With more than 40 years of combined performing and producing experience between them, the producers of the Charm City Burlesque and Variety Festival bring with them the knowledge and experience to put together what will truly be an exceptional and unique festival that honors and embodies the wildness, the weirdness and the whimsy that is the Baltimore Burlesque Scene.
Maria Bella, Baltimore’s Sicilian Queen, is a touring producer, award-winning international performer, and musician. Her touring stage show, The Carnivalesque Roadshow, opened for Storm Large of Pink Martini at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She founded Baltimore’s Best Burlesque Troupe, Gilded Lily Burlesque in 2007, which has graced stages across the U.S. And she is co-producer of The Charm City Burlesque & Variety Festival which is set to debut in September 2023.
Maria has been a headliner and featured performer in various festivals around the world including Asheville’s Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival where she was named Artist of the Year, The Toronto Burlesque Festival, selected to perform in the 2014 London Burlesque Festival, The New York Burlesque Festival, The Show-Me Burlesque Festival, Queen category in the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival, The Texas Burlesque Festival, The Festival of Poe in South Carolina, The Great Southern Exposure, as well as various special events, private parties, and appearances throughout the U.S. and internationally.
In her native, Baltimore, Maria was a featured performer in Workin’ the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque, an exhibition development seminar at the Maryland Institute College of Art, which opened at The Lyric Opera House. She has produced stage shows and performed at The Lyric Opera House, Artscape, The Baltimore PRIDE Festival, The Walters Art Gallery, The Erotic Arts Festival, Baltimore Comic Con, The Creative Alliance, The Ottobar, Load of Fun Theater, The Windup Space, The Hippo, Grand Central, Angels Rock Bar, Ramshead Live in Annapolis, Baltimore Soundstage. She has performed and toured with world renown burlesque performers Angie Pontani, Armitage Shanks, Bella Blue, Kitten Deville, Dirty Martini, Tigger, Wasabassco Burlesque, Perle Noir, Foxy Tann, Jeez Loueez, Redbone, Lola van Ella, Trixie Little, Evil Hate Monkey, The Peek-a-Book Revue, The Olde City Sideshow, and the list goes on and on.
Maria Bella has made headlines in The Baltimore City Paper and Baltimore Magazine, and has been photographed and interviewed by Java’s Bachelor Pad Magazine, Retro Lovely Magazine, Alt Noir Magazine, Council Magazine, and Retro Lovely Taboo. She was a spokesmodel for Sugar Kitty Corsets and has modeled for Gothfox Designs, Cameo Intimates, Karen Von Oppen, Scarlet Bliss, Hello Dolly Latex, Berit New York, and Collective Chaos Designs. She has appeared in such books as The KISS Book Project, TKE Expressions Pinup book, 666 Photography Photo Book, and The Pinups for Pitbulls Calendar.
Tapitha Kix is a founding member and producer of the Baltimore-based Troupe, Twisted Knickers. Her foray into Burlesque was as a prop kitty. She then attended “Burlesque Bootcamp” with Baltimore’s Gilded Lily Burlesque troupe and has since been performing on her own and with Twisted Knickers.
She is a two time winner of the "Most Innovative" performer at the Golden Legends Champion Challenge and the "Damn, That Was Awesome" award at the Summer Great Burlesque Exposition.
In addition to Burlesque, she is a member of the Part II Dance company, performing traditional tap and jazz dance. She fuses her classical dance background with her acts and often tap dances while she strips. Tapitha is also the only known Burlesque dancer since the 1940s to perform in a pair of specially-made ballet pointe shoes equipped with taps. Her “pointe/tap” routines combine traditional ballet, Broadway-style tap dancing, and old-school bump and grind Burlesque to create a truly unique performance.