SCIRT WORLD BUSKERS FESTIVAL 2016 Buskers Burlesque: USA INVASION
Theater Review - New Zealand
"The appealing Trixie Little takes the stage in a costume that looks like Strictly Ballroom met Sesame Street in a dark alley way and no one is quite sure who the winner was. She is a firecracker of cirque-style strength, sass and sex and there are very few audience members, men or women, who are not completely won over by her sizzling routine."
Trixie Little Won Big-Time at Burlesque Hall of Fame Now She’s Thinking Revolution
On a Southwest flight to Las Vegas, I sat next to a spunky, petite woman from Baltimore who now lives in Brooklyn. Her small stature belies her strength—I’ve watched her do handstands and seen her lift a man heavier than her while wearing kitten heels. Trixie Little was on her way to compete—for the fifth time, much like Diana Nyad—for the title of Miss Exotic World, the queen of burlesque crowned annually at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender.
The BHOF is “dedicated to preserving the living legacy of burlesque as an art form,” primarily by maintaining a museum with the Weekender as its largest fundraiser, attended primarily by burlesque performers. The weekend’s pageant is by far its biggest draw—sold out this year—and the competition can be fierce. Trixie beat out the runners up, fellow New Yorker Perle Noire and Texas’ Ginger Valentine. In another coup for the New York burlesque scene, Jenny Rocha and her Painted Ladies, a New York dance troupe that was in residence at Galapagos, also won, bringing home the title of Best Small Group.
After the rush of Vegas, I caught up with Trixie Little to talk about her win, and how, as BHOF’s largest spokesperson, she is in a position to influence the future.
For sure! I hated the feeling of coming in third… TWICE! That definitely made me work harder. I wanted to do an act so good that if for some reason the judges didn’t pick me, there would be a riot! But it’s a hard show to do, it’s literally 500 of your peers who are ACTUALLY sitting there judging you. The stakes don’t really get higher.
Actually, the Orleans Showroom seats 850.
New York was well-represented in the competition this year, with entrants in every category and four for Miss Exotic World. NYC burlesque artists are able to perform every night of the week, under every kind of life pressure. Do you think that gives them an advantage at festivals over performers from other cities?
Absolutely! New Yorkers have chops! We all ooze presence, it’s a hard-earned performance quality that only comes from quantity of time in front of an audience. Being able to perform every night of the week is why I moved here. It’s a grind, but I think repetition it is essential to being good. It’s so powerful to see it so clearly on stage in Vegas.
Last year you talked to us about working out with Mr. Gorgeous (BHOF Best Boylesque 2014) at the Muse in Williamsburg. Do you still train there with Gorgeous?
Well, he won King of Boylesque last year so he was literally gone on tour most of the year, so we stopped training. I spent the winter and spring at Big Sky Works working on an “all babe, all brave, all beast” female circus show called Minge World. But Mr. Gorgeous and I are about to start developing a kids’ show together to take to New Zealand in January called “Talk to the Hand.” It’s going to be a surreal anatomical circus show with crazy body parts as characters like Mr. Hand Pants.
Your husband and duo acrobatic partner The Evil Hate Monkey has been on tour a lot in the last year, and you’ve been striking out more on your own as a solo partner. How has that adjustment been, for you and for venues and producers?
Oh man, it’s been like two years of me having to remind people that I’m actually a solo performer too! Living in the shadow of “Trixie and Monkey” was really tough. When he first went on tour in 2013, I was afraid that all of my best work was behind me. So I just really dug deep to develop a bigger solo repertoire and had to hustle even harder. I didn’t realize what a niche I had performing acrobatics with a Monkey. So I definitely feel like I’ve had to work twice as hard.
Starting a REVOLUTION! I take what Gandhi and RuPaul said to heart: Be the change you want to see. I plan on creating one epic solo show in collaboration with all of my favorite artists (working title is “Feminist Sluts Unite”) and it’ll be the kind of hybrid show I love: circus, striptease, amazing costumes, smart comedy, great music, a little bit of story and a lot of spunk. And I am going to work on getting more respect for this art form in New York City. I want venues to care more about how our work is being presented, I want more exposure for our artists, and the press to take an interest so that there is a bigger, more educated audience.
You’ve talked about “fixing” New York, wanting to develop a more comprehensive cabaret scene that includes burlesque, circus, and other performance arts. If the creative bar is raised, do you think the NY media will notice?
I really hope so. But even getting a space to even do a show in is the first challenge! When Monkey and I tried to do a run at The Slipper Room of “Velvet Banana,” a show we’ve taken to Australia a few times, it was really hard. It didn’t really work to squeeze it in before their regular burlesque show—it just wasn’t the right fit. Even if you can find a venue, it’s even harder to do a run of a show, which is so essential to it being any good and to the audience having more chances to see it. We truly need a few more venues to open up that have height for aerials, cabaret seating, and a stage with a curtain. It’s crazy this city doesn’t have more.
Absolutely. It drives me crazy. When I go to Australia or the UK, there is so much more respect for cabaret as a genre and it really comes from the power of the press to educate an audience about what’s good and why. We actually get reviews over there! It’s really an important part of what’s missing here NYC.
Get it to together, NYC! This is the most perfect place in America to have a vibrant cabaret culture! And cabaret is more than just singing, dammit! By definition, it just means the type of venue: one with CABARET seating! It’s just intimate entertainment—and we have the best circus, burlesque, variety, drag, and yes, singers, in the world! This whole genre deserves more respect for being so brazen, creative, empowered and inspiring. And we’ve been doing it all on a shoe string budget, with little encouragement, on postage stamp size stages for too long. Sick of it. It ends now!
THE EMPIRE TIMES
Fringe: Trixie and Monkey
The time is ripe for this erotic, acrobatic duo hailing from New York. Trixie & Monkey host a delightfully playful show that will make you go bananas! Jess Nicole reviews their latest show, “The Time is Ripe”.
Trixie and Monkey. Image by Eli Schmidt
In character from beginning until end, Monkey ushered guests in with a cheeky smile and alluring black fishnet stockings while Trixie, emerging in a provocative white dress, welcomed the audience as guests to their wedding. Based around the twosome’s journey of love, the show told a flipping good story of how one monkey and one woman came to have a relationship beyond that of any Tarzan and Jane.
Particularly enjoyable were the striking yet natural gender paradoxes displayed through dress, desire and dependability. Trixie & Monkey were individually and collectively powerful and delicate, flirtatious and coy, feminine and masculine, dominant and submissive. Their acrobatics were remarkable and one couldn’t help but murmur “how the hell…?” when Trixie, a pintsized vixen, was capable of holding a hairy monkey-man upside-down using her ankles.
The strip-teasing couple lowered the walls of inhibition and legitimised sexual prowess through their unapologetic and confident expression of sexual desire and sexually risqué humour. Overall, Trixie & Monkey’s The Time is Ripe is not for the prudish but is wholeheartedly for an audience who is willing to engage and appreciate love, sex, flirtation, role reversal, and glamour. If there is one thing you can take away from the show it’s this: sex and humour are not mutually exclusive and, if anything, they belong together — just like Trixie & Monkey.
Words by Jess Nicole
TRIXIE AND MONKEY’S BOTTOMS UP CIRCUS
The fact I can enjoy a nice, simple night out in Perth watching a woman instruct an awkward audience member on how to change the diaper on her husband, who is dressed as a monkey, is exactly why I love Fringe World.
Bottoms Up Circus, the latest offering from New York husband and wife duo Adam Krandle, aka the Evil Hate Monkey, and Beatrix Burneston aka Trixie Little, grabs the Fringe World spirit by the scruff of the neck … and feeds it bits of banana and dirty martinis in an unsanitary situations.
It’s a show based on the couple’s two greatest loves — “booze and butts” — and the audience is regularly encouraged to raise their glass and take a drink. Trixie Little tells the crowd up frontthat her boobs make no less than four appearances in various kinds of jewellery and Monkey’s butt is, well, almost always out.
There’s a lot of goofing around and the couple, who have been performing together for 12 years, bounce off each other with comedic ease, frequently prompting loud hoots of laughter from the audience.
