An Interview with Bawdy Shop Burlesque

I had a chance to chat on Facebook recently with four of the five lovelies that make up Bawdy Shop Burlesque as they prepare for their maiden voyage, Goin’ Downee Oshun!, a scripted burlesque show that premieres this Saturday, August 30th at the Ottobar in Baltimore. The show is a Bawdy beach adventure that promises fishermen, ponies and even pirates while one of them tries to hide a “seacret”. Try as I might I couldn’t get the Bawdies to uncover it so you’ll just have to go and find out for yourself!

Bawdy Shop One: L - R:  Sunny Sighed, Ruby Rockafella, Giddy GoGo, Kay Sera, and Cherie Nuit. Photo by  HennPict Studio.
Bawdy Shop One: L – R: Sunny Sighed, Ruby Rockafella, Giddy GoGo, Kay Sera, and Cherie Nuit. Photo by HennPict Studio.

Lucrezia: Hello Sweetests, if I could get you to introduce yourselves, tell us how long you’ve been in burlesque, what got you into burlesque, and what you’re wearing?

Kay Sera. Photo by HennPict Studio.
Kay Sera. Photo by HennPict Studio.

Kay Sera: I’m Kay Sera, Over the Top and Under the Influence. I’ve been involved in the community for about 8 years and performing for five. I was inspired to get into burlesque by Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey – I was in their first bootcamp – and by my Great Aunt Edna who taught me how to peel a glove off. I’m wearing an ensemble by Penny Star Jr. suitable for the most robust and sexy pony play … or a stage production of Equus.

Lucrezia: Was Great Aunt Edna a stripper or just like Auntie Mame?

Kay Sera: She was literally just a great aunt, and a grand woman.

Giddy GoGo: Hello!!! I’m Giddy GoGo, Bawlmer’s Happy-Go-Lucky Hussy. I’m currently wearing an Edgar Allen Poe t-shirt representing Baltimore.

Lucrezia: REP-POE-SENT!

Giddy. Photo by HennPict Studio.
Giddy GoGo. Photo by HennPict Studio.

Giddy GoGo: YES. I have been a fan of burlesque and friends with individuals in the community for about 6 years, and began kittening just this year. I’m from Baltimore but lived in Seattle for three years – there are amazing performers in both cities, but I found I really missed the raw energy of Baltimore. It’s a gritty city and it really comes out in the performance. There is a lot of gritty character and humor here. The storytelling is what specifically draws me to burlesque.

Sunny Sighed: I’m Sunny Sighed, the Showtunes Showgirl!!! I’ve been performing burlesque for almost four years now. I got into burlesque first by attending Trixie and Monkey’s shows here in Baltimore, then by being fortunate enough to be part of the band, Tres Horny, (a French Horn trio) for the duo’s Holiday Spectacuthon! I also had the pleasure and privilege of making my unofficial burlesque debut on the Spectacuthon stage. Unofficial because I was performing under a pseudonym, Ubetta Work!

Lucrezia: OMG you’re a drag queen!

Sunny.  Photo by HennPict Studio.
Sunny Sighed. Photo by HennPict Studio.

Sunny Sighed: EXACTLY! That’s part of why I changed it – NOT changed it – decided to use my TRUE identity … ha ha ha. Right now I’m wearing my Bawdy Suit which you can see in our press photos. It was custom made by Booty and the Geek!

Ruby Rockafella: Ruby Rockafella, Charm City’s Cheekiest Cheeks. I’ve been performing for 2.5 years. I got into burlesque after seeing just one show in Baltimore 5 years ago. I quickly became obsessed by all the glitz and glam contrasted with the rawness, nakedness and honesty of burlesque. I am currently wearing the Sacred Undergarments of Bawdy Shop Burlesque, which are invisible and/or nonexistent

Lucrezia: You’s nude?

Ruby Rockafella  : Dat’s right.

Lucrezia: How did Bawdy Shop come about?

