Competing Las Vegas burlesque promoters in legal battle


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Tasia performs at the 20th annual “Best of Burlesque” pageant during the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend Saturday, June 5, 2010 at the Plaza.

25 April 2011
9:15 a.m.

Promoters of the annual Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend event in Las Vegas are suing organizers of a competing show, alleging trademark infringement and other counts.

The Burlesque Hall of Fame Inc. filed suit Friday in federal court in Las Vegas against Frederic Apcar Productions LLC, Frederic Apcar Jr. and Luke Littell.

The Burlesque Hall of Fame plans its annual weekend event at the Orleans hotel-casino in Las Vegas from June 2 to June 5. It will feature a burlesque pageant, a fundraiser, a reunion and displays of memorabilia and merchandise.

Apcar and Littell, according the lawsuit, previously produced the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s annual event but – after a falling out with the Hall of Fame -- are now planning a Sassy Lassy Burlesque Show including a competition in the Copa Room at the Plaza casino in Las Vegas June 3-4.

"Apcar and Littell have not only advertised their own 2011 burlesque event as being held on the same weekend that the Burlesque Hall of Fame intends to hold and, in fact, has always held, its event, but also Apcar and Littell have called the event the Sassy Lassy Burlesque and the Sassy Lassy Showcase thereby wrongfully incorporating marks owned by the Burlesque Hall of Fame and in turn intentionally creating confusion among the burlesque industry and family as to affiliation with the original Burlesque Hall of Fame events," the lawsuit alleges.

"Apcar and Littell have persuaded well-known burlesque performers and legends, including Dixie Evans and Tempest Storm, who in previous years performed at the Burlesque Hall of Fame events, to participate in their event in 2011 and not in the Burlesque Hall of Fame event," the suit alleges. "Numerous burlesque pageant performers and attendees of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend are boycotting Burlesque Hall of Fame’s 2011 event because of the confusion as to which is the 'real show’ and 'to wait and see who is still standing in 2012.'"

The suit, filed by attorneys with the Las Vegas office of the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, asserts counts including trademark infringement, website-name cybersquatting, deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair competition.

The Hall of Fame last year moved to the Emergency Arts collective in downtown Las Vegas.

The lawsuit says the nonprofit Burlesque Hall of Fame was founded in about 1965 by burlesque performer Jennie Lee and has its roots in the Sassy Lassy nightclub in San Pedro, Calif., near Long Beach. For a time it operated in Helendale, Calif., in the desert southwest of Barstow, Calif.

A request for comment on the lawsuit was left with Frederic Apcar Productions.