Lola the Vamp Q&A
By Crimson Kitten
CK: You've performed across the globe, including stages in Hollywood, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Paris, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Any particular favourite?
LV: I have many favorites! I'll always have a very special place in my heart for North Beach in San Francisco - beat poet territory. I got my start over there with my first burlesque striptease being for Dita Von Teese, Catherine D'Lish and Kitty West (Evangeline The Oyster Girl). The role was to reprise the 40s New Orleans Oyster Girl number but never got off the ground. They kindly told me I was their favorite, so I've been inflicting my shows on people ever since!
Paris is also very special. I grew up reading about the Impressionists and the Moulin Rouge showgirls so I stayed at the foot of Montmartre hill just down from the Sacre Coeur. I woke up every morning and looked up to the hill. I stumbled upon so many amazing things there - a vintage showgirl corset, the Lapin Agile, Musee de Montmartre, and a little ex-pat Australlian bar run by an Irishman across from Moulin Rouge!
CK: Where would you recommend a traveler to head to, of all the places you've been?
LV: For me, Japan has a completely different energy from the Western countries I had been to. I was mostly in Takayama though, which is a small town with the most historical buildings, Shinto temples with incredibly awe-inspiring, genuinely theatrical architecture. San Francisco is a great place to see on foot, as is Paris. And Las Vegas, it just has to be seen to be believed! No walking in Vegas baby!
CK: How does the Melbourne burlesque scene compare to those overseas?
LV: The Melbourne burlesque scene is tight-knit and supportive, with great style. In that sense it echoes many of the great burlesque cities, but there is a strong emphasis on skills-based performance in Melbourne - circus, ballet, dance. I think that is a beautiful contribution to the world of burlesque, and probably has a lot to do with NICA. I love the Victorian era architecture of Melbourne and I think it reflects in performances here.
CK: Of the hundreds of festivals and events you have graced – including The Melbourne International Comedy Fesival, The Big Day Out, and global locales like The Tivoli and The Globe in the States – which locations stand out with some fond (of funny) memories?
LV: I had an amazing experience earlier this year at the Tivoli in Brisbane. I was performing Firebird for the Burlesque Ball and moving through my routine. I hit a certain cue and felt an overwhelming sadness that it was nearly over. I'd never felt that before! Although it is not the original Tivoli, it is still an amazing venue, and Nick Cave telling me I was beautiful (I was naked), kissing both my cheeks was something that I will never comprehend or forget. So the Tivoli has some special resonances for me! I would love to know more about our local Tivoli history and hope to have more time to do it in the near future.
CK: You've been a part of Tease-o-rama at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, what was that like?
LV: Bimbo's 365 Club really instilled my love of burlesque. It was the venue where saw it for the first time. It's a genuine 30s Supper Club and does not open for just any event! It is opulent with red and gold finishes, plush chairs and tables and a circular stage with two levels. Large, but intimate, and incredibly beautiful. I always feel at home there. The rest rooms are fabulous too! I went in once, and heard some crazy lady yelling to people, so I just hung in the foyer area with the powder room mirrors a moment. Then I heard her call "You are classy dames. Classy dames do not pee on the seats" and I had to go and look. She was the rest room attendant, and handing towels to ladies as they exited, as well as dishing out great life advice. I tipped her very generously!
CK: But I bet it's always amazing to come home!
LV: "There's no place like home!" Truly. I have a very affectionate family consisting of my man-friend and an 18 month old kitten, and coming home is like nothing on earth! I just returned from an outback tour last night and it's the details that will capture you after a tour - his curls, her soft fur. We all purred!
CK: Aww, too cute! Which of your amazing acts will you be performing at Red Bennies for Shimmy Shake Burlesque?
LV: For Shimmy Shake this Friday I am bringing my Lyra - it's quite large for a lyra and augmented with some filigree panelling. I use Aerial Dance in my routines, which is low-rigged aerial apparatus integrated into the choreography, using the floor as much as the air. My costume is a set of amazing nude peacock wings made my Cassandra Jane's Showgirl Couture. I am usually very much a classicist with burlesque and like to make shows that appear almost out of time, but I am toying with using some vocal music this time for my finale. And the pointe shoes will likely come out for this one! I'm performing two shows at Shimmy Shake, and for the other set I am thinking one of my classic routines like Serpentine Dance, or Sapphire with a large blue headdress!
Lola The Vamp will perform as part of Shimmy Shake at Red Bennies on Friday 10th September