Brian: Greetings again Hunny Bunthusiasts, welcome back to the virtual home of Hunny Bunny Burlesque. This is Brian reporting in again, and this time I have the wonderful pleasure to be sitting (virtually) with the very fantastic Elyse Elaine!
So, let’s start with the most obvious question: How are you doing?
Elyse: I’m doing well. Evolving, growing, learning…it’s a nice place to be.
B: Now for the actual obvious question: How did you get into burlesque, and how long have you been performing?
E: I got into burlesque through Sgt. Die Wies. She was my tattoo artist. When she found out that I was a dancer she asked if I ever thought about burlesque. I was interested, so she took me to Hubba Hubba Revue’s 5-year anniversary show and I was blown away. Having a background in theatre I missed the big production, the costumes, the choreography, the awesome music. It was history after that, I was addicted. I have been doing burlesque for 4 years as of October.
B: I’m so glad that you got into burlesque, sounds like we all owe Sgt. Die Wies some thanks! Were you doing any sort of professional dance before she tipped you off?
E: Yes. I was apart of side show crew, a dance team formed from all the grown up kids from my childhood dance team (laughs). We would perform all over the Castro and performed back up for drag queens like: precious moments, Miss Rahni, the late Cookie Dough, and so on. I was also apart of John Bisceglie’s 80-person ensemble. We had a 4 week run at the Herbst Theatre in SF singing show tunes; it was called “Forever Broadway.”
B: That’s fantastic! So I wonder, how did you get introduced to Hunny Bunny?
E: It’s a funny story. I was a new performer and I was reaching out to every show in the bay area…literally every show (laughs). I was wanting to get my name out there. I sent her a video and she booked me. At the time she was on tour with a circus if I remember correctly, I didn’t know at the time, so I thought her troupe mate IntoxiKate was her. I didn’t realize the goof until I was asked to do a photo shoot and met her (laughs). She’s amazing. I’m so grateful she took a chance on me.
B: Where else have you performed?
E: Everywhere! No joke. If it’s a show in the Bay Area, I have done it. I have also done a Seattle and a Los Angeles tour. I used to count how many different shows I have been in. I stopped counting after I hit 50 something. Everything from Hubba Hubba Revue, Red Hots, Sin sisters, and Hunny Bunny of course.
B: So what is it that drew you to performance?
E: I’ve been a performer since childhood. My mom put my sister and I in dance/acting/singing classes to help break us out of our shells. I gravitated most to dance. I’m a stutterer so I loved being able to express myself without talking (laughs). Sometimes you don’t feel like telling everyone you stutter (laughs)
Dancing is so simple, so spiritual, so elating. You can’t beat it.
B: For those who haven’t seen your act, how would you describe your style of burlesque performance?
E: Slow, raw, and intimate…I like to take my time on stage. I rarely do fast songs if at all. I’m a very intimate performer; instead of telling a story on stage I like to create one right then and there, with that audience at that moment. I think that’s why I use so much eye contact. I love having little moments with individual audience members. Its like, for those 3 seconds no one else was in the room except us. It’s so perfect.
B: What’s the nicest thing a person has said to you after seeing you perform?
E: “Watching you was an experience.” Best comment ever because it means I enveloped all his senses you know. Like seriously, when I think of an experience I think of being immersed in it. That is so awesome to me. I’ll never forget it. Being considered an experience is more flattering to me than being considered sexy…that’s obvious (laughs) it’s a strip show!
B: Do you feel being a POC gives you a different perspective into burlesque?
E: Being a POC gives me a different perspective on life so of course it would in burlesque (laughs) everything I do as a performer is apart of my advocacy of black people in America, if for nothing more than to give an audience member something to relate to.
B: What other advocacy work have you been involved in? Is it for funding for good causes, or raising awareness, or something else?
E: Yes. Too many to name. I donate a ton of performances to different fundraising events, awareness projects, advocacy groups, etc. especially in the lgbt community. Womanopoly (the show I produce with Sgt. Die Wies) has a yearly event called “shave your head fest” full of badass bands and performers. We raise money for breast cancer awareness as well as have live hair donations on stage for locks of love. This is very near and dear to me as Sgt. Die Wies’ mother was the inspiration behind this event. She’s a two-time breast cancer survivor. Amazing woman.
B: Any future projects that you are working on, or future performances you want to plug?
E: I have a huge project I am currently invested in that I will be premiering in January 2016. It’s called “Wilde Hearts” and I’ll be doing a teaser show with the Hubba Hubba Revue Oct. 19th. It’s my first take over show on my own. I’m so excited. The show is full of exceptional performers including Hunny Bunny!
B: And finally, when can we expect you next at the Skylark?
E: I will be there Friday September 11th!
So there you have it, come check out Elyse Elaine at the Skylark this September 11th, where there will also be “My Head IS the Clouds,” an “Art Opening Party for Nemo of Unstoppable Creative Forces in tandem with Disenchanted Forest and The No Cover Cabaret at the Skylark Bar in SF! Come to view the art, receive some free art, or just drink in a cool atmosphere!”
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