Hello again, friends and fans! We are exactly three weeks out from our next big show: Kiss & Tell Mansion—A Murder Mystery! And that means we have been incredibly busy rehearsing lines, shooting a promo video, sewing (hot gluing?) costumes, rehearsing both of our group numbers, and so on. No, seriously, the list goes on: organizing for set building, organizing a photo shoot, finding furniture, writing the detailed biographies of our characters to put into the playbill, creating cue cards, rehearsing our solos for critiques, polishing, perfecting…I tell you true: it takes a village to create the spectacle we’ll be putting on for you in 21 days. And here I go, strutting into the midst of the organized chaos of figuring out how to properly execute boogie drops and shish-ka-boom-ba’s with a batch of interview questions for the Tells! Lucky for you, they just jumped at the opportunity to tell you a little more about themselves. So here we go! Let’s get down and dirty with a few members of the Kiss & Tells, shall we? After all, you’ll be famous afterwards…we’re awfully bad at keeping secrets, our lot.
Of all the performance arts, what is it about burlesque that snagged your attention and got you involved?
Blyre Cpanx: “Tell a story through movement, but get naked by the end of it?!” Yeah, I was in after that. It sounded like an awesome performance challenge, it sounded liberating, and it sounded like it was straight out of a nightmare!Sugar Kane: I had been performing as a drag king for several years but was feeling somewhat limited in the way I could perform. Boylesque seemed to be the best of both worlds, gender non-conforming performance with the ability to create characters and tell stories through movement and music. AJ Marion: I absolutely love to dance, and have been doing some form of dancing for the last 16 years. Much of that time has been spent partner dancing with a focus in swing and blues. I became intrigued with burlesque after moving to Saint Louis, and was lucky enough to be presented with an opportunity to get involved. I have been performing for almost 2 years now, and I absolutely love it. Bam Bam Bambi: When I first started exploring the arts scene here in St Louis a few friends from work invited me to a burlesque show. Being a true New Yorker I chuckled and assumed there wasn’t actually burlesque in St Louis. I was shocked. Not only was there burlesque, but there was REALLY GOOD BURLESQUE HERE! I loved the storytelling and the similarities to theatre and the cabaret I worked in back in the city. I knew I had to be involved. Sofie de Sade: The one aspect that really attracted me to burlesque was being able to create an alter ego that allows me to see myself as a beautiful, sexy performer despite what the rest of the acting world told me.
Who or what are your inspirations in your art?
AJ Marion: First and foremost, my inspiration comes from music. Sometimes, I hear a song, and a specific character, story, or scenario plays in my head. I often find myself completely engrossed and will listen to the song repeatedly, fleshing out and tweaking the idea in my mind’s eye.Blyre Cpanx: I pretty much grew up at the City Museum. All of the artists that worked there guided me through my awkward, trying-things-out, transitional period into adulthood. And I am truly grateful for that. They really took me under their wing(s). Also, Cindy Sherman! I found a kindred spirit in that woman and her work! Ginger Bangalore: I’ve always been drawn to storytelling–in that vein, the work of David Foster Wallace, Andrea Gibson, Ernest Hemingway, Amanda Palmer, Andres Dubus, and Jhumpa Lahiri have been deeply inspirational to me. The courageous, boundary pushing performance art of Marina Abramovic. Local performance artists of all ilks: St. Louis is filled with so many creative, innovative performers! Bryce Bordello: Ray Gunn. The guy can just simply move and bring out any character he so chooses. I’ve been watching him perform for some time now every time he’s on stage, I’m captivated. Also, “Chicago” and jazz music really get me going. I love that era and sound. Bam Bam Bambi: Musical theatre is my biggest influence. That whole world is where I grew up—it’s second nature to me. The chance to randomly burst into song and dance at a moments notice and the way the right song can so cleverly depict a character is simply magical. Combine that magic with the art of the tease? You’ve got a captive audience.
What is your personal performance related goal for the next year?
Sugar Kane: My personal goals are to keep working on my dancing, debut some solo boylesque routines, and keep participating in character driven group numbers. I also want to find some kick-ass vintage men’s dress shoes.
Bam Bam Bambi: I’m ambitious to a fault sometimes. I want to continue to focus my ambition and drive to better my role within the troupe and as an independent performer. I want to be a better choreographer, dancer, production manager, promotional guru–everything. I want to continue to take the Tells to the next level and be able to bring the full scale productions that live behind the scenes to fruition on opening night. Sofie de Sade: My personal performance goal is to travel, all over the world if possible, and perform! Paris is my dream. Maybe someday I can make it all the way to the “Red Windmill” itself!
Bryce Bordello: I started doing this art to better my confidence, health, and social life. It has done all of that and then some. I haven’t been happier in my life. Performing is quickly becoming my main focus and I love it so! I’ve done some routines I’m very fond of and some I can improve on. I want to continue to educate myself on dance and acting so I can become one others can look up to. Maybe I’ll inspire a boylesque revolution? Ginger Bangalore: My mail goal over the next year is to improve my flexibility and strength and dance more, and more, and learn more about dance, and then practice, and then do it some more! Well, there you have it, friends. A candid, honest, and sometimes cheeky look at who we are, our aspirations, and our inspirations. We hope you enjoyed this peek, and don’t worry: you’ll get to meet the remaining Tells soon, along with our fantastic and dedicated Crew members. Remember how I said it takes a village?