#116. Everyday Showgirl w/ Rosie Cheeks

64 minutes

Released: November 30, 2020
Recorded: October 28, 2020

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On this episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor Devonne has a talk with producer, performer, actress, and costume designer Rosie Cheeks.

Like many people before her, Rosie came to New York with a dream:

RC (4:28) “So I went to college for fashion design. When I came up to New York I kind of had the idea of I’ll either go into fashion design or musical theater. I’ll do whatever happens first. I have a very good friend who is in the fashion industry and I went to a lot of parties with him and I realized pretty quickly that was not my scene… and I went to a couple of auditions and booked something from that and just took that path. “

After living the life of an auditioning actress for several years,  Rosie felt that maybe it was time to go in a different direction and try something new. It was then that she found burlesque:

RC (7:25-11:00) “I got really jaded by auditioning. I wasn’t naive anymore….auditions became the end all be all. I either get this or I don’t have work. I put a lot of pressure on myself.  And so I decided to take some time off… I had always thought about burlesque so I decided to sign up for Jo Boobs Coney Island Masterclass… I felt like if I could get over my hurdle of being onstage by myself that I would be really good at it. And I always had this feeling deep inside that I could be good at burlesque. It was almost what I was doing in musical theater. I was always playing showgirls. “

The pandemic may have put her live performance career on hold, but that hasn’t stopped Rosie from pursuing other projects. By using social media, she realized she could use her show girl expertise to put a little sparkle in other people’s day to day lives:

RC (22:20) “I recently started an Instagram called Everyday Showgirl. I had a friend recently ask me what I was an expert at….the more I thought about it I realized I’m pretty expert at being a showgirl. And I’d love for more people to embrace that in themselves….taking little things everyday and being encouraging and supportive of a community of show girls….I would love to have an army of them all over.”

Before quarantine, Rosie spent little under year producing Burlesk at Birdland, a famous midtown club for music and entertainment. While getting the show on it’s feet took some work, Rosie is really looking forward to getting back to it and making the show a well oiled machine that she can be proud of:

RC (37:15) “It came into my life because my husband has been doing graphics for Birdland for many many years. And when they opened up the theater space and wanted something other than just jazz, we were there. Started out as a weekly show which is so much work as a producer.  Those first few months I felt I couldn’t get my head above water…to make it what I wanted to be. I also felt pressure to get people in seats…especially in Midtown which is not really known for burlesque anymore. But, I absolutely loved producing that show.”

Despite mostly being known as a classical performer, Rosie does have a guilty pleasure of occasionally performing nerdlesque. Specifically, nerdlesque as male characters:

RC (45:20) “When I was asked to do Game of Thrones I had never even seen Game of Thrones. And I did end up watching it and loving it until the final season like everyone else. I think it’s just more the characters. Who I think I could have fun doing…it’s more the attitude…which is why I think it’s fun and ridiculous…if I’m getting ready to do one of the guys, I’m definitely different backstage…I kind of just hang back into me.”

Though nerdlesque is often considered much more niche than the classical showgirl performance, Rosie does her best to get inside a character’s head and do an act even the truly committed fans will appreciate. No matter what kind of burlesque you do, at the end of the day it is always about the story you are trying to convey to the audience:

RC (49:40) “Because the nerdlesque community is such a special community and they have something invested usually to whatever theme it is I really want to do it justice…What I try to do is (ask) how does this character take off their clothes? How does this character do burlesque? I think that’s more what my style is.” 

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#115. So Many Intersections w/ Tas Al-Ghul

1 hour, 43 minutes

Released: November 23, 2020
Recorded: October 27, 2020

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#114. Highs and Lows w/ Sweet n’ Lo

1 hour, 4 minutes

Released: November 16, 2020
Recorded: November 2, 2020

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On this edition of WEBurlesque The Podcast Viktor talks to NYC burlesque performer Sweet N’ Lo.

Though Lo had been attempting to get on the podcast for several weeks, her health unfortunately had other ideas:

SNL (11:05) : “In March my mom got Covid and was in the hospital for six weeks and almost died. But she is not dead! So I feel it’s better than it could have been? I also got Covid but it was mild. But it turns out it might have exacerbated some health issues I didn’t know I had…due to some combination of my mild covid, the fact that I’ve been working at home and not walking as much as I usually do, and the fact that I’m a woman who has been on oral contraceptives I have hilarious amounts of blood clots in my legs and lungs.”

Thankfully, she is doing much better and has been able to recuperate in no small part thanks to having a steady job with income and health insurance she can depend on: 

SNL (19:40) “I’m not a full time burlesque performer…I’m happy with my day job and I like that a steady income allows me to buy lots of rhinestones and occasionally get up in front of an audience and sing a show tune. That’s a good balance for me.”

While burlesque is a passion Lo has had for many years, her style and focus has definitely changed as she has matured as a performer. No matter what though, she still likes to keep it weird:

SNL (25:20- 29:10) “When I started burlesque I used to go a lot to the nerdlesque shows and I was very geeky. I still am, but I was being geek as a lifestyle choice for a long time in the early 2010s and was like yeah I’m going to be a nerdlesquer. I found out I like watching other people do nerdlesque but it is very involved and in order to cosplay correctly and be faithful to the properties you are doing an homage of I think it took a little bit more time and money than I thought it was going to…..(Now,) I would say comedic ridiculousness on one end of the spectrum and just really theater geeky show tune rhinestone sparkle on the other end.”

Lo may have not yet joined the digital bandwagon that many performers are jumping on, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any plans to. For her, she recognizes that making a new video based act is something that will need time and effort to reach its best potential:

SNL (48:50- 51:00) “I’ve really been riding the ‘I have barely enough energy to keep my shit together on a day to day basis train’…I have ideas specifically for two acts I wanted to do this year…the rhinestones are there and the trim is there so it’s gonna happen, I just have to get off my ass and do it…I’m coming to terms with the fact I’m not as media and tech savvy as I want to be….I gotta get better at it, but it’s also going to be very hard to get me over the hump….I do very much want to return to burlesque and if that has to be digital for a while that’s fine too. And ya know what? Then it won’t be ‘oh I don’t have videos of my acts.’ All of my acts just are videos.”

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#113. Manifesting Abundance w/ Miss Poison Ivory

1 hour, 19 minutes

Released: November 9, 2020
Recorded: September 26, 2020

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#112. On Pins and Needles w/ Miss Vivian

59 minutes

Released: November 2, 2020
Recorded: September 23, 2020

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