Kitten N’ Lou: “The World’s Show-Busiest” duo take on BHoF 2014.
~ Interviewed by Jessica Price
Continuing our series of chats with the Seattle performers soon off to shake their moneymakers in Vegas at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender, today we bring you a quick n’ dirty Q&A with Kitten N’ Lou, who will compete at the 24th Annual Tournament of Tease in the “Best Group” category…
Burlesque Seattle Press: You and Lou are both seasoned performers with a ton of dance training between the two of you. Then together you fuse into a dancing duo that really ranks up there in my book with some of those famous duos from the MGM musicals you were raised on. Can you give us a little A-Z of your dance background, and Lou’s?
Kitten LaRue: Awww, that’ s so sweet! One of our favorite press quotes described us as a “fluorescent Fred and Ginger” (21st Century Burlesque Magazine), who we of course idolize! I grew up doing your standard ballet/tap/jazz training my whole life, was a “Dixie Darling” in college (yep, full on pom-pom wielding dance team cheerleader!), and then started my burlesque career in New Orleans, learning classic bump n’ grind moves from legends like Wild Cherry and Kitty West. Lou has a much more intense dance training background, studying dance from age 3 through a BFA. He has had a decade long career in Seattle as a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and teacher before melting hearts everywhere as a stripping drag king!
BSP: What have you and Lou been up to so far this year? A whole lot of traveling and performing abroad we see…and you’re bi-coastal now!
KL: WHEW it has been quite the whirlwind year! We got married last July, and it’s been absolutely non-stop since literally the day after our wedding. Our yearly summer residency in Provincetown and an Australian tour with my troupe The Atomic Bombshells, a month long European tour as Kitten N’ Lou, producing DeLouRue shows with BenDeLaCreme (who had quite the year herself!), and somehow we managed to find ourselves a sweet little pad in Manhattan in the midst of all this! Being bi-coastal has been really fortifying….we love Seattle for how it has nurtured and sustained our artistic endeavors for years, but it’s also been thrilling to get new inspiration from the energy and incredible artists living in NYC. Our two worlds collide this week: Lou and I will be performing in BenDeLaCreme’s Off-Broadway debut, “TERMINALLY DELIGHTFUL” at the Laurie Beechman theater in NYC!
BSP: What are your previous histories with attending or performing at BHoF?
KL: I had the honor and pleasure of being invited to perform my Lily Christine Cat Girl tribute act in the Legends showcase at BHOF several years ago. It was so fabulous and special to get to share a backstage with all of the legends who were also performing that night. I spent much of the evening chatting with La Savona, and the stories that woman had, let me tell you….! She gave me an autographed photo of herself as a sexy intergalactic explorer which then became my inspiration to create The Atomic Bombshells “Lost In Space” show. Lou and I went to BHOF together (Lou’s first) last year with Dr. Jen as spokesmodels for Atomic Cosmetics and had a total blast! We essentially created a buzz just from changing our outfits every two hours and having a ridiculous non-stop fashion parade, ha! We left that weekend feeling inspired and re-invigorated about the form itself.
BSP: How do you feel about being included this year, along with so many other friends & family from Seattle burlesque?
KL: We just feel so honored and excited to be competing for Best Duo! Seattle has definitely made a name for itself internationally as being a truly accomplished BQ scene, and the number of people repping the PacNW this year only further solidifies that. Lou and I are excited to represent not just Seattle burlesque, but the drag, dance, and queer communities that we are both deeply entrenched in as well. The work we create is a collision of all of these expressive worlds, and we are excited to bring that sensibility to Vegas.
BSP: Traditionally, you’re not one to enter into competitive festivals and such around the country. What made this year feel special to you?
KL: BHoF wasn’t a possibility for me for several years because I was touring extensively every summer with my band The Intelligence, which I’m now taking time off from to focus solely on performing and producing. I’ve also been very fortunate to have created a sustainable career as a producer/performer for the last decade, without doing much of the festival/competition circuit… but BHoF is so much more than just a competition, as anyone who’s ever been can attest to. It’s a chance to perform on the biggest stage in your industry, for and with your peers, fans, and heroes, and to feel part of something so expansive and magical! It’s an amazing way to pay homage to Dixie and all of the legends who are THE reason we get to be professional weirdos now. This year also felt special in that Lou and I have started to create work specifically as a duo fairly recently, and the response that we’ve gotten from audiences and our peers has been so loving, supportive, and enthusiastic that we just want to spread it all over the place!
BSP: Any little hints at what we can expect in Vegas?
KL: Just a couple of sparkly dancing married super gay drag clowns performing the most ecstatic disco suicide pact you’ve ever seen. (In glorious Danial Webster costumes of course!)
After BHoF, Kitten N’ Lou will be performing at World Pride in Toronto. Here in Seattle, you can catch Lou Henry Hoover in There Once Was A Man (June 20 & 21 @ ReBar)…and don’t miss the annual extravaganza that is Freedom Fantasia (July 2 & 3 @ The Triple Door), featuring of course, both Kitten N’ Lou.