A MUSE MONDAYS: Kensie Vicious

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Photo cred. John Reed

Today’s muse is one of my first and closest friend, true friend, in Toronto’s burlesque scene. She has tattoos. She designs undies. She’s a nerd. Everybody knows that. She brings me country style butter tarts, even though she’s vegan. I think she enjoys thinking of me getting so much pleasure from something she gave me. She can giggle with a flicker of the devil, but she’s the sweetest schemer I’ve ever met. This pussy-du-jour has been around since my very first day of burlesque. She tackles me with puppy love. And even though she is strong competition for title of ultimate Klutz, her tenacity is one of her signatures. I am proud to fight the good fight with this lady, even though she says it’s not a fight. Ladies and gentlemen, and those who are neither; Kensie Vicious!

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

Kensie: Y’know those games where you find your pornstar name based on your first street name and first place throwing up in public or whatever? Kinda like that, except I chose it based on living in Kensington Market four of the five years I’ve lived in the city, and being a fan of the Sex Pistols (Sid Vicious). Boom. Kensie Vicious.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Kensie: On the life scene? 25 years. On the burlesque scene? A year. But hell, do I feel like I’ve been building up to this forever.

Gracie: Signature colour?
Naked.

Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?

Kensie: I allowed myself to decline gigs and take a step back a few months ago. I said yes to everything and I was pumping out acts that I wasn’t PASSIONATE about. I’ve just returned to performing, debuting some new acts for Belle’s Boudoir….a “make-or-break” show, if you will….these were acts that I REALLY gave a shit about. I felt them, and the audience felt them. It was an incredible moment of understanding my alter ego and my own sense of awareness in front of an audience.

Gracie:  Does your audience have a favorite body part?

Kensie: My mind. The audience loves me for my mind………….kidding. My butt and my tattoos, probably.

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

Kensie: The costuming! Oh god, do I love costuming. I’m a fashion design drop out, my brain goes into overdrive when I design new pieces. So many fabrics and rhinestones and…..messes. *cue glitter bomb explosion sound*

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

Kensie: I would probably be back in university by now! (Not for fashion, that über stylish ship has sailed). The last year of actively performing has gone by so quickly! Granted, it’s a much-needed creative outlet, but I’m sure my fellow show ponies can attest to it being a VERY time-consuming hobby.

Gracie: Do you think you’ll ever retire?

Kensie:  *.*

Gracie: And our end cap. Loaded question, do you have any words for budding showgirls?

Kensie: I cannot emphasize this enough… Find your style. Allow your humor/sweetness/mega vixen/whatever your “thing” is, to come out. Play on things that come naturally and work your ass off (but not actually off) on things that don’t. And if it ever stops being fun, take a step back and reassess.

Gracie: Kensie, thank you so very much for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. If you want to follow Kensie’s antics, see the links below. I will see you next week, same Gracie, same Gracie channel ❤

Facebook: Kensie Vicious

Instagram: @KensieVicious

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A MUSE MONDAYS: Jolie Stripes

I met today’s muse backstage at the Rivoli, where she lit herself and the audience on fire, figuratively speaking. This was after her grand tour. This sweet little french flower has a bag of tricks that can knock your socks off, while she takes off her stockings. And though I have had the pleasure to perform in shows with her, I haven’t had much time to really get to know her, which in showbiz, is often the case. But I look forward to rectifying that in the future. Ladies and gentlemen, the feisty Francophone: Jolie Stripes!Photo credit: John-Finnigan Lin

Gracie: Thank you so much for taking the time to share a little of yourself with us. First, how did you get your name?

Jolie: I didn’t really have any character or persona in mind when I chose my name; it sort of came together naturally. “Stripes” was the name of my character in Fallout 3 when I first started burlesque; it comes from the song “Scars and Stripes” by Angelspit. I liked Jolie because it’s French, and it was the name of a character that I really admired in Emilie Autumn’s book, “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls”.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Jolie: It’s going to be three years next Halloween!

Gracie:Signature colour?

Jolie: Black and white.

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Jolie: Ironically, no. Like every little girl on this planet, I tried ballet (I lasted one year), and ballet jazz (one year again). I did synchronized swimming for five years (my team even won a bronze medal at the Jeux du Québec), two years of belly dance and one year of burlesque classes when I started, and now I do pole dance!

Gracie:What is your favorite peel and reveal?

