A Letter From Scratch & Team BurlExpo:

Hello beautiful friends!

Yesterday was a truly magical day in Massachusetts.  Yesterday was the first day since June 2020 on which no one died of COVID-19.  I know that parts of the world – and even parts of this country – are still very much in the grips of this terrible pandemic, but yesterday's news story made me feel something I hadn't felt in a long time: hope.  

Since March 2020, it's been one step forward and two steps back.  The road towards the BurlExpo was full of fits and starts, at times sputtering out to a near stop.  We moved the dates and watched the news.  We moved forward, continuing to work on the BurlExpo because to do otherwise would have been to give up all hope entirely, and none of us were ready to do that.  Personally, I wasn't sure that we were ever going to have any sort of gathering or live theatre ever again, but I tried to keep those dark thoughts under control.  

Now, reports seem to indicate that (most) things will be back to (nearly) normal by late summer, at least in this part of the world.  We're cautiously delighted (if such a thing is possible).  We are looking forward to you all coming and creating the spectacle of our shows, finding treasures at our vendors, sharing and gaining knowledge in our classes, and walking the halls of The American Burlesque Collection, our Little Museum That Could.  We want you to come and see Salem with us, with all its history, its quirky little shops, its genteel sidestreets, and its tourist kitsch.  

This past year has been harder on some of us than others.  We know some of you have lost your jobs, health, or loved ones.  Even those without overt tragedy have been effected by the strain brought about by COVID-19.  You are all stronger than you realize, and we are hoping you can come and celebrate that strength with us.  

I'm pleased to say that we are re-opening Act Applications from now until June 15 with the intention of getting notifcations to all applicants by July 1.  If you have already applied and have already been accepted, you do not need to re-apply.  Your stage manager will be in touch in early July.  Application fees are Pay-What-You-Can with a minimum of $5.00.  We ask those of you who are able to pay more to please do so.  We ask those of you for whom the application fee is a hardship to please contact us.  We have a limited number of sponsored applications.  If you are not a performer but would like to sponsor application fees or attendance, please let us know.

Similarly, Vendor Applications will be re-opening soon.  We will let you know when, but it may be as soon as the end of the week.  In 2019, the plan for The Great Burlesque Exposition was to have the vendor exhibit in a separate building which is no longer avaiable to us.  We have a good-sized vendor hall in the same building in which the shows, classes, and the American Burlesque Collection are located, but it is smaller and we are still trying to figure out exactly how many vendor spaces we can make available.

This past year has been a devastating one for anyone involved with any aspect of the performing arts.  We are hoping to grow and thrive but that's simply not possible without your support.  If you cannot attend this year, but are hoping to attend in the future, please do what you can to help ensure that we surivive.  Nothing succeeds like a personal invitation, so please consider this to be yours*. 

  • Pass the word about the BurlExpo to someone you think would enjoy it. 
  • Volunteer to help find sponsors and advertisers, or become a sponsor yourself. 
  • Help boost our signal on social media. 
  • Lend your skills as a photographer, videographer, graphic designer, or promotional expert. 
  • Buy a ticket for a friend or buy one and put it in our ticket bank for those who cannot afford to attend. 

No contribution is too small to make a difference.  We appreciate all of the love you have for us. We want to be returning it for many years to come...but first we need to get through 2021.

* - Yes, the irony of that statement isn't lost on us.

Thank you for all you have done and will do.


NEW New Dates Announced 

In the interest of public safety, we are re-scheduling the Burlesque Expo to September 3-5, 2021 -- Labor Day weekend.  We hope you all can join us.  We really miss you.

Howard Awards Change

This year, as a nod to our new home, the categories for Howard Awards have been magically transformed! They are now Most Bewitching, Most Enchanting, Most Spellbinding, Most Magical, and Most Wicked.

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Our Lucky 13th Edition!

NEW NEW 2021 Dates Announced

Labor Day Weekend September 3-6, 2021 in Salem, MA

About a year ago we made a promise to all of you that our priority was to keep you healthy and safe.  That promise is as importatn to use today as it was then.  With recent developments in the world of health sciences, we've rescheduled the BurlExpo (again), this time to September 3-6, 2021.  We’re still in Salem; we’re still at The Bridge at 211. We are negotiating a hotel block.

  • If you were accepted as a performer, your act is still accepted, but we’ll ask you to re-confirm closer to the event.  If you had been accepted, but had to drop out because you couldn’t make the earlier dates, you are accepted for September 2021.  Please contact us to confirm.
  • If you were accepted as a teacher, your classes are still accepted, but we’ll ask you to re-confirm closer to the event.  If you had been accepted, but had to drop out because you couldn’t make the September dates, you are accepted for September 2021.  Please contact us.
  • If you purchased a ticket to an event, it has been transferred to the new dates.
  • If you want to cancel your ticket and get a refund, please contact Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or refunds@BrownPaperTickets.com
  • If you reserved a vendor space, it has been transferred to the new dates.
  • If you want to cancel your vendor space and get a refund, please contact Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or refunds@BrownPaperTickets.com
  • If you have a hotel reservation at The Clipper Ship Inn, you can transfer it to the new dates.  Your room rate is likely to go down.  Please contact them at ClipperShipInn@gmail.com or (978) 745-8022.

This decision wasn’t made lightly.  We really appreciate all of the input we received from those of you who completed our surveys or reached out to us privately.  Your responses showed that there was no decision we could make that was going to make everyone happy: some people expressed a strong desire to go forward with an in-person event; some people strongly expressed the view that in-person gatherings were a bad idea.  Even with the support of our performers, instructors, and vendors, we just didn’t know if the audience would come out.  No event producer can predict attendance with certainty, but these days things are even more uncertain than usual.  Without an audience, there is no BurlExpo.

While our corner of the country has been successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19, other parts of the country and other countries have not been so fortunate.  The Great Burlesque Exposition draws people from all over, and while we would do our utmost to minimize the risks at the event, there was nothing we could do about the dangers of travel, or your conditions at home.  

If someone unknowingly brought contagion to the BurlExpo and we became one of those ‘flash points’ you read about, I could never forgive myself.

We’ll keep you posted about on-line educational opportunities and performances that we are developing, as well as our museum, The American Burlesque Collection, which will be re-opening in Salem and on the internet in the next few months. In the meantime, we are strongly hoping that developments over the next 6+ months bring this global pandemic to an end, and that we will see you all in Salem in September 2021. 

To keep up with what's going on, join our email list or follow us on Facebook ... or both!

Get Involved

The Great Burlesque Exposition wants you! Now is the time to get involved as a high-level organizer.  We're looking for people passionate about burlesque to help make 2021 our best year so far.  If you're intested in being part of the steering committee, please email us with a little bit about you and what you're interested in.