Behind the Blue Door: a fond farewell to Vixen Valentine.

•07/21/2013 • Leave a Comment
Behind the Blue Door takes place July 26-28 at Re-bar.

Behind the Blue Door takes place July 26-28 at Re-bar.

~ Written by Paul O’Connell (POC Photo)

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Re-bar is the return of Behind The Blue Door: A Dr. Who-Inspired Cabaret. After last year’s debut in Seattle and a successful five city tour, Midnight Menagerie Productions has revamped its show to celebrate 50 years of Dr. Who. Unlike last year’s production (which mainly focused on the reboot episodes) this show will focus on the entire run of the series. The show’s producer, Vixen Valentine, recently reflected on Dr. Who burlesque:

“I think that Behind The Blue Door is the most important show that I have produced because it helped me to become a better producer, in pushing myself to take the show as far as I could dream to take it and work hard at creating something I’m very proud of. Not to mention being able to work with amazingly talented performers in Seattle who were as enthusiastic about the show as I was, and I met bigger Dr. Who fans than myself who appreciated seeing routines inspired by the same things they love about the show. Of all the shows I’ve produced, this one tapped into a community outside of the normal burlesque crowds and drew people in so we could collectively enjoy something together that created a vibrant atmosphere to be a part of.”

“I’ll admit, I’m a recent Dr. Who fan; I stumbled onto the tv show because it just so happened to be playing on my roommate’s tv one day,” Vixen explained, when asked what it meant to her to bring the show to the burlesque stage. “I sat down and watched ‘Gridlock’ (from season 3 reboot) and I liked it so much I went back and started watching it from the beginning of the reboot. I didn’t know at the time that it was going to play such a large part in my burlesque life and this show might never have happened if I wasn’t approached by a sci/fantasy convention to curate a show, and instantly I knew what I was going to do. Since I started working on the first production of Behind The Blue Door (last year), I immersed myself in the Who-niverse as much as I could in order to do the show justice which included following along with news, reading facts, watching older episodes, familiarizing myself with the Dr. Who groups in Seattle and finding that community.”

Also significant about this year’s Behind the Blue Door is that it marks the last show Vixen Valentine will produce before she heads off to Europe for the next two and a half years to complete her MFA. I asked Vixen what lead to this fantastic opportunity:

“I have been performing since I was a child. I have worked in several theaters in Seattle. I have my Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Washington and my other study abroad program took me to England to study theatre at the University of Hull in Scarborough, England. What inevitably drew me into burlesque is that it’s actor creator work, where I am responsible for creating my own work instead of traditional theatre where I did scene study, memorized lines, etc. I didn’t know what to call the type of theatre I was interested in so I just started googling acting schools from the computer lab in Perugia, Italy [where she was continuing her Italian studies in 2011] and the term physical theatre came up. So I did a little bit of research and I realized that the type of theatre I love is physical theatre, this notion of actor creator work that combines inter-disciplinary skills, like voice, movement, etc in order to tell a story. With my new term in hand I started looking up Master of Fine Arts programs in physical theatre and the Accademia Dell’Arte popped up. There are a myriad of reasons on why I choose this school as opposed to the other MFA programs I found. The first is that it focuses on European theatre that not only takes me to live in Tuscany but I will also study at FLIC circus school in Torino, Familie Floz in Berlin, Germany and Continuo Theatre in the Czech Republic. I will have the opportunity to work alongside other performers who incorporate commedia dell’arte, mask making, puppetry, movement, dance, circus arts, cabaret, etc into their work as I continue to strengthen my own voice as a performer. Secondly, the purpose of the program is to challenge the students to push themselves to obtain a high level of mastery in actor creator work which is a challenge I want. I don’t want to be stagnant in my performing abilities so finding a program that compliments the type of theatre I love that will teach me new skills and push me to be even better at what I love seemed to be a no-brainer to me.”

Vixen has already started contacting producers abroad in the hopes of performing and has bookmarked the different European burlesque festivals to attend. She also assures me she will return to her home town of Seattle. I, for one, will say I am jealous of Vixen’s European adventure. BSP wishes her the best of luck on her experience.

Behind the Blue Door takes place July 26-28 at Re-bar. Tickets available HERE.

Vixen Valentine performing as Idris.

Vixen Valentine performing as Idris.

Get your Southern Gothic on with Stripped Screw.

•07/15/2013 • 1 Comment
This poster is seriously spooky and therefore needs no caption.

This poster is seriously spooky and therefore needs no caption.

Temperatures are rising, and with it Stripped Screw Burlesque’s propensity for lunacy and wild fits of lascivious behavior. Their savage new production, Midnight in the Garden of Glitter and Heels, was actually the original working title for the Screws’ successful Undressed to Kill show. When the material took the troupe in a different direction Midnight in the Garden of Glitter and Heels was scrapped as a title. Founding member Violet Tendencies – never one to shy away from her darker impulses – couldn’t quite set aside the more insidious themes the sidelined title and concept brought to mind.