Jolie: I love when I have a full costume (like a gown) that I can just drop on the floor to reveal a totally different layer underneath; I feel like a majestic newly hatched butterfly!

Gracie: Your most unique prop or costume piece?

Jolie: My most genius costume piece is my Whore of Babylon “wing cape”: it is essentially a cape made of ribbons that attaches to my neck and is secured to my wrists, It’s a pretty expensive and intricate costume piece (ribbon isn’t cheap), and I haven’t seen anything like it, yet!

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

Jolie: It’s a hard one, but I would say “Bad Ladies and the Detective” by Productions Good Ladies was the most unique, extravagant, and ambitious production I have had the honour of taking part of. The care with which Cherry Typhoon and Lady Josephine wrote, produced and curated their two shows in Toronto and Montreal was something I had never seen before and still sticks with me today when I myself put shows together.

Gracie: Do you have any words for budding showgirls?

Jolie: We have enough cookie-cutter stereotyped showgirls, and not enough of YOU. Do what YOU want and exploit what YOU are. Study burlesque, choreography and marketing like you had an exam to pass tomorrow, and always think of yourself as a business woman first.

Gracie: Thank you so much! Follow today’s muse at the links below, and I’ll see you lovelies same time next week! ❤

Facebook: Jolie Stripes

Twitter: @JolieStripes

Instagram: @JolieStripes

A MUSE MONDAY: Charlie Quinn

Now, every new showgirl knows that backstage can be a little daunting. The hairspray fog, the glitter in the air, the blue air from a foul mouthed drag queen, it’s all a bit much. That is until the air clears for one perfect second and a platinum goddess whispers through her red glimmering lips, that Doris Day is her jam. Charlie and I were fast friends. We both think smiles are a valuable currency, think fun should be the goal of any good adventure and that we should dance like nobody’s watching, though she is a way better dancer than I. On more than one occasion I have found myself tangled up in a joke with her that nobody else seems to think is funny, which only endears her more to me. And though our very tight schedules have kept us apart for longer than I’d like, I know we’ll be able to fall into step without much hassle. Emphasis of course on the falling;) So, without further adieux, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Quintessential Player: Ms Charlie Quinn!

Alex Hurter of Ifyoufallphotography www.ifyoufallphotography.com

Alex Hurter of Ifyoufallphotography
http://www.ifyoufallphotography.com

Gracie: Ladybird, thank you so very much for taking the time to answer a few questions. I can tell your Iced Capp is low, so I’ll keep this short. How did you get your name?

Charlie: I’ve always been called Charlie by my family growing up and preferred it to my given name. Originally, I debuted as “Charlie Baby” and after some continued research, I’d found a drag queen online who also went by the name so it was back to the drawing board. I was already planning a bunch of characters to reveal and I couldn’t seem to think cleverly enough to create something that resembled me and the multitude of characters I wanted to have. “Sherry Keylime” was a name I had thought, because I, simply, love key lime pie…but I didn’t like “Charlie Keylime”. Charlie Knoxville had kick to it, but it didn’t mean anything to me. I was sitting in a hotel in London, Ontario for work watching old Saturday Night Live after a 15-hour day with my coworker and the Weekend Update portion came on with Colin Quinn. I had been adding surnames to Charlie for months and just said it to myself “Charlie Quinn”. I had learnt of harlequin’s vaguely years ago and I had understood it as a sort of multiple personified devil and ran with it. The description of what and how harlequin came to be is sooo much more interesting and layered and the more research I do, the more I agree with it as my alias.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Charlie: I kittened about from June 2011 to December 2011. I debuted in December 2011 in Coco Framboise’s “Up-your-Chimney” show and then debuted my first act February 2012 at Red Herring’s first Reveal Me alongside Bianca Boom Boom, Melody Merlot, Skaii Walker and others. That’s about 2 years and a bit? Yeah?

Gracie: What’s your signature colour?

Charlie: I try not to stick to one colour but lately it’s either white and yellows or red. Anything that goes with my platinum blonde hair!

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?

Charlie: It’s a mix of Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe and Cyd Charisse!

Gracie: That’s a trifecta of titillation if there ever was one! But on to serious matters, Do you tassel? Both directions?

Charlie: I tassel all the things. I am known for my debut act “The Mask” having assels or ass tassels that I learnt from a class with travelling headliner, Peekaboo Pointe.

