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Inside San Antonio's Burlesque Festival: Two Artists on a "Date" Find a Unique Creativity Creator - PaperCity Magazine
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Arts / Museums

Inside San Antonio’s Burlesque Festival

Two Artists on a “Date” Find a Unique Creativity Creator

BY Heyd Fontenot // 10.22.17
photography Images courtesy the author.

Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a series from filmmaker Heyd Fontenot on what it’s like to be an artist in residence. Read part one here.

When I return home from participating in artist’s residency programs (I’ve been on several over the last 15 years or so), curious friends will often ask, “How did working in a different environment affect your art??” They’re referring to a change in habitat, I think, usually when the residency happened to exist in the mountains or on the ocean or in a foreign country, all of which stoke a picturesque fantasy.

My method for working is fairly established — so I go to these residencies prepared. I’ve got my photo references, art materials, and a pretty good idea of what I’ll be hammering away at. But that is not to say that I haven’t changed directions or been influenced by new surroundings. There’s great potential for new developments especially when working alongside new artistic peers.

I happen to have the good fortune of being curated into San Antonio’s Artpace during the same period as New York-based Martha WilsonShe and I happen to share many interests, but we really bond over anything vaguely taboo.

This last weekend she and I had a delightful time at San Antonio’s very own Burlesque Festival. (We were asked not to take photos during performances, so I can only hint at the visual magic with one image from the end of the night …  sorry.)

Martha and I both regularly engage nudity in our artwork, so burlesque was a perfect date for the two of us. 

Holiday Gifting

  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Cotton Club
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Cotton Club
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Wayne Smith
  • Wayne Smith
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Asher Gallery
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Not that artful moments aren’t possible at your garden-variety strip club, but burlesque is such a different animal. Among my favorites were those that evoked the golden age of burlesque, using vintage music and costumes.

It was a sensorial feast — but the spirit of the performers was the most potent element in all of this: dancers of all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors could hardly contain their joy.

Honestly, at times it felt like a spiritual revival. I’m so grateful to have witnessed it. So back to our studios we went, with visions of burlesque and the ringing echoes of that joy.  

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