Picks of the Glitter: JOYstick! and the Secret Diaries of Anita Goodmann.

•09/17/2013 • Leave a Comment
This weekend!

This weekend!

~ Written by Paul O’Connell (POC Photo)

This week in glitter land, two shows return in their second incarnations. First up JOYstick! Level 2 this Friday and Saturday (September 20 & 21) at the Columbia City Theater. JOYstick! originally premiered during last year’s epic Summer of Nerdlesque.

Miss Elaine Yes (Photo by Jackie Kingsbury)

Miss Elaine Yes (Photo by Jackie Kingsbury)

“This year was about going bigger and better. Last year was amazing, but we wanted to expand more into a story that ties the show together, and we wanted to include games and gaming concepts that we weren’t able to do last year. We will be featuring everything form Q*Bert to Ezio Auditore,” says Steve Stone, who along with Kelly Clark, make up the production team Smooches and Science Presents.

For Steve, doing a burlesque show was probably inevitable, especially after seeing a certain popular nerdlesque show two years ago. “For as long as I can remember I have either had a keyboard or a controller in my hands. I got the itch to produce after seeing what Jo Jo Stiletto delivered with the original Whedonesque Burlesque. I was lucky enough to be a part of that show and it allowed me to see the true support that the nerd community has for the properties they love. I saw it as an opportunity to relate my love of video games to an audience.”

Lady Laycock (Team Captain)- (Photo by Jackie Kingsbury)

Lady Laycock (Team Captain)- (Photo by Jackie Kingsbury)

Steve met his future co-producer Kelly while they were both on staff at GeekGirlCon, “the yearly celebration of the female geek” which happens next October 19 & 20 at the Washington State Convention Center (check back here in the coming weeks for more info on the fabulous burlesque show at Re-bar that will kick off that event).

“The original JOYstick! allowed me to meet and develop a friendship with my business partner Kelly Clark. She and I clicked from the first meeting and our skill sets truly complimented each other. After the success of JOYstick! it didn’t take long for us to want to keep this going. After JOYstick!, we ended up trying something completely different with An Evening at Merlotte’s: Burlesque Inspired by True Blood (which was accomplished with the help of Lady Laycock). Kelly keeps me sane and she truly is the ‘Smooches’ to my ‘Science’.

Seraphina Fiero (Photo by Jackie Kingsbury)

Seraphina Fiero (Photo by Jackie Kingsbury)

JOYstick!
September 20 & 21
@ Columbia City Theater
Get tix HERE.

*****

Our next weekly pick from the glitter world is The Secret Diaries of Anita Goodmann: True Stories from the Queen of In-Between playing for three nights starting Friday, September 20 at Re-bar. This show was introduced last February at The Ballard Underground. Anita is no stranger to the Seattle burlesque scene, having hosted shows for over seven years as well as producing her namesake show The Anita Goodmann Experience. The Secret Diaries of Anita Goodmann chronicles Anita’s adventures experimenting with drag at the age of 37.

Anita Goodmann (Photo by Debora Spencer)

Anita Goodmann (Photo by Debora Spencer)

“I wanted to tell a story and give an account of this journey- which starts at a place where, as a man, I was definitely not my best self- and relate how I was able to turn my life around through the time I spent as Anita Goodmann. The experience of healing as a man while performing as a woman, and the strange course I took in doing it is the basis of the show. It includes some scenes that in retrospect I can’t believe happened, like performing for my uptight then-employers at the EMP Skychurch and dealing out some arch comedy in the process (the video of that is part of the show), and also more down to earth stuff- like how to parent when you are a single manwomanwomanman. Also, people assume a lot about drag queens, so I wanted to clue people in on my life as a heterosexual, punk rock loving, professional female impersonator who loves to do stand-up comedy. People are shocked when I tell them I don’t know any show-tunes, but can talk their ear off about The Replacements or Fugazi.

I asked Anita if there’s anything different in this newest production:

“For this show I am tuning it up a bit, losing a weaker segment and replacing it with a story that the audience was asking me to do if I were to remount the show. The audience wanted to know more about how I manage my relationship with my ten year old son when I have a gender-crossing stage persona. I dive into that more this time around, and have put a segment on gender communication that was too abstract aside, to be revisited later.”

Anita hosting the Bedroom Club burlesque show back in 2007 (POC Photo)

Anita hosting the Bedroom Club burlesque show back in 2007 (POC Photo)

The Secret Diaries of Anita Goodmann: True Stories from the Queen of In-Between
September 20, 21, 22
@ Re-Bar
Get tix HERE.

