Knoxville's growing burlesque scene got some regional recognition a couple of weeks ago when Siren Santina, a performer with the local troupe Salomé Cabaret, was named the very first Southern Fried Burlesque Queen in Atlanta. Santina beat out contestants from around the country and Canada for the title at the inaugural Southern Fried Burlesque Fest, held March 10-13.
"I normally don't compete, but when I saw it was called ‘Southern Fried' I had to get involved," Santina says. "It was too kitschy not to do it."
She may have entered for fun, but the 30-year-old Santina says the title could have long-term benefits for her and the troupe. "I'm surprised at the booking opportunities we've already gotten," she says.
Santina is one of the founding members of Salomé Cabaret, which was established in 2005 and started performing in 2006. "It's small, but it's growing over time," Santina says of Knoxville's burlesque scene. "I've seen troupes pop up that aren't necessarily burlesque—vaudeville culture is building up in the area."
If you want to check out the Southern Fried Burlesque Queen for yourself, Salomé Cabaret is performing on Friday, March 25, at 10 p.m. at Patrick Sullivan's.