Competing for the Crown: Sweetpea (BHoF 2013)
The sensational Sweetpea has answered my 2013 pre-BHoF Q&A, and she will take to the stage in a matter of days at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2013. I put something lighthearted and fun together this year, and requested some extra ‘media’ from each contender.
When I’m on stage, I feel… as though I get to inhabit the grandest version of myself, no matter what particular aspect of my personality a particular show or act amplifies. The moment before I walk out is akin to jumping off a high dive or out of a plane. The leap happens and along with it a delicious rush. Then comes free-fall, which unleashes a plethora of emotions that occur simultaneously: rise, thrill, fright, arousal, passion, and more. Time slows. I take things off, and everything in that moment is taken into me… then lovingly (and/or lustfully) offered back. When that last bump is hit or pose is held, time catches up and returns to normal, and I thank the audience with a smile and a wave as I leave. (Kind of sounds like a combination of sex and meditation, doesn’t it?)
When I’m on stage, I want the audience to feel… compelled to come along for a journey. I want them to feel stimulated, moved, and delighted. I aim for potency, for intense energetic availability to the entire room of one or one-thousand, and have the audience able to fully absorb the energies I’m projecting, allowing it to fuel whatever experience or emotions are inspired by what they see and how it speaks to them.
BHoF is special and important to me because… it is my family reunion! I am a part of a magnificent, brilliant, sexy community that is unique – even amidst competition– in its inclusiveness and support of individuals that fashion the whole. I come to celebrate this art, to be inspired by my fellow performers, and to experience the history in a tangible way (I LOVE our Legends).
I chose the act I am competing with because… it’s fierce, fun, and festive. The narrator of the act is enchanted by his girl being beyond categorisation in the way she moves and exists. The music alone makes people happy, and the shake-dancing it instigates makes me really happy.
If I am crowned Queen… I’ll immediately, 1. Shed little joy tears, 2. Make out with Imogen (fingers crossed), 3. Embrace each and every other competitor up there who is, undoubtedly, already a Queen. In the days, weeks, months ahead? Be the most spectacular representative of my title and champion advocate for the museum that I can be.
If I could speak to myself when I was a new performer starting out, I would tell myself… to keep dreaming big. Continue to create from that pure place of enjoyment, while still doing my homework, immersing myself in the rich history, and learning from the Legends. And let fabulous performances inspire, not intimidate.
Something that few people know about me… I hate olives and mustard. (While there’s a fun box full of facts for this question, I thought I’d keep it light.)
I am happiest when… I’ve had an incredible meal that followed an even better tumble.
One of my greatest strengths is… the ability to ideate and execute a vision.
My biggest vice is… having ‘Yes’ as the default answer when people ask me for favours, and then ending up with a plate that overfloweth. (Getting much better at the ‘No’, though.
My greatest fear is… mediocrity.
If I could spend a day with any woman in history, past or present, it would have to be… Anaïs Nin. I initially wanted to give a grander name, like Margaret Mead or Cleopatra. But, truth is, I found Nin’s writings at a young age and she served as a companion and a mentor. Her language and expression resonated with me, encouraging full-spectrum, multi-faceted, succulent, evolutionary, intense, and authentic living.
I if could have a superhero power, it would be… well, while I think that teleporting would be the most fun, and giving orgasm by thought alone would make people a lot less cranky and reduce the world’s problems… I’d choose being a healer.
The best piece of advice I have ever been given is… ‘Choose companions who compel your strength, make enormous demands on you, who do not doubt your courage or your toughness, who do not believe you naïve or innocent, who have the courage to treat you like a woman.’
If I could only watch one movie, hear one song and read one book for the rest of my life, they would be… Movie – Amelie, Song – Suzanne by Leonard Cohen, Book – The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
The key to show-stopping striptease is… harnessing the juicy splendour of the skin you’re in, and sharing it.
My hopes for the future of burlesque are… that it endures. That the community continues to create, produce, and perform, aspiring to greater visions and stronger ethics. That the art returns, or rather progresses, to a place to receive its value and prominence (and that artists demand theirs). That the BHoF Museum finds its new home, spacious enough to hold, protect, and display the current collection and have enough room for all of the memorabilia from legends in the making.