Kate Middleton’s Cousin Katrina Darling on Her ‘Playboy’ Debut & Burlesque Tonight

So the summer is over according to everybody except my really smart smartphone which swears I have another couple of weeks till fall. To add to the confusion, Fashion Week is upon us and it’s celebrating spring 2013. Tonight, down at Demi Monde, Katrina Darling – the second cousin of Kate Middleton – will perform her burlesque routine. Darling will join my favorite double entendre DJ Miss Guy and the princely but not really truly royalty DJ Prince Terrence for a soiree. The event is to celebrate her cover of Playboy, although "Playboy is not a sponsor of this event.”  I’m completely confused but feel comfy as the always enlightening Lyle Derek, Patrick Duffy, and Kimyon Huggins will surely fill in my blanks. Katrina was a burlesque queen before she fell into this Middleton muddle and is enjoying the luck.

Burlesque troupe Lady Circus will also provide some flesh for fantasy. Now the whole shebang will take place down at the aptly-addressed 90 "Broad" Street. There is also a celebration of Elle Macpherson’s new lingerie line "Intimates" and rock goddess Theo Kagin’s new makeup line “Armour Beauty.”

I caught up with Katrina Darling and asked her all about it

So you are coming back to the USA for a show at Demi Monde… what did you learn from your previous NYC burlesque experience, and how will it affect this performance?
With every performance, the venues and the audiences are different, so I’m always adapting and tweaking things to fit. I know that this time around the audience will be at a safer distance as I’m using fire in my performance.

Did you get to meet NYC’s burlesque queens?
Not whilst in New York, however the guys from The Slipper Room did two shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow a couple of years back, and I saw Julie Atlas Muze, Ms. Tickle, and many more. They’re two of my favorite performers; I’m more into the bawdy, provocative, modern burlesque than the mainstream stuff.

This cousin Kate thing… is it her problem, your problem, or anybody’s problem. Has anyone "talked" to you?
I don’t think it’s anybody’s problem! I’m a distant relative. I’ve been performing since I was 18. I’m not going to stop expressing myself through my art because some British journo showed up on my parent’s doorstep and decided to “out” me because I did  a “God Save the Queen” act (I’m not the first girl to do a royalty-themed act). You deal the hand life throws at you and mine seems to be unfolding with some happy coincidences. That’s all. Katrina Darling

What attracted you to this ancient art form, and where do you want to take it? With your new notoriety, has it become your entire world?
Well, as a child I was a show-off, and as a teen I dispelled my angst by performing in music bands. But as a young adult I stumbled across burlesque and toyed with my sexuality. I grew up in a small town and come from humble means; the gift of being able to express myself was a form of escapism for me. Being able to create a fantasy world is what I’ve been doing since I’ve had an imagination. I prefer a modern take on burlesque; for me, if the art form is to last it needs to evolve past nostalgia and into the present. As an entertainer, I love to parody the present pop culture and explore new skill sets. Ten minutes on stage isn’t too long, so you gotta make them remember it. As for the future, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Playboycalled, and you said yes. Why did you do it? Was the money the primary factor or does it define you as your own person and, of course, drive your brand?
I’ve spent a lot of time admiring beautiful women and great minds. For me, it’s a privilege to be accepted into an institution and be a part of that history, alongside beautiful women and great minds. I had an amazing time working with everyone on set shooting the cover spread, and I’m proud of what was created.

What have you gained and what have you lost?
Reaffirmation that I am always going to be very decidedly myself, my mind, and my hair.

Your act includes “God Save the Queen.” Tell me about what you are saying with this royal reference.
When I created this act I was hanging out with a lot of the older punks in my area. They were pretty split on their ideals, but when discussing monarchy I was pretty much on the fence, listening to both sides of the argument. I guess, in my naivety, I thought the problem was I couldn’t relate since I came from such a different world. Which then led to me parodying this in my act. 

Speaking of queens, you have large – how shall I put it? – broad appeal in the gay community. Tell me about that.
Well, someone asked me the other day if I thought it was weird for me to go on stage with my tittles out, having men gawk. I said "it’s not just straight men that come to shows; it’s straight women, lesbians, gays, trans, queens, blacks, white, Asians, Indians, young, old, rich, and those who don’t have two £1’s to rub together." And I’m humbled by everyone who takes time out of their life to watch me perform.

