Hurricane Ida Benefit Show Twirls in St. Louis for Friday Night Bash | Art Stories and Interviews | St. Louis | St. Louis News and Events

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BARB MCLEAN / COURTESY OF LOLA VAN ELLA

Lola Van Ella left her mark on St. Louis burlesque — now she hopes the city can come to the aid of hurricane-devastated New Orleans.

Before moving to New Orleans in 2018, you could hardly swing a pom pom around St. Louis without bumping into burlesque maven Lola Van Ella. But late last month, with Hurricane Ida slamming into the Big Easy, Van Ella piled her pets, partner and belongings into her car and headed north.

“We knew we had to get the hell out of here,” she said in an interview. “There really was no question of staying or leaving. We knew we had to go, and we were really lucky and privileged to be able to leave.”

Indeed, while Van Ella has spent the past week or so at her childhood home with her parents in St. Louis, her fellow performers still in New Orleans have suffered without air conditioning due to citywide blackouts. , as well as a largely non-functional sewer. system – not to mention, of course, the closure of venues and the city’s burlesque scene.

But in St. Louis, where Van Ella spent years performing and teaching burlesque, the stage opened its arms to storm-tossed refugees. Next Friday, Van Ella herself will host what she promises will be a “massive all-night show” – all proceeds will go to New Orleans artists and direct aid groups who provide essential support to townspeople recovering.

The idea of ​​a telethon-style benefit show, dubbed the “Big Easy Tease-a-thon,” went from concept to reality in days.

“This community is so badass, it came together really quickly,” says Val Ella. “A bunch of people have volunteered to be a part of it, either to perform or to work backstage or to do pre-show stuff. It’s becoming a pretty huge event, which is pretty exciting.”

The one-night event will open at 7 p.m. at Soulard’s crazy art gallery (2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230). Then, after an aperitif and a raffle, the show itself begins at 8 p.m.

“These days, when everything is terrible and there are so many upsetting things, it’s so easy to forget what binds us,” notes Van Ella. “That’s what this show is really like: people rallying together and lifting everyone up. And it’s really heart-warming to be back in St. Louis and see that happen.”

The Big Easy Tease-a-thon begins Friday at 8 p.m. at the Mad Art Gallery located at 2727 South 12th Street in St. Louis. Tickets start at $25, with VIP seats available at $40. For ticketing information, visit the show’s Eventbrite page. For updates on programming and streaming options, keep an eye on the event page of the show on Facebook.


Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at
@D_Towski. Email the author at [email protected]

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