Local burlesque artist Foxxxy Curves is set to unleash her signature sass and alluring performances on Fringe this summer with two very different shows. The adventurous Smooth Criminals tells the tales of infamous crimes and criminals in world history using the art of burlesque, cabaret and tease, showing everywhere from Kalamunda to Fremantle from Saturday, January 18 until Friday, February 7. On top of that, in what Foxxxy calls a more “traditional” show, Scarlet Affaire: Late Night Lust promises a degustation for the senses at Sonar Room in Freo on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Foxxxy Curves to find out how and why she got into burlesque, the origins of the freakishly original ideas for her shows, crime podcasts and what we can look forward to at her shows this year.
What was it that drew you to burlesque in the beginning and what keeps you doing it?
For me personally it was about building my confidence – but since then, I’ve met such an amazing and diverse range of people that challenge me on a daily basis. Now it’s about showing people that it doesn’t matter your body type, gender, identity, orientation or colour, (it’s) the acceptance of those things that make us each unique and gives us a point of difference. I express myself creatively through costume, colour, and character, and love creating a bond with the audience. Those three or four minutes are ours, to share, to be a part of together.
Your show Smooth Criminals teaches audiences about the most infamous crimes and criminals in world history, with their stories told using the art of burlesque, cabaret and tease. It’s a pretty unique and intriguing idea, where did it come from?
Honestly, it was combination of a few things that have nothing to do with each other. I’m super into my crime podcasts, and listening to Case Files currently I’m really delving into a lot of the background of the criminals. Additionally, I thought it would be fun to use the art of burlesque to teach people a little about history; to re-create some of the crimes and criminals that we all know from the past and reimagine criminals in the modern day – as femme-identifying!
Some of the world’s most notorious criminals such as Al Capone, the Kelly Gang, and John Wilkes Booth… what would they look like, act like, how would they be different, with a burlesque lens? We know now that the Mickelberg brothers weren’t responsible for the Perth Mint Swindle. Perhaps we can imagine who might be? Burlesque and cabaret can help us tell these stories, while still being able to entertain, tease, and engage with the audience. You don’t need to know the stories to enjoy the performances.
And what do criminals and burlesque performers have in common?
Maybe more than people realise. Criminals are cunning, creative, notorious… and so are burlesque performers!
How is your other show Late Night Lust different? Is it more of a classic style burlesque show or are there unique and unexpected elements that make up that as well?
Late Night Lust is more of a “traditional” show in that each performer is bringing their own creation to the stage. Some of these are classic showgirl style routines. Some have unexpected turns, and all of them showcase the talents of our troupe. Adding to that, we have three guest performers in each show. Some are local and some are from lands afar, which adds an element of intrigue and variety. Our Troupe are bringing a combination of previously performed work plus new routines, which is going to make for a show that is dynamic, unpredictable, and sure to satisfy even the most particular of tastes.
And what kind of people come to these shows? Is it a diverse audience that seems to enjoy it?
People from all walks of life enjoy burlesque shows – from white collar workers to stay at home parents and everyone in between. We find that usually there’s a huge number of women, who are intrigued, considering it themselves, or admire the individuality and confidence that the performers bring. We originally expected men to be most prominent at shows which is very stereotypical we know, but we’ve learned that burlesque really is an art where any gender can be represented, any voice can be heard, and any story can be told. The audience is as diverse as the performers!
You also deliver burlesque classes throughout the year, what do you think it is about the craft that attracts people to want to learn it and be part of that scene and culture?
People take our classes because they’re looking for confidence and empowerment, and to learn the art of tease. They’re looking to become more confident and some are looking to overcome body image issues, or are wanting to accept themselves, within their own skin.
People want to be empowered to perform, to have the courage to stand up and say “this is me, take it or leave it. I love and appreciate my own body.” They want to learn to tease, perhaps for a partner or perhaps for themselves… sometimes just to know they can!
There isn’t just one reason people join our classes, and it’s one of the most exciting parts of the first lesson or two learning about everyone, working out their motivation, talking about ourselves and sharing our journey. In doing this, we learn about our students, and we become part of the same family; the Scarlet Bell Family. All of this makes it worthwhile. We change the world, one bump and grind at a time.