Cold weather is upon us in Toronto, Canada, and motorcyclists are beginning to look around for something to keep us warm and happy at night. Queue the band, enter the cast of Love Letters Cabaret, jazz-hands-all-a-shakin’. Love Letters Cabaret is returning to Lula Lounge with their new show, Eden. Based on what we saw last year in Strict Tease 2, we expect Pastel Supernova and her troop to be in fine form.
If you’re looking for somewhere to warm up in Toronto late October, look no further.
So what is burlesque anyway? Well, if you believe the internet:
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects (…) Burlesque overlaps in meaning with caricature, parody and travesty, and, in its theatrical sense, with extravaganza, as presented during the Victorian era (…) A later use of the term, particularly in the United States, refers to performances in a variety show format. These were popular from the 1860s to the 1940s, often in cabarets and clubs, as well as theatres, and featured bawdy comedy and female striptease. – Wikipedia
Love Letters Cabaret is a dance theatre experience exploring decadence, seduction & romance. The shows are innovative and interactive, created by artistic director and choreographer Pastel Supernova. Love Letters Cabaret frees the audience from inhibitions using elements of vaudeville, contemporary dance and burlesque to tell stories, and explore decadence and primal instincts.
Cabaret and burlesque can be a bit controversial.
To some, cabaret and burlesque are anti-feminist. These people argue that cabaret and burlesque represent the objectification and exploitation of women. This isn’t the only school of thought. Others see a group of men and women, mostly women, creating and executing their own show as something worth celebrating.
We were lucky enough to sit down with the lovely lady Knox Harter to discuss the show, why you’ll love it, burlesque, feminism, and yes, even motorcycles.
YM: What can we expect from Eden?
Knox Harter: Love Letters Cabaret has a reputation of creating worlds that are nothing like our own. Between the artistic direction and choreography of Pastel Supernova and a cast of incredible and enchanting talent you can expect to be transported and get lost in a world filled with sensuality and zeal.
The work we do is very physical, with full choreographed group numbers, as well as singers, soloists, and burlesque teases. Our dancers take full reign of the space and it is encouraged that we interact with the crowd during the performance.
I’ve heard such fantastic feedback from our shows, from changing the way someone saw dance and burlesque, to revelling in the decadence we provide, to being rendered speechless! I like to think we awaken an imagination and sensuality that maybe people either didn’t know they had, or forgot it was there.
Eden follows the journey of three sailors as they are shipwrecked in a strange new land of otherworldly creatures. We watch as these sailor try to make sense of their new terrain and reason with these peculiar residents.
YM: Fill in the blank: Burlesque and feminism go together like _____ and _____.
Knox Harter: Burlesque and feminism go together like chocolate and strawberries. It makes all that it means to be a woman that much sweeter!
Burlesque is an exciting way to be expressive, not only of one’s sexuality, but of their sensuality, their power, their desires, their quirks, and their own personal definition of what it means to be a woman. There are so many different kinds of burlesque out there! There is a burlesque for everyone; nerdy, fetish, gore, classic, funny, sexy… And the act of watching great burlesque is a celebration of that expression. There is a lot of freedom to choose who you want to be, what your want to do… and really isn’t the right to choose to be anything what feminism is about?
YM: Who should come out to the show?
Knox Harter: Everyone!
YM: Last but not least… Will the world ever see a Knox Harter motorcycle pin up shoot?
Knox Harter: To be honest, I’ve yet to be asked! It sounds like a fun idea!
Knox Harter is a fiery ginger known for her ability to captivate, allure, embarrass, intrigue, swoon, delight, amuse and seduce audiences all over Toronto. Known as the Cheesecake Darling she is infamous for giving butterflies! A trained classical and contemporary dancer, Knox is an original member of Pastel Supernova’s Love Letters Cabaret, a seasoned performer and is an established dance and burlesque teacher in Toronto. Visit her website here.
Based on our experience at the last Love Letters Cabaret show, we found cabaret and burlesque to be about acceptance, not exclusion. The shows feature both male and female performers, and put people on stage who may not fit the conventional look of 21st century stage performers. They’re real people having fun, and you’ll have fun too. We have high hopes for another variety show type of storytelling full of dancing, singing, satire, audience interaction, and yes, a little teasing. Eden is equally suited as a date night idea as it is for a fun girl’s night out.