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Cali Kid Oral History Interview, December 20, 2021

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LAURIE KURUTZ: Today is Monday, December 20th, 2021. My name is Laurie Kurutz, my pronouns are she/her/hers. Would you please introduce yourself, tell us your pronouns if you care to, and tell us all the things you do?

CALI KID: [Cali Kid], and I am currently teaching an at-risk program at a local high school, called Catalyst-and also an art teacher. I probably had 40 jobs in my lifetime. One of them was event producing in the Bay Area and DJing, and I ran science camps in Golden Gate Park, and-yeah, lots of stuff. And, of course, Tease O-Rama.

And I would probably, before you ask your next question, say two things: One, future historians when I'm gone, if you are looking at this just remember: so will you be one day. We have to all keep our existential awareness to make ourselves more alive.

And secondly, I do want to say at some point, I hope you find the-at least talk to Doe, Baby Doe, who I am still good friends with, and in touch with, and we still do a lot together. Alison Fensterstock, the third original Tease O-Rama person, I haven't seen in a while. She was a lot younger than us, and she was single, she ended up getting married and went back to New York and dropped out early on, but. [She would be] a very interesting interview also, very much brought the feminist lens to the early days of Tease-O-Rama, so. When that was 00:01:00still a really unique thing, to separate from the 1950's version of what 00:02:00Burlesque was. And we are all very different, all three of us had a very different approach to the universe and I think that's what made us really interesting, kind of like the Beatles. Just to put myself in better company than myself.

LK: So, you just referenced the 1950s Burlesque and then the Tease-O-Rama Burlesque. So what is Burlesque?

CK: You know everyone is going to have their own opinion of that. For me, at the start it was just another retro thing. It was the '90s and we were all stuck between our adolescence and adulthood, and we were kinda looking around the world and saying-God, there was all these old records, and old books, and old 00:03:00images that we were finding, and so we did-started with swing dancing in San Francisco, and 1940's stuff, and then the Tiki scene, and then the Lounge scene, and space age cocktail music.

And then I got into Bardot-A-Go-Go, which was a show I created with a friend of mine from KLX and Berkeley, we were both DJs. He was into this '60's French music, which none of us had ever heard of. He was flying to France and coming back with these really cool records. So this was just another thing-there was a point where I was putting on so many shows, people were just coming up to me and going "I always wanted to do this" and if it was interesting I would go "Yeah, let's do that." And then I would come up with a name and I would plug everyone into clubs and kind of get stuff set up. And so Brian "The Fisherman" Leese came up to me and said "I just saw these women down in LA and they did this old 00:04:00fashion Burlesque show" and I said "That sounds cool! Let's do it!" and then he went-am I jumping ahead a question?

LK: No, that's great.

CK: He went and he hand-scored a whole night of music, as he could play a whole bunch of different instruments. His main instrument is the vibraphone, but he put together a band of just crack San Francisco musicians and found these old records. Then wrote out the parts, note by note, just from listening to the records. It was astonishing. And we-we brought this troupe up from Los Angeles and.... I'm totally blanking on the names, you know.

LK: Is that The Velvet Hammer?

CK: Hammer, Thank you, yes. Penny [Star, Jr.] and all the-yeah. So they were-they were like a package it was already to go. There was about a half a dozen of them, and then I just did my thing, which was, I went out and I found old images of-the cornier the better-of, you know, those guys in baggy suits and 00:05:00telling of this horrible Borscht Belt jokes. You know-some of it wouldn't fly today, but it was just funny and campy and-and I was really obsessed with the word "O-Rama".

My high school friend and I both had this-we would have this-it was our thing, ya know, back in the 70s and 80s-we would attach O-Rama to things. It was "Cinerama-O-Rama" and "Bowl-O-Rama" and and so I thought "Well I-what is this? This is really about teasing somebody. So how about Tease-O-Rama?"

And then, of course, I knew the Bettie Page movie Teaserama. I ended up becoming friends with the guy who owned the rights to that-he passed away, but it was Something Weird Video, but, yeah. So anyway, it's all convoluted. That's kind of how it got going. I just created giant old-fashioned posters and what I love was the alliteration, right, so I would find those; mystical, magic, mirth, and 00:06:00mayhem-you can see it on our earliest poster, the one from '97.

