I found out about Missy on facebook as our vegan worlds combined. Based out of D.C. we made little vegan remarks back and forth before I realized I should definitely interview her for this blog!  

Vegan Burlesque: How long have you been doing burlesque?

Missy Aggravation: I’ve been doing it for 4 years now.

VB: What first got you interested in burlesque?
I’ve been performing all my life–I started dance lessons at age 3, did theater and sketch comedy in high school, and majored in Performance Studies in college where all my performances had to do with gender and sexuality. When I saw my first burlesque show in the early 2000s I thought “I should do that!” However, it took me a long time to get there since performance and I had a break-up after college– I just needed that fire in me to perform again. Once I got my groove back I hit up my local burlesque troupe and here I am 4 years later.
VP: Which burlesque performers inspire you?
MA: Delivering the effortless sensuality of legendary burlesque performers is my current goal so Jennie Lee is particularly inspiring me right now. The legends of burlesque have so much to teach that I want to learn, whether it is by listening to them speak now or watching their old (and new!) performances on YouTube. Everyone inspires me in their own ways though and I have learned something from every performer that I’ve watched or interacted with. Of the current performers… Julie Atlas Muz, Michelle L’amour, and Dirty Martini stand out as those who I’ve learned the most by watching.
VB: Do you have a favorite venue you perform at? Is it vegan-friendly (food/drinks/etc)?
MA: I mostly perform at the Red Palace, a music and burlesque club in DC, which is not particularly vegan friendly… but the neighborhood is! You can go to Souk, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Sticky Rice, Ethiopic, or Toki Underground and get a good vegan meal before you go see a show. I also really enjoyed performing at the Windup Space in Baltimore which has an awesome Twin Peaks Red Room inspired stage.
VB: Do you have a favorite routine you’ve done?
MA: This is like choosing children! I’m currently creating my favorite routines right now so I sadly can’t pick those. I think my Audrey Horne (from Twin Peaks) number to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face was particularly inspired.
VB: How long have you been vegan?
MA: I’ve been vegan for 14 years. Next year is a big anniversary!  (Vegan Burlesque side note: CONGRATS!)
 VB What made you decide to be vegan?
MA: I was vegetarian for 5 years before I went vegan. I wanted to be veg since I was 10 when it really hit home to me how meat was made but it took me a few years to realize I could defy my parents and become vegetarian. I created an animal rights group in middle school and everything. I was inspired to become vegan on a trip when I was in college and met this 16 yo runaway vegan and I was like “Damn! If she can do it, I can do it!” I went vegan as soon as I came home and have never looked back. It was the best decision I ever made.
VB: Favorite vegan drink/food?
MA: Hummus. Not like hippie hummus, but good Middle Eastern resto hummus with freshly baked pita bread.
VB: How do you deal with the non-vegan aspects of burlesque (such as boas/feather fans)?
MA: I think having to deal with this off the bat forces one to be more creative much earlier in your burlesque career than you otherwise would be. From day one we have to look outside the box in terms of our costuming (no silk!) and other traditional burlesque elements. I’m lucky because my costume designer is my best friend of 15 years and a vegetarian. She not only knows all the tricks of good costuming but respects my ideals. If I want a custom fabric boa or fan, she can do it, as well as her amazing knowledge of all the kinds of fabric out there and their properties.
VB: If you could change one thing about burlesque, what would it be?
MA: All the non-vegan elements. Fur and feathers in particular are so cruel and it makes me weep how common they are.
 VB:  Where can we see more of you?
MA: My website is http://missyaggravation.com and I’m performing next at Capital Tassels and Tease September 14th at the Red Palace. I’ll be doing my sexy librarian number for their Back to School special!
Also, a note to other vegan burlesque performers out there, Missy and 2 other vegan performers are going to BurlyCon this year and are looking for a 4th vegan performer to room with. Interested? Email her at booking@missyaggravation.com to figure out details!

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In my last post, Ricky commented that there is an etsy shop selling vegan ostrich feather.  I was skeptical at first thinking this would be another seller saying “well, these came off my pet ostrich, so totes vegan, right?” but looking at the site, I can see that they are crafty renditions!

check out all the colors and sizes available!

See more at Montabahn’s shop here!

Reporting from Philadelphia for this post. It’s true the “Kitsch Bitch of Brooklyn”  has been out of the city for awhile now on a little mini vacation. But first, let’s talk about the Pink Room.