Since these shows run on multiple consecutive nights- we suggest you check out both…

The Shanghai Pearl’s Burlesque Royale.

•09/07/2013 • 1 Comment
La Chica Boom will appear in Burlesque Royale, September 14 (Photo by Hanna Quevedo)

La Chica Boom will appear in Burlesque Royale, September 14 (Photo by Hanna Quevedo)

~ Written by Jessica Price

The Shanghai Pearl’s upcoming Burlesque Royale is in many ways the show she was born to create. Though she’s been producing since she was just an eager young lass brandishing her bona fides from the Academy of Burlesque (some may recall shows she had a hand in at the Jewelbox and Wallingford’s Seamonster), it wasn’t until the successful Burlesque for Barack fundraiser in 2012 that Shanghai began producing on a grand scale. Burlesque Royale will take place at Seattle’s elegant Triple Door, the perfect setting for Shanghai to realize another little fantasy: bringing San Francisco’s Grant Avenue Follies to Seattle for the first time.

Pat Chin from the 50s (Photo credit pending, used by producer permission)

Pat Chin from the 50s (Photo credit pending, used by producer permission)

From approximately 1937 to 1964, San Francisco’s Chinatown was home to a thriving and glamorous nightclub scene. Chinese singers, dancers, and burlesque performers regularly starred in lavish floor shows at clubs like Forbidden City, The Chinese Skyroom, Kubla Khan, and Club Shanghai. The “exotic” nature of the dancers was commonly capitalized on and bizarre publicity taglines were often attached to the Asian dancers, comparing them to familiar Caucasian entertainers. Billed as “the Chinese Ginger Rogers”, “the Chinese Frank Sinatra”, or “the Chinese Sally Rand”, these men and women were stars of their own accord, entertaining GIs in wartime as well as Hollywood royalty from Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman, and Boris Karloff to Bing Crosby and Duke Ellington. Their histories were not as celebrated as the legendary Caucasian burlesque dancers we may recall first today, but the golden age of Chinese nightclubs was a microcosm of show business with a huge draw. These clubs and their many entertainers were the cornerstone of a huge part of San Francisco’s Asian-American history. Some of the chorus girls, dancers, and burlesquers from the nightclub scene at that time remained in contact over the years. Retired dancer Cynthia Yee came across a Palm Springs Follies show (some may recall that Joan Arline was once a member of PSF) and realized that she and her friends were more than capable of doing the same…or better. They formed a nonprofit dance troupe called the Grant Avenue Follies and began staging shows at community centers, veterans’ groups, and hospitals. The ladies quickly realized it wasn’t too late to roll up those fishnets once again and relive the fun of their dancing days.

The cover of Trina Robbins' excellent history.

The cover of Trina Robbins’ excellent history.

Meanwhile back in Seattle…

After “politely stalking” the ladies of the Grant Avenue Follies for years (“I think they thought I was just this funny, weird stripper” the Shanghai Pearl recalls), she struck up a collective friendship with them, asking numerous questions about their nightclub days. The ladies invited Shanghai to perform with them at a Chinese Historical Society Gala in San Francisco. “These are the women I’ve been looking for my entire life,” Shanghai recalls of bonding with the living Legends and simultaneously unearthing a whole new family of adventurous, sexy role models from the Asian community. Before this, “all of my lady role models were white…and Margaret Cho,” Shanghai recalls.

Six members of the Grant Avenue Follies (Cynthia Yee, Pat Chin, Ivy Tam, Lillian Poon, Emily Chin, and Avis See-Tho) will perform in a pair of group numbers at Burlesque Royale. Shanghai says the ladies are thrilled to come to Seattle and have made a working vacation of the trip (book-ending the Triple Door performances with two shows at local senior homes as well as a visit to a retired showgirl friend in Vancouver).

Shanghai with the ladies of Grant Avenue Follies in Las Vegas at The 2011 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend (Shanghai's personal photo)

Shanghai with the ladies of Grant Avenue Follies in Las Vegas at The 2011 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend (Shanghai’s personal photo)

Shanghai with Legend Barbara Yung (Shanghai's personal photo)

Shanghai with Legend Barbara Yung (Shanghai’s personal photo)

Shanghai mindfully curated Burlesque Royale, inspired in part by the undisguised sexuality and directness of the recent all male KINGS show in Seattle as well as by her own desire to feature high impact performers and a diverse cast. Putting on a truly great show spotlighting powerful women capable of commanding a room was foremost in her mind. And though she loves and has often employed comedic tactics of “surprise sex” in her acts, Shanghai has recently been preoccupied with why those layers of pretense are necessary. “It can be alienating- even in burlesque- for people to be faced with sex when it comes to women,” she muses. “There’s a layer of safety that comes with joking and irony- and I love that layer, but why is it that we need that layer?”

