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*.
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.