I had been attending The Pink Room – David Lynch Burlesque since it’s first show.  Franny Fluffer, the mastermind behind it all, has done shows Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet.  I was invited to perform in the Wild at Heart show as well as her pre-show, FRANNY’S FLICKS, which is a movie themed show.

I love themed show, one of the reasons I now run my monthly themed D20 Burlesque shows, so this was right up my alley.  I have been a fan of Lynch, but was unfamiliar with Wild at Heart.  Luckily for me, it was on netflix watch instantly, so after one viewing, I knew the act I wanted to do….but was scared of the cost and vegan-ness of it.

In the movie, Marietta Fortune, the mother of Lula, goes through a little bit of a freakout and slathers herself in red lipstick. Quirky, bizarre, strange – all the makings of the ideas I go for in an act! But how was I to find a vegan lipstick that I could buy several of to make sure I covered my face without breaking the bank? The kind I currently use, Urban Decay in Revolution red  is great, but kind of costly to use a whole tube on my hand and face.  Come to the rescue the veganpeople forums over on LiveJournal! For those of you who may not know of Livejournal, it was a sort of online journal/blog site that came out in 1999 and I used to use it  throughout college to post photos before facebook was a thing most colleges could even get.  But anyway, although a lot of the site has been taken over by russians, the vegan forums are still pretty active and a great sounding board for questions on all kinds of stuff. I ask for an inexpensive red vegan lipstick, and find out Wet n’ Wild is vegan, at least according to PETA, so I trusted it.  Awesome, act inspiration identified, supplies secured, and off to perform!

Diane Ladd in the famous lipstick scene from Wild At Heart

me doing my Marietta Fortune burlesque tribute. Copyright Monty Leman http://www.lemanphoto.com/

   So after that night (which was last Wednesday, May 25th) and the ridiculous sell out show of D20 Burlesque’s Lovecraft show (which will be another post), plus finishing the burlesque play I was in, it was time for a little vacation.  My partner and I packed our bags and headed down to Sea Isle City, NJ for a few days.  After living in NYC for so long, it felt strange to go to restaurants where there are no vegetarian, let alone vegan, menu items. It is a beach town, so everything was seafood packed, but I was lucky enough to talk to chefs and get things made and we even found an ice cream place that had a non-dairy rasberry sorbet which I devoured while my mild sunburn heals. It was great to spend time tanning, playing games and just walking along the beach at night.

yes that is (blackbird pizzeria's) vegan pizza and OMG it is as good as it looks!

Now we are in Philadelphia for a few days, and I am just waiting until the next meal.  Last night we dined at Horizons, one of my favorite places in Philly, because soon they will be changing locations and getting rid of some of our favorite menu items.  Today we visit Satellite cafe for some vegan bagel options, probably Kingdom of Vegetarians/New Harmony for lunch (omg, vegan dim sum!) and the blackbird pizzeria for dinner, my favorite vegan pizza and cheeze steak place!  That plus lots of board games and kitten cuddles at the house we are staying at, I am feeling totally recharged!

Today on facebook someone linked an amazing corset.  Now, along with this corset being beautiful, it was amazing to me because of the company that made it.  Purrfect Pineapple s is a cruelty-free lingerie company that makes bras, underwear, garters, corsets and accessories.  Along with their etsy site, they have a webstore where you can see a much larger selection of their wares, including ones that are specifically geared at vegans!

Another reason why this brand is so amazing is that when they say cruelty free, they mean for all animals, including humans. On their blog they sum it up quite nicely:

Purrfect Pineapples is a cruelty-free fashion label, designed and produced in Toronto, Canada. Cruelty-free means that everything we produce is sweat-shop and animal free. This is where you can read about upcoming Purrfect Pineapples events, new items, vegan food/recipes, and funtimes.

So along with all of that they are also offering you vegan recipes on their blog.  Oh my gosh, I think I’m in love.

Sure, the prices are higher than buying something off ebay or in a stripper store, but with this company you can be sure your purchases are vegan, you know they weren’t made in sweatshops, you are supporting the workers making the garments and you are also supporting a vegan company.  Definitely worth saving up for in this girl’s opinion!

Last week I made the trek down my street to attend a burlesque show.  That’s right, a burlesque show in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn!  The recent addition of The Way Station, a steampunk themed bar, has become the home of “Wasabassco at the Way Station,” monthly show that takes place in the venue side of this wonderful nerd bar in my neighborhood!  Doc Wasabassco, who is also one of the people running this bar, hosts as emcee for the evening, which has been showcasing 4 performers an evening, each doing two acts, giving the audience a chance to see the performer’s breadth of talent.