Violet Tendencies (POC Photo)

Violet Tendencies (POC Photo)

“We all love the Southern Gothic images it evokes. Most of the troupe have an affinity for dark and spooky acts which don’t fit into our other narrative shows so we are thrilled to put together a show featuring some older, darker acts, as well as brand new material and a healthy dose of humor,” Violet explained. “Evilyn Sin Claire does dark, creepy and shiveringly sexy like no one else – so she was an obvious [choice for a] guest. We’ve all also worked with Jesus la Pinga in other shows and utterly adore him! His impeccable sense of timing and humor make a perfect foil to the dark acts and I can’t wait to see him in action in our graveyard.”

Midnight in the Garden of Glitter and Heels takes place Saturday, July 20 at the Columbia City Theater. Get tickets HERE.

Lady Drew Blood

Lady Drew Blood

Seraphina Fiero (Meneldor Photography)

Seraphina Fiero (Meneldor Photography)

Stella D'Letto (Photo by They Are Only Pixels)

Stella D’Letto (Photo by They Are Only Pixels)

Evilyn Sin Claire (Nark Photography)

Evilyn Sin Claire (Nark Photography)

Jesus la Pinga (Photo by Starla Lancombe)

Jesus la Pinga (Photo by Starla Lancombe)

Paint it black.

•07/07/2013 • Leave a Comment
Maui's black light troupe The Ultraviolets

Maui’s black light troupe The Ultraviolets

This week’s most unique show also happens to be the most logistically challenging: The Can Can presents The Ultraviolets Black Light Burlesque at The Can Can Thursday July 11. The troupe of female clowns hail from Maui and have worked long and hard to launch their first West Coast tour. They’ve purchased a van just for the occasion and are ready to bring their brand of sensual movement and illusion under black light to the burlesque stage, particularly in a city where cabaret, burlesque, and dance so freely intermingle.

Founding member Rachel DeBoer has a BA in Theater Performance from the University of South Florida, but has lived on the Hawaiian island of Maui for the last twelve years. There she started a successful face and body painting business called Fabulous Faces as well as a black light theater company Next Level Theater Productions that specializes in black light mythological Hawaiian storytelling. “I always loved black light theater for its ability to make the invisible visible…to show magic literally, through floating objects…thought bubbles…energy…whatever one could dream up,” Rachel explained. “Our style of burlesque is more comedic, a parody of our relationships, awkward situations, what it’s like to be a woman. We are based heavily in storyline, puppetry, magic illusion, visual surprises…”

“When I returned from [a solo soul-searching trip to] Peru I wanted to create something I’d never done before,” Rachel continued. “The Ultraviolets emerged in December of 2011. We did show after show all through 2012 combining our unique surrealistic theater with dj parties at our local theater, The Iao Theater, until we ended up on the cover of the Maui Time Weekly, our island’s biggest paper. Recently we banded together with the Kit Kat Club, another more dance and song [oriented] cabaret troupe on Maui, and the Cherry Blossom Cabaret from O’ahu to create the Hawaii Superstars of Burlesque. We three troupes have performed twice at the Iao Theater as a unit, interweaving and juxtaposing our show styles together.”

Rachel explained what the burlesque scene is like in Hawai’i: “Burlesque in Hawai’i, or rather Maui, is pretty much us and the other two troupes I mentioned. In Maui burlesque is not allowed in places with liquor. In fact there are very strict rules about burlesque, which are rather antiquated in my mind. Pretty much everything we do is actually not technically allowed in a bar as it’s too suggestive for the Maui Liquor Commission. There have been times that we have been asked to censor ourselves in order to perform at certain venues, which I’ve refused. The only venue we really perform at without risk of being fined (or rather the venue being fined) is The Iao Theater, which serves no alcohol, so freedom of expression is still allowed there. Imagine my relief and joy knowing that going on tour would allow us to fully express ourselves at a variety of venues without punishment or judgment…that in Seattle burlesque is celebrated rather than outlawed.”

The Ultraviolets Black Light Burlesque will also feature appearances by Seattle’s own Boom Boom L’Roux and Randi Rascal.

The Ultraviolets Black Light Burlesque
Thursday July 11, 2013
The Can Can, at Historic Pike Place Market Seattle
94 Pike St.
Advance tix at http://www.thecancan.com
$12 GEN/ $15 VIP
Doors open 9:30pm
Show at 10pm

This Thursday July 11 at Can Can

This Thursday July 11 at Can Can

Picks of the Glitter: Hula and Apple Pie Edition.

•07/01/2013 • Leave a Comment
Ruby Mimosa (By Debora Spencer Photography)

Ruby Mimosa (By Debora Spencer Photography)

Want to add a little sway to your summer? Look no further than the all-level hula class brought to you by Ruby Mimosa (aka “The Island Flower”) over at the Academy of Burlesque. The four week class runs July 3 through 24 for just an hour and a half each Wednesday, and drop-ins are welcome.

