All aboard the Steel City Kitty Burlesque & Variety Show 

Hungry Grl Big City
Roxi 'Lite Photography

By Kristy Locklin

Kat De Lac enjoys making waves.

As founder of Steel City Kitty Burlesque & Variety Show, that’s her job.

Roxi ‘Lite Photography

To celebrate the troupe’s ninth anniversary, De Lac is rounding up a crew of international performers and setting sail on the Gateway Clipper. The Nov. 9th event features burlesque, boylesque, sideshow, drag, contortion and interactive art installations by some of the world’s biggest showboats.

Detroit’s Roxi DLite, voted Miss Exotic World 2010, is bringing her bump-and-grind act to the stage alongside Indy Fire, a Denver-based boylesque phenomenon. Schwa de Vivre, Jordan Harris (Austin), Gia Fagnelli, Vile Lynn and Moody Ting will be representing the ‘burgh while DJ Allinaline provides the evening’s soundtrack.

In addition to getting an eyeful, guests will receive a free Absolute vodka drink upon entry, sweet treats and surprises around every corner. Landlubbers can reserve their spot on the 21-and-over river cruise at Only 150 tickets to the intimate affair will be sold.

Roxi ‘Lite Photography

Steel City Kitty holds a show about every two months, but this one, in particular, is near and dear to De Lac’s heart. She’s dreamed of throwing a party on the water since launching the entertainment business. Floating down the Mon is a great way to give out-of-towners a view of the city. In the last decade, she’s brought 140 traveling acts to her hometown.

De Lac, 31, is a consummate host who foots the bill for each show and invites every vagabond drag queen and sideshow freak into her home, which is why she only hires “nice, genuinely good people.”

She discovered burlesque at age 19 after catching a show in New Orleans. Mesmerized by the cabaret-style sexuality of the performance, she decided to follow suit, creating her on-stage persona and forming Bridge City Bombshells. When that group disbanded, she hit the road in search of other over-the-top entertainers and self-confessed weirdoes. She found them in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Berlin and put them on stage at local venues such as Lava Lounge, The Smiling Moose, the Rex Theater, Mr. Smalls and the Mattress Factory.

Roxi ‘Lite Photography

De Lac’s goal is to connect people to each other through burlesque, an art form that, for many, holds a negative connotation even though it promotes body positivity.

“It’s in the same vein as stripping,” she says. “It’s the act of being sexy and tasteful at the same time. If you’re representing yourself — no matter what shape, size or color you are — and you can make money off it is, well, that’s great to me.”