Last week a group of performers including Bambi the Mermaid, Rose Wood, World Famous BOB, Dirty Martini, Bonnie Dunn and Tigger took part in a panel discussion at the Slipper Room in New York. Neil O'Fortune sends us this dispatch:
Kate Valentine, Julie Atlas Muz, left, and Jo Boobs all sat together on the stage of the Slipper Room, to take part in a panel discussion about the development of New York burlesque over the last ten years-and longer. Dr. Lucky was the evening's moderator and kept the conversation moving with plenty of humor and insight. The evening was organized by Legs Malone, Clams Casino and myself, and we were thrilled to be in the audience for it. It was a truly unique and special evening, that everyone in the packed house was lucky to share with this group of brilliant and inspiring performers, each one of a kind.
The conversation roamed over the ways that a group of performers, venues and producers created shows in the formative years of New York burlesque, where many of them performed for the first time, met each other, or first discovered that what they were doing could be called burlesque. Asked what made the New York scene distinctive in its history and growth, they talked about New York's unique early to mid-1990s confluence of dance clubs, drag queens, gay bar go-go scenes, downtown theater and post-NEA crisis performance art bringing performers together and inspiring them. They discussed how the distinctive grittiness of the city influenced the New York style and attitude.
The group also talked about how the influence of the legendary performers of yesteryear, the donning of the iconic Marilyn wig or the first time picking up feather fans was the beginning of an entirely new persona. New York's early neo-burlesque shows allowed these performers to hone their skills and develop their performances over a long time.
An audience question led to an enlightening conversation about what they would like to see from new performers: true passion, a distinctive voice and a commitment to truly giving the audience their money's worth.
Much more ground was covered in nearly two hours than I can summarize here of course, but I'm happy to report that there was video recording and transcribing going on to record the evening for posterity.
Thanks for the report Neil! If the video gets uploaded to YouTube, we'll be sure to post some of it here on The Candy Pitch.