Fittingly, Burlesque Royale features a heavy-hitting lineup. Sydni Deveraux (“1st Runner Up, Reigning Queen of Burlesque”, Seattle), Donna Denise (The Most Powerful Chest in Burlesque, Dallas), and performance artist/activist/ecdysiast La Chica Boom (founder and producer of Kaleidoscope Cabaret, San Francisco) will perform, as well as Burgundy Brixx (winner of “Best Solo” at the Boston Burlesque Expo, Vancouver BC). Burgundy’s classic style and execution are something Shanghai admires. “Watching her is like watching an old reel come to life,” she says. Performer and lady MC Foxy Tann (The Boss of Burlesque, Minneapolis) will host because – among other charms – “she’s just kind of a badass,” says Shanghai. “I want this show to be a good representation of what this craft has been, and what it can be, and all the different evolutions of it,” Shanghai explains. “In burlesque we have so many opportunities.”

*****

Martha Enson and Cathy Sunderland of Moisture Festival and Aerialistas fame also guest star. Burlesque Royale takes place at 7:30 and 10:30 on Saturday, September 14. Get tickets HERE.

AND—- check out La Chica Boom’s amazing mission statements over HERE, get more info on Grant Avenue Follies HERE, and please…you won’t regret it…check out Trina Robbins’ vital paperback on the golden age of Chinese nightclubs, Forbidden City.

La Chica Boom (Photo Amanda Brooks)

La Chica Boom (Photo Amanda Brooks)

Sydni Deveraux (POC Photo)

Sydni Deveraux (POC Photo)

Burgundy Brixx (Photo credit pending, used by producer permission)

Burgundy Brixx (Photo credit pending, used by producer permission)

Donna Denise (Photo credit pending, used by producer permission)

Donna Denise (Photo credit pending, used by producer permission)

Foxy Tann (Liquid Mojo Photography)

Foxy Tann (Liquid Mojo Photography)

Design by Caitlin Finn Daost in collaboration with The Shanghai Pearl

Design by Caitlin Finn Daost in collaboration with The Shanghai Pearl

Sinner Saint Burlesque’s last night at Noc Noc.

•09/03/2013 • Leave a Comment
Sinner Saint Burlesque performed for the last time at Noc Noc on August 22. (POC Photo)

Sinner Saint Burlesque performed for the last time at Noc Noc on August 22. (POC Photo)

On August 22, after seven years of bawdy and beautiful weekly performances, Sinner Saint Burlesque took the stage at Noc Noc for the last time before the official closure of their long-running home base. For years, Noc Noc was the best place in town to grab a plate of tater tots, bring all your friends, and settle in for a raucous night of wild and wonderful burlesque. Noc Noc had a certain gritty charm that made the weekly shows feel intimate yet glamorous- if you were new to burlesque “this goes on every week?” would be your first thought; if you weren’t, Noc Noc was a place to watch a group of women and their extended burlesque family come and go, honing their skills, experimenting, and perfecting their art in a no holds barred weekly live performance. Not an easy feat, but they did it- uncensored and for seven years, launching many solo performers along the way.

Polly Wood took a few moments this week to talk about the closure, and the photos found here were taken by POC on Sinner Saint’s last night at Noc Noc.

Burlesque Seattle Press: What is the story of Noc Noc’s (relatively) sudden closure, in a nutshell?

Polly Wood: On July 11, The Noc Noc on 2nd Ave and the historic Columbia building in which it resides was sold and its occupants were given notice to close their doors by August 31 for redevelopment. We decided to close the show a week and a half earlier than the final close date, so that we could have as many Sinner Saint Burlesque members in attendance as possible.

BSP: What is Sinner Saint planning to do next?

Polly Wood: While our weekly show will be on hiatus, we will be continue to pursue touring options and look at producing larger showcases. Sinner Saint is also still available for private bookings, both as a troupe and as soloists.

BSP: How do the ladies feel about this turn of events for them, historically?

