#119. Throwing the Wig w/ Renaissance Noir

1 hour, 16 minutes

Released: December 22, 2020
Recorded: December 13, 2020



On this episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor Devonne interviews Renaissance Noir, a Philadelphia based nerdlesquer, video production artist, and BTS superfan. 

The podcast starts by Renaissance sharing a little of their background in various physical disciplines and how this gave them the opportunity to do several numbers for one of their favorite fandoms: Black Panther: 

RN: “I have a background in dance and stage combat and martial arts…so when Black Panther came out it was actually the most interesting conflict of what character can I do…I finally have a dilemma in choosing the characters… not to say (certain experiences) couldn’t be particular to me but…. white people get to have those stories all the time.” 

This leads them into talking about what it’s like to be a black burlesque performer and how they feel that their experience of race is constantly in conversation with how they create their pieces: 

RN: “When black people do art, its black art….like when you draw, if I’m not drawing a black character I’m still a black artist…it’s a choice, and it’s something we need to do to still make it ours. Because the experience these characters get is supposed to be universal…but the default is still white.” 

From there, they recount the events of summer 2020 in the Philadelphia burlesque and drag scene and how trying to bring performers together on the subject of racial equality was such a struggle: 

RN: “It was a little bit of a mess to be perfectly honest. (Black performers) were calling for apologies and actionable solutions, but a lot of the people who were called in had a lot more to say than was necessary. Like they were going through mental illness, they had alcohol problems, or something like that. But, we are not asking about your mental history, we are asking for you to take responsibility…Some people’s responses were to up and quit which is not what we were looking for. We are looking for you to shift power to give resources to the people of color who need it. Don’t center this around whiteness. People up and leaving means they are not gonna take responsibility or fix the things they’ve done.” 

Further into the interview, Renaissance talks about their digital performances and how they have used this shift of burlesque online during the pandemic to create very prolifically: 

RN: “I’ve made at least 12 videos this year…I’ve been thriving on the video scene. Some of them are almost excuses to have videos…and some of them I’ve put a lot into it.” 

Still, while they have done their best to stay ahead of the shooting and editing curve, creating new content with executive dysfunction can often be a struggle:

RN: “The back of my brain is like, when do I get to go home?…. When I have (medication) that voice isn’t so loud…Sometimes at the end of the day, especially at crunch time, it will get done….but I don’t like (dealing with) that.” 

Finally, Viktor and Renaissance wrap up their chat by discussing their myriad of fandoms and their genuine love for KPop band BTS which they have created several acts for : 

RN: “I shit talk the idea of me liking kpop because of all the dumb politics behind it and I have spent so much money on these boys…I want them to see my videos but that’s just a wish.”


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