I'm really excited and happy to present the first of many interviews/profiles of local Hawaii based burlesque/cabaret/drag/whateva performers! I'm really looking forward to digging a bit deeper into the minds and hearts of our kama'aina performers and sharing all of their interesting, inspiring and random thoughts with whoever cares to read this little blog.
For this first interview I have the honor of delving deeper into the psyche of one of my favorite local performers, Miss Fortune AKA Lilevilone! I feel it imperative that I also disclose that she is one of my best friends, and a burlesque compatriot in our troupe, Cherry Blossom Cabaret. That said, her talent is HIGHLY EVIDENT to everyone who has the pleasure of watching her. Miss Fortune is special in my opinion for a myriad of reasons. One that stands out to me personally is her use of drama and theatricality to engage her audience. Her face is expressive, and I've seen it transform from beautiful to fierce in the span of a 3 minute piece. She truly inhabits the characters she presents on the stage, making it that much more enjoyable, engaging and fun to watch. It's delightful to watch her, as a fellow performer it's always amazing to see a skilled performer enjoy the presentation of their art, and truly entertain at the same time.
And now, with pleasure.... MISS FORTUNE!
|The Stunning Miss Fortune AKA Lilevilone|
Q: Aloha Miss Fortune! Thank you so much for doing this interview! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Performer Name: Lilevilone aka MissFortune
Tagline: ?? Glitter happens!
Experience: I have been performing in one.way or another from the time I put a purse on my head and danced around the living room as a toddler. I followed that drive through a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and am currently considering plans for pursuing my MFA. My time with Cherry Blossom Cabaret, of which I am one.of the original members, and a member of the Board of Directors, is nearing it's 7th birthday. With the troupe I have worn many hats, from soloist, ensemble dancer, theatrical production director (Cabaret Carnivale, and Carnal Carnivale), designer, event manager, and director of Intern Development.
Affiliations: Cherry Blossom Cabaret, Bump and Grind, Vinyl Cherries, Porn and Chicken Honolulu
Skills: Acting, Creative Drama, Stage Combat (sword, rapier, dagger, whip), ribbons, asian theatre movement, butoh, jazz, modern, improvisational dance, a smattering of hula, samba, latin, and, of course, burlesque ;)
Focus/Specialty? Theatrical burlesque, bull whips, and puppets! Lol
Signature Pieces: My signature pieces are a vaudeville inspired clown piece- Mr Cellophane, Helpline Operator- a number regarding a phone-sex Operator involving the removal of 17 articles of clothing, a Mad Hatter piece, complete with sock puppets, and Whip It, a balloon number featuring a bull whip.
Q: Upcoming projects you care to share??
As a lifelong performer, I am eternally looking for opportunities for growth and to expand my skill level. I am looking forward to returning to ariel training, and adding fire to my repertoire. I also feel myself being drawn back to directing, and writing. I would like to resume work on the screen adaptation of Carnal Carnivale, the original full length burlesque musical, featuring an original music, and upwards of 15 acts, co-created with my amazing scriptwriter and Assistant Director, Ry Herman, based on concepts from Cherry Blossom Cabaret. I also have some new ideas for theatrical productions, burning in my brain. So many ideas, so few time! Lol
Q: What inspired you to begin doing burlesque?
A friend passed on a Craigslist ad, actually!
I was the first to audition for, and the third member to join, the brand new troupe, originally named Cherry Blossom Burlesque, behind Meghan Mayhem, and Lola Love. I was an avid underground club dancer, and a staff member at the long running Honolulu fetish event, The Dungeon, and the rawness, the theatrics, and the limitless personalized nature of burlesque is what attracted me to the art form.
Q: What do you love most about it? I am enamored of fusing multiple performance styles, mixing up everything I have learned, and deeply inspired by the concept of transformation, which is imbued into.all of my numbers. That, and the glitter! ;)
Q: What are your biggest inspirations/influences?
On a national level, I am deep in admiration for Dirty Martini and Chicaboom, while on a local level, the creativity, and dedication to the craft of my dear friend Violetta Beretta never fails to inspire me.
As a performer from multiple disciplines, I often find inspiration from performers from other milieu, such as the drag performer extraordinaire, CoCo Chandelier, and the uber talented bellydancer Zoe Jakes. I admire performers who use their skills to tell a story, or evoke a feeling or thought, not just empty spectacle.
Q: Where can we see you perform?
In pretty much every performance space in Chinatown! Lol. I have also performed on Maui at the historical Iao Theatre, and in San Francisco at El Rio and Kinky Salon.
Q: Upcoming highlights?
I will be performing (and teaching a workshop) at the upcoming Second Annual Hawaii Burlesque Festival on June 14 at Doris Duke, followed by our quarterly event Speakeasy on August 10th: Sizzling Summer Strip, and the end of summer Porn and Chicken Honolulu, August . In between, I can be seen swinging a rapier, dispatching zombies, and spouting Austen-ian verse as the lead role in Jane Austen Zombie Apacolypse, running the.second half of June at The Arts at Marks Garage. Rounding out the season with Naked Girls Reading Poetry event in September.
Q: What is different about burlesque in Hawaii? Anything?
I have noticed a more prevalent inclination for fusion. They do refer to Hawaii as The Melting Pot, after all.
Q: Do you think being a burlesque performer in Hawaii is challenging or easy? Why?
Hmm....Easier because people in Hawaii generally have a more relaxed body image than the mainland. Plus, we don't have to deal with freezing in a costume! Lol
Q: Has Hawaii inspired you in your work? If so, how?
How can one NOT be inspired by the beauty and the power of Hawaii, and the myriad cultures that are part of our community. In Hawaii you are surrounded by a multitude of cultures on an everyday level, from what we eat, what we wear, to an acceptance and seamless integration of facets of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc values. My Chinese Serpent piece is directly inspired by a Chinese legend. As a student of theater and dance in Hawaii, you cannot help but incorporate the rich traditions that surround you.
Q: Any funny or cool Hawaii-centric burlesque memories you care to share?
Performing on the grounds of Iolani Palace with the iconic Don Tiki was pretty darn cool. ;)
Traveling inter-island has had it's adventurous moments. Lol. Like the time Violetta Beretta and I were flying out to perform at a fundraiser at Iao Theater, as well as perform as an opening act for English Beat. As it happened, a nasty storm rolled in, and our plane got hit by lightning, and we got delayed for so long that we completely missed load-in and tech, were trying to apply make-up and lashes in mid-air while being tossed by turbulence (small glitter fiasco), had to get changed in a speeding car (fishnets are pretty difficult to pull on in the back seat- Try it with two people trying to do the same thing! ) and pulling up 10 minutes to curtain. Lol. I am.still amazed we made it! Gave the producer a minor- heart attack, I am sure.
And whenever CBC travels as a group, it is quite a sight, with the large personalities and costume pieces and props. On one particular trip, an early flight, we were all in various states of sleep deprivation, hair in curlers, with an assortment of items ranging from feather fans and headresses, to a pirate sword and crutches(don't ask!), when we were timidly approached and asked if we were a band. We laughed and replied to the affirmative. A band of merry misfits! Lol.
I'd like to thank the lovely Miss Fortune for taking the time to talk with me and share her inspration and mana'o. Stay tuned for more profiles of fascinating, scintilatting and captivating HAWAII performers! CHEE HEE!
If you'd like to find out more about Miss Fortune, please do so here: