#6: Friends Are Nice, with Cherry Valentine and Triple Jay

6cherrytriplejay1 hour, 34 minutes
Released: February 26, 2018
Recorded: February 3, 2018

On this episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor meets up with his close friends Cherry Valentine and Triple Jay, super nerds and performing members of Cosplay Burlesque.

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Getting geeky straight out of the gate, Cherry and Triple Jay begin the show by talking about the very first fandoms they ever got into: “Batman,” says Cherry, “I had the original Tim Burton movie when I was younger, and I used to watch it all the time, used to play pretend as Vickie Vale from the movies, that was my thing.”

For Triple Jay, “The first one I can really recall being into was Power Rangers…And I remember VR Troopers was on at the same time, and I actually liked that better but nobody else did so I never really got to dive into that… That was about the only mainstream show my parents did let me watch and I’m not sure why.”

Next, both performers reminisce about their youths and how that shaped them into the people they are today:  Says Cherry Valentine,  “I was a weirdo. Like I never really fit with any sort of clique…It wasn’t until my [young adult] years when I started becoming friends with the artsy people … I really don’t come from a very artsy creative family and they’re not even that nerdy so a lot of my nerdom came a lot later in life…I think because that’s where my niche lies, and I had a family that didn’t understand that.”

Triple Jays says “I definitely hung out with the artsy kids though I wasn’t really that artsy…or maybe I wanted to be but wasn’t very good at it. So, whenever we did something where you had to audition, I never got picked but I still tried to be involved which is how I ended up doing theatre tech for quite awhile because you didn’t have to audition for that. And I had and still have pretty bad stage fright.”

Then, the group dives into the difference between cosplay burlesque in specific versus more generalized nerdlesque and what the philosophy of their troupe is:  “I guess what we […] generally try to do with Cosplay Burlesque,” says Triple Jay,  “is rather than just take off this costume that you put on, is to [imagine] what would the character do if they were on stage taking their clothes off in front of you.”

Cherry Valentine adds, “We come up with ideas on our own…and sometimes it is a crap shoot, you don’t know if the audience is going to react well to it. But usually, even if they don’t get it, because it’s something nerdy they end up appreciating it anyway.”

From there, they talk about their experiences as burlesque performers and what it’s like to struggle when you aren’t necessarily a part of “mainstream” burlesque and how sometimes you didn’t even mean to start performing in the first place:  “Because not every show wants cosplay burlesque or nerdlesque,” says Cherry, and because that is the majority of what my repertoire is, I don’t have a lot of non-cosplay to show.”

“I never really intended to become a burlesque performer,” says Triple Jay, “I got involved with Cosplay Burlesque because Esmerelda May was involved with Cosplay Burlesque. So, I would go with her to shows and if Holly needed a go-fer person… I volunteered… and then they needed a kitten one time and they needed a host…I was there, and I just fell backwards into being on stage…I never intended to end up like this.”

Esmerelda May shows up for the last part of the podcast, the gang has a roundtable discussion where they decide that Batman is better than just about every other superhero in the DC universe, and they all reveal which musical is their favorite:

C: “My favorite musical of all time is Phantom of The Opera…everyone is allowed to judge me that’s totally fine. It’s nostalgia. It has a special place.”

TJ: “I love Ragtime. I saw it on tour a year and a half ago and that was the first time I had seen it professionally done.”

Esmerelda May: “I think I’m gonna have to go with Gypsy just cause it’s what made me interested in burlesque itself and who I am today. But really what got me to go to college for theatre and the reason I met Triple Jay was honestly Wicked because I have an unhealthy obsession with Idina Menzel.”

listen

credits

  • Synopsis written by Raina Sinclair for WEBurlesque
  • Intro and Outro Music: “On A 45” by This Way to the Egress – used with permission.
  • Interlude Music: “Professor Umlaut” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • photo of Triple Jay and Cherry Valentine by Atticus Media Productions
  • everything else (c) White Elephant Burlesque Corp

#5: Blacking Out and Lighting Up with Doll Body

5dollbody1 hour, 8 minutes
Released: February 19, 2018
Recorded: February 3, 2019

On this episode of WEBurlesque the Podcast, dancer, drag artist, and burlesque performer Doll Body meets with Viktor Devonne to talk about all things movement related.

