Monday, October 4, 2010

Derek Jackson, Celebrity Photographer to the Burlesque Stars

Photographer to the burlesque stars, Derek Jackson, spent a weekend at the 2nd Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Body By Burlesque couldn't make the scene, so we asked Derek for the lowdown.

Body By Burlesque: Derek, take it off the, from the top.

Derek Jackson and Jolee Blon'
Derek Jackson:  On Sept. 17th Jennifer Mason & Cougar Cantrell (Tammy Lynn Kanoa, who dances for Salome Cabaret in Knoxville,) and I flew out of Atlanta on the 11am flight on Delta.At the hotel we met up with Katherine Lashe, Ursula Undress, Tupelo Honey, and Chad Sanborn. They headed to rehearsal, and Jennifer, Cougar & I went straight to the ACME Oyster House for some local flavor before the Friday Night Show.

CoCo Lectric
 The best performances were definitely 1, 2, 3 - CoCo Lectric, Lola Van Ella, and Renea' Le Roux. Throw into the mix, Athena (filler singer) and Catherine D'Lish (Friday's House Of Blues headliner.) I always sit transfixed every time that Amber Ray walks on stage. She's amazing. That's just from the Saturday Competition Night. On the Mondo Burlesque Show at Harrah's on Friday, Michelle L'amour and her La Panthere act closed the show, and is always a crowd favorite. Also, Michelle L'amour and the Chicago Starlets act of The Van Gogh-Gogh's is so much fun. My favorite acts from the House of Blues were Charlotte Treuse, Lydia DeCarllo & of course Satan's Angel.

BBB: If I asked for just two of your fave moments. (Two Double D Cup-fulls, if you please.)

DJ: Just two? Being called out by Amber Ray and being a part of Dinah Might's act.

Renea Le Roux
 BBB: Can we hit the rewind button and break it down?

DJ: So it’s after the Friday night shows and I’m hanging out outside the House of Blues with Jennifer Mason and Tupelo Honey when I hear my name, couldn’t believe it was Amber Ray strolling down the street arm in arm with a beautiful dame. She called out my name to say hello. I must have had a stunned look on my face, as she just giggled as she walked by. I turned around and told the girls, “ Damn, I just got called out by Amber Ray!”

BBB:  And the the other bit of story?

DJ:  While checking in at the hotel, I got a call from the producer, Rick Delaup, saying Dinah Might wanted to know who was on the front row. Rick called me and handed the phone to Dinah Might. She told me when she was on stage during her act, doing her fan dance, she would pause, beckon me to the edge of the stage with a "come here" finger wave. I was to get up, take a step to the stage, and she would slap me with her fans - left-right-left.* I was to do a head-snap in sequence. She really tagged me good, mind you. I got a lot of compliments from people in the crowd saying how good it looked.
*Click for video.

BBB: Ooh la la!

DJ: Aside from the fact that we had the best seats in the house, that I had face time with Kitten De Ville, Jo Weldon, Kitten Onthekeys, Michelle L'amour , and Jolee Blon', who is just creamy. Seeing Amber Ray & Jolee Blon' in the elevator between stops where they both said hello, smiled and waved, but it was a full elevator. Being on stage after the Saturday competion shooting press photos was cool, too.

Lydia DeCarllo
Oh, and one thing I'll never forget is that we went to the House of Blues after the post awards show photos and we got there late and the place was packed. I looked at one of the local photographers and said, how are we going to get to the front? He said, come on, follow me. We're heading downstairs and  through the loading dock getting stopped at every turn; thwarted by roadies and security guards because the B-52's were playing a private party at the main show room. We protested that our path was up to the front row of the 2nd showroom. No dice. Ten more attempts before getting a female security escort us to an elevator in the kitchen, putting us behind the stage so when we walked out - front row! The other photographer scooted across the floor in front of the stage, and I looked down and there was one seat on the corner of the front row and I took it. A few minutes later, the producer of the show stuck his head though a side curtain, saw me and said, "how did you get that seat!? I just flashed a smug smile and grinned.

BBB: Smooth, you must have felt like the 007 of burlesque photographers. 

 DJ: I have to say that seeing my good friend Jennifer Mason and Tupelo Honey enjoy their first festival was great, plus hanging out with Cougar Cantrell. Introducing Jennifer to Satan's Angel was something I'll never forget. To watch Jennifer go crazy when Angel was onstage doing her fire tassels act and introducing them afterwards, unforgettable.

BBB:  Tell me Derek, have you ever gotten so caught up in watching a show that you forgot to take pictures?
Catherine D'Lish

Satan's Angel
Hot Hot Hot!
DJ: Never. I always try to get a front row seat for the best show photos. There's nothing worse than having someone's head in your shot to ruin the image. I have gotten caught up in the pre/after party/chatting with friends and forgotten to take candids. I've always liked to have a mix of photos of before, during & after, to help show the mood of the night. I guess that if an act is so jaw-dropping steamy, I feel I have to "try" and capture that mood, to show what the dancer is trying to convey. It's almost part of my job to do so. There are times where I've attended two shows and shot one and sat one out. I always hated that I didn't shoot, as I probably missed "that one shot" ... There's just something about a burlesque dancer in a beautiful dress that makes me want to photographer her. I do shoot too many photos, but I always seem to get that "one shot" that makes the night.

BBB: Last minute twirl, I mean, mention?

DJ: Oh, and was very happy that my friend Renea Le Roux got Runner-Up. She was thrilled. After the show, I escorted her to the House of Blues, sorta doing body-guard detail, but it was great to catch-up with her, since she moved to Vegas.

BBB: Thanks, Derek. I think Body By Burlesque should go on the next trip and photograph the photographer. Your pictures are stunning, beautiful works of art. So glad you visited here. I could only post a teasingly few photos, for the full reveal get an eye-full at Derek Jackson Photgraphy's flickr site.


JP - The Mistress of Corgi Manor said...

Derek, we are so glad you gave us an inside peek at your world, what an eye-opener! News Flash! Coco Lectric, the reigning Queen of Burlesque will be featured here soon. We expect the lovely Jolee Blon' will be exposed here also.

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

This is just fabulous! I just love burlesque...and all those feathers!
I actually know Catherine D'Lish...she creates burlesque pieces for my boutique!
xox alison