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Violet Revue Episode #7
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What can we say about the anime-loving creator of Kansas City Nerdlesque, Annie-Mae Allure? For one thing, she has a great stage presence, as you can see in her MANY videos on Velvet Revue!

More importantly, though, Annie-Mae has a strong desire to make burlesque in Kansas City (and beyond) fully accessible to others, particularly the disadvantaged and differently-abled.

Community, diversity and inclusion are the hot topics in this interview!

Showing off our sexy side as well as a ton of compassion and professionalism, Annie-Mae and I get into it about industry standards, surviving COVID, and the magical adaptability of artistic creators.

This transcript was AI generated and has only light correction.

[00:00:00] Violet: Welcome back to the Violet revue official podcast of VelvetRevue.com. I’m your host Violet de Beauvoir on my show. I’m always talking to the really cool performers that you’ll see featured on velvet revue dot com. If you’re a supporter, you get toe watch all video interviews on my podcast, as well as every single artist, performance video and all of our awesome virtual events. I encourage my guests to dress up, and I’m always in some really fun, burlesque inspired get up from pasty esto lingerie and really comfy sexy robes. So if that’s your thing, make sure you sign up a supporter so you don’t miss all of the cool video interviews in this episode. You’ll get to hear me talking with Annie Mae Allure, the creator of the Kansas City nerd Less festival. What’s Nerdlesque you ask? Well, it’s a little bit like cause playing meets burlesque, especially when it comes to things like video games or anime. And if you guessed, that’s where Annie Mae Allure gets her name from an email and I talk about adapting as performers to the co vid crisis and just to let you know Annie Mae herself is just recovering from COVID-19. So we get into the importance of her message, which is to stay at home and for artists like ourselves to be providing really cool content for people to enjoy the time that they are at home and so that we can continue to work. There’s a symbiosis between consumer and creator, and where we meet right now is on the Internet. Something has lost, though, and it’s the sense of community. So I hope you enjoy this interview between myself and Annie-Mae today on the podcast. We’re talking to an Annie-Mae allure. She’s from Kansas City and runs the Kansas City Nerdlesque Festival. So I’m really happy to talk to her. We have been, um, speaking for several weeks, and so I’m really, really eager to get into our interview today. How are you, Annie-Mae?

[00:01:54] Annie-Mae: I’m Well, how are you doing

[00:01:55] Violet: so good? It’s a little warm in my studio today, so I might have to lose my feather boa, but we’ll see how it goes.

[00:02:02] Annie-Mae: I actually have a space heater on my feet, so I’m in the opposite

[00:02:06] Violet: situation. My gosh. Well, I wish I could send you all of this warmth. And you can come visit me if you

[00:02:12] Annie-Mae: want. A soon as possible. I need to get out of this house. Uh

[00:02:17] Violet: huh. So what’s been going on with you in Kansas City lately?

[00:02:22] Annie-Mae: Well, I just recovered from COVID-19. Still recovering. I’m what the doctors call a long haul er so I will probably have symptoms for a while. Um, basically, the the pandemic has completely shut everything down. Except for, like, you know, the people that are still wanting to go out to bars and restaurants and continuing this, you know, spread our numbers here in Kansas and Missouri are really high. Eso basically, I’m trying to just encourage everyone to stay home and by creating a lot of online stuff. Um, like, don’t go to karaoke, go sit on your couch and watch this show. Or, um you know, come thio zoom meeting with your friends instead of that. But ah, lot of performers here in Kansas City are really affected right now. Um, a lot of us have gotten co vid despite trying very hard not to. So we’re all just trying to survive. Well,

[00:03:29] Violet: I’m really glad that you’re better. And if you’re listening, That was actually the reason that we have been talking for a while, but hadn’t done Annie May’s interview yet. So I’m really glad that she’s better. We were worried about her velvet revue headquarters. For sure.

[00:03:43] Annie-Mae: I was a little worried. I’m not gonna lie.

[00:03:46] Violet: Yeah, I know. I saw a lot of people wishing you well on Facebook. And I was like, Okay, good. Like, you know, I’m sure that she has people around her who can check in on her, bring her things that she needs. So it was nice to see that it was You know where I am?

[00:04:01] Annie-Mae: Yeah, I was wonderful. The amount of support from the community that our family got, Um yeah, it was It was really nice to see, um, when you’re when you’re scared and you’re sick and you’re like, what’s gonna happen? Thio know that you have a support system that’s there for you. Um, it makes it less stressful for sure.

[00:04:26] Violet: Yeah, I can understand that and definitely appreciate it. So a sfar as your online work. Recently, I’ve seen that you have a really, really fun sitting naughty Santa. Something or other. Is that just photos that are available? Or is there like, ah, whole video and everything?

[00:04:48] Annie-Mae: It is just a photos that, um so Okay, yeah, one of my he’s actually my official photographer for my burlesque show, The Rood revue in Berlin. Q. And he just happens to look incredibly like Santa Claus. Eso I hooked up with him. His name is J. Michael Strange and had my, um, my housemate Matt, who has experience with cameras, take Michael’s camera and take pictures of us. So we were in Michael Studio, but he wasn’t the one taking pictures. And it’s my first jump into the world of editing. I’m doing all of the editing, Um, all the photo shopping myself next to myself and, uh, it Z a learning curve. But it is fun. It’s a lot of fun.

[00:05:40] Violet: I have had to learn a lot of those skills myself, and I’m not like super proficient at Photoshop in light room, but I do use them. I do edit on my own pictures on, then sometimes have somebody else do a quick pass over them to see if they can make them any better. But I love being as much as I love being a model, I really love being a photographer. And I love doing the editing. And I bet he had so much fun being a model with you, too. Yeah, he did. So if you are listening, you should definitely check out an email allure, Andi, we’ll have the link in the notes of the show where you can check out everything that we talk about, but definitely a link to where you can find those photos. So, Annie may, um, I also wanted to check in with you about any of the Rood revue. Like any of the stuff that you’ve been doing online. I know you have a lot of zoom shows that you’ve been doing. And like you said, keeping people at home is really important. And I guess like a lot of your crew feels similarly and you guys have been able to put things together. So I wanted to know how that’s been going for you guys and where everybody can find your

[00:06:53] Annie-Mae: work. I have a a thing called, uh, I’m a control freak. I need to be in control of everything. And so I have avoided Zoom shows completely because there’s so much that could go wrong technically, and I am not good at fixing technical issues on the fly. And I feel very out of control when that happened. So I opted Thio do it all pre recorded shows so that I can edit everything together. Make sure that you know it, Z well, well packaged. And the Onley buffering there’s gonna be, is if somebody has an Internet issue and they’re not gonna miss anything because as soon as their Internet back in, like the person is gonna be right on the screen where they were a second ago. Um, so I got a subscription Teoh, a streaming service provider so that I could do ah, like a paper via type thing. Um, so all of the shows that I have released are available on demand whenever you want to watch them, and it’s helpful that I have The resource is in my house. I have a green screen. I have, um, some editing knowledge so that people just have to send me their video. And then, you know, I just put it all together, and I am see it myself. Um and then they just sit back and, you know, promote the show and wait for tips to roll in. And, um, recently people e think just because the pandemic continues, um, the latest show hasn’t done a swell. So what I’m doing, um, is doing a watch party. I’m going to try and do watch parties for each of them new ones that I released to so that there’s this. We’re losing this sense of community. People really like to go to shows for the atmosphere, and you’re losing that as a virtual audience member. So I’m just gonna do a watch party where you can chat with the other audience members as you watch. So like a zoom meeting. But it’s all pre recorded so that you know, you’re not gonna miss anything. There’s not gonna be any sound issues or, um, Internet connectivity issues. And the cast can chat with you while the show is going on because they’re not actually performing at that moment. Eso I’ve trying to like, you know, find a way to make it more like an actual show, um, where you can interact with people and after you see someone’s act, tell them what you thought of it and how much you love them. You know, um, and all of those shows air on the website rood revue dot com on demand at any time. Um, if you can’t make it the watch party whenever it’s scheduled, you can just be like, Oh, well, I can watch this whenever I want and you can either, like just by like a one time rental. You watch it once, or you can get unlimited access and watch. It is money times as you want. Um, it’s a pretty good set up.

[00:10:02] Violet: Awesome. So what you are doing and you’re running everything yourself is sort of like what we’re doing with velvet revue. But we have a couple of people in our office, and when we do our premier shows, which we’re doing one tomorrow and you’ll be able to watch it any may from your house if you want Thio or afterwards. But we do the live hosting of prerecorded things, and then sometimes the artists are stopping in live to say hi, and this time we’re going to have somebody perform live, so starting to play around with that. But we started off using Onley prerecorded videos again like I totally see why you wanted to do things your way. Because just you don’t want everything to go wrong, especially your first few shows. You don’t want people to have a bad taste in their mouth. So we made sure that we use prerecorded to start with and are now bringing in more live components as

[00:10:59] Annie-Mae: well. I’m sure that with a team that you’re gonna have so much more success with dealing with a tech issues as they come up. But when it’s just me and my limited knowledge of of anything, I’m like, I don’t want to risk it. But it’s so great that you guys develop revue have, like a crew thio like. Okay, the emcee is not also running all of the sound. And, you know

[00:11:28] Violet: Well, there’s Onley, three of us. Eso I mean, it’s still pretty tight, and two of us are in front of the camera and one behind. And then while videos air playing, we have a chance to help with anything or fix a light. And, um so it’s still it’s still kind of intense, even with three people, because we don’t all know how to do everything So it’s fun, though I really like

[00:11:52] Annie-Mae: it. It’s definitely a learning curve. Everybody is really stepping up to try and figure out how to transition from the stage to the screen. We’re not filmmakers, you know.

[00:12:05] Violet: Of course, we have hours available also for as soon as they are done. I think the next day they’re up for viewing whenever So anybody who is a member of Velvet revue gets to see them when they’re live and enjoy that experience if they have the time when they’re airing and then conceive them any time after.

[00:12:24] Annie-Mae: Yeah, I think the amount of work that you guys have put into development revue is astounding. I and really just super impressed. Also, Um, like I I have nominated you for the top 50 because of this work because of what you’re doing here. The fact that there are so many performers who haven’t the ability thio make a video, but not to get it to people and that you are facilitating that is wonderful. It’s really wonderful.

[00:12:57] Violet: Oh, thank you. I we’re happy to do it. I mean, I otherwise wouldn’t have a whole lot of work to do, and I’m the kind of person that like I need something to do and I can’t just be busy work. It has to be something that means something to me or I’ll be miserable and so will everyone else. So you know, this mattered to me a lot and to all of my performer friends so much. Yeah, it’s incredible. Thank you, Andi. I mean, we’re really happy to have you be a part of it. And it’s I feel like every time we get a new artist, we kind of see who their their friends are and who they’re performing with. And it depends on, like, region or country Onda city. And it’s just exposing us to so much more than we could have ever hoped for it, because we have been working in entertainment for 56 years straight and like that’s been my bread and butter. That’s been everything for me. But we are so isolated being in the Caribbean, and we don’t often get to the mainland and get Thio. Enjoy all of the things like and really the burlesque culture. It’s all through video, and it’s all just online research, and I have to like, just see it through other people’s eyes all the time. But now I get to see it through so many more performers eyes because I’m connected with them now through velvet revue. So, like, for me, I’m like, Oh, this is amazing because I never really got to see all of this stuff before. It was harder for me to find and harder to access. So besides work, what other things have you been busying yourself with?

[00:14:41] Annie-Mae: I’ve been doing a lot of diamond paintings. They’re like paint by numbers, but with jewels, so they sparkle. Ooh, um, it’s That’s just like a little crafty hobby I’ve been doing. Um, I play a lot of Minecraft with my son. Um, I’m also he’s virtual learning. So, uh, my son is eight. And in the third grade. So I am all of a sudden, a third grade teacher. I

[00:15:14] Violet: bet you’re a great teacher.

[00:15:16] Annie-Mae: Well, I mean, I didn’t go to school for teaching,

[00:15:19] Annie-Mae: but I have ah, secondary education degree. So I went to school to teach high schoolers, and, uh, my son is the child, um on and they’re his teacher is wonderful. Like how? How you get eight year old bunch of a seven and eight year old to focus on a zoom call on math and reading is It’s incredible to me. So basically, I I’m just kind of supervising to make sure that he’s sitting where he’s supposed Thio and listening to the teacher. Um, But when things initially shut down in the spring like I was a teacher, they just like, here’s the work, you do it. And then over the summer, they figured out how to make it toward the teachers could actually do the teaching, but so a lot of a lot of my day is is supervising a third grade class and playing video games or, um, painting with diamonds. I also have been, you know, editing a lot of photos lately. Um, I also like to draw, so I do that as well. Um, yeah, just lots of crafty things to keep myself busy.

[00:16:39] Violet: That sounds absolutely like heaven. I haven’t been crafting nearly enough. Um, I did get to make a new costume a few weeks ago for a little show that we did. And I got to make my first, like, snap away song, which was It came out great, and it really snapped, and when it came off, it, like, did a fun twirl in the air because of the elastic. But aside from that, I’ve barely crafted a thing this entire time.

[00:17:05] Annie-Mae: It’s really just like something todo I’m not even. It’s not productive at all. Like it’s not like, Oh, I made a costume that I used for a thing. Um, it’s just It’s just like this is pretty. I’ll do this. It’s like putting a puzzle together. You know, it’s it’s not anything that I feel a sense of accomplishment or it is just, like fill the time, watch Netflix and do the thing. But I wish I was making costumes, but I’m not. I’m not doing that. This

[00:17:40] Violet: pandemic taught me that I really like puzzles, but that I do not have this space anywhere in my house to put one together because everything is filled with, like things to be doing shows and, like, you know, filming podcast episodes and stuff like that. Um, but my I started doing better help dot com, and my online therapist suggested that I, like, sit down in color and I didn’t really love the idea of coloring, but I found some puzzle books and I just bought a new one today. Actually, I found, like, a crossword one, and it didn’t look lame, so I was really pumped. I got myself, like, an extra, like stocking stuffer off crossword puzzles today. So being home, not getting a whole lot done. How How is that affecting? Maybe your ability to, like, come up with new routines? Or do you feel like you’re still finding space to be creative in? I mean, I know that we’re e guess What I’m getting at is I feel like, as artists and performers were not really like, totally satisfied. But I know that we’re all still doing plenty. So I just I don’t know. What are your thoughts on that? Are you like, Are you managing okay enough, like in your in a creative way for you?

[00:19:02] Annie-Mae: I think so. I have some ideas for routines, but I’m mostly focusing on because, like, I’m not going to go out and get a new new costume pieces or stuff to make costume pieces. Right now, I don’t have the money. I don’t wanna be outside eso like it’s mostly just, um, working on things in my head like, Okay, here’s the plan. Here’s what’s gonna happen. Um, eso most of my creative outlet is coming from, uh, new types of content that I haven’t been making. Like, I have a show called Immobile Request Life were a mobile because we’re all stuck at home. So it’s like TRL, But I r l and I play, um, prerecorded stuff, and I spotlight other performers. And then I take requests from viewers. Eso that’s been really fun because I’ve been making segments for that, like, game nights, where all we’ll get the family together and we’re all a bunch of clowns. So well, test out a game and then I’ll edit the video together. So it’s fun and silly or, um, hello, husbands. He just crawled under my backdrop to bring me coffee.