It's got lots of alliteration, and I should have brought you the press releases, because the whole reason I did half of this was to write the press releases, because they are hysterically funny, so. Maybe someday I'll make a book of my press releases-two people will read it, but they will be highly entertained.

LK: And you're saying-you said the jokes and the sensibility wouldn't fly today. What has changed?

CK: Well, of course, the-we were never-we never came out of that-it was never about sex, right, 'cuz I'm working. At the time when it was just Brian and I, it was just San Francisco, and it was it was campy, and we were Punk rock, and it was just like, you know, what we do that's outrageous and fun. And it was about learning how to dress up and wear those clothes.


And when the women came in, they look like the women that we grew up looking at in Playboy behind someone's tree fort, you know, somebody's dad had these. So very different than what women look like in the '80s and '90s, where it became very corporate and very non-there wasn't a lot of human warmth. It was very prepackaged, there was a certain thinness, a certain look. And then here are just outrageous big buxom women with crazy hair and make up, and all owning their own look, like nobody's going "Hey, toots do this," right.

Like for me, I come out of Punk rock, and so it's all-and still as a teacher everything I teach I start with power. I tell my students "If you can understand power dynamics-everything in the world, what's happening on the quad, if people are bullying you, the way the world is run, everything starts to makes much more sense."


And so, even in the beginning I think we were very conscious of that. I'm sure there was some moments where we-me as the male probably slipped up. But yeah, I think what's changed is probably, we're more conscious, right, of the fact that everyone deserves a seat at the table. That's what our country is going through right now, right, that some people are not comfortable with that. Thinking "There's a pie and other people are taking pieces of the pie!" I'm like "well no, maybe the oven is still running we are just making more pies, right? So who cares?" It's more fun, I mean. I lived in San Francisco and traveled the world for years, and it's more fun when everybody does their own thing.

LK: So what is Burlesque? How is it different from other performance art forms?

CK: So I'm sure other people in your history say this better, especially the 00:09:00performers, but I know every single-especially the women-but every single person I worked with especially in Tease-O-Rama were quick to say "This is not stripping. This is not stripping. This is theater," right?

So for me, Burlesque is that lost art of the tease. So, it is sexual, but to me it never was-I know that probably sounds funny as a male-but yes, I look at a woman's photo that she sends and those, you know, the outrageous-the gowns and all that stuff, and go "That gorgeous", and it's sexy, but it's not sexual, right.

So I would say Burlesque is kind of capturing the woman's view of herself. Which 00:10:00is sexy, right, and not a man saying "Perform for us," right. I didn't realize even what we had done the first two shows, and the day I started selling my own tickets-'cuz I wasn't sure where all the money was going-was a revelation because it was all women buying the tickets, and they were dragging their boyfriends or their girlfriends to the show. I have never-I didn't even pay attention to who is walking in the door, it just got so crazy so fast. But then when I saw those names I was like, "Wow what is this about?" and then the-we were not just a show, right, we were a weekend event.

So we had classes, and the classes sold out instantly. So, that really kind of let me know that there was an interest, right? Women wanted to know "How do I create a character? How do I find this part of myself? How do I who never 00:11:00thought of myself-" Some of them maybe, but most of them never thought of themselves as sexy or sexual-Well no, they probably thought of themselves as sexual, but never thought of themselves as sexy. "Well how do I create this character for myself? How do I dress like that? How do I do make up?" It was the same thing we did with Tiki and Lounge and swing dancing, was like "How do I tie a tie?"

I grew up with Grunge, Led Zeppelin, and torn T-shirts and the Ramones! Right, that was my band. I think we tapped into a kind of a longing to what would now be Cosplay almost, right, to put on the fantasy of that kind of world, right, and not feel that you were a victim, or you were being a-that there were predators out there, right.

And we had the same thing with Bardot A Go Go, you know we're playing 60s French music, and unlike American rock 'n' roll, most of the French music was-or at 00:12:00least the best part of it was-females. And they were called "Yé-Yé" girls, and they did a lot of covers-you could find These Boots are Made for Walking but in French- but they also had a lot of originals and just their voices were flirty, and fun, and there's a romanticness there that you didn't find in 60s rock, which was still very dark and male centered. But they could frequently take the beats, right, from rock music which, you know, that masculine energy.

