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Extension, exaggeration, and extravaganza

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It’s been a long year.

Exams, projects, deadlines, balancing classes while alternating in person and online, the ever changing restrictions, a seemingly impossible landscape of challenges that has made our day to day so exhausting. With the the constant minutia of daily life weighing down on us, the fantastical performers of Edmonton offer a momentary escape, and sometimes more accurately, moments of exuberance and joy.

While it’s not possible for us all to go out and see shows live, Strawberry Von Strudel and Jennie Talia agreed to converse with us about their experiences in burlesque and drag, and all the while glamoured and gussied up.

Strawberry Von Strudel

How did you get into drag/burlesque?

I first gained interest in burlesque through the 2010 film Burlesque featuring Cher and Christina Aguilera. It was about seven years later, in 2017, when I finally found some connections to the Edmonton burlesque scene and was able to join a burlesque troupe! As for drag, it wasn’t until my involvement with the burlesque community that I realised drag was a possibility for me as an artist

Is there anything that makes Edmonton a special place to perform?

I think what is so special about Edmonton’s performance scene is that it is so diverse. There are a lot of venues that offer different opportunities to try various styles of burlesque and drag. It makes for a constantly evolving and entertaining environment.

What is your favourite number to perform?

As a bilingual artist, I have come to enjoy performing French cabaret-style songs. The cheekiness of French songs sung by singers like Zaz, Edith Piaf and Eartha Kitt has inspired me to be more aware of my character on stage.

What has the most memorable moment been in your time performing?

My first time performing as a burlesque artist still stands as one of my most memorable moments! It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but the experience solidified my love for this art form.

Advice for newcomers on the scene?

Don’t be afraid to buy Dollarama stones to make your costumes pop on stage! Buying more expensive stones, feathers and costumes comes with time (and money haha).

What can the audience expect from a Strawberry Von Strudel performance?

Extension, exaggeration and extravaganza!

 

Jennie Talia

What can the audience expect from a Jennie Talia performance?

When you come to a Jennie show you’re gonna experience a wild ride from start to finish, high energy, a costume made by me, and lots and lots of hair whipping, I love a good hair whip lol.

Is there anything that makes Edmonton a special place to perform?

It’s where I got my start, and where I feel a sense of family within the scene, they’re not just other performers to me, they are friends and family and amazing individuals.

How did you get into drag/burlesque?

I got into drag from a friend of mine Barbara. They introduced me to RuPaul’s Drag Race and I was determined to do drag then!

How and where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from real life but as well from disco music as well as fashion and decades fashion. As a queen who tries to do something different each time I like to reference many things for inspiration.

Advice for newcomers coming to the scene?

Be yourself, and just enjoy the wild ride.

How long have you been doing drag?

I’ve been doing drag for over two and a half years. My third year will be July 25.

What has the most memorable moment been in your time performing?

The most memorable moment for me has been meeting an amazing group of people whom I’m glad are in my life and support one another.

What is one thing you would like to tell a first-time patron to a drag or burlesque show?

Have fun! And be respectful!

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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