ib: What’s the idea behind Burlypicks and how come you are one of the hosts of this fabulous event?
FEZ: The Burlypicks started under a different name by the founders of burlesquebitch.com in the USA, but they were forced to change the name under threat from the International Olympics Committee. The premise of Burlypicks is a burlesque-cabaret-varieté Olympic-style competition which brings a lot of performers together in one event to compete for prizes and a chance to perform at the finals in Los Angeles with the winners from other cities around Europe and the USA.
Crystal Swarowski, CEO of burlesquebitch.com was part of a burlesque troupe I brought to Berlin about 5 years ago, and she tapped me to host the Berlin regionals on their first European tour this year. I was already involved in a few other events going on at the same time, and I needed a partner in crime capable of handling this monumental event, and in stepped the firecracker Bana Banana, who has the fuego & the huevos to pull it off.
BANA: The idea is to bring Burlesque Performers together all around the World as a platform to make contacts and meet different people to get ideas and work together. It is indeed a competition, but like the Olipmpics Game´s Philosophy: The important thing is to participate!! And I am hosting it as a matter of Good Luck 😉
ib: What sort of performances can the unexperienced guest expect?
FEZ: They can expect a variety of the completely unexpected.
BANA: Together with a Solo Act that every contestant will perform, there wil be as well some other surprising Acts, like improv, singing and tassels and assels competition, where we will select the best spontaneous Act, I mean, an Act not prepare in advance at home, we will appreciate your “Savoir Fair” “vor Ort” 😉
ib: Do you think that a competitive event like this would be different from one in another european or international city?
FEZ: Yes, I think Berlin has a higher concentration of Burlesque dancers per capita than any other European capital, so I think the quality and variety of talent will be unsurpassed at this event.
BANA: We are working really hard to bring something different and fresh to the Worldwide scene. We will be very happy if you can also come and enjoy the evening with us and tell us your own personal opinion about the Event. The Competition itself is not so important as the thing, that we can have a great occasion to meet really beautiful people and have a look to some of the best “Cabaret-Circus-Burlesque-Boylesque or whatever in der Art…” shows and performers from many different places and scenes… Everyone who applied have a opportunity to be part of it, and we are proud to receive applications with a high degree of quality and profesionality. I find that it is a good chance for everybody who needs to “express themselves”.
ib: Can you tell us a little bit about the Berlin Burlesque scene from your point of view?
FEZ: The European Burlesque scene is very small in and of itself – it seems most performers know each other or are at least aware of everyone. The melting-pot of Berlin is unique in many ways, and it seems to attract expat burly-girls by the hundreds. The scene has grown exponentially since Tallulah Freeway’s Wild Rose Revue back in 2007, and while this year is the first time there have been 2 regular weekly Burlesque shows running, there still are not enough events to support the dozens of dancers who now live here. Most burlesque dancers who live in Berlin travel to other cities in Europe to perform, (where the wages are typically better than ‘poor-sexy’ Berlin). That being said, the Berlin scene is very much a community, and very community-minded. There’s not as much competitiveness as in other scenes, because here, most producers realise that the more variety of shows that are produced generates more interest for their shows and the scene in general, so there is a lot of love & support from the scene for all of the sundry productions in Berlin.
BANA: The Berlin Burlesque Scene is such a family. We are very proud and glad to be very friendly with each other as much as we respect each other too. I have so many nice friends and great “Kollegen” and that family feeling is what is making the Berlin Burlesque Scene so special and wonderful!! We are bigger and better and faster and more beautiful than ever. And it is just the beggining!! Sei bereit for much moreeeee!!!
ib: Where can we see you perform the next time?
FEZ: After this week, I’ll be on hiatus until September, when Klass und Sass starts up again on Thursday nights at Prinzipal Kreuzberg.
BANA: I will be hosting the Burlypicks, and i will perform there also some “special” Acts…be ready for surprises!! And of course, on saturday i will be performing in Lillys Wonderland Bar as part of the Berlin Burlesque Week!!
Dont miss it…or you will regret!!
If you look as much forward to the event as us, then email us at win(AT)All Tomorrows Parties(DOT)de to win a pair of tickets…
Interview by Mia Morris, who talked to Burlypicks organisers and local luminaries in the Berlin burlesque scene Mr. Fez Wrecker and Ms. Bana Banal