17 June 2008

(I wanted to post this last week, but life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Or so I hear. Anyway, I'm going to try to make this a weekly thing, and spotlight a new burlesque performer each week for the rest of the year.)

The Irrepressable
Lili VonSchtupp

photo (by Chris Beyond) swiped from Lili's MySpace page.

Lili is my kind of woman. I likes 'em brassy, and I likes 'em ballsy. And Lili is both, in spades! She's outspoken, confident, and passionate. What's not to love?

There is nothing halfway about this lady. Not only does she perform (bringing to the stage some of the most daring comedic material around ... did you see her in "The Wrong Show" earlier this year?) she also co-produces the longest running weekly burlesque show in Los Angeles, The Monday Night Tease; she co-hosts the Burlesque Podcast; and she manages burlesque411.com, THE online guide to burlesque performances around the world. Oh yeah, she's also a member of the local burlesque photo corps, goes to all the major burlesque events around the country (covering them with the podcast) and she teaches. She's a "Jane-of-all-Trades" and as such a woman after my own heart.

One of the things I admire most is her role as producer. In a past Burlesque Podcast, she gives "a behind the scene look at how the big show happens." This really gives a window into the tight ship she runs along with Scarlet Letter, her co-producer. The Monday Night Tease is seamlessly run, and believe me, I've been to quite a few of them. I think I could count the production "hiccups" on one hand, and attribute all of them to unforeseen emergencies or acts of god.

What's neat is watching her transform from producer to performer.

As a performer, she's all play. I've been struggling with how best to describe her, and what I've come up with is this: Lili is a classic comedienne, like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett, posessing a "Rat Pack" showmanship that is sorely lacking in the entertainment world at large. If this were the 1950s or early 60s, she would no doubt have her own variety hour on television, (cue announcer's voice:) brought to you by Dewar's finest blended Scotch whisky! She's a class act, even when pouring Dewar's from her bra. She also brings a confident sexiness, an appeal borne of bold self-assurance. And, although she'll tell me to fuck off after she reads this, she's very pretty as well.

If you haven't seen her perform, you have no idea what you're missing. She brings a curious combination of innocence and naughtiness to the stage. Her famed pink poodle number is a perfect example of this. As she chases these little battery-powered pink poodles around the stage (in a perfect interpretation of a circus dog act) her costume seems to fall off on it's own, getting snagged here, torn there. She smiles through each reveal, refocusing the audience's attention on the ridiculous little dogs who fill up the stage. At the end of the routine ... well, I don't want to give anything away. Let's just say she has two final poodles to bring out!

Here's a number I haven't seen live (yet), Lili as "Dead Marilyn Monroe":

She never disappoints, and she always puts on one hell of a show! You can check her out on MySpace or at the Burlesque Podcast.

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