cheering, clapping and screaming as these women danced and gyrated to pop hits such as “Dick in a Box”, performed by Mone’t Ha-Sidi, and portrayed mainstream media characters, Sucre a la Crème gave a rousing performance as a CSI detective.

 Photo courtesy of  Ohio Burlesque Festival  | Taken by  Dapper Fella Photos  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Burlesque Festival | Taken by Dapper Fella Photos 

I loved that the women were all different shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. Everyone cheered for everyone. I spent the evening cheering, laughing and celebrating women. This was my first show but won’t be my last.


Thanks to Bella and the team at the Ohio Burlesque Festival for providing us tickets to see the show and give away to our readers!