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The first topic is Doll Body’s background as a classically trained dancer and why it is such an important part of her life: “[I started dancing] at three [years-old.] Ballet and tap and then I went to a dance high school in New Haven… you picked your major and got to do it for two periods a day. And no sports… [Dancing] just seemed like the thing to do. I have a hard time sitting still… I’m an only child and my mom’s a single mom so I would try to get her attention as much as I could and quietly as I could I guess.

Doll Body then goes into how she found out about burlesque and what inspired her to perform: “When I fell into burlesque it was actually at the 2013 New York Burlesque Fest which I went to on a whim…It was gorgeous and insane and I called my friend…saying I really want to get into burlesque and he said let’s start a company.”

She then goes on to talk about her production company Lazy Bones and how inexperience effected the entire process: “We got together and we kind of went about it wrong. We had money and that should have been enough, but we went through it wastefully. And we should have gone to more shows and networked with more people.”

From there, Doll Body goes into how she first started to find her burlesque persona as Dolly Dietrich: “I love old movies and Marlene Dietrich is an early punk rock prototype.” And then how she eventually became Doll Body and developed the drag character of Action Figure: “I didn’t even know I was going to do drag until I came up with the name. I had been going to Beef Show so frequently and Lee [Valone’s] influence had infected the land.”

Then, she and Viktor chat about her love of movement and how that affects her creative expression. Doll Body describes how she will come up with a new burlesque act and what her method entails: The idea has to be kind of complete or has to have some sort of narrative…and once I have that then I get really excited about making sure the costume or choreography or music can catch up to convey the story as best it can. So, whatever the number needs.”

She continues by talking about how the burlesque community has changed over the years and what she herself appreciates when going to a show: “I like shows that aren’t necessarily straight burlesque shows. I like when there is an element of drag or live music or singing…I’d sit and watch someone just scream at the audience if it broke up a night of sameness.”

Finally, Doll Body gets into how her on stage persona differs from who she is as an actual person and how burlesque is really a vehicle to express things that she can’t in any other setting: “I’m a very stoic person and I like the idea that I can get on stage and because I’ve dressed up and because everyone came to see the show, for that reason I can scream and bite into a sugar heart and rip my clothes off.”

listen

credits

  • Synopsis written by Raina Sinclair for WEBurlesque
  • Intro and Outro Music: “On A 45” by This Way to the Egress – used with permission.
  • Interlude Music: “Rocket Power” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Photo of Doll Body by Atticus Media Productions
  • everything else (c) White Elephant Burlesque Corp

#4: Prosecco And A Mic w/ Falana Fox

4falana1 hour, 14 minutes
Released: February 12, 2018
Recorded: February 3, 2018

On the fourth episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor sits down and chats with Falana Fox, a singer, actor, and burlesque performer.

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Falana talks about her childhood and when she first got the inspiration to be on stage: “I think when I was really young and I used to look at the Muppets…they were always in the theater doing the show… and I think that was the start.” But she unfortunately also had to deal with a very religious upbringing and disappointing her elders: “Growing up… I was a Jehovah’s Witness…but my mother was so much into fashion…she wanted me to go into fashion. I can’t sew, I can’t hem, I can’t do none of that shit. My thing was I loved to sing. I loved to act.”

This eventually led to a not quite music career: “I almost got signed to a production deal…but [there] were some thing in the document that weren’t correct… and the [executive] wouldn’t budge… [I] took it as a sign.” And then acting with the best for the least: “In 2000 I started working with The Classical Theater of Harlem…with Titus Walker…I did two plays with him and it’s crazy because I didn’t have a resume. I saw the ad and went in and read and I got it… and we didn’t get paid.”