Ruby Mimosa was born in Kaneohe, O’ahu and is the fifth generation of her family to be born and raised in Hawai’i. From the age of three Ruby studied dance, including hula and 13 years of ballet. Aside from these lifelong passions, Ruby also studied fashion merchandising at the University of Hawai’i. As it happens, seven years ago this week Ruby transferred from Betsey Johnson O’ahu to the boutique’s Seattle location- bringing with her just a few suitcases and plenty of Aloha Spirit (“the coordination of mind and heart within each person”, according to the Hawai’i Revised Statues).

And we’re fortunate that Ruby made the journey. Earlier this week she explained why she wanted to teach a hula series and what it means to her. “The rough, Wikipedia definition of Hula is ‘a dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song (mele), developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there‘,” she explained. “It’s story telling, with your body. Just like in burlesque where we have some sort of narrative we are telling with our costume and movements; hula tells a story through one’s body, arms, and song.”

“Being born and raised in Hawaii, there’s a lot of history in hula within my family,” Ruby continued. “I had grown up dancing the Hula. Actually, as a child you had a required class in school called ‘Hawaiiana’. There was a kumu, or teacher, and a few times a week you’d have that class, learn about Hawaiian culture – the folklore, language, the specific characteristics to each island, Hawaiian games, and of course the dance – Hula.”

Ruby’s great great grandfather, Fritz Herman, started The Kodak Picture Hula Show in 1937 at the Waikiki Shell. The performance venue linked Hawaiian-style entertainment with photography by providing a hula show during the day, where traditionally the dance was only seen by tourists venturing out to evening luaus at resorts. Initially the Kodak Hula Show featured five dancers and four musicians, but the attraction quickly grew in popularity and expanded to a cast of 20 women, six men, and over a dozen musicians. The Kodak Hula Show ran for over 60 years.

Image from the Kodak Hula Show in 1997 (Star-Bulletin, 1997)

Image from the Kodak Hula Show in 1997 (Star-Bulletin, 1997)

“I have a strong connection to the hula, and even though I may be Haole girl (a white person)- I have Hawaiian soul and pride,” Ruby said. “I had always enjoyed Hula’s expressive, challenging, graceful, and strong tones. The soft sway in the hips as you glide across the grass or sand and the sharp pop of the knees in the uwehe, to that sexy grind of the ami and your own embrace and love of one’s body and shape. This dance comes from the heart, and you can see it from the feet and hands up to the face. You connect with your audience and draw them into your dance. I think that’s why I was immediately captivated and have grown so fond of burlesque. There are so many similarities… at least to me. I look forward to sharing this dance and art-form!”

Here are the details:

Hula Series with Ruby Mimosa

4 Wednesdays, 7-8:30pm
July 3 – 24th

Want a little tropical stay-cation? Look no further than here, Hula Hands & Hips! Miss Ruby Mimosa will help you achieve that soft dewy glow of the Pacific Islands right here in Seattle. Trained in the art of Hula, Ruby teaches the fundamentals and basic movements of this stunning storytelling dance form. Enjoy the classic and tropical tunes of Hawai’i while engaging your core strength and graceful beauty. Movement friendly clothes are preferred, and grass skirts are optional!

Class open to all levels, oriented towards beginning dancers who want a fun workout! $65 for the series, $17 drop-in. For more info, visit the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/131397980385845/, or check out the Academy’s curriculum page.

****************

Our second pick of the week (where incidentally, you’ll also find Ruby representing The Burlesque Boutique at the merch counter) is way more fun and only a little bit safer than fireworks: Freedom Fantasia. Now in its third season, DeLouRue Presents is mounting this year’s show for three nights/four shows at the Triple Door. Freedom Fantasia reclaims patriotism by taking a closer look at American history with honesty and high camp – exactly what we love from the production trio of BenDeLaCreme, Lou Henry Hoover, and Kitten LaRue. There will be buffalo, pasties, and drag – and what would the 4th of July be without a little tap dancing and historical rap?

Here are the details:

Freedom Fantasia
July 3rd, 5th (9pm), and 6th (8pm and 10:30pm),
The Triple Door 216 Union Street, Downtown Seattle
Tickets: $27-$33 www.tripledoor.net

DeLouRue Presents, a production company from Kitten LaRue (The Atomic Bombshells), BenDeLaCreme (TUCK!), and Lou Henry Hoover (The Cherdonna and Lou Show) invite you to experience their third annual Fourth Of July spectacular…featuring a venerable cast of Seattle luminaries, including WINNER of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5: internationally-beloved drag and theatrical sensation, JINKX MONSOON!

STARRING:
BenDeLaCreme
Kitten LaRue
Lou Henry Hoover
Jinkx Monsoon
Major Scales
Cherdonna Shinatra
J Von Stratton
Jim Kent
Markeith Wiley

Freedom Fantasia 2013!

Freedom Fantasia 2013!

Quick Change!

