Season 5

#128. TBA with The Amazing Brettzo

1 hour, 55 minutes

Released: May 17, 2021
Recorded: March 10, 2021

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On this episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor talks to Philadelphia’s own producer, performer, and all around production expert The Amazing Brettzo.

As a performer, Brettzo’s style has always differed from the norm. While he did try out for his highschool’s production of The Wizard of Oz, the feedback he received for his audition as the Scarecrow was less than positive:

AB: (25:50) “I got feedback from the director…he couldn’t figure out exactly how to describe me at first, so he said ‘You there, scarecrow! You remind me of somebody! I don’t know the name of the actor but he was in Back To The Future. You remind me of George Mcfly….you have a Crispin Glover quality to you.’ And I’m like oh awesome…that’s what I was going for!.. my face brightened up and even at thirty feet away he could tell, and he said ‘No, that’s not a good thing.’”

While this sort of critique kept him out of the spotlight, he did develop a background in stage production before going to college for film. Once he moved to Philadelphia, he eventually met burlesque performer and producer Liberty Rose who hired him to do stage tech for her shows. As he continued to do lighting and sound, Brettzo spent the next few years developing his acts and stage persona in the local scene. Though hesitant to start producing himself, he gained encouragement through the people he had worked for:

AB: (34:32) “I wanted to do certain performances that I didn’t have a stage for at which point the two producers (I worked with) said ‘You know how to do these things, you’ve seen us do it. Just reach out to a venue, get your money straight, hire your cast, do promotion, and let’s put on a show!’ That whole mentality of if you don’t have a stage for yourself, build one.”

His first production was TBA Con, an art and burlesque tribute to the show Arrested Development. From there, he produced nerdlesque shows for properties such as Archer, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and The Venture Bros. For Brettzo, it matters less if a burlesque show is based off of a hip fandom or has big name performers, but that the people involved genuinely care about the work they are creating:

AB: (50:25) “That’s the style of art I enjoy: when you can tell the person creating it has an affinity for what they are doing. It rings hollow to me if it’s just a coat of paint on a balloon and the balloon pops so the shell is left there…I want to bring that authenticity.”

Once he started producing, Brettzo quickly became a name in the Philly scene and also a mentor to other up and coming performers. Eventually he met his future fiancee, AmericaOnline@Aol.com, who has gone on to be a great performer in her own right:

AB: (89:00) “She eventually started realizing what it took for me to make a number. It seemed like she realized she had an affinity for being on stage…it was amazing to sit in the audience wide eyed and watch someone who is ostensibly way more skilled than I am off the bat just click and go with it.”

While the pandemic has obviously put live performances on hold, the move to the digital medium has created a great opportunity for Brettzo to put his filming and editing skills to use. Along with getting to fulfill his dream of being part of a D20 Burlesque show, he has also featured in numerous online shows across the country. Rather than simply go back to a totally live format, Brettzo believes we should take the video making skills we have learned from the past year and put them to use on our in person stages:

AB: (109:55-111:25) “I really hope in our new normal we don’t forget these lessons. The majority of venues that I’ve performed in had screens everywhere….I’d like to see shows that have live performances and also to the same weight and merit, somebody pre recording something and sending it in.”

The Amazing Brettzo is a delightful entertainer from Philadelphia, and we’re talking nerdlesque, geekery, and multiple pairs of underwear.

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