Carnivale Debauche | Saturday | 9 p.m. | $15 ($10 in advance)

Ready to rock, shock, and awe spectators, Carnivale Debauche is making its debut performance at the Canopy Club on Saturday June 5th at 9 p.m. For those who may not know, Carnivale Debauche is a performance troupe based in Champaign-Urbana that combines burlesque dance with vaudeville-style entertainment. The troupe also features a live house band and various guest performers including mentalists, comedians, and poi spinners. To find out more about the event, I contacted co-founders of the troupe Matthew Fear and Niccole Powers.


Smile Politely: Can you recount a brief history of the troupe (i.e. when, where, and how did the group come into being)?

Carnivale Debauche: Niccole and I came up with the idea for this troupe about a year ago. We were sitting around thinking about something that she and I could bring to the area. We are both fairly new to town (she has been in town a year and a half and I have lived here for 4 years) and we both really wanted to create something that wasn't already here. Niccole has had some experience with the burlesque movement and I have always wanted to be involved with something along those lines. Together we thought of not just forming a burlesque troupe but a performance troupe that includes burlesque dancers. We wanted to include all kinds of different performance types and make it a vaudeville/burlesque type of show.

Smile Politely: How would you define "burlesque show" in relation to how it is performed in your troupe?

Carnivale Debauche: We like to consider our show to be a fairly traditional burlesque performance with a hearty spoonful of theatrics. This is not a strip show! Traditional burlesque is more about what you don't see. So the great thing is that it leaves something to the imagination. We wanted to make this troupe a vaudeville and burlesque hybrid. So while we are trying to stay traditional we are also making it our own.

Smile Politely: Do you feel the troupe will continue to expand its audience by performing at other venues, or do you feel it is important to keep the show local?

Carnivale Debauche: One of our long-term goals is to some day travel and tour around to other towns. We are also hoping to bring other burlesque troupes here from places like Chicago, St. Louis, Evansville, and Indianapolis. We already have two other performances lined up. June 19th we will be performing a couple of numbers at the Cowboy Monkey for a WEFT benefit, and July 2nd we will be performing another full length review in the beer garden of Mike n' Molly's.

Smile Politely: Do you have any plans to change or improve the show in the future?

Carnivale Debauche: Carnivale Debauche will definitely change as it ages. One thing that I personally want to add is a sketch comedy troupe that will perform original vaudeville-esque bits throughout the show. On top of that, we will always be adding variety acts. So if anyone reading this knows of a ventriloquist, contortionist, juggler, or strong man....get in touch with me!

Smile Politely: What should people expect to see, hear, feel, etc. if they are attending the show on June 5th?

Carnivale Debauche: People should come with one intention on June 5th, to be entertained. This is going to be an evening of music, variety acts, beautiful ladies, and booze. We have some very talented performers that are ready to rock the Canopy Club and maybe show a little skin (after all, burlesque is all about the tease).

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To find out more about Matt and Niccole, check out Beth Dillman's article, "People with a Passion."

Carnivale Debauche is performing at the Canopy Club (18+) on June 5th. Doors open at 8pm, the show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.