•06/26/2013 • Leave a Comment

~ Written by/interview by Paul O’Connell (POC Photo)

Bella Bijoux & Flirty Sanchez of Quick Change! (appearing here in Stripped Screw Burlesque's "Undressed to Kill") - POC Photo

Bella Bijoux & Flirty Sanchez of Quick Change! (appearing here in Stripped Screw Burlesque’s “Undressed to Kill”) – POC Photo

Flirty Sanchez and Bella Bijoux are bringing an exciting production to the Annex Theater July 5-6. Their two woman burlesque show, Quick Change!, is an inventive new undertaking in the realm of most burlesque formats. The show will feature the pair in 9 acts, 3 solos each, and 3 duets. Video segments will run in between (serving as a sort of narration) featuring Flirty and Bella as senior citizens reminiscing about the trials and tribulations of life and their friendship. The flashbacks and memories will serve as the burlesque acts. “I love the challenge with burlesque because it’s kind of ridiculous to think that two people can do a full show with all the costume changes and make it varied enough that people are interested for 75 minutes and aren’t bored seeing the same two pairs of boobs over and over again.”

As always, I love to get the bottom of people’s burlesque history and take a peek at their creative process. And this is certainly true with Quick Change. On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Volunteer Park, I met with Flirty and Bella. First we dined on burritos from Rancho Bravo, which seems to be a popular spot for these two ladies (they were greeted like Norm in “Cheers”). After finishing our meal and showing them my twerking headstand, I tried to get the low down on their exciting new production and how it came about. First however, a little background on these two burlesquers.

Flirty and Bella are graduates of Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque 101 & 202 classes. Flirty first took the 101 class on a recommendation by an improv teacher who thought it would help with some obstacles she was having in that class. (By the way, I think a lot of obstacles could be overcome through burlesque. Imagine a doctor writing a script or boss giving burlesque leave. Surely it would be a better world). As for Bella’s experience: the first burlesque show she saw was a 2007 performance by The Atomic Bombshells at The Columbia City theater while she was still in grad school. She decided that when she graduated she would take the 101 as a means to get out of her head and into her body. Initially she thought it would be a one-time thing, which Bella now says “was a big fat lie”. Burlesque for both Bella and Flirty eventually became an intense passion.

 Bella at a Burlesque 202 recital at West Hall (POC Photo)


Bella at a Burlesque 202 recital at West Hall (POC Photo)

It wasn’t until Heidi Von Haught asked both of them to be on the BurlyCon programming committee with Randi Rascal (Randi & Heidi btw are two other fabulous burlesque ladies and BFFs) that they really learned some of the burlesque ropes via their mentoring. “Whether they wanted to be or not,” Flirty says. “Just based on the fact that we spent so much time together and they had so much more experience.” The 2011 BurlyCon programming committee was also where Bella and Flirty met for the first time. It wasn’t long after that the pair became very good friends. Flirty remembers, “I think we had very similar backgrounds, upbringings, and values, so it was easy for us to become quick friends without any burlesque involved whatsoever; and then we also have very similar perspectives on burlesque and the kind of art we want to make.”

Flirty performing at the Pink Door (POC Photo)

Flirty performing at the Pink Door (POC Photo)

“There was a lot to do in the BurlyCon programming – especially the really stressful, layered, complex planning that has to happen – and I just liked the way her brain worked,” Bella adds. “I could see how she responds to stress and complications and being thrown off.”

“It’s by making fart noises with my mouth.” Flirty replies.

They also liked and respected each others’ burlesque talent as they got to see each other perform. “I feel really comfortable doing the ‘sultry sass attack’ and there’s a lot about watching Flirty from the comedy aspect that I wanted to absorb.” Bella mentions. Flirty agrees. “When I watch her slink across the stage I think, ‘oh that’s what it looks like to be a woman’…that’s what sexy looks like.”

Bella as Maleficent in Stripped Screw Burlesque's Disney after Dark (POC Photo)

Bella as Maleficent in Stripped Screw Burlesque’s Disney after Dark (POC Photo)

Their first act together was for Heidi and Randi’s That’s Fucked Up 3! in February 2012, followed by Stripped Screw Burlesque’s Undressed to Kill (which was reprised in May) and finally in a moving piece for Boobs for Barack back in October 2012. While they were rehearsing and performing in these shows the idea for Quick Change! began to take shape. I asked them more about its origins:

POC: When did you decide that you wanted to do a two-woman show together?

Flirty: I don’t know how our conversations about it started. We joked about being in a two-person troupe because neither of us were particularly interested in being in an actual troupe, so we kind of joked about it that way and then we had this bath bomb called Phoenix Rising. And then decided that was going to be the name of our troupe. So it was just this joke and it became…and I don’t remember when we were talking about it but we were like, ‘no really, let’s do this’.

Bella: Yes. Let’s actually do this…

A recent rehearsal (POC Photo)

A recent rehearsal (POC Photo)

POC: Was a two woman show what you always wanted to do together as opposed to a show with you two as primary players with a supporting cast?