[00:20:17] Violet: Oh, nice, good husband. Good, good husband.

[00:20:22] Annie-Mae: Thank you. He’s also a full time entertainer, So I love you. It’s coaching back out. Yeah, he he’s been very helpful. We’ve been trying to do a lot of, um, you know, just content. That is something that people who might not be into the burlesque shows, um, are interested in watching, so they’re like, Oh, This is fun. Maybe I’ll try out over last show. Um, and I think that some people are might be more interested in seeing a burlesque show virtually if they’re They’ve been hesitant to see one in person because, like they’re not sure what the vibe is. And if they’re safe at home in their couch, they could like, See, it’s Brealaska thing. I’m into eso. I’m trying to just kind of spread out my creativity in a way that covers lots of different, um, avenues and different things that people are into. So I’m doing some comedy videos and doing some singing videos. Um, my my son has decided he wants to be a gamer. YouTuber. So, like I’ve been helping him with that, um, we we did some afan like improv game. Um, if you ever watched, uh, whose line is it anyway? They have a game, a green screen game, or they have a person acting as a news reporter and then two anchors, and they are like on this on site news reporter. But they don’t know what’s playing behind them on the green screen, and the anchors try and get them to guess. So we were doing that where my eight year old and I were the news anchors and my husband was the on site reporter, and we put silly things like he’s got fortnight dancing behind him or he’s got, um, what was their skunks? Um, you know, just like random things. And those were really fun to make. So it’s I have no lack of creativity. It’s more, ah, lack of money for those things, you know, like how doe I The problem is now making my creativity marketable because in a way, it is, ah, 100 times harder. It’s incredible, like I could get 8200 people in a theater seeing burlesque once a month at my shows. But when I’m like here, I’ll give it to you. You don’t even have to leave your house. It’s were struggling to get people to purchase shows. I’m like you were like leaving your house and budgeting every month to come to a show, and now that you don’t even have to leave your couch is even harder to get you to watch it. And so I’m like, How do I get that atmosphere back that that community, that sense of excitement about these shows and I’m finding I’m having to be very creative and like whatever I can try. And so a lot of my my focus has been mawr on that rather than like new routines. But it’s still it’s still a lot.

[00:23:31] Violet: I think it’s really smart of you to kind of try to capture the burly curious and get them to, like you said, if they have been a little apprehensive about the show, it’s a really great way to test the water for them safely and, like no pressure toe, go and be seen or be in a place where they will be surrounded by an energy that maybe they’re not sure they can handle. And I think that that’s really, really awesome because I think a lot of people are very, very curious about it. I can tell by like when we introduced burlesque, tow our community. We got a lot of questions about what to expect, and we had to put out a lot of written information with our ticketing, to tell people you know, without giving everything away because you wanted. I wanted to be able to surprise and delight them too. But in just enough information that they would really understand what they were in for on I think it took a lot of care to make sure that people knew what they were getting into and what would be acceptable and things like that to like not just in case it was too much. But in case they were expecting mawr, um, kind of like a similar thing. Um, but I think it’s also really, really smart of you to just not be making on Lee Bir less content like we had thought about doing all kinds of crazy things and because we live in a small community where it had been like, really quiet and relatively safe to still go here and there in small groups, because there’s not a ton of people around. But eventually that did become unsafe and it was just, you know, too much of an exposure risk. So we never got to do those things. But at least you can with your family, make these fun videos. And I think it’s so cool. And I love all your green screen stuff. Thank you. Honky tonk badonkadonk is so much fun. Thank you. Yes,

[00:25:28] Annie-Mae: I and and That’s another thing like it’s I did not know how to green screen before this happened. I was very like the timing of when all this went down. Um, I had I was, like, part of me knew something was coming. I don’t know, because I had already started moving some things online. Um, I had already gotten my streaming service because I was doing online lessons like, um, specific topics where performer can say, like, rather than a like a who last won a one or a one on one. Um, you know, personal private lesson. But like, Oh, I wanna learn specifically about, um, how thio submit for casting in the way that will get me most likely booked. I’ll spend $5 on this online video that an eBay put out and you know, So I already started putting those together, and I already had my streaming service set up, and we have lots of people in our community that maybe they we collect kind of chronically ill people here. I don’t know if you’re brutal community this, but we have lots of chronically ill people where they’ll plan to go to a show and then that night. They just can’t get out of bed because they’re hurting too bad or they have a flare up or whatever. And so they they don’t want to spend money on a ticket, not knowing if they’re going to feel well enough to go. So I started recording and streaming the shows so that people who were sick or didn’t or maybe have, like, crowd anxiety and didn’t want to be in a theater but wanted to see a show. They could watch the show from home eso I had already started, like figuring out how to do that right before all this hit, and, um, and then the very last show we had in person was March 14th. So, like the next day, everything shut down here. And so there were many people that day that said, We’re not comfortable coming out, even though we have tickets and I said, It’s fine. I’ve got a camera set up. You can watch it at home like Hi, guys. I know you were supposed to be here, but shit. Scary. So, like, here’s recording. Um, so I I don’t know if I had some sort of e S p and I knew things were gonna be online, more online or if I but, um having already set some of that stuff up was very helpful in the transition, making it easier.

[00:28:05] Violet: I I think that that’s really awesome of you to to think about the people who don’t come to your shows and why they might not be and how to reach them. Especially like people with anxiety. And I know that that’s an issue that’s plaguing more and more and more people all the time, and I for I have anxiety issues, but they kind of come and go. I feel like if I’m like, totally prepared to be out in public and whatever that preparation looks like, it could take all week or it could take all day. But like if I’m prepared to go out in public, I can handle it for a little while. But if things get like too loud or if somebody is too drunk, or if someone’s like asked me a really personal question, I like suddenly start in this anxious downward spiral and I’m like, Okay, I’m going to start backing away and maybe like

[00:29:02] Annie-Mae: and enjoy the show when you’re in that state.

[00:29:04] Violet: Yeah, and maybe like the Irish. Good bye. So I feel like, um, for me, being on stage is great because I don’t have to deal with any of that. I’m just on stage is the perfect place for me, Really. And so I do think about that with everyone else. And when I’ve set up events just being really courteous about their space and making sure there’s going to be enough for everybody even before, you know, we had to do 6 ft apart. So I think it’s really, really sweet when and anybody can think about all of those issues that people may be facing because e think, ah, lot of people who are drawn to creative things are really sensitive and therefore may actually have the tendency to be more anxious and a crowd.

[00:29:53] Annie-Mae: Yeah, for sure. Um, yes, creative people and I, like we’re less specifically, collects people with, um with health issues, and I think it’s because we’re creative and we want to perform when we want to be on stage. But we only have this much energy to do it. And so a burlesque act is the perfect amount of time to do Ah, whole theatrical production when you might not have the spoons. Thio, you know, do, ah, 45 minute concert or be in a stage play or a musical because you don’t have the energy to do it. And but burlesque. Because that outlet where I have 3 to 5 minutes or however long it is and then I can sit down and rest. But I still get thio, you know, express and and touch people and move people. And that’s so so and I’m fine. Like I just I started participating in the Disabilities Festival this year, produced by Minda May And, um, it’s, you know, specifically for people, burlesque performers with various disabilities, both mental and physical, And so, like working with them and thinking about, like, how doe I make the stage more accessible for performers. But how do I also make the audience more accessible as well? Eso Before we shut down, we got a a SL interpreter, um, for the show so that are deaf community could come to the show. And you know what hilarious jokes. I’m telling, um, when I’m emceeing on and, uh, you know, we’re just trying to make it. We’re less more, not just acceptable but like accessible. Oh, there’s a lot of stigma behind burlesque that they’re like, Oh, people here they’re like I don’t know what it is or they’re like Oh, it’s classy stripping or oh, I I’m religious. I don’t like I don’t like bodies being on display So that’s not for me, you know. And so it’s just kind of like I want people to see all the things that were less can be and they can’t see those things if they literally don’t have access like I’m deaf. I don’t know what you’re saying or I don’t have a car. I can’t get to the show, but I do have a WiFi connection. So if you can let me stream the show, I can watch the show. Um, you know, So it’s just a matter of I call it, I call it I’m an evangelical evangelical of burlesque. I am spreading the good word of burlesque. You know, like, um, I feel like the more people see and the more people know about it, the more they will love it and want to continue to support it or be involved in that themselves. But There’s so many barriers keeping people from experiencing for us that I’m like, Let’s tear those well sounds Let’s let’s get this in front of people.

[00:32:47] Violet: I really love that. So I was just thinking, Well, you mentioned a couple of things that there’s this. There’s absolutely a stigma around burlesque. There is also a stigma around and like any kind of disability. Um, so yeah, like being thoughtful enough, knowing Okay, in my position. I know that people have all these ideas about it, and there are barriers from between me and these things that I really need access to and the same for any other person in a position where they have a stigma surrounding them, whether they are HIV positive or they’re in a wheelchair, like there’s all kinds of things that they you know around them, that people who are much more privileged would never consider. So it’s really great because we are in a position where people scrutinize this really, really heavily that were more sensitive to those things and can really be aware of that. And I love that how much awareness you always air bringing to the stage and to your shows and your festival.

[00:33:56] Annie-Mae: That’s another reason why I’m very appreciative of what you guys were doing. A velvet revue. Because by creating this this platform, you are ringing another way for people to see what we’re doing. Um, and I love that, you know, it’s not. You have so many different kinds of people on the Velvet revue like there’s no just like, Oh, we’re only this type of burlesque And that’s what we dio and like me when I’m scrolling through I’m like, This is great This is amazing, like the the It’s kind of what I put my All of my productions are very much a variety show because rather than having a troop where it’s the same people with the same, like where we’re a cabaret style trooper were a classic bump and grind sell trip where everybody does similar things. I’m like, Let’s get a grab bag. So if one person shows up and it’s like, Well, I don’t like classic burlesque, I think it’s boring, But there’s only one of the sex, and the next act is me in a chicken head. You know, there was all that. This is what I like, or, um, I don’t really like the really central sexy. Uh, it makes me uncomfortable. But that Penis doing point ballet. That’s hilarious. I love that. You know, um so, like, it’s I’m just trying to show people that burlesque is so many things and there is a place for everybody both in the audience and on stage. There is a place for people to see themselves or to appreciate or be moved. And with velvet revue, you’re creating your your lowering one of those barriers because people are able thio, they’re they’re familiar with streaming services. They’re like, Oh, I have Netflix. This is comparable to that. I understand how this works. Um, it’s not, um like, ooh, scary. Only fans like I don’t know what I’m going to run into, you know, like people of all different walks of life are going to be drawn to velvet revue because of what you’re doing. And it’s just I’m very honored to be a part of it.

[00:36:03] Violet: Thank you for saying that I’m gonna not cry on camera right now. No, I’m not gonna Oh, my God. Hold on, though. No, that was really sweet. Thank you. Um gosh. And the thing about Velvet revue, too, is that we had to decide really early on, like who the artists were going to be, how we would reach them and like it’s been really crazy figuring out how to recruit people and like changing modes from Okay. First, we have to build this thing that people would want to be a part of them. We have to build a program that people would think that they could accomplish, and we weren’t sure about, like how we would decide who would be part of it. And I Eventually we just said if they apply and they upload a video and it’s a complete routine or a performance art video and it’s a complete that somebody could sit and watch it beginning to end and like that’s the whole thing, Then I guess that’s it, because it’s not up to me to decide what’s entertaining for everyone either. And I felt like if we if it was to curated that we would be shutting out not just artists but supporters on bond like that, there was almost I was like, Well, there’s kind of no point in trying to create your own platform to be able to like, showcase all these things and then be so choosy about what gets showcased. So when it comes to the premier shows, for example, we do choose what we think are the best. But a lot of times it’s the best and again air quotes. If you’re just listening and not watching our video where by the way, we look super sexy, both of us. If you’re not watching this podcast interview, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Yeah, my boobs

[00:38:01] Annie-Mae: were up here. Then I had a baby and I went, Oh, but

[00:38:06] Violet: they’re so big and beautiful, so big

[00:38:09] Annie-Mae: and beautiful. Oh, I’m OK,

[00:38:12] Violet: but yeah, we didn’t want to. We didn’t want to shut people out. And, um, I sort of lost my train of thought because I got stuck on boobies, but we just wanted for oh, yeah, for the premier shows that it’s more based on that. The size of the video. It’s not a vertical video with a cell phone. It’s like fills the screen for someone, viewing it at home to really be able to appreciate it, and that the quality of the video is the best. Like that you know what’s That’s really what we’re choosing. And then from those people saying Okay, well, this is really different. This is really different. And then, like whichever one’s just happened to stand out the most from the crowd, that’s how we’re choosing them. So it’s not based on, like our own preferences. We really try to eliminate our own bias from that process of choosing videos for the premier shows. Because if not a premier show for me to watch, it’s a premier show for all these other people to watch, and I don’t know what they like. I want to give them a little bit of everything, just like you know what you said with your variety shows, too. I think

[00:39:21] Annie-Mae: that, ah, lot of, um, but audience members and performers don’t really grasp if they have not produced their own show the amount of crazy thought that goes into picking who’s in a show. And I think part of part of the issue in burlesque communities is that because our art is our bodies and is our like, it’s very personal. If someone doesn’t choose your act or isn’t a fan of your act, you feel like it. They’re not a fan of you because it’s so much of you poured into it. And, um, there are so many things that go into deciding what goes into a show both on stage and virtually that it might have not have anything to do with you or, you know, And so I I want to encourage, um, people who are interested in performing to know that your artists valid do you art For art’s sake, Um, if somebody be a casting director or an audience member doesn’t care for it, then that wasn’t for them. And that’s okay. And you are not any less ballot for doing something that maybe was just for you. You know, Um, but as a production manager or a casting director, we do have to consider what people are going to find entertaining or high quality video or all of that. So by saying this isn’t right for my show at this time, we’re not saying you suck. We’re saying this isn’t that it doesn’t fit in what I’m trying to curate right now, But don’t stop what you’re doing. Like they’re they’re this. What you’re doing is for someone, someone is going to appreciate what you’re doing. It’s not perfect for what we’re doing right now, but that does not mean that it is not amazing, incredible work. It does not mean that we don’t like you as a person or we we think you’re you’re not talented. It’s just, um, art, for art’s sake is one thing, and it’s great and should continue to happen. But as a business, a show business person, we have so many other factors to consider that maybe this particular thing isn’t right for what we’re doing. Maybe you have a phenomenal act, but you filmed it on your cell phone vertically, and it doesn’t match the rest of the show. Or maybe, um, you have a a great act. But we’ve already cast someone doing the same song, and we want to save it for another show. So you’re not doing the same song in the same show or, um for specifically for, like, the nerd less festival, which we’ve we’ve postponed again. So another year, Um, the what I’m trying to put together for the festival is very specific. Um, it’s very focused on storytelling and like, character driven acts, and, um so I’m less likely to cast a burlesque act that is just I’m wearing a cause play and stripping and the Nerd Lust Festival because I like for that. I want it to be more of a big theatrical production, but I am just a likely to say, Hey, I don’t want you in the festival for the sex But I’m going to pay you to come to a rood revue with that same act because that’s a different vibe. And, um, e I don’t think that Ah, lot of people who have never put a cast list together can really grasp their head around. Stow. There’s so many factors, and it doesn’t always mean that your acts not good. It doesn’t always mean that they didn’t like it or that. You know, there’s just so many things, and I just want people to just do your art, do it. You know what makes you feel good? Do it. And if you want to make it more marketable, you know you can ask for advice. But remember that that’s just one person’s opinion, and they don’t know what you’ve poured into it. They don’t know how the personal aspect of what you’ve done. And so you just you listen, take it with a great assault, decide if it’s worth changing anything. If you’re like No, this is what I meant it to be And it’s going to be that. And if they don’t put me in a show, that’s fine. I’ll do it for myself.

