Friday, October 24, 2008

The Candy Gram: Mimi Rockafellar

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 Mimi Rockafellar.

What is your hometown?
Midlothian, Texas

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I've been interested in burlesque for two years now ever since I found the audition notice, I've been interested in performing since I was around five and would watch musicals and got to perform at my dance school's recital

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
I don't own any, only because we don't use them in our show but I have always been curious to buy a pair for personal reasons.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
If Loving You is Wrong, Rag Doll and Big Spender.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Fishnets, caffeine, and eyelashes

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
My sisters. My oldest sister for being blunt and honest with me and not sugar-coating things, which I always hated but loved at the same time. Lindsay because she has always been my biggest supporter, and my last sister Jamie because if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have ever gotten into dance

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Gypsy Rose Lee, there is one particular routine I saw and the whole time she is talking about thinking of Shakespeare or a painting by Monet while barely taking anything off and I love that because even the men in the crowd were fascinated and applauded her at the end of the routine when even though she took stockings, garters, and her bra off she still had her dress on.

What's the last movie you saw?
Mama Mia. I saw the musical years ago and I was a little hesitant to go see the movie version, but I was actually quite pleased with it

What's on your must-see-TV list?
With the busy schedule that comes with performances, rehearsals and what not it's really hard to get to watch anything. Thank God for Tivo. I love Mad Men and The Girls Next Door. I love comedy and I love crime scene shows. For the most part I'm a re-runs kind of gal of old shows that don't come on anymore

What book is on your nightstand?
I'm a sucker for steamy romance novels so everything in my nightstands are different ones that I have been told to read, sometimes I'll stay up till 5 a.m. because they're so good.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Either to a tropical destination like Bora Bora or on a cruise.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Mind reader. I'm so curious about what is going in certain people's heads.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Mynx D'Meanor, Baby Le Strange, Rose Darling, Satan's Angel, Ophelia Flame, Panache La Plume, Ginger Valentine, Madame Rosebud, Little Brooklyn, Victoria Veneance, Sauci Calla Horra, Penny Starr Jr., Gemma Parker, Darla DeVine, Sparkly Devil, Vivienne VaVoom, Lux LaCroix, Charlotte La Belle Araignee, Bunny Love, Amber Topaz, Amelie Soleil, Red Hot Annie, HoneyLu, Kimberlee Rose, Vicky Butterfly, Dominique Immora, Yasmine Vine, Cherry Bomb, Millie Dollar, Joanie Gyoza, 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.


Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be a hater, but burlesque dancers, by definition strip. Mimi says she doesn't use pasties, weird. Burlesque dancer that doesn't use pasties?? Either it's bare nips, or no stripping, I'm assuming it's the second. Cabaret and Burlesque are two different things. I'm not sure if Mimi qualifies as a burlesque dancer. But that's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I'm no dancer but I do know that when Burlesque first started there was no striping involved, over time and how it is for the most part today does involve striping. So props to Miss Mimi for doing her thing!!

Anonymous said...

check the last post in this blog

"What is the difference between stripping and burlesque?
Well, if you ask me, I would say that there isn't technically a difference! Burlesque dancers WERE strippers! They used this term in burlesque. So burlesque is the show, and the dancers were strippers. Okay, so I know that what you really want to hear is what makes me different from a modern day pole dancer/stripper. Well, we are all one in the same, but burlesque is where this whole idea of removing clothes to music in front of an audience started, and pole dancing is where it has evolved to. I refuse to say that I'm "classier" or "better" than any other exotic dancer. I essentially do the same thing - perhaps with more spectacle, and with retro flair. I like the fact that burlesque alway has been risque, and I am confident with myself enough to say that I am proud to be a stripper. "

-Dita Von Tease

Just saying.

Anonymous said...

The differences of cabaret, vaudeville, and burlesque:

American cabaret focuses on either jazz music, or the vocalist, and generally these shows were aimed at the white collar class and intellectuals. Vaudeville was a variety family show featuring comics, magicians, singers, tumblers, and animal acts. Burlesque (vaudeville’s naughtier cousin) included sketch comedy by a stock company of comedians, and song and dance numbers by chorus girls and featured dancers. It was aimed at the blue collar class, involving satire that poked fun at the higher classes in society. And was relatively clean. Strip tease/stripping did exist, however, not on the burlesque stages.