And so, you have this thing women would come-still I just finished doing the last one like two years ago but we still do it once a year on Bastille Day. But yeah, women immediately flocked-our audience was mostly women, and all dressed up, all wearing 60s fashions, and doing their hairdo's. Now we have a group come in and they do 60s hairstyles, and we have make up people-all for free-because 00:13:00we realized like, it's just once a year so let's just have fun and if we don't make any money, who cares, you know, we have jobs now, so. Yeah, and it's fun, and it's a safe energy, maybe it will spread.

LK: Other people I've interviewed have said, you can take dance and do theater all through school, and then you grow up and where is the opportunity for Adult Play? And it sounds like that's the element that is intriguing to you.

CK: Yes, that and I was friends with Dirk Dirksen who ran the Mabuhay Gardens, which is the Punk rock club in San Francisco. I wasn't there at the start of it in '76-'77, or '78. But I moved there in the early '80s and then I made friends with him. I had him on my radio show on KALX, and he brought a bunch of old records and I just remember, like, talking with him as we play the songs, we'd 00:14:00be off mic and he said, "You know everyone says I'm a Punk rock promoter but,"... he was much older than the scene and the performers... and he goes, "But I never thought of myself that way. I just thought that anybody who wants a stage should have one." He goes "People don't remember about the scene-Yes, you would see The Avengers and The Dead Kennedys, but then you would see some guy just reading weird poems, or juggling, or, you know, whatever, like an old Ed Sullivan show, but, weird."

Then I said-that's-that was kind of my vision for Tease-O-Rama and at the very start we had baggy pants comics, we had some odd things, and then the guys-that they called "Boylesque"-they started to appear. And that was hilarious, 'cuz they would they would have a real outrageous sense of humor. And we had one... 00:15:00At the start, for the first years, we only had one like, straight up heterosexual guy, Rocky Roulette, who did the pogo stick act-I don't know if you have ever seen it-Oh my God it's hysterical.

CK: And he was great cause he would just be blasted out of his mind, and he would be bouncing on this pogo stick in some cowboy outfit, like, with '70s aviator shades on. He would strip while pogo sticking, but he always looked like-and he might've been his regular life plunged into the crowd. I never heard, you know, I didn't keep track of in between shows with everybody's stories, but he never did with us, but it always looked like it was about to hurl into the crowd and kill somebody. So there's this element of danger.

There was some really fun acts, you know, as it developed, women started to get that this was a political statement, and that was super exciting. And I think if we ever got back together, or if we had kept going it would have mutated into 00:16:00something more than traditional striptease, by a long shot.

I think [Baby] Doe would've also gotten bored, I think she was starting to get bored with it too. We just both happened to be the same age and we had kids and it's just-we have lives now-this was taking a lot of time and energy, and it's its own thing, but it was-it was super nourishing and rewarding-and there was a definite community that was built.

I mean, we always said if we ever did a documentary it would be called "Tease-O-Rama Changed My Life", because that was the number one statement we got from people, they would come up to us and go, "Tease-O-Rama changed my life!" Like, it just plugged them in-they were outsiders, right, and that's-I think that's our mentality, so.

LK: And is that what you mean by "It's a political act"? Creating community and giving a space for the weirdos?

CK: Right exactly, yeah. And, you know now outsider music has a name, "Outsider 00:17:00music" and outsider art has a name, "Outsider art" but... you know when I was at KALX we would play these things-people would think, like, Wesley Willis right, who was-I don't know what he had wrong with him, but he was severely mentally handicapped and his songs are in-what's the one with, the McDonald's one, where he eats and eats, Morgan Spurlock, he came here.

Anyway, so some of his songs have been in movies and stuff, and it was always this thing where like, is this shock jock? or are you playing this because it-and no, it's not at all, it's fascinating because it's real. We live in such an in authentic world, and this desire to have an actual human being with a vision was amazing. So I watch those kind of movies, and listen to that kind of music, and yeah, slick Hollywood production is interesting, but not really, right?

