NEW ACT: The Grand Dame of Champagne

I’m excited to announce the (costume-ready) debut of The Grand Dame of Champagne, an over-the-top sabrage and sword swallowing burlesque act loosely inspired by the legends surrounding the Widow (Veuve) Clicquot and the art of sabrage.

[Sabrage] became popular in France when the army of Napoleon visited many of the aristocratic domains. Napoleon’s spectacular victories across all Europe gave them plenty of reason to celebrate. During these parties the cavalry would open the champagne with their sabers.

There are many stories about this tradition. One of the more spirited tales is that of Madame Clicquot, who had inherited her husband’s small champagne house at the age of 27. She used to entertain Napoleon’s officers in her vineyard, and as they rode off in the early morning with their complimentary bottle of champagne, they would open it with their saber to impress the rich young widow“. – Wikipedia

The Grand Dame of Champagne is visually decadent. It features aesthetics inspired by Marie Antoinette and is backed by a danceable modern remix of classic French Chanteuse music. This act is not intended to be a historically accurate representation of the incredible Widow Cliquote or even necessarily of the time period she operated in.

You may have seen me perform a dressed down version of this act late last year. I was running through the technical aspects ahead of having the full costume ready. Popping a bottle on stage was too tempting! The costume will affect not only the final look, but the final choreography. I am delighted to present this act fully realized.

The higher the hair the closer to heaven.

This was my first time making a wig like this.

Pomp it up!

I was pretty excited when I took her off the blockhead, and she didn’t fall apart.

Rough Draft

Running through the technical details ahead of the completion of the actual costume. Photo by Greg Bell.

How to get (or lose) a man. Dress by Vide Noir.

Want to see this act live? I will be performing it during the week of Mardi Gras starting with Vaudeville at Beauty Bar on Monday, March 4th. Admission is free of charge. Enjoy 2 unique sets at 10:00 PM & 11:00 PM.

You can also see The Grand Dame of Champagne on Mardi Gras proper at Ina Mae in Wicker Park between 9:00 PM & 10:00 PM. The act will have it’s final run for Mardi Gras during Vaudeville at Bordel on Thursday, March 7th. It’s free, and it’s fabulous with 2 hot sets at 10:30 PM & 11:15 PM.

Women’s History Month with Madame Cliquot

“In an era when women were excluded from the business world, she dared to assume the head of the company, a role she undertook with passion and determination. Madame Clicquot’s character might be summarized with two words: audacious and intelligent.” –

The Widow Clicquot, born as Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1977, is responsible for revolutionizing the methods of champagne production and the socialization of its consumption after the death of her husband, François Clicquot. Through her creativity, business acumen, enduring nature, and political manuevering, Veuve Clicquot champagne became a drink of high society and of celebratory occasions. Madame Clicquot is considered one of the world’s first international businesswomen leading her husband’s wine house from the brink of bankruptcy following the French Revolution to being a globally renowned export.

Read more about Madame Clicquot here.

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