Inspiration: Yoko Ono

When I think about some of my inspirations, I often think that they're not very visible in my work. Sometimes what informs a given number remains in it as an energy rather than an emulation of a style or technique. However, it's also true that a great deal of my work has actually been seen by very few people or by nonburlesque audiences. I have a history of numbers I no longer do, or I perform one-offs in shows that aren't photographed or filmed. While my more traditional numbers--which represent some of my most passionate expression of my belief in striptease as a standalone art form--are the ones I perform most frequently and are the most documented, I've done tons of performances and readings that look nothing like that.

Yoko Ono, artist, activist, icon, and iconoclast, is probably one of the least visible influences in my  burlesque work, though she's always there in my idea of the radical female who doesn't hesitate to make a statement in the nude.

Above:Yoko Ono in hotpants.">

/>" target="_blank">YOKO ONO CUT PIECE by" target="_blank">TECHNOLOGOS
Above: Yoko Ono's Cut Piece. When I was a feature dancer I did a fetish number that ended with fire, but before I handled fire I had audience members cut off me a red body stocking, piece by piece. I didn't sit passively, I addressed the audience members and guided them, but it was directly inspired by Cut Piece.

I'm also constantly inspired by her open emotions, which she exposes without guile whether her heart is bursting with love or fear. I went to see her in concert three years ago, and she danced and sang and told wonderful stories and had guest artists sing some of her songs. It was even more exciting because some of my other inspirations were performing with her, but I would have gone to see her alone.

Above: Bette Midler sings Yes, I'm Your Angel

Above: Justin Bond Sings What a Bastard the World Is

I have a lot of Yoko Ono inspired pieces in my mind--I could probably do a one-woman girl-on-girl show of me doing all my Yoko-thievery, if I could change between acts quickly enough to keep the audience awake.

One of my favorite of Yoko's works involved her having people climb up a ladder with a magnifying glass to read a word on the ceiling. The word was YES. I'd like to be at the top of a ladder, grinning like Humpty Dumpty, and have people climb up with a speculum and tweezers, and have each of them pull a piece of paper out of my vagina, on which would be the word YES.

Yoko is controversial in a lot of ways, but my appreciation of her work is simple. If you're thinking, "What the hell, really, YOKO ONO?" her Wiki article is a great place to start to get to know her.


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