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. 

SHOP

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  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North

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.  

Connecting the inspired with the extraordinary

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