Anime Matsuri Returns to Houston and It's Bigger Than Ever

Photo courtesy of Anime Matsuri Convention
Anime Matsuri features one of the biggest Lolita fashion shows in the United States.
Anime Maturi, the convention that anime fans of all ages love, returns from Friday April 3 through Sunday, April 5. It's now in its ninth year and there are several new features for 2015. The show has grown so large it will take up all of the first floor of the George R. Brown convention center and two-thirds of the third floor.

Deneice Leigh, who co-founded Anime Matsuri along with her husband, John, is excited about the additions. "This year, we have so many exciting new things for the convention!" she says. "For one, we've lined up one of the biggest Japanese names in rock music, Anna Tsuchiya, who will be our headliner for the live concert on Saturday. There are also several artists, voice actors and actresses from studio TRIGGER, one of the biggest Japanese animation studios."

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Houston Woman Bares All in Stripper Memoir

Categories: Books, Burlesque

photos by Marco Torres
Stacey Keith at her book launch at Avant Garden
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that in a room full of suits, the naked chick holds all the cards."

Ever wonder what it would be like to walk in to the Men's Club and take your clothes off for an audition? Read the first eight pages of Stacey Keith's memoir Stripped Down: A Naked Memoir and you'll know.

The book details three years of Keith's life, from 19 to 22, from the time she gave up on trying to fit in in the office world and straight jobs to a torrid stretch that would see her chest in virtually every men's magazine of the day, working the stripper circuit as a "feature" act, and eventually coming into the orbs of some of porn's biggest and scuzziest names.

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Just a Tease: 10 Photos of Dita Von Teese to Prepare You for Strip Strip Hooray [Slightly NSFW]

Categories: Burlesque

Photo by Kaylin Idora
Let us cut to the chase: you care not about the words on this page. I know this. You know this. I could share with you the epic tale of a web editor at an alt-weekly who wanted nothing more than the best burlesque slideshow for you, dear reader, to view and how that quest didn't go as hope.

It is, if i do say so myself, a boring, self-indulgent mess a great story.

But you are not here for a great story, you are here for photos, and photos we have. Dita Von Teese's Strip Strip Hooray hits Houston this Friday and Saturday night, featuring 90 minutes of amazing burlesque, including four of Von Teese's most impressive performances. It will be an evening to remember at the House of Blues. We present these photos to help whet your appetite for the show to come.

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UPDATED: What's the Status of Burlesque in Houston? sNSFW

Categories: Burlesque

Francisco Montes
Dem Damn Dames:Theatrical neo-burlesque. Tifa Tiddlywinks Tittlywinks describes her troupe as "children of the low arts. We like it raw and homemade, and everything is 100 percent original."

Check out our slide show of the burlesque festival.

In November 2010, my colleague Pete Vonder Haar asked the question "Why Doesn't Houston Have a Burlesque Troupe?"

Three-plus years later, the burlesque scene in Houston is booming, and boasts at least five unique troupes plus a handful of solo artists, according to Tifa Tittlywinks, member of one of Houston's oldest troupes, Dem Damn Dames.

At the time of Vonder Haar's story, the Dames were actually in the process of forming. Tittlywinks, who grew up in Indiana and moved to Houston for work in 2008, had been a student of dance her whole life. It was here that she met Tricia Licious, who asked her if she wanted to help start a burlesque troupe in Houston.

"We didn't audition girls or anything. We just asked people, 'Hey, do you want to dance?'"

The Dames performed their first show in fall 2010.

Since then, the Dames' line-up has changed. Licious and another founding member, Kiki Maroon, now mainly perform solo, and Tittlywinks is the Mistress of the fairly small troupe. Tiddlywinks said that organic growth is part of what makes Houston's scene special.

"We were a bit rocky and rough around the edges," she said. "But I didn't have to be cast, I didn't have to rub shoulders. I got to be me. The beauty of that is it's pretty much how any solid scene starts."

That's not to say the current Houston burlesque scene isn't without its divisions.

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sNSFW PICS: SuicideGirls Brings Modern Burlesque to House of Blues

Categories: Burlesque

If you find the Burlesque revival a little too quaint, the Blackheart Burlesque Tour might be just for you. The production, put on by early-Internet alt-softcore-porn site SuicideGirls will take place November 2 at House of Blues and promises to offer tease-tastic performances with a decidedly modern twist, according to SuicideGirls founder Missy Suicide.

The tour marks a return to the stage after a six-year hiatus, Suicide (whose real name is Selena Mooney) says. This iteration features choreography by Manwe Sauls-Addison, who has worked with Beyonce, JLo and Lady Gaga, and Steampunk-y costumes designed by Junker. Suicide also said the dancers have more than 50 years collective dance experience.

"We did a tour like this from 2003 to 2006 that was a much smaller scale," she said. "We were kind of the only group doing modern burlesque at the time. But we also had other things going on, so we went on haitus. In the time in between, burlesque got a lot more mainstream, even with artists like Lady Gaga on tour. We knew if we were going to go on tour again we'd have to up our game."

Suicide said the Blackheart tour is different from the traditional burlesque currently enjoying a revival.

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You Too Can Look and Smell Like Dita von Teese -- But Only if You Live in Europe

Categories: Burlesque, Fashion

Photo by Groovehouse
Think of the magic, the mystery, you will possess!
Dita von Teese is an arresting beauty, known as much for her dedication to the "bombshell pin-up" look and brief marriage to rocker Marilyn Manson as for her actual career as a burlesque dancer. If you attended her Strip, Strip, Hooray! show at the House of Blues last year you know that von Teese's beauty is not the product of an artful airbrushing--it's possible she is even more breathtakingly gorgeous in person.

Following the success of her perfume launch with Liberty London Gifts, von Teese has launched a new line of makeup with ArtDeco. The Dita von Teese Classics collection promises to deliver Dita's timeless, classic look with her signature "seduction, elegance, and a touch of mystery."

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Ruby Revue Burlesque Ticket Giveaway (w/ sNSFW VIDEO)

Categories: Burlesque

Video by Heather Alexander

It's no secret we love the ladies (and gents) of Ruby Revue Burlesque. That's why we sent videographer Heather Alexander to their show at House of Blues this past weekend, where she talked to fellow fans and interviewed Missy Lisa, founder of the Dallas-based troupe. Peep the semi-NSFW video above. (Note: It involves pasties and G-strings, but no total nudity.)

If you didn't happen to make it to the May show, don't fret. Ruby Revue is coming back to town in June, and we want to give you tickets.

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Slideshow: Stripping Through the Ages (NSFW)

Mark Britain
Dallas' Ruby Revue burlesque group returned to the the House of Blues Tuesday night. The curvy ladies jiggled and swung their pasties in spirals to the theme of vintage burlesque. (No blood or alien-bursting nipples this go-round--their last visit's theme was horror.)

If Houston crowds are turning out this well for a Dallas group, why don't we have one of our own?

See our (NSFW) slideshow of last night's performance.

Slideshow: Ruby Revue Burly-Q at House of Blues (NSFW)

Mark Britain

The curvy ladies of Ruby Revue Burlesque performed in the Foundation Room at The House of Blues last night. As the photos attest, the theme was horror. One girl is covered with a black robe and holding a naked baby doll. What happens when the robe comes off isn't very sexy. But later there's a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. So ... little creepy, little gory, little sexy. And you gotta love the names: Minnie Tonka, Anita Cookie, Clams Casino.

They're swingin' pasties in our slideshow. (Remember - not safe for work.)