The venue side

the bar side

This bar, which is a great haven for those who want to have a charming place to imbibe without having to endure the stereotypical bar douche dude, is split in to two areas, the bar side and then a venue side which has booths and a small stage.  This section can also
be curtained off to create privacy, something that is helpful when hosting a burlesque show.  I’ve been to two of these burlesque evenings, and I have to say that the crowds have been welcoming and the performers are fantastic. It is quaint and gives the performer a chance to really connect with the audience.

Another reason I love going to these shows is I get to stop by Natural Blend, a vegetarian (possibly all vegan?) Caribbean food place and juice bar located nearby.  Not only does Natural Blend offer great patties filled with your choice of veggies, soya or fake meat, they also have all kinds of vegan baked goods as well as vegan meals.  But what I am really jazzed about? Non-dairy hard scoop ice cream!!!  It is this that allows me to walk, a short distance, to a burlesque show, and pick up a vegan ice cream on the way.  HEAVEN!

If you are in the area, you should definitely check out The Way Station and Natural Blend.  Here is a link to Natural Blend’s menu  so you can check out their food options so you aren’t overwhelmed by all the tastiness upon entrance.

So, yeah, I have been slacking a lot when it comes to blogging. In my defense, I have been super busy.  Just last week I had 5 gigs in one week, one of which was the second installment of D20 Burlesque. I even got to perform twice out of state last week, once at Hell’s Kitchen Lounge in Newark, NJ and another time down in New Hope, PA at John & Peter’s, a wonderful little bar right near where my partner grew up.  This gig allowed me the cash flow to go visit my family for Easter where my mother had made me vegan peanut butter eggs, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate dipped strawberries!

But back to D20 Burlesque.  The second show, which is a ‘curse’ in the burlesque world via sophomore slump, but we did really well and pulled off another great show.  This show also allowed me to work out fun new vegan friendly versions of burlesque staples: the feather fan and the feather headdress.

James Koroni, a talented dancer, vegan, and all around sweetie pie, came out to the show to help support my vegan burlesque work!

Check out James’ coverage of my event and check out the rest of his site to learn more about vegan friendly dancers!

OMG RPG!

March 27, 2011

 

That’s right, that is me in that large D20 (well, D18 because I needed to remove two sides to get in and out of it)!

The show was a smashing success, we had a standing room only crowd, might have sold out the space, got rave reviews, and were able to book a May show!  Woo-hoo.  Besides the amazing-ness that was the performers, the audience was fantastic! That crowd was supportive, cheered in all the right places! This fantastic audience consisted of many different facets of people – typical burlesque people, a handful of people from the Nerd NYC group, people who just wondered in because they saw it advertised on various media and then there were the celebrities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrities you say? Yes, in fact I did say that! In that ever so wonderful audience was: Luke Crane, one of the creators of the Burning Wheel RPG and Terry Hope Romero. Yes, the Terry Hope Romero as in co-author of Veganomican, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Viva Vegan. OMG, one of the co-hosts of Post Punk Kitchen came to my show! How she found out about it, I don’t know, but finding this out made my vegan heart leap with joy! You should definitely check out her site Vegan Latina for all kinds of vegan goodies, hints and tips!

 

a sparkly binge

March 3, 2011

Last Sunday, after a delicious mash asia (veggie) dog at the Brooklyn Flea (market), my partner and I headed to Moo Shoes so we could get some much needed footwear.  I needed new boots as I had already gone through two pairs of plastic rain boots this winter and my partner needed some sneakers.

For those of you who do not know about Moos Shoes, it is a wonderful vegan company thats sells vegan (and often ethically made) shoes, shirts, purses and jackets. They also sell books there, including the Vegan Girls Guide to Life by Melisser Elliot who i met at that Farm Sanctuary fashion show!

Upon going in there  I went right over to the boot section find what I needed.  After trying on several kinds, I found something that fit my needs and my partner found a suitable pair of sneakers.  Then we browsed for fun.  It was at this point that I found a little burlesque miracle.

I have always been a strong union and anti-sweatshop advocate, but unfortunately it is very hard to find ethical companies that are making the supplies needed for burlesque costumes.  I slipped out of my ethics for awhile when I found out that I could buy accidentally vegan  shoes at almost any shoe store now, I even promoted it in the second post I wrote for this blog!

