The Luminous Pariah

The Luminous Pariah has been popping up more and more in Seattle burlesque over the last two years, and once you’ve been accosted by his particular brand of hyper-intelligent satire mixed with avant-garde costume pageantry you’ll understand why. He’s a bit like a male version of Bjork, only minus the annoying bits and cutesy affectations.

Luminous- who grew up in Juneau and studied theater at Cornish- draws form and skill from an extensive dance and theater background. But he credits ecology, his current area of obsession, with many of his ideas. The interaction between organism and environment appears in a lot of his burlesque, as evidenced by “Bird of Paradise” and “The Greatest Catch” (in which Luminous guts a fish that’s swallowed a glittery pair of heels).

Luminous explained the thought process behind these acts:

My idea for “Bird of Paradise” came from watching Planet Earth, narrated by David Attenborough. I think it’s amazing that those isolated birds have evolved to sport such fantastical displays and elaborate mating dances. I can’t help but notice the parallels between the extravagant displays the birds of paradise put on to attract a mate, and the almost equally ridiculous displays that human “peacocks” put on to attract a mate. It’s also interesting that ritualized dance is part of all existing human cultures; and some other animals as well.

Bird of Paradise: The Luminous Pariah (ELD Images)

“The Greatest Catch” my fisherman act, came from the mental block that I had creating a piece to debut in my hometown in Alaska. I was afraid of how a crowd full of Coast Guard dudes and fishermen might receive me; so I took that fear and ran with it – I turned it into a burlesque version of what it was like growing up in a small Alaskan town.

The Greatest Catch: The Luminous Pariah (ELD Images)

The Greatest Catch, part 2 (ELD Images)

As for his involvement in burlesque and the gender-specific trappings that go along with it, Luminous has this to say:

I stumbled across a burlesque show two years ago and was blown away. I had no idea that burlesque could be an artful, tasteful, extremely creative and affective form of theatre. I had to be a part of it!

I don’t have a problem when “boylesque” is used in my title, however I think that using the title “boylesque” further separates me from my fellow artists who happen to be female. Personally, if the only difference between burlesque and boylesque is what gender my character/persona is, or what happens to be dangling (or snugly nestled) between my legs, then why refer to us separately?

The Luminous Pariah appeared in Nightcap: L’Edition Francaise and Grab My Junk with Jo Boobs, as well as in Shine: A Burlesque Musical in Seattle and NYC. Catch him next at Can Can’s WTF Wednesday (January 5 @ 7:30pm), and find out more about Luminous by visiting

~ by angrytruffle on 12/28/2010.

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