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Leslie Zemeckis On the Feud That Fueled the Golden Age of the Showgirl

Leslie Zemeckis (Photo: Jack Guy)

Leslie Zemeckis, the author of Feuding Fan Dancers: Faith Bacon, Sally Rand, and the Golden Age of the Showgirl, which drops next week, is well-known in the burlesque world for her previous book on the life of Lili St. Cyr, and the book that started it all for her: Behind the Burly Q, which was also made into a documentary.

She followed that film with this year’s Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer, about Mabel Stark, a Jazz Age badass who—no spoiler—trained tigers. (And yes, since you’re going to ask, Leslie is married to another well-known Zemeckis.)

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Sons of an Illustrious Father Navigate the Fame Matrix With an In-Band Life Coach

Sons of an Illustrious Father. (Photo: Bradley Spinelli)

In March, at the altruistic Bed-Stuy venue C’mon Everybody, the band Sons of an Illustrious Father delivered a blistering set for a rapt audience. It was the smallest venue I’d seen them in, after three shows at 2016’s SXSW and another last summer at the Knitting Factory. Their sets swerve enjoyably between savage and tender, and this intimate look stood out as a milestone. Their multi-instrumentalism was on display and working better than ever, the band’s affable personalities and unique chemistry shone through.The fans seemed steadfast and loyal—and not just because of the inevitable fanboys/girls who stick around after the show hoping to meet Ezra Miller, also an actor best known for his turn as Flash in Justice League.

Their new record, Deus Sex Machina, or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla, dropped June 1, along with new videos and a cross-country tour to promote it, including a 16-and-up show at Elsewhere on Tuesday. The slew of new interviews prompted me to continue our backstage-at-Stubb’s conversation by asking them what THEY wanted to talk about. Josh Aubin said it was “something we’ve never been asked in an interview”; Lilah Larson quipped, “Nobody cares what we want to talk about”; Ezra Miller said, “It’s honestly overwhelming,” and asked for some parameters. The following 45 minutes included a lot of laughter and encouraged Miller to say, “I can’t wait for whatever the piece [is] that comes out of this, where you’re like—I had an entire conversation with [the band] that is off the record, that I can’t tell you anything that they said—but it was all mildly amusing.” Here are some excerpts we can print; the debate about the most famous Star Wars line has been redacted for common decency.

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Local Boylesque Revue Wins ‘Large’ At Vegas Burlesque Pageant

(photo: MC Newman)

If you’re already gearing up for the Mermaid Parade, you might feel the rush of sweat and glamour pouring back into town from one of the biggest glitter gatherings of the year: The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. Bringing home more than a yearning to eat a vegetable this year is the local performing group Boys’ Nightwho won the pageant’s award for Best Large Group. I caught up with the boys via email while they were still dazed (and likely oxygen-starved—the secondhand smoke at the Orleans Casino is notorious) from the win and the weekend. Keep Reading »

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Kat Cunning Is A ‘Curvy, Curly Queer Weirdo’ Ready For Pop Stardom

(photo: Chris Miller)

We know that Kat Cunning has a recurring role coming up on HBO—and we know what the show is—but we’re not allowed to tell you.

Last month, at the swanky, faux rich-person’s-living-room venue the Norwood Arts Club, Cunning hosted a private showcase for a rapt (and packed) crowd. Cunning’s voice is eerily specific, and with the moody, slow-danceable music, Ellie Goulding would be a quick comparison (and not a terrible one), but one could easily see her giving Katharine Whalen of the Squirrel Nut Zippers a run for her money, or sitting in with The Hot Sardines and trading licks with Elizabeth Bougerol. It’s that shift from ’20s-style back-of-the-throat to searing, modern hook head voice that keeps you on your toes and gives her music a moving, cabaret feel that feels a few carats richer than average pop. Keep Reading »

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Punk Magazine’s John Holmstrom Doesn’t Think Music Matters Much Any More

(Photo courtesy of John Holmstrom)

While binging on the new season of I’m Dying up Here, catching up on The Deuce, or even streaming A Futile and Stupid Gesture, it’s pretty easy to conclude that the ‘70s were awesome and now, “everything is the worst” (©Liz Lemon). In the ‘70s, a zine could matter, people read comics that weren’t also billion-dollar movies, and it was still kind of rebel to listen to The Ramones. And smoke weed. John Holmstrom, founder of legendary Punk magazine, is bringing all of that back—ok, maybe not The Ramones—by dropping a new zine.