Your gigs are timed with NYC Fashion Week. Will you attend some shows? What appeals to you?
I am very excited for Fashion Week and I’m scheduling in as much as I can, including Marc Jacobs and The Blonds. However, as this is my first Fashion Week, I am more than open to show suggestions. I just want to absorb it and have a great time!

If Kate called you on the cell.. what would you say to her?
"Fancy a cuppa?" – tea, that is.

Katrina Darling

What’s Beneath the Clothes: Burlesque Superstar Angie Pontani Kicks Off The Naked Truth March 17th

The world of burlesque is expanding as society perceives it in the proper light… as an ancient art form. Dita Von Teese is just short of a household name and, as we reported, Ivan Kane is about to open up Royal Jelly at the newish Revel in Atlantic City. Angie Pontani is a superstar in this wild world. She made a believer out of me one night and then another at Corio on West Broadway. It was Murray Hill (about to tour with Dita) MC-ing, Melody Sweets (now a star with her own billboard) celebrating her show Absinthe at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and a bevy of beauties that changed my perception of the game. Calamity Chang sells out every Friday at Hotel Chantelle after her sexy time performance with DeeDee Luxe and Michael Fassbender in Shame. Duane Park delivers the goods every Friday and Saturday nights. Burlesque is back and Angie Pontani is offering us The Naked Truth.

Angie, you are going to be in a show March 17th with my friend Jo Weldon. Tell me all about it:
It’s called The Naked Truth, and it will live up to its name! It’s a new burlesque game show from the hilarious and slightly-twisted mind of performer and producer, Jonny Porkpie. He has had another version of the show on the road for the past year – something like 30 different cities in five countries on three continents – and now it’s coming to NYC at the Triad on West 72nd Street! In the show, I (and all the other performers) are going to expose more than we’ve ever exposed before – deep secrets, thoughts, dreams, and fantasies! You’ll get to see what’s beneath the clothes. Jonny’s actually just sent me a long list of very intimate questions, which I’ll answer once I pour myself a glass of wine and run the bubble bath, then I’ll return them to him to use in the show. After I perform, the audience has to guess which answers are mine to win all sorts of great prizes. So in essence, the show not only includes amazing performances, but a thrilling game show element that will reveal the casts’ deep secrets and potentially get you fabulous prizes!
 
The Naked Truth…when and how did you decide that getting nearly naked for a living was the way to go? Tell me about your uncontrollable burlesque urges.
Ha! Well, getting "nearly naked" is just a natural byproduct of what I do. I grew up watching MGM Technicolor musicals and listening to Sinatra and Elvis. That old- school style of entertainment is what inspired me to go into show business. For me, it’s about the music, the costumes, the theatricality of what you can do in your five to seven minutes on stage. Sure, burlesque is striptease and requires "getting nearly naked," but for me, the journey of the tease is what people remember. It’s about giving my audience a thrill by getting dressed up as a savage jungle girl and wildly banging my bongo drum, or emerging encrusted in crystals from my 6-foot oyster shell, or maybe even taking a dip in my glass bathtub. You know…just another day at the office. 
 
I’ve heard some burlesque dancers refer to themselves as ‘strippers,’ while others run from that term. Is art the delineating factor?  
I’m a show pony; I live to be onstage. I don’t refer to myself as a stripper and I don’t refer to myself as an artist. I’m an entertainer –  that’s what I do. I’ve got an old-school brain in regards to burlesque, nightlife, and entertainment in general. I think of the ’40s and ’50s supper club culture;  that’s what I relate to in my performances and the types of shows and venues I tend to perform in. I’ve been to strip clubs and have had great times at them, but the experiences I’ve had at places like Scores, The Pussy Cat Lounge, Billy’s Topless, etc…they are very different experiences from what someone will have at one of my shows. In regards to "art:" sure, showbiz is an art, but I don’t really get down with intellectualizing my performances. It’s not my style. I just want to entertain you when I’m in the spotlight. Fred Astaire has a quote that he said when talking about how people tried to find deeper meaning in his
hop-shuffle-step, and it goes like this, "I am not sending messages with my feet. All I ever wanted to do was not come up empty. I did it for the dough and the old applause."   
 
You have found love in the biz…tell me about that. Is love common? Are burlesque relationships more difficult, or is it a great way to meet the man or woman of your dreams?
I have often thought that burlesque is the kiss of death to a relationship, and I never, ever wanted to date someone in the business – but I have been proven wrong. My man (trumpet-playing crooner Brian Newman), is fabulous. We have so much in common in regard to what we love about show business, music, and style that it’s pretty amazing. We can paint the town one night, dressed to the nines, and stay home the next, making lasagna and watching Jimmy Stewart westerns all night, it’s heaven! We are in the same world in a sense, but they are different enough so as they don’t collide. We’ve recently started doing more shows together, with a production we are calling "Burlesque-A-Pades, After Dark," where Brian’s band plays live music for the whole show. I love it; I feel like Lucy and Ricky. Plus, my performances are always a little more fiery when dancing live to my baby’s tunes. It’s also great because we can travel together a bit more, share fabulous
adventures, and create a great stage show! I think love and relationships can be difficult in any genre – you’ve just got to find the right person.
 
Angie Pontani
 
The current state of the art: burlesque seems to be booming. Where can/will it go?
I think, as each year passes, burlesque is just proving itself to be a sustainable form of entertainment, a genre in and of itself that I don’t think is going anywhere. Every year, it seems to get more and more popular and branch out into various styles. You’ve got classic burlesque supper club shows, downtown edgy dive bar shows, theatrical shows, nightclub shows, touring shows – heck, even game show shows, like the fabulous The Naked Truth. I think burlesque has grown into an umbrella of entertainment off of which different styles have emerged and it’s everywhere. Kind of like live music, there are a ton of different shows for each palette everywhere! I think it will continue to grow; it’s certainly not a trend or passing fancy.
 
I’ve caught your act and have been a fan since day one. How do you develop ideas and what is the process of perfecting the act?
First off, thank you, that means a lot coming from you! Ideas for numbers hit me over the head like a bedazzled hammer; all it takes to set me off is a great song or a photo of a starlet in an amazing gown or something like that, and then I am typically useless for a month or so while I create the act. The process can take one month to three or so, depending on the act. First, I have to get the costume made, as well as any props that I might require – only then can you really put the act together. I am a huge rehearser; when I am working a new act, I will practice the number at least a hundred times. I practice in every room in my house, in the dark, in my yard, in front of a mirror, away from the mirror, etc…It’s not that the choreography is so intense or anything like that, but in burlesque you have so many working components that you have to deal with, like 5-inch heels, binding corsets, snaps, zippers, headdresses etc. I practice and get comfortable with the costume and how it comes off, so that when I’m on stage I’m not looking down to find a clasp or tripping on my gown’s train or worried about anything but  driving the audience wild!
 
 
THE NAKED TRUTH plays at the Triad Theater (158 West 72nd Street) on the third Saturday of each month with March’s performance on Saturday, 3/17 at 10pm, April’s on Saturday, 4/21 at 10pm and May’s on Saturday, 5/19 at 10pm. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $45 for premium seating and can be purchased online at www.NakedTruthGameShow.com. There is also a two-drink minimum.

Weekly Parties At Bowery Poetry Club, The DL, & EVR

I had to take a vacation from my vacation. The good thing about my career(s) is that I am my own boss (I hope Amanda doesn’t read this). I can take off when I want to as I don’t have hours – just responsibilities. The bad thing about it is when I return, the work has not diminished and I’m slammed with more responsibility. Things left for my return need to be addressed immediately. The good news is I am loving DJing at "Renegade," a new Wednesday night party at The DL, 95 Ludlow St. This week, the amazing David Katz will join Sam Valentine and I on the second floor while Prince Terrance, Miss Guy, Michael Cavadias, and Carol Shark DJ upstairs on the enclosed roof. James Coppola and his cohorts fill the room with his eclectic following. I am in the process of renovating the space and I am pleased that it is looking good.

Thursday night, Seva Granik will offer Gavin Russom (DFA Records, LCD Soundsystem, Delia Gonzalez. Black Meteoric Star, Crystal Ark) presents with Nancy Whang (DFA, LCD Soundsystem),Nomi Ruiz (Jessica 6) and Druzzi (The Rapture). Other participants are Davis, MessKid and Jason Scott. This is a big deal since it’s the opening night of the DL’s new Thursday and I will certainly attend.
 
Tonight I will be off to EVR, a place I DJ at every Wednesday, early in the night, for their cool after-work crowd. It’s Mikey Lights’  birthday party, and for me that’s a must. Mikey is…well, a lighting guy in NYC. That’s a field that is surely lacking in talent, even as lighting becomes even more important. He’s not the guy who hangs the chandeliers or skims the wallpaper. He is the guy that programs lighting arrays to enhance DJ shows. He also builds state-of-the-art lighting systems and installs them. He has worked everywhere and I expect club royalty to toast the young man with the funny hats. 
 