Gracie: How do you build a new act? What comes first: Song, costume, concept?

Charlie: I have a forever-long list on my phone with songs that inspire ideas. It’s a very unorganized list that I can peruse to inspire new ideas. I am usually inspired by the music first and foremost and then the act creates itself. I dance to the song at least 30-60 times on repeat in my apartment the few days leading up to a show. I have a rough guideline to what I want the plot to be (if any) and I will know any musical cues that tell me I have a minute or less left of a song. I like to be current and in the moment with my audience and I could choreograph, however, dancing to the song multiple times I find that the same series of movements come out sometimes at the right moments, and that’s enough of a plan for me right now.

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

Charlie: A unicorn. Nah, I’m already a unicorn onstage. I would be making costume pieces and probably stuff for showgirls. I already do that but I know I would never be completely removed from the stage.

Gracie: Do you have any words of wisdom for brand new and aspiring showponys?

Charlie: Before I go on stage I like to remind myself that the person I am out there and who I want them to see, is the best possible version of myself, and if for some reason they do not like it, then at least I was genuine and honest.

Charlie, as always you’ve been a delight and an absolute pleasure, which I’ve told you on more than one Cinnamon whiskey fuelled night. I can’t wait until our schedules simmer down a little more and we can spend some much-needed banana time together. To all my readers, follow Charlie on all the social media forums. You know you’re gonna anyways! I mean she’s hot AND funny.

Website: http://www.charliequinnTO.weebly.com

Facebook: facebook.com/Charlie.Quinn.TO

Twitter: @CharlieQuinnTO

Instagram: @charliequinnto

Youtube: youtube.com/CharlieQuinnTO

A MUSE MONDAYS: Johnny B. Goode

I met our next show pony in the dark, surrounded by clowns, and our first impulse was to talk in really bad accents for the whole night. From then on I was smitten. He lends his voice – and body – to those showgirls in need. Whether he’s singing for a strip, being a scene stealing man-prop, host with the most-ing or dancing up in the DJ booth; this throwback is the return of the Mac, who never really left: BOOM! POW! The one and only, Johnny B. Goode. 539275_166368536821559_1756757930_n

Gracie: Thanks for taking this time for me. Let’s jump right in. How did you get your name?

Johnny B. Goode: I actually started out as ‘Johnny Bravo’ for obvious reasons, but after a friend of mine left a cheeky comment referencing the song ‘Johnny B Goode’ on some social media platform, I decided to change it up.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Johnny B. Goode: I wasn’t really involved in the Burlesque community until I teamed up with my two main gals, Stella and Belle. Our first show as a group was November 11, 2011.

Gracie: Signature colour?

Johnny B. Goode: I guess I would say black. I wear a lot of black jackets with embellishments on the shoulders.

Gracie: Who’s your biggest fan?

Johnny B. Goode: I’ve had a couple of ‘fan moments’ throughout the city, but I guess our friend Joe is one of our biggest. We like to make sure he’s at all of our productions.

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?

Johnny B. Goode: Can I say Beyonce?

Gracie: Do you have a signature move?

Johnny B. Goode: I sing while people strip #bestjobever

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Johnny B. Goode: Couple years of opera when I was quite young and dance training for almost 8 years in hip-hop, lyrical jazz, and 4 years modern.

Gracie: Do you have any secret talents?

Johnny B. Goode: Wouldn’t you like to know? 😉

Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?

Johnny B. Goode: Our Destiny’s Child DIVA OFF was a really awesome night for me. There were quite a few snags in the show, things not working right, set ups taking longer than practiced, but it was kind of the first time that I realized that when I was on stage by myself people WANTED to hear what I had to say. I wasn’t just filler between sets of boobs.

Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?

Johnny B. Goode: I love a good tear-away pant.

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?

Johnny B. Goode: On myself? My hair’s my thing.

Gracie: What is your favourite style of movement? (ie: erotic, erratic, erroneous)

Johnny B. Goode: I guess I would say erotic. Sexy is easy to mimic. Funny is a little bit harder.

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

Johnny B. Goode: I LOVE developing acts. Finding music to tell the story, creating a costume and all the details you have to remember because someone will have to strip out of it.

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

Johnny B. Goode: I think concept, then music, then costume. But at any given time throughout development, the act could change completely.

Gracie: What is your favourite costume piece?

