The nudity is almost an afterthought.
Cameron Brockett and Taylor Vidic, two Juneau locals who are co-producers and performers for the Nude & Rude Revue burlesque troupe, name many things that they love about burlesque before mentioning the two things that might first come to mind for others.
“The boobs are a bonus,” Vidic said.
There’s humor, music, glitter, empowerment, acceptance and catharsis to be found at a burlesque show, they said.
Brockett said growing up Catholic, sexuality was inextricably linked to shame, and she’d do her best to wear shapeless clothes.
Burlesque helps her reclaim a part of herself in a supportive environment.
“It’s about all bodies,” Brockett said. “It’s about being comfortable enough on stage to get other people on board.””
Nude & Rude Revue will be in Juneau for a trio of late-September performances, and it’s just one stop of many on a tour that includes cities in Alaska, the Yukon and Seattle.
Vidic and Brockett are especially excited for their shows at the Red Dog Saloon, which will feature a glut of local performers, including Allison Holtcamp, Rachael Byrd, Kathleen Manning, Erika Lee, Rashah McChesney, Salissa Thole, Katy Giorgio, Jill Taylor and Annie Bartholomew among others.
Vidic and Brockett took time to catch up with the Capital City Weekly ahead of their show to talk about what it’s like to be a burlesque performer, what got them into burlesque and why they think their show could be what gets others interested in the performance art.
How will you be traveling during the tour? How will you manage to feel like your best, most confident self on the road?
TV: There are 11 of us going on this tour. We’re going to Juneau to Ketchikan to Sitka, we are flying. We’re ferrying to Skagway. Then we’re going to drive to Whitehorse, Yukon. Then we’re going to drive to Fairbanks. Then, Seattle. Some of us are driving there through Canada and some of us are flying there.
The biggest thing is we’re not only showing up in these communities to perform for them, we’re reaching out to well-known performers in those communities to perform with us as well as local businesses asking for support. I would not reach out to them if I didn’t know each and every time we go on the stage we’re going to perform the best show possible.
What is more intimidating, public speaking or performing burlesque?
TV: I always said I can sing in front of 1,000 people much more comfortably than talking in front of 25 classmates. I still get nervous, but I’d say this summer, in Skagway, where we had our third annual show, I got to enjoy myself as much as I’ve seen other performers enjoy themselves. I’m going to say public speaking is scarier than performing burlesque. Probably.
What drew you toward burlesque?
CB: I think if you ask anyone in Juneau how they got into burlesque, they will be inspired by Mod Carousel. They are a Seattle-based burlesque group, but one of their members is from Juneau. They come back with two shows every year. I went to Seattle and took a six-week course. I loved it and wanted to do it forever.
Is burlesque moving closer to the mainstream and is being a performer something that has an impact on your offstage life?
CB: I was raised Catholic. My mom is an amazing woman who says a Rosary for me every day, and initially when I started doing burlesque, my mom was like, ‘Cameron, I still love you but I can’t support the burlesque.’ And my sweet mother is someone who went from, ‘No, no, no, you know I don’t support it,’ to, ‘Can you send me some video please?’ In the same way my own strong, thoughtful, religious mother can come around, I think it’s becoming more mainstream.
TV: We’ve had performers in the past who’ve had employers who didn’t want them to perform. So, you still run into that. I don’t see myself wanting the sort of job that would frown on the art that I’ve created. But I hope a burlesque performer can run for office.
There was data last year that went viral that suggested Millennials are less interested in breasts than past generations. Does that have an impact on burlesque?
CB: Let me tell you, it used to be tassels and now it’s assels. You see assels all over the place, and I love it.
TV: I forget that there’s breasts in our show sometimes. There’s storytelling and glitter and the humor, and a live band for goodness sakes. The boobs are just a bonus.
How would you pitch the show?
TV: People come expecting, well, I don’t know what they’re expecting, but when they leave we get these comments, ‘I knew I was going to have fun, but I had no idea what I was getting into. What I was going to hear. What I was going to feel.
If our show isn’t enough to get you there, we’ll have my favorite performers in all of Juneau, and they’ll all be in one place for a night. There’s going to be skits, they’re going to sing, there’s going to be tap. There’s no other show in Juneau that encompasses all of these things.
CB: “Because it’s a spectacle. Because it’s glitter, it’s rhinestones. Yes, there are boobs, but the sexiness isn’t in sexy, young bodies because it’s not just young bodies. We reached out to a 67-year-old woman in Ketchikan, who unfortunately won’t be in the show. There are mothers in this show, and they’re sexy. There’s stretchmarks, and it’s sexy. It’s about all bodies. It’s about being comfortable enough on stage to get other people on board. How could you go to something like this and not fall under the spell?
Know & Go
What: The Nude & Rude Revue’s “Try It … You’ll Like it”
When: Thursday, Sept. 27-Saturday, Sept. 29. Thursday’s show is at 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday are at 9 p.m.
Where: The Red Dog Saloon, 278 S. Franklin St.