I am so excited to see the new Duane Park addition to the old Bowery Poetry Club space which opens this Friday. I will surely sneak a peek at Peekaboo Pointe and Medianoche and their gang . Tomorrow I’ll be back in line, back to normal, rarin’ to go. I promise.

Exclusive: Nur Khan on Guns N’ Roses Show at Hiro Ballroom, Burlesque King Ivan Kane On Revel Resort

I wouldn’t recognize Fashion Week if Nur Khan wasn’t presenting one or more serious Rock and Roll shows. Fresh off The Kills‘ 10 Year Anniversary party hosted by Lovecat Magazine the other night, Nur throws Guns N’ Roses into the Hiro Ballroom. Talk around town has Mark Packer soon converting the space into a Tao Downtown, gobbling up Hiro and Matsuri in the process. Nur was the hero at Hiro when it was what it was. He is seriously happy about sending his old turf off with a bang. I caught up with him and gave my regrets.I cannot attend, as I will be DJing with Kelle Calco at Hotel Chantelle while all the hoopla is hooplaing. I asked Nur all about it.

The rumor was that the show was going to be at The Electric Room but it got too big a thing and now it’s at Hiro. In the future, you plan on doing a lot of shows at The Electric Room. How do you shows there….logistically?
I just did my first show there the other night. I remove furniture in front of a fireplace and half of the room. Set the PA and backline up in front of the fireplace – very similar to what I created with the Rose Bar sessions. You get the idea. You were at some of them. I see The Electric Room as a better fit for emerging bands. I’m doing this at Hiro; it’s sort of my two cents into the goodbye. The town is losing another rock and roll room. I’m going to have to build another. We’d still be at Don Hill’s if he hadn’t died. This show at Hiro is all out …confetti canons, arealists. It’s the last hurrah before Mark Packer takes Hiro and Matsuri over and does what he does to it.  
 
I know why you, me, and everyone and their brothers want these shows …how about the bands…what’s in it for them? Why do they want it?
For the most part, the bands are friends, so relationships are important when it comes to these…  everyone loves these intimate shows. It feels very special and inclusive, like the band is playing in my loft. It’s also a slightly different PR angle for the bands; there’s different press attached to these shows than, say, perhaps a Madison Square Garden show. They get reviewed differently from a different demographic that they don’t get from just a regular concert.  Because the shows are so small and private, they generate a lot of interest. I have gotten bands a lot of editorial work and exposure/campaigns sometimes etc., so the bands benefit from it being a very special show. A lot of VIPs and NYC tastemakers, and just an overall different experience that’s fun to do once in a while. I’m sure at one point all these bands were playing in a garage or something in their early days. They like the fact that these shows are a little "out of the norm" and, like i said, it’s usually friends and family so everyone’s happy to do the shows regardless….
 
What are you up to?
I am so busy just focusing on Fashion Week right now. I’m swamped with events this week. Task #1 is trying to keep up with an email every 30 seconds this week !!
 
Another Fashion Week frenzy….what’s driving you these days, besides money…besides being surrounded by fast woman and gallant men?
Haha. That’s funny!!!  What’s driving me?? I enjoy what I do and as you know, I am super passionate about music (and design, like yourself)… I really am thrilled with the way The Electric Room came out…  I just finished having another custom- designed mirror today – big clockwork orange eyes, back painted on glass behind the whole DJ area. What drives me is to create something new, designing the clubs, and I like to shake things up when I can and go in different directions when there is a trend happening in town. If everyone is going right,  I like to go left!!!  But always stay consistent with my music programs, which are geared for a musically literate clientele!!! Please!!!!  Come to the Guns N’ Roses show I’m doing tonight. It’s gonna be a full-on electric three-hour set!!!
 
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Ivan Kane headshot
 
I am a regular visitor to Atlantic City and it makes me happy that the resort Revel, for so long an empty monolith on the beach, is getting geared up to open. Previews begin April 2nd, and the opening is on May 25th, kicking-off Memorial Day weekend.  One of the entertainment editions to speak of is Burlesque Maestro Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Nightclub. I asked Ivan to tell me all about it:
 
This isnt my dad’s AC and the Revel figures to take it to another level. What is AC 2012? Where is it going and what does the Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Nightclub do to the AC game?
I have always been known for expanding the genre of burlesque and creating a unique, sexy, and sensual vibe.  It’s a bigger experience than one usually finds in a nightclub environment.
 
