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Rocket Queen Oral History Interview

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Rocket Queen Oral History Interview


Rocket Queen introduces herself as a Burlesque performer and a club stripper. She defines Burlesque as the art of striptease, portraying an exaggerated imitation of a character. She feels that Burlesque can encompass many things, such as modern dance, ballet, pole dancing, aerial arts, etc. Rocket assesses her style of Burlesque as more rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal than classic style. She shares that she loves Burlesque as much for the creative process of building an act as for the performing. She considers Burlesque to be “sex work lite” in that it involves no contact with the audience, unlike club stripping.

She describes how dancers, including herself, began using the social media platform, MySpace, to promote herself in the mid-2000s. She remembers being inspired by the early Burlesque scene in Portland in the mid-2000s, specifically the Suicide Girls and The Cherry Tarts troupe. She also details the hard work of the business side of producing: getting sponsors, negotiating contracts with venues, the marketing of shows, and all the business aspects of being an event producer. She explains the organizational management of booking up to 30 performers for the festival, from across the nation and internationally, and the details of handling up to 400 patrons per night. She laughs at how the general public thinks Burlesque event production is simply “putting on sparkles and dancing.”

Rocket 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 halted. Covid also shut down the strip clubs and many people lost their livelihood. She shares that it was a very heavy year.

Rocket Queen strongly believes that the art form of Burlesque is empowering and confidence-building. She loves sharing the acts she creates with a live audience. She expresses concern that the venues for Burlesque are sparse and wishes there were more theater-type venues. Rocket celebrates the freedom of Burlesque in that it encapsulates every human emotion in an intimate performance space.


Rocket Queen


Oregon Burlesque Performers Oral History Collection (OH 49)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


October 17, 2021


Laurie Kurutz


Born Digital Video




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Laurie Kurutz


Rocket Queen


Interview conducted over Zoom

Original Format

Born Digital Video



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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  1. 2021-10-17 Queen, Rocket final headshot cropped for website.jpg