Some of the forgotten burlesque history:

Burlesque was actually considered a theatrical showcase, and was eventually formatted in the late 1800’s by Michael Leavitt when he produced burlesque variety shows using something similar to the three act minstrel show format (act I-performers sing and do gags dressed in formal evening clothing, act II-variety acts, act III-one act musical burlesque that poked fun at popular culture---burlesque versions of the Nutcracker is a current popular example).

The burlesque circuit was a training ground for performers to prove they had talent and determination to survive in show business. The idea was to graduate to the vaudeville circuit. It also was a paycheck to struggling performers, and they would return under fake names to earn a living.

There are several stories of how the first burlesque strip tease began, but ultimately the burlesque clubs couldn’t compete with vaudeville, radio, and film-and used stripping to bring in a male audience. The Minsky brothers are famous for bringing strip tease onto the main stage and out of backrooms. Strippers with an artistic twist graduated to stardom.

There’s more to the story, involving changing laws-from women being topless on stage and not moving (, and eventually the pasties and g-strings. And as everyone is aware, it’s from this strip tease burlesque era which evolved to the strip clubs of today.

It’s sad to see such a backlash from performers re-creating late era burlesque on groups/performers re-creating an earlier theatrical form. Both are technically burlesque, but different periods. My shows focus on dancing and creating a modern version of original burlesque incorporating modern day music and embracing the strip tease era, but the focus remains on a theatrical show aspect, also incorporating vaudeville and cabaret as well. Stripping or not, by definition and historically documented, we all fit under the burlesque umbrella.

Jana Edele, creator/choreographer of the Velvet Kittens

Anonymous said...

This is a common debate. There is nothing wrong in having a cabaret-style act where dancers don't go down to pasties, but to say that strip-teasing never happened on a burlesque stage is simply false and untrue. Stripping was a HUGE component to burlesque shows.

When Minsky's (and others) popularized strip teasing in American burlesque the format didn't change, it was still burlesque, and from this point, it was still several decades before the modern "strip club" evolved.

There is no denying that stripping is just as much a part of burlesque as satire or poking fun at individuals/institutions.

Anonymous said...

In response to the last comment:

Please re-read my previous comment.

“Cabaret-style” is an inaccurate description of burlesque performers re-creating the earlier genre of burlesque. Cabarets focused on political and social satire, torch songs, and music.

I did in fact include in my previous comment that strip tease was performed on the burlesque stages. I also pointed out the era of burlesque before the late era of bump and grind, which seems to often be neglected for some strip tease burlesque artists when they openly criticise other performers outside of their area of interest. To say burlesque dancing is, and only is, stripping is denying history. And burlesque will and has continued to evolve as it modernized in this day in age. A perfect example of that is the addition of male burlesque dancers.

The burlesque revival of an earlier period does not take away from the late era burlesque revival, or vice-versa. Many of my audience members enjoy both my shows and late era burlesque strip tease performers, as do I.

If anyone would like to discuss the this with me, I’d be more than happy to discuss this in further detail, as well as the history and definitions of cabaret and burlesque. But I’d prefer it be open, and not through anonymous comments.

Jana Edele, creator/choreographer The Velvet Kittens

La Divina said...

If Ms. Rockafella is looking to acquire a pair of fabulous pasties, I will be more than happy to sell her a pair. I will even give her the “fellow performer” discount.

Anonymous said...

I'm a musician, mosly jazz and blues, who got his start, much like the great musicians in the past, playing in a burlesque show. In my persepective burlesque is all about the tease. So if you can tease an audience, with or without pasties, its all burlesque. Personally, I feel that the most talented performers can keep an audience engaged with out taking ANYTHING off. The less talented you are, the more you must take off to keep an audience member entertained...

Anonymous said...

I agree with musician man! I personally enjoy pasties. There are awesome burlesque artists that I find completely erotic in their pasties! I have unfornately seen some that don't get the burlesque angle of tease. I say its not about what you take off, its whether or not you get my interest. Now burlesque entertains men and women, but ultimately its men in the audience that made burlesque. Give me something more than what I can find in a strip club today.