Royal Jelly sounds sticky and sweet. Where does the name come from?
Queen bees are made, not born, and Royal Jelly is the key ingredient to the burlesque royalty found only at Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub.  
 
Burlesque in NYC has become a staple, yet only a couple of years ago it was relegated to off-nights in out of the way places. Now, it’s a boom town with serious shows almost nightly. NYC is enjoying a burlesque renaissance. Will this renaissance translate to South Jersey and Vegas by the beach?
Burlesque entered the pop culture lexicon with the phenomenal success of Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce in Hollywood and at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Now I am bringing my burlesque to the east coast with an unparalleled nightclub experience that I created exclusively for Revel Atlantic City.
 
Revel has been a long time coming. When did the idea of your joint form and what will it look like?  
I am very excited to be a part of Revel; it has been a long time coming. Royal Jelly is a nightclub-in-the-round, where the DJs and dancing are complemented by the drama and excitement of the burlesque shows. Royal Jelly was designed to be exciting no matter where you turn, with multiple stages and flying catwalks that drop from the sky, animating the entire space.
 
How do you clone yourself? Will you always be around or sometimes in LA or NYC or Vegas? What capable person or persons will spot you when you’re afar?  
I touch everything Royal Jelly, but I surround myself with incredibly talented, able, and creative people. Because we are producing highly produced shows every night, I am never too far away for too long a period.  

From ‘Shame’ to Fame: Calamit Y. Chang On Her Hot Mènage à Trois Scene

Shame is a hot movie. The hottest scene in this hot movie is a ménage à trois with uber hot star Michael Fassbender and our dear friend Calamit Y. Chang and DeeDee Luxe. Calamit Y. is hosting and starring in Burlesque shows all over town, including this Wednesday at Duane Park and every Friday at Hotel Chantelle. This Wednesday’s show has DeeDee aboard, as well as the wonderful Shien Lee. It’s all timed in honor of Chinese New Year and is destined to be fabulous. Calamit Y. and I talked about the scene in Shame and she seemed surprised that it was such a big deal. Known as the "Asian Sexsation," she is constantly surrounded by incredibly sexual beings who spend a great deal of their time and energy thinking of new routines to turn us on. If you haven’t caught this act, get out there and do it now before the fame from the movie exposes her talent to the masses and she’s whisked off to Vegas or playing big theatres. The atmosphere at Duane Park is intimate, old-school burlesque elegant. It’s a great date destination. I asked Calamit Y. Chang a few questions, half expecting to be shooing away autograph seekers.

So I’m watching the hottest sex scene ever in the movie Shame with Amanda, when we both exclaim aloud CALAMIT Y. !!!!!. Your famous feather tattoo confirmed it was you and DeeDee Luxe.  I understand sex; it didnt actually occur, but everyone was hot. Tell us about the scene, the conversations leading up to it, and conversations after.
When I went to the audition, I knew the film was by Steve McQueen. His first film, Hunger, also starring Michael Fassbender, was a huge hit with film fans, so I guess you can say I already trusted him and his vision for my role as “Late Night Lover #1." When we met, he showed me the script and explained what the film was about. I had a lot of questions about Brandon’s (Fassbender) character development because I was curious about how Steve was going to handle the subject of sex addiction. On the day of the shoot, DeeDee and I wanted to know if our characters were prostitutes. Steve didn’t give a direct answer but he did say something to the effect that we were just normal people living in NYC, and like many people, we sometimes accept money for certain things. This reminded me of some people in fashion who work for free in exchange for expensive clothes and shoes. I know countless stylists who dress like a million bucks but can’t pay their rent and are consistently borrowing money from people left and right. Steve further explained that our characters were already familiar with Brandon and we were expecting him. When he first arrived and I opened the door for him, Steve wanted me to look a certain way when I saw Brandon. He wanted me to have a look as if saying, “Oh yeah, you again. Of course.” I even had Steve be me so I could see what he wanted my face to look like. He was very fun, patient, and gave clear direction. The actual filming of the infamous scene was a closed set. It was just five of us, including Steve and the cameraman. During the shoot, Steve pretty much let us three do our thing and every now and then he would ask one of us to switch sides for a better angle of our faces. As for conversations after this scene, well, we joked and laughed about whatever. We had some food. We talked about other films we liked, wanted to see, and I do remember asking Steve and Michael if they liked Lars Von Trier (cause I don’t). They didn’t. Michael did some impersonations of De Niro and I think Marlo Brando. It was pretty laid-back and comfortable, like friends hanging out.
 
