Bootleg Burlesque and a chat with Solange Corbeau and Flirty Sanchez.
-Written and photographed by Paul O’Connell of POC Photo (Contributor, Seattle)
Bootleg Burlesque is a new Prohibition-era themed show produced by Solange Corbeau and Flirty Sanchez. The show’s unique concept- proving that budgetary limitations don’t necessarily limit creativity- is the brain child of Solange. With this in mind, the producers requested that the evening’s performers follow certain guidelines:
• All acts must be completely new
• The entire act must cost $50 or less to put together
• No costume piece or prop can be re-used if it has ever seen the burlesque stage before
• No mess, no glitter
Performers are permitted to borrow items from others, as long the items haven’t been previously used for burlesque. Solange explained how she came up with these parameters:
“I love burlesque so much I wasn’t going to let something like a lack of costume budget stand in my way of creating my art. I also figured that there were others in the community who are also in a similar boat, and would appreciate the challenge of working within strict parameters. I know that some of the most creative things I have ever come up with in my life have happened because there has been a boundary. I think that sometimes boundaries give you the freedom to explore.”
Flirty came to the project after meeting Solange in Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque Spring 202 class. “I love how creative, open, and entertaining she is,” Solange says of Flirty. “She is such a gift to the burlesque community. She also doesn’t shy away from challenges, and I really really appreciate that in a person. I spoke with her this past summer about my idea and I was thrilled when she was interested in co-producing with me.”
The space for the show, Happy Endings Urban Mercantile, is also unconventional. It’s an antique store on Capitol Hill. There will be no alcohol served at the venue (or any refreshments) which means nudity is technically permitted (Washington law states that any establishment serving liquor cannot also have nudity). Given the lack of restrictions, there may be performers who incorporate nudity into their acts.
A performer’s personal history and introduction to burlesque is often very interesting. Naturally I asked Bootleg Burlesque’s producers how they got involved in the scene here in Seattle. “I believe that I have loved burlesque since I was very young. I just didn’t know that it was ‘burlesque’ that I loved,” Solange tells me. She grew up studying theater and dance and eventually majored in theater at the University of Texas. She also studied sexuality and the erotic arts. “Shortly after moving to Seattle in 2006 I found out about the burlesque scene here. It took me five years, a ticket to Shine: A Burlesque Musical, a breakup, and a renewed interested in following my own personal bliss to get me to just bite the monetary bullet and enroll in the [Miss Indigo Blue’s] Academy in January 2011.”
Flirty’s introduction came a few months earlier when she decided to quit her high-stress job and do things that previously scared her. “I had been performing as an improviser at the time and I was having trouble committing (one of the most important keys to doing good improv), which ultimately stemmed from doubting myself and the choices I was making on stage. I figured that if I could handle taking my clothes off in front of a room full of strangers, I could handle playing a doctor on Mars who delivered alien babies from milk cartons. I had an improv teacher who had taken boylesque and he highly encouraged me to sign up for the Burlesque 101 class to help me overcome those obstacles.” Needless to say they both enjoyed their 101 experience. “I was beyond hooked,” Flirty said. Eventually Flirty met Solange in a 202 class, and the rest is Bootleg Burlesque history.
Both ladies have high hopes for the show. Flirty tells me, “My hope for Bootleg Burlesque is to provide a show that’s a little bit off the beaten path of the Seattle burlesque community. Because the acts are all new and constrained by a budget, it forces the performers to do what they do best – create – under different terms, and in most cases, outside the box. It is so easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour, as both an audience member and performer, and taking that element out highlights aspects I think really make great acts – connection with the audience, clever reveals, polished movement, compelling story/statement, theatrics, not in the sense of big, fancy props, but rather in the sense of taking the audience on an emotional journey that is entertaining and fulfilling.”
The show stars:
with the jazz vocal stylings of Sara Dipity
and hosted by Diva le Déviant
Saturday December 3
Doors 7:30pm/ Show 8:00pm
Seating is limited so please arrive early
Happy Endings Urban Mercantile
1409 East Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98122
Click HERE for the Bootleg Burlesque event page.