Flirtatious, dramatic, eccentric, colorful. These words, and more, can all be used to describe both the city of New Orleans and the art of burlesque. Burlesque as we know it today, came to the United States in the late 1800s from Great Britain, but burlesque – unsurprisingly – has been a part of the Big Easy for decades.
Miami native and classically trained ballerina Trixie Minx made New Orleans her home in the early 2000s and has been at the forefront of the burlesque scene in New Orleans since. She spends her time advocating for the art and putting its artists and performers in the spotlight with her production company Trixie Minx Productions.
Over the COVID-19 pandemic Minx had to find other ways to reach her fans that would normally be in her audience at various bars and clubs around the city. Minx created a talk show right from her bathroom and dreamed up the various ways burlesque would come back as things returned to normal. In this month’s Persona, Trixie Minx shares her passion for burlesque and what fans can expect next from Minx and her cast of colorful characters.
Q: How did you get into the burlesque scene in New Orleans? I had been in New Orleans since 2001. And in that time, I was dancing with an ethnic folk dance company. I was still taking ballet classes. I was very involved in like the dance community. But I kept meeting these people who said, “you should do burlesque.”
And I saw a show. And I thought, “this is great, but this is definitely not me. No, no, I would never take my top off.” My background is in orchestra music and rehearsals in professional studios, everything I saw was fun, but I thought it just wasn’t for me. But all these people who really knew me kept saying that I had to try.
I auditioned for a show, got the part and still hadn’t performed before Hurricane Katrina hit. It was sort of this like major moment in time where it was like, what is important? What matters? And being away from New Orleans and having that time to reassess and stop. It really made me think, nothing in life is guaranteed. I have three people I trust very much that keep telling me to give this a shot. And why not? I have nothing to lose. Besides, if I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it. But, and I tell this to everybody, because this is the truth, the moment my foot hit the stage and I felt the light it was like a fish to water and this, being Trixie performing burlesque, is the most me I’ve ever felt in my life.
Q: What’s your favorite part about the work that you do and your job? Interaction with the audience, 100 percent. That’s something that became incredibly apparent during COVID-19. The joy of burlesque, and part of the reason why it is such a special, ephemeral experience, is that no two shows are ever alike…even when the music or the choreography is set to the number, and the audience. It’s their interaction because there’s clapping and cheer and that’s what inspires the rate at which the performer disrobes. It really is an energy that’s very tangible, but hard to describe, like, you can feel it and it’s joy and happiness and all the all the good vibes. We love what we do, but we love doing it because of the audience.
We did a few shows during COVID-19 that were virtual, and it was a big challenge. When you’re performing for a camera, there’s no reaction or interaction. And it’s hard to read what’s hitting or what’s not versus a live show. I feel like it’s the same thing with music too. Like, obviously a record is great, but live? It’s like, oh, man, this feels awesome. So, right. I think that’s my favorite part. Well, that’s my favorite part about performing. My favorite part about the work in general, as a producer, is collaborating and creating those two, because I have this awesome team I get to work with. And so, it’s not just me, but it’s a bunch of people. And getting to create stuff that is so much bigger than just me is really the best part.
Q: How did you pivoted your creative energy during quarantine? I’ve had these things I’ve always wanted to pursue and just there wasn’t time, with shows and just general life, and so now I had a chance. I had always wanted to do a talk show from my bathtub. I thought it would be really nice. I bought my house a long time ago, but it has this giant bathtub. And I was like, why can’t I host a show in? It’s great. When I first started, it was nightly, but then I had to do it weekly, and it has since sort of dipped off. It started off as something I posted on Facebook Live, but then I was realizing that – this is again the difference between virtual and in person – a 30 minute to an hour show in person is very entertaining, but online it’s different. So, I taught myself video editing skills and I was able to not only have that talk show, but I also started doing little comedy skits, mini shows and mini performances. It gave me something to focus on that was positive.
Q: What shows are you and your performers doing now? All the shows I got rocking and rolling right now are all through Trixie Minx Productions. We have three, which is great. One of them is one we’ve been running for over a dozen years. We’re so happy to be back. And that’s Burlesque Ballroom every Friday at Royal Sonesta. It’s a much earlier show now at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. And that show is inspired by traditional classic 1960s Bourbon Street burlesque shows. You have the live jazz band, but with the dancers with gowns and gloves. We put a contemporary twist on it. So, we create it more like an interactive environment. The dancers perform throughout the room, rather than on a formal stage, which gives you that sort of speakeasy vibe.
And then the other show is a new one called Sultry Sundays and it’s a taste of burlesque. It is at 6 p.m., so another early time, but this show is basically a burlesque variety show. Every performer I bring on is the best of the best at whatever they do. One week, we had an opera singer that was a drag king. We always have a burlesque feature, and we often have circus performers. So, it’s a little bit more, you get burlesque with a taste of everything else. I also have the longest running show I have starting back up again, Fleur de Tease, at Tipitina’s. All the shows aren’t set yet, but we had one in June and did a Christmas in July show. It’s been fun to get everyone back together from that cast.
Favorite place to perform? That’s an unfair question.
Favorite happy hour spot? Any place with cheese.
Favorite restaurant? Jacques-Imo’s