Cosplay (ˈkäzˌplā/) – the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
Cosplay Burlesque (ˈkäzˌplā/ bur·lesk.) – a performance spectacle featuring comedians and ecdysiasts dressed as popular characters bringing striptease and silliness to conventions up and down the East Coast.
Cosplay Burlesque was founded in early 2008 by Victoria Belmont/Holly Ween. Victoria felt that conventions had let their ‘adult’ offerings fall to the wayside as they worked to become more ‘family friendly’. “I remember seeing Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue at the first anime convention I attended. It was R-rated; you had to have ID to get in.” says Belmont. “Since then many cons have reoriented their programming to attract younger attendees, which is all well and good, but they haven’t done much for the older crowd. I was hoping to add something new and different to the lineup.”
Cosplaying for years, Belmont saw the connection between the pageantry of cosplaying and the spectacle that is burlesque. She contacted Anime NEXT, a convention she had been staffing at for years prior, and asked them to take a chance on her pet project. Once the finer details had been hashed out, she collected a motley crew of performers, offered them a stage and a badge, and Cosplay Burlesque was born!
Over the last 7 years, Cosplay Burlesque has performed over 35 shows at more than 15 different conventions to ever growing crowds. They’ve expanded their offering to include Drag acts, musical numbers, and comedy skits, but their first love is burlesque.