Burlesque producer, performer, NOLA ambassador, and healthcare advocate: Trixie Minx
Before the ubiquitous stripper pole, there was burlesque, which in New Orleans went hand in hand with hot jazz in the seedy days of “Storyville.” Burlesque in New Orleans is in a sublime state of resurgence in a way that only NOLA could do: inventive, hilarious, sexy, weird, and wild. This is due much in part to people like Trixie Minx, who is not only a storied performer in her own right, but has become a burlesque producer who has helped usher the art form into the new millennium in her own singular way.
But, like all jobs, “burlesque producer” doesn’t come without its daily stresses and challenges.
“I have probably the most insane business conversations that you will have,” she says, and notes that a typical client meeting might involve everything from negotiating panty colors, clarifying the role of the little people involved in the performance (“on stage, or roaming through the crowd?”), the stilt-walkers’ route, or whether or not the zombie strippers should be actively dripping blood or just artfully spattered with it, Dexter-style. You’re “cooking up a magical meal, but it’s musicians and dancers and costumers and artists, all working together to create this incredible, final product,” says Minx. “We literally make dreams and fantasies a reality on a daily basis. If you can dream it, we can make it happen.”
According to Trixie, “there’s truly nothing like New Orleans, and I love it. I’ve left jobs that pay more, jobs that have more security, jobs that are easier on your body, but with this, I feel more like myself than with any other job. It took becoming Trixie Minx to really let myself free.”
No matter how much movies and TV try to convey the giddy madness of Mardi Gras, the only way to know is to go. But Carnival wouldn’t be Carnival without the people who spend an entire year making it happen, and while some Mardi Gras krewes are super-exclusive, there are always new krewes looking to keep things fresh, spicy, and always over-the-top. Among them is Chewbacchus, a modest party that’s now the biggest alternative krewe in the city. This is thanks to Ryan Ballard, who cut his teeth in Krewe du Vieux and decided that what NOLA really needed was to combine sci-fi/fantasy and Carnival. This is where Time Lords, Jedis, Vulcans, and hobbits have their way with Mardi Gras traditions.
“I lost my house and moved to Colorado after Katrina, then moved back to NOLA seven years ago. I was having drinks with a friend at the Saturn Bar, and joking about the Comic-Con and cosplay community, with all of these amazing costumes that you never see here during Carnival season,” Ballard says. “There seemed to be this unfilled need of nerds who can express themselves through costume, but you never saw it during Mardi Gras. And of course that naturally led us drunkenly to conceive of a Mardi Gras krewe called ‘Chewbaccchus.’”
Ballard calls Chewbacchus a giant conceptual art project and an opportunity to create a big theme for sci-fi and fantasy geeks to, well, geek out. Krewe dues are low, and collaboration is encouraged to create “an idea garden [where] people plant their seeds, and some of them grow and flourish to a couple hundred people strong.”
“I get such a joy to collaborate and facilitate these people’s visions, with their floats and costumes. For me, the best projects I do give people access and opportunity to create with me,” he says. “It’s a huge form of self-expression. For me, that’s always been the best and most beautiful aspect about what I get to do.”