Monday, October 13, 2014

September Performer Spotlight: The Chameleon Queen

Photo By Marc Turnley
I apologize for the delay, September was kind of crazy but better late than never!  I've know The Chameleon Queen since before either of us were in burlesque so it's interesting that we both wandered up this path.  She's an amazing performer to watch and and amazing person in all of her charitable causes as well.  Please enjoy and we'll see if we can get two interviews in this month!

1. How did you come up with your stage name and tag line? Does it have a special meaning to you?

The Chameleon Queen comes from having my friends not recognize me while performing under different characters from show to show, or even in the same one! I didn't want to limit myself as a performer. Having the Chameleon Queen as an umbrella name for a small cast of characters gives me the opportunity to explore different personas and genders. As for the tag line: "I can do anything!" It stems Jim Morrison's calling himself the Lizard King.

2. How did you get started in burlesque?

We got lost going to the first audition, so I rang up the group to let them know. They were kind enough to schedule one just for me. I rang three times to verify...nary a return. An ex-boyfriend told me about another one. So, I went with his girlfriend-at-the-time to Big City Burlesque's auditions. She got in, which was great! I was happy for
Photo by Marc Turnley
her.

The director asked me to give the fan dance a go. He handed me the fans and said that he'd play the music till I was ready. Now, having tried to get to the first audition without success my thought was: what have I got to loose?! I turned to him and said: Turn on the music, give me the fans, let's go.

Years late while telling this story, he was there. I thought I had gotten the part about half way through the song. He stepped in and said that no, it was mine when I said let's go.

3. What has been your best moment as a performer so far?

There are actually two, but they are similar. The first was a gig in Asheville, NC for a charitable event. I had performed the first blue fan dance to "Lament." And after an fellow came rushing back to speak with me. He said that he got what I was doing. It left me a bit bewildered, until he gave an explanation. He saw that my performance wasn't just a fan dance, but a shamanistic expression. That was at a time when I spoke very little of my point of view on sacred performance. So, my jaw pretty much hit the floor. A total stranger understood. Somehow my beliefs in art showed through.

The second time, was my first fan dance with the white Sally Rands, a beautiful string arrangement of "Someone to Watch Over Me." It was for my Grandma Brake who had breast cancer, and the show was a breast cancer benefit. My friend Oscar came running back stage out of breath and said, "I get it! I get it!! She's watching over you! You are watching over us!" Needless to say, but the tears that I was already fighting to hold back broke through.

Photo by Moonbird Design
4. What is your favorite act to perform?

Mainly, I adore fan dances. But, "The Monster" piece that combined burlesque and stunt work is up in the tops.

5. What is your burlesque dream show?

A large scale old fashioned Christmas variety show, like "White Christmas." Giving the joy that we had as children to others when the season is so fraught with stress and worry. Something that when it's thought about, a tune whistled from it ...that afterglow of happiness lingers.

6. Where do you see your self in the next five years?

Still performing, teaching, reaching out into other artistic media, and learning.

7. Tell us something outside of burlesque that you are involved or interested in.

Pit Bull rescue and advocacy. I've my own Pit mixes, The Greer Boys, Sophocles and Herman Munster. They've been my inspiration to do what I can: perform, donate, rescue, write letters...whatever I can do to help Pit Bulls just be recognized for the beautiful, loyal, and fine dogs they are.

8. What do you think is your greatest skill, not including burlesque?
Photo by Kevin O'Connell


This is a tough one...perhaps connecting good people for everything from performances to philanthropic endeavors.

9. What are you most looking forward to this year as a burlesque performer? As a civilian?

New and exciting collaborations! Mystery and history are on the horizon!

As just me, more opportunities to dance and do stunt work; marching in the PRIDE parade with Angel Action Atlanta, the Pit Bull Candlelight Vigil, just being able to do good things.

10. Who is your favorite performer to watch?

This is not a one person answer at all! My favorite legend is Kalantan. Her movements are beautifully hypnotizing, very serpentine. She's not well documented sadly, but I've been able to find her on Something Weird videos, Pinky Shear found her under Adele the Petite Parisian, and she danced in one of the Sinbad films.
Sally Rand for fans, she is my idol and muse after all! Toni Elling brought me to tears at BHOF in '07 with her graceful walk and mink peel.

And honestly, I tear up watching my students...my burlesque daughters. It is pure joy to watch each one of them take wing.