Stealing Time with Villainy Loveless
Lover, fighter, professional tease? How to argue with some who introduces herself with this description?
Villainy Loveless has been lovin', fightin' and teasin' the Vancouver burlesque scene as a featured performer and booking other great talent.
Sexlife Canada spoke with Villainy about her inspirations, the popularity of burlesque and her chances with my mom (I'd say chances are good).
SLC: How did you get into Burlesque?
VL: I actually started off performing in fetish-based shows in Victoria. I was doing some fetish fashion modeling and dungeon floor shows in a live art installation style, where we would set up and show curious kinksters how to play with certain toys. I even did a live knife play set. In collaboration with this same group of people we also did a "grinder stage set" which saw one of my girlfriends in a quarter inch steel breast plate yielding a circular saw. She would grind the saw down herself and create a steam of sparks. We'd each then strut into the spray of sparks and striptease. This act actually landed us a spot with Ron Jeremy when he came through town on tour. Around this same time I was also thinking about joining Suicide Girls, so when I found out they were coming through town with a burlesque show, I went and checked it out. It was my first experience with "burlesque," my previous striptease experience lying only in mainstream strip clubs, and my bedroom. I was titillated and excited by the alternative nature and variety of body types offered up during the show. However I was, in all honesty, disappointed in the calibre and strength of the performances. So I thought to myself, "Well, if you think you can do better, lets see." And here I am, all these years later, still performing and loving it.
SLC: What is your burlesque style: classic, modern, mix of both or something different altogether?
VL: I've honestly never understood the need to define myself too strictly. My personality, music tastes and aesthetic lend themselves to more modern routines. However, that doesn't mean I won't bust out something kitschy or a gown and gloves. It really depends on what music inspires me, I usually create my acts based on that. So I'll say modern with classic elements thrown in, such as ostrich fans, boas and stocking peels. I love adding humour to my acts, but it doesn't happen as often as I'd like. I'm also an award-winning tassel twirler, so that definitely plays a part in my "signature style".
SLC: Who are your inspirations?
VL: Who indeed? I have many people that I admire, but I can't so much say that they're my inspirations exactly. I feel as though I am inspired by many things, thoughts and more so the idea of what people represent for me. I would love to get drunk with Marilyn Monroe. I think Mae West would have been great on Twitter. I think Medusa was beautiful and misunderstood and Lady Gaga is creatively unabashed and I appreciate it greatly. Elvgrin pinups line my walls. Rosie The Riveter reminds me that I really can do "it," it being whatever challenge has been presented to me. Dirty Martini and Michelle L'amour are two of my favorite female Burlesque performers, fearless and beautiful as they conquer their stage. Scotty the Blue Bunny and Tigger are amazing and admirable boundary-pushing Boylesque performers. My sister is a key point of strength and motivation. I love cult films, the brightest red lipstick I can find and broccoli. Music moves me. When I'm feeling trapped creatively I like to dance around my living room, sometimes in the dark, just to feel the free abandon.
SLC: What was the first routine you performed?
VL: Oh boy, let's not talk about that one, because, well, lets just say that I'm glad there were only a few people there. I had never seen a real burlesque show till after I was already set to debut, and believe me when I say my costume was lacking in sass. However it did land me a regular spot performing with a well known Vancouver promoter at the time. So I guess in the end it wasn't all that bad.
SLC: What is your favorite routine to perform?
VL: I have a hard time picking a favorite act, the same way I would have a problem picking a favorite song, or movie, or food. Maybe I'm just perpetually moody, but it varies depending on how I feel. A safe bet would be to say whatever project I'm working on at the moment, as I'm usually focused, engaged and inspired by what I'm creating currently. But lets take a couple as examples: I love using my fans, they're lime green double layer ostrich, and they're beautifully bright. I love the act I currently use them in, it's got a circus feel about it, but I end up in nothing but a swarovski crystal merkin and pasties after two quick release articles of clothing are removed. So in the end I'm very naked and doing something a little more classic. I also love my "Hot Cop/Dominatrix" number as I get to be my shameless self and kick over a chair and spit and snarl. I always leave the stage feeling like I just made fierce love to the audience.
SLC: If you could perform that routine for just one specific person(anyone in the world) who would it be and why?
VL: My mum. No, I'm kidding. Although she is a strong supporter and comes out often to watch myself and my sister, Lola Frost perform. But for real, I'd have to say Mike Ness, as I'd love an excuse to get as close to naked as possible with him.
SLC: Do you think burlesque has become "too popular"?
VL: Two sides to every story right? I appreciate that the acceptance of burlesque into mainsteam culture has allowed for more opportunities to perform in various venues and shows, allowing a broader reach for the art form. I love seeing, not just women, but men embrace such an empowering movement that contradicts media stereotypes of feminine sexuality. However, due to the DIY culture and growing popularity of burlesque, I am often saddened to hear people speak of sub par shows they attended and thus group the genre into unorganized, low-calibre performance art. But with this in mind and the influx of so many new performers, I feel that it encourages everyone to create more skillful routines.
SLC: What kinds of acts would you like to see more of?
VL: There is so much ingenuity and originality out there to tap into, and so many ways to create that I'm disappointed when I see poorly done tributes and the same classic songs recycled. Luckily, Vancouver has an amazing and innovative burlesque scene full of top notch performers full of tricks and surprises. Which is really what I love watching and would love to see more of, similar to the New York Burlesque scene, which is full of boundary pushing acts that I admire as a performer. It seems as though they ask themselves "Is it ever enough?" rather than "Is it too much?"
SLC: What are your plans for the future, performing or otherwise?
VL: Your mum. No, but really, I currently book weekly burlesque performances at Hyde restaurant every Saturday and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. My goals as a performer are to finally financially achieve the ability to perform at various festivals and travel with my art form. Not just to share my experience but more so to gain abilities and inspiration from so many other talented performers. I'm also working on a top secret project to be unveiled in the new year with the talented Lincoln Electra and Calamity Kate. But in the mean time, for tonight, a glass of champagne and a bubble bath will suffice.