[00:43:51] Violet: Yeah, I have definitely had to tell people that, like, if somebody didn’t love their routine and not everybody is going to be, you know, the most thrilled with every single thing that they see that first of all, that’s not for them to worry about. They need to worry about just presenting themselves and being proud of what they’re putting on stage because they’re not responsible for the reaction, really, and also that you can’t you can’t be for everyone. And if you were for everyone, that would be exhausting. Um, you know, like you were not meant thio be so pleasing to every single person that we meet, and I try to let my performers know that it’s not your job on Lee to please people. It is your job to do well and be pleased with your own work when you step off the stage, and that’s really the most important part. Andi. Then yeah, When putting things together, I feel like I have not put together enough burlesque shows for this to have been an issue. But I have put together hundreds of fire shows and same exact thing where, um, people might have the same prop that they use. And I’m not going to put somebody dancing with a fire staff twice in the same show. If I have one person who is very good at fire fans and that music wise and everything that we’ve chosen for the night, it makes more sense for the person who’s best at that prop to do that prop. That’s what’s going to happen. And then you have to do something else. And then, like the cadence of the show, needs to be good for a gnawed e inst to be paying attention the whole time. And I’ve definitely had new performers who came and worked with my company that didn’t really get it at first or maybe felt extra sensitive about it on Di did have toe be careful with their feelings, but make sure that they knew that like this is the way that the show needs to go to be different from last week, to be different from next week, to be different from the one that I know that this person saw a month ago, because I know that they’ll be there. And I’ve been doing this regularly for so long, and it’s just it’s not about like that. I don’t like that act that you put together. But we’re going to do that at that wedding show next week, and I want you to work on it more and like things like that, where it’s like, No, I appreciate everything that you do but like, this isn’t the show or you can’t do that song in this location I had somebody really upset that they couldn’t do a Kendrick Lamar song at this really high end resort, and they never worked for me again. And I was like, Okay, but, you know, like where you are, it’s just I can’t let you do that. It’s not I don’t It’s not that I think it’s inappropriate. It’s that we’ll lose our weekly gig if I let you dio your clients. Yeah, I can’t let you do

[00:46:45] Annie-Mae: that business. Yes, and that’s what I wish well, in what I could change about burlesque is that it is more like theater, the theater business where there’s there’s burlesque shows on Broadway because everybody’s like, Yeah, I’m gonna go to New York and I’m going to spend drop a bunch of money to see the best burlesque. Or there’s unions for burlesque performers and crew members and all of that that, like the like equity and SAG have for stage in theater and screen, um, actors and crew members. There’s a level of professionalism expected, and there’s levels of involvement, like there are people who are not professional actors that zahabi they do it because they love it or they’re trying toe like maybe they’re they’re trying toe learn so they can become professional. So they start in community theater and there that is valid and wonderful. And there is definitely a purpose and a place for that. And I feel like that’s that we need that kind of thing with or less where, like you have your students showcases and you know, these are the people who are learning, and it’s OK if they mess up and it’s okay if they’re not polished because you understand, like they’re just beginning and then. But if you go to burlesque on Broadway, you expect like perfection because they’re getting paid boo coo bucks. And I think that if burlesque took itself a little bit more seriously as an industry that, um and we had that like Oh, well, I’m I’m an actor People who do community theater don’t say I’m an actor. They say, You know, Oh, I do community theater You know, it’s not my main profession. I feel like there’s a lot of burlesque performers that maybe they don’t They take a class and they’ve decided, Well, I’m a professional now and I have I don’t have to do anymore. There’s no more learning for me to dio There’s no more hard work for me to dio you. I think that if you want to succeed in burlesque, you need to be able on willing to put the work in. And if that’s not your bag, you don’t feel like doing that. Then you should be, you know, keep doing it because obviously your art is valid, but you should do it more on the like the smaller show level, the the community theater level. The the you know, black box theater level. Rather than saying, Well, I’m a Broadway star because I took one burlesque classes and now I’m great, you know? Um, I think if if burlesque had that theater mentality where this is a job and not that saying, you have to be a professional to do it because you don’t. But, um, I think people, we just need to take ourselves more seriously because the people who are doing this for rial, for riel and really putting the work in they deserve to be rewarded, just like the people on Broadway or Hollywood. And, um, the people who are doing the smaller shows need to be supported as well, because community theater, it’s supported by the community. Everyone’s saying, Yeah, they’re not Broadway stars, but I’m gonna pay 10 bucks and go see these people do this thing they love because it’s worth it. And I wish for loss was more like that.

[00:50:20] Violet: Yeah, I have to say that in my short entertainment career that I have been definitely mocked for taking myself too seriously, and I absolutely have always hated that because it’s just been used as a way of saying that like, I don’t need to be paid as much or like as a way of saying that somebody doesn’t need to listen to me when I’m telling them that I have a perimeter here and I want them to step 5 ft away from it and things like that. So it’s just, uh it z odd because I usually thought that it was just because I was a woman and because I was conducting a business. Um, but it might just be like a performer thing, too, because I think a lot of performers don’t take what they are doing seriously. And I feel like if the experience that many are having with that like there firsthand experience with the performer is very flippant, that that’s the impression that they have for forever about that kind of performer. So I think like fire dancers in particular are kind of known for just being a little bit wild and just doing their thing and being really rebellious. And me as a fire dancer always kind of got called like out for being too safer, too cautious, which I don’t know what that means. But cautious in a way that made me feel comfortable for myself in my audience. And it’s like, you know, it’s just not fair for one person to, like, really influence the way that views that view carries on. So in your community in Kansas City, if you have a bunch of performers that air really not taking things seriously, maybe they’re like drinking a little too much and taking way less money than everybody else. And then the next person who comes along and they’re like, really put together and they would never drinking perform. And, you know, they’ve gotten a lot of experience. Maybe they’ve done some tours and they get treated in a certain way because like that’s the tone. I feel like it’s irresponsible and it’s not really part being. It’s not really being part of a community because your community is the people that are, you know, it’s the people immediately around you. So that’s not just the people that you work with, but the people who see you work and the people who see you when you’re off duty, too. I mean, if you live in a small community like I do, that’s true. If you live in a big city, maybe not so much. But, you know, it’s especially for women and especially in performance. You are so scrutinized. A za a fire performer. It was always like, Oh, well, they’re never wearing any clothes like, well, I’m not going to set my skin on fire, but I could set my skirt on fire. So I’m gonna wear a smaller skirt because I can’t on dfo er all the burlesque stuff like, Oh, well, they just wanna go be naked on stage. Like if I just wanted to go be naked on stage. I may have been a stripper like, long before this, if that was just what I wanted, but I actually wanted something more theatrical and had to work harder at it. So that’s why this is what I’m doing. But, um, yeah, like all of the stereotypes and things like that, That doesn’t help if the community is not like together on certain things. When it comes to, um, how you guys all behave professionally, the rate of pay that everyone is going to accept and things like that.

[00:54:09] Annie-Mae: Yeah, When I first started, um, in burlesque, I I definitely experienced that same like Who do you think you are? Why you You know, like you’re you’re with the standard that I was holding myself to, like, the professionalism. Like I’m doing it this way because this is what I feel is right. And they’re like, you know, who are you like, um and I feel like because I started in theater as an actor. Andi, I learned the ropes of performance there and what was expected of people. If you want to get cast in a show, you don’t just have to be talented. You have to be good to work with. You have to show up on time. You have to not be drinking at rehearsal. You have Thio, you know, listen to your director and accept criticism. And, um, you know, even if you don’t agree with the change that they want to make you do it because it’s your job. And, um So I came to Berlin with that mindset like, this is burlesque to me is theater. It’s not something else. It is theater. And so I treated this such And when I first started producing, um, my very first show, I you know, I wrote up a contract for my performers. And they’re like, I’m not signing this like,

[00:55:29] Violet: Oh, isn’t that the worst?

[00:55:31] Annie-Mae: And like we what? What? Because no one was doing contracts at that time. And this was years and years ago. This was like, What is this to 2013? Seven years ago, eso like at that point, Kansas City, they didn’t have contracts. It was just like, I agree that you’re in the show and you’ll get a split of whatever. And it was all verbal and, you know, no one was protected and I was like, That’s not how I roll. I wanna make sure that you know what I’m going to give you, and you and I know that you’re gonna follow my expectations. And they’re like, Who are you like? And it’s like I’m a show business person. I’m a professional. And, um, throughout the years, my contract went from one page to, like, four. Because I’ve had Thio add things as I went like, Okay, we’re not gonna let you drink anymore. It shows because I’ve had too many bad experiences or, you know, um, that, you know, that just added rules and expectations for the performers and I lost some people that didn’t wanna work with me anymore because they’re like, Well, I need to drink to perform. And I was like, Okay, that’s fine. Not in my show, like you are not any less valid. And there are people who will hire you to do that. And I will come and support you with those shows. But I have to protect my business. And so and And whenever you’re ready to do a show for me where you do not need a shot of tequila before you go on stage, you’re welcome to I will have you. I like you. I like your show. But, um, or people who would like I’ve got to be high my No, you don’t. I mean, I feel like, um, if everyone just took themselves a little bit more seriously and like you wouldn’t get drunk and go to your office job. If you treat for less like a job, then you’ll you’ll gain more respect from the people around you from the audience members. You’ll be a better performer because you know, you’re you’re focusing on your work rather than the social aspect or the oh, I’m gonna get naked in front of people in this exciting, you know. And but there’s places for that, too. That’s the community theater burlesque, you know, like, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t feel comfortable charging theater ticket prices for a student showcase, you know, or or like Oh, it’s just me and my friends. And we’re gonna dance around naked because we like it like cool. Do that. I love that I’ll come support you, but I’m not gonna pay 30 bucks for a ticket because it’s just like Broadway. You know, you’re not gonna pay 2 50 to see a community theater production of Hamilton. You goto Broadway and you see Hamilton No.

[00:58:15] Violet: Yes, correct. Correct. And I think as

[00:58:18] Annie-Mae: long as everyone just treats them like I’m gonna act professional, then I’m gonna be treated professional. And I’m gonna get paid more because I’m a professional or if I’m like, that’s not my bad, I just I’m just here to have fun. Okay, Great. That’s awesome. Don’t expect me to pay you 200 bucks.

[00:58:33] Violet: There is something that I did that I’m really proud of. And I raised the rates that I paid all of my dancers and performers, um, as often as possible and like based on how much experience they had, based on how much work they were pulling for fire shows. But when we started doing burlesque, there was somebody that came to us and they had a club and they wanted us to come and do a monthly show, and they said that what I wanted them to pay each of my dancers was outrageous, and they said, Absolutely no one is going to pay them that much And I said, Funny you should say that because I pay them that much And that was it. This idea that anybody could tell us anymore what we could and could not get paid that disappeared because I’m the person who was in charge of our productions, and I’ve set them up and made sure that we got in enough money to pay them this amount and two other people. That was ridiculous. But to the people who came to our events, it was really well put together. I sat in every single seat to see what it would be like from that seat, and we made sure that they were great production. So you do get what you pay for. And I think people were shocked at the sticker price when we sold tickets. But when they showed up, they immediately realized, Oh, I understand now because you’re not just you’re not just standing on this bar taking your clothes off. This is the whole thing because we didn’t have, like, a theater to do our shows in. We had to set up a bar, an empty bar. So, you know, people couldn’t understand why it was going to cost so much money to go into this. You know what they knew as a dumpy bar? But when they came up, it wasn’t a dumpy bar. There were Stan shins and flowers and beautiful red curtains and beautiful lighting everywhere. And an awesome V i P area. And all of a sudden it made sense to them like, Oh, that is why this is all expensive. Because they’ve created a really cool experience for us here. And we get to see these ladies take their clothes off.

[01:00:49] Annie-Mae: Yeah, Yeah, You’re not just paying for the show. You’re paying for all of the work that put to put together. You’re paying for the venue you’re paying for the stage manager who make sure things run smoothly. Your you know and these are people bearing their bodies. That’s not a small thing, you know. So people who are using their body in, which is a very personal thing and especially in American society, like in stigmatized, they deserve to be compensated. They deserve to be paid for that, even if it’s like you know, it’s a it’s a community theater thing and it’s It’s just, you know, everybody’s student showcase or something like they deserve Thio have something to get something for that because, like there’s value in what you’re doing and that I think charging more for a ticket so that you can create a atmosphere and experience is totally valid and should be done. Um, and we’re less productions should really consider that when they’re setting their ticket price like, am I setting this $30 ticket because I’m showing my boobs and my boobs are worth it, or because I have put together this experience, You know, um, and you can put together a theater experience in a bar you can’t and so if and I think really, you just need toe know your show and know if what you’re doing is if you’re putting the work into warrant that much, you know, higher ticket price than charge it for sure.

[01:02:35] Violet: And where we live, everything is really expensive. And so getting our costumes and making everything was really expensive. And so we were right in line with, like everything else around here, because, like if you go out for a burger, your burger is expensive, it’s in the Caribbean. So there was a lot of things like for the cost that, like I would have made it more affordable for everyone if I could have but like, that’s just what it cost. But no way, I was actually I was very impressed with myself because I don’t have a theater background. Um, and I had never learned any of this stuff. I just kind of really observant. And whenever I watch movies or watch music videos or would be on other people’s events, I would always take note of things that I liked and didn’t like the effect of certain things because I kind of had it in my head from years ago that I would love to have a nightclub um it was a rumor in my family that my grandfather owned a nightclub before he met my grandma. And it might just be like in my blood, so I don’t know, I really wanted to. So I was always looking at those kinds of things when I was out, and I think that that helped me put everything together. But for someone with very little experience and all of the things that I’m doing, I have to say, I feel I feel very accomplished. You

[01:04:02] Annie-Mae: are, You are,

[01:04:02] Violet: and some people’s

[01:04:03] Annie-Mae: brains air just wired. Thio manage production. Um and so maybe you didn’t have a theater, your background, but your brain is just like I know how to make this work. Um, I know that it’s not just calling up, you know, six of my friends and doing a show. There’s mawr involved, um, in organizing and all that stuff. And, um, yeah, I think a lot of ah lot of people try to put on shows when they’re not. Their brain doesn’t work that way, and they’re just like, Oh,

[01:04:34] Violet: it just be fun. And I’m

[01:04:35] Annie-Mae: like, Cool. That’s a community theater. But for the people who are like detail oriented, like you and I. Where you know, You’re saying Oh, that works. That didn’t work. I know the I need Thio. Put up red curtains. I need to put flowers up. I needed to do all this. You know, the smaller details to make something extraordinary. Um, that that’s a that’s a service in and of itself that is worth compensating. Um, so people should pay more for a show like that because they’re not just paying for for the performers, they’re paying for everything.

[01:05:10] Violet: So one thing that I did with Coral Fire Cabaret in order to make sure that people who were brand new to burlesque would be able to get involved is we have group routines and, um, we will teach them, like, once they’ve been performed with our core members, that then becomes a workshop. And then anybody who takes the workshop and learns the routine can come and be in a show, and we can do that again. And we have a couple of variations that we can dio, and we can change up the costuming color depending on how many people we have. But we built that in right from the beginning, we knew that we were always going to have these group routines that would really unite us and then also help brand new people come and be comfortable to start doing burlesque and just like a really easy way in

[01:06:06] Annie-Mae: on that. I really have a troop. I dio I kind of do that with Kid Ning, people who are like, I’m really interested. I don’t You know, I want to get involved. How do I I say, Well, here, let me give you this kitten spots you can see, um, what it’s like, what it feels like to be on stage and whatever you know, makes you feel sexy. What it feels like backstage. Like what? I expect backstage and and the behaviors And you know, all that stuff. And then if you’re like, I like how this feels like how the show is run, then we can talk about, you know, getting you started in your own performances. Um, but, um yeah, group numbers. I’ve always loved group numbers, but I don’t have a troop, so I’m just I’m just like I get really excited when I goto other shows and people have put together Group numbers because people don’t understand how hard it is to get a group of people to together to practice and do things. And I’m like, Yeah, I did it.

[01:07:02] Violet: We weren’t even all in the same place for all of the time. So we had to do a lot of video stuff. Um, so much video stuff. But it worked out. I think that we were a little bit out of sync, Um, the first time that we did it. But also, the funny thing about the stage that we were on is once we got our curtain set up in the back of the stage, we had much less room, and I was really worried about kicking a trust and knocking something down completely or getting my It was a chair routine. So at one part, I totally messed up because my body would not permit me to do the thing with my foot. Right, because my brain was so worried about pulling the curtain down when I came down. So it actually looks pretty fun in the video because it goes the front row back row. But like my hesitation worked for the choreography magically in that moment, I don’t know. I just trusted it. But when I watch it, I’m like, this is so funny. I was so worried about taking everything down with May. A lot of work we did on I think that the chair routine was a lot easier than, like, a full on dance routine because we did like a jazzy flapper number with, like, a hip hop vibe. And that was far more complicated. And we had these little feather fans on belts. So there was, like, the timing of untie ing and like, flicking the fans open, we could never get it at the same time. So we ended up going 123 which is perfect. So

[01:08:40] Annie-Mae: having props to anything is you’re always gonna be like I don’t know if this is gonna work so good for you guys.

[01:08:48] Violet: Oh, thank you. Yeah. Anything. Anytime. Something didn’t work. I was like, Okay, what can we dio? What will work now? Let’s make it look great. Like it doesn’t matter if it z really part of the fun for me of the group choreography. Is that like I’ll come up with something and I may be able to teach it but guaranteed By the time I start teaching it, somebody will, like, get something wrong and wrong and air quotes again different. And I’ll say, Oh, wait, actually, I kind of like what you just did better. Let’s just will use what you think we should do here or I’ll even leave a space blank and say Like I just thought that you guys could tell me what you want to do for this part and I love I love directing everyone, but I really like taking the little bits and pieces and like weaving it in so that it’s all of ours.

[01:09:42] Annie-Mae: Yeah, and that’s that’s great because I mean, like you said, like getting people started. It’s easier when you have people upon their stage with you because you’re like it’s a group effort. Everyone’s not just staring right at me. It’s a nice way to ease people in. I think it’s a really great idea.

[01:10:00] Violet: I think also getting even from beginning people saying that like Okay, well, your ability is at like this level, but like that doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. I will come down to your level so that we can all look good and look the same, and I think it it’s really nice for them. They feel really supported and, like, taken under a wing in that way. But then, by using what they’re good at or what they’ve contributed, they really do have, like, the sense of ownership that for me as like a troop leader, show director, producer, company owner that I need from them because it’s that’s the commitment, you know, like I need to know that you’re going to show up. And if you can’t show up to every practice, I need to know that you’re watching the videos. I need to know that you’re still going toe by your costume stuff on time. I need to know that you’re going to like, you know, show up when we are doing the dress rehearsal at least and like need like you have a control thing. I have a control thing, but I really I feel good about letting go of the control all the time, and I’m constantly looking for team members that I am good, like with delegating things to them. So they’re like the people who are the most committed, the most motivated and sure things happen and like we can’t all always be on time and whatever. But, like, I know that they care so much that when it’s like one practice gets missed, it’s not like the end of the world to me. I’m not like pouring sweat, wondering if everything’s gonna fall apart like I can trust them that like Okay, well, they’ll be there next week or they’ll revue it at home and it’s going to be fine. And I love that. I, like, feel like if we can all trust each other with a group routine that that’s really like what makes you a team? Well, Annie May I wanted to throw in one thing that just popped into my head. And you mentioned before that you had brought a SL interpreters into your shows, and I wanted to know if you speak sign language or if you just wanted to, and I remember you saying something to me early on about um, wanting to be an SL interpreter. Um, I don’t know if you like, have a death loved one or anything like that, but I just wanted toe ask you.

[01:12:24] Annie-Mae: I I don’t I I did take a ASL in college of a couple of semesters. So I am not fluent. I know a little bit, but I always loved learning ASL and being able to communicate with with hard of hearing and deaf people s so like my dream job. If I had money, I would go back to school and get, um, in ASL interpreters license. And I would love to be the ASL interpreter for, like, theatrical productions, like when You go and see a Broadway show on the night where they have the ASL interpreters over to the side. Because I you know, I’m an actor. I’m also a clown and, um, ASL. So because you don’t have tone of voice, so much of your communication is with facial expressions and so you it’s really like it’s clowning. It’s you’re conveying the emotion with your face because, you know, there is no sarcasm in ASL. You have to show it on your face. And I It’s just something that really speaks to me as performer and as wanting to communicate, be able to communicate with more people. Um, eso while I have a little bit of, ASL just took two semesters in college, and then I didn’t have any more opportunities to learn or money. Toe learn. Really? Um, but, uh, there is a, uh, the Kansas School for the Deaf, which is just across the state line for me. Um, is really, like, huge resource for our document ity here in the area. And so we have people that have moved here specifically to go to that school like they have a deaf child. So they’re like, Oh, we need a good school that specifically for deaf Children. We’re gonna move, you know, so that they could go to the school. So we have a very large deaf community in Kansas City, and I was like, um, I’ve always wanted to have an answer on corporate er, but I’m like, I can’t pay them there. So you know, like they’re worth There are Price, and I know that I don’t have that. And I was very lucky that one of the teachers from the Kansas School of the Deaf attended one of my shows and said, I really love your show. Have you ever thought about having an interpreter is like Yes. I just can’t like I don’t have it in the budget right now. And they said, Well, I love your show. And, um, my girlfriend is deaf, and I would love to bring her, but, you know, you know, I and I teach you the Kansas School of Deaf in exchange for tickets for me and my girlfriend. Can I interpret for you? So, like, I worked out a trade with this person that, like, dream come true. I got to have the interpreter, um, way before I was ever possible budget wise to do so, Um, And like, do people here in the community or so a lot of my crew, um, our volunteers that just in exchange for seeing the show, I will run the merch table, or I will usher, um, or all its interpret, you know. And so I’ve gotten the Rood revue and burly Q community really is a family. Um, whenever new people come to the show, I’m like, Welcome home. Welcome to the family. You know, you were gonna be on a first name basis, every you know, even if you showed up here alone, you’re you’re gonna have six new friends um, you know, everybody is very, um we’re just in love with each other where we take care of each other and I’m trying. I think that’s why the virtual shows aren’t working. Well, because, um, that sense of family isn’t there anymore, like community. And like everybody coming together to make this great thing and because when when you’re an audience member that loves the show and you’re like, I helped make this happen because I tor ticket stubs, you know, whatever it is, um, and they feel a sense of accomplishment as an audience member because they help make it happen. And there, that’s not there anymore. Because virtually I’m it’s just me pushing buttons and slide and things, you know. And they’re like Esso. They can only help monetarily by purchasing a ticket or tipping. And I don’t know if you know this. There’s a pandemic and people don’t have money for my ticket. So they’re like, I can’t I can’t volunteer anymore. And I don’t have extra cash to spend on this. So, like I can’t do it. And trying Thio find that that family again, in a virtual way, is it’s a struggle. But I think things like Velvet revue are really gonna help us. E think this is our new normal. Really? I

[01:17:28] Violet: think I’m

[01:17:29] Annie-Mae: gonna have to figure it out, you know?

[01:17:31] Violet: I mean, there’s no reason even if we can kind of go back to the way things were a little bit before I mean, there’s no sense and not reaching a greater audience digitally beyond where you live because that had really occurred to me was like I’ve said it in this episode and so many of them really that, like I was really isolated here and not able to go and experience things, not be able to expose other people. Thio my performances. So a part of velvet revue was just like, Well, everybody has that right. You’re always outperforming, so it’s where you can get to by train or if you have a car, depending on where you live. You know, if you’re in a city, maybe you could just subway everywhere, But I think most people were just working in their immediate area. And so with all of this, you could reach somebody on the other side of the country that has never heard of you before, and It’s just such a great way for us all to grow our audience is because by like coming together as a collective with velvet revue, you expose yourself to everyone else’s audience.

[01:18:40] Annie-Mae: Yeah, and I think a lot of people that are amazing, professional, wonderful performance will never be big because they have a day job or Children or something that keeps them from traveling to perform. And so they’ll Onley ever be in their little microcosm were less community of where they’re at. But if you are selling tickets, Teoh, a show that was filmed in Kansas City to people in Seattle. You know that you’re you’re you’re getting bigger. You’re getting, um, more exposure, more views, um, and it za mazing because, like, there are performers that I love and I like, I try to bring them into Kansas City when I can, but like I want to see more. And if all of the video stuff that we have learned from this continues, then we can start marketing our shows, too. Not just the people who could be there physically, but the people who are fans of that performer who live in Germany, you know, or whatever And so I can now, because of the all this virtual stuff, I can support my favorite performers. I can see them and shows that I would never have seen them in before because I can’t afford to fly to Arizona to see Terran garters. I can’t afford Teoh, you know, like I just I’m on my couch and I can see my favorite performers now. And I think that even like you said, when we get back to some sort of semblance of normal within person shows, I think it would be detrimental to the burlesque community To pull back from the virtual stuff is, Well, um, and I feel like the people who aren’t getting enough recognition in there. You know, big fish, small pond will really, um, really get sort of a spotlight, like, yes.

[01:20:36] Violet: Like we’re crossing our fingers on both sides of the camera here.

[01:20:41] Annie-Mae: Yes, the people that that no one’s heard of. But everyone should, because they’re amazing and hard working and professional and talented. Now

[01:20:48] Violet: people are gonna

[01:20:49] Annie-Mae: get to see them, and, um, I I think we definitely need to continue that moment even if we get back on stage.

[01:20:57] Violet: Yeah, I love. I have to say I really also love with Velvet. revue the international component because we had to decide that really early on. And that too I was like, Nope, there’s no sense If we’re gonna broaden out, why would we stick to our own country? Let’s just dio a global thing. And I was scary for a couple of our team members because of time zones. And I was like, So what if I have to do a show three in the morning, my time so that I can talk to somebody in another part of the world and they can hop in and perform live? I make my own schedule. I’m at home all the time. Now what the hell do I care? You know, I’ll go to sleep early, setting alarm. Get up, get ready. It doesn’t matter. So right now we’re doing when we do the premier shows we dio a GMT and an E S t so that people in Europe and maybe in Australia can catch the first one. And then we do a whole next one so that people in the States could do it and like it’s ah, it’s a little early for everybody in Europe and like a little late for everyone in the States. But we figured that was kind of the best way to do it for everyone in different time zones and for ourselves. So it’s it’s really fun, and we’re in different time zones right now, and I’ve had to talk to people where it’s like morning at my house and really late at their house. And I am so into that, too, and just the idea that we’re reaching so much further. It feels really good. And I would, yeah, I would never want to pull back from that at this point and have less exposure.

[01:22:27] Annie-Mae: Yeah, and as a chronically ill person who really loves to sleep, I am totally fine with, like I did a cabaret with a group in London, and so I was streaming into their show at 2 p.m. I didn’t have to stay up late and do a show like I I go to bed at eight if I wanted Thio and but I still got to do a show and like getting toe work with people that like I couldn’t I well, I was flying in headliners for my shows like You can only afford so much You can’t do that every time and you can’t do international flights. So with my virtual shows, I’m now getting to hire people in Germany and people in Italy and people in London that I wouldn’t have been able to put in my shows. I’m like, Well, this parts gray. This is

[01:23:17] Violet: awesome. Yeah, yeah, yeah, It’s so good. All right, well, I think that we’re getting to the end of the amount of time that I said that I would keep you from your busy, busy life. ITT’s Oh, my God. Yeah, You got to get back to it now. Actually, you know what? As somebody who makes their own schedule and I am a morning person, um, being able to do stuff like and just whenever I need to has been really good for me to um But yeah, it’s been thio. You got to get to Minecraft and I have to get to, like, baking butternut squash, So yeah, I cook for stress

[01:24:02] Annie-Mae: relief. I I eat for stress relief, So we’re perfect for each other.

[01:24:07] Violet: Yeah. Yes, we are. We’re a match made in absolute heaven. Thank you so much for all of your time today. And, um, you can come back on the podcast whenever you want and we’ll see you more on velvet revue. And, um, guys, if you’re listening, you definitely want Thio become a supporter at velvet revue dot com so that you can watch this awesome video interview of myself and an email allure from Kansas City. Thank you so much. Thank you. So thank you and have a great day. You too. Bye, honey. I bet you hadn’t thought before that people who are putting on strip performances could be so concerned about what’s going on in their communities or that that could have something to do with the way that they conduct their job. When it comes to things like addressing able ism in our communities or making things easily accessible to all people. It’s really up to the producers and the creators of these experiences, and this is something that lots of people in our industry are tackling all the time. That’s because these issues matter to them so much. It’s a personal thing, and also thes issues affect the people in our lives. So of course it comes into play. We’re passionate about our work, and we have normal lives and those things do come together. I was also really happy that I saw eye to eye with any about professionalism in our industry. There are many instances in which art is not seen as valid work, and when you’re a performer who’s been making your living paying your bills by performing and all of a sudden you’re not able to do your job, that makes it really, really difficult. The work was always valid, valid enough to help you get by. And now it’s gone, just like Annie May. They’ve been adapting very quickly to a rapidly changing situation with not much end in sight. And is Annie Mae and I discussed, Why would you want Thio? If you’ve enjoyed this interview, you can let me know by sending your friends are way too. Velva revue to enjoy podcast episodes, artist videos and awesome virtual events. We appreciate all of the likes and follows that you give to our amazing artists, as well as the accounts of velvet revue dot com, where we’re constantly promoting all of our brand new performers. Thank you so much for listening or watching, and I’ll see you next time

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This transcript was AI generated and has only light correction.

