Well, last weekend was Burlycon here in Seattle and over 600 members of the “glitterati” descended upon our fair city for four days of classes, parties and networking. We were honored to host Saturday night’s hospitality suite and got a chance to chat with some old friends and meet some new friends. Unfortunately, we quickly ran out of food given the increased number of attendees but were able to send everyone off with the great earrings that we were giving away. Would love to see some shots of folks sporting the earrings. Feel free to share them on our Facebook page!
Me and fellow BPTer Michelle also taught a class on effectively ticketing a burlesque event and had a great group of fully engaged producers that not only seemed to learn a lot from the class but also brought a lot of great advice themselves. There seemed to be more of a focus on producers this year at Burlycon, which is great, as these are the folks that are going to bring the art form to new audiences through effective marketing and shows that push boundaries and expand the definition of what burlesque is.
All in all, it was a great weekend. There seemed to be a larger contingent of burlesque performers and producers from outside the Pacific Northwest than last year and one such performer/producer was Kay Sera from Baltimore-based Compound Productions 50/50.
They are producing a tribute to Barbarella, the 1968 sexy, sci-fi Jane Fonda romp, with Barbarellesque: An Ecdysiast Theatrical Experience this Sunday, November 17 at The Windup Space in Baltimore. We highly recommend that you check it out. The producers at Compound Productions 50/50 promise that this is “More than a themed show and beyond nerdlesque, this fully scripted performance follows the film’s delightfully cheesy plot and dialogue and adds even more sexy silliness with striptease and song!”
Check out the original trailer and you can already see that this movie was bound to get the burlesque treatment eventually. I’m just shocked that it hasn’t happened until now.
The show will feature four of Baltimore’s burlesque stalwarts in the coveted role of Barbarella: Cherie Sweetbottom, Maria Bella, Sunny Sighed and Kay Sera herself. The show will also feature: Swami YoMahmi (Concierge/Duran Duran), Buster Britches (Mark Hand the Catchman), Mr. Gorgeous (Pygar) and Missy Aggravation (The Great Tyrant), Kitty Bermuda, Mourna Handful, Gigi Holliday, Melody Magpie, Cherie Nuit and Valeria Voxx.
You can get tickets here and I recommend you hurry as they are going faster than a rocket headed straight to Sogo.
I was able to catch up with Kay after Burlycon and ask her a few questions about the show:
One thing I’ve always loved about Barbarella were the costumes. Have you been having a blast (pun intended) costuming for this production?
Absolutely. Fonda’s Barbarella had eight different costumes. Her outfits, as well as the Great Tyrant’s and Duran Duran’s, are so well known and have been so imitated in film and fashion, we knew we had to bring as many as we could to the stage for Barbarellesque. With the added challenge, of course, of having to get out of them!
I noticed you have four different performers playing Barbarella. What do each of them bring to the role?
Cherie Sweetbottom, our “Zero-Gravity Barbarella” has lovely doe-eyes and a natural smooth grace that work perfectly for our first, most innocent Barbarella. And she can also go-go like a champ, which is important when your ship is crashing.
Maria Bella has modelled in the fetish community so her ease with ropes, plus her innate rock and roll strength, make her the right Barbarella to triumph over the challenges of the Ice Fields of Weir.
When you need a Barbarella who can seduce the blind, you need both vocal and physical pulchritude. Sunny Sighed’s powerful voice and in-your-face sensuality are right on track for our labyrinth Barbarella.
Our final Barbarella finds her way into all kinds of trouble in Sogo, from bird attacks to the Excessive Machine. And since where there’s trouble, you can usually find me, Kay Sera, on the scene–probably starting it, in fact–well, that seemed like the obvious choice!
Of course, Barbarella and burlesque seem like a natural fit, but, for those unfamiliar with the film, what was it specifically about the film that inspired you to do this show?
By their very definitions, “camp” and “burlesque” are not far apart. Barbarella is about a woman sent to a distant planet to rescue a scientist so that his terrible knowledge of an ultimate weapon doesn’t “shatter the loving union of the universe.” On the planet, she meets a hirsute hunter, a beautiful blind angel, a leather-clad dom-queen and a goofy but earnest revolutionary. Barbarella befriends or overcomes them all with her sex-positive ways. Oh, and there’s groovy music. So really, a lot of the work to “burlesque” the film was already done before Barbarellesque was even conceived!
How long has Compound Productions 50/50 been around?
We’re proud to say that Barbarellesque is our first piece together as CP5050, but Missy Aggravation, Richard Just, Cherie Sweetbottom and myself have all been supporting, producing and/or performing together for years.
What do you love most about the Baltimore burlesque scene?
That it can’t be defined by one style. We have neo-burlesque, classic, nerdlesque and performance art. We have folks trained in dance, music, theater, sideshow and acrobatics. And shows like Barbarellesque bring them all together to give our audiences a chance to see a range of styles and aesthetics on one stage.
Did you have fun at Burlycon? Learn anything? Any good stories?
11 members of our 14 person cast and crew attended BurlyCon. It speaks highly of them that they are so committed to the art of burlesque that they’d take time off from work to fly to Seattle for four days to hone their craft. Each of us had different core areas of interest, and each of us has returned completely charged up and ready to put our new and enhanced skills to work on the stage at Barbarellesque, from go-go to glove peels, from entrances to exits, from chair work to floor work!
And, as for good stories, well…that’s what Facebook and restraining orders are for!
A big thanks to Kay Sera for taking the time to chat. I’m sure she’s got her hands full, recovering from Burlycon and then producing the big show this weekend. Be sure to head out to The Windup Space on Sunday if you’re in or around Baltimore this weekend. Also, thanks to everyone that attended our class and hospitality suite at Burlycon and hopefully, we’ll be seeing you all next year!