I was told it was a retake, that the original scene was replaced with yours.
That was what our casting agent told us. They had already wrapped shooting months ago, but I guess some of the scenes (including ours) didn’t work out, so Steve came back to NYC with the cast and crew and re-shot them. Nicole Beharie was on set with us that day too, but I don’t know what scene she was working on. I also don’t know who were in the first threesome scene. They didn’t really talk about it and we didn’t really care cause we were there to kill it!
 
Calamit Y.
 
Tell me about Wednesday’s Duane Park show.
This is my newest show and I am excited beyond words! It is a dinner and a show at Duane Park, a beautiful restaurant serving delicious food and famous for their burlesque shows. The intimate and elegant dining room sets the perfect mood for a show like "Les Fleurs de Shanghai" with live music with Shien Lee as our featured singer. She will be singing several Chinese songs from the golden jazz age in Shanghai – music that will enchant you and take you back to a different time. DeeDee and myself will perform burlesque, It takes place on the last Wednesdays of every month at 8:30 PM.
 
How did a nice chinese girl like you become this fabulous burlesque queen, performer, and organizer?
 Well, I’ve always been Chinese but I haven’t always been nice. Joking! My parents have always said I have a rebellious streak ever since I was little. I suppose they are right, they’ve been right about lots of things much to my chagrin!  My new show “Les Fleurs de Shanghai” at Duane Park is a burlesque show paying homage to the great jazz era of Shanghai during the ’20s-’40s. I’ve become obsessed with that tumultuous era in Shanghai’s history with the music, the fashion, and the glamour of that time, but I haven’t always been interested in my cultural heritage and background. When I was a teenager growing up in Texas, the last thing I wanted to do was listen to Chinese music. I wanted New Kids on the Block. I wanted Bon Jovi. I wanted Garth Brooks! Well, maybe not the latter, but you get my drift. Immigrant mentality is to assimilate and to grown up in a non-culturally diverse place like Texas. I tried my damn hardest to fit in. Unfortunately, that meant rejecting a lot of things that makes me unique. My parents always said that one day I will want to know more about being Chinese and “return to my roots,” so to speak. So they were right yet again! Although, I don’t think burlesque was what they had in mind. Burlesque, in its contemporary reincarnation at least, is very feminist. It is subversive, transgressive, and rebellious. And all those things draw me in uncontrollably.
 
Calamit Y.
 
Tell me how you develop your new acts.
 It’s a lot like writing, which I’m sure you can relate to on some level. You stare at a piece of blank paper and suddenly the task of having to fill it with words that make sense and construct an experience narratively becomes very daunting. Likewise, I pick a song that I want to work with. I put it on repeat in my living room studio and I stare in the mirror. There is always that sense of fear that I think all creative people face. The act of creation. Of forming something out of nothing. Whether it’s writing, painting, choreographing an act, designing a costume. I embrace it and stew in it. Sure enough, after a couple of hours, a dance routine comes out of it and I know what the character feels like and should wear. For me, many of my acts are never completely “done." There is always something to upgrade, whether it’s the costume or the choreography. For example, my red “Dusk ’til Dawn” act has evolved so much since I originally made it  two years ago. Now, I’ve added new pieces to the costume, added another song to it, and incorporated red fans in the routine. This act has gotten me accepted in the Dallas Burlesque Festival (Feb 2-5, 2012) and the London Burlesque World Games (May 7-13, 2012).
 
I saw you develop an audience at Hotel Chantelle. At first, it was slow-going, but now your Friday night galas are packed. How does the newfound fame from Shame translate to a fanbase. How does it affect friends? Do you have major new burlesque credibility?
Yes, it was hard in the beginning, especially since I am the first person to bring burlesque to Hotel Chantelle; the road had to be paved! Thankfully, Tim Spuches (who found and hired me) didn’t doubt me and now it’s really great. I have met several male audience members at Chantelle who tell me they saw me in Shame and came to see me perform; it makes me very happy that people are going to see real films with quality editing and storytelling. And it makes me even happier that in all the press and interviews the film has gotten, Steve and Michael have been describing us as burlesque performers. I think this is so great because this gives burlesque and us burlesque performers credibility in the film world. I am always so happy to hear about other performers who get cast for a TV show or film, because the more crossover we have, the more people will come to our shows!