Johnny B. Goode: I have a jacket with sequined shoulders and floor length fringe. I want to wear it always. oh, and I have a diamond encrusted leather vest. Does that count? Haha.

Gracie: What is your characteristic style?

Johnny B. Goode: Basically Johnny Bravo.

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

Johnny B. Goode: It’s all important. A great costume can make an act awesome as much as a horrible song choice can make it not so awesome.

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

Johnny B. Goode: Percy Katt and Lady Bonah rolling around in an entire container of glitter emptied out on the floor. Strange? Maybe not, but awesome.

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

Johnny B. Goode: Our Platinum Holiday Special was one of my favourites.

Gracie: Is there a dream theme you want to perform?

Johnny B. Goode: Once we get some more DIVA OFFs under our belt, I’d love to do a DIVA OFF: ALL STARS.

Gracie: Favourite venue in your current city and on the road?

Johnny B. Goode: For Toronto, MOD Club has got to be it. Just the amenities they have available are really awesome. Lights, smoke, sound equipment.

Gracie: Who is your favourite local showgirl?

Johnny B. Goode: No way I can choose favourites. I love so many! Though, I do have an affinity for blondes…

Gracie: Lucky blondes*wink. If you weren’t a showpony, what would you be?

Johnny B. Goode: Probably working within the fashion industry in some capacity.

Gracie: Do you think you’ll ever retire?

Johnny B. Goode: From the Burlesque world? Probably. Performing, no.

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

Johnny B. Goode: Find a rehearsal space where you can watch yourself in a mirror, and remember that, no one’s life is a stake here. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Gracie: Aw, Johnny, as always it was an absolute delight and I look forward to my triumphant return to the Glitter Den. And spending more time with 3 of Toronto’s Top Blondes. That rounds out our Platinum Production A Muse series. Don’t forget to follow Johnny, Belle Jumelles and St Stella for info about upcoming A Platinum Production – Productions!

Facebook: facebook.com/johnnybravogoode

Instagram: @goJBGgo

Twitter: @goJBGgo

AND

A Platinum Production: facebook.com/APlatinumProduction

Twitter: @platinumpowerx3

A MUSE MONDAYS: Belle Jumelles

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting our next Muse before seeing her perform. And I’m glad I did, cuz otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have been so cool…Not that I’m ever cool, but if I’d known how she can cast a stare while drawing you in with her mischievous smirk, I wouldn’t have been cool a’tall! Producer part 2 of 3 for A Platinum Production. The lady with the loveliest twins: Belle Jumelles.

Photography by Angela McConnell

Photography by Angela McConnell

Gracie: How did you get your name?

Belle Jumelles: I went over a bunch of names before committing to mine. I knew I wanted it to be a play on being a bigger girl, or focusing on a specific part of my body because body image is a big deal to me and I take pride specifically in being a bigger girl. I’m also bilingual, so I knew I wanted to incorporate something French there.. After playing with a bunch of combinations, I came up with Mademoiselle Belle Jumelles. I liked the ring of it and tried it on a bunch of my closest friends to get their input. Fell in love with it, and never looked back.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Belle Jumelles: It was my 4 year anniversary in March. I started out in Hamilton with Boudoir Rouge Burlesque, and then started doing it a lot more when I moved to Toronto 3 years ago.

Gracie: Signature colour?

Belle Jumelles: I don’t actually have a signature colour. I like to play with colours, but I always have a pop of black in all my costumes. One of my goals is to have a reasonably big budget costume that is all colour matching (covered in rhinestones – obviously), with no black in it whatsoever. I’m hoping I get that this year.

Gracie: Who’s you’re biggest fan?

Belle Jumelles: This is a hard one, because I have some really supportive people in my life. I’m going to have to say Joe Kilmartin. He has been cheering me on since the start. (Honourable mentions: Wolfman, Coco Framboise, Kaleen Joseph, My mom)

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?

Belle Jumelles: I’m inspired by many performers. Coco Framboise, Dainty Box, World Famous Bob, Judith Stein, Lady Josephine. That’s the short list. But, there are so many amazing performers who inspire me every day. My co-producers, Johnny and Stella are also a huge source of inspiration. I love creating with them!

Gracie: Do you have a signature move?

Belle Jumelles: My titty-shimmy is pretty impressive. But, that’s just based on sheer volume of titty.