When we went out to-well, they flew me out to Vegas to see-what's that Cirque du 00:18:00Soleil show called? Sorry, I'm old-Zumanity, at the time it was the only Cirque show, and I don't know it's been 15 years at least, that was not in the 97th or 8th percentile of seats, butts in seats, and so my quick take on it was "Well, it's not outrageous and sexual enough to be a Vegas thing, and it's too sexy to be a typical Cirque du Soleil family show." So they had a tough space that they were trying to fill. And I went out and I expected the show to be kind of too packaged, to be a little too slick.

I was pleasantly surprised. Their MC was a drag queen, and some of the 00:19:00performers were of course, just over the top. And things they were doing-a sphere is coming down filled with water, all of that was very Cirque du Soleil, but they really kept the humanity in the show. I was like "Wow, we have a lot more in common than I would've thought." My final dream-before the economy collapsed in 2008 and we stopped-was I was pitching them, I said, "Well, how about this?" So they started putting performers in our show, and I think they gave us 10 or 15 grand, but I think it cost that to get their two people to come out [to San Francisco.]

But my final pitch was like, all our money goes to promotion and we pay every single performer, nobody-I can't say nobody, I don't know-but a lot of the women would complain that other people don't pay them. Or, you know, they say they're gonna pay them and then they don't, or they flat out say, you know you can be in this for free, and we are like "No. You're up here, and you're only doing one 00:20:00act for 3 minutes." So we gave everybody $50, and then some of the bands and stuff, I think we got up to $200 or $300.

I don't remember what we did for Dita [Von Teese] or Catherine [D'Lish], I'm sure we had a separate-I know I have the checkbook somewhere, so I can figure it out-but they were both long time professionals with a lot of expenses and a lot of props and costumes and things, but even then we were-they were doing it as a favor to us. I forgot what I started.

LK: We had talked a little about Adult Play and you mentioned the "Inauthentic world" of the 1980's sort of corporate, and you were talking about swing [dancing] and Bardot A Go Go.

CK: No, I remember now. My final dream was-I pitched them. I said, "Well, how about this; instead of us doing our show and then you saying, 'Well no-we don't-we're not interested in that market.' How about you just tell us. We are 00:21:00trying to break into these eight markets." Because they really valued us.

They were like "You have some thing here! We don't know how you're reaching these people." And I'm like, we're reaching these people because we're making them feel included. It was pretty obvious from my viewpoint, but they couldn't really figure out how to do that, how to grab those people. And well, you're inherently restricted by being the biggest entertainment live conglomerate in the world, right. So outsiders are not going to be attracted to you, and you're also inherently restricted by being afraid of being a little dangerous, right. And so, you've got all the lawyers, and you've got all the families, and you've got all the people that are going to come after you, 'cuz you have deep pockets.

So that's going to change the makeup-but I was really impressed with Zumanity. And I really liked the people I was working with over there. And I said, "How about you just tell us where you wanna go and then you do all the promotion, 'cuz you already have this whole machine. That's what we don't have, and we'll just go to those places, and then slowly over time will build up our-ourselves, 00:22:00but you could even be like-you could-part owner, or you could own it, or you could just be like a farm team-"

Like I had some vague-I always had these vague ideas, and I would just kind of go until they came together. Then one day the economy just started to collapse and of course we know Vegas got hit first and fastest-and San Francisco also. I called up and everybody I knew was laid off and gone and everything had changed. So then I just called Doe and said "I don't really want to do it next year, let's just take a break." Which it's been 15 years now so, but both of our kids are all graduated and out of school and who knows.

LK: So just backing up with some origin story. Where were you born, where did you grow up, where did you go to school, college?

CK: OK, I have to-I'm not hiding anything-I have to-It's a long, weird, origin 00:23:00story but I'll just edit it down. But I grew up in Connecticut, and I grew up with a highly romantic sensibility of the world. So that's where the Cosplay and the dress up and all that comes in. And I read comic books, and I read-watched science fiction movies, read pulp magazines, and sort of had this image of a highly stylized, romanticized, view of the world. Also a highly dated male, white privilege world.

