Back Bar Beauties: Smokin’ Hot and calling for auditions.
– by Paul O’Connell (Contributing Writer and Photographer, Seattle)
Back Bar Beauties, a Seattle troupe that’s been performing in Seattle for the past year and a half, will premiere their show Smokin’ Hot Burlesque at The Crocodile’s Back Bar on March 15 with special guests Kylie Koyote of Stripped Screw Burlesque and Fuchsia FoXXX.
I talked with founding member Laela Lovechild about how she got involved in burlesque and the origins of Back Bar Beauties. Two summers ago (while getting a tattoo), Laela happened to see a flyer for an Academy of Burlesque 101 class and thought it would be fun to take. “To be honest I really had no idea what to expect, so the attractive part of it was the adventure, not knowing what the hell I was getting myself into! I remember most of my thoughts during Burlesque 101 being: ‘Am I really going to do this? Holy shit, I invited all my friends and their boyfriends. Am I making a total ass of myself?’ After going through all these emotions of panic, I just said fuck it, have fun! Once I got on stage, all those negative thoughts disappeared.”
Despite her trepidation about performing burlesque, Laela has been involved in dance and gymnastics since the age of 5 and was no stranger to performing itself. “I absolutely love performing, and the thing I love most about burlesque is that I have the freedom to be silly and sexy at the same time.”
Just as Laela happened to see the 101 flyer by chance, one night she found herself randomly discussing burlesque with the management of a local bar. “I happened to be there one night and we started talking about burlesque. I told him I just started doing burlesque and he asked if I was interested in putting a show together…of course I said yes!” That was a year and a half ago.
“Though I had little experience, I did some research, found some amazing ladies, and somehow managed to make it happen. The lovely Shanghai Pearl took me under her wing and gave me a lot of great advice. I think the best thing she taught me was to relax, no matter what everything will always be okay. Best advice ever- because things happen all the time that you don’t expect, and you just roll with the punches and problem solve,” Laela explained.
“The original Back Bar Beauties were myself, Donatella MeLies (who was in 101 with me), my friend Tawdry Audrey, and Sparkle Lee (our gorgeous kitten). It would be the four of us plus special guests like Sass E Delure and Shanghai Pearl. Then we met Tin Pan Sally (our personal singing Disney princess) and soon after, Madisun Avenue and Olatsa Assin. What I love about our troupe is that we all have outside talents that we bring into burlesque. Our shows have something for everyone and we put on an eclectic and fun, entertaining show.”
Back Bar Beauties don’t have a regular host, instead preferring to rotate to keep the shows “different & exciting.” Flirty Sanchez (aka Aunt Trudy) and Miss Anita Goodman have been a few of their rotating hosts. Two troupe members- Tin Pan Sally and Donatella MeLies- recently moved to LA and will perform as Back Bar Beauties there (as well as performing independently). They will continue to appear with Seattle’s troupe on a quarterly basis. As a result, Back Bar Beauties will hold auditions for guest performers and possible troupe members on March 11 at Theater Puget Sound (4pm-6pm, Room B). Further details can be found here:
A question I always like to ask burlesquers is: who are some performers, past or present, that you admire? “There are a lot of performers I look up to and respect,” says Laela. “Though she is our Queen, she has still been my burlesque mom since day one, Indigo Blue. I just really love her style. She is hilarious and has amazing comedic timing. She is the type of performer you could watch for hours. She taught me a great deal on how important facial expressions are when you’re performing. I also really love the Schlep Sisters. One because they are hot Jewish girls…two…there are two of them! They always have super cute choreographed routines, and I like how they interact with their audiences. Some of my other favorites are Waxie Moon, the ‘Luminous Pariah, and of course Gypsy Rose Lee.”
“I really love and appreciate the art of burlesque. I am so grateful to be a part of this welcoming community.”
Info on the upcoming show at The Crocodile can be found here: