Courtesy virginia burlesque and sideshow festival
Washington-based Mab Just Mab will be among the performers.
Burlesque, says Madame Onça O’Leary, “has evolved in the last 15 years to be a distinctly empowerment-based art.” The executive producer of the third annual Virginia Burlesque & Sideshow Festival continues, “It’s about uplifting performers as to what they feel is beautiful, as opposed to what the mainstream is saying they are supposed to be.”
Special guests include author James Taylor, “the world’s foremost authority on sideshow,” and award-winning “pole art” performer Danielle Romano. “The work that she does tends to be really athletic and an emotional experience,” O’Leary says. “Not something that you’re going to catch on your average Saturday.”
New this year is the Last Pasties Standing comedy improv show on Friday, in which performers volunteer to show off their expertise to a randomly chosen song, which could be anything from Duran Duran to the B-52s. A portion of raffle proceeds benefit the nonprofit Safe Harbor Shelter, providing comprehensive services for survivors of domestic violence. Ticket prices range from $15 to $35. (828) 232-2980 or virginiaburlesque.com.