I admit to being a bit biased, but I’ll go one record as saying that Tacoma has more great performers than we should given the size of our city. Personally I think it’s a combination of the city being open to just about any kind of performance you can think of and the fact that we have just enough rainy days to keep people inside being creative. Whatever the case, the Gritty City Sirens are most definitely a Tacoma original. I contacted their manager, Lisa Fruichantie and asked if she could take the time to be part of 5 Question Friday this week. Lucky for us, she accepted. Here’s Lisa:
1. What are the Gritty City Sirens?
The Sirens are Tacoma’s one and only modern day Burlesque troupe, who, from the beginning have honored burlesque’s past, while advancing the art with daring creativity. We are a group of performers that come together to showcase our varied individual talents, while introducing our local audiences to other performers, out of town guests and traveling entertainers while presenting an action packed cohesive show in a traditional vaudevillian style.
Second of all, we are a family. So much of who we are on stage is nurtured by our creative process offstage. What I enjoy is that we all participate in every act in every show, from ideas to costumes to choreography.
2. How did the Gritty City Sirens begin?
Rosie Cheex was the initial driver behind the formation of the Sirens.
She developed a passion for the art form over several years and with fierce determination she resolved to bring burlesque to Tacoma! When the time was right she put the word out, found three lovely ladies who shared her goals and enhanced her long term vision of the troupe- Ava D’Jor, Funny Face Fanny, and Polly PuckerUp joined her at that time and the Sirens were formed!
Since then the Sirens have continued to blossom with in their first year, adding to their talent Tizzy Van Tassel, Pistolita, Pretty Ricky, Kitty Kisses, Dean Jameson and Heather Hostility
3. What’s the biggest misconception about burlesque shows?
There are two misconceptions that are both quite easy to pinpoint and quite stereotypical in their general assumption
1) being that Burlesque is “new” or trendy based on a recent surge of films on the genre
2) that being a burlesque performer is a fancy word for being a stripper and that its both naughty and x-rated.
Burlesque is the art of the TEASE, its not about simply “stripping”, rather the journey we take our audience on in that short span of time while we are onstage- not the end result. Burlesque has a rich history & been an empowering art form for over 100 years. Developing acts that feature and cultivate emotional responses that our audience can connect to through comedy , longing, sadness, sensuality and confidence is not something a stripper does. If anything it’s ribald satire directed at adults.
It’s sexual acceptance. It’s a culture exploring it’s taboo. When we, as an audience, emerge on the other side, we have a better understanding of certain issues. It’s actually gratuitously funny. In the baroque era they thought it was healthy to experience a wide range of emotions at a show you might laugh, cry, be angry, be confused. It’s recreational!!!
4. If someone is interested in burlesque, how do they get started?
The best way to get started is to read the history. Go to shows, meet performers, watch videos, and take classes from established performers in your area.
5. What are you future plans for the Gritty City Sirens?
We hope to continue to revive the burlesque & vaudevillian scene for Tacoma by continuing to produce a wide variety of unforgettable, lively and entertaining shows.
In addition to take our show on the road and travel after we complete our 2nd Year anniversary this December!!!!
You can find more about the Gritty City Sirens on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GrittyCitySirens
Also the Gritty City Sirens will be performing two shows at Jazzbones on April 14, 2012. Jazzbones is locations at 2803 6th Ave in Tacoma.
Thanks to Lisa Fruichantie for joining me for 5 Question Friday. As always, if you or anyone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
- Jack Cameron