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 Angie Pontani, who performs solo and as one of The World Famous Pontani Sisters.
What is your hometown?
I was born in Trenton, NJ, but I cut my teeth in Brooklyn, where I have been since I was a teenager.
How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
13 years. I started as a chorus girl in the Dutch Weismann Follies. One of the city's first resurgence shows that was truly underground. It was held in the producers apartment, which he literally turned into a speakeasy! I wasn't even old enough to enter a bar through the front door, yet I was shaking it three nights a week in this amazing, illegal show. By the end of my run with the show, which was about four years, I was a featured solo act. It was an amazing experience and I have been working in burlesque ever since.
How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Probably about 20 or so, though only a dozen are in serious rotation.
What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
36-22-36 by Bobby Bland, it's my favorite act!
Take Me out to the Ball Game - a special King Curtis remake. I love baseball and I do a Mets baseball themed act to this song, I adore it!
La Vie En Rose. I do a very traditional sheer dress pointe dance to this and the song and Edith Piaf's voice is just so lovely I get lost in it.
What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Elvis, he wasn't exactly a burlesque dancer in the traditional sense but his inclination to do everything in such an over the top way really moves me. Everything from his jump suits, dance moves, every day clothes, cars, personal style, music (especially the '70s stuff), is just so over the top, there is such attention to every detail. Through those things you can just see how passionate he was about his music, life and performance. I love that and find it wildly inspiring, especially because he was such an innovator of style. Graceland itself is like a set, it couldn't be more perfect in my eyes.
Who is your favorite burly queen?
Blaze Starr, love-love-love her. She was an amazing performer, lived an amazing life and is just so full of sass. She gave me permission to recreate her smoking couch act a few years ago in Las Vegas and I was honored. I was sweating rhinestones waiting for her response. She is an original wild girl, gorgeous and full of class and sass. That is a tough mixture that doesn't happen a lot and I admire it.
What is your favorite item of clothing?
Recently I was in Australia where I discovered Wheels and Dollbaby, an amazing clothier. My life will never be the same! My current fave is a velvet black pencil skirt with covered buttons down the front accompanied by a sheer pink silk blouse. I can't stop wearing it, I vacuumed in it yesterday.
What’s the last movie you saw?
I don't get to the movies much, in fact I can't even remember the last time I went. I think the last movie I saw must have been the last Rocky. My sister lent it to me on a rainy Sunday & I thought it was good! He gives his son this fabulous speech about how being tough and being a winner isn't about actually winning every time. It's really about having the tenacity to just keep getting back up and not stopping and that's real courage and spirit and general awesomeness. That's being scrappy & Rocky-like.
What’s on your must-see-TV list?
I'm not a big TV girl, but I do have the western channel. They run classic westerns constantly. I need to see an episode of Gun Smoke at least once a week, I love Miss Kitty on Gun Smoke.
What book is on your nightstand?
Gone With The Wind and The Biography of Buffalo Bill, talk about show biz, he was the king!
If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
New Mexico. I'm super lucky that I get to travel so much with work. I've been all over the world and country and have seen some fabulous places, but it's funny because the only place I have actually ever wanted to go to was New Mexico and I've never been! Growing up I was obsessed with it. I even subscribed to New Mexico magazine. It seems like it would really be an amazing place, plus I love chilies and they grow the best!
If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I think I would love to be able to disappear, become invisible. It would be fabulous to be able to read minds or throw fire balls, but you can really work the invisible thing. Not only would that power enable you to leave sticky situations on a whim, but you can multi-task by spying, moving things around, torturing your friends, etc... But, only for the good of all humanity though!
Photo courtesy of Don Spiro
Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Tanya Cheex, Clams Casino, Trixie Little, Michelle L'Amour, Margaret Cho, Miss Dirty Martini,Princess Farhana, Miss Delirium Tremens, Paris Green, Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.