Search

Tag

baz luhrmann

Interview with Delysia LaChatte

delysiapurple
Delysia LaChatte, the “feline fatale of burlesque,” is throwing a Belle Époque-inspired event on Thursday. I was able to ask her a few questions about her inspirations, career, and the naughty association behind her name.

1) How did you come up with your name (pronounced De-li-see-yah La-Shot)?

I have my icons like Eartha Kitt and Josephine Baker (who was in love with all things French), and I wrote out a couple of different names that I liked from stories and books. One of the books, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, had this character named Delysia Lafosse, and I loved the way it rolled off the tongue. And I didn’t want to just be called “the cat.” There are a million cats in burlesque. So I decided I wanted the French word for cat… which is also… I didn’t realize how naughty “La Chatte” it is. (She laughs.)

So it also, conveniently enough, has a double association.

Yes.

What got you interested in burlesque? And how did you get started with it?

The first time I ever heard of burlesque was when my mother told me about the movie Gypsy starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood. We watched it together. I later taped it and often watched it as a pre-teen. I loved the idea of glamour and creating something out of nothing. I could relate to Rose Louise aka Gypsy in the movie, because she was the average one in the family. Not the beautiful one. Not the one with any huge talent. I was shy. I still am shy, and I dreamed of having a life where I could be that confident superstar on stage. I hadn’t thought of it in terms of burlesque back then because I had no idea that people still did it. But I used my drawings as my creative outlet. I would draw beautiful, colorful, confident sexy women all the time. And now I get to be any one of those drawings.

What are some of the things you deal with as a female performer of color in the burlesque community? Any positives? Negatives?I feel like it can be a gift and a curse. I think being a woman of color in burlesque makes you stand out. The same goes for plus-sized performers. It makes you special. I also feel that although there are so many of us on the scene, we get booked less for large scale events. It is my dream to be in the position to create these events that get us lots of attention and pay very well.

What is it like to produce your own work?

First, I started by producing with a group of my closest friends. We started a theater company called Stage of Fiends. I was the burlesque branch. Then the company split. They started to do more plays and cabarets, and I became a lone producer. I recently started co-producing again with other performers, but I also felt it was time for me to go out and do it alone. I didn’t want to compromise my ideas or have to depend on anyone, which is how it is to co-produce. It’s great because you have someone to talk to, bounce ideas off with and support, but at the same time if you have a complete vision it’s hard to make that happen. I will definitely co-produce again, but I needed one thing that is all me.

Tell me about your latest event, La Chatte’s Meow.I’ve been dreaming of doing this show for years now. La Chatte’s Meow is all about my dreams of burlesque, magic and side shows. This theme is based on Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, one of my favorite movies. It is the epitome of everything French, sexy and magical. We have some dragulesque performers like Markko Donto (La Wolverinna), who is amazing. It’s hosted by World Famous Bob and starring some of my favorite people and performers: Raquel Reed, Velocity Chyladd, Apathy Angel, and Stormy Leather, to name a few. There will also be tarot card readings, contortion, can-can dancers, a magician, and a human carpet! You name it, I want it to be happening here! The theme of my next event will be “The Last Unicorn” meets “Legend.”

What would you say to someone who is curious about seeing a burlesque show but has never gone before?Don’t be afraid to make noise! Hoot and holler when you see something amazing. We will not be offended.

La Chatte’s Meow is on Thursday, July 18th. For more information about Delysia and La Chatte’s Meow, visit her website: www.delysialachatte.com/

Things “The Great Gatsby” told me that didn’t require reading the book.

Book to movie adaptations never measure up to their paper-bound counterparts. And nor should they be. Comparing books to their movie forms always boils down to apples and oranges. And the latest film version of The Great Gatsby is one crazy bedazzled-ass orange.

Here’s the stuff I got from this movie that my AP English teacher could never get right:

1. Anachronisms, fuck yeah!

The Great Gatsby takes place in the Roaring Twenties™. Which means that Speakeasy dancers are twerking, flappers are wearing blue nailpolish, and party goers are doing the Charleston to Jay-Z’s greatest hits. The mishmash of then and now is equal parts titillating and nauseating to take in.

2. Sublety is for losers.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of prose in The Great Gatsby was all about subtext. The best person to bring this nuanced tale to life was Baz Luhrmann, of course.

Seriously.

It wasn’t just the cinematography that is heavy handed (more on that later). The film (also co-written by Luhrmann) utilizes a framing device, flashbacks, narration, and text that literally spells things out for you on the screen. The framing device with Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is the worst offender. Nick sporting a five o’clock shadow and a faux-rumpled suit as he speaks to his therapist about Gatsby is hokey and unnecessary.

No. Just no.

3. Jumpcuts are so in.

In my post about Liz and Dick I talked about the “cinematic whiplash” I could get from short scenes and the haphazard editing that made them. I was wholly unprepared for Baz Luhrmann… well, being Baz Luhrmnan.

Not that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with his style of cinematography. It’s unique and definitely adds a flair to the lavish parties and vibrancy of New York City. What threw me off was its inconsistency. There would be long set-up shots in the Baz Luhrmann style, followed by scenes that appeared “normal.” The back-and-forth of it took me in and out of a story I really wanted to enjoy.

4. The House of Carter ain’t no Simon and Garfunkel.

At first I thought the contemporary music in Gatsby was cool. Like, Marie Antoinette cool.

https://lettersfromthemezzanine.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/6047d-marie-antoinette-original.jpg
What?

Rap music is a great parallel to the jazz music of Gatsby’s time. Jazz was the popular music of that decade, originated by African Americans and co-opted by white people.

240113-macklemore

But as Jay-Z song after Jay-Z song accompanies the party scenes—no, every scene—with little attention to storytelling, it all becomes tiresome.* Not even a nod to Mrs. Carter herself with her cover of “Back to Black” and a cover of her own “Crazy in Love” can save things.

5. Carey Mulligan is a boss.

Daisy is a challenging character to play. In the novel, she is seen through the lens of Nick’s narrative and Gatsby’s desire. As such, she can be viewed as a spoiled brat, a survivor, and everything in between.

Carey Mulligan’s performance does all of that and then some. She’d laugh and joke with a childish voice, and then immediately take command of whatever group she’s in like the lady of the house she’s become. Mulligan’s ability to portray innocence and cynicism, fragility and strength throughout the film is awesome to see.

Bonus points go to Isla Fisher (who should have been used more) as Myrtle, Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker, and Joel Edgerton as a disturbingly good-looking Tom Buchanan. With so many great actors and performances in The Great Gatsby, I’d love to see a cut of this movie that had a more streamlined edit.

*The Music Supervisor of Gatsby did a piece for The Hollywood Reporter about the song selection for the movie. While his reasoning makes sense, the translation to film is still hit-or-miss.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: