Intervention 2012

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Cosplay Burlesque

22 - 23 September 2012 | Written by Maxxum

As I wrote earlier, A.J. was karmic - our timing couldn't have been better when we left the interview, as late as it was (around 3am). I had earlier missed a chance to speak with Cosplay Burlesque, and meeting them when we did allowed us to secure our last inteview for the event.

Our previous interviews with James Harnell, and A.J. went well past our intended time, and I advised CB that the same was likely to happen again if we started nerd bonding... which we did for over an hour. The interview started with Victoria Belmont, Leo Arcanum, and Murder Nurse. We were later joined by more people from their troupe, and I didn't think to ask for names because the interview had turned into an impromptu party.

Below represents just 15 minutes from the chat:

Why do you like taking off your clothes?

*laughs*

Victoria: Well, I can't say I need to take the clothes off, I think I need to entertain.

Murder: I would totally agree with that.

Leo: It's more for entertainment than anything.

Murder: But, not only entertainment, it's so good for the self-esteem.

Victoria: Seriously!

Murder: To be able to do it, I'm sure you can both agree with me on this, you have to have the self-confidence to do it. And, I'm sure not everyone in the burlesque scene can say they started off with the confidence to do it. We leave the stage feeling really good. We entertained everybody, but we also feel really good about ourselves, 'cause getting up on stage taking your clothes off with everybody applauding it's oh, I'm pretty hot.

Victoria: Especially for those of us who are a little heavier.

*laughs*

How long does it take you to come up with a routine, and how do you decide what you want to put on stage?

Leo: It's different depending on the act.

Victoria: Yeah, sometimes something will just pop-up, like for example I do a [Marvel] "Punisher" act, and it really started out where we found this hilarious song, it's John Lajoie's "I Kill People", and it's hysterical, and we're like okay, I wanna do an act to this and I need a gun bunny. I need somebody who's just obsessed with guns and we started throwing that out ideas and my roommate actually had just watched "Punisher Warzone" and he's like, you should do this as Punisher.

Murder: It can start off with a song, or it can start off with a character.

Leo: And, basically from there we each start working on a routine, depending on what the song is, sometimes the routine will come to us, otherwise we'll have to work on it for a while.

How did you all meet, and how did you decide to coalesce around the geek stuff?

Victoria: I started "Cosplay Burlesque" back in 2008, and I was working for AnimeNext and I'd seen a burlesque show and I was just in awe of the costumes and the pageantry of it, I was like, oh my god, I want to do that. And, I did not know how to break into the New York burlesque scene ... so it worked for a con - really for adults, you either go to the hentai room, or you go to the rave.

So, I approached the con chair and said, how about we try this; it'd be kind of like an adult masquerade, we take our clothes off, we just entertain and he's like, you know what, we'll give it a shot. That first year that we did it had probably over 500 people in attendance which was huge at the time, and since I've put out casting calls most people have approached me and said I really like what you guys are doing, do you need anybody?

Is this your actual job, or do you all have a 9 to 5?

Leo: We all have jobs.

Murder: It's a labor of love.

Victoria: I'm a web-programmer

What's the most difficult thing you had to deal with?

Victoria: We've been lucky, we haven't had any problems with the audiences. We've had a couple of people try to get backstage, and usually it ends up being con staffers that think because they're staff...

Leo: They think they can come back and see what we're doing.

Victoria: I hate to say but I've actually had someone open the door and I'm completely topless...

Murder: I was there.

Victoria: I was like, you're gonna die!

What would you like people who are not familiar with the geek scene to take from this?

Victoria: We just hope they have fun when they see the show. We're essentially doing it to entertain, so if they walk out happy and entertained, we're happy.

Leo: Yeah, even if they don't know the act, as long as they came, had a good time, that's what we want them to do. We want to put on a good show.

Murder: Personally, I think this goes for all burlesque, specifically with the geeks in the cosplay scene, there's been a lot of controversy with skin color and body type for cosplays and I hope that we can portray that it doesn't matter what your body type is or what you look like, or your confidence level or whatever; how skimpy, or how mostly covering the costume is, do it because you love it.

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There were many more great points from Jimmy their photographer, and everyone in attendance that we couldn't fit into this article. By now you must be wondering: why did these interviews go on for so long?

A.J. | 6:40am