Busting With Pride Is a Raunchy, One-Night Only, Variety Show by Blue Dime Cabaret | Westword

Busting With Pride Is a Raunchy, One-Night-Only Variety Show by Blue Dime Cabaret

Drag, comedians, aerialists, burlesque dancers and more converge for this must-see celebration of Pride!
Blue Dime Cabaret showcases all kinds of performers, such as Nadya, a burlesque performer known as "The Sorceress of Cirquelesque."
Blue Dime Cabaret showcases all kinds of performers, such as Nadya, a burlesque performer known as "The Sorceress of Cirquelesque." Lizzie Snaps Photography
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If you're looking for a Pride celebration where you can truly let your freak flag fly, then mark your calendar for Blue Dime Cabaret's one-night-only performance of Busting With Pride on Friday, June 9, at DV8 Distillery in Boulder.

For those unfamiliar with the troupe's outrageous variety shows, Blue Dime specializes in staging avant-garde productions with risqué acts and bawdy characters. In celebration of Pride this month, Blue Dime is putting on a cheery sideshow that aims to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community's colorful history through wildly entertaining variety acts.

"Busting With Pride is mostly drag and burlesque performers, because we figured that's very Prideful," says Jenn Zuko, aka Valkyrie Rose, Blue Dime's casting director and co-producer. "And then we have a lot of other exciting acts, like a comedian, a singer, a belly dancer and an aerial artist, all performing live at DV8, which is going to be so much fun."

Its diverse, eccentric roster of artists is one of Blue Dime's defining organizational traits. Since Blue Dime was established in 2018, its goal has remained the same: to create a friendly, safe space where performers and audience members can both enjoy an evening of raunchy entertainment.

"One of the things that Bella Fire [the group's regular emcee] likes to say when she's announcing the show is that this is a place where you can be inappropriate," says Brandy LeMae, aka Velvet Bee, Blue Dime's production manager and co-producer. "You can catcall, yell and whistle at people's butts, and it's all okay. We give everyone permission to do that at the top of the show, so that's kind of a nice release. In addition to the entertainment, you get to do something that you wouldn't normally get to do if you're being a kind, respectful human."
click to enlarge two women on stage
Blue Dime Cabaret's two co-producers, Valkyrie Rose (Jenn Zuko, left) and Velvet Bee (Brandy LeMae), perform together in their outrageous variety show.
Courtesy of Anthony Earl
Following the breakup of a previous burlesque troupe in which LeMae and Zuko performed, they were inspired to start their own.

"We both began performing burlesque at Boulder Burlesque, but first crossed paths while appearing for Bronze Fox Burlesque," Zuko says. "Sadly, Bronze Fox Burlesque imploded and closed down, and we had left Boulder Burlesque for various reasons. We were both bereft of burlesque, so when Brandy approaches me about starting our own group, I was like, ‘Heck, yeah!' We started in 2018, and our first big breakthrough was at the Boulder International Fringe Festival that year. We were performing fairly regularly, then took a brief hiatus during the plague, but returned as soon as it was safe to meet in person again."

Blue Dime's name comes from "blue envelopes" in vaudeville, which were filed on performers who were particularly objectionable; "dime museums," which were collections of sensational curiosities that were exhibited for a low fee; and the colloquial expression of "a dime piece," which is used to describe incredibly attractive people.

"We have always tried to emphasize that we're not just burlesque; Blue Dime shows really have more of a variety show vibe," Zuko notes. "I'm in charge of the casting, and I basically cast each show from scratch, with the caveat that we have a lot of regulars that like to come back and perform with us multiple times, but there is no central troupe or home cast."

Because of its constantly evolving network of artists, Blue Dime has been able to improve its performances and keep audiences engaged over the years. "I think one of the most exciting changes that Jenn helped implement, because she knows a lot of people, is that we have really expanded the types of performers who are featured in the show," LeMae says. "We've started bringing in spoken-word artists, comics, magicians and a variety of other creative types from various artistic circles."

"I've been in the live-theater business around here for about 25 years and in burlesque since about 2016," Zuko adds. "When we started the group, I just kind of put my feelers out with not only my burlesque network, which is pretty similar to Brandy’s, but with my theatrical network as well. From that group of people, I always try to get the oddest, strangest, wackiest, zaniest, quirkiest and most provocative acts possible."

And that's made Blue Dime's experimental variety shows gain a following all around the Denver metro area.
click to enlarge a drag queen in a blonde wig and fur coat
Blass Femme's performance in Blue Dime Cabaret.
Courtesy of Anthony Earl
"When we started out, Blue Dime was kind of a small, grassroots pop-up group in Boulder," Zuko says. "It was grungy in the best of ways, kind of a vaudeville sort of thing, but now we've gotten much bigger. We've had lots of different people in the very robust Denver drag and burlesque world audition for us; our casts have gotten bigger, and I realized we've actually gotten a reputation. When I first reached out to DV8 Distillery, they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, we've heard of you.’ Which made us realize we’re not this tiny little bohemian group anymore; we're one of the more established groups now, so I have been getting used to that myself."

Busting With Pride is Blue Dime's third performance at DV8 Distillery. The group performed its April and May shows, Spring Fling and Talk Nerdy to Me, in the venue, too, and will be performing Geeksville there on August 11.

"It's been so much fun performing at DV8, and even though it's only our second show there, we've been so welcomed by that group," Zuko says. "DV8 is a delightful, queer space, and their products are just incredible."

The distillery is creating specialty drinks named after elements of Busting With Pride, such as the Dirty Max in honor of the troupe's sound guy, a non-alcoholic option called Bella Fire (for the emcee, who doesn't drink) and another titled Blue Dime Coin.

"DV8 is the only gay bar in Boulder, and they're the only queer-owned distillery in Colorado, so they are very much about Pride," Zuko says. "They are very big about creating a queer safe space, which is so important these days. Pride was the ideal theme for a June show, and thus Busting With Pride was born. The show has ten acts, is tons of fun and will be a really happy party with wonderfully diverse performers."

Busting With Pride, 7 p.m. Friday, June 9, DV8 Distillery, 2480 49th Street, Suite E, Boulder. Find tickets and more information at dimepieces.wixsite.com/bluedime.
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