According to a recent press release: "The Michigan Burlesque Festival started in 2012 with the intent to bring some of the world’s most unique performers to Detroit in hopes of reuniting the traditional concepts of original burlesque theater, where dancers and vaudevillians shared a stage to provide well rounded and entertaining sexy comedic show. It has grown into a two-day festival featuring not-to-miss local talent and award-winning performance artists and world renown burlesque performers, such as past headliners: Lushes LaMoan, Bella Sin, The Weird Sisters, Red Hot Annie, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, Russell Brunner, Roxi D’Lite, Dangrrr Doll, Ray Gunn, Mr. Gorgeous, Jeez Loueez, Satori Circus, Hank E Panky, Dirty Martini along with so many more phenomenal performers." We get the performer Hermione Stranger to discuss routines, influences, and much more...
1. Tell us a little about your latest developed routine. What drove you to choose the particular piece of music, create the costume, and pull together the specific moves in the routine? Are there any links between that routine and your “real life” that tie the two side of you together?
I have always leaned toward nerdlesque and weirder performances, but decided recently to try a more classical number — but with a comedic twist. That’s how I ended up developing this pseudo-classic routine that I call “Shitty Stripper.”
2. What got you into burlesque, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a performer? Building on that, is there a specific performer or act that guided your performances in the beginning?
When I lived in NYC, I signed up for classes at New York School of Burlesque just for fun. I never intended to perform, but eventually was coerced by my classmates to get on a stage for a student showcase. After that, I got booked for a show at Coney Island Freak Bar and just kept going!
3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?
Initially, I was inspired by the strange and funny acts I saw at The Slipper Room in Manhattan. My greatest influence was my teacher, though, the famous Jo Boobs Weldon.
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?
I’m not sure!
5. How would you describe your performance style to someone who’d never seen you perform before? What is one review from the media, an audience member, or a fan has made that made you cringe?
I’d describe my style as comedy burlesque.
6. When it comes to the musical component of your performance, is there a certain musical genre, artist, or specific song you have always wanted to use? What was the first song you ever used – and what does that song mean to you now?
I don’t stick to a certain genre, but tend to prefer popular music versus classic. I feel that song choice is probably the most important thing when I’m coming up with a concept for an act. It’s got to make sense for the idea and the character.
7. What is one thing you wish audience members knew about you, your performances, or burlesque in general? What do you feel is the biggest misconception about you and your burlesque career?
I’ve struggled with stage fright and body image issues for a long time. So, performing burlesque is kind of how I conquer both of those issues in one fell swoop!
8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?
Every time I meet Foxy Tan at MiBF!
9. What is the best part of being a burlesque performer? Conversely, what is the worst part? If you could no longer be a performer for whatever reason, what would be your other artistic outlet?
The best part about being a burlesque performer and producer is having a creative outlet for my wacky ideas. The worst part would be that it can be expensive and time consuming! If I stopped performing burlesque I would probably join an improv troupe.
10. What is one question you have always wanted someone to ask you as a performer – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?
I’m tired of my mom asking, “WHY STRIPPING????”
11. Looking back over your burlesque career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?
When I first started producing shows I made a lot of mistakes, but I feel that I’ve learned from them and don’t regret my missteps!
12. What is one thing you still want to achieve in the burlesque world? At the end of the day, what contribution to the local burlesque scene do you hope you will be remembered for?
I want to perform my Voldemort number at the Coney Island nerdlesque festival!
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