In some ways it really was like that British Rajah view of what other countries were like, and-and so I took off. I went to the south seas when I was 18, pre-Internet. I traveled all around these islands-I saw an ad in the paper for 00:24:00Air New Zealand South Pacific super pass. It was $999 and there was 18 flights-places that I couldn't find; Tonga and the Cook Islands. And so I bummed around there and I came back.

Then my high school girlfriend was a junior by that point, and so she got into a junior year abroad program and I said "How about if I come over and I'll write all your papers for you and we just travel?" Because I could whip through school, it's just a game. I tell my students how to do it too, I'm like, "This is how you game school, if you're interested, but I didn't learn anything! I just know how to take tests."

So yeah, so-so we can go so we did that, and so we traveled all over Europe for a while. Then we moved out to San Francisco, and then we split up. Then my next girlfriend I met shortly afterwards-who's now my wife decades later-and we've 00:25:00been together all this time. And we both-her family was disintegrating and I was telling her I have this dream of like Phileas Fogg going around the world without any airplanes, or like this kind of romantic version of traveling and she-because so much-she had traveled, she had been to Japan when she was 16 as an exchange student, and she had worked in a fishery the previous summer in Alaska. So she was pretty adventurous and she's like "Sure let's do it!" Because her family was all falling apart.

And so we ended up going for two years around the world, we got caught in the Gulf war so we had to fly out of Africa into India. Yhen we flew again out of Nepal into Malaysia, 'cuz there was all these blizzards and China had blocked-we were going to go overland-anyways, it was crazy. We crossed the ocean on a cargo ship, and so we did-we rode camels in the Sahara desert, and worked the grape 00:26:00harvest in France. Then somewhere along the way our stories evolved and switched, and I went from trying to make the world be this romantic view that I had, and learning to just let go.

We got stuck because of the Gulf war, stuck in Suez for weeks and we couldn't get out. I was like-and I, I could do almost anything, I'm very linearly focused, and I was coming up with these elaborate routes really-through jungle, and civil wars, and Sudan.

I remember going to the Somalian embassy, before the country completely collapsed, and telling him why he had to give us a visa, and he just looked at me and goes, "Someday I hope you will visit Somalia, but it's not today." Then right after was that whole Black Hawk Down and the horrible stuff, we would've been right there.

Anyway, so yeah, so we came back and we got our-book, we wrote a book, we went 00:27:00and lived in Vermont on a ski mountain in the summer. Then we got to the Vice President of two different publishing houses, right as publishing was starting to transition. They said, "This is great! Take out all the philosophy and we'll make a funny 'How to' book for college kids!" I was like, it's only funny so they'll read the philosophy. If you've traveled you'll know, and it was a new thing it was-we treated ourselves as characters and so, it's what-called literary travel nonfiction. He goes "Well, there's no place for you at Walden books," and I go "Well that's good! We just did something original!" And he goes, "No, that's bad, 'cuz we slot one of these, one of these, one of these," and everything was just becoming corporate at that point, so I was like, "Well, later!" It's just another thing where I did something and it just could've made money, and it didn't.

So six months later [ the book] A Year in Provence came out. Now you can't find 00:28:00a travel book that's not what we did. We just recently dug it out, like, you know, let's look at this! We went to the Thorn Tree café in Africa where Hemingway went. We left a note tacked to the tree for friends who would find it three weeks later, like, that world is gone, right. You can't get lost anywhere-we got lost all over the place and we got-we got mail sent to the American Express office from months earlier. 'Cuz it would go to my mom and she would send two packages a year and one was Christmas.

We were reading about the San Francisco earthquake of '89 all at the same. All of our friends' personalities came out, and they were like, it's icky and scary, and then my engineer friend was like it's 3.68912 kilometers from Santa Cruz, 00:29:00and then my literary friend was like plumes of purple smoke.

Anyway, so yeah, and then we came back and we returned to San Francisco. I ran an after-school program for the YMCA in a highly impact neighborhood of the Mission-which it's hard to imagine now, but in the '80s it was, first day on the job I'm taking these kids K through fifth grade in an elementary school, and I am like "Let's go for a hike!" and the kids are like, "Woah! What are you doing? What? You have a red sweatshirt you can't go down that way, you gotta go that way, that's a blue sweatshirt!"