Until Falana learned about burlesque and found the courage to take the leap into the industry: ” I worked over at Sephora…and one day I bumped into two or three women that were in burlesque…and I thought man, I would like to, but I can’t do that. And then I started working over at Joe’s Pub and I would see shows… so I researched…and found the School of Burlesque.”

From there, her and Viktor start going into her burlesque career and one of her more famous acts, Falana’s tribute to the Hottentot Venus: “I’ve been obsessed somewhat with the story of this woman. So, when I did this development class I said ‘Hey, I wonder if I can make this into something.’ Because it goes into how we are looked at now. How [black women] are objectified now…There is nothing wrong with being sexual. There is nothing wrong with owning your body. As long as you are the one owning it.”

This then leads into a talk about cultural appropriation and both white people in general and burlesque performers in specific need to learn how to be better: “They see nothing wrong with it… Until someone gets them on it…Find out first before you do something…You can definitely appreciate someone’s style but respect it…It’s a lack of respect for certain things and it gets into a mockery.”

Finally, Falana talks about her plans for the future and how she has been interested in doing a one woman show, but wants to go about it in an entirely new way: “I did festivals with my [original] one woman show and it was good…but it’s a story I don’t want to tell anymore. And I just started doing drag… so if I do a [new] one woman show I want to incorporate all of that.”

listen

credits

  • Synopsis written by Raina Sinclair for WEBurlesque
  • Intro and Outro Music: “On A 45” by This Way to the Egress – used with permission.
  • Interlude Music: “Poppers and Prosecco” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Photo of Falana Fox by Atticus Media Productions
  • everything else (c) White Elephant Burlesque Corp

 

#3: Why Nerdlesque is Important, with Anja Keister

1 hour, 41 minutes3anjakeister
Released: February 5, 2018 

Recorded: January 30, 2018

On this episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor talks to Anja Keister, burlesque performer and producer of D20 Burlesque as well as 2018 Silver Tusk Geek of All Media award winner.

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At the start of the podcast, Anja reveals the origins of D20 Burlesque“I really liked gaming. And for me gaming was actually like board gaming and table top; your Dungeons and Dragons sort of thing. And my partner, she is more of a video game person. So, we decided if we are going to start this (company) it’s going to be gamer themed.”

As well as what it’s like to deal with the law when it comes after you for copyright infringement: “I think we were a little more brash in the beginning and then getting a cease and desist for doing a show (about a) Cartoon Network (series) about a boy and a dog… (we had) to take it pretty seriously because to this day we are pretty sure a lawyer did show up.”

From there, Anja tackles the death of the author and what it means to create work based of problematic people: “A more controversial one over the past two years I’d say is our Lovecraft tribute. An amazing performer, Maki Roll, out of D.C.  made a comment saying [she] didn’t get why we are celebrating him. He was a racist and now is not the time to be paying tribute to racists… and everything Maki said was completely true and, in that case,, we still did the Lovecraft show but opened it up and made it not just about Lovecraft… (but also) Stephen King… It gets into the age-old debate of can you separate the art from the person and Lovecraft, though not an amazing writer, the concepts and creations he came up with have had a long-lasting effect on horror and Sci-fi.”

And then gets into what she thinks makes nerdlesque so great and what it really means to be a producer and performer of the medium: “My own self definition of it has expanded so much over the years. I used to be a nerd checker, I used to do all the things I hate people doing to me… Nerdy can mean so many things… The way I think about nerdlesque is to (just) nerd out about something.”

Finally, Viktor does a flash round of questions about Anja’s favorite fandoms and she definitively gets to give her opinion on what anime she likes and what parts of the zeitgeist she missed completely: “I started with Akira and accidentally buying hentai online. So, when people were like Sailor Moon and Pokemon and Digimon and Dragon Ball Z, I was like get this childlike stuff out of here I need to watch hardcore scary anime.”

listen

credits

  • Synopsis written by Raina Sinclair for WEBurlesque
  • Intro and Outro Music: “On A 45” by This Way to the Egress – used with permission.
  • Interlude Music: “Deuces” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Photo of Anja Keister by Atticus Media Productions
  • everything else (c) White Elephant Burlesque Corp