The Burlesque Hall of Fame Board of Directors is pleased to announce the recent establishment of the Board Emeritus title, recognizing museum founders Jennie Lee and Dixie Evans as well as two outstanding former Directors of the Board, Dita Von Teese and past long-time Board President, Laura Herbert.
Only founders and past board members who have made a highly significant contribution to the Burlesque Hall of Fame are eligible to be conferred with the title of Emeritus. Over a period of many years, Ms. Herbert and Ms. Von Teese have both demonstrated extraordinary levels of devotion to BHoF and to the goal of keeping the history and art of burlesque alive. When the future of the Exotic World (now BHoF) was critically uncertain more than a decade ago, each helped to ensure the survival of the museum and its venerated traditions, allowing it to reach exciting new heights of success in Las Vegas.
Dita Von Teese is one of the originators of the contemporary burlesque revival movement and a celebrated international performer. Her long-time association with BHoF has helped draw serious attention to the museum and raise its credibility as a professional non-profit. Beginning with her early friendship with Dixie Evans at the Exotic World Ranch in Helendale, CA, to recent loans and donations from her personal burlesque collection, Dita has assisted the museum in becoming the respected institution that it is today. Among her most impactful contributions was her willingness to join the newly formed BHoF Board of Directors early on. Adding her recognizable name to the Board roster during a period of what could be considered some of BHoF’s darkest days provided the then-struggling organization with a much-needed public show of support and a major boost of confidence.
Former Executive Director and past Board President Laura Herbert, like her predecessors Jennie and Dixie, has played an enormous, foundational role in the history of the Burlesque Hall of Fame. As if responding to a specific calling, the extent of Laura’s contributions to BHoF will likely remain unmatched by another human being. A close friend of Ms. Evans, Laura was instrumental in saving the museum during the early 2000s, working selflessly and tirelessly without pay for many years so that Dixie’s glittery vision of a shrine to burlesque history could live on. At a time when the internet was still relatively new, Laura began as volunteer from New York City, helping produce the first Exotic World website as well as t-shirts and other souvenir items for the museum shop. She eventually filled the need to take over as a producer of the Miss Exotic World Competition, originating the first Friday Legends Night (then held near the town of Barstow at the Lenwood Holiday Inn Express!) and inspiring a large pool of enthusiastic burlesquers from across the country to get involved and rally in support of Dixie and the museum. Among her many significant contributions, she orchestrated the relocation of Exotic World to Las Vegas, including moving herself there from her beloved New York in order to oversee the collection and establish a new museum space. It would be fair to say that BHoF might not even exist today without the efforts of Laura Herbert, and it would probably take an entire book to list everything she did over a period of more than a decade to preserve the invaluable collection and beloved traditions of BHoF.
The Board of Directors expresses its sincere gratitude to Jennie Lee, Dixie Evans, Dita Von Teese and Laura Herbert for their collected years of service and dedication to the Burlesque Hall of Fame. As Emeritus members, their names and significant contributions are now guaranteed to be remembered for all time in the history of the institution. Moreover, they will each always have a special place in the heart of BHoF.