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 Shrimp Cocktail 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?
The most recent act I've developed is my "Lunchbox" act. I had done an act to the song "Lunchbox" by Marilyn Manson a while back, but there was no theme, more of a classic burlesque routine. I had this idea for this song, to go out on stage, dressed as a school girl, and just eat out of a lunch box onstage. I wanted to do a new act for my next show, the 4th Annual Boobstock, Two Nights of Pasties, Love, and Music. This was perfect, because it was weird, and also a great excuse to have a meal on stage.
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?
The first time I saw burlesque, was at a Rocky Horror Picture Show live cast show, and I was IN LOVE. I knew that moment I wanted to know everything about it and eventually do it for myself. Prior to that, I had been in cover bands, wrote my own music, and sang, as well as in show choir, and an acting program. Honestly, I pull most of my inspiration from pop culture. Specifically television and movies, and this was especially true when I first started.
3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?
I LOVE Bambi the Mermaid, Bunny Galore, Eileen Galvin, Kater Tot. There are definitely sooooo many more, but I'd say those are probably my top choices.
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?
100% Eileen Galvin. Her and I have such a great chemistry, and I always have a good time with her. I know that if we collaborated on something, it would be the most ridiculous, wonderful thing.
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 drop on the deck and flop like a fish.
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?
There are SO MANY songs that I've wanted to use, just because I like them. I always have to remind myself that some just are meant to be use in one of my acts. The first song I ever used was "These Boots are Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra for an act as a Fembot from Austin Powers. Eventually, that act transformed into me stripping as Austin Powers. I have not performed that act since my first year performing at the Michigan Burlesque Festival. That was one of the first acts that I had done that I really felt proud of.
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 think the biggest misconception about me is that I'm naive. I'm not going to say I'm not, but I think others believe I'm a lot more naive than I really am, and don't take me seriously.
8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?
100% Dirty Martini. I had talked to her online before, but meeting her in person, I pooped my pants (figuratively. Ok, maybe a tad literally).
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 is getting to be whoever I want, whenever I want, on my own terms. I love creating new acts and personas within Shrimp. Shrimp Cocktail is the woman of many faces, and I love getting to let that out. The worst part is the (pointless) drama. I'd love to get back into singing with a band again, or being a mermaid at a Renaissance Faire. Or maybe woodworking.
10. 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?
I'd change my start. I wish I had a better start to performing, and I think about how that's effected me every day.
11. 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?
One achievement that would END ALL - I would love for Tom Kenny to host my SpongeBob themed burlesque show. That is the DREAM! My two worlds colliding - I'd EXPLODE. I want to contribute big laughs to the local burlesque scene. I just want to put a smile on people's faces, and produce fun shows with talent from all over! I want to bring the funnest shows that anyone has ever seen to our scene.
SHRIMP COCKTAIL LINKS:
MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS: