Stripper Talk #1: Who are your major influences and why?

Author of Stripper Talk, Sydni Deveraux

Hello there!

Welcome to my burgeoning Stripper Talk series! I thought that it would be fun to get questions from other burlesquers around the world, and answer them, “Dear Abby” style.

The first question is from Bobbie Baltimore, from Las Vegas, NV:

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Get thee to a mentor!

***Below are my personal opinions on mentorship. I have a big mouth, and this is my blog. Be warned.***

As I sit here, as I often do after reading my books and autobiographies about success and successful people, all I really wanted to share is: GET THEE TO A MENTOR!

When I began burlesque 6 years ago I had forgotten what it was like to have a mentor, as my previous mentor had been in high school by the name of Scott Brown and he was most likely the most influential teacher (and my vocal jazz teacher) I have ever had. I had forgotten because I got all tied up in the glitz and glam of the whole thing, and not the bones and blood of it.

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Master of her craft: Julie Atlas Muz

Just watch. I don’t really want to fuck it up with words…..just. fucking. watch.

BurlyCon 2008 to 2010-a retrospective.

Taken by POC Photo.

I have been a part of planning BurlyCon in different ways since it’s beginning 3 years ago, and just like a fine wine-it gets better with age. In the last 2 years (just 2 years!) the number of attendees has DOUBLED in size, a testimony that burlesque is here to stay, is constantly evolving, and many people from all over the country are aching to take classes from their peers and legends.

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a favorite: Catherine D’Lish

Over the next few days I’m going to polish up my burlesque chops by writing about some of my favorite burlesque personalities throughout the world. I’ve been extremely lucky to share the stage with all except for two, but even more lucky to have had conversations and wonderful moments with every single one.

Without further adieu, please meet my first burlesque influence:

Catherine D’Lish

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Catherine D’Lish, the “striptease virtuoso” perform, and for most of us on the burlesque circuit, Catherine D’Lish is a constant delight and favorite. From her fantastic costuming (she also makes Dita Von Teese’s costumes), her fan-work, to how she can take off one glove and leave you literally hanging off your seat (this has happened to me at her Triple Door show earlier this year) Catherine’s act is a force to be reckoned with. She holds over 30 titles, including Miss Nude USA, World’s Performer of the Year, Miss Erotic World, Showgirl of the Year, Miss Exotic America, and Miss Nude International, she is one hell of a world class performer.

Catherine D’Lish is known for her classic burlesque work, and whenever I think of my favorite act of hers, I always come to an act that involves her epic black dress. I swear there’s 200 yards of tulle on the skirt, and the rhinestones almost put me into a seizure. Black and sleek, she slinks and teases the entire audience with a grace that can only make you think of old Hollywood glamour.

At BurlyCon 2008 I was one of the lucky few to get a private session with her and I was so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to get to know her. Even now as she is on tour in Europe we keep in contact, and she’s always eager to answer any questions I have. She, and the others on my list are a true embodiment of burlesque. During the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas, I even got to sing “I’ve got a crush on you” while sitting on a gentleman’s lap with the Legend herself. Thank you for slinking into my heart, Catherine.

For more on the virtuoso, check out her website: http://www.cdlish.com/

Below is a link to her video of the act and the dress that drive me wild (Please excuse the commercial prior. Shimmy around for 30 seconds or something). For such a petite lady, Catherine’s aura takes up the whole stage!

http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/sexy/watch/v16365826Cp5fStjZ

I apologize for it not being here on the page. It simply refused to embed!

xo

Sydni Deveraux


Why burlesque?

The costumes. The glamour. Alone on a stage with a sea of admiring, intrigued people. The community. The movement. The tease. Entertaining the audience.

I suppose I do it for the fleeting glorious moments on stage. There is nothing like commanding an audience to look at you, to see what ideas you are putting onto the stage. For the hour before hitting the stage, I primp, polish and review my music, walk around in my rhinestoned heels to make sure I feel stable, fret a little, and stretch my arms to make sure that they are as graceful as they can be. I often order a Manhattan and if there’s access to the mainfloor, sit with a friend or my beau to watch the rest of the show before I go on, or if I’m first, join them there after I’ve changed out of my costume.

I admit, I do like it when people talk to me before and after a show, admiring my performances, my presence, my presentation. It tickles me. It means I’m doing my job right. The shy human in the corner trying not to stare appreciatively also pleases me to no end.

I do it, because being entertaining is fulfilling to me, the costumes delight me, and dancing feeds my soul. The first moments on stage are absolutely electric. You have a very small amount of time to grip the audience into believing your story on stage. I feel as if those moments are the most important, since it’s excruciatingly hard to regain them in the middle or end of the act. You certainly don’t want them to be happy you’re done with an act, do you?

I’m mostly inspired by my community in Seattle by the likes of Waxie Moon, Evilyn Sin Claire, Inga Ingenue, Miss Indigo Blue, Ernie Von Schmaltz, Ben De La Creme, Heidi Von Haught and a few others. Their imagination, confidence and skill are phenomenal assets to our performance communities.

When I first began my crazy trip into a glitter wonderland, I found Catherine D’Lish, Immodesty Blaize, Tigger!, Julie Atlas Muz, Michelle L’amour, The Pontani Sisters and Miss Dirty Martini and nearly lost my mind watching their deeply unique and fascinating interpretations of their burlesque. They entertain me and make me think. I very much appreciate that I have had wonderful interactions and with some, friendships that continue to make my stay here in the world of burlesque a worthwhile one.

I’ve been at it for since 2005, and I’m only picking up speed!