[00:00:00] Violet: Welcome back to the Violet revue official podcast of VelvetRevue.com. I’m your host Violet de Beauvoir on my show. I’m always talking to the really cool performers that you’ll see featured on velvet revue dot com. If you’re a supporter, you get toe watch all video interviews on my podcast, as well as every single artist, performance video and all of our awesome virtual events. I encourage my guests to dress up, and I’m always in some really fun, burlesque inspired get up from pasty esto lingerie and really comfy sexy robes. So if that’s your thing, make sure you sign up a supporter so you don’t miss all of the cool video interviews in this episode. You’ll get to hear me talking with Annie Mae Allure, the creator of the Kansas City nerd Less festival. What’s Nerdlesque you ask? Well, it’s a little bit like cause playing meets burlesque, especially when it comes to things like video games or anime. And if you guessed, that’s where Annie Mae Allure gets her name from an email and I talk about adapting as performers to the co vid crisis and just to let you know Annie Mae herself is just recovering from COVID-19. So we get into the importance of her message, which is to stay at home and for artists like ourselves to be providing really cool content for people to enjoy the time that they are at home and so that we can continue to work. There’s a symbiosis between consumer and creator, and where we meet right now is on the Internet. Something has lost, though, and it’s the sense of community. So I hope you enjoy this interview between myself and Annie-Mae today on the podcast. We’re talking to an Annie-Mae allure. She’s from Kansas City and runs the Kansas City Nerdlesque Festival. So I’m really happy to talk to her. We have been, um, speaking for several weeks, and so I’m really, really eager to get into our interview today. How are you, Annie-Mae?

[00:01:54] Annie-Mae: I’m Well, how are you doing

[00:01:55] Violet: so good? It’s a little warm in my studio today, so I might have to lose my feather boa, but we’ll see how it goes.

[00:02:02] Annie-Mae: I actually have a space heater on my feet, so I’m in the opposite

[00:02:06] Violet: situation. My gosh. Well, I wish I could send you all of this warmth. And you can come visit me if you

[00:02:12] Annie-Mae: want. A soon as possible. I need to get out of this house. Uh

[00:02:17] Violet: huh. So what’s been going on with you in Kansas City lately?

[00:02:22] Annie-Mae: Well, I just recovered from COVID-19. Still recovering. I’m what the doctors call a long haul er so I will probably have symptoms for a while. Um, basically, the the pandemic has completely shut everything down. Except for, like, you know, the people that are still wanting to go out to bars and restaurants and continuing this, you know, spread our numbers here in Kansas and Missouri are really high. Eso basically, I’m trying to just encourage everyone to stay home and by creating a lot of online stuff. Um, like, don’t go to karaoke, go sit on your couch and watch this show. Or, um you know, come thio zoom meeting with your friends instead of that. But ah, lot of performers here in Kansas City are really affected right now. Um, a lot of us have gotten co vid despite trying very hard not to. So we’re all just trying to survive. Well,

[00:03:29] Violet: I’m really glad that you’re better. And if you’re listening, That was actually the reason that we have been talking for a while, but hadn’t done Annie May’s interview yet. So I’m really glad that she’s better. We were worried about her velvet revue headquarters. For sure.

[00:03:43] Annie-Mae: I was a little worried. I’m not gonna lie.

[00:03:46] Violet: Yeah, I know. I saw a lot of people wishing you well on Facebook. And I was like, Okay, good. Like, you know, I’m sure that she has people around her who can check in on her, bring her things that she needs. So it was nice to see that it was You know where I am?

[00:04:01] Annie-Mae: Yeah, I was wonderful. The amount of support from the community that our family got, Um yeah, it was It was really nice to see, um, when you’re when you’re scared and you’re sick and you’re like, what’s gonna happen? Thio know that you have a support system that’s there for you. Um, it makes it less stressful for sure.

[00:04:26] Violet: Yeah, I can understand that and definitely appreciate it. So a sfar as your online work. Recently, I’ve seen that you have a really, really fun sitting naughty Santa. Something or other. Is that just photos that are available? Or is there like, ah, whole video and everything?

[00:04:48] Annie-Mae: It is just a photos that, um so Okay, yeah, one of my he’s actually my official photographer for my burlesque show, The Rood revue in Berlin. Q. And he just happens to look incredibly like Santa Claus. Eso I hooked up with him. His name is J. Michael Strange and had my, um, my housemate Matt, who has experience with cameras, take Michael’s camera and take pictures of us. So we were in Michael Studio, but he wasn’t the one taking pictures. And it’s my first jump into the world of editing. I’m doing all of the editing, Um, all the photo shopping myself next to myself and, uh, it Z a learning curve. But it is fun. It’s a lot of fun.

[00:05:40] Violet: I have had to learn a lot of those skills myself, and I’m not like super proficient at Photoshop in light room, but I do use them. I do edit on my own pictures on, then sometimes have somebody else do a quick pass over them to see if they can make them any better. But I love being as much as I love being a model, I really love being a photographer. And I love doing the editing. And I bet he had so much fun being a model with you, too. Yeah, he did. So if you are listening, you should definitely check out an email allure, Andi, we’ll have the link in the notes of the show where you can check out everything that we talk about, but definitely a link to where you can find those photos. So, Annie may, um, I also wanted to check in with you about any of the Rood revue. Like any of the stuff that you’ve been doing online. I know you have a lot of zoom shows that you’ve been doing. And like you said, keeping people at home is really important. And I guess like a lot of your crew feels similarly and you guys have been able to put things together. So I wanted to know how that’s been going for you guys and where everybody can find your

[00:06:53] Annie-Mae: work. I have a a thing called, uh, I’m a control freak. I need to be in control of everything. And so I have avoided Zoom shows completely because there’s so much that could go wrong technically, and I am not good at fixing technical issues on the fly. And I feel very out of control when that happened. So I opted Thio do it all pre recorded shows so that I can edit everything together. Make sure that you know it, Z well, well packaged. And the Onley buffering there’s gonna be, is if somebody has an Internet issue and they’re not gonna miss anything because as soon as their Internet back in, like the person is gonna be right on the screen where they were a second ago. Um, so I got a subscription Teoh, a streaming service provider so that I could do ah, like a paper via type thing. Um, so all of the shows that I have released are available on demand whenever you want to watch them, and it’s helpful that I have The resource is in my house. I have a green screen. I have, um, some editing knowledge so that people just have to send me their video. And then, you know, I just put it all together, and I am see it myself. Um and then they just sit back and, you know, promote the show and wait for tips to roll in. And, um, recently people e think just because the pandemic continues, um, the latest show hasn’t done a swell. So what I’m doing, um, is doing a watch party. I’m going to try and do watch parties for each of them new ones that I released to so that there’s this. We’re losing this sense of community. People really like to go to shows for the atmosphere, and you’re losing that as a virtual audience member. So I’m just gonna do a watch party where you can chat with the other audience members as you watch. So like a zoom meeting. But it’s all pre recorded so that you know, you’re not gonna miss anything. There’s not gonna be any sound issues or, um, Internet connectivity issues. And the cast can chat with you while the show is going on because they’re not actually performing at that moment. Eso I’ve trying to like, you know, find a way to make it more like an actual show, um, where you can interact with people and after you see someone’s act, tell them what you thought of it and how much you love them. You know, um, and all of those shows air on the website rood revue dot com on demand at any time. Um, if you can’t make it the watch party whenever it’s scheduled, you can just be like, Oh, well, I can watch this whenever I want and you can either, like just by like a one time rental. You watch it once, or you can get unlimited access and watch. It is money times as you want. Um, it’s a pretty good set up.

[00:10:02] Violet: Awesome. So what you are doing and you’re running everything yourself is sort of like what we’re doing with velvet revue. But we have a couple of people in our office, and when we do our premier shows, which we’re doing one tomorrow and you’ll be able to watch it any may from your house if you want Thio or afterwards. But we do the live hosting of prerecorded things, and then sometimes the artists are stopping in live to say hi, and this time we’re going to have somebody perform live, so starting to play around with that. But we started off using Onley prerecorded videos again like I totally see why you wanted to do things your way. Because just you don’t want everything to go wrong, especially your first few shows. You don’t want people to have a bad taste in their mouth. So we made sure that we use prerecorded to start with and are now bringing in more live components as

[00:10:59] Annie-Mae: well. I’m sure that with a team that you’re gonna have so much more success with dealing with a tech issues as they come up. But when it’s just me and my limited knowledge of of anything, I’m like, I don’t want to risk it. But it’s so great that you guys develop revue have, like a crew thio like. Okay, the emcee is not also running all of the sound. And, you know

[00:11:28] Violet: Well, there’s Onley, three of us. Eso I mean, it’s still pretty tight, and two of us are in front of the camera and one behind. And then while videos air playing, we have a chance to help with anything or fix a light. And, um so it’s still it’s still kind of intense, even with three people, because we don’t all know how to do everything So it’s fun, though I really like

[00:11:52] Annie-Mae: it. It’s definitely a learning curve. Everybody is really stepping up to try and figure out how to transition from the stage to the screen. We’re not filmmakers, you know.

[00:12:05] Violet: Of course, we have hours available also for as soon as they are done. I think the next day they’re up for viewing whenever So anybody who is a member of Velvet revue gets to see them when they’re live and enjoy that experience if they have the time when they’re airing and then conceive them any time after.

[00:12:24] Annie-Mae: Yeah, I think the amount of work that you guys have put into development revue is astounding. I and really just super impressed. Also, Um, like I I have nominated you for the top 50 because of this work because of what you’re doing here. The fact that there are so many performers who haven’t the ability thio make a video, but not to get it to people and that you are facilitating that is wonderful. It’s really wonderful.

[00:12:57] Violet: Oh, thank you. I we’re happy to do it. I mean, I otherwise wouldn’t have a whole lot of work to do, and I’m the kind of person that like I need something to do and I can’t just be busy work. It has to be something that means something to me or I’ll be miserable and so will everyone else. So you know, this mattered to me a lot and to all of my performer friends so much. Yeah, it’s incredible. Thank you, Andi. I mean, we’re really happy to have you be a part of it. And it’s I feel like every time we get a new artist, we kind of see who their their friends are and who they’re performing with. And it depends on, like, region or country Onda city. And it’s just exposing us to so much more than we could have ever hoped for it, because we have been working in entertainment for 56 years straight and like that’s been my bread and butter. That’s been everything for me. But we are so isolated being in the Caribbean, and we don’t often get to the mainland and get Thio. Enjoy all of the things like and really the burlesque culture. It’s all through video, and it’s all just online research, and I have to like, just see it through other people’s eyes all the time. But now I get to see it through so many more performers eyes because I’m connected with them now through velvet revue. So, like, for me, I’m like, Oh, this is amazing because I never really got to see all of this stuff before. It was harder for me to find and harder to access. So besides work, what other things have you been busying yourself with?

[00:14:41] Annie-Mae: I’ve been doing a lot of diamond paintings. They’re like paint by numbers, but with jewels, so they sparkle. Ooh, um, it’s That’s just like a little crafty hobby I’ve been doing. Um, I play a lot of Minecraft with my son. Um, I’m also he’s virtual learning. So, uh, my son is eight. And in the third grade. So I am all of a sudden, a third grade teacher. I

[00:15:14] Violet: bet you’re a great teacher.

[00:15:16] Annie-Mae: Well, I mean, I didn’t go to school for teaching,

[00:15:19] Annie-Mae: but I have ah, secondary education degree. So I went to school to teach high schoolers, and, uh, my son is the child, um on and they’re his teacher is wonderful. Like how? How you get eight year old bunch of a seven and eight year old to focus on a zoom call on math and reading is It’s incredible to me. So basically, I I’m just kind of supervising to make sure that he’s sitting where he’s supposed Thio and listening to the teacher. Um, But when things initially shut down in the spring like I was a teacher, they just like, here’s the work, you do it. And then over the summer, they figured out how to make it toward the teachers could actually do the teaching, but so a lot of a lot of my day is is supervising a third grade class and playing video games or, um, painting with diamonds. I also have been, you know, editing a lot of photos lately. Um, I also like to draw, so I do that as well. Um, yeah, just lots of crafty things to keep myself busy.

[00:16:39] Violet: That sounds absolutely like heaven. I haven’t been crafting nearly enough. Um, I did get to make a new costume a few weeks ago for a little show that we did. And I got to make my first, like, snap away song, which was It came out great, and it really snapped, and when it came off, it, like, did a fun twirl in the air because of the elastic. But aside from that, I’ve barely crafted a thing this entire time.

[00:17:05] Annie-Mae: It’s really just like something todo I’m not even. It’s not productive at all. Like it’s not like, Oh, I made a costume that I used for a thing. Um, it’s just It’s just like this is pretty. I’ll do this. It’s like putting a puzzle together. You know, it’s it’s not anything that I feel a sense of accomplishment or it is just, like fill the time, watch Netflix and do the thing. But I wish I was making costumes, but I’m not. I’m not doing that. This

[00:17:40] Violet: pandemic taught me that I really like puzzles, but that I do not have this space anywhere in my house to put one together because everything is filled with, like things to be doing shows and, like, you know, filming podcast episodes and stuff like that. Um, but my I started doing better help dot com, and my online therapist suggested that I, like, sit down in color and I didn’t really love the idea of coloring, but I found some puzzle books and I just bought a new one today. Actually, I found, like, a crossword one, and it didn’t look lame, so I was really pumped. I got myself, like, an extra, like stocking stuffer off crossword puzzles today. So being home, not getting a whole lot done. How How is that affecting? Maybe your ability to, like, come up with new routines? Or do you feel like you’re still finding space to be creative in? I mean, I know that we’re e guess What I’m getting at is I feel like, as artists and performers were not really like, totally satisfied. But I know that we’re all still doing plenty. So I just I don’t know. What are your thoughts on that? Are you like, Are you managing okay enough, like in your in a creative way for you?

[00:19:02] Annie-Mae: I think so. I have some ideas for routines, but I’m mostly focusing on because, like, I’m not going to go out and get a new new costume pieces or stuff to make costume pieces. Right now, I don’t have the money. I don’t wanna be outside eso like it’s mostly just, um, working on things in my head like, Okay, here’s the plan. Here’s what’s gonna happen. Um, eso most of my creative outlet is coming from, uh, new types of content that I haven’t been making. Like, I have a show called Immobile Request Life were a mobile because we’re all stuck at home. So it’s like TRL, But I r l and I play, um, prerecorded stuff, and I spotlight other performers. And then I take requests from viewers. Eso that’s been really fun because I’ve been making segments for that, like, game nights, where all we’ll get the family together and we’re all a bunch of clowns. So well, test out a game and then I’ll edit the video together. So it’s fun and silly or, um, hello, husbands. He just crawled under my backdrop to bring me coffee.

[00:20:17] Violet: Oh, nice, good husband. Good, good husband.

