Trixie Little and The Evil Hate Monkey are an incredibly skilled, charming and dedicated burlesque super duo, and they have been entertaining us and contributing to the burlesque community for ten years. Also a couple off stage, Monkey surprised Trixie on their tenth anniversary with a marriage proposal, and I couldn’t wish them more joy and happiness than I already do. This weekend, Trixie and Monkey tied the knot.
I was very excited to hear about the upcoming documentary film about their lives and partnership, Us Naked, which has been filmed gradually over the last few years. It sounds like the perfect way to mark the tenth anniversary of such a fascinating and successful partnership. Last year, in a London park, the three of us met to talk about their life together from the very beginning…
Here is an extract from the interview, in which we discuss the upcoming film…
There is a special documentary about the two of you, Us Naked, coming soon. How did this come about – were you approached or was it something you really wanted to be documented?
T: Four or five years ago, Kirsten, one of my college professors who was one of my yoga students later on, was going to do a documentary about creative people/artists who also do yoga and how the two overlap. And I really wasn’t into that idea; I keep my yoga separate from everything else. Then the project changed and I said, ‘Well, you should come and see what we do before you get any ideas about what you think it is and then decide if you want to move forward.’ So she came and saw it and she was really excited. She said, ‘This is really crazy and wild; I think I just want to do it about you guys.’
M: It’s interesting because it’s not a documentary about burlesque, which I think is kind of refreshing, especially right now when it seems like there are a lot of documentaries about burlesque. This is a documentary about us and our life, and how we go about our life in this bohemian sort of style, with the backdrop of burlesque being there as our job. It’s been a long process. She filmed at least three years of footage and sent people to other countries with us; she’s travelled to Exotic World three times. So she’s captured a lot, stayed over at our house, watched us wake up, watched us wash our cats. [laughs] So she’s got a lot of stuff.
So how much has all this been edited down into – how long is the documentary? It must have been really hard to edit down…
M: I think it’s going to be about ninety minutes or a little bit less…
T: She was really sweet in the beginning, wanting to respect our work, so if she was focussing on a little bit of a story of us developing an act she would put the whole act in. And she would show us an edit of that and we were like, ‘Just get to the money shot; make it thirty seconds of all the best material – bing bang boom!’ So once we gave her license to just go at it like the acts weren’t precious then I think she started getting that idea of faster edits.
She’s been amazing to collaborate with because she’s really open; she really wants us to love it. She’s always showing us rough cuts and getting our feedback. We couldn’t be more lucky. Because that’s kind of the worst case scenario, right? That something goes out that you don’t feel comfortable with.
M: I think the thing that’s going to be good about the movie is that she actually did put in the time to make it a good movie. To make it a feature length film that you’re going to want to sit and watch, it can’t have boring spots.
So that’s why she has hours and hours and hours of footage and she had to get that behind the scenes stuff where it was us washing our cats, you know? Even if you see that for five seconds it makes it real; it’s like, these are real people that you can connect with. I think the fact that she saw potential in it and pushed harder to get more behind the scenes is going to pay off.
Did it feel intrusive? Did you feel slightly self conscious or did you just get used to it?
M: I just felt early on that if it was really going to be real and go where she wanted to take it we couldn’t hold back. You can tell when people are holding back on film…
T: It took me a little longer; I was really hesitant to put our relationship out there like that. I guess I’m superstitious about it too. We’ve been together ten years – that’s a long time – and I know how fragile it is and how lucky we are, but it’s a lot of work as well, you know? So I guess I just don’t like to flaunt it somehow like, ‘Oh, we have it all figured out; this is amazing.’ We definitely don’t; we’re figuring it out every day.
So are there any really tasty rows caught on camera? Is it very much the downside and the upside – highs and lows?
T: There’s a little bit. There are definitely highs and lows within our career. Developments, big disappointments, not winning at Exotic World, and just being emotionally drained and exhausted. Stuff like that you would expect. Maybe I was a little too guarded with that stuff – the fights and things.
I guess if there is any regret, maybe I should have let her into that a bit more, but I don’t think so. [laughs] I feel like having something private is not a bad thing!
Is it weird to watch yourselves going about your everyday life on film?
M: Somewhat. For the most part I actually enjoyed it.
T: It’s also because it seems like so long ago; it’s fun to see yourself back in time even though it was only three years ago.
M: Yeah, I tend to have a pretty shady memory of things to begin with; I just forget things. So it was nice to see it and re-live it and remember those moments. I’m totally excited to see what happens next…
Read the entire funny and honest 7 page interview in full in the 21CB 11/12 Print Edition – back on sale now!
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.