While many are at home on Tuesday night getting ready for the following midweek hump day, one of the Capital’s best kept secrets, An Evening of Sin, unfolds at the Rainbow Bistro. After 9 p.m., the ByWard Market shuts off its lights, but the Rainbow transforms into a vibrant, lively and enchanting Burlesque cabaret.
An Evening of Sin is Ottawa’s premier outlet for Burlesque troupes, solo Burlesque performers, Drag Kings and Drag Queens, Fire performers, Magicians and many more. They are here to showcase their talents and captivate onlookers. An Evening of Sin was created by Holly Sin, a Burlesque performer with the troupe the Sin Sisters. One slow Tuesday night she approached the Rainbow during her shift and suggested they let her troupe perform.
“If we build it, they will come”, and come they did! Over the last three years, An Evening of Sin has grown from a monthly show with a few performers to a biweekly staple Burlesque event featuring around a dozen performers per show, ranging from professionals, amateurs and even first time performers. An Evening of Sin’s open door policy welcomes all and has become a safe place where people feel at home and comfortable expressing who they are.
Holly explains that Burlesque is about empowerment and that the spirit of Burlesque lies in the heart of the performers. Some do it to work their confidence and come out of their shell. Some take control of their sexuality through Burlesque. And some make social and political statements, while emphasising theatrical performance. Regardless of the performer’s own personal reasons, Burlesque is foremost an expression of self.
The show is not the only one who grew. The Ottawa Burlesque Community is bigger than ever, with at least six different groups operating and performing. Ottawa also organizes its own Burlesque festival, which takes place annually in the Fall.
The first show for the month of March was called Guilty Pleasures and you didn’t have to look too far to see why. Accompanied by Holly, Satan himself hosted the evening, looking dashing in a suit. The performers were brilliant, each one of them embracing and embodying their Burlesque Alter Egos and sharing that experience with the crowd. The performances were varied, ranging from a comedy show to a couple enacting a risqué love affair to striptease dancing and singing. What stood out the most were beautifully and meticulously crafted outfits, copious amounts of glitter and a lot of seduction. Each performer left the crowd cheering, whistling and wanting more.
Catch An Evening of Sin every second and last Tuesday of the month. Each event is themed, and some are fundraisers for various organizations and charities. For a full schedule, visit their Facebook events page. Tickets are typically $12 at the door, subject to change. Please note that all events are 19+.