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Saturday, August 23, 2008

What’s What With Lulu Lollipop?

On Thursday, in honor of their new issue, “Temptation,” Painted Bride Quarterly hosted a lively discussion about all the things that tempt us at — appropriately enough — First Unitarian Church on Chestnut. Panelists included the devilishly alluring Lulu Lollipop, director of the venerable burlesque troupe, the Peek-a-Boo Revue. We checked in with Lulu to get a peek at the life of Philadelphia’s premiere temptress. If you want to get more than a peek at her, check out her moves on Sunday at Silk City. — Alison Cahill

The Peek-a-Boo Revue is all about temptation. What’s it like to tempt an audience?
It’s freeing. One of the things that I love about the show is getting these new girls, and when they come in, they’re a little bit shy and a little bit timid, and within six months, all of a sudden they have this power and fire behind their eyes. They know they can own any audience and control them. It’s really cool watching a woman just come out of her shell … You’re just free. It’s this fire inside of you, it’s incredible.

How does a burlesque show differ from other, less-artful types of titillation?
[For] our show in particular, we consider ourselves a classic vaudevillian neo-burlesque show. We try to stay close to those roots and stay away from a stripping show. You find a reason to take off your clothes. It’s truly about the art of stripping, not the art of seducing; it’s this slow and sensual movement. It’s titillating if someone just walks up to you and they’re naked, like, yeah, that’s great. But if you have to wait for someone to take off each piece of clothing, and you have to wait to see anything — if you’re going to see anything at all — that’s what’s different about it.

You’re obviously very comfortable with taking your clothes off on stage. What was your first time like?
I’ll never forget it. I got so involved in making these costumes that I forgot I actually had to wear them. The first night, I was so nervous — mom and my step-dad were there, and I had to show my boobs! I was wearing pasties, but I was so nervous. I mean, I was one of those girls who never showed any skin, baggy pants, skirts below the knee type of thing. But once I took my clothes off on stage that first time, I feel like I never put them on again. And then the way I dressed started to change, and it went from there.

Where do you get the inspiration for the costumes that you design?
It’s one of those things, you hear the music and, all of a sudden, you just see it. And I love lingerie and vintage lingerie. I love the way that it shaped women’s bodies, and I love the way that they would dress for every occasion, and how even underneath their clothes, they were dressed. Every piece had a purpose. When I get stuck, I go back into old history books and look at chorus line costumes and try to piece it all together — on a very tight budget — and make something that will make people go, “Wow.” And sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, but if all else fails, cover it in rhinestones.

Any close calls with your snake co-star?
No, I’ve only ever performed with that snake, she’s my pet. I haven’t had any close calls with her yet, knock on wood, although I stopped performing with her for a couple of months because she got oddly aggressive, so I took her to the vet and the vet said she was in heat. So, apparently, my snake needed to get laid!

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