Paris is burning.
~ Written by/interview by Paul O’Connell (POC Photo)
Another Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend approaches and with that a new Reigning Queen of Burlesque will crowned, along with King of Boylesque, Best Duo, Best Group and Best Debut. The 23rd Annual Tournament of Tease takes place June 1 at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, but the weekender kicks off with the star-studded Movers, Shakers & Innovators showcase on Thursday, followed by the 56th Annual Titans of Tease Reunion showcase on Friday, and finally closing out with the Icons and All-Stars showcase on Sunday.
The Pacific Northwest is well represented on all 4 nights: Russell Bruner, Sandria Dore, and Swing Time from Portland; Nicky Ninedoors, Brother Keys, Sweet Soul Burlesque, Lola Frost, Melody Mangler, Villainy Loveless, Ruthe Ordare, and Burgundy Brixx from Vancouver BC; and from our own backyard Velvet Ice, Trojan Original, Iva Handfull, and Miss Indigo Blue will represent Seattle. Paris Original and Waxie Moon will go head to head (among other great performers from around the country) for King of Boylesque, and Sydni Deveraux will compete for the coveted Reigning Queen of Burlesque title.
We asked the Seattle performers a few questions about performing and competing at this year’s BHoF weekend. First up this week, we bring you Paris Original.
A little background…Paris, a professional dancer, first arrived on the burlesque scene in 2009 in Paula the Swedish Housewife’s production House of Thee Unholy 3. Since then he has appeared in a variety of shows including Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann’s Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker, Burlesco Divino, L’Edition Francaise & Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice in Wonderland. Paris also appeared in Stripped Screw Burlesque’s Disney After Dark and Clown Stripper Productions That’s F*cked UP! He is also one of the founding members of Seattle’s male burlesque troupe Mod Carousel and performs regularly at The Pink Door.
POC: What’s it like to be chosen to perform in the Best Boylesque category? And what’s it like competing with a fellow Seattle-ite, Waxie Moon?
Paris Original: I feel so honored to have been chosen to compete. I was in such disbelief when I first read the confirmation letter that I had to read it several times to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. I’ve really been trying to push the competition aspect out of my head. I’ve done a few dance competitions in the past and always found that focusing on competing was distracting and ultimately detracted from my performance, so I’m just trying to focus on my performance itself.
I love that all four of us in the category this year [Mr. Gorgeous, Ray Gunn, Waxie, Paris] are such different performers who offer very different things to boylesque and I’m super excited for the opportunity to share what I do with everyone at BHoF.
As for competing against a fellow Seattleite, I’m just proud of us both for getting into the competition at all. I’m really proud of the Seattle scene in general for having such great representation at BHoF this year!
POC: What influenced your decision to choose the particular act you submitted to BHoF?
Paris Original: The act has always been a crowd pleaser. I’ve received many spontaneous standing ovations for that number and often times burlesque performers in particular get really excited about it so out of all the acts in my repertoire it seemed the best suited for BHoF.
POC: Before your first burlesque show what were some of your impressions of burlesque?
Paris Original: When I was first exposed to burlesque I remember thinking it seemed really fun. And rowdy. I liked that there was so much room for artistic freedom and exploration of gender representations. It’s an art form that doesn’t feel as constrained as other forms of performance art, and dance in particular, can be.
POC: Do you have any goals you would like to reach in burlesque or any other performing art?
Paris Original: My current goals are to grow my success and travel opportunities. I have so many ideas that would require much bigger budgets than I currently have at my disposal. It would be so lovely to get to a point where I can make those ideas come to life and share those ideas with the world!