Black Lodge Burlesque: A Night of Cabaret Inspired by David Lynch.
~ Written by Jessica Price (this article also appears in the 10/5/12 edition of Seattle Gay News).
Whether you worship or despise his non-linear, often surreal narratives – no one ever forgets seeing a David Lynch movie. Perhaps Diane Ladd drunk-dialing while smearing fire engine red lipstick all over her face in Wild at Heart gave you chills. Or you fell for a young, pre-meltdown Nicolas Cage being visited by the Good Witch, or the cruel romance between Naomi Watts and Laura Harring in Muholland Drive broke your heart. Whatever the movie (or the short-lived, mind-bending prime time television show Twin Peaks), David Lynch’s bizarre characters and dream-like realities never fail to leave you with a fractured view of normal life for a few hours after.
Two Portland burlesque producers well-versed in the unconventional are bringing their successful Black Lodge Burlesque: A Night of Cabaret Inspired by David Lynch to Re-Bar October 12-13. Vera Mysteria, who produces shows regularly as Sign of the Beast Burlesque, and co-producer Rocket (GoGoRocket Productions), originally met while working as a DJ and a dancer in Portland. “I was surprised to see a woman DJ at a strip club, that’s uncommon,” says Rocket of her co-producer. “She was hilarious. She’d say stuff like ‘next up on stage it’s Rocket. She loves chocolate and kittens and brushing her hair. She’s gonna take us back to 1985 right now with this next song. Do you like kittens too? Go give Rocket your money right now’.”
A fast friendship was born, and it wasn’t long before the two began performing in each other’s left-of-center burlesque and variety shows and organizing a few joint productions. Black Lodge is the first to come to Seattle, but given the kinship that local cabaret performers have with our sister city of Portland, it’s no surprise. The Northwest already has a sweet spot for all things Lynch (Twin Peaks was set in a fictional Washington town with exterior shots filmed in Snoqualmie and North Bend). Expect to see appearances by the Log Lady, Laura Palmer, the Elephant Man, and maybe, just maybe Baby Le’Strange will break out her gender-bending transformation from Blue Velvet’s Dorothy to the inhalant crazed Frank Booth at Re-Bar.
I spoke with Vera Mysteria about why Lynch’s characters are so ripe for reinterpretation through burlesque and cabaret: “Cinema and burlesque often have very similar archetypes for women. Both offer the chance to present a character in any number of the classic molds. Many of Lynch’s women appear to fit one of those molds on a surface level, but he sort of flips them over and reveals their dark, bizarre underbellies. More and more I’m seeing burlesque performances that aren’t centering on the bright and shiny side of sexuality. It seems like we’re becoming increasingly interested in that seamier side of sex because it feels more relatable.”
“The characters are often so bizarre, creepy or sad, and that’s a mood that burlesque doesn’t usually play upon,” adds Rocket. “I like that the audience doesn’t know how they are going to feel from one act to the next. David Lynch’s work has such a cult following, and I think that the people who come to see the show are already fans, they already love the characters. We even work in some call and response with the audience using classic lines from the shows and movies…so be prepared!”
Sign of the Beast Burlesque & GoGoRocket present Black Lodge Burlesque at Re-Bar, Friday October 12 and Saturday October 13. Doors @ 6:30, show starts promptly at 7:30. tickets available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/283295 or at the door. You can also visit the event page on Facebook, over HERE.