Angela Harriell Opens Up About ‘The Love Show: Sex Magic’ Fest

I’m giving this post another five minutes, then it’s off to the beach for one last roast. Miami beach is sunny and stupid and completely perfect. Reminds me of so many of my exes. I’m heading home to BBurg tonight, hopefully in time for the People Get Ready, Rich Aucoin, Landlady, Raccoon Fighter show at Glasslands Gallery (289 Kent Avenue). Alas, I may be stuck in the sun until too late. Nightclub science has brought me to Miami Beach. An ABSOLUT Miami-sponsored event focuses on the hows, whats, whys, and whos of the Miami Beach club scene, sometimes even dabbling in the whens. I’m going to talk about this tomorrow or Friday when I have more time. Controlling different parts of an evening is an experienced operators approach to night club programming. If they’re coming to you late, you are real hot, but you wont have enough time to make money. Controlling the middle of the night is a good start as that is where the most loot lies. Early is often the easiest to establish as events, and sometimes dinners can be used to consistently bring in an early crowd. Hotel Chantelle has been slammed on Thursdays with Miss Guy, Lily of the Valley, me, and Carol Shark DJing. Now, the promo department is adding Angela Harriell’s "The Love Show: Sex Magic" to the early slot. By all accounts this sexy cabaret, ballet, magic fest will bring all the boys to the bar – and hot gals as well. I asked Angela to tell us all about it.

Tell me about the show’s history and what the public can expect to see.
The Love Show started up about eight years ago as a modern dance show with a little edge. Our very first performance was on an amateur burlesque night at LUXX in Williamsburg (now The Trash Bar). We did a number to Peggy Lee’s "Do Right." We still do that number occasionally, from time to time. Since then, the show has evolved to be everything from kid-friendly to naughty-naughty. We do all styles of dance that feature an eclectic range of music; we do dirty-downtown- theater-dance and swank-glam-champagne stuff. When you see The Love Show, you can expect to see beautiful girls and guys doing excellent dances in fab costumes. What I think you don’t expect is just how funny and theatrical it is. I love a good slow motion fight scene as much as the next gal. I think we surprise people with how developed and detailed the humor and wit is, and we do it all with sexy style. At Hotel Chantelle, you can also expect to be amazed and amused by our charismatic and talented magician/host: The Great Dubini.
 
How did a nice girl like you end up doing this?
When I moved to New York, I knew I wanted to dance. I was brought up with rigorous ballet training (my mother was a ballerina and now a ballet teacher), and I took a real shine to choreography in college. I started auditioning when I got here and was getting discouraged with my inability to get onstage with say, Paul Taylor. And one night (about 8 or 9 years ago), I saw Julie Atlas Muz perform at Galapagos in Williamsburg. It blew my mind. A self-made performer, making the rules for herself, getting to dance and create her own movement and image and, more than anything, move and captivate people while doing her own thing. I decided to start a dance troupe, and that was the beginning.
 
Where are you going with this? Are you a future TV star? Broadway? Vegas? … What’s the plan?
I am trying to bring The Love Show to the point of being a self-sustaining company, with full performances each season (right now, we have one full-length seasonal show ("Nutcracker: Rated R"), while also continuing to branch out with our private party/corporate work. There are so many goals! I’d really like to travel with the company more, and it would be amazing one day to have our own home base to rehearse in, give class, and do small shows.  We occasionally work with The House of Yes, and I’m very inspired by their home.  They really give back to the artist community.  In the end, the goal is always the same: to do what you love while getting paid.
 
What’s a day in the life like? And what goes into preparing for a show like this?
A day in the life involves sitting for hours at the computer, trying to book shows, reach out, do follow-ups, create set lists, email about rehearsals, book rehearsal space, etc. Outside of the necessary busy work is the rehearsal part: creating new numbers or reviewing existing numbers. This part is a lot of fun. The majority of my dancers have been performing in the show for anywhere from two to seven years. We are so close, and very much like a family. It’s one of the best things about having your own company; you get to choose the people you work with.
 
What attracted you to Hotel Chanelle?
When we prepare for the show, we try to make it a different show every time, and really fit it to the theme or venue. I put a set list together, email the troops, get everyone’s schedules, book rehearsal space, rehearse the show, pack the costumes, go to the venue, put on a show! I have a partner who handles putting our press out for me (David F. Slone, Esq., who hosts some of our shows and is also a creative partner), and he takes care of that end for me. What attracted me to Hotel Chantelle was the slick rock vibe and the challenge of putting a show on in a space that is not necessarily a performance space. We are really going to set the show to make it feel like a very intimate and involved experience for the crowd. We love to love and are thrilled to be loving on people all up-close and personal. The space is very cool and we’re excited to put a little passion in people’s pants!

