By Laura Smith
Go Triad/Greensboro News & Record
Every year, performer Tiger RoxXx makes a list of 10 things she wants to accomplish for the year.
“The 10th one, I call it my wild card; it’s something crazy,” she said.
“My 2007 wild card was burlesque.”
Two years later, she started her own burlesque collaborative, open to all who wanted to perform.
Feline Entertainment & Fanatique de Glam performs once a month at Artistika night club in downtown Greensboro and creates original burlesque shows based on a theme. Past themes have included “Calendar Girls” and “April Showers.” Up next is “Magical Tails,” which will satirize famous stories, myths and legends.
“It’s such a creative opportunity,” Tiger RoxXx said. “You speak who you are through what you’re doing. It gives you that opportunity to just show the world your humor or show the world your sexual side or just be out there and express yourself.”
It all began at the 2009 Greensboro Fringe Festival in January, when friends and fellow performers Tiger RoxXx and Selia d’Katzmeow Carmichael decided to form a collaborative after performing at Artistika. The collaborative component allows for open casting of performers.
“We pulled people from all over the state (18 total), whoever wanted to be a part of it,” Tiger RoxXx said. “There’s basically an open floor for anyone who says I want to be part of that show. Then we kind of work them in as we can.”
So when Artistika asked RoxXx and Carmichael at the festival to perform every month at the club, they couldn’t say no.
“We really liked that feel. It was a lot of hard work, but it’s really rewarding,” Tiger RoxXx said.
Their performances at Artistika involve singing, dancing, comedy and (almost) baring all for the audiences. While the performers strut their wild side, Tiger RoxXx and Selia serve as masters of ceremonies for the shows. Singers and musicians accompany them.
“For me, burlesque is a comedy,” performer Smokin’ McQueen said. “It’s a satire, it’s being sexy. Most of all, it’s a striptease.”
Other performers have included McQueen, who has performed on “America’s Got Talent” and recently returned from performing with a burlesque troupe in Australia (Sugar Blue Burlesque), and Michelle Deighton Fairplay (Miss Chel’le), who was on “America’s Next Top Model Season 4.”
Tiger RoxXx grew up with a history of performing as a child and gaining inspiration from performers such as Marilyn Monroe and the time period of the 1920s.
“I have always loved a time when things were simpler, when different things were alluring,” she said.
For McQueen, his burlesque fascination began somewhat earlier.
“I did my high school senior thesis on burlesque,” he said. “I became obsessed with it. I’m an exhibitionist. I love taking off my clothes, and I love performing. I love appreciating real beauty. It all fit together so perfectly for me.”
However, the group has standards that restrict full nudity. Hose must be worn, and there must be full coverage of the rear end.
“Because it portrays a message to people, some people use it as a political forum, some people use it as a comedy forum, but it always portrays a message,” she said. “There’s a lot that goes into it, and it’s a beautiful art. It allows people to be free and just be who they are &ellipses;.
“Don’t judge it till you try it. Come out, see the show and you’ll realize it’s not the average everyday routine.”