Showing posts from August, 2010

A Quickie with Melody Sweets

Melody Sweets is one of the sweetest people in burlesque, and that's saying something! I've known her since the days when I hung out with The Toilet Boys (I appear in their videos for "Future is Now" and "Another Day in the Life") at Squeezebox, and used to watch her perform burlesque in The Bombshell Girls' show at Suite 16. She's a multi-talented lady--she not only, like most burlesque performers, creates her own costumes and routines, but she writes and records her own music as well! Melody, second from the right, on the set of the Victor/Victrola episode of Gossip Girl. Photo, choreography, and costume design by me! How did you come to be a New York performer? When I first moved to NYC I knew I wanted to sing & started singing right away. I started singing at open-mic nights, making my rounds in drag shows, lesbian cover bands & rasta metal nights... crazy combo, I know! That's NY for you. I QUICKLY got tired of being in th

Jo! Where's your favourite place to buy g-strings? z

I make mine! But I love stripper stores, online and elsewhere. You can buy ANY g-string and decorate with wih rhinestones or fringe, or even add hooks on the sides to make it breakaway. Just remember that if you add fringe and the fringe doesn't stretch, you need to make sure you can get the garment on and off over your hips before you do your final stitching! Here's a great base for a decorated g-string: Ask me anything about Burlesque!

A Quickie with Lily Burana

Lily Burana is one of my personal heroes. When I read Strip City , I felt like I had finally read a memoir that addressed the ambivalence most strippers feel about the job in a nonjudgemental fashion. Not long after I read that book, I performed with Lily in the video for Debra's song Take It Off, a video recorded to accompany the release of Jill Morley's documentary Stripped. Working with these three women has created one of the strongest support systems of my life. Lily's book I Love a Man in a Uniform is not only a fascinating memoir of the life of an army wife, told with Lily's characteristic candor and charm, but a deeply inspiring account of her personal struggles with PTSD and identity. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to choreograph a routine for Lily's Operation Bombshell , her burlesque school for military wives, and to have had her blurb my book! It's a treat to finally be able to interview her. Lily and Me in Las Vegas for the Burle

A Quickie with Mr. Murray Hill, Burlesque MC

New York has an amazing pool of burlesque MCs, all with unique personalities and their own cults. Today we'll have a quickie with everyone's showbiz heartthrob, Mr. Murray Hill. The first time I saw you at a burlesque show was a Pontani Sisters show at the Slipper Room in either 2002 or 2003. What was your first burlesque MC gig? Did you expect to be MCing so many burlesque shows? Ahh, the old days...and who can remember all the details! I don't remember my first burlesque hosting gig per se, but I was doing The Murray Hill Show in the late 90's and Dirty Martini was my first showgirl guest. How could I forget her. She is the first burlesque performer I saw in NYC uptown at the supperclub, I suppose it was true love right from the beginning. Hosting burlesque shows seems like a natural fit (no pun intended) for me...I'm an old-school kinda guy, and burlesque is from the old vaudeville days. Back then, comics and burlesque girls were always on the same bi

Jo! What are the best burlesque venues in New York City?

There isn't any venue devoted to burlesque while the Slipper Room is on hiatus, so you have to look for shows. The best source is Ed Barnas' Calendar: Don't miss the Coney Island shows! Mine is tomorrow night: And I'll be performing at the Oak Room this Sunday, at Galapagos on Monday, and at White Slab with the Slipper Room Crew on Wednesday. See the calendar for details. I perform most frequently at Duane Park with Brian Newman: Ask me anything about Burlesque!

I've been enjoying watching fan dances & am ready to try one. You have a pretty silk fan veil routine on your DVD but your clothes stay on. Do you have tips or resources or inspiration for using fan veils in a striptease?

People have been using these fans more and more in burlesque and in other forms of dance. As I say in the video, think about fans as items you use to reveal, conceal, and frame yourself, as well as to create a glamourous and sensual spectacle onstage. Orchid Mei does a fantastic job with them: It's possible to do a very poor job with these, as they are a little tricky. Rehearse, videotape yourself rehearsing, and if you have someone whose critique is valuable to you, employ them to watch and help you find exciting and elegant things to do with them besides just move them around. You can do some really clever reveals and gorgeous moves if you take the time to discover your own style with them! Play Ask me anything about Burlesque!

If you were a rainbow... What treat would you leave at the end for people to find?

You, Deelightful lady! Ask me anything about Burlesque!

How would you deal with a jealous performer who is obsessed with being/doing better than you? She's a former student. This is taking the fun out of burlesque for me. :(

Just focus on your own business. If she does anything actually shady or cutthroat, call her on it publicly; but otherwise, her jealousy and competitiveness is really her cross to bear. And if it's REALLY taking the fun out of burlesque for you, if burlesque is only fun for you if it's free of any problems of business and social interaction, you might reconsider what you expect from burlesque. Ask me anything about Burlesque!

What do you think of MC's that talk trying to gain more cheers from the crowd, during the dancers performance?

It depends. Generally I could do without it, since I want to focus on the performer and not the MC; but some MCs make it brilliant and energizing and funny; and some audiences really respond to it. So in theory I don't like it, but in action I've seen it both succeed and fail. Ask me anything about Burlesque!