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Snake Oil Festival Hits The Howlin Wolf in New Orleans


Are you looking for salvation?  Are you a sinner?  I have just the place for you to partake in some titillating temptation.  Then, Carny Preacher Armitage Shanks will baptize you and wash it all away in the Mississippi River.  The first annual Snake Oil Festival comes to New Orleans the weekend of June 19-21 and features three days of workshops and performances that showcases a mix of sideshow, burlesque, and circus arts.

The Howlin' Wolf, located at 907 South Peters Street, will welcome internationally recognized burlesque and sideshow performers.  Headlining the festival is New Orleans' own Bella Blue who was most recently named #16 of "Burlesque's Top 50" by 21st Century Burlesque magazine. Another headliner includes sideshow authority James Taylor, founder of Shocked and Amazed!, the world's only periodical on contemporary and historical sideshow and co-founder of Baltimore's American Dime Museum and Washington DC's Palace of WondersAsheville's Madame Onca, who is not only a tribal bellydance veteran but a founder/producer of Asheville's Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival, is also featured. "Carny preacher" Armitage Shanks, internationally recognized burlesque emcee and co-founder of Seattle's neo-cirque collective Circus Contraption, takes the wheel to steer the festival to Hoochie Coochie Babylon.

Each day will be dedicated to celebrating some aspect of the traveling shows of old, including medicine shows, sideshow, burlesque and an "unholy roller" revival.  The Snake Oil Festival is the brainchild of a New Orleans based producing triad.  Burlesque emcee/comedian Ben Wisdom recently appeared in the third season of the FX series American Horror Story, produces New Orleans' troupe Slow Burn Burlesque, and can be seen regularly as the emcee for Bella Blue's Dirty Dime Peepshow and Burlypicks New Orleans. Wisdom's co-producers include burlesque performers/producers Little Luna and Ginger Licious.  Little Luna is the co-founder of Gilded Lily Burlesque in Baltimore and co-producer of the Unholy Roller Revival in New Orleans.  Ginger Licious is a circus impresario/performer and half of the burlesque/acrobatic act, The Acromantics.  She is also the founder and producer of Cirque d' Licious based in New Orleans.

        Harkening back to the days of the traveling snake oil salesman, this triad is using alchemy to create some liquid gold that weekend in New Orleans that you are not going to want to miss.   Little Luna said: "Snake Oil is seen as something fraudulent, but its origins are in real Chinese and native medicines, and we wanted to reclaim it as a symbol of a powerful antidote. Many people are seeking out new ways to connect and be creatively inspired, seeing and being involved in live entertainment is a great way to do this. We hope to bring people together from all walks of performing life to engage and expand their artistic horizons."

Classes and workshops being taught include: a tarot workshop with Madame Onca, a burlesque development class from Bella Blue, "Jetsetter's Survival Skills Workshop"  from Armitage Shanks, a sideshow workshop from Washington DC's Mab Just Mab, and a lecture from James Taylor entitled "How I Spent My Carny Vacation" that covers his two decades of sideshow reporting.

More information including ticket prices, additional performers, and schedule of appearances and workshops with locations can be found at www.snakeoilfestival.com.

Tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night shows are available at the door or can also be purchased online at www.snakeoilfestival.com and at www.brownpapertickets.com.

This Article was published in the Burlesque Bitch Ezine on Jun 09, 2015.
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