A MUSE MONDAYS: Miss dd Starr

The first time I met our next muse, she was wearing a moustache. It was a sexy blonde moustache, for a very good cause. I was wearing a not-so-sexy blonde moustache and I was jelly that she could still look so feminine and sweet with such a magnani-stache. I mean it was a big burly blonde moustache. Like big. But her sultry swagger and come hither stare convinced me, she is burlesque. And I’ve loved her ever since. My favourite things are how a person laughs, and this Dame laughs with her whole being. The second half of Two Dames productions. The blonde bombshell, I love so well: Miss dd Starr!Miss dd Starr

Gracie: Thank you so much for taking time to answer a few of my questions. First off, how did you get your name?

Miss dd Starr: My real name is Diana Staruch and growing up all the kids on my street called me dd because Diana is actually hard for little ones to say. I always hated my last name because everyone pronounced it wrong. In grade 7 I decided I was old enough I could change it to Starr. When I was picking my stage name I felt it had to be dd Starr because of my bra size for humour and my personal history. I finally decided on Miss dd Starr because I thought it looked prettiest in copy. I use 2 lower case d’s simply because it looks better.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Miss dd Starr: 8 years now. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Gracie: Signature colour?

Miss dd Starr: Any shade or tone of pink. I am actually obsessed with pink, it’s kind of ridiculous but in all the right ways.

Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?

Miss dd Starr: It was TBF 2010. I had decided in 2009 that I would only put one really strong act together that year to get into the 2010 festival, instead of putting together a bunch of smaller acts. I worked my ass off for an entire year on my Saloon Girl act. When I finally performed it at TBF 2010 the reaction of the crowd and community was out of this world. That performance changed my entire philosophy on how I put together acts. Since then every year my goal is to produce one polished, rehearsed, strong & original act. I feel way more satisfied as an artist with this philosophy.

Gracie:Do you tassel? Both directions?

Miss dd Starr: I was scared to tassel twirl for the first 3 years I was in burlesque. I have since conquered that fear. I now prefer to tassel in every act and show the audience my twirling tricks. Most audiences love a great tassel show and I love to serve my audience.

Miss dd Starr: Until this year’s TBF I would have said it is my bar prop and Christina Manuge Saloon Girl costume. But now I would say it is my latest act creation A Tango Within – The Beauty of Destruction. With a beautiful life-size rose made by the talented Brook Alviano and my newest corset made by the incredible Christina Manuge.

Gracie: What’s the most unique show you’ve been a part of?

Miss dd Starr: Without a doubt it is Theatre Bizarre in The Dirty Devils Peepshow produced by Canada’s only Queen of Burlesque Roxi D’Lite. I am so honoured and excited to be a part of this Masquerade Spectacular for the 3rd year in a row. If you have never been you should go. It is at the Masonic Temple in Detroit and there are no words to describe how incredible it is. Everyone should go at least once in their lifetime. Seriously unbelievable.

Gracie: Do you have any words for budding showgirls?

Miss dd Starr: I had a student tell me at the Miss Pin Up Canada Pageant that the best burlesque advice she had received was from one of my classes. As a budding showgirl it is so important to honour yourself, your unique beauty and to turn yourself on in your acts. We all need to stick together as a female dominated community and spread the love of the female form, classic glamour & celebrate beauty redefined by today’s burlesque revolution. Self-love, acceptance, the celebration of unedited beauty, the power of live performance & beauty transformed is how burlesque can change the world. One artist at a time.

Gracie: dd, you are such a generous performer and teacher, you’re a delight to be around. Follow today’s inspiration at the links below and I’ll see you next week! And be sure to check out Tease on the Seas August 30!!!

Facebook: MissddStarr

Twitter: @missddstarr

A MUSE MONDAYS: Ava Noir

As is often the case in the world of burlesque, you can meet someone and become friends before you’ve ever seen them perform. Today’s Muse was introduced to me as “one of the best producers in Toronto”. She is a unequivocal  lady. She holds herself and the burlesque community to a higher standard. She leads by example. She is a prolific producer and 50% of Two Dames Productions, a real force to be reckoned with: Ava Noir!

Photo Credit: Sarah Thompson

Photo Credit: Sarah Thompson

Gracie: Thanks for taking the time to get to know us a little better. Can I start by asking, how did you get your name?

Ava: It’s a bit creepy. I dated this guy who compulsively cheated on me with his ex “Ava”. I always felt like I could never live up to her, so when it was time to choose my burlesque persona it seem natural.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Ava: Since 2007

Gracie: Signature colour?

Ava: Black

Gracie: Who’s your biggest fan?

Ava: Hmmm…I would  say Matt. My husband.

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?

Ava: Oh my – I have so many! Dr. Lucky, Miss dd Starr, Amber Ray…I could go on forever!

Gracie: Do you have a signature move?

Ava: Yes, but it’s not purposeful. LOL!

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Ava: In dance no, burlesque yes.

Gracie: Do you tassel? Both directions?

Ava: YES! Love a good tassel twirl. Feels so good.

Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?

Ava: A quick one. When the audience doesn’t expect it.

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?

Ava: My bottom. It’s amazing.

Gracie: What is your favourite part of a new act?

Ava: That moment when you realize you’ve made all the right choices. The music, costume and movements all work perfectly.

Gracie: How do you build it? What comes first: Song, costume, concept?

Ava: Music has always inspired me, even before I started doing burlesque. My acts start from song and I build up.

Gracie: What is your favourite costume piece?

Ava: My favourite costume is my Black & Teal Tartan costume I use for my Big Boss Man act. That was my first act I ever did so it’s very sentimental and it’s really pretty.

Gracie: Your most unique prop or costume piece?