Flirty: I was in a two-woman improv troupe and we were performing regularly for 2 years and I loved that format, I loved it. So the idea of doing it in burlesque was exciting because I already knew how a two person troupe operated but I also loved the challenge with burlesque.

Bella: We loved the idea of challenging ourselves to create a full show, something you would want to see where you would see a little bit of everything. You’d see something funny, sexy, silly, ridiculous, sad, political, sparkly, not so sparkly. Like something that would be dynamic enough that you could expect to see in a well put together show and then say how, the hell did you make that happen?

Flirty at rehearsal (POC Photo)

Flirty at rehearsal (POC Photo)

POC: How did you come up with the idea for Quick Change?

Flirty: I was in another improv troupe back in the day and we were supposed to do a show where we were old people at a retirement home and we were going to have photographs and the photographs were going to represent memories. We never did that show but I was very attached to the idea. There was something poignant and relatable about it. And so I feel like that influenced my excitement to do it because that was an idea that was never realized and then I was excited to turn it into a burlesque concept.

Bella: We weren’t compelled by an idea of a Bella and Flirty variety show. That felt like it wouldn’t get us anywhere. I would be bored by that. I remember us having a conversation reflecting on the privilege that we have of creating a life worth living and creating an intentional life and our art is part of what we’re building and so… we’re kind of projecting at future us, but thinking about how you have these opportunities to make magic happen in your life and when we’re old and wrinkly and fabulous, like in our real lives we want that to be what we’ve accomplished. But it’s interesting our characters in this show are not portraying a burlesque life. We’re using burlesque to tell stories about the shit that happens in your life like any normal person.

POC: The acts will be separated by video with the two of you as senior citizens being interviewed about life. Can you tell a little about this aspect of the show?

Flirty: We really just wanted it to be the two of us because we loved the challenge of that, so we decided to not have an emcee and this [the video] was the best way to replace one.

Bella: It has a great opportunity instead of relying on a host to know how to really capture what it is you’re trying to set up for the next act. Our characters get to do that for us. Some of them [the videos] are as brief as thirty seconds and some of them may be more like two or three minute videos.

POC: How has the rehearsal process been going?

Flirty: I think we also have to put on our producer hats at those moments and be realistic about what we want in our show and what is going to be good for the show so there have been certain ideas that have been shot down, lightly.

Bella: Like, ‘that’s interesting but that may not work here’ or ‘I know you super-duper want to send that message but that’s not reading, I can’t tell at all what you’re doing’.

POC: Has anyone else seen the rehearsals or given feedback?

Bella: We’re working with Stell(R) Films [on the video portion], who have been really special.

Flirty: Yeah and they have been good about playing artistic director so they gave us great direction with stuff so we definitely had someone in a directorial position there. As far as our acts go, it’s just been the two of us. We have definitely discussed and agreed that getting outside feedback would be extremely beneficial and intended to do so. I think the reason we haven’t is because we’ve been so overwhelmed with taking care of other more immediately pressing issues…However we have brainstormed ideas [for this show] with other performers in the community and we have given all our acts a lot of thought. And we are 300% confident we are going to bring it on stage.

A recent rehearsal shot of Flirty and Bella (POC Photo)

A recent rehearsal shot of Flirty and Bella (POC Photo)

POC: What does the future hold for both of you?

Bella: I want to travel more and go to more festivals and see what’s happening in other cities. I’m becoming very accustomed to loving our Seattle community and the way it can push and pull and think. You can be sad sexy, you can be a nerd, you can be silly, you can be thematic, you can be classic and we have all of that here. But looking at the bigger picture I want to know what it’s like in other cities.

Bella Bijoux (POC Photo)

Bella Bijoux (POC Photo)

Flirty: I feel like we both would love to take this show on the road. That would be a whole new level of challenge though, finding a venue outside of Seattle that can work with our tech needs and hire people in that community to help us with changing and stage managing. Taking it other places would be really cool. But outside of this show I think really what we’re lined up to do is just total world domination… no, I’m just kidding (laughs). I foresee us continuing to work together on stuff. I’d love to do more duets. This will be six duets total for us that we’ve done together with this show and I feel like I don’t think I will ever get tired of doing duets with Bella Bijoux.

(POC Photo)

(POC Photo)

POC: What are some of you final thoughts about your show?

Bella: The mechanics of actually trying to figure out how to put together a full length show with nine acts and how to divvy up the work and building a set list and thinking about how to actually do that many quick changes took a lot of crafting. I also like the integration of multimedia, integration of some of Flirty’s clowning and improv work that’s gone into it. You know burlesque being the art of the tease after we take our clothes off for the first time, the element of surprise is revealed. So there’s an added challenge to make the story itself compelling, the reveals, the story within each act…to bring it up a notch.

Flirty: We’re really excited to bring something different to the burlesque scene here. There’s a lot of variety already happening but the whole structure of this show is completely different than any other in recent years. I feel like this show is my wet dream because I constantly seek challenge and taking risks in the stuff that I do. I never want to become predictable, ever. That’s like my biggest fear as a performer and I feel like this show is the ultimate challenge.

