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 performers Kitty & Eris 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?
Kitty: Our newest act that we will be performing at MIBF is called “Fossse Style” I have been wanting to use this song for forever! It has such jazzy classic feel, then a big surprise with the bass drops and trap. We love big props, so using a ballet barre for it just felt perfect.
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?
Eris: It was a natural progression from circus and flow arts for me. I wanted to continue to bring those elements to dance and burlesque. I look up to no one except the almighty Bob Dobbs.
3. Who would be your main influences or performers you admire?
Kitty: I just love any kind of physical comedian. Lucille Ball is my fairy godmother for sure! Also, I really look up to Satori Circus, but only because he’s taller than me.
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a routine with, who would it be, and why?
Kitty and Eris: We want to create a Satori Circus and Konrad Lee Impersonator act. They have given us their blessing, so its on!
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?
Kitty: We are pretty enigmatic. One minute we are doing a comedy act like Bob Ross, Our Magic Act, or Circus Bear. The next we are doing serious modern dance and duo acro acts. The one thing we really like to do is add a surprise element to every act either through a comedic gag, or just a really abrupt mood switch.
Eris: not exactly a review, but that one time I threw gummy leeches out in the crowd during our leech nurse act and it hit this lady in the face. I will never forget the sheer terror on that lady’s face!
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?
Kitty: We are kinda all over the place in genres, so that’s a hard question to answer. Our first song was an 8bit Sonic the Hedgehog circus song. We performed that act so many times in the beginning of our duo partnership, I know it so well!
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?
Kitty: The time that we put into our acts is the biggest thing. We worry about every little detail and take it very seriously. I may seem really silly sometimes, but I am extremely sensitive and always striving for perfection. The biggest misconception is that we make a lot of money. It takes performing an act several times before we even make what we put into them.
8. When was the last time you were star struck by a burlesque performer and who was it?
Eris: I honestly don’t get star struck by anyone really. No offense, I just do my own thing.
Kitty: Red Rum is amazing and everything she does is a spectacle!
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?
Kitty: I love being able to tell a story. Burlesque allows for such creative control. It is just so empowering to do exactly what you want and have people screaming for more of it! I found burlesque when I got sober five years ago and it has been a great outlet for me. The worst part is that I don’t get out very much outside of burlesque events. I literally haven’t seen a concert in over five years. If I could no longer be a performer, I would definitely teach new performers.
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?
Kitty: I wish people would ask me how I make my vegan banana bread! Here is my recipe!
Oh, and I’m sick of answering if Burlesque is anything like the movie.
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?
Kitty and Eris: Our biggest situation is knowing our worth. We have been at this for years now and deserve to be compensated as professionals. Many of the acts we do have required special training and technical ability. It is hard to stand up for ourselves sometimes and demand that we be paid fairly. We also understand that each show has a different budget though, and do try to work with really great producers on a reasonable rate.
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?
Kitty and Eris: We for sure want to keep leveling up our duo acro skills and hope to bring more fire acts in the future. We hope to be remembered for our strange and funny acts.
MICHIGAN BURLESQUE FESTIVAL LINKS: