What inspired you to start burlesque?
Katie Angel said, “I’m going to put on a burlesque show. Want to strip?”
How did you come up with your first routine?
Katie had asked me to do a tapping number, and I chose the brassy Bette Midler version of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” There was a distinct lack of sequins in that costume, which is a mistake I’ve never repeated.
How long have you been doing burlesque?
Four years. Good lord, is that right?
How have you changed, onstage and backstage in that time?
After several years of stripping, I decided to focus more on hosting and comedy. Backstage, I’ve evolved into a burlesque “elder"—free with advice, encouragement, and the occasional smackdown when necessary. And I have embraced my love of shiny, shiny things. Never pass up the opportunity to wear a tiara, that’s what I say.
What tips can you give aspiring performers?
Be a little humble. It’s great to be self-confident, but realize that you don’t know everything. Part of the journey is learning. So observe, be polite, do your research, and don’t be a pain in the ass.
What do you love and hate about hosting?
I love the improv aspect of hosting. Working with Jeff Angel is always fun, since we’ve known each other for a long time, which means we can trust each other to freewheel through the show.
The only thing I don’t like about hosting is having to occasionally deal with drunks in the audience. Our fans are usually VERY well behaved though. I threaten to make them come onstage and strip if I think they’re being rude.
Any real life details you want to share?
I cannot keep a manicure to save my life. It’s one reason I adore opera gloves.
What's been your most memorable onstage moment?
I so enjoyed putting together and performing my alien strip “I Need an Earthman.” Come to think of it, that particular routine netted me a Earthman, so there you go.
Any embarrassing moments?
“I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now."
What's your favorite part of burlesque?
Creating something out of nothing: a show out of an idea, a routine out of a song. Also, rhinestones.
Are there any parts of burlesque you loathe?
I don’t love to travel, so I don’t do the whole performance circuit. Burlesque as a lifestyle is a difficult one. Most professional performers don’t have a lot of money, and frankly, I’m too damn old for the late nights they like to keep.
If you could time travel with no consequences, where and when would you go?
The High Middle Ages. I’m fascinated by the mix of bawdiness and sacredness of that period. I’d have to take a lot of perfume with me, though.
If you could have lunch with any three people, past or present, who would you pick?
Katherine Hepburn, who forged her own path and took no shit. Edith Head, who knew more about making women look great in their clothes than anyone. And Eleanor of Aquitaine, who ran a country, manipulated half of Europe, and married a younger man.
If you could have dessert with any three people, past or present, who would you choose?
Joss Whedon, who makes me laugh. Bette Midler, an all-round awesome dame. And Martha Stewart. She may be an uptight control freak, but by god the woman knows her glitter.
What is your perfect Jeopardy board (6 topics that you'd kick ass in)?
Thrift stores, organic gardening, weird cat behavior, history of clothing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Great American song book.
Would you prefer to fly or be invisible? Why?
Fly, of course. I am not made to fade into the background, darling.
If you could describe your essence as a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be?
Rosewater, so old fashioned that it’s now exotic.
Hostess and Entertainer