On Saturday, June 24th, The Top Hat will host local burlesque and drag troupe, The Cigarette Girls. LogJam was lucky enough to talk with long-time members Stella Pearl and Belle Rees about their tribute performance to 2016. In short, fans can expect glitter, their favorite songs, and their favorite characters inspired by artists lost in the last year.
The show originally began as a David Bowie tribute, because the star’s death hit some troupe members, including Belle, hard. When Bowie choreography began to flow, Prince died. The dancers incorporated the passing of the pop-royalty, only to be confronted with more death.
From Alan Rickman, to Leonard Cohen; from Carrie Fisher, to Vanity 6: sources of inspiration continued to pass. For performance artists, a tribute is the most obvious move. Dawning costumes with absurd amounts of rhinestones, the performance won’t be lacking any luster.
Fun Fact: Belle Reese reported a shocking 6000 rhinestones went into her costume for this show
The tribute has been performed in Billings, but The Top Hat show represents its debut in the dancers’ hometown. Truly veterans in Missoula’s art scene, the troupe has collaborated with The Lil’ Smokies, The Cold Hard Cash Show, and MASC Artisans (Rocky Horror Picture Show).
This is their first time collaborating with The Misfortune Tellers, whose lead singer, Chelsi Soleil, danced with The Cigarette Girls in the past. From 6 to 16, the group continues to grow—creating empowering performance art on the way.