by Kirby Lindsay, posted 1 June 2012
On June 10th, at 8p, audiences have a second opportunity to see the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ as performed by the BackBar Beauties Burlesque at Fremont’s speakeasy, the Backdoor at Roxy’s. Producer Dana Gibson has staged a monthly BackBar Beauties show at the Backdoor since fall of 2011, as well as at other venues around Seattle.
A Mixed Bag Of Burlesque
At first the troupe put together a different show, with a different theme, each month. Recently though, they’ve decided on a two-month run for each show, and to offer venues six new shows a year. This means that an audience got a gander at the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ on May 6th at the Backdoor, but the BackBar Beauties will return to strut their sinful stuff one more time on June 10th – for those who missed it, and for those who saw it – and this time want to bring new friends.
This schedule will allow the performers more opportunity to develop a routine, and build audience appreciation. In burlesque performers often develop signature acts – routines that audiences love, and want to see again and again. For instance, in the ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ Oltatsa Assin performs a signature piece in the first act to demonstrate Greed. Later in the show, though, she gives the audience a whole new routine she developed for the deadly sin of Lust.
At the Backdoor the mix of old and new works has gone over well since the audiences also present quite a mix. “Our audience is always a broad range,” Gibson explained. BackBar Beauties shows draw in fellow burlesque performers, friends, fans and, of course, “there’s always the burlesque virgins in the audience.” The Backdoor shows, held on Sunday night, tend also to draw a slightly older crowd than other venues. For Gibson, who performs Sloth under her stage name Laela Lovechild, has only one request of all audiences, “the louder you are, the more fun it is for us.”
A Mixed Background In Burlesque
To get the crowd loud Gibson has been fortunate in an excellent emcee – Mark Finley. He engages and enlivens the audience, and with Sparkle Lee (her title – ‘Stage MILF’) providing eye candy as an incredibly curvaceous stage hand, the performers have plenty of support.
Gibson also assembles a rounded mix of experienced and newer performers for each BackBar Beauties show. “Most of them come from a performance background,” she observed, with professional training in the performance arts including improvisation, dance, theatre, music, etc. For the ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ Gibson noted a ballerina (Madisun Avenue,) an improv veteran (Flirty Sanchez,) a bellydancer (Seraphina Fiero,) a jazz and modern dancer (Tawdry Audrey,) and a rock-n-roll singer (Olatsa Assin.)
“I’ve been in dance since I was three-years-old,” Gibson admitted, and she’s always enjoyed staging performances for family and friends. Over two years ago, now in her twenties, Gibson found a flyer for burlesque classes and thought she’d try it out. She enrolled for the six-week course at the Academy of Burlesque and, in the sixth week, gave the required live performance before an audience.
As much as she likes to perform, Gibson admitted that before that first show, “you feel like you are going to throw up.” Once on-stage, and in character, she said, “I found it real fun and empowering, to be sexy and funny all in one.” After two years performing burlesque, she finds it leaves her feeling empowered and confident.
Gibson only started going to burlesque shortly before she took the class, but she’s quickly found a strong community there, and that among the performers, “it’s all shapes and sizes.” The best burlesque performers aren’t necessarily those of the trimmest, most bodilicious bods. As she observed, “you don’t have to be a supermodel,” to be a burlesque queen, “it’s about putting on a good performance.”
An Intimate, Live Show
The June 10th BackBar Beauties show will feature troupe performers – Madisun Avenue as Gluttony, Tawdry Audrey as Envy, Olatsa Assin as Greed & Lust and Laela Lovechild with Eddie Van Glam as Sloth. For each show, the Beauties will work independently to build a routines and then come together to run through the whole show. For the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, they will be joined by guest performers Flirty Sanchez as Pride and Seraphina Fiero as Wrath. In addition, Mark Finley performs his version of Bohemian Rhapsody, and the show closes with a group number.
In addition to her life as a burlesque performer and dancer, Gibson has recently come into the role of producer. “It’s a lot of work behind the scenes,” Gibson said of producing. “I’ve got a whole new respect for people that do it,” she admitted. In addition to the Backdoor, the BackBar Beauties will perform the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ at Sonya’s Skyy Lounge on June 14th. They’ve previously performed at other venues including The Crocodile and the Copper Gate, and they do private parties.
“I love the intimacy of our shows, and that audiences can feel a part of our shows,” she observed. At the Backdoor, the performance takes place on the main floor – in an area just beyond the tables. The lack of a formal stage setting removes some of the distance and detachment a theater setting might create. “I like that rawness,” Gibson admitted, “that in-your-face kind of thing.”
To get tickets to see the ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ on June 10th, go to Brown Paper Tickets – or show up at the Backdoor before 8p that evening. Be warned, for the best seat, arrive early! Also, find out more, about bookings and/or future BackBar Beauties shows, by contacting Gibson at email@example.com
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©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.