Exclusive Interview: SuicideGirls Co-Founder Talks About The Upcoming ‘Blackheart Burlesque’ Tour.



Missy Suicide co-founded SuicideGirls (SG) in 2001. Since then, she, along with the many SuicideGirls, has created a unique niche that showcases an alternative culture featuring the likes of tattooed, punk rock and Goth girls. Although SG began as a website, it’s now evolved into an entertainment empire. The newest project is “SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque,” a burlesque tour that has taken a six year break.

Q – “SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque” is returning after a six year hiatus. What made you decide to bring it back?

A - We did a mini book tour last spring for a book we put out called “Hard Girls, Soft Light” and even with just listing the book signings as Facebook events the word got around so quickly and the turnout was so incredible, we were just blown away by the enthusiasm for seeing and meeting the girls live in person. With 500-750 people showing up to have a few of the girls sign a book in a comic shop, we knew we had an opportunity to create a better experience than just a signing for our fans and so we decided to re-imagine and re-create our Burlesque show from the ground up and put it back on tour.

Q – How does this tour differ from previous ones?

A - When we first put out our SuicideGirls Burlesque tour in 2003, we were the only people who were doing non-traditional, non-old fashioned burlesque on a large scale. We were excited to put on a sexy performance that didn't involve feather boas and songs like “Hey Big Spender.” We wanted to use modern music and references to modern pop-culture but still put on a show in the spirit of old time burlesque. Now, ten years later, there are a lot more non-traditional burlesque acts around, and some of them are doing really fun and different kinds of shows. Courtney Cruz and her Star Wars Burlesque is a great example of just how diverse and non-traditional the Burlesque scene has become.

Also look at the spectacle performers like Lady Gaga put on at live shows. People have seen a lot and it's much harder to show them something that really feels new and original.

So, clever Quentin Tarantino Burlesque numbers and a leather pants AC/DC striptease is just not enough to wow people these days. We really had to take the spirit of pop-culture modern burlesque that we pioneered ten years ago and up the production values, sexiness and performances by a factor of ten. It's the same kind of Burlesque show we used to do, but this time I think we have executed at a much higher level in almost every respect: dancer abilities, costumes, choreography, everything.

Q – How do you think the tour has evolved from when it was first launched?

A - I think the evolution has been in the quality of the dancers and our choreographer. We have never had the chance to work with such professional, talented people before. The SuicideGirls on this tour have been dancing professionally for 50+ years between them. We really think their performances will blow you away.


Q – Having said that, how do you think SuicideGirls has evolved in the last 12 or so years?

A - In 2001, we started SuicideGirls; we built SuicideGirls as a community for alternative culture people to discover each other, have discussions and post and look at photos of alternative pin-up girls. And in the 12 years since we launched, we have had hundreds of thousands of people post tens of millions of comments and millions of photos on our website. Over the years we have made 6 movies for Showtime, 3 books, a magazine, a series of comics and countless other creative endeavors. It's been an amazing adventure. I hope as we have gotten older and more mature as a company our main evolution has been in upping our game every year. I think we learn how to do what we do better; we listen carefully to our large audience and take what they say into consideration and improve the quality and artistry of what we produce. If you look at pictures that were a big hit on our site in 2005 or 2006 you'd see immediately they just wouldn't make it on to the site today. If you watch our first movie we put out in 2004 and compare it to the one airing on Showtime right now, I hope the difference in quality would be immediately apparent to you. I think we have the same spirit as we had in 2001; I just think we have gotten much, much better at expressing it.

Q – SuicideGirls was founded in 2001 and is named off a Chuck Palahniuk (author of “Fight Club”) novel line. Palahniuk is one of the more accessible celebrities. Have you considered working with Palahniuk to contribute material for the tour?

A - Fuck yes; we'd love to work with Chuck Palahniuk. Do you have his phone number?

Q – SuicideGirls has created a nice cult following. Have there been any high profile celebrities, or models that may not fit the SuicideGirls mold, sending in photos?

A - Yes, this is something that comes up quite a bit. A drop dead gorgeous model, who has done big fashion campaigns will come to us and say she wants to be a SuicideGirl, and she's certainly welcome to try, but in the past those kind of models have not done so well with our audience. I think our audience prefers the tattooed girl next door look.

Q – The site also serves as a media outlet with columns, interviews and so forth. Aside from that, SuicideGirls has done movies, books, and now a game. What’s next for SuicideGirls?

A - We are launching a whole new SuicideGirls optimized for tablets and smartphones. You can actually take a sneak peak at it as we finish up the details here: http://suicidegirls-staging.herokuapp.com. We hope to launch it before the tour.



BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He also is the author of the novels, The Extraordinary Life of Shady Gray, Hello Lesbian! and Anonymous. Visit him at www.tanamor.com. Email him at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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