Sunny: When Sticky Buns Burlesque dissolved, I knew I wasn’t done with being part of a troupe. I loved the troupe dynamic and wanted to continue creating scripted burlesque plays. I knew I wanted a real Baltimore troupe, one that would emBAWDY the traits of this wonderful, colorful town. I initially approached Kay Sera, my best friend who has been a great burlesque mentor to me over the years. When she agreed to the idea, I told her about the other ladies I wanted to involve – luckily for me, Ruby Rockafella and Cherie Nuit also agreed to be a part of it! After a couple of meetings, we realized that we’d like to have another member and that the best addition would be a perma-kitten.

Cherie Nuit. Photo by  HennPict Studio.
Cherie Nuit. Photo by HennPict Studio.

Naturally, we immediately thought of Giddy GoGo! She said yes, the troupe was complete, and it’s turned out to be a great team! We all have our different strengths but are equally talented. Although my past with Sticky Buns and my desire to stay in a troupe may have been the impetus for our beginning, all five of us have built this troupe from the bottom up. We work as a true democracy and it wouldn’t work if any one of us weren’t a part of it. It’s a truly magical combination of brilliance, beauty, and BAWDY!!

Kay: After considerable brainstorming about what we wanted to convey and who we are as performers we settled on Bawdy Shop Burlesque which evokes both sexiness and a certain hardcore grit. And the creation of original plays means work – work happens in a shop. Voila Bawdy Shop Burlesque!

Lucrezia: What is the significance of the title, Goin’ Downee Oshun? Is that a particular Baltimore colloquialism?

Ruby. Photo by HennPict Studio
Ruby. Photo by HennPict Studio

Ruby: Yes it is. The “Bawlmer” accent is part of what makes Charm City charming and we wanted to pay homage to the city we call home.

Kay: And when folks from Bawlmer take a vacation to the beach that’s what they say: “I’m goin’ downee oshun, hon”.

Lucrezia: What was the process for putting this show together?

Kay: Collaboration at its purest and its filthiest. We all share responsibilities in the troupe. Except for Ruby – she’s Bossy Bawdy.

Lucrezia: What’s up next for Bawdy Shop?

Kay: We’re presenting the area’s only screening of EXPOSED by Beth B., a documentary on neo-burlesque, September 4 at 7:30 at the Creative Alliance. In fact, advanced ticket purchasers for Goin’ Downee Oshun will be entered into a raffle to win tickets to EXPOSED

Lucrezia: If folks want to know more about Bawdy Shop they should …?

Kay: Visit our website, like our Bawdy Shop Burlesque FaceBook page and follow @BawdyShop on Twitter.

Lucrezia: Will do my best to be there Saturday. Kick ass and pop pasties!

goin downee

Catch Kay, Giddy, Sunny, and Ruby along with castmate Cherie Nuít and guest star Kitten Whiskey Joy this Saturday, August 30th at 8:00 pm in Goin’ Downee Oshun at the Ottobar – 2549 N. Howard Street, in Baltimore, MD 21218. Purchase your tickets online for $15, and enter you into the raffle to win tickets to EXPOSED. The event is for 18 and over only.

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Lucrezia Blozia
Lucrezia Blozia has been part of the local alternative performance scene since the early ‘90s (she started when she was 6). She was the leading, ahem, lady at notorious pervpunk theatre company Cherry Red where she honed her skills in plays like “Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack” and “Poona the F*ckdog and Other Plays for Children”. She was part of girl group Eva Brontosaurus in both New York and LA where the trio opened for Margaret Cho’s monthly burlesque show, The Sensuous Woman. She’s proud to have originated roles in all five years of Hope Operas and played everything from a flipper derby girl to a were-squirrel to a Pam Greer-type cop/barista. She’s a regular collaborator with Landless and Borealis Theatre Companies and Astro Pop Entertainment. She loves you and is surprisingly easy to work with for someone so simultaneously humble and exquisitely beautiful (oh and talented). You should hire her.


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