[00:20:22] Annie-Mae: Thank you. He’s also a full time entertainer, So I love you. It’s coaching back out. Yeah, he he’s been very helpful. We’ve been trying to do a lot of, um, you know, just content. That is something that people who might not be into the burlesque shows, um, are interested in watching, so they’re like, Oh, This is fun. Maybe I’ll try out over last show. Um, and I think that some people are might be more interested in seeing a burlesque show virtually if they’re They’ve been hesitant to see one in person because, like they’re not sure what the vibe is. And if they’re safe at home in their couch, they could like, See, it’s Brealaska thing. I’m into eso. I’m trying to just kind of spread out my creativity in a way that covers lots of different, um, avenues and different things that people are into. So I’m doing some comedy videos and doing some singing videos. Um, my my son has decided he wants to be a gamer. YouTuber. So, like I’ve been helping him with that, um, we we did some afan like improv game. Um, if you ever watched, uh, whose line is it anyway? They have a game, a green screen game, or they have a person acting as a news reporter and then two anchors, and they are like on this on site news reporter. But they don’t know what’s playing behind them on the green screen, and the anchors try and get them to guess. So we were doing that where my eight year old and I were the news anchors and my husband was the on site reporter, and we put silly things like he’s got fortnight dancing behind him or he’s got, um, what was their skunks? Um, you know, just like random things. And those were really fun to make. So it’s I have no lack of creativity. It’s more, ah, lack of money for those things, you know, like how doe I The problem is now making my creativity marketable because in a way, it is, ah, 100 times harder. It’s incredible, like I could get 8200 people in a theater seeing burlesque once a month at my shows. But when I’m like here, I’ll give it to you. You don’t even have to leave your house. It’s were struggling to get people to purchase shows. I’m like you were like leaving your house and budgeting every month to come to a show, and now that you don’t even have to leave your couch is even harder to get you to watch it. And so I’m like, How do I get that atmosphere back that that community, that sense of excitement about these shows and I’m finding I’m having to be very creative and like whatever I can try. And so a lot of my my focus has been mawr on that rather than like new routines. But it’s still it’s still a lot.

[00:23:31] Violet: I think it’s really smart of you to kind of try to capture the burly curious and get them to, like you said, if they have been a little apprehensive about the show, it’s a really great way to test the water for them safely and, like no pressure toe, go and be seen or be in a place where they will be surrounded by an energy that maybe they’re not sure they can handle. And I think that that’s really, really awesome because I think a lot of people are very, very curious about it. I can tell by like when we introduced burlesque, tow our community. We got a lot of questions about what to expect, and we had to put out a lot of written information with our ticketing, to tell people you know, without giving everything away because you wanted. I wanted to be able to surprise and delight them too. But in just enough information that they would really understand what they were in for on I think it took a lot of care to make sure that people knew what they were getting into and what would be acceptable and things like that to like not just in case it was too much. But in case they were expecting mawr, um, kind of like a similar thing. Um, but I think it’s also really, really smart of you to just not be making on Lee Bir less content like we had thought about doing all kinds of crazy things and because we live in a small community where it had been like, really quiet and relatively safe to still go here and there in small groups, because there’s not a ton of people around. But eventually that did become unsafe and it was just, you know, too much of an exposure risk. So we never got to do those things. But at least you can with your family, make these fun videos. And I think it’s so cool. And I love all your green screen stuff. Thank you. Honky tonk badonkadonk is so much fun. Thank you. Yes,

[00:25:28] Annie-Mae: I and and That’s another thing like it’s I did not know how to green screen before this happened. I was very like the timing of when all this went down. Um, I had I was, like, part of me knew something was coming. I don’t know, because I had already started moving some things online. Um, I had already gotten my streaming service because I was doing online lessons like, um, specific topics where performer can say, like, rather than a like a who last won a one or a one on one. Um, you know, personal private lesson. But like, Oh, I wanna learn specifically about, um, how thio submit for casting in the way that will get me most likely booked. I’ll spend $5 on this online video that an eBay put out and you know, So I already started putting those together, and I already had my streaming service set up, and we have lots of people in our community that maybe they we collect kind of chronically ill people here. I don’t know if you’re brutal community this, but we have lots of chronically ill people where they’ll plan to go to a show and then that night. They just can’t get out of bed because they’re hurting too bad or they have a flare up or whatever. And so they they don’t want to spend money on a ticket, not knowing if they’re going to feel well enough to go. So I started recording and streaming the shows so that people who were sick or didn’t or maybe have, like, crowd anxiety and didn’t want to be in a theater but wanted to see a show. They could watch the show from home eso I had already started, like figuring out how to do that right before all this hit, and, um, and then the very last show we had in person was March 14th. So, like the next day, everything shut down here. And so there were many people that day that said, We’re not comfortable coming out, even though we have tickets and I said, It’s fine. I’ve got a camera set up. You can watch it at home like Hi, guys. I know you were supposed to be here, but shit. Scary. So, like, here’s recording. Um, so I I don’t know if I had some sort of e S p and I knew things were gonna be online, more online or if I but, um having already set some of that stuff up was very helpful in the transition, making it easier.

[00:28:05] Violet: I I think that that’s really awesome of you to to think about the people who don’t come to your shows and why they might not be and how to reach them. Especially like people with anxiety. And I know that that’s an issue that’s plaguing more and more and more people all the time, and I for I have anxiety issues, but they kind of come and go. I feel like if I’m like, totally prepared to be out in public and whatever that preparation looks like, it could take all week or it could take all day. But like if I’m prepared to go out in public, I can handle it for a little while. But if things get like too loud or if somebody is too drunk, or if someone’s like asked me a really personal question, I like suddenly start in this anxious downward spiral and I’m like, Okay, I’m going to start backing away and maybe like

[00:29:02] Annie-Mae: and enjoy the show when you’re in that state.

[00:29:04] Violet: Yeah, and maybe like the Irish. Good bye. So I feel like, um, for me, being on stage is great because I don’t have to deal with any of that. I’m just on stage is the perfect place for me, Really. And so I do think about that with everyone else. And when I’ve set up events just being really courteous about their space and making sure there’s going to be enough for everybody even before, you know, we had to do 6 ft apart. So I think it’s really, really sweet when and anybody can think about all of those issues that people may be facing because e think, ah, lot of people who are drawn to creative things are really sensitive and therefore may actually have the tendency to be more anxious and a crowd.

[00:29:53] Annie-Mae: Yeah, for sure. Um, yes, creative people and I, like we’re less specifically, collects people with, um with health issues, and I think it’s because we’re creative and we want to perform when we want to be on stage. But we only have this much energy to do it. And so a burlesque act is the perfect amount of time to do Ah, whole theatrical production when you might not have the spoons. Thio, you know, do, ah, 45 minute concert or be in a stage play or a musical because you don’t have the energy to do it. And but burlesque. Because that outlet where I have 3 to 5 minutes or however long it is and then I can sit down and rest. But I still get thio, you know, express and and touch people and move people. And that’s so so and I’m fine. Like I just I started participating in the Disabilities Festival this year, produced by Minda May And, um, it’s, you know, specifically for people, burlesque performers with various disabilities, both mental and physical, And so, like working with them and thinking about, like, how doe I make the stage more accessible for performers. But how do I also make the audience more accessible as well? Eso Before we shut down, we got a a SL interpreter, um, for the show so that are deaf community could come to the show. And you know what hilarious jokes. I’m telling, um, when I’m emceeing on and, uh, you know, we’re just trying to make it. We’re less more, not just acceptable but like accessible. Oh, there’s a lot of stigma behind burlesque that they’re like, Oh, people here they’re like I don’t know what it is or they’re like Oh, it’s classy stripping or oh, I I’m religious. I don’t like I don’t like bodies being on display So that’s not for me, you know. And so it’s just kind of like I want people to see all the things that were less can be and they can’t see those things if they literally don’t have access like I’m deaf. I don’t know what you’re saying or I don’t have a car. I can’t get to the show, but I do have a WiFi connection. So if you can let me stream the show, I can watch the show. Um, you know, So it’s just a matter of I call it, I call it I’m an evangelical evangelical of burlesque. I am spreading the good word of burlesque. You know, like, um, I feel like the more people see and the more people know about it, the more they will love it and want to continue to support it or be involved in that themselves. But There’s so many barriers keeping people from experiencing for us that I’m like, Let’s tear those well sounds Let’s let’s get this in front of people.

[00:32:47] Violet: I really love that. So I was just thinking, Well, you mentioned a couple of things that there’s this. There’s absolutely a stigma around burlesque. There is also a stigma around and like any kind of disability. Um, so yeah, like being thoughtful enough, knowing Okay, in my position. I know that people have all these ideas about it, and there are barriers from between me and these things that I really need access to and the same for any other person in a position where they have a stigma surrounding them, whether they are HIV positive or they’re in a wheelchair, like there’s all kinds of things that they you know around them, that people who are much more privileged would never consider. So it’s really great because we are in a position where people scrutinize this really, really heavily that were more sensitive to those things and can really be aware of that. And I love that how much awareness you always air bringing to the stage and to your shows and your festival.

[00:33:56] Annie-Mae: That’s another reason why I’m very appreciative of what you guys were doing. A velvet revue. Because by creating this this platform, you are ringing another way for people to see what we’re doing. Um, and I love that, you know, it’s not. You have so many different kinds of people on the Velvet revue like there’s no just like, Oh, we’re only this type of burlesque And that’s what we dio and like me when I’m scrolling through I’m like, This is great This is amazing, like the the It’s kind of what I put my All of my productions are very much a variety show because rather than having a troop where it’s the same people with the same, like where we’re a cabaret style trooper were a classic bump and grind sell trip where everybody does similar things. I’m like, Let’s get a grab bag. So if one person shows up and it’s like, Well, I don’t like classic burlesque, I think it’s boring, But there’s only one of the sex, and the next act is me in a chicken head. You know, there was all that. This is what I like, or, um, I don’t really like the really central sexy. Uh, it makes me uncomfortable. But that Penis doing point ballet. That’s hilarious. I love that. You know, um so, like, it’s I’m just trying to show people that burlesque is so many things and there is a place for everybody both in the audience and on stage. There is a place for people to see themselves or to appreciate or be moved. And with velvet revue, you’re creating your your lowering one of those barriers because people are able thio, they’re they’re familiar with streaming services. They’re like, Oh, I have Netflix. This is comparable to that. I understand how this works. Um, it’s not, um like, ooh, scary. Only fans like I don’t know what I’m going to run into, you know, like people of all different walks of life are going to be drawn to velvet revue because of what you’re doing. And it’s just I’m very honored to be a part of it.

[00:36:03] Violet: Thank you for saying that I’m gonna not cry on camera right now. No, I’m not gonna Oh, my God. Hold on, though. No, that was really sweet. Thank you. Um gosh. And the thing about Velvet revue, too, is that we had to decide really early on, like who the artists were going to be, how we would reach them and like it’s been really crazy figuring out how to recruit people and like changing modes from Okay. First, we have to build this thing that people would want to be a part of them. We have to build a program that people would think that they could accomplish, and we weren’t sure about, like how we would decide who would be part of it. And I Eventually we just said if they apply and they upload a video and it’s a complete routine or a performance art video and it’s a complete that somebody could sit and watch it beginning to end and like that’s the whole thing, Then I guess that’s it, because it’s not up to me to decide what’s entertaining for everyone either. And I felt like if we if it was to curated that we would be shutting out not just artists but supporters on bond like that, there was almost I was like, Well, there’s kind of no point in trying to create your own platform to be able to like, showcase all these things and then be so choosy about what gets showcased. So when it comes to the premier shows, for example, we do choose what we think are the best. But a lot of times it’s the best and again air quotes. If you’re just listening and not watching our video where by the way, we look super sexy, both of us. If you’re not watching this podcast interview, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Yeah, my boobs

[00:38:01] Annie-Mae: were up here. Then I had a baby and I went, Oh, but

[00:38:06] Violet: they’re so big and beautiful, so big

[00:38:09] Annie-Mae: and beautiful. Oh, I’m OK,

[00:38:12] Violet: but yeah, we didn’t want to. We didn’t want to shut people out. And, um, I sort of lost my train of thought because I got stuck on boobies, but we just wanted for oh, yeah, for the premier shows that it’s more based on that. The size of the video. It’s not a vertical video with a cell phone. It’s like fills the screen for someone, viewing it at home to really be able to appreciate it, and that the quality of the video is the best. Like that you know what’s That’s really what we’re choosing. And then from those people saying Okay, well, this is really different. This is really different. And then, like whichever one’s just happened to stand out the most from the crowd, that’s how we’re choosing them. So it’s not based on, like our own preferences. We really try to eliminate our own bias from that process of choosing videos for the premier shows. Because if not a premier show for me to watch, it’s a premier show for all these other people to watch, and I don’t know what they like. I want to give them a little bit of everything, just like you know what you said with your variety shows, too. I think

[00:39:21] Annie-Mae: that, ah, lot of, um, but audience members and performers don’t really grasp if they have not produced their own show the amount of crazy thought that goes into picking who’s in a show. And I think part of part of the issue in burlesque communities is that because our art is our bodies and is our like, it’s very personal. If someone doesn’t choose your act or isn’t a fan of your act, you feel like it. They’re not a fan of you because it’s so much of you poured into it. And, um, there are so many things that go into deciding what goes into a show both on stage and virtually that it might have not have anything to do with you or, you know, And so I I want to encourage, um, people who are interested in performing to know that your artists valid do you art For art’s sake, Um, if somebody be a casting director or an audience member doesn’t care for it, then that wasn’t for them. And that’s okay. And you are not any less ballot for doing something that maybe was just for you. You know, Um, but as a production manager or a casting director, we do have to consider what people are going to find entertaining or high quality video or all of that. So by saying this isn’t right for my show at this time, we’re not saying you suck. We’re saying this isn’t that it doesn’t fit in what I’m trying to curate right now, But don’t stop what you’re doing. Like they’re they’re this. What you’re doing is for someone, someone is going to appreciate what you’re doing. It’s not perfect for what we’re doing right now, but that does not mean that it is not amazing, incredible work. It does not mean that we don’t like you as a person or we we think you’re you’re not talented. It’s just, um, art, for art’s sake is one thing, and it’s great and should continue to happen. But as a business, a show business person, we have so many other factors to consider that maybe this particular thing isn’t right for what we’re doing. Maybe you have a phenomenal act, but you filmed it on your cell phone vertically, and it doesn’t match the rest of the show. Or maybe, um, you have a a great act. But we’ve already cast someone doing the same song, and we want to save it for another show. So you’re not doing the same song in the same show or, um for specifically for, like, the nerd less festival, which we’ve we’ve postponed again. So another year, Um, the what I’m trying to put together for the festival is very specific. Um, it’s very focused on storytelling and like, character driven acts, and, um so I’m less likely to cast a burlesque act that is just I’m wearing a cause play and stripping and the Nerd Lust Festival because I like for that. I want it to be more of a big theatrical production, but I am just a likely to say, Hey, I don’t want you in the festival for the sex But I’m going to pay you to come to a rood revue with that same act because that’s a different vibe. And, um, e I don’t think that Ah, lot of people who have never put a cast list together can really grasp their head around. Stow. There’s so many factors, and it doesn’t always mean that your acts not good. It doesn’t always mean that they didn’t like it or that. You know, there’s just so many things, and I just want people to just do your art, do it. You know what makes you feel good? Do it. And if you want to make it more marketable, you know you can ask for advice. But remember that that’s just one person’s opinion, and they don’t know what you’ve poured into it. They don’t know how the personal aspect of what you’ve done. And so you just you listen, take it with a great assault, decide if it’s worth changing anything. If you’re like No, this is what I meant it to be And it’s going to be that. And if they don’t put me in a show, that’s fine. I’ll do it for myself.

