As we count down to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, let’s find out more about the eleven talented temptresses competing for Reigning Queen! I have asked each of them about their lives, personalities, preparations and plans, so that those who don’t already know them well can learn a little about them and their work, and those of us who know them better can enjoy their thoughtful and entertaining responses.
Here’s what Darlinda had to say…
If I looked you up in a twinkling, rhinestone covered burlesque dictionary, what would the entry for ‘Darlinda Just Darlinda’ say?
Mastermind of Bizarre Extravaganza!
Paint us a little picture of your everyday life and work in NY…
I’m a full time burlesque performer and producer. I teach at The New York School of Burlesque.
I live with my boyfriend, Scary Ben in a colourful apartment in Brooklyn. I love taking yoga and all the amazing dance classes NYC has to offer! I ride my bike everywhere, even to gigs! I spend my days promoting shows that I produce (Bushwick Burlesque with Heather Loop and Scary Ben, pre-tour work for Dangerous Curves Ahead:Burlesque on the Go-Go, and The Schlep Sister shows I co-produce with my dance partner Minnie Tonka.) I rehearse, sew costumes and sometimes art model! At night I’m on stage!
What would you say is your greatest strength?
I grew up doing improvisational comedy and modern/jazz dance. So at a young age I honed my improvisation skill, which is my greatest strength!
What has been the highlight or defining moment of your career to date, and also in your life overall?
Performing and teaching in Anchorage Alaska with Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go.
Can you tell me a bit about your chosen act? Why have you chosen it, is it an old trusted act, or a new routine? Have you made any special changes or ‘upgrades’ to it for BHoF?
Scott Ewalt used to play Moby Dick for me when I would go-go dance at the Slipper Room. In March 2010, he and Kenny Scharf invited me to perform at Cosmic Cavern, a black light dance party in Kenny Scharf’s amazing black light art installation. So naturally I chose the song Moby Dick and designed the costume to be black light/ UV sensitive. Deity Delgado made my cape and shimmy dress.
I chose this act because it’s one of my favorites; I get to dance, shimmy and shake under black lights (yes I dork out on the effect of those lights!) Most importantly, the act connects to the artistic community of NYC which has a huge influence on me and I’m proud to represent it!
“Burlesque is fun and inspiring, but it’s also important to remember it’s an art form that requires discipline and practice!”
You have competed before with your fellow Schlep Sister, Minnie. What has previous experience taught you – do you plan to do anything differently this year, or adopt a different approach or attitude for the Reigning Queen category?
Performing in a duo is so different, so it’s hard to compare. Right now I’m doing as much cardio as possible to shimmy across the HUGE Orleans stage! That thing is bigger than my apartment! I won’t have Tonka to help me cover ground!
Why is BHoF special and important to you? What are some of your favourite memories from past years?
This will be my 8th year attending the BHoF weekend. It’s truly become a ‘chosen family’ reunion; the legends pass down some important life lessons, we dance the nights away, soak in the desert sun and watch the best burlesque in the world!
2005 will always go down in my memory as the most influential; it was the last year in Helendale at the ranch. I spent the day cleaning the museum alongside Dixie Evans, The World Famous *BOB*, Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz and many other awesome burlesque women. That first year I really got to see how amazing the global Burlesque community is!
How would you spend your year as Queen – do you have any specific plans or goals if you win?
BHOF is all about the preservation of burlesque history, burlesque education for performers as well as educating the global community about burlesque. So I would spend my year traveling around educating the world about BHoF, helping the museum, and teaching classes!
What are your dreams and hopes for burlesque in the future, and yourself as a part of it?
2011 was my second year teaching at BurlyCon and it reinforced how important education and accountability are in the burlesque world. Burlesque is fun and inspiring, but it’s also important to remember it’s an art form that requires discipline and practice!
I want to keep inspiring people to love themselves! That’s a life goal that burlesque helps me manifest!
The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.