Bella: This is the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt doing something because I’m not just presenting just one side of my performance. We’re showing you kind of everything. You’re seeing things you’re used to seeing Bella and Flirty do, and things you’re not used to seeing us do. There’s a tremendous privilege we have to be able to put this on the stage for our community to see. Some days I wake up in a state of panic and other days when I watch videos of our rehearsals or I look at our costume pieces or what we’re creating and I get really fucking excited.

****

Flirty and Bella’s two-woman show Quick Change! is July 5-6 at The Annex Theatre at 7:30 pm. Get tickets and info HERE.

Quick Change! (Photo by Witty Pixel)

Quick Change! (Photo by Witty Pixel)

Burlesque = Magic: Sailor St. Claire on Accio Burlesque.

•06/23/2013 • Leave a Comment
Accio Burlesque hits the Annex next weekend.

Accio Burlesque hits the Annex next weekend.

~ Written by Jessica P.

As someone who never ‘got into’ the Harry Potter series (though I had plenty of my own obsessions growing up and picked up more than a few new ones in adulthood), it’s nonetheless been interesting to watch a national obsession take place from the outside looking in. When the films were released I recall walking downtown to work pre-dawn while fans wrapped in their finest cloaks and hats lined up around the block to get in line for the premiere. Their excitement was palpable. Although it wasn’t a love I could relate to, it was one I recognized.

Seraphina Fiero

Seraphina Fiero

Aces & Anchors Productions will reimagine J.K. Rowling’s novels and the films they inspired on June 28-29 at the Annex Theatre with Accio Burlesque. One of the show’s producers, Sailor St. Claire, took a moment to explain the context of the series in her own life, and why the novels inspired a burlesque show as well as the aforementioned national obsession:

Burlesque Seattle Press: Can you tell me why Harry Potter is ripe for burlesque-ing? How did you arrive at the show and what is your take on it?

Sailor St. Claire: One of the things that’s most appealing about the Harry Potter series is that it is about magic, and about being magical. I know that makes it seem like it would be better suited to another genre of performance that we think of as inherently more magical, something like circus arts or stage magic. But burlesque is magic. When I started working with magician Ace Carter in 2011, I came to realize that our two artforms operated on the same principles. We were both producing things and vanishing them, transforming them, crafting our acts around a series of clever, flashy reveals. He does it through sleight of hand, and I do it through costuming. There’s actually a long historical tradition of burlesque and magic sharing the same stages, but no one really does it anymore. So it was very attractive to me to create a burlesque show that was actually about magic, and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series is one of the most accessible cultural touchstones for magic we have through which I could do that.

Paco Fish

Paco Fish

Sailor St. Claire: I am also, of course, a fan of the Harry Potter series. I grew up with Harry Potter, and that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do with Harry and his friends: grow up with them. The series is a classic bildungsroman, a novel of becoming, that puts Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Malfoy and the others through a process in which they become adults, active citizens of their world. I started reading the series a couple of years after it came out in the States when I was a sophomore in high school, not all that much older than Harry & Co. were at the start of Sorcerer’s Stone. Although it wasn’t magical, Hogwarts did bear a passing resemblance to the world I inhabited as a Catholic school student. And a lot of my fonder memories of high school involved dressing up in cloaks and our school uniforms and attending midnight showings of all of the movies. When Deathly Hallows was released, my husband and I preordered two copies on Amazon and spent 2 days at home, not talking to each other, just reading the book together. I attended both parts of the Deathly Hallows films with a couple of friends who had taught the Harry Potter novels at UW, and the minute the picture started for Deathly Hallows Part 2, we couldn’t help but cry because, in some ways, the end of the Harry Potter series marked a significant point in our own becoming. I had grown up so much with Harry Potter — and the movies let me make that journey a little longer than the books alone would have — and I could mark my life by when I read a book or saw a film, and the weight of knowing that was finally over seemed to signal the finality of a right of passage. The magic was over. Now I had to be an adult.

But with burlesque, Harry Potter doesn’t have to be over. By “poaching” this text, revisiting it, transforming it, and rewriting it through a different genre, it gets to be alive again. (See my Burlesque Seattle Press article from last summer for further thoughts on burlesque and textual poaching.) We get to go back to Hogwarts, we get to tell new stories, to live in the magic of “becoming” something again.

BSP: What appeals to you about these characters? (Knowing the way you think, there’s bound to be some complexity in there…)

Sailor St. Claire: Rowling’s characters are very real and richly detailed, and having spent so much of my life reading and watching these characters, they’re very easy to identify with. As a person who has always liked school, I love that the Harry Potter series is set in a school, and that each book is organized around the acquisition of knowledge. Hermione Granger is the character who identifies most with that process, and she’s continually rewarded for that, which I think rarely happens in real life — especially for young girls, where being smart isn’t something that’s typically valued. But these books tell us that knowledge is a magical thing, and that setting is particularly appealing to me. However, the series also understands that there are multiple ways to come to knowledge that aren’t simply defined by academic success — and that’s something we forget in real world education (although I know every educator is trying his or her hardest to work around and within that system). There’s this beautiful moment at the end of Sorcerer’s Stone where Dumbledore awards House points to Ron, Harry & Hermione for destroying the Sorcerer’s Stone and commends them on the skills they displayed to do so: Ron’s loyalty, Harry’s bravery, and Hermione’s cleverness. Their knowledges aren’t all equal, but they’re all recognized as worthwhile.

