The previous peek into a performer's closet with Paula the Swedish Housewife gave a sense of how a lifetime of devotion to performance and costuming can affect a burlesque devotee's environment (and that of their friends and family) over decades. In this interview, you'll get the same view into the closet of a very new face in burlesque, the fabulous Burgundy Brixx. Multi-talented, like many burlesque newcomers with previous theatrical experience, she sings, sews, does acrobatics, and demonstrates the unmistakable polish of a performer with a professional dance background. She's a force to be reckoned with! Of course I'm partial because she and her partner, the ingenious Fem Appeal, met in one of my workshops and began working together to produce Fem's weekly burlesque show, Kitty Nights, and they say nice things about me. But I have a feeling you're going to become a fan as well.
Are you an organized person?
You kind-of have to be in a New York apartment, but I’m definitely not anal about it.
Do you make your own costumes? If so, where do you sew?
My portable sewing machine has been in permanent residence on the dining table these days.
Did you have costumes before you started doing burlesque? How did you store them? Is that the same way you store them now?
I had odd halloween costumes and fun stuff that I kept in a big plastic bin in my closet. At first, I tried the same with my Burlesque costumes, but it was quickly immensely impractical.
Burgundy's closet is way more organized than mine. Photos by the Prrrrfessor.
Do you keep your costumes separate from your clothing?
How often do you use your costumes?
Two to three times a week, on average.
How much of your house is taken up by your costumes? How much of your storage space (closets, garage, attic, other) is taken up? How has your storage system evolved?
I have a large closet that I originally put all my costumes in. I tried a number of different organizing techniques that would work for a little while, but eventually my props actually started getting a lot more space-consuming and the costumes and props didn’t all live happily together in the closet. Every time I’d open the door, I’d get brutally attacked by fans, canes and wigs. Now I have my props and some wigs in the closet, and this great big armoire that I got for free on craigslist and re-painted to look chinese. I’ve stacked baskets inside, with one costume per basket, and a few hanging garments. My falls hang on hooks inside and most of my headpieces are in a hatbox on top. It’s still stuffed to the gills, but I can generally find what I need quickly.
Gimme that closet, Burgundy!
Does anybody in your life (roommate, sig other) complain about the volume of costumes? If so what do they say? If not, do they seem to enjoy them being around?
Our apartment has definitely been attacked by Burlesque, but my husband generally loves it. He thinks it sweet to find sequins on his feet in the shower. I hope that endearing quality lasts!
Do you ever swear you're going to get rid of some and then not get rid of them? Why or why not?
Not yet! I still haven’t retired any numbers yet. I’m still too new to the scene!
Do you worry about your costumes getting destroyed because of storage problems?
My stacking basket system is definitely not the best for certain fragile or more three-dimensional garments. I try to put the heavier stuff in the bottom baskets and the more fragile things on top. I wish there were a way to hang all of the things that wrinkle so I don’t have to bust out the iron right before I’m running to a gig!
What is this?
A giant bong, what else?
Do you use various pieces with various costumes, or are all the pieces of each costume dedicated? Do you ever wear them out, or do you use them only for the stage?
All my costumes are dedicated to the stage...there are a couple of basic pieces I use in more than one piece and believe me, they’re the bane of my existence...the first thing I’m likely to forget is one of those! I keep swearing I’ll make duplicates one of these days, but it just never seems to happen!
How would you store them in a perfect world?
In my fantastic, mahogany, mirrored, flatteringly lit walk-in closet that’s as big as my bedroom with a crystal chandelier, a velvet chaise lounge and chilled champagne for me and my guests. HA!
Burgundy Sings La Vie En Rose
Burgundy Talks About Getting into Burlesque