[00:43:51] Violet: Yeah, I have definitely had to tell people that, like, if somebody didn’t love their routine and not everybody is going to be, you know, the most thrilled with every single thing that they see that first of all, that’s not for them to worry about. They need to worry about just presenting themselves and being proud of what they’re putting on stage because they’re not responsible for the reaction, really, and also that you can’t you can’t be for everyone. And if you were for everyone, that would be exhausting. Um, you know, like you were not meant thio be so pleasing to every single person that we meet, and I try to let my performers know that it’s not your job on Lee to please people. It is your job to do well and be pleased with your own work when you step off the stage, and that’s really the most important part. Andi. Then yeah, When putting things together, I feel like I have not put together enough burlesque shows for this to have been an issue. But I have put together hundreds of fire shows and same exact thing where, um, people might have the same prop that they use. And I’m not going to put somebody dancing with a fire staff twice in the same show. If I have one person who is very good at fire fans and that music wise and everything that we’ve chosen for the night, it makes more sense for the person who’s best at that prop to do that prop. That’s what’s going to happen. And then you have to do something else. And then, like the cadence of the show, needs to be good for a gnawed e inst to be paying attention the whole time. And I’ve definitely had new performers who came and worked with my company that didn’t really get it at first or maybe felt extra sensitive about it on Di did have toe be careful with their feelings, but make sure that they knew that like this is the way that the show needs to go to be different from last week, to be different from next week, to be different from the one that I know that this person saw a month ago, because I know that they’ll be there. And I’ve been doing this regularly for so long, and it’s just it’s not about like that. I don’t like that act that you put together. But we’re going to do that at that wedding show next week, and I want you to work on it more and like things like that, where it’s like, No, I appreciate everything that you do but like, this isn’t the show or you can’t do that song in this location I had somebody really upset that they couldn’t do a Kendrick Lamar song at this really high end resort, and they never worked for me again. And I was like, Okay, but, you know, like where you are, it’s just I can’t let you do that. It’s not I don’t It’s not that I think it’s inappropriate. It’s that we’ll lose our weekly gig if I let you dio your clients. Yeah, I can’t let you do

[00:46:45] Annie-Mae: that business. Yes, and that’s what I wish well, in what I could change about burlesque is that it is more like theater, the theater business where there’s there’s burlesque shows on Broadway because everybody’s like, Yeah, I’m gonna go to New York and I’m going to spend drop a bunch of money to see the best burlesque. Or there’s unions for burlesque performers and crew members and all of that that, like the like equity and SAG have for stage in theater and screen, um, actors and crew members. There’s a level of professionalism expected, and there’s levels of involvement, like there are people who are not professional actors that zahabi they do it because they love it or they’re trying toe like maybe they’re they’re trying toe learn so they can become professional. So they start in community theater and there that is valid and wonderful. And there is definitely a purpose and a place for that. And I feel like that’s that we need that kind of thing with or less where, like you have your students showcases and you know, these are the people who are learning, and it’s OK if they mess up and it’s okay if they’re not polished because you understand, like they’re just beginning and then. But if you go to burlesque on Broadway, you expect like perfection because they’re getting paid boo coo bucks. And I think that if burlesque took itself a little bit more seriously as an industry that, um and we had that like Oh, well, I’m I’m an actor People who do community theater don’t say I’m an actor. They say, You know, Oh, I do community theater You know, it’s not my main profession. I feel like there’s a lot of burlesque performers that maybe they don’t They take a class and they’ve decided, Well, I’m a professional now and I have I don’t have to do anymore. There’s no more learning for me to dio There’s no more hard work for me to dio you. I think that if you want to succeed in burlesque, you need to be able on willing to put the work in. And if that’s not your bag, you don’t feel like doing that. Then you should be, you know, keep doing it because obviously your art is valid, but you should do it more on the like the smaller show level, the the community theater level. The the you know, black box theater level. Rather than saying, Well, I’m a Broadway star because I took one burlesque classes and now I’m great, you know? Um, I think if if burlesque had that theater mentality where this is a job and not that saying, you have to be a professional to do it because you don’t. But, um, I think people, we just need to take ourselves more seriously because the people who are doing this for rial, for riel and really putting the work in they deserve to be rewarded, just like the people on Broadway or Hollywood. And, um, the people who are doing the smaller shows need to be supported as well, because community theater, it’s supported by the community. Everyone’s saying, Yeah, they’re not Broadway stars, but I’m gonna pay 10 bucks and go see these people do this thing they love because it’s worth it. And I wish for loss was more like that.

[00:50:20] Violet: Yeah, I have to say that in my short entertainment career that I have been definitely mocked for taking myself too seriously, and I absolutely have always hated that because it’s just been used as a way of saying that like, I don’t need to be paid as much or like as a way of saying that somebody doesn’t need to listen to me when I’m telling them that I have a perimeter here and I want them to step 5 ft away from it and things like that. So it’s just, uh it z odd because I usually thought that it was just because I was a woman and because I was conducting a business. Um, but it might just be like a performer thing, too, because I think a lot of performers don’t take what they are doing seriously. And I feel like if the experience that many are having with that like there firsthand experience with the performer is very flippant, that that’s the impression that they have for forever about that kind of performer. So I think like fire dancers in particular are kind of known for just being a little bit wild and just doing their thing and being really rebellious. And me as a fire dancer always kind of got called like out for being too safer, too cautious, which I don’t know what that means. But cautious in a way that made me feel comfortable for myself in my audience. And it’s like, you know, it’s just not fair for one person to, like, really influence the way that views that view carries on. So in your community in Kansas City, if you have a bunch of performers that air really not taking things seriously, maybe they’re like drinking a little too much and taking way less money than everybody else. And then the next person who comes along and they’re like, really put together and they would never drinking perform. And, you know, they’ve gotten a lot of experience. Maybe they’ve done some tours and they get treated in a certain way because like that’s the tone. I feel like it’s irresponsible and it’s not really part being. It’s not really being part of a community because your community is the people that are, you know, it’s the people immediately around you. So that’s not just the people that you work with, but the people who see you work and the people who see you when you’re off duty, too. I mean, if you live in a small community like I do, that’s true. If you live in a big city, maybe not so much. But, you know, it’s especially for women and especially in performance. You are so scrutinized. A za a fire performer. It was always like, Oh, well, they’re never wearing any clothes like, well, I’m not going to set my skin on fire, but I could set my skirt on fire. So I’m gonna wear a smaller skirt because I can’t on dfo er all the burlesque stuff like, Oh, well, they just wanna go be naked on stage. Like if I just wanted to go be naked on stage. I may have been a stripper like, long before this, if that was just what I wanted, but I actually wanted something more theatrical and had to work harder at it. So that’s why this is what I’m doing. But, um, yeah, like all of the stereotypes and things like that, That doesn’t help if the community is not like together on certain things. When it comes to, um, how you guys all behave professionally, the rate of pay that everyone is going to accept and things like that.

[00:54:09] Annie-Mae: Yeah, When I first started, um, in burlesque, I I definitely experienced that same like Who do you think you are? Why you You know, like you’re you’re with the standard that I was holding myself to, like, the professionalism. Like I’m doing it this way because this is what I feel is right. And they’re like, you know, who are you like, um and I feel like because I started in theater as an actor. Andi, I learned the ropes of performance there and what was expected of people. If you want to get cast in a show, you don’t just have to be talented. You have to be good to work with. You have to show up on time. You have to not be drinking at rehearsal. You have Thio, you know, listen to your director and accept criticism. And, um, you know, even if you don’t agree with the change that they want to make you do it because it’s your job. And, um So I came to Berlin with that mindset like, this is burlesque to me is theater. It’s not something else. It is theater. And so I treated this such And when I first started producing, um, my very first show, I you know, I wrote up a contract for my performers. And they’re like, I’m not signing this like,

[00:55:29] Violet: Oh, isn’t that the worst?

[00:55:31] Annie-Mae: And like we what? What? Because no one was doing contracts at that time. And this was years and years ago. This was like, What is this to 2013? Seven years ago, eso like at that point, Kansas City, they didn’t have contracts. It was just like, I agree that you’re in the show and you’ll get a split of whatever. And it was all verbal and, you know, no one was protected and I was like, That’s not how I roll. I wanna make sure that you know what I’m going to give you, and you and I know that you’re gonna follow my expectations. And they’re like, Who are you like? And it’s like I’m a show business person. I’m a professional. And, um, throughout the years, my contract went from one page to, like, four. Because I’ve had Thio add things as I went like, Okay, we’re not gonna let you drink anymore. It shows because I’ve had too many bad experiences or, you know, um, that, you know, that just added rules and expectations for the performers and I lost some people that didn’t wanna work with me anymore because they’re like, Well, I need to drink to perform. And I was like, Okay, that’s fine. Not in my show, like you are not any less valid. And there are people who will hire you to do that. And I will come and support you with those shows. But I have to protect my business. And so and And whenever you’re ready to do a show for me where you do not need a shot of tequila before you go on stage, you’re welcome to I will have you. I like you. I like your show. But, um, or people who would like I’ve got to be high my No, you don’t. I mean, I feel like, um, if everyone just took themselves a little bit more seriously and like you wouldn’t get drunk and go to your office job. If you treat for less like a job, then you’ll you’ll gain more respect from the people around you from the audience members. You’ll be a better performer because you know, you’re you’re focusing on your work rather than the social aspect or the oh, I’m gonna get naked in front of people in this exciting, you know. And but there’s places for that, too. That’s the community theater burlesque, you know, like, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t feel comfortable charging theater ticket prices for a student showcase, you know, or or like Oh, it’s just me and my friends. And we’re gonna dance around naked because we like it like cool. Do that. I love that I’ll come support you, but I’m not gonna pay 30 bucks for a ticket because it’s just like Broadway. You know, you’re not gonna pay 2 50 to see a community theater production of Hamilton. You goto Broadway and you see Hamilton No.

[00:58:15] Violet: Yes, correct. Correct. And I think as

[00:58:18] Annie-Mae: long as everyone just treats them like I’m gonna act professional, then I’m gonna be treated professional. And I’m gonna get paid more because I’m a professional or if I’m like, that’s not my bad, I just I’m just here to have fun. Okay, Great. That’s awesome. Don’t expect me to pay you 200 bucks.

[00:58:33] Violet: There is something that I did that I’m really proud of. And I raised the rates that I paid all of my dancers and performers, um, as often as possible and like based on how much experience they had, based on how much work they were pulling for fire shows. But when we started doing burlesque, there was somebody that came to us and they had a club and they wanted us to come and do a monthly show, and they said that what I wanted them to pay each of my dancers was outrageous, and they said, Absolutely no one is going to pay them that much And I said, Funny you should say that because I pay them that much And that was it. This idea that anybody could tell us anymore what we could and could not get paid that disappeared because I’m the person who was in charge of our productions, and I’ve set them up and made sure that we got in enough money to pay them this amount and two other people. That was ridiculous. But to the people who came to our events, it was really well put together. I sat in every single seat to see what it would be like from that seat, and we made sure that they were great production. So you do get what you pay for. And I think people were shocked at the sticker price when we sold tickets. But when they showed up, they immediately realized, Oh, I understand now because you’re not just you’re not just standing on this bar taking your clothes off. This is the whole thing because we didn’t have, like, a theater to do our shows in. We had to set up a bar, an empty bar. So, you know, people couldn’t understand why it was going to cost so much money to go into this. You know what they knew as a dumpy bar? But when they came up, it wasn’t a dumpy bar. There were Stan shins and flowers and beautiful red curtains and beautiful lighting everywhere. And an awesome V i P area. And all of a sudden it made sense to them like, Oh, that is why this is all expensive. Because they’ve created a really cool experience for us here. And we get to see these ladies take their clothes off.

[01:00:49] Annie-Mae: Yeah, Yeah, You’re not just paying for the show. You’re paying for all of the work that put to put together. You’re paying for the venue you’re paying for the stage manager who make sure things run smoothly. Your you know and these are people bearing their bodies. That’s not a small thing, you know. So people who are using their body in, which is a very personal thing and especially in American society, like in stigmatized, they deserve to be compensated. They deserve to be paid for that, even if it’s like you know, it’s a it’s a community theater thing and it’s It’s just, you know, everybody’s student showcase or something like they deserve Thio have something to get something for that because, like there’s value in what you’re doing and that I think charging more for a ticket so that you can create a atmosphere and experience is totally valid and should be done. Um, and we’re less productions should really consider that when they’re setting their ticket price like, am I setting this $30 ticket because I’m showing my boobs and my boobs are worth it, or because I have put together this experience, You know, um, and you can put together a theater experience in a bar you can’t and so if and I think really, you just need toe know your show and know if what you’re doing is if you’re putting the work into warrant that much, you know, higher ticket price than charge it for sure.

[01:02:35] Violet: And where we live, everything is really expensive. And so getting our costumes and making everything was really expensive. And so we were right in line with, like everything else around here, because, like if you go out for a burger, your burger is expensive, it’s in the Caribbean. So there was a lot of things like for the cost that, like I would have made it more affordable for everyone if I could have but like, that’s just what it cost. But no way, I was actually I was very impressed with myself because I don’t have a theater background. Um, and I had never learned any of this stuff. I just kind of really observant. And whenever I watch movies or watch music videos or would be on other people’s events, I would always take note of things that I liked and didn’t like the effect of certain things because I kind of had it in my head from years ago that I would love to have a nightclub um it was a rumor in my family that my grandfather owned a nightclub before he met my grandma. And it might just be like in my blood, so I don’t know, I really wanted to. So I was always looking at those kinds of things when I was out, and I think that that helped me put everything together. But for someone with very little experience and all of the things that I’m doing, I have to say, I feel I feel very accomplished. You

[01:04:02] Annie-Mae: are, You are,

[01:04:02] Violet: and some people’s

[01:04:03] Annie-Mae: brains air just wired. Thio manage production. Um and so maybe you didn’t have a theater, your background, but your brain is just like I know how to make this work. Um, I know that it’s not just calling up, you know, six of my friends and doing a show. There’s mawr involved, um, in organizing and all that stuff. And, um, yeah, I think a lot of ah lot of people try to put on shows when they’re not. Their brain doesn’t work that way, and they’re just like, Oh,

[01:04:34] Violet: it just be fun. And I’m

[01:04:35] Annie-Mae: like, Cool. That’s a community theater. But for the people who are like detail oriented, like you and I. Where you know, You’re saying Oh, that works. That didn’t work. I know the I need Thio. Put up red curtains. I need to put flowers up. I needed to do all this. You know, the smaller details to make something extraordinary. Um, that that’s a that’s a service in and of itself that is worth compensating. Um, so people should pay more for a show like that because they’re not just paying for for the performers, they’re paying for everything.

