Lily Verlaine & friends take “The Countess of Coffee” to BHoF.
~ Interview by Jessica Price
Lily Verlaine heads back to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender this year with a twist…she’s performing a fanciful group number with partners from an act we look forward to each year when the weather turns chilly. Lily took a few moments this week to share her pre-show thoughts and what we can expect under the Vegas sun:
Burlesque Seattle Press: You’re back on stage at BHoF this year! So incredibly exciting…and you’ll be teaming up with some beloved partners this year in the “Best Group” category. Can you tell us a little about this very special act, and just why you wanted to perform it in Vegas?
Lily Verlaine: We are bringing “The Countess of Coffee” from Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker. I absolutely love performing it and found it timely to give it a little face-lift. Typically, I’m so swamped around Nutcracker time that I have absolutely no time or space to focus on my own performance and costuming, so in this relatively relaxed time of year, I was able to give it the love and attention it deserves. Jasper McCann and I have some thoughts around expanding our reach and touring in the future, so we thought it would be good to show a piece from the show to the international community. With regard to The Originals [Paris and Trojan]: love, love, love them! They are both wonderful partners and I believe we have been doing this act together for five years or so. They each possess unique strengths and I am so thrilled the act and my body are in their capable hands once again.
BSP: The logistics of your act and your cross-country itinerary sound pretty epic already…what are you hauling to Vegas, and what are you up to along the way?
Lily: Well, Paula [Paulanow, who many know as The Swedish Housewife] and I haven’t had an epic adventure since we went to Buenos Aires in 2008, so when she offered to hitch my giant coffee cup to the back of her vehicle, I naturally welcomed the opportunity to spend time together. Our trip will include a stop at a yoga retreat, a rock festival, and an appearance at artist and historian Scott Ewalt’s “Back in the Night” at the Hinge Modern gallery in Los Angeles.
BSP: How do you feel about once again sharing a stage with so many friends & family from Seattle burlesque? Our city is so well represented, as always…
Lily: It is really exciting that the performers from Seattle are so diverse in their styles. It is really a testament to the fact that many voices and backgrounds contribute to the larger whole of the “voice” of our city and I am proud that the performances we will be presenting are in no way homogenized.
BSP: You’ve (very fabulously) been a part of the Tournament of Tease competition before. Does the fact that you’re been through this already make it easier to just have fun and enjoy the experience, regardless of any backstage nerves and tension with so many performers buzzing around in their own private pre-show headspace?
Lily: I tend to approach this event as an opportunity to improve what I’m doing, so there tends to be a radical element in play at all times. This time, I’ve had the costumes completely redesigned by Louise deLenge, so what I have been accustomed to after hundreds of performances will be all new. We also needed to change some of the choreography to fit the time limit, so that will be new as well. This event will keep me on my toes as always!
BSP: What’s next for you this summer, post-BHoF?
Lily: We are re-mounting Burlesco diVino in October, so I will be spending quite a bit of time polishing that up and giving it a few re-writes as I tend to do. Also, I will be in the pre-production phase of a new show and project that I have been writing and conceiving for three years.