Sugar and Spice

Meet Director of Lady Luck Burlesque Miss Kama-Kazi

Miss Kama-Kazi is director for Lady Luck Burlesque, a creative troupe based out of Portsmouth, though they often take their spiked heels on the road. We should be grateful to them for refining an art that is probably as old as cave painting but far more enjoyable. It is both naughty and nice and unbounded by stodgy conventions. However, it’s not all glitter, pasties and rhinestones. It takes work, passion and love. So Boom Chicka Boom. Sit back, relax and be entertained. That’s why they do it.

  • Burlesque originated in the 17th century as a comedic interlude.
  • The word “burlesque” comes from the Italian word “burla,” meaning joke or mockery.
  • It grew more and more popular in the 1830s. Entire shows were filled with comedic acts, often with political satire and innuendos.
  • Burlesque was introduced to the United States in the 1840s and were called “leg shows,” where the comedic aspect wasn’t lost but more clothes were.
  • Burlesque is about tease. It has a theatrical aspect of telling a story that’s sexy. It’s just not straight-up sex.
  • When I tell people the audience is mainly women, people don’t believe me, but it’s true! The majority of men that come to a show are there with their significant others.
  • What we do draws in other women because it’s inspiring to see women being confident and celebrating their bodies and sexuality ­— and the costumes and glamour of it all is intriguing.
  • We are a group of women of all shapes, sizes and ages. And Lady Luck wants to exude body positivity and to promote a “Hey, I could do that!” attitude.
  • If you aren’t confident with your body and what you are doing, it will show on stage and the audience will see it. If you’re uncomfortable, they will be uncomfortable.
  • We are always looking for new talent. One way we find new troupe members is our annual amateur competition:“So You Think You’re A Lady, Or Gent?!” (This year it’s April 27 at the Portsmouth Gas Light.)
  • I have a 3-year-old boy. My day job is a stay-at-home mom.
  • For me, personally, when I’m performing on stage, there isn’t a better feeling than to have the audience at the edge of their seat wondering what you’re going to do next.
  • We can be hired to do corporate and private events. However, safety of the ladies is always a top priority. So we will only perform in public places.

The true origins of burlesque may be more biological than cultural, though in most animal courtship rituals, it’s usually the male showing off the plumage. Still, it was at the movies that the seductive delights of the feather boas and satin garters became mainstream. A few films to check out at the art house cinema (or Netflix) are “Burlesque” (2010 with Christina Aguilera and Cher), “Moulin Rouge” (2001 with Nicole Kidman), “Gypsy” (1962 with Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood), “Dancing Lady” (pre-code 1933 with Joan Crawford plus the team who would become the Three Stooges) or the 1930 classic “The Blue Angel” (with Marlene Dietrich, seen at left).

Categories: Q&A