All those projects are gone and the gangs are gone, but yeah... shoot outs, you know, covering the kids up on the floor on the Muni buses and, you know, it was wild. And then we got married in '97, and my wife's like, well, let's talk about 00:30:00kids! Not like we had never talked before, but let's talk about it as if it's gonna happen. And I said one more, one more, let's get in the car and just go! Let's see how far-see if we can get to the end of the earth. I heard that there's a sign down there in the middle of a park in Argentina, or Chile, or something. And she's-then we can do that-and she's like "OK."

So that's why we're still together. But now I have to be the one that says OK, because you know, middle-aged women, so she's got her view now. It is my time to go "OK" And that's where we're at, it's good.

And we-but that-that was awesome. She ended up coming back halfway because friends we had met-we had a big tragedy with some friends-and she was upset, she came home, and I was like "I have to finish." That's how I am, and she was like "OK. Try to keep it under three or four months."

I kept going and I found that sign and the funny thing is-I tell this story in 00:31:00my classroom a lot, every semester I probably tell it once. And I have had two students now who have gone off and found the sign. It's a fancy sign now, it's not just a little board, but they-It says "Ushuaia, fin del mundo and Alaska 15,000 KM north" and just, it's literally the end of the road. It's kind of cool. I have-last part of the story-I have-went to the post office, and I had my passport, and I had a postcard, and I had her stamp this postcard-it's the last post office at the end of the world, and then I try to get her to stamp my passport and she was horrified.

She was like freaking out, and I can figure this out, and I'm like "come on, it's my passport, what do you care?" And then I realized, Well, it's Chile, and Allende had just died, and like you know all the disappeared people that were down there, you know, those are the kind of lessons you learn when you're traveling, like, get out of your bubble. Oh my gosh, this is life and death for 00:32:00her! Don't mess with some legal thing, she had no idea, stamp the wrong thing in a passport in Chile and she could be disappeared.

So anyway, that story about what will you do if there was a fire? When there was a fire up here last year, I grabbed the postmark from the end of the world that was it. It's all I needed to validate my life-Oh and my piece of the Berlin wall because we were there when that came down.

So that's it, and then I started-when she did that-I started on a lark... we had a young baby... and I started just putting on events just for fun. And they grew, and they grew, and that first Tease-O-Rama, with Brian, was in this dive bar, The Coquetry. I'm sure we'll get to that in a minute-but one of my favorite places on earth, this horrible, one little toilet on the top of the stairs on a little landing with no seat and no door. I mean it was Punk, and you would walk 00:33:00in, and my friend Scott was also from our Punk station, he was the booker and he was like lurking in the basement, he would be booking just like insane stuff: Jim Rose Circus sideshow, and people just hanging from hooks by their testicles, it was so, like, these are my people, this is the end of the world!

And Scott was this little, just nerdy-and if you ever watch this Scott, I say this with affection, I told you this too, I said, "Scott, am I going to find Boy Scouts buried under here one day? Why are you so-you look just so generically milquetoast," and yet he was so extreme-death-Swedish death metal was his favorite, you know, so. Anyway, so, that's where-that's where the show was born, and it was mobbed, that first show sold out around the block, we were raided three times because it was in North Beach.

We realized, like, all the mafia guys who ran the strip clubs were probably just calling the cops, but everybody had pasties on, and people were-they probably 00:34:00could have cited us for fire. People were hanging-there were two big poles in the club, and people were hanging from these big Masonite poles-like Woodstock, right, hanging from the-from the sound structure. It was insane. That was one of the best nights of my life, that was awesome.

LK: This was 1997?

CK: '97. Yeah.

LK: So how did that all start? How-who had the idea, what did you do, how did that happen?

CK: I think I started that story, I don't ever always finish them, but yeah. There was this moment where people were just coming up to me so-Bardot A Go Go started because Johnny Frankenstein from KLX again, came up and I had given him... There was a French district in San Francisco, and they were having a Bastille party. I knew Johnny was playing this French music, that was his thing, and I wasn't super into it yet, I hadn't listened too much and he was kind of 00:35:00new there.

