Jackie Wolozin, under her pseudonym Kinky Demure, took the stage at Alpha Psi Ecdysia’s (APE) burlesque show in white roller skates and gold hot pants.
“You are not at the opera,” Wolozin said. “It’s not a sit down, hands-in-your-lap kind of night.”
The crowd cheered and “Things That Go Boob In The Night,” held on Thursday, May 3 and Friday, May 4 in Parker Theatre, began.
Wolozin said the show, punning off the phrase “things that go bump in the night,” embodies a theme — fear. She said performers did not have to choose things they were personally afraid of, but were encouraged to “think outside the box.”
“There were acts about fear of death, fear of manipulation, monster acts, an act about oil as a non-renewable resource and a little bit at the end about graduating for the seniors in the troupe,” Wolozin said.
APE performer Jane Wilson’s* act extended outside of her own personal fear. Wilson’s stage persona, Ramona Lisa, was introduced as “every parent’s worst nightmare.”
“I was kind of playing on that whole parent fear and also the societal fear [of] women in control,” she said.
Wilson’s act started as an ‘innocent’ girl, dressed in a powder-pink robe, then transformed into a rebellious punk who shoved a paper clip through her lip and strutted around with a huge, black anarchist symbol tattooed on her stomach.
Wilson said she thought carefully about how she would convey this transformation, including the color scheme of her costumes (the shift from pink to black and red) and her song choice, “Cherry Bomb” by Joan Jett.
“Originally, I wanted to go with a song by the Sex Pistols or the Ramones, but I deliberately picked a female singer,” she said. “I wanted to demonstrate how society fears powerful women. I wanted to get that message across and definitely make it more of a female foundation, than just punk in general.”
Wilson said this specific APE event showcased diverse body types. She said she hopes it shows there is not one “right” size and shape for burlesque.
“Everybody’s philosophy on burlesque is different, but I kind of like to think of it as doing it the way you are,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about losing weight and then performing. I think that naturally that sends the message to be empowered by your own body.”
Wolozin said she hoped the audience had fun. She said sex can be candidly talked and joked about in public.
“I hope that [the audience] sees that everyone is in charge of their own sexuality and that being sexy has nothing to do with size, shape, color or gender,” she said. “I hope that people walk away from our shows feeling a little more empowered than they did before, but even if they simply had a good time without any of the other stuff, I will be happy.”
*The name of the source has been changed at their request for protective reasons.