And we as readers are constantly being immersed in that same quest for knowledge as we grapple with learning the ins and outs of the new and fantastic world we’re being presented with, and that thirst for more magical knowing is deepened and enriched with each book. I just really love that process of learning and knowing that’s experienced by both the characters and the readers throughout the series.

BSP: For those of us (like me!) that never immersed themselves in the books/movies, will the show still have some material we can grasp? Or is it mostly a love letter to and for fans?

Sailor St. Claire: We have a lot of conversations about accessibility of material in nerdlesque. For me, I want all the nerdlesque acts to still be based on good striptease at their core, and I think all of these acts are. This cast is incredibly dedicated to each of the characters they are playing, so I think that even folks who are less intensely familiar with Harry Potter will be able to access who the characters are, their goals, their desires, etc. There are also a couple of “conceptual” pieces that fit into the Harry Potter universe but aren’t specifically tied to a character, and I think those types of pieces really translate to a non-fan audience. There’s also, of course, stage magic — and you definitely don’t have to know Harry Potter to access that. But the “easter eggs” for hardcore fans are still there in the details: specific stitching on a character’s corset that Scarlett O’Hairdye created for Norse Goddess, the inclusion of certain gestures crafted by the actors in the films that Al Lykya and Whisper De Corvo are preserving, and some exploration of the cast’s own fan experiences with Harry Potter, like Lady Laycock’s act, which draws from her own adventures in Pottermore. Furthermore, the show is framed as a retelling: it’s JK Rowling returning to the world she invented to do something new with it. Some of the stories pick up on where characters left off, some of them create moments that never happened but should have, some of them tell stories that we may have wanted to see but just wouldn’t be appropriate in a young adult series, and some of them are just our imagination. We’re not aiming to be slavish, but mischievous. We solemnly swear we are up to no good.

*****

Accio Burlesque features performances by Paco Fish (Baltimore, MD), Whisper De Corvo, Seraphina Fiero, Scarlett O’Hairdye, Bolt Action, Tootsie Spangles, Hattie HellKat, Lady Drew Blood, Sara Dipity, Queenie O’Hart, Maggie McMuffin, Lady Laycock, Al Lykya, The Norse Goddess, Ace Carter, and Sailor St. Claire.

June 28 & 29 (8 pm), @ Annex Theater, 1100 Pike Street, Seattle, WA

$25 General Admission, $40 VIP. Get tickets HERE.

Bolt Action

Bolt Action

Scarlett O'Hairdye in Critical Hit Burlesque's "Geeklesque Reruns"

Scarlett O’Hairdye in Critical Hit Burlesque’s “Geeklesque Reruns”

Picks of the Glitter: June 17-24.

•06/16/2013 • Leave a Comment

Forgive our recent absence from the fourth dimension (which is of course, the internet)…Burlesque Seattle Press has been looking for new offices in which to set up our laptops and cameras.

While we cram as many burlesque books, interview transcripts, skin mags, and enviable pin-up collections into as many fancy boxes as we can, we bring you this week’s top show Picks of the Glitter (in chronological order). There’s quite a lot of fun to be had this week in all points Northwest:

Debauchery (June 20, Neighbours Nightclub, Seattle)

I haven’t yet made it out to a night of Debauchery (at least not this particular variety), but the rotating lineup of this monthly fund-raising series serving the queer community always catches my eye. Thursday’s show features one of my personal heroines Miss Kitty Baby, plus Inga Ingenue (Miss Viva Las Vegas 2011). Here’s the full lineup:

BennyTinger
Di King
Candy Apples
Cherry Tart
Dahlia Ste. Cyr
EmpeROAR Fabulous!!!
Gema Lusterious
Inga Ingenue
Miss Kitty Baby
Miss Violet DeVille
Tiger Bombshell
Hosted by: Ko$ha!