Polly Wood: Sinner Saint has been so grateful to have a supportive venue for the past 7 years. Scotty, Jesus, and everyone at the Noc Noc have helped to create an environment where the performers, staff, and patrons feel welcome. Having a consistent weekly venue has helped us create a strong fan base. We have so many awesome memories (and incriminating photos) of the years of fun and art we created at the Noc Noc, and we will miss it. At the same time, we are excited to see what new adventures we will embark on as our business model shifts!

BSP: What do you think the closure means contextually…in terms of good stages and burlesque-friendly venues seeming to be tougher to keep open these days?

Polly Wood: It’s symptomatic of arts in general, not just in Seattle, but nationwide. While artists are producing amazing material in many mediums and disciplines, the gentrification of neighborhoods that have been havens for artists is a problem everywhere.

BSP: What will the impact be of the venue closure for the ladies-both personally as consistently working performers, and for the scene at large?

Polly Wood: We will continue to work as soloists, and to produce as a troupe, but obviously, as the Burlesque scene grows, and the availability of venues shrink, we will have to all be creative and enterprising as we work on producing material that is relevant and challenging to the community!

*****

To keep up with Sinner Saint Burlesque or to reach them for bookings, click HERE.

Jesse Belle-Jones and Evilyn Sin Claire (POC Photo)

Jesse Belle-Jones and Evilyn Sin Claire (POC Photo)

Diva le Déviant (POC Photo)

Diva le Déviant (POC Photo)

Evilyn Sin Claire (POC Photo)

Evilyn Sin Claire (POC Photo)

Jesse Belle-Jones (POC Photo)

Jesse Belle-Jones (POC Photo)

Doña Dei Cuori (POC Photo)

Doña Dei Cuori (POC Photo)

Lady TaTas (POC Photo)

Lady TaTas (POC Photo)

Jesse Belle-Jones (POC Photo)

Jesse Belle-Jones (POC Photo)

Three reasons why you should see The Burl-X-Files.

•08/29/2013 • Leave a Comment

Need any further convincing to go see the final three performances of Jo Jo Stiletto’s hilariously spooky (and extremely sexy) Burl-X-Files?

We’ll give you THREE really, really good ones:

The unexplained abduction of Lady Drew Blood. (Photo by Jules Doyle)

The unexplained abduction of Lady Drew Blood. (Photo by Jules Doyle)

The Cigarette Smoking Man, played by Bolt Action. (Photo by Jules Doyle)

The Cigarette Smoking Man, played by Bolt Action. (Photo by Jules Doyle)

Exploring otherworldly kink with Assistant Director Walter Skinner, played by Trooper. (Photo by Meneldor Photography)

Exploring otherworldly kink with Assistant Director Walter Skinner, played by Trooper. (Photo by Meneldor Photography)

We cannot emphasize this enough- go see this show. The Shanghai Pearl and Jake Groshong make the most delightful Mulder & Scully, all angst-ridden chemistry and all.

Read our recent interview with producer Jo Jo Stiletto HERE; visit Jo Jo Stiletto Events for more information on The Burl-X-Files. Limited advance tickets available HERE.

Jo Jo Stiletto Events in Association with the Theatre Off Jackson present:
The Burl-X-Files: The Truth Is Down There
Burlesque Inspired by the X-Files

CLOSING THIS WEEKEND: August 29, 30, 31st
DOORS 7pm. SHOW promptly at 8pm

Starring
The Shanghai Pearl as Agent Dana Scully
Jake Groshong as Agent Fox Mulder

Featuring:
Rebecca M. Davis
Bolt Action
Queenie O’Hart
Sailor St. Claire
Scarlett O’Hairdye
Seraphina Fiero
Tootsie Spangles
Trooper
Jesus la Pinga
Lady Drew Blood
Eva Fairwood

Che festa! (Anno due) Burlesco DiVino returns to The Triple Door.

•08/17/2013 • 1 Comment

Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann (POC Photo)

Many grand ideas have been born over a glass of wine. In the case of Burlesco DiVino: Wine in Rome, it was the nationwide Month of Riesling celebration that led to a brand new work from producers Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann. The Triple Door commissioned the production in 2012 to coincide with the summer’s wine emphasis; in the capable hands of Verlaine/McCann, a theatrical burlesque show became a wine-soaked soiree moving through time in two acts. The first is a sort of dramatic pantomime set in ancient Rome, where a bountiful harvest culminates in an orgiastic party at the Temple of Bacchus as fire dancers and priestesses conjure up the God of Wine. The second act hinges on a plucky American reporter waking from a night of Roman debauchery in the Swinging Sixties. Driven by ambition, she plans to sneak into an exclusive party with the crème de la crème of Rome’s fashion set to snap a photo of reclusive Italian socialite Donatella Bianchi. “We basically wrote two shows. It’s like a double feature,” Lily explained after a recent all-day rehearsal.

“When our cast is asked in interviews ‘What’s your favorite Verlaine/McCann production to be in?’ hands down, everyone says Burlesco DiVino,” Lily said, which the producers attest to the mash-up of dance styles the show calls for. Combined with a story bridging different time periods, the ensemble-heavy show effectively plays to the strengths of the multifaceted cast. Burlesco also highlights several notable principals in solos as well as many rising stars. There’s TriBellas’ highly skilled belly dance, Inga Ingénue’s deliciously intricate solo as model Benedetta Barbieri (flanked by Untamed Felines), and – one of Lily and Jasper’s favorites- Paris Original’s Pas de trios. Intimate, delicate, and gender-reversed- the dance culminates with Paris’ toes exquisitely pointed as he turns in the hands of his female partners.

Laurel Bordeaux, Paris Original, Tory Tiara. (POC Photo)

Laurel Bordeaux, Paris Original, Tory Tiara.(POC Photo)

Inga Ingénue and a couple of Untamed Felines (POC Photo)

Inga Ingénue and a couple of Untamed Felines (POC Photo)

In light of Lily and Jasper’s other major works (the hugely successful Land of the Sweets and Through the Looking Glass), Burlesco is both divergent and a natural progression. The pair’s accomplished writing, directing, and choreography are increasingly in the foreground whereas in the past, “Lily Verlaine, burlesque dancer” and “Jasper McCann, emcee” were the most common associations. These days the pair is more interested in fostering the talent of newer stars and rising ones whose potential is just being tapped, both on stage and in essential functions behind the curtain.

The TriBellas: Ivy D'Vine, Juwana Hodge, HonoLulu Honey (POC Photo)

The TriBellas: Ivy D’Vine, Juwana Hodge, HonoLulu Honey (POC Photo)

The morning after comes in Act 2 (POC Photo)

The morning after comes in Act 2 (POC Photo)

“We’re filled with such gratitude that we can create an environment where a variety of gifts and talent can shine,” said Jasper. Lily agrees that the caliber of people they attract is a testament to how hard they’ve worked in development. In dance, grants may allow a show to be developed over five years; Lily and Jasper have grown their shows organically, often in public, turning out large scale productions in anywhere from six weeks to six months. “I am shocked every time I get a resume,” Lily said. “It’s a huge honor. I need to make more shows, so I know where to put these people!” she laughed. “And having these audiences that are so generous and patient as I find my way as a choreographer, and find the right talent to express these things…it’s a tremendous honor.”

Trojan Original, The Luminous Pariah, and Paris Original (POC Photo)

Trojan Original, The Luminous Pariah, and Paris Original (POC Photo)

Burlesco, like all of the exquisite work we’ve come to expect from Lily and Jasper, is the intersection of theatrical burlesque and contemporary ballet underlined with clever eroticism. Two original songs are featured, written and arranged by Jasper and James Chapple. “Ricordare La Presente”, delivered mostly in Italian, embodies the show’s themes of living the present moment to the fullest, since the past is gone and the future may never come. A noble theme and certainly worth toasting.

Isn't this the cutest wine label imaginable?

Isn’t this the cutest wine label imaginable?

To that end, there’s a special wine release in the Triple Door’s Musicquarium Lounge on opening night. After seeing Burlesco DiVino last year in Walla Walla, The Mortal Vintner contacted Lily and asked if she’d like to be featured on a wine label. Her answer of course was an instant “YES”, and Lily Verlaine Viognier was born. The wine, made from highly aromatic white grapes, will be available in glass pours as well as in bottles for purchase after the show. Sampling a glass after rehearsal, Lily asked Jasper to describe it. “It has a lot of structure for a Viognier. Peach, tangerine, dill…excellent notes of white stone fruit. It’s very sharp, not too cloying…” he mused. Which sounds almost as luxurious and nuanced as a Lily Verlaine & Jasper McCann Presents production.

Burlesco DiVino: Wine In Rome (August 21-24, The Triple Door Seattle)
Read more about the show at www.burlescodivino.com, and get tickets over HERE.

Burlesco DiVino tickets on sale now

Burlesco DiVino tickets on sale now

 
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