Friday, February 8, 2008

The Candy Gram: Bonbon Vivant

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 Bonbon Vivant.

What is your hometown?
Brunswick, Maine, Boston, MA and Austin, TX. I haven’t lived in Maine or Boston for quite awhile, but I still consider them home.

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I first became interested in burlesque while I was roaming around the old theater district in Boston. I’m an architectural historian and I like to look at old buildings. Most of the theaters down there have been closed for years, but it was a big red light district for awhile. I found one place called The Gaiety (it has since been torn down to make way for million dollar condos), which was a vaudeville house during the teens and twenties. Around the back side of the building were the painted remains of a very old sign that said “The Gaiety Burlesque, Three Shows a Day, 10 cents.” I didn’t really know much about burlesque, so I started doing some research and saw a few neo-burlesque shows. I fell in love with the art. I’ve been involved with theater since I was a little girl, so it seemed to be the next logical thing for me to do. I did my first show in 2003 and haven’t stopped since.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Right now about eight or nine. I have a set of pasties to match each costume. My favorite pair are my handmade Confederate flag pasties…I use them with my Harlot O’Hara southern belle act. They seem to be quite popular here in Texas.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
This changes frequently, but right now I really like Candy by Big Maybelle, Comanche by the Revels and pretty much anything by Duke Ellington.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Hairpieces. I like big fabulous hair, but I was cursed with fine hair that doesn’t like to be big. I also must have my glue gun with me at all times in case of last-minute costume malfunctions. Finally, iTunes makes it so much easier to find music to dance to! I don’t have to raid my friends’ record collections anymore.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Without a doubt, it has been the ultimate sinsation, Miss Cardinal Cyn. She’s offered invaluable critiques about my routines and more importantly is an all around wonderful person and a really good friend.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Oh, that’s a tough one. For old time acts, I’ll have to go with my hometown Boston girl, Rose la Rose (The Original TNT Girl), not only because she was stunningly beautiful, but because her act was apparently so jaw-dropping that the Boston police
department perpetually tried to shut down the theater she worked at.

As far as new performers go, I think that Immodesty Blaize, Kitten DeVille and Cardinal Cyn are pretty darn fabulous.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
Besides my pajamas? It’s a toss up between my vintage silk kimono (so comfy!) and my ridiculously huge collection of vintage shoes from the '30s and '40s.

What's the last movie you saw?
Jean Pierre-Melville’s Army of Shadows. It’s a 1969 film about the French resistance against the Nazi occupation of France during WWII. It’s one of the
great films of the period, so check it out if you haven’t seen it.

What's on your must-see-TV list?
Unfortunately I don’t have cable, but I do get a lot of shows from Netflix. I recently recovered from my addiction to Deadwood.

What book is on your nightstand?
There are two. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. It’s a beautiful book and everyone should read it. And Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science by Alberto Perez-Gomez. I wouldn’t recommend that one unless you are an architectural history nerd like me.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Oh, I would definitely go to Peru. I want to see Machu Picchu.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I would really like to be able to breathe underwater, and by extension, have cold water not bother me so I could explore all of the oceans. There is an entire, amazing world down there that so few people get to see. And fish are my favorite animals -- I could spend hours watching them.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Lola Martinet, Frankie Boudoir, Vixen Violette, Ravenna Black, Veronica Lashe, Amber Ray, Beatrix von Bourbon, Angie Pontani, Tanya Cheex, Bloody Belle, 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.