It’s well known that many guys will often exaggerate the size of their, shall we say, “assets”… but it’s NOT an exaggeration to say that the phenomenon known as Boylesque has gotten pretty damn big lately. Boylesque has exploded in popularity and visibility in the last few years. New York City, where the boys are pretty, has been one of its epicenters from the get go-go– although other cities are quickly jumping on the big black box to catch up. Like their female antecedents, the guys who put the “boy” in boylesque know that the neophyte art form is not JUST about showing skin– although sexual titillation is frequently one of its goals and often the main draw. Following the decades of tradition of their spiritual sisters of burlesque, boylesque is also about incorporating humor and pageantry (…and maybe just a little bit of shock value!) into the mix. Can you say “mix tape”? More about the ’90’s later…
Lucky Charming knows all about sex appeal, humor, pageantry, and shock value. A 2012 alumnus of Chris Harder’s Boylesque 101 class, the impish star has performed in seemingly endless events and venues throughout the Naked City, including the famous New York Boylesque Fest. What’s the next logical step after being a performer? Being a producer, of course! On Wednesday, March 12, Mr. Charming’s “POWERSTRIP BOYLESQUE” made its debut at New York City’s downtown hotspot The Celebration of Whimsey (COW). With its underground, darkly decadent vibe, The COW is the perfect venue for spotlighting the eclectic talents and fleshy charms of Lucky’s colorful burlesque friends. The notoriety, naughtiness, and nakedness continues this Wednesday with the third installation of POWERSTRIP, where the theme will be the 90’s– the decade of Britney and Beanie Babies. The show will feature the peeling and appealing talents of Backstreet Boys of a different kind–Teddy Turnaround, Iris Explosion, Brooklyn Irons, and Johnny Panic... as well as the hosting and stripping talents of Lucky himself.
The 2QT2BSTR8 star spoke to me about his decision to get into boylesque and much more… and why, in the tradition of strippers through the decades, you should “drop everything” and make it to POWERSTRIP Boylesque this week!
JR: Congratulations on POWERSTRIP. What made you decide to launch a new monthly boylesque show?
LC: I sort of fell into it by accident, actually. I had been wanting to produce for a while, but I wanted to wait until I found the perfect venue and had the perfect vision to make sure my shows would stand out from all of the other stellar shows in the city. I was investigating The Celebration of Whimsy for a different project, and the owner asked me if I wanted to produce a monthly boylesque show there, and I thought “Well…I guess it’s time!”
JR: How true! So, what made you originally decide to go into burlesque yourself?
LC: I’ve been an actor for close to twenty years, so I’ve always had a love for the stage. After college, shows that didn’t portray me in my underwear at some point were becoming less and less frequent, and I had picked up a couple gigs in erotic modeling and go-go dancing. When I heard that Chris Harder was teaching Boylesque 101, it seemed like the natural next step. I didn’t actually expect it to stick, but clearly it did, and it’s totally changed my life.
JR: Boylesque has seen an explosion of visibility in the last few years, particularly in New York City. As a popular burlesque performer yourself, why do you think that is?
LC: The Neo-Burlesque movement has been rapidly growing in most major cities over the last decade or so. But for a male-identified performer to get up on stage, covered in glitter and rhinestones, and perform a striptease, it takes some serious balls. There’s a great deal of tension around men’s sexuality, especially those who aren’t your traditional hot muscle boy. So I think that most boylesque performers realize before they even take the stage for the first time that if they are going to do it, they had better be prepared to take the plunge.
JR: Who are some of your icons in Boylesque?
LC: As I already mentioned, Chris Harder taught me most of what I know. Tigger has been an incredible supporter of all of the up-and-coming boylesque stars in the city. The gents from Boylesque T.O. in Toronto had been some of my idols from the very beginning, and have become some very close friends of mine. I also recently met all three of the Stage Door Johnnies (Bazuka Joe, Ray Gunn, and Jett Adore) from Chicago, after stalking them on the internet for over two years. They are a huge inspiration to me, and addition to being absurdly attractive, some of the nicest fellas you could ask to meet.
JR: POWERSTRIP is going to be a monthly event. What surprises do you have in store for us in the next few months?
LC: Would they be surprises if I told you? (wink) I don’t want to give too much away, mainly because I’m still ironing out a bunch of the details, but I do have plans to revive my boy band tribute show “Dirty Pop”, which I collaborated on with Epic Win last year, for August. It’s my birthday gift to myself.
JR: Cool! You’re also a performance artist and a blogger. What else do you have in store for your fans?
LC: In a couple weeks I’ll be bringing my first one-man show “VGL 5’4” Top” to the Orlando Fringe Festival. I recently debuted my third solo piece, “Cootie Catcher”, which I’m hoping to continue working on in New York later in the year. My blog “Top to Bottom” (www.toptobottomnyc.com) is going to be getting a serious makeover in the next few weeks, so readers old and new will want to keep their eyes peeled for that!
JR: So, in your opinion, at what age should a guy or girl in burlesque finally decide to hang up their G string once and for all?!
LC: Why should they ever? Burlesque is about celebrating the sexuality of all body types, and that includes all ages as well. The only point at which I think someone should retire from burlesque is when it stops being enjoyable for them.
JR: Good point! Lastly, why should people get off their asses and head over to the next POWERSTRIP show on May 7th?
LC: Because the theme is “I Love the 90s” and nostalgia is delicious. Because I have the hilarious Fancy Feast as my co-host. Because Teddy Turnaround, Iris Explosion, Brooklyn Irons, and Johnny Panic are brilliant artists with some genius material that they’re bringing to the table. But most of all, because burlesque is art, and art requires patronage to survive. If you want to see all the magic that POWERSTRIP has the potential to be, we need your love, your support, and your boisterous cat-calls.
“POWERSTRIP BOYLESQUE: I Love the 90s!” will be at The Celebration of Whimsy (COW), 21-A Clinton Street (between Houston and Stanton), New York City, on Wednesday May 7 at 8PM. Call The COW at (917)972-9394 to make reservations.