When I woke up on May 11th, 2014, and went online as I always do, I had no idea my life was about to change. Or that what I was interested in writing about as a writer based in Bangkok, Thailand would soon not hold my attention. But that’s apparently what happens when Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst slams into your life — or at least it did with me.
So much so, as my fascination with Conchita Wurst began to grow, she became responsible for bringing other unique people into my life — some of whom would soon capture my awareness just as much as she has. That’s because I’m the type of writer who, if someone captivates me (and it doesn’t happen often), then I have to find out what drives them.
With Conchita that has lead me down a number of different pathways (she’s one of the most complex people to understand I think I’ve ever come across), and to a myriad of interesting people.
One of those people, however, has grabbed my attention more than any other. The boylesque artist Jacques Patriaque. The only boylesque performer in Austria, and a close friend of the lovely Ms. Wurst.
Who is Jacques Patriaque?
I first came across Jacques Patriaque while scouring the internet for videos of Conchita, and found this performance from the two of them. Called ‘Dick in a Box’, it’s funny, beautifully done, and it was the first time I spent more time watching the other person in a video than I did looking at Conchita.
If Jacques could cause me to do that, I needed to know more, so off down that long winding pathway I went and here’s what I found.
Jacques Patriaque has been performing the art of boylesque since 2010 when Viennese burlesque icon Kitty Willenbruch first discovered him. He was featured in her ‘Salon Kitty Revue’, and soon after his career took off.
After numerous performances in burlesque clubs around Vienna, Jacques was soon showcasing his art in clubs in Stockholm, Berlin and New York. With upcoming performances in Rome, Amsterdam and Geneva to add to his resume, it’s fair to say Jacques Patriaque is now internationally known, and a rising star in the boylesque/burlesque world.
So, why do I find Jacques Patriaque so fascinating?
As someone who never follows the rules myself, I’ve always been intrigued by people who go against the conventional ‘norm’, who do what they love despite abuse from the ignorant, the homophobes and the bigots, and with a passion few others would ever allow themselves to have.
Jacques Patriaque is one of those people, and that’s why I like him.
But it’s not just his own personal art Jacques’ passion gives wings to. He also believes in helping other boylesque and burlesque artists to showcase their own.
That’s why he decided it was time to establish an event where boylesque, burlesque and vaudeville artists could perform, and where those in Vienna who admire the art form and want to see more could gather. This led to Jacques Patriaque becoming the first person to ever produce a boylesque festival in Austria.
Called the Boylesque Festival Vienna, it was a two-day event held in May, 2014 featuring boylesque, burlesque and vaudeville artists from not only Austria but also from around Europe and the United States.
The festival was such a huge success, Jacques Patriaque is already planning Boylesque Festival Vienna 2015 — a festival that’s likely to be even bigger and even more well attended than the first.
Not surprising really when you see the caliber of the performances on show.
This, for instance, was Jacques’ own burlesque number — one that is done so well he makes it look effortless. Believe me, it’s not.
Everything from the naughty looks to the delicious swiveling of his hips, the seductive strip, and the final delightfully-disturbing, sexually-provocative pose, are beautifully choreographed and executed. Plus, the underlying intelligence and wicked sense of humour kill me.
Now can you see why I like him?
But surely there’s more?
Oh yes, there are definitely many more reasons why I’m intrigued by Jacques Patriaque, and these come from my obsession with the kinds of unique individuals who, while living actively in the modern world, create a secondary world within it. A world of glamour, fantasy, and high art.
A place where the things and the people that would suck your soul are avoided, where the community you have created and the friends within it are more important than anything, and where creativity is the thread that holds everything together.
Much like Gertrude Stein created the ‘Lost Generation’ in Paris in the 1920s, Jacques Patriaque and a group of select friends have also created such a world. A group of Viennese that includes burlesque artist Mitzi May, singer Conchita Wurst, and drag artist and burlesque performer Tamara Mascara, and an entire world filled with extravagant and beautiful characters who are larger than life and who, when we mere mortals see them, we have no choice but to stare at in awe.
What’s even more interesting about Jacques and the friends he loves, however, is that they are not content to stay in that world of brightness and colour, secluded and alone. Instead they are often seen out in our everyday world — rare creatures who deign to move among us, just so we can see what fabulousness we are missing if we refuse to go along.
Where can you see Jacques Patriaque perform?
As for the more down-to-earth stuff about Jacques Patriaque, and the details you’ll need if you want to find out more…..
Jacques Patriaque will perform his particular style of burlesque art on ORF’s popular casting show Die Große Chance on Friday 19th September. If you miss it, or are not in Austria, you can watch him here once the show has been aired.
Jacques also has tour dates coming up in various places around Europe in the next few months. Keep checking his website for updates.
And for more on what he does, there’s Jacques’ YouTube channel. It’s an interesting collection of boylesque and burlesque performances, including some from Jacques’ own Boylesque Festival Vienna 2014.
Finally, let me leave you with the teaser for the first annual Boylesque Festival Vienna, produced by Jacques in May, 2014. Just see what you’ve already missed.
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