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The Infamous Nina Nightshade Oral History Interview, September 25, 2021

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The Infamous Nina Nightshade Oral History Interview, September 25, 2021


The Infamous Nina Nightshade introduces herself as a performer, a producer, and a costumer. She defines Burlesque as a form of strip tease that sometimes tells a story. Her style of Burlesque is mostly classical with a geeky streak. She states that Burlesque feeds her soul as an art form and as a community.

Nina goes on to describe the many acts and troupes she helped develop and performed with during the ensuing years after she moved to Portland. She explains that the lavish costumes are a large part of her love for Burlesque. She knew how to do basic sewing, but gives credit to her university work-study job in the Arizona State costume department as being instrumental in developing her costume skills.

Nightshade celebrates the shining moment in her Burlesque career when she was selected to perform at the internationally-known Burlesque Hall of Fame Movers, Shakers and innovators Showcase in 2011.

She details the business side of producing: getting sponsors, negotiating contracts with venues, the marketing of her shows, and all the business aspects of being an event producer. Nightshade spoke about how the rise of computer technology and social media have changed the business side of producing. She shares how the Burlesque community in Portland has changed since 2008.

Nightshade describes how the Covid pandemic completely shut down the thriving Burlesque community in Portland. Because it’s an art form that needs a live audience, and because people weren’t able to gather in public spaces during the pandemic, the art form and community crumbled. She shares that she was able to take a “time out” from Burlesque and earn her Master's degree during the pandemic.

Nina Nightshade strongly believes that the art form of Burlesque is empowering and confidence-building. She cites all the event planning skills she has learned. She expresses her appreciation for the fact that she, and she alone, creates her art. She also believes it is a force for social change in terms of how it builds community and is an open expression of human sexuality and personal growth.


The Infamous Nina Nightshade


Oregon Burlesque Performers Oral History Collection (OH 49)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


September 25, 2021


Laurie Kurutz


Born Digital Video




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Laurie Kurutz


The Infamous Nina Nightshade


Portland, Oregon. Interview conducted over Zoom.

Original Format

Born Digital Video



OHMS Object

Interview Format


Transcribe This Item

  1. 2021-09-25 Nightshade, The Infamous Nina final headshot for website. photo by Jian Bastille.jpg