Friday, August 17, 2007

The Candy Gram: Paris Green

In our ongoing Q&A series --"The Candy Gram"-- we ask the same quirky questions of burlesque's various performers. If you want to be added to the mix, drop us a line at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello to Paris Green who performs with the Belmont Burlesque Revue in Chicago.

What is your hometown?
Chicago, IL

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I've been performing in one way or another since I was in grade school. I was an exceptionally shy kid, so my parents kept signing me up for anything and everything - music lessons, theater camps, choir groups - in an attempt to help me get over it. Their plan eventually worked, probably better than they anticipated. I went on to study acting at Northwestern University and have studied comedy at the ImprovOlympic and Annoyance Theaters in Chicago.

My first taste of burlesque came when I was 13 years old - I got a gig playing in the pit orchestra for a summer rep theater production of Gypsy. It planted the notion that taking off your clothes was fun, glamorous and sometimes involved gladiator helmets. I started performing burlesque regularly here in Chicago about 4 years ago.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
About two dozen. My favorites were made for me by Lady Annabelle, one of the Belmont Bombshells. She is a pastie-making queen.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Taki Rari by Yma Sumac, Sam's Blues by Sam Taylor, and Feeling Good - the Bombshells use both the Nina Simone version and the Muse version of the song, we like both, but for different venues.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Liquid latex, glitter and a hot glue gun.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Esther Williams. I spent my formative years as a highly competitive synchronized swimmer. I honestly believe that the ten years of synchro firmly planted the seeds of my burlesque career, and I've got my coach and team by way of Esther to thank for all that... the sparkly little headpieces and swimsuits, the choreographed routines, the kitsch factor, the precision, the work ethic... Just as in burlesque, synchro takes a lot of hard work to make something beautiful look effortless.

Also, because so much of my experience has been based in a team environment, that's the mentality I try to bring to my burlesque as well. Belmont Burlesque operates as a troupe - we plan our shows together, we try and share both the work and the fun of putting on the Revue. I think a lot of the approach I have towards Belmont Burlesque - and producing theater and burlesque in general - can be traced back to how the team dynamic worked around the swimming pool.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
I am very fond of Lili St. Cyr. Of current performers, I'm a big fan of Bloody Belle and I think Diamondback Annie is amazing.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
In all honesty, I'm a crazy obsessed knitter, so my favorite item of clothing is always going to be whatever knitted project (typically a sweater) I've just finished. My favorite burlesque item of clothing is the garter belt I use for my honeybee strip.

What’s the last movie you saw?
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with shadow cast performance by the Midnight Madness crew here in Chicago. Those kids are alright.

What’s on your must-see-TV list?
I tend to watch a lot of reality TV. I like shows like Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance and America's Next Top Model because if you can stand to filter out all of the reality show sensationalism and mechanics, you get to see talented people doing the thing they do best. I also enjoy House, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. I very much miss Arrested Development. And while this is not so much television, I will watch absolutely anything with Alan Rickman in it.

What book is on your nightstand?
Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic and Religion in America by Fred Nadis

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
I'd go hiking in the Cusco region of Peru, to The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I'd want to be able to teleport. Getting places would be so much easier and faster!

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.