It’s a mishmash of circus and cabaret, which means the show features everything from a flea circus, featuring “Flea-vel Knievel” and cringe worthy banana usage, to strip teases and a song about, yep, you guessed it, Monkey’s butt.
Bottoms Up Circus is a barrel of laughs but beneath Monkey’s Austin Powers-like facade and the bejewelled onesies in a piece called “Cirque du So-gay”, there’s also exceptional skill.
Monkey flinging about a flaming hula hoop and the fact Little can lift carry the weight of her husband on her shoulders or balance him on her feet are seriously impressive aspects of the show.
The acrobatic highlight of the evening, which features the pair swinging from the rafters of the spiegeltent in a bold display of trust and strength as they catch each other above the crowd is closely followed by the comedic highlight, which was their famed finisher — a rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.
BALTIMORE CITY PAPER
'Us, Naked: Trixie and Monkey' details lives of the acrobatic comedy burlesque duo
Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey have been performing elaborate, acrobatic comedy burlesque in Baltimore, and all over the country, for years now and if you’ve ever seen their show, you know how gaudily specatacular the duo, a real-life couple, can be.
But MICA professor Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander’s new documentary, “Us, Naked: Trixie and Monkey,” screening at MICA on April 25, shows the difficulty of putting together such a show. It’s not just learning all of those insane moves—they went to circus school in Vermont for two years to hone the physical and acrobatic part of their craft—but also figuring out how to make a living out of it, while maintaining their relationship.
As a documentary on the of total dedication of a pair of artists, “Us, Naked” both inspires and induces despair. It is, in many ways, a documentary of exhaustion. The duo is constantly on the road, scraping together money, and bickering about their act. But seeing the payoff in some fabulously shot performance scenes gives an artist, of any type, the sense of “if I just work hard and sacrifice everything, I can fucking do it.”
But as is the case with all drama, the film is most affecting when it shows failure. At the Burlesque Pageant in Las Vegas, the duo perform separately and Monkey wins several top prizes in his category, while Trixie doesn’t win anything at all. It is difficult for both of them to navigate the tension that this disparity creates and the viewer feels for them both. Shortly after, when they leave Baltimore, where Trixie founded Fluid Movement, it feels like another deprivation and sacrifice rather than a move up, but again, the scenes from their off-Broadway perfomances, among the most beautiful in the film, make it all seem worth it. And it’s genuinely moving, if a bit sentimental, to see Trixie cry when Monkey proposes to her on stage during a performance. The film, which covers five years of their lives, makes us love them too.
As much as it is a documentary about performers, “Us, Naked” comes across as a profile of two fascinating humans.
Trixie [Beatrix Burneston] gets into the sassy theme of the show. Working with your spouse could prove a challenge for some but Beatrix Burneston and Adam Krandle just make it look like a whole lot of fun.
The husband and wife burlesque circus performers opened their Perth Fringe World Festival show on Tuesday night. Trixie and Monkey's Bottoms Up Circus features the couple as Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey.
Trixie and Monkey - aka husband-and-wife duo Beatrix Burneston and Adam Krandle - thrill Fringe crowds. Interestingly, the primate character also appeared in another of the festival's shows -Briefs. Monkey's disturbing affection for bananas may have been a repeat for me but the audience loved it.Trixie and Monkey's Bottoms Up Circus focuses much of its attention on bottoms; the backside or butt type. As well as lots of flesh - of both the monkey and lady varieties - the show has some interesting routines. In one, theatre-goers get an up-close look at a grown man (playing a monkey) having his diaper changed. In another, Trixie somehow makes the topic of fleas a little sexy.
The fleas also get bigger roles in a flea circus section of the performance featuring stars such as "Flea-ville knievel". Mixed in between their comic-style cabaret is an impressive routine on the circus swing hanging down from the roof of the Spiegeltent where the performance takes place. There were plenty "oohs" and "aahs" throughout but a highlight was definitely where Trixie hung Monkey by his neck in between her legs while she balanced on the swing. The New York couple's playful style put the crowd at ease and even though Monkey was evil, he managed to win over the audience.