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Belle Jumelles: I took a few improv classes. Does that count? Lol

Gracie: Do you have any secret talents?

Belle Jumelles: I’m a lady. I don’t share those secrets with just anyone.

Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?

Belle Jumelles: When Tanya Cheex asked me if she could be in our show. She’s a legend in our community and it felt pretty awesome to have her ask us if she could be on our show. It was that moment when we knew we could ask whoever we wanted if they would like to work with us.

Gracie: Do you tassel? Both directions?

Belle Jumelles: I haven’t yet. I’ve had this notion that my boobs are just too big. But, I might give it a shot this year.

Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?

Belle Jumelles: This one really depends on the act. But, the bra reveal is always fun because there’s been a big buildup and I can really tease people by that point.

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?

Belle Jumelles: I’m proud of ALL of this!

Gracie: Does your audience have a favourite body part?

Belle Jumelles: Well.. They don’t call me Belle Jumelles for nothing.

Gracie: What is your favourite style of movement? (ie: erotic, erratic, erroneous)

Belle Jumelles: I’ve been told I don’t have to move much. I give good face and have really sexy slow movements.. So, I guess erotic is my style.

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

Belle Jumelles: A new act is always exciting! I really love coming up with the costume concept and then having it all come together.

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

Belle Jumelles: That depends on the act too. In the beginning I was mostly inspired by a song. I either loved the beat, or the lyrics said something that inspired me. More recently, we (A Platinum Production) play with themes so much that the concepts come from that inspiration. With the Diva Offs, it’s always the music that inspires the acts.

Gracie: What is your favourite costume piece?

Belle Jumelles: I really love my candy shop corset. It’s covered in jewels made to look like I’m covered in candy. Johnny spent hours gluing each one on. It’s pretty awesome!

Gracie: Your most unique prop or costume piece?

Belle Jumelles: I have this 5 ft tall lollypop that Mark Boyer of 3B Artistry made me that I really love. It looks like a jumbo rainbow lolly pop!

Gracie: What is your characteristic style?

Belle Jumelles: In most cases, I’m a vamp. But, I like to be comical sometimes.

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

Belle Jumelles: I think good acts have a few important elements. Sticking to your character, slowing down the tease elements, and musicality make for a great number!

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

Belle Jumelles: I don’t really have a strange moment that comes to mind. But, the first time I met April March, I helped tease out and spray her hair. It was such an honour!

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

Belle Jumelles: Our holiday show was pretty unique. It was like a Judy Garland Holiday special meets burlesque. There was a really amazing energy about it too.

Gracie: Is there a dream theme you want to perform?

Belle Jumelles: Broadway was a dream theme for me for a while, but I got to do it twice now. We have had the opportunity to perform with a live band. But, anytime that can happen again, I’d be so excited for it. I know it’s not a theme per-se, but it’s what I love the most!

Gracie: Favourite venue in your current city and on the road?

Belle Jumelles: We’re lucky to get to perform is some of the best spaces in this city. I love Buddies, Club 120, The Flying Beaver, The Gladstone, Revival. They all treat us really well.

Gracie: Who is your favourite local showgirl?

Belle Jumelles: Oh man! How am I supposed to answer this? I’m going to give props to an amazing newbie. I think Zilly Lilly is spectacular! She’s creative, she’s funny, she’s got good movements and musicality.. and she’s brand new! Imagine what she’ll be like in a couple years!

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

Belle Jumelles: I would be a Broadway superstar lol

Gracie: Do you think you’ll ever retire?

Belle Jumelles: I really hope that one day I give people the same feelings I got when I saw Judith Stein perform at last year’s festival and April March at this year’s Girlesque. It was truly inspiring!

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

Belle Jumelles: Words of wisdom, eh.. get involved in everything. Help out where you can and be nice to people. Then, every time you get an opportunity to be on a stage, rock the shit out of it!

Gracie: I want to thank Belle for her candour and remind y’all that The Producers Show is May 29th at the Gladstone. Doors at 8pm! See you squares there!

FB: facebook.com/bellejumelles

Twitter: @bellejumelles

Instagram: @platinumburlesque

A MUSE MONDAYS: St Stella

About 8 months ago I had the distinct pleasure of watching today’s Muse high-kick her old school high tops through Footloose. I could hardly breathe. Her signature can can choreo and icy blue eyes have her on the tips of many tongues. She’s choreographer and dance captain for the Knicker Kickers. One Third of the fabulous Platinum Productions. Teacher at The Toronto School of Burlesque. And all around Goddess. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present THE Bendy. Buxom. Blonde: St. Stella

Gracie: Thanks for opening up to me and my blogdom. Can I ask, how did you get your name?

Photo: Chris Hutcheson

Photo: Chris Hutcheson

St Stella: When I started in burlesque (an epic 7-years ago), I really was quite the innocent. A friend of mine suggested the name as a kind of gag.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

St Stella: Seven years. Fun Fact: I was the first performer at the first Toronto Burlesque Festival in the Melody bar at the Gladstone.

Gracie: Signature colour?

St Stella: Blue…?

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?

St Stella: Michelle L’amour, Dirty Martini, Trixie Little and Evil Hate Monkey.

Gracie: Do you have a signature move?

St Stella: Bum winking while in open splits 🙂

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

St Stella: I took ballet for 12 years, modern for 3. I try to keep up with burlesque training and take as many classes I have the time and money for.

Gracie: Do you have any secret talents?

St Stella: Yes, but they’re SECRET.

Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?

St Stella: I’ve had a few. I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with and have amazing chats with some of my burlesque heroes, particularly Cherry Typhoon, Lady Josephine, Dangrr Doll and Nasty Canasta. Whenever I get the opportunity to have heart-to-hearts with any of those magical ladies, their wisdom and love for the art form definitely re-invigorates me.

Gracie: Do you tassel? Both directions?

St Stella: Unfortunately, I’ve never been a great twirler. And, I wouldn’t dare put a sub-par twirl on stage.

Gracie: What’s your favourite peel and reveal?

St Stella: I do love a good hair reveal. I also am a fan of my stocking peel in the splits.

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?

St Stella: Blonde. All the blonde.

Gracie: Does your audience have a favourite body part?

St Stella: I’ve had a lot of compliments about my eyes and how they really draw in from the stage. I really appreciate that.

Gracie: What is your favourite style of movement?

St Stella: I love the contrast of big and small movement. A little wink and a hip bump that explodes into a giant kick, for example.

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

St Stella: I love the lightbulb moment, when the story, the costume, the song and the reason for the reveal all come into focus. ‘Bam! I have it!’ Then, I hate the wait from that to making it come to fruition. Mostly not having the time and money to turn your vision to reality.

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

St Stella: Usually, a feeling/concept comes first, but sometimes the concept stems directly from a song.

Gracie: What is your favourite costume piece?

St Stella: I don’t think I have created my favorite, yet.

Gracie: Your most unique prop or costume piece?

St Stella: Probably my Britney Spears style nude, rhinestoned body suit.

Gracie: What is your characteristic style?

St Stella: Very contemporary, and emotive.

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

St Stella:I just want people to feel. I think the arc of the act is most important. I want to tell the audience something, make them feel something.

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

St Stella: I performed in an off-broadway show called Pretencion with Johnny Porkpie, Dirty Martini, Trixie Little and Evil Hate monkey and Angie Pontani. That was unique, unbelievable, magical, and inspiring, to say the least.

Gracie: Is there a dream theme you want to perform?

St Stella: I may have something in the works….

Gracie: Favourite venue in your current city and on the road?

St Stella: I love performing at 3030 in Toronto, it’s a great big stage with a roomy backstage and a good room. If I’m on the road performing, I’m happy anywhere.

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

St Stella: I’d hopefully still have found dance, performing and teaching in some manner.

Gracie: Do you think you’ll ever retire?

St Stella: Never. Or, not until my body gives way.

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

St Stella: Be true to yourself. Be kind. Be generous. Be unselfish. Do what you love.

Gracie: Stella, the pleasure was all mine. I’m so looking forward to sharing the stage with you at The Producers Show – May 29th. Lucky me gets to pick up all the pretty pieces that come peeling off. Meow! Follow all things Stella below.

Website: saintstella.com
Facebook: facebook.com/St.Stella
Twitter: @Saint_Stella
Instgram: saintstella

 

A MUSE MONDAYS: Knox Harter

Photo: Rob Sackfield

Photo: Rob Sackfield

About a year ago, I started on this amazing and sparkly journey that is burlesque. On my journey I have met many show ponies who are willing and inspired to share their knowledge, experiences and help you build a better performance. This next lady is one such soul. Her enthusiasm for entertaining is one of the reasons she inspires those around her, and what makes her an incredible teacher. Ladies and Gentlemen, the lady who always Knox twice, cheesecake darling: Knox Harter

Gracie: How’d you get your name?
Knox Harter: My first time I was kittening for Red Herring’s Reveal Me at the Rivoli and I was talking to Joe Kilmartin and we were talking about finding my stage name. At this point I was just kittening and had yet to do a full solo tease (though I had a lot of experience with sexy dancing, Boston and group teases). I told him I had no idea what my stage name should be, but I did want it to involve my last name (my legal name is pretty kick-ass, at least I think so). Joe suggested the name “Knox Twice”, then said “come to me in a couple of weeks and I think I’ll have a better one.” Sure enough the next Reveal me I was kittening as well as performing my first full tease as a soloist, and Joe comes up to me and gives me the name I’ve stuck with: Knox Harter.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?
Knox Harter: Arguably almost 5 years, but Knox Harter has only been around for about a year and a half. I actually got into burlesque entirely by accident when I answered an audition post looking for jazz dancers, and ended up in a burlesque show produced by Sophie Luxton at Second City. I did two shows with Sophie and a couple of corporate gigs, at the same time doing sexy dancing and corporate entertainment with DivaGirl Entertainment. From there I was found by Carla Catherwood, who runs Nuvo-Burlesque and worked with her and the Bombshell Beauties for about a year and a half. I met Pastel Supernova in the Bombshell beauties and was offered a spot in her new company Love Letters Cabaret. The rest is kind of history. Knox was developed under Pastel’s watch and I started mingling and kittening with other burlesque performers I never heard of until I made it to do full teases myself!

Gracie: Signature colour?
Knox Harter: Hot pink!!!

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Knox Harter: I’m a trained dancer since I was three – the whole nine yards: did nothing but dance as a kid through my teens, went to an arts high school for dance, got my BFA in Dance from Ryerson, I’ve been teaching dance since I was 16, still working as a professional dancer, dance teacher and choreographer.

Gracie: What was your burlesque a-ha moment?
Knox Harter: I feel like I’m still having them! With all the performance experience I have I feel like I’m still constantly learning! I guess my most recent one came the last time I was in Ottawa and the feed back I got from my cheesecake act. Apparently that act comes with a reputation…

Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?
Knox Harter: Anything that reveals my bum and stocking peels

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?
Knox Harter: I love my back and my legs.

Gracie: Does your audience have a favourite body part?
Knox Harter: My bum.

Gracie: How do you build an act?
Knox Harter: Either the song or the concept comes first depending on what I’m trying to create.

Gracie: What’s your characteristic style?
Knox Harter: Classic vintage cheesecake pin-up. I’m a cartoon.

Gracie: What is the most important part of your number?
Knox Harter: That the character or concept I’m portraying is clear and entertaining, and that I connect with my audience in somehow.

Gracie: What’s the most unique show you’ve ever been a part of?
Knox Harter: I’m biased, but I’ve never had any other experiences like the ones I have with my Love Letters Cabaret family.

Gracie: Favourite venue in your current city and on the road?
Knox Harter: First pick is Revival, second pick is the Second City mainstage. Out of town I enjoy the Rainbow Bistro in Ottawa and Café Cleopatra in Montreal (however I feel like that might change if I ever make it to the Wiggle Room *wink wink *)

Gracie: Who is your favourite local showgirl?
Knox Harter: In no particular order: Pastel Supernova, Lucky Minx, Coco Framboise, Charlie Quinn, Dew Lily… the list kind of goes on! This city has so much talent that each time I see a show I come out inspired, and some of the emerging performers are hidden gems soon to be uncovered…see what I did there… 😛

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

Knox Harter:  Find what makes you special as a showgirl and own it. You are enough.
– Take everything you hear about yourself or other people with a grain of salt.
– Get everything in writing.
– You create your own success. Producers, bookers, clients and agents who make promises don’t always deliver. Don’t leave your success in the hands of someone who may not have your best interests at heart. Know your worth and stand by it.

Gracie: As always, a delight! Thank you for taking time out of your busy rehearsal schedule to answer a few of my nosy questions. Be sure to follow Knox Harter:

Website: www.knoxharter.com
Facebook: facebook.com/KnoxHarter
Twitter: @KnoxHarter
Instgram: kknoxharter