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Turntablist Legend Kid Koala On Venturing Into Video Games and His ‘Totally Bonkers’ Live Show

(Photo: Corinne Merrell)

It’s hard to imagine now how groundbreaking Radiohead’s Kid A was. I’d seen Radiohead in a small Dallas club when “Creep” was hot, and ran to see them all-grows-up at MSG in 2001—but equally jaw-dropping was the opening act, Kid Koala. For music dorks-slash-turntable geeks, Kid Koala executed skillz that were technically mindblowing, while playing actual music that was swoonable for audience members who weren’t hawk-watching the camera trained on his decks.

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Danny Fields Signed the Ramones and Realized: ‘This Is a Moment’

From left: Danny Fields and Sacha Lecca. (Photo: Bradley Spinelli)

“I was the best friend of several superstars,” Danny Fields told the crowd at Spoonbill Studio yesterday, explaining how he went on to sign Iggy and the Stooges, manage the Ramones, and become one of the godfathers of punk.

Fields is a wonderful, weaving raconteur, with wandering recollections of a time when being in the right place and meeting the right people was all there was to it. Set up with prompts by Sacha Lecca, deputy photo editor at Rolling Stone, Fields started at the “beginning,” which meant hanging around the San Remo on Bleecker and falling into Andy Warhol’s orbit. His role was “kinda shadowy,” a witness to it all. “Suddenly some of us were very rich, very famous.” The Velvet Underground, Edward Albee.

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New York Burlesque Festival Will Leave a Trail of Glitter Across Williamsburg

(Photos courtesy of the NYBF and featured performers)

The New York Burlesque Festival blows into town this weekend for the amazing 15th year in a row. Did festival producers and co-founders Angie Pontani and Jen Gapay ever think it would survive this long? “I don’t think I ever even thought about it!” says Pontani. “In the beginning we were lucky to go year to year. Looking back, I can’t believe it’s been 15 years and how much burlesque has grown and changed. It’s been an amazing evolution to have a front row seat to.” Gapay adds, “I remember joking with Angie about the festival’s 20th Anniversary during the fourth or fifth year, and I don’t think either of us were expecting the scene to last this long, but I’m sure glad it has!”

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Cabaret Star Lady Rizo Has A ‘Sneaky Way to Fire Up Activism’

Watching New York nightlife, it’s always wonderful when a performer you admire and enjoy goes from scrappy potential to screaming success. Lady Rizo, an inspiring singer and hilarious re-contextualizer, appears back at Joe’s Pub this week with victory in her step to celebrate the release of her new album, Indigo, which at first spin runs the gamut from Broadway tunes to Kurt Weill to neo-soul to a noir soundtrack.

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Absinthe and Jazz Party Dispels the Green Fairy’s ‘Strange, Outlandish Reputation’

The Red Room above KGB— the former black box that you were probably dragged to by college friends doing DIY theater in the early aughts— has become a swanky, prohibition-themed bar. Every bit as tuxedo as the KGB is shirtsleeves, it boasts warm lighting and art deco details, with a tiny stage and a copper bathtub. “The Green Fairy” event showcases a monthly absinthe tasting paired with era-appropriate entertainment: August’s episode features live piano by Chris Johnson, absinthe history by Kellfire Bray, and Nelson Lugo on the Victrola during breaks. Ticket prices drop for those in “vintage, evening wear, unmentionables or intimate attire,” encouraging you to help create the ambiance.

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