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BUrlesque Performers:

in their own words

I invite performers to offer testimony about their lives in performance, their experiences creating their personas, and the relationship between who they are in life and who they are on stage. these are their words:


Please submit your own story to me at nicholaskozel@hotmail.com. I will do as little editing as possible and only for length and formatting. Thank you for sharing your stories and contributing to Burlyworld!




Mercury Stardust aka Tyler, Madison, Wisconsin:

  

1.Is the relationship between you and your persona a dichotomy or is the persona simply a magnification who you are?

There is a playful vulnerability that comes with my performance. Most of my numbers use my raw comic energy but behind the idea it self comes a much deeper part of me than what may be seen at first glance. Mercury Stardust is both a part of me and someone else, its very hard to put in exact words. Mercury is a character I portray, but he is also a character I wish to become.   



2. What role does your quotidian life play in the creation and specifics of your stage persona?

I typically perform high energy comic numbers that are simply idea that I conjure up from my imagination, but upon an occasion I draw heavily into my life. I believe that Burlesque is at its best when are souls are exposed to the audience. When not only are we baring it all to the crowd physically but also emotionally. For instance there is a number I've been working on that speaks all about the relationship I have with my father, it's a darker number but this art form allows me to express myself in any ways....and when the audience know that at the end of the journey you'll be naked, you can get away with a lot.


3. What does the onstage persona fulfill for you? For example, is the persona purely a construction of fantasy of yourself? Or does it serve as a creative outlet that is unconstrained by cultural norms such that burlesque gives you a 'safe' place to express what you wish you could more generally?

​Burlesque in its purest form is all about expression and taking ownership of your body. I have struggled with my sexuality all my life and even though almost all of my numbers could be comic sketches without the strip tease portion, I choose to show the audience that I'm proud of whom I am. Burlesque has helped me heal from events in that my life that left me a little scared and hurt. It has also re-energized my passion to make people laugh, which has been therapy in its own right.     

​4. What do you find meaningful or important about the Burlyworld! project? How did you learn of the Burlyworld! project?

Even though I love my stage persona, Mercury Stardust, that is not who I am. I don't normally wear pasties around town, or cut myself out of fog boxes or do strip teases as a police officer.  A boylesque performer isn't even how I would identify myself, I am a human being and we all are. It's very important that we all know that at the end of the day we are all connected. Regardless of our background, heritage or position in our community we are all a bunch of stardust and when you see a photo of me as Mercury just remember that for a living I'm a electrician.  



Gingerrabbit Pandora aka Meegan, Perth, Australia.
Ginger Rabbit on facebook.  

1. My onstage persona is a magnification of my personality. It is my personality that is contradictory. I am an introverted person who is also an exhibitionist. I enjoy spending a lot of time alone inventing routines and playing with my puppets. I often find large social situations hard work, and I am a little awkward (although I am improving!). Conversely, I love being the centre of attention onstage, and that is the place I feel most comfortable. When I moonlighted as a Stripper, I loved the performance aspect, but struggled with conversation, so I didn’t make much money.  

2. I work casually as a Psychiatric Nurse. I spend nightshifts envisioning new routines. I see myself as a performer first, and fit work around my burlesque commitments. I think most people know I do burlesque . . . a lot of butt pictures end up on my personal facebook page.  

3. My onstage performer persona is a creative outlet that enables me to amuse the hell out of myself. I am a freelance performer, and I make routines that amuse and excite me. I get an enthusiastic crowd response, but really I make them for me. Burlesque is an art form that allows me to express my abstract and often rather inappropriate sense of humour. Occasionally people are offended by my routines.  

​4. I find the Burlyworld! project interesting as I like the discrepancies between onstage and offstage personas. I have often been told I look too wholesome to be naughty onstage. I found out about the project as a friend on facebook was taking part in it.
  


Dick Buffet aka Patricia, Minneapolis, MN, USA


1.Is the relationship between you and your persona a dichotomy or is the persona simply a magnification who you are?


It is both. My "everyday" self is a queer woman with a fairly feminine appearance. I love to wear dresses, I enjoy make up & glitter, I have a soft voice, and I'm very polite (in the words of Eartha Kitt "the person to whom they say, 'you're sweet, my dear'"). So, people looking at 'me' and at Dick Buffet might think he is completely different: he is a sleazy, slutty lounge singer. He wears a brown suit & polyester shirts, he is overly confident & misreads social cues. What he is is not really the sort of man I would choose to be, but the man that I probably would be (if this were Fantasy Island). So, he's a magnification of men I secretly found sexy when I was growing up (which was the 70's & early 80's which explains a lot about the Dick Buffet).


2.What role does your quotidian life play in the creation and specifics of your stage persona?


I draw from my past & my imagination in creating the persona, not so much from my current life.


3.What does the onstage persona fulfill for you? For example, is the persona purely a construction of fantasy of yourself? Or does it serve as a creative outlet that is unconstrained by cultural norms such that burlesque gives you a 'safe' place to express what you wish you could more generally?



Dick Buffet lets me relate to people in a way that is so different from my normal ways of relating. Through him I can play with being a very different kind of person - aggressively sleazily flirtatious, cocky, funny, and uninhibited. It is also important to me that he is human. He thinks he is a cool guy, and he wants to love & be loved. 

My favorite drag & burlesque performers are those that feel real, and that I can empathize with. For example, Dick will invite the entire audience to come to his hotel after the show for sex, but he would never joke about having nonconsensual sex with someone. That would not be cool to him. 



4. What do you find meaningful or important about the Burlyworld! project? How did you learn of the Burlyworld! project?


I learned of it through Facebook - I saw pictures of friends who are performers. What I appreciate about this project is how it celebrates both aspects of the subjects' lives - the performer as a person in the world, at home, and the performer as their creation.