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6796184571/efbevent

*****

TUSH! Burlesque does Vegas! (June 22, Capitol Theater, Olympia)

Our best girlfriends in Olympia bring it every time. Were you too broke to head to the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekender this year? Never fear, TUSH! is bringing a little bit of Vegas right to the heart of our sweet little capital city. Sinful desires? Healing hands? Deep pockets? Sounds like a wild ride that should be guided strictly by professionals, and nobody does it better than this gang of ladies. Best of all, fresh from competing for the title Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Austin’s Coco Lectric will join the troupe, as well as Paco Fish (from San Francisco, via Baltimore). Here’s the scoop on guests and tix:

COCO LECTRIC
A classically trained dancer, actor, and vocalist, Coco Lectic graces stages all over the world. She’s a founding member of The Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue (Austin, TX), founder of the Austin Burlesque Alliance, co-producer of the Texas Burlesque Festival, creator and producer of the World Go-Go Championship, the Headmistress of The Austin Academy of Burlesque, AND she holds the #5 spot in the world in 21st Century Burlesque’s “Burlesque Top 50.” Coco’s skill, grace, style and love of performing are evident in every act. A featured performer and headliner, Coco won “Queen of Burlesque 2010” at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, was “2010 Texas Performer of the Year” from the Hotrods and Heels festival, won the “2009 Audience Choice Award” at the Texas Burlesque Festival, and was second runner up in the 2011 Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition.

PACO FISH
Paco Fish thrives on duality. He’s a dynamic performer of spoken and physical comedy, burlesque, boylesque, stilt walking, clown, mime, and a variety of other mediums. Whether playing a freshwater turtle in forbidden saltwater love, a tramp with a deal with the devil, or the whole history of modern France, Paco dismantles assumptions and defies convention with humor and passion. The founder of Baltimore’s Sticky Buns Burlesque, Paco currently holds the titles “King of Southern Exposure,” “King of Carolina Sweet Tease,” and “Most Humorous” from both the Great Burlesque Exposition and The Carolina Burlesque Festival.

$15.00 advance tickets available at Rainy Day Records, or online ($20 at box office night of show): http://www.olympiafilmsociety.org/

Vegas Promo3

Vegas Promo2

TUSH! does Vegas Poster

*****

Let’s Hear it For the Boys (June 22, Teatro ZinZanni, Seattle)

Teatro ZinZanni is thrilled to announce its first-ever, all male late night cabaret revue, Let’s Hear It For The Boys. This pre-Pride weekend, pre-funk variety show features Seattle’s best boylesque, drag, and circus talents under the legendary Teatro ZinZanni spiegeltent. Complete with a “Catwalk-Off,” a dance party intermission and post-show dancing to the beats of the one and only DJ Nark, Let’s Hear It For The Boys is the ultimate, one-night-only event to kick off PRIDE celebrations.

Let’s Hear It For The Boys features the jack-of-all-trades entertainer and host, Jasper McCann, international boylesque sensation Waxie Moon, the sexy comedic male review Buckaroos USA, former Can Can Castaway and crowd favorite Faggedy Randy, drag king performance artist Lou Henry Hoover, Diablo artist Alex Zerbe, and other local cabaret sensations.

Party-goers are encouraged to arrive as early as 10:30pm for a pre-show drink in Teatro ZinZanni’s gorgeous lobby and to nosh on light-bite dishes from the a la carte menu. Tableside food and drink service will continue throughout the event.

June 22 -11:15pm-1:30am, Doors at 10:30pm

Online Box Office: http://bit.ly/16ekrvH or dreams.zinzanni.org

11X17-No Bleed-Poster.eps

*****

NERDIVERSARY: A Birthday Celebration (June 22, Gallery Above Theatre Off Jackson, Seattle)

It’s a burlesque show. It’s a dance party. It’s an uncensored peek into the strange thoughts and obsessions of
Jo Jo Stiletto and friends. Costumes encouraged. What’s a Nerdiversary? It’s a brand new holiday that allows one to freely celebrate their fan obsessions AND their birthday at the same time without shame or remorse. Jo Jo has asked some of her favorite people to bring special acts together that tickle her nerd fancies. Acts may or may not include the following: randy robots, BSG, a ruggedly handsome Fillion, ST:TNG, a different side of Gaga, Twin Peaks, Catan, Cat Memes, Canadian Sideboob (aka, Lost Girl), sexy math, obscure references to British sitcoms, and so so much more.

Tickets are in very high demand for this one…check HERE to see what’s available.

Featuring:
Iva Handfull
Al Lykya
Sailor St. Claire
Bolt Action
Scarlett O’Hairdye
Evilyn Sin Claire
Lady Drew Blood
Lexi Luthor
Jesus La Pinga
Miss Elaine Yes
Rebecca M Davis
Sophie Maltease
Lady Laycock
Trooper
Ernie Von Schmaltz
Violet Tendencies

*****

Bitch Slap! Burlesque: Cabaret Inspired by the Genius of John Waters (June 23 & 30, Star Theater, Portland)

Rocket and Vera Mysteria (the ladies who brought the David Lynch-inspired Black Lodge Burlesque to Portland and Seattle) now tackle the father of all things bizarre and unholy: John Waters. All I can say is Francine Fishpaw better be represented…and this idea is brilliant.

This show takes place over two consecutive Sundays at Portland’s Star Theater. (And just a little early warning…Black Lodge, now in its fourth year, will return in August for four shows in both cities).

For info on Bitch Slap! Burlesque: Cabaret Inspired by the Genius of John Waters, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/454754101277429/?fref=ts

John waters flyer

 
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