Ava: My life size Jack – in –the-box. It has a fully functioning handle. Made by my husband. SWWOOOONNN!!

Gracie: What is your characteristic style?

Ava: If you asked me this 3 years ago I would’ve said classic without a doubt now I would say neo/classic. I think I’m always changing evolving.

Gracie: What is the most important part of your number?

Ava: The entrance. I believe you only have a few seconds to grab the audience attention. If you don’t do it in that first 3-5 seconds you’ve lost them for 3-5 minutes.

Gracie: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you backstage?

Ava: Girlesque 2014 dd and I were waiting to go onstage for our “Red Witches” act and when Dr. Mysterion saw us with bandages all over our faces and in floor length veils it really creep’d him out. I couldn’t even do his expression justice by describing it. Truly the best part of my night.

Gracie: What is your favourite venue in your current city and on the road?

Ava: I adore performing at Revival. It’s the perfect venue. Good stage, great sound, HUGE green room.

Gracie: Who is your favourite local showgirl?

Ava: My partner in crime Miss dd Starr. She inspires me daily.

Gracie: If you weren’t a showgirl, what would you be?

Ava: More than likely I’d take my day job seriously and I’d be running Bay St. by now.

Gracie: Do you think you’ll ever retire?

Ava: No, because I really can’t picture my life without burlesque in it. My focus shifts particularly at this time of year (TBF time) from performer mode in producer mode, so I know that if the time ever comes when I don’t perform anymore, producing is a nice shift.

Gracie: Do you have any words of wisdom for budding showgirls?

Ava: Take everything in. Go to shows, take classes, ask questions. Absorb as much as you can.

Gracie: Awesome! Every time I do this I learn things I am excited to know. I love hearing the way people see themselves and this community. Ava, thank you for sharing yourself with us. And readers, do forget to follow Ava at the links below.

Facebook:  Ava Noir
Twitter:  @AvaNoir
Instagram _ava_noir

 

A MUSE MONDAYS: Cerise Noir

I first met this next Muse when she was wearing one of her many other hats. She was stage managing with a panther like accuracy. Clad in a black slinky pant suit, she transitioned those acts seamlessly. The 2nd time I saw her she was wearing a pink tutu and red nose. And lucky number 3 was when I was wearing a monkey mask for the very first time. She and I have worked hard to tear each other apart, literally and attractively, while maintaining our unspoken rule: Funny above all things. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you an Atomic Cherry, a comedic goddess and a Jackie of all trades; Cerise Noir!Cerise Noir

Gracie: Thank you ever so much for taking the time to share with us your unique insight;) First, how did you get your name?

Cerise: I names myself Cerise Noir because I am originally and will always be an Atomic Cherry. My last name in real life is Black, and I’m always the dark character in Atomic Cherry duets, so I am the ‘Black Cherry’. I went for a while as Miss Black, but my friends called me out for being boring.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Cerise: I’ve been performing since 2006!

Gracie: Do you have a signature colour?

Cerise: I have no signature anything. I’m all over the place. As a ginger you won’t see me in yellow.

Gracie: What was you Burlesque Ah~Ha moment?

Cerise: I had a lot of ah ha moments when I was taking a class with Michelle L’Amour at the Boston Burlesque Expo. I had performed the night before and after almost all of her tips I thought “oh no! I totally did that wrong last night!” It was great, I didn’t feel silly for how much I didn’t know, I was really excited by how much I was learning in one session.

Gracie: What is your favourite body part to reveal?

Cerise: My contribution to burlesque is my bod. I look damn good. My ass is fantastic and I often save that for my final reveal. I was also blessed with a stomach that will not gain any flab ever. I never work out. Go ahead and be jelly.

Gracie: How do you create an act? What comes first? Music, act, costume?

Cerise: I normally build an act by hearing a song and then wanted to bang to it. As in have sex. If I feel sexy listening to it, that normally makes me put it on a list of things to think about. I have a playlist of sexy tracks. Then I listen to it on repeat for as long as it takes. I often come up with the basic choreography by listening to it on headphones while in a bath. I imagine it all the way through then start actually running it and adjust it based on what actually works. Video is also a very powerful rehearsal tool for tweaking.

Gracie: A bathtub choreographer, eh? I’ve never thought of that, but it sounds great. What’s your wackiest prop?

Cerise: I have an amazing prop I haven’t used yet. I’m excited! As a performer who comes from a tech background and stage manages more than I perform, I never use huge props or complicated set ups. One of my pet peeves is acts with a tonne of props that never get used. Don’t make me set it up if it serves no purpose.

Gracie: What is the weirdest show you’ve ever been a part of?

Cerise: I do some clown work, so the weirdest show I work on is the Lunacy Cabaret. Once I was a playboy bunny in a burka. I love that show because they don’t censor performers at all. I can do whatever weird performance art burlesque I want and the crowd is huge and so supportive!

Gracie: What’s your favourite venue on the road or in town?

Cerise: Besides the Center of Gravity, I think Revival is one of the best venues in town. The owner is great. The stage is lovely, the tech is amazing (again: I stage manage a lot, so those points matter)!

Gracie: Do you have any words of advice for budding showgirls?

Cerise: My biggest advice would be to take a look at the scene around you and find the performers who are doing the type of performing you want to do. Reach out to them and get some advice! Don’t underestimate volunteering and kittening. You’ll have a lot of no pressure fun and book more gigs. Don’t piss off the crew. 😉

Gracie: Thank you again for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I’m so looking forward to our road trip this weekend. Ottawa Mean Girls Burlesque is gonna be killer:) Keep up to date with Cerise’s antics at the links below. AND don’t forget to read up on your favourite Muse for next Monday!

Facebook: Cerise Noir

Instagram: @rb_cerisenoir