Special Events

A collection of events so special that we had no choice but to call them "Special Events".

GBE2023 |  GBE2021 |  GBE2018 |  GBE2017_summer |  GBE2017 |  GBE2016 |  GBE2015 | 

Volunteer shift available Jan. 6, 2018, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Haym Solomon
Volunteer shift available Jan. 7, 2018, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Haym Solomon

Breakfast is the most importantmeal of the day – and if you have a Whole Shebang Ticket  or Scholar's Pass, you're invited to join us in the Haym Solomon Room for breakfast and conversation on Saturday and Sunday.  Offerings include both sweet and savory pastries, yogurt, fresh fruit, cold cereal, hot breakfast sandwiches, Tazo Tea, coffee, and more.  Wear your jammies, your fuzzy slippers, your elegant night attire, or come dressed to start your day! Whatever you wear, please remember to bring your conference badge, as we'll be checking them at the door!


Volunteer shift available Jan. 6, 2018, noon - 8 p.m. - Vendor Hall
Volunteer shift available Jan. 7, 2018, noon - 8 p.m. - Vendor Hall

Many burlesque folks support themselves by selling merchandise, everything from pasties to pin-up calendars to autographed pictures to unusual arts and crafts.  For some of you it's an essential part of your performance income, but you don't want to be a fullt-ime vendor, especially not at The Great Burlesque Expostion where there a shows to prepare for, classes to take, and fun to be had.  Add to the investment of time, the financial investment of getting your very own booth, and it's just too much for many of us.

Enter The Community Commerce Table! A place where we come together to sell each other's merchandise and crafts! If you want to be part of our commerce community, here's all you have to do:

1) Tag everything you want to sell with a removable tag (something like this) that has
     • your name
     • the name of the item
     • the price of the item

2) Inventory everything that you are going to be leaving for sale, then print two copies of that inventory.

3) Drop-off your goods by the The Community Commerce Table in the Exhibit Hall on Saturday, Jan. 6, between 10:00am and noon.

4) Sign-up to work at least one 2-hour shift at the table over the course of the weekend (you can work more than one shift if you're a particularly perfect person!).  You must work at least one shift to get the benefits of selling your stuff at The Community Commerce Table.

5) Collect any unsold goods and the money for any sold items after 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Participating as part of The Community Commerice Table is a way to share the burdens and expenses of vending amongst several people.  We all do a litle work, we all get the benefits, and we all get more free time!

Stephanie Schorow,
Volunteer shift available Jan. 7, 2018, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Vendor Hall

Cover of "Inside the Combat Zone"Upscale restaurants, majestic theaters, and luxury condos line the streets of downtown Boston today. Students, office workers, doctors, and shoppers navigate the busy sidewalks along Washington and Boylston Streets, giving little thought to the historical significance of their surroundings. The bustle distracts passersby from what may be the city’s dirtiest little secret: these blocks were once home to Boston’s most notorious neighborhood. The Combat Zone, a five-plus-acre, city-sanctioned adult entertainment district, that was as sordid and alluring as anything found in Amsterdam or Vegas. Indeed, Boston’s now tony neighborhood once resembled the set of HBO’s The Deuce, all with the blessing of city officials.

In this talk, based on her her provocative new book, Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston’s Most Notorious Neighborhood (Union Park Press, 2017) veteran reporter Stephanie Schorow recounts the stories that made the Zone infamous. Meet the dancers who stripped to punk rock, the cops who tried to keep order on the streets, and the hookers who turned tricks and slipped wallets from gullible tourists. Go beyond the enticing marquees promoting all-nude revues to discover how the Zone—in an era dogged by miserable economics— remained one of Boston’s most profitable neighborhoods.

Volunteer shift available Jan. 7, 2018, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Haym Solomon

A Spot of Civility to Reinvigorate You After an Exciting and Hectic Weekend!

Two ladies having teaMiss Mina Murray, "the Martha Stewart of Burlesque" cordially invites you to a genteel soiree where proper ladies and gentlemen serve a proper cup of tea accompanied by all the proper tasty tidbits, of course! Fancy dress is always appreciated, but not required (true gentility comes from within).

Volunteer shift available Jan. 7, 2018, noon - 2 p.m. - Vendor Hall

It's midday madness! The glitter-covered, rhinestone-studded, silky smooth, swap meet at The Great Burlesque Exposition is a great way to transform all that burlesque stuff you don't want into burlesque stuff you do want!

What sort of stuff should you bring? Costumes, accessories, trim, fabric, books,magazines, shoes, hair ornaments, commercial CDs, feathers, rhinestones... in short, anything a burlesque performer might want. 

What sort of stuff should you not bring? Anything in poor shape -- ripped, stained, or worn-out, anything boring, anything you want to sell (see The Community Commerce Table instead), anything edible. 

Please make sure your items are clean, especially if you have a pet at home or live with someone who smokes or wears perfume!

For ninety minutes, participants can mix and mingle, trade, exchange, barter, and otherwise swap stuff.  You cannot sell anything during the Swap Meet.  If you want to sell stuff, check out The Community Commerce Table!

Here are the rules:

  • • Set-up is from noon to 12:30 p.m.  Nothing leaves the area before 12:30 p.m.  Everything must be on display by 12:30 p.m. (i.e., you can't bring your stuff down late).
  • • This is a swap meet.  You must bring at least one thing to participate. 
  • • Anything left at 2:00 p.m. will be cleaned up and donated to charity.  Our charity of choice is Boomerangs,  an award-winning family of thrift stores owned and operated by AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, New England’s leading provider of HIV prevention and wellness services
  • • Nothing can be sold.  If you want to sell stuff, please particiipate in The Community Commerce Table.


Volunteer shift available Jan. 6, 2018, noon - 8 p.m. - Vendor Hall
Volunteer shift available Jan. 7, 2018, noon - 8 p.m. - Vendor Hall

The Great Burlesque Exposition presents The Athenaeum (from the middle Latin for "A pretentious word for a library"). The Athenaeum is a remarkable collection of resources for both new and experienced burlesque performers and fans. Explore trade magazines from burlesque’s heyday, helpful guides to costuming, hair and makeup, and even novels inspired by the spirit of burlesque. Boston-specifc highlights of the collection include reprints of the very rare Cavalcade of Burlesque magazine (published by Boston's own Jess Mack), an autographed copy of Ann Corio's This Was Burlesque, and programs from The Old Howard.


Located in The Exhibit Hall near our fabulous Costume Display, The Athenaeum is open Saturday, January 6 and Sunday, January 7 from noon to 8:00 p.m.This exceptional collection is open to anyone with a Fan Admission or better.

Special thanks to Counterpoint Press, Hard Case Crime, Margo Christie, Union Park Press, and Mina Murray for their contributions.

Volunteer shift available Jan. 6, 2018, 11 p.m. - 2 a.m. - Haym Solomon

The Game Room offers guests a chance to snack, sip cocktails, and socialize over popular games like Cards Against Humanity, Get Dr. Lucky, or Apples to Apples.

Overseen by our Game Warden, Scarlett Letter, the Game Room is a quieter (but equally exciting!) alternative to our post-Main Event Pool Party, E

Jan. 6, 2018, 11 p.m. - 1 a.m. - Pool

Starting right after The Main Event! The wettest you will get at the Expo!

Food, friends and chlorine! Take a swim with everyone or just hang out at the poolside and listen to our house surf band, The Wave Riders! It's a great time and it goes until late!

Don't forget your blue wristband!