Seduction, Tassels, Burlesque, & Beats: Thursday Nights At Cafeina

Thursday nights are a curious beast. Like starter fluid, they have the capacity to set fire to your entire weekend – one night before it officially starts. They’re the appetizer to your entrée. The foreplay to the fun. And in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, a new Thursday night party is kindling that has all the fire, foreplay, corsets, and tassels you need. The name: Beats & Burlesque, and it’s happening at Cafeina, the restaurant-lounge-art gallery that has a lot of everything for everyone. Happening inside Cafeina’s just-launched, 1920s speakeasy Mezzanine – the new party is a study in tease and seduction, starring guest DJs, and international burlesque star Aurora Natrix and her Ritz Glitz Revue’s gaggle of red-headed and raven-haired, scantily-clad dames. 

While the burlesque girls gyrate their nipple-tasseled selves and swallow flaming wands of fire, you get the chance to swallow gulps of Cafeina’s signature cocktails, such as the caffeinated Gaucho drink with Jamaican coffee spirits, bitters, and Rye Old Fashioned, and the Cane Daiquiri with fresh grapefruit, sugarcane syrup, and Caribbean Black and White Rum. There are also champagne bottle specials if you’re planning on staying (most of) the night.  

And since we all need a little sustenance when we’re busy gazing at corsets and downing coffee spirits, executive chef Diego Pasqualicchio brings the Latin flavor right to your seat, serving Latin tapas like crispy baby back ribs, Cafeina’s beloved stuffed dates, slow-cooked pork tenderloin, and white corvina fish ceviche.

Lucky for you, the show starts at 8pm and lasts until 1am, so you only have to wait eight hours before you can get to work and excitedly gab by the microwave to your co-workers about the burlesque-tapas-champagne-fire-filled night you just had. Of course they’ll think you dreamt it and name you The Office Crazy, but you’ll know deep inside it really happened. You’ll know. 

Get the inside-scoop on Cafeina, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

DJ & Promoter Nima Yamini Caught In The Act & Sevilla

Kinky, bizarre, theatrical things are happening at Las Vegas’ new nightclub The Act inside the Venetian Hotel, and last night, Nima Yamini elevated the craze to a whole other level with his open-format DJ set. Tonight, April 19th, the co-founder of Avenue A Soundcheck lands in San Diego, at the Latin-Spanish nightclub Sevilla, where he’ll spice up their VIVE Fridays party with his Latin house, EDM, and hip-hop spins. And after his stint at the Pussycat Dolls Dollhouse on the 20th, Nima jets off to the east coast, where he’ll hit up Trump Soho on the 23rd and Greenhouse on the 26th. It’s the month of Nima; catch him before it ends.

Learn more about Nima, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

This Week’s NY Happenings: Bowery Poetry Relaunches, Sweet: New York, Tørst Opens

FRIDAY: Bowery Poetry Relaunches With Duane Park Burlesque
If poetry is to survive in the big town, it may need to flash a little leg. Bowery Poetry at 308 Bowery relaunches this week with a new partner: Duane Park, the former Tara of Tribeca. Duane brings its Southern comfort and renowned burlesque shows over to the East Village club, and. it all starts this Friday night;  The Plume Revue reclaims their Friday night slot with Peekaboo Pointe and Medianoche among the dancers, and a tight jazz band on the tunes.

Bowery Poetry (308 Bowery, East Village) relaunches Friday the 8th with Duane Park burlesque. The Plume Revue begins at 10pm. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

THURSDAY: Eat John Doe
Eat well, drink well, and do well at The Doe Fund’s annual Sweet: New York benefit to help break the cycle of homelessness. Top talent from the likes of Tao, Lavo, and BLT Prime will hook you up with both savory and sweet bites inside the Classic Car Club Soho.

Sweet: New York at the Classic Car Club Soho (250 Hudson St., Soho) starts at 7pm Thursday the 7th. Main event tickets are $75. To learn more about the event space, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

FRIDAY: Quenching Tørst
An avant-garde trio of chef, brewer, and importer join forces on the ultimate beer bar. At Tørst, you can down bespoke brews by luminaries like Jean Van Roy of Cantillon Brewery inside a modern, minimal space. A stealth Scandi restaurant in back will follow later in the year.

Tørst (615 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint) opens Friday the 8th. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

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