[01:05:10] Violet: So one thing that I did with Coral Fire Cabaret in order to make sure that people who were brand new to burlesque would be able to get involved is we have group routines and, um, we will teach them, like, once they’ve been performed with our core members, that then becomes a workshop. And then anybody who takes the workshop and learns the routine can come and be in a show, and we can do that again. And we have a couple of variations that we can dio, and we can change up the costuming color depending on how many people we have. But we built that in right from the beginning, we knew that we were always going to have these group routines that would really unite us and then also help brand new people come and be comfortable to start doing burlesque and just like a really easy way in

[01:06:06] Annie-Mae: on that. I really have a troop. I dio I kind of do that with Kid Ning, people who are like, I’m really interested. I don’t You know, I want to get involved. How do I I say, Well, here, let me give you this kitten spots you can see, um, what it’s like, what it feels like to be on stage and whatever you know, makes you feel sexy. What it feels like backstage. Like what? I expect backstage and and the behaviors And you know, all that stuff. And then if you’re like, I like how this feels like how the show is run, then we can talk about, you know, getting you started in your own performances. Um, but, um yeah, group numbers. I’ve always loved group numbers, but I don’t have a troop, so I’m just I’m just like I get really excited when I goto other shows and people have put together Group numbers because people don’t understand how hard it is to get a group of people to together to practice and do things. And I’m like, Yeah, I did it.

[01:07:02] Violet: We weren’t even all in the same place for all of the time. So we had to do a lot of video stuff. Um, so much video stuff. But it worked out. I think that we were a little bit out of sync, Um, the first time that we did it. But also, the funny thing about the stage that we were on is once we got our curtain set up in the back of the stage, we had much less room, and I was really worried about kicking a trust and knocking something down completely or getting my It was a chair routine. So at one part, I totally messed up because my body would not permit me to do the thing with my foot. Right, because my brain was so worried about pulling the curtain down when I came down. So it actually looks pretty fun in the video because it goes the front row back row. But like my hesitation worked for the choreography magically in that moment, I don’t know. I just trusted it. But when I watch it, I’m like, this is so funny. I was so worried about taking everything down with May. A lot of work we did on I think that the chair routine was a lot easier than, like, a full on dance routine because we did like a jazzy flapper number with, like, a hip hop vibe. And that was far more complicated. And we had these little feather fans on belts. So there was, like, the timing of untie ing and like, flicking the fans open, we could never get it at the same time. So we ended up going 123 which is perfect. So

[01:08:40] Annie-Mae: having props to anything is you’re always gonna be like I don’t know if this is gonna work so good for you guys.

[01:08:48] Violet: Oh, thank you. Yeah. Anything. Anytime. Something didn’t work. I was like, Okay, what can we dio? What will work now? Let’s make it look great. Like it doesn’t matter if it z really part of the fun for me of the group choreography. Is that like I’ll come up with something and I may be able to teach it but guaranteed By the time I start teaching it, somebody will, like, get something wrong and wrong and air quotes again different. And I’ll say, Oh, wait, actually, I kind of like what you just did better. Let’s just will use what you think we should do here or I’ll even leave a space blank and say Like I just thought that you guys could tell me what you want to do for this part and I love I love directing everyone, but I really like taking the little bits and pieces and like weaving it in so that it’s all of ours.

[01:09:42] Annie-Mae: Yeah, and that’s that’s great because I mean, like you said, like getting people started. It’s easier when you have people upon their stage with you because you’re like it’s a group effort. Everyone’s not just staring right at me. It’s a nice way to ease people in. I think it’s a really great idea.

[01:10:00] Violet: I think also getting even from beginning people saying that like Okay, well, your ability is at like this level, but like that doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. I will come down to your level so that we can all look good and look the same, and I think it it’s really nice for them. They feel really supported and, like, taken under a wing in that way. But then, by using what they’re good at or what they’ve contributed, they really do have, like, the sense of ownership that for me as like a troop leader, show director, producer, company owner that I need from them because it’s that’s the commitment, you know, like I need to know that you’re going to show up. And if you can’t show up to every practice, I need to know that you’re watching the videos. I need to know that you’re still going toe by your costume stuff on time. I need to know that you’re going to like, you know, show up when we are doing the dress rehearsal at least and like need like you have a control thing. I have a control thing, but I really I feel good about letting go of the control all the time, and I’m constantly looking for team members that I am good, like with delegating things to them. So they’re like the people who are the most committed, the most motivated and sure things happen and like we can’t all always be on time and whatever. But, like, I know that they care so much that when it’s like one practice gets missed, it’s not like the end of the world to me. I’m not like pouring sweat, wondering if everything’s gonna fall apart like I can trust them that like Okay, well, they’ll be there next week or they’ll revue it at home and it’s going to be fine. And I love that. I, like, feel like if we can all trust each other with a group routine that that’s really like what makes you a team? Well, Annie May I wanted to throw in one thing that just popped into my head. And you mentioned before that you had brought a SL interpreters into your shows, and I wanted to know if you speak sign language or if you just wanted to, and I remember you saying something to me early on about um, wanting to be an SL interpreter. Um, I don’t know if you like, have a death loved one or anything like that, but I just wanted toe ask you.

[01:12:24] Annie-Mae: I I don’t I I did take a ASL in college of a couple of semesters. So I am not fluent. I know a little bit, but I always loved learning ASL and being able to communicate with with hard of hearing and deaf people s so like my dream job. If I had money, I would go back to school and get, um, in ASL interpreters license. And I would love to be the ASL interpreter for, like, theatrical productions, like when You go and see a Broadway show on the night where they have the ASL interpreters over to the side. Because I you know, I’m an actor. I’m also a clown and, um, ASL. So because you don’t have tone of voice, so much of your communication is with facial expressions and so you it’s really like it’s clowning. It’s you’re conveying the emotion with your face because, you know, there is no sarcasm in ASL. You have to show it on your face. And I It’s just something that really speaks to me as performer and as wanting to communicate, be able to communicate with more people. Um, eso while I have a little bit of, ASL just took two semesters in college, and then I didn’t have any more opportunities to learn or money. Toe learn. Really? Um, but, uh, there is a, uh, the Kansas School for the Deaf, which is just across the state line for me. Um, is really, like, huge resource for our document ity here in the area. And so we have people that have moved here specifically to go to that school like they have a deaf child. So they’re like, Oh, we need a good school that specifically for deaf Children. We’re gonna move, you know, so that they could go to the school. So we have a very large deaf community in Kansas City, and I was like, um, I’ve always wanted to have an answer on corporate er, but I’m like, I can’t pay them there. So you know, like they’re worth There are Price, and I know that I don’t have that. And I was very lucky that one of the teachers from the Kansas School of the Deaf attended one of my shows and said, I really love your show. Have you ever thought about having an interpreter is like Yes. I just can’t like I don’t have it in the budget right now. And they said, Well, I love your show. And, um, my girlfriend is deaf, and I would love to bring her, but, you know, you know, I and I teach you the Kansas School of Deaf in exchange for tickets for me and my girlfriend. Can I interpret for you? So, like, I worked out a trade with this person that, like, dream come true. I got to have the interpreter, um, way before I was ever possible budget wise to do so, Um, And like, do people here in the community or so a lot of my crew, um, our volunteers that just in exchange for seeing the show, I will run the merch table, or I will usher, um, or all its interpret, you know. And so I’ve gotten the Rood revue and burly Q community really is a family. Um, whenever new people come to the show, I’m like, Welcome home. Welcome to the family. You know, you were gonna be on a first name basis, every you know, even if you showed up here alone, you’re you’re gonna have six new friends um, you know, everybody is very, um we’re just in love with each other where we take care of each other and I’m trying. I think that’s why the virtual shows aren’t working. Well, because, um, that sense of family isn’t there anymore, like community. And like everybody coming together to make this great thing and because when when you’re an audience member that loves the show and you’re like, I helped make this happen because I tor ticket stubs, you know, whatever it is, um, and they feel a sense of accomplishment as an audience member because they help make it happen. And there, that’s not there anymore. Because virtually I’m it’s just me pushing buttons and slide and things, you know. And they’re like Esso. They can only help monetarily by purchasing a ticket or tipping. And I don’t know if you know this. There’s a pandemic and people don’t have money for my ticket. So they’re like, I can’t I can’t volunteer anymore. And I don’t have extra cash to spend on this. So, like I can’t do it. And trying Thio find that that family again, in a virtual way, is it’s a struggle. But I think things like Velvet revue are really gonna help us. E think this is our new normal. Really? I

[01:17:28] Violet: think I’m

[01:17:29] Annie-Mae: gonna have to figure it out, you know?

[01:17:31] Violet: I mean, there’s no reason even if we can kind of go back to the way things were a little bit before I mean, there’s no sense and not reaching a greater audience digitally beyond where you live because that had really occurred to me was like I’ve said it in this episode and so many of them really that, like I was really isolated here and not able to go and experience things, not be able to expose other people. Thio my performances. So a part of velvet revue was just like, Well, everybody has that right. You’re always outperforming, so it’s where you can get to by train or if you have a car, depending on where you live. You know, if you’re in a city, maybe you could just subway everywhere, But I think most people were just working in their immediate area. And so with all of this, you could reach somebody on the other side of the country that has never heard of you before, and It’s just such a great way for us all to grow our audience is because by like coming together as a collective with velvet revue, you expose yourself to everyone else’s audience.

[01:18:40] Annie-Mae: Yeah, and I think a lot of people that are amazing, professional, wonderful performance will never be big because they have a day job or Children or something that keeps them from traveling to perform. And so they’ll Onley ever be in their little microcosm were less community of where they’re at. But if you are selling tickets, Teoh, a show that was filmed in Kansas City to people in Seattle. You know that you’re you’re you’re getting bigger. You’re getting, um, more exposure, more views, um, and it za mazing because, like, there are performers that I love and I like, I try to bring them into Kansas City when I can, but like I want to see more. And if all of the video stuff that we have learned from this continues, then we can start marketing our shows, too. Not just the people who could be there physically, but the people who are fans of that performer who live in Germany, you know, or whatever And so I can now, because of the all this virtual stuff, I can support my favorite performers. I can see them and shows that I would never have seen them in before because I can’t afford to fly to Arizona to see Terran garters. I can’t afford Teoh, you know, like I just I’m on my couch and I can see my favorite performers now. And I think that even like you said, when we get back to some sort of semblance of normal within person shows, I think it would be detrimental to the burlesque community To pull back from the virtual stuff is, Well, um, and I feel like the people who aren’t getting enough recognition in there. You know, big fish, small pond will really, um, really get sort of a spotlight, like, yes.

[01:20:36] Violet: Like we’re crossing our fingers on both sides of the camera here.

[01:20:41] Annie-Mae: Yes, the people that that no one’s heard of. But everyone should, because they’re amazing and hard working and professional and talented. Now

[01:20:48] Violet: people are gonna

[01:20:49] Annie-Mae: get to see them, and, um, I I think we definitely need to continue that moment even if we get back on stage.

[01:20:57] Violet: Yeah, I love. I have to say I really also love with Velvet. revue the international component because we had to decide that really early on. And that too I was like, Nope, there’s no sense If we’re gonna broaden out, why would we stick to our own country? Let’s just dio a global thing. And I was scary for a couple of our team members because of time zones. And I was like, So what if I have to do a show three in the morning, my time so that I can talk to somebody in another part of the world and they can hop in and perform live? I make my own schedule. I’m at home all the time. Now what the hell do I care? You know, I’ll go to sleep early, setting alarm. Get up, get ready. It doesn’t matter. So right now we’re doing when we do the premier shows we dio a GMT and an E S t so that people in Europe and maybe in Australia can catch the first one. And then we do a whole next one so that people in the States could do it and like it’s ah, it’s a little early for everybody in Europe and like a little late for everyone in the States. But we figured that was kind of the best way to do it for everyone in different time zones and for ourselves. So it’s it’s really fun, and we’re in different time zones right now, and I’ve had to talk to people where it’s like morning at my house and really late at their house. And I am so into that, too, and just the idea that we’re reaching so much further. It feels really good. And I would, yeah, I would never want to pull back from that at this point and have less exposure.

[01:22:27] Annie-Mae: Yeah, and as a chronically ill person who really loves to sleep, I am totally fine with, like I did a cabaret with a group in London, and so I was streaming into their show at 2 p.m. I didn’t have to stay up late and do a show like I I go to bed at eight if I wanted Thio and but I still got to do a show and like getting toe work with people that like I couldn’t I well, I was flying in headliners for my shows like You can only afford so much You can’t do that every time and you can’t do international flights. So with my virtual shows, I’m now getting to hire people in Germany and people in Italy and people in London that I wouldn’t have been able to put in my shows. I’m like, Well, this parts gray. This is

[01:23:17] Violet: awesome. Yeah, yeah, yeah, It’s so good. All right, well, I think that we’re getting to the end of the amount of time that I said that I would keep you from your busy, busy life. ITT’s Oh, my God. Yeah, You got to get back to it now. Actually, you know what? As somebody who makes their own schedule and I am a morning person, um, being able to do stuff like and just whenever I need to has been really good for me to um But yeah, it’s been thio. You got to get to Minecraft and I have to get to, like, baking butternut squash, So yeah, I cook for stress

[01:24:02] Annie-Mae: relief. I I eat for stress relief, So we’re perfect for each other.

[01:24:07] Violet: Yeah. Yes, we are. We’re a match made in absolute heaven. Thank you so much for all of your time today. And, um, you can come back on the podcast whenever you want and we’ll see you more on velvet revue. And, um, guys, if you’re listening, you definitely want Thio become a supporter at velvet revue dot com so that you can watch this awesome video interview of myself and an email allure from Kansas City. Thank you so much. Thank you. So thank you and have a great day. You too. Bye, honey. I bet you hadn’t thought before that people who are putting on strip performances could be so concerned about what’s going on in their communities or that that could have something to do with the way that they conduct their job. When it comes to things like addressing able ism in our communities or making things easily accessible to all people. It’s really up to the producers and the creators of these experiences, and this is something that lots of people in our industry are tackling all the time. That’s because these issues matter to them so much. It’s a personal thing, and also thes issues affect the people in our lives. So of course it comes into play. We’re passionate about our work, and we have normal lives and those things do come together. I was also really happy that I saw eye to eye with any about professionalism in our industry. There are many instances in which art is not seen as valid work, and when you’re a performer who’s been making your living paying your bills by performing and all of a sudden you’re not able to do your job, that makes it really, really difficult. The work was always valid, valid enough to help you get by. And now it’s gone, just like Annie May. They’ve been adapting very quickly to a rapidly changing situation with not much end in sight. And is Annie Mae and I discussed, Why would you want Thio? If you’ve enjoyed this interview, you can let me know by sending your friends are way too. Velva revue to enjoy podcast episodes, artist videos and awesome virtual events. We appreciate all of the likes and follows that you give to our amazing artists, as well as the accounts of velvet revue dot com, where we’re constantly promoting all of our brand new performers. Thank you so much for listening or watching, and I’ll see you next time

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