Tigger!, "ageless"; godfather of boylesque; Lower East Side
"I spent years assuming this would happen in, like, a week. It seemed so obvious! I went to a major festival some years ago thinking there would be others like me, and there the men were doing the same thing men have been doing for ages—hosting the women with lewd jokes and counting the money. Fifteen years ago, I was actively doing [boylesque] as a feminist action, and I think its important to walk the same walk as the women. It's wonderful to see something bigger than myself. I feel like the last couple of years were a real tipping point—boylesque is here and it ain’t going away! Yes, I’ve been waiting for this for years."
Albert Cadabra, 42; professional entertainer; Ridgewood, Queens
"If burlesque were a sitcom, [boylesque] would be the Maude to its All in the Family. A festival like this, you’d think it’d have happened eight or ten years ago. I could try to talk about how important it is—but for me personally—a guy who does all the festivals and the corporate gigs, and then some—it's about celebrating sensual men in the way burlesque celebrates women. Women love it and men love it. Just like burlesque."
Paco Fish, 30; retired; Baltimore, MD
"I think its about time, and I don’t think anyone but [Thirsty Girl’s] Jen [Gapay] could have put it together so well, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. It’s going to give men something more specific to work toward, and be a really powerful motivator. It sets a bar of quality for men, which creates an environment where we’ll have to explore a lot more; it will push us to find new territory."
Karl Beck, 31; registered nurse; Bushwick, Brooklyn; left
Andy Kuncl, 36; performance artist; Bushwick, Brooklyn; right
“I’ve seen boyslesque before, but never in New York, and never anything this scale. It’s always been women in burlesque, and to have a festival of just men means that it’s its own art form.”
“This is my first time seeing boylesque. With male performers, it can often manifest as drag, but this is different. And nudity is awesome!”
Chris Bell, 29; awards-show producer; Fort Greene, Brooklyn; left
Sean Taylor, 26; Apple Store employee; Greenpoint, Brooklyn; middle
Ben Riley, 34,; consultant; Crown Heights, Brooklyn; right
Bell: "It's my first time seeing boylesque. I fell in love with burlesque but have never actually seen dudes do it! I’m excited to see how it manifests for males."
Riley: "I’m hoping it’s comical and that there are some good looking guys."
Taylor: "I want to see if men can be sexy doing burlesque."
Bell: "Sexy and funny! That’s what makes good burlesque, if they’re clever. I want to see men make it their own."
When: Friday, April 27 The scene: The festival’s opening night at Tammany Hall The Lower East Side’s Tammany Hall hosted the kickoff night of the first-ever New York Boylesque Festival, produced by Thirsty Girl Productions and Daniel Nardicio. The World Famous *BOB*, who served as hostess, announced that we were “participating in history,” while the performers themselves were abuzz with the night’s significance, both as a validation of their hard work and the need for innovation in the scene. Through it all, boylesque star Tigger! glowed warmly as he watched the stage from the green room balcony, keeping an eye on his “godchildren.