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New Orleans Burlesque Festival 

The New Orleans Burlesque Festival is an international event, drawing local dancers and those from troupes across the country and as far away as London and Australia. Many dancers come for particular showcases, such as the popular Bad Girls of Burlesque showcase (11 p.m. Friday, House of Blues), and some aim for the Queen of Burlesque competition (8 p.m. Saturday, Harrah's Theater), for which dancers must work with a live jazz band. Two of the festival's five showcases feature the classic burlesque style of dancing to live music. Dancers include 2011 Queen of Burlesque winner Ginger Valentine, 2010 winner Coco Lectric (pictured), 2009 winner Perle Noire, dancer and actress Stephanie Blake, Ms. Redd from Las Vegas, Lola Van Ellen, Banbury Cross from London, Medianoche from Spain and many others. Special performers and guests at the 2012 event include New Orleans' own Kitty West, who performed as Evangeline the Oyster Girl in the 1940s and '50s, as well as the male and female winners at Las Vegas' Burlesque Hall of Fame competition. There are daytime workshops and seminars on various burlesque topics; new this year is a mixer with the festival's featured dancers (8 p.m.-midnight Wednesday, Loa at the International House Hotel). Visit www.neworleansburlesquefest.com for details. — Will Coviello

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