Katherine organized a meeting for us today with her friend Barrie, aka "Tora Torrid." We brainstormed some production ideas and asked Barrie what she thought her burlesque troupe most wanted from our production skills. Barrie thinks that the burlesque community faces a perception problem from the general audience. She says she gets reactions that range from thinking burlesque is synonymous with stripping to those who see the performer as a one dimensional fantasy object. In both cases, there is a lack of understanding regarding the humans involved in the burlesque act. Barrie would like to collaborate on a project that focuses attention on the woman (or man) behind the burlesque performance and highlights the art, historic accuracy and authenticity with which her troupe performs.
As we riffed, Katherine and I brainstormed some of our thoughts for the production component. We talked about filming a sequence of the application of makeup shot through a two way mirror, and then playing the sequence in reverse to accentuate the person underneath the makeup. We talked about filming some practiced burlesque acts as if the camera is the audience, taking some scenes from Chicago as inspiration perhaps. We also tossed around the idea of Katherine and I putting on make up (and possibly performing a short routine?) for the credit sequence. I also got wild and shared my idea for a burlesque act involving an old timer named Buttons whose act is usurped by a younger dancer named Snaps. There were mentions of velcro and zippers as well. :)
The stage names of the troupe we may be working with include Frankie Sin, Chameleon Queen, Tupelo Honey, Sunny Midnight, and Peaches Galore and Tora Torrid. Barrie was remarkably candid and informative about burlesque in general and her troupe in particular and gave us a strong introduction to the understanding of the burlesque scene. She even allowed me to record the conversation, for possible use of a future podcast.
Katherine emailed her friend Meredith last Wednesday and we are waiting to hear back from her to schedule a meeting this week. Her schedule is tight as she has some gigs this week, but we do have a rehearsal space in pocket where we can film.
P.S. I'm looking into interviewing some original burlesque dancers who appeared in the documentary "Behind the Burly Q" who now live in Jacksonville, Florida while I'm there for spring break next week. - Kelly