Friday, February 15, 2008

The Candy Gram: Joanie Gyoza

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 Vancouver's Joanie Gyoza, who is working on the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival.

What is your hometown?
Vancouver, British Columbia

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
A little bit of me has always harbored a fantasy of being a larger-than life model or performer of some sort from when I was little: think dressing up in costume and launching full dance numbers to Madonna's Like A Virgin with my sister. However, I grew into a very shy child/teen and didn't start coming out of the shyness until after high school. That was about the time that I started becoming aware of burlesque then it HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS: sexiness, glamor, performance, hilarity, empowered women and crafting! I found burlesque two years ago and have been performing for almost a year.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Nine in total. I pride myself on collecting and making unconventional pasties like lemon shaped ones, or cucumber slice tassels and ganja leaf pasties crafted by the amazing Melody Mangler.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
David Rose's The Stripper
Java by Billy May
Pentaphobe's I Cash Radii (after watching a Rachel Brice tribal bellydance number)

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
red glitter lipstick, curlers and mints

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
My influences come from far and wide. I'd have to say that the Vancouver burlesque community regularly warms my heart, inspires my hands and fires my loins with brilliant performers such as VaVa Vanderlust and Crystal Precious. Then there are the ladies from the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society (Melody Mangler, April O'Peel, Violet Femme and Fanny Fabulous) whose Becoming Burlesque Class, zany creativity and warm tutelage did much to help nurture the burlesque babe in me. Finally I'd have to say that the Muppets (Jim Henson in particular) TOTALLY influenced my style too.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
I have so many! I've already named some -- of the contemporary queens I also love love Miss Indigo Blue, The Shanghai Pearl, Diamond Minx, Fuschia Foxx, Precious Metal, Lola Frost, Malaika Millions, Little Woo and Darla DeVine! Of the classic queens I'd say my favs have to be Zorita and I profoundly admire Dixie Evans and Doris Eaton Travis. It's hard not to fall in love with any burly queen after you've seen her perform though.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I'd have to say it's my sexy curve-enhancing corset. How wonderful would it be to have a seamless flesh-toned one of those suckers for everyday Vavoom.

What's the last movie you saw?
Kill! directed by Kihachi Okamoto which is a classic Japanese samurai movie. It's HILARIOUS, beautifully filmed with a lovely blend of limb-slashing action and moral drama. If you're in Vancouver the Pacific Cinemathique has a festival of Samurai movies.

What's on your must-see-TV list?
Hands down, So You Think You Can Dance. I am a huge fan of Mia Michaels and often the performers are amazing. The Office, BBC Version too.

What book is on your nightstand?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's a total kindred spirit, heart-song book and hilarious as all hell. Also Lonely Planet books to Vietnam and Japan.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Vietnam and Japan. Vietnam because it's in my blood and I want to know my parents' stories better -- I also would love to refresh my Vietnamese. Japan because I'm totally fascinated by the culture.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Right now in particular, I would love to have the power to sleep only for recreational purposes. In my other life I'm a nurse and though I love the job, switching from night to day shift and cultivating a rich life with burlesque-y flavors can sometimes be hard.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Bonbon Vivant, 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.

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