Well to my surprise, I found some burlesque-licious shoes at Moo Shoes, and although they seemed pricey compared to what I usually spend on shoes, I had to keep in mind that most stripper shoes of this exciting caliber are more.  These ones were definitely vegan and I was supporting a great store buy purchasing them. Now I own these and I still get giddy every time I open the box:

 

Poster for the show.

Last Wednesday I headed over to Parkside Lounge for a highly anticipated burlesque show that was all over the internet and NYC magazines.  Planned and produced by Franny Fluffer, The Pink Room; Twin Peaks Burlesque was a burlesque showed themed around the ever so popular and ever so kooky David Lynch classic, Twin Peaks. With a line up of Grace Gotham, Gemini Rising, Tansy, Amelia Bareparts, Foxy Vermouth kittening and hosted by Bastard Keith, the show looked so promising, I spent the three days leading up to the show cramming up on Twin Peaks by having my own private marathon.

One of the things I realized while viewing Twin Peaks was the doughnuts. Oh my gosh, so many doughnuts! Lucy really knows how to hook up police team!  So when Franny posted on Facebook that they would be giving out doughnuts at the show, I know I’d have to make sure I could participate in the doughnut feasting.

Special Agent Cooper loves his coffee, I think Truman is in it for the doughnuts.

In order to do this, I made a quick pit stop at Atlas Cafe before heading to the bar for the show. Atlas is a smallish little restaurant that serves both veg and non-veg food, but is known for their wide range of vegan options including crepes, ice cream and desserts from Vegan Treats! Atlas Cafe also has a smaller little store that sells most of the sandwiches and desserts of the main store which is located conveniently closer to Union Square, a subway station that connects to stations near my apartment!

vegan doughnut NOM NOM NOM!

With my doughnut in tow I headed to the show. I got there about 20 minutes before go-go was supposed to start, but they weren’t even allowing people in yet. By the time the doors were about to open, the line for the show was out the door!

It was a strange, interesting and fascinating show.  I mean, what can one expect from a David Lynch inspired burlesque show.  Bastard Keith was hilarious, as always, Franny served us both beautifully haunting and comical in her two acts, Gemini was spot on as Aubrey and her act with Tansy was quite….exciting. Grace brought out her tea cup, the same one I helped her with when we did the Bravo taping, as well as a pie she did some naughty stuff with. My favorite for the night had to be Amelia Bareparts  whose Log Lady act was the character I had been looking forward to the most, and Amelia did not disappoint at all!

(not Amelia Bareparts)

Due to the popularity of the event, I am sure that Franny will be doing another David Lynch Burlesque show, and I highly suggest you attend and get there early to secure a seat towards the front so you can take in the brilliance of the performers!

gallery gazing

February 24, 2011

One of the unfortunate aspects of my last job was that I couldn’t do much on the weekdays because of ever changing work hours. Now that I am no longer employed there I have the ability to go to shows and such on weeknights, which included an activity I’ve been wanting to do for months now: Thursday night open galleries with Diana Mattos.

I met Diana, a super snazzy lady with a fantastic flair for fashion, at a Rhinestone Follies show awhile ago and she had invited me to the gallery openings, but I never had the time to make it.  Let me explain a bit more; minaly on Thursday nights, assorted art galleries in Chelsea open their doors, and offer drinks, to entice people to come in and see their works.  On these days, Diana gets dressed to the nines and hits the galleries in vintage glory, often attracting photographers to snap pictures.

Last Thursday I was finally able to join her, and in honor I took an old vintage hat I had bought from Unwired Vintage and spruced it up with my own rendition of pheasant feathers by using a red sparkly decorations I snatched off a floral bouquet awhile ago. Although it doesn’t really look like pheasant feathers, I was very pleased with the overall effect, and judging by the amount of photos, I think many gallery guests were as well!

Catt playing with the 'feathers' later that night.

Most of the galleries close around 8pm, so Diana and I decided to get some dinner and then she’s be my escort to Calamity Chang‘s show Spanking the Lower East Side at Nurse Bettie, another thing I never got to attend due to my work schedule. We headed down to the Pita Pan Cafe, a small little counter service restaurant that served up a delicious variety of veg friendly dishes.  I ended up getting falafel, grape leaves, couscous and then the owner brought over some complimentary hummus and pita chips for us!