The BHoF Finishing School presents classes with burlesque Living Legends from the mid-twentieth century. Classes are held during the Burlesque Hall of Fame Exotic World Weekend in Las Vegas, and focus on lifestyle, skills, and history. These classes are a fantastic and opportunity to receive information passed on directly from one of our most fragile resources: the performers of yesteryear.
Started in 2008, the Finishing School presents classes with Living Legends from the classic age of burlesque. Each year, several Legends teach a variety of small, intimate classes on subjects of their choosing. Past years have included topics such as “Dancing with Panel Skirts,” “Burlesque Costuming,” and “Vintage Bump & Grind Moves.” To give ample opportunity for the Legends to teach, we change instructors and classes yearly, and endeavor not to repeat instructors for at least five years. Both the number of instructors and students are limited to ensure a good balance of full classes and personal attention. Any Legend receiving BHoF support to attend the Weekender is prohibited from offering classes outside of the Finishing School during that Weekender.
In curating, we attempt to present classes with the Legends with the most extensive histories in burlesque. The Finishing School is curated by Jo “Boobs: Weldon and Miss Indigo Blue, who serve as co-Directors of Education for the Burlesque Hall of Fame, and co-Curators of BurlyCon. Indigo and Jo evaluate prospective instructors, administer contracts, manage finances, assist with curriculum and class materials, and provide on-site assistants for the instructors. For 2014, we are proud to have BurlyCon alums/committee members Peekaboo Pointe, Darlinda Just Darlinda, and Lola Love as administrative assistants for this program.
Class fees range from $10-165, with the majority of the income going directly to the instructor. Finances have been administered by Indigo, Jo, and BurlyCon. For the first three years, profits went directly to the Legends. For the next two years, BurlyCon managed the finances, including ticketing costs, taxes, administrative costs, and a donation to the Burlesque Hall of Fame. For the last two years, BHoF has been responsible for the finances, including ticketing costs, administration, and taxes. In 2016, BurlyCon once again has taken the reigns and will be administering the ticketing and Legend classes.
In 2012, the Finishing School increased the number of Finishing School courses. We wished to offer more opportunities for contemporary performers to learn from these amazing instructors. We also changed policy to allow repeat instructors. We were grateful that we had the opportunity to have Joan Arline teach a second time, as she passed away not long after her second year of teaching. We are honored and grateful to have hosted the late Tura Satana, Candy “Baby” Carmello, and Joan Arline as instructors at the Finishing School.
Burlesque Legends will inspire you! They may also challenge you, thrill you, or even shock you, but they will never bore you. Come with an open-mind for perspectives you may not have expected to encounter, as well as for raw, unfiltered history you simply cannot get anywhere else.
2008: Marinka, Wild Cherry, Tura Satana
2009: Big Fannie Annie, Toni Elling, Dee Milo
2010: Satan’s Angel, Candy “Baby” Carmello, Joan Arline
2011: Big Fannie Annie, April March, Marinka, Joan Arline, Tiffany Carter
2012: Jean Idelle, Ellion Ness, Bambi Jones, Camille 2000, Val Valentine
2013: Delilah Jones, Camille 2000, Tiffany Carter, Judith Stein, Gina BonBon, Toni Elling
2014: Gypsy Louise, Holiday O’Hara, Judith Stein, Tai Ping, Toni Elling
2015: Gabriella Maze, Bic Carrol, Lottie the Body, Rita Alexander, Val Valentine
2016: Ellion Ness, Trina Parks, Dee Milo, Kim Gaye, Suzette Fontaine
2017: Marinka, Viva La Fever, Val Valentine, Penny Starr Sr.