But I saw this thing, and I have this kind of brain that connects everybody with everything. I saw this little thing "French Bastille Day party", so I cut it out and gave it to him I said "Hey, it's this French party for Bastille day" and then I didn't see him again for, whatever, you know, two months because we didn't really hang around at the time, although we ended up being like living next-door to each other and stuff. But he-I saw him a little later and I said "Oh did you ever go to that party?" and he goes "Yeah, it sucked. It's like Edith Piaf and all this crap." And then I was like, "Oh, oh, did anybody go?" And he goes "I don't know, like 2,000 people?" And I was like-I was like "Wait-2000 people went to a Bastille party!?" And I said "Do you think you could do better?" And he goes "Yeah, I could do better."

So I booked a date-besides O-Rama, I love A Go Go. I think I gave you some flyers. I have a whole bunch with the word A Go Go, I think it's my favorite thing and I collect albums with the word A Go Go on them. So Bardot A Go Go just 00:36:00popped into my head, 'cuz who doesn't look at Bridget Bardo and go "Oh my God. That's the most incredible person I've ever seen of any gender."

So yeah, I just started doing what I do, I started digging up-my favorite thing is early '60s anything and the clothes, and then Johnny brought in Dan Stricoda, Brother Grimm. I didn't know him at the time, but he ended up becoming music editor for the San Francisco Weekly, where I threw those big parties. He owns the club-part owner of the club that we do Bardot A Go Go at-so that's how that happened.

And then another one of these-probably in the same couple of month period-Brian showed up and he told me about this Burlesque show with The Velvet Hammer. He said it was a really fun, and so I just-I came up with Tease-O-Rama. Then I started making the posters, and painting the art, and I wrote the press release-I always wrote the press release before we had anything. Then I would 00:37:00get people to... "Oh I just announced this Tiki show with Johnny Coconut and the Pineapples, like, can you be Johnny Coconut?"

So I would-the tickets would already be sold and I didn't have anyone-I would sort of just make up people. But it was fun, because we always had that kind of Punk energy, so that's-that's where the first one came from. Then what you would think of as Tease-O-Rama... so it was just another show and it went on and did, I think I did 280-somethings different ones of these, and then probably a year or two later-what was it '99?-so I went on that trip down to the end of the world. Then I came back and [Baby] Doe called me up, and we were good friends because of the Tiki stuff.

Her husband Otto was the one who really first told me how to put on a show. Like you have to-you gotta have a backline, and call the a promoter, and you gotta do this, and they're gonna ask for a bar guarantee. It all seems so basic now, but like, Otto would listen and talk to me for like two hours at a time. He was awesome and we are still friends. And I met Otto because he put out a 'Zine, 00:38:00which was big in the '90s, called Tiki News-not to be confused with Tiki Magazine which was kind of copied Otto later in color-but it was just a little folded up at Kinko's and it would be at record stores. I don't even think he did 500 copies of it, but it was a revelation.

Like the whole point of a 'Zine was to be what would be a Facebook chat group or something today, "Other people like what you like!" right? And we were all of a certain age that our primal adventure imagery was going to Disney World. For me it was Florida, for him it was LA-and going to the Tiki room and going, "Wow! This is exotic! These things are singing, and the drums are pounding, and lightning is flashing, and the thunder!" He had a little address in there and I wrote to him, and he wrote back with a phone number, and I called him up, and he's like-I said, "Do you want to come on my radio show?" and he goes, "Turns 00:39:00out I met this girl," which is [Baby] Doe, "and I'm moving to San Francisco."

So he moved up and he would come-I had a whole bunch of radio shows together. Otto's Forbidden Island and we would-he got-because of Tiki News he got all the cool stuff, and CDs were just brand-new, and so old records were turning into CDs. They would promote them by giving them out to "influencers"- but it wasn't called that at the time. Otto was definitely an influencer and he would get all this cool stuff, and then he would come on and play all these things.

And then[artist] Shag was a friend of his, and he was doing the covers for a lot of the Dionysis stuff, and then he ended up being the artist for Tease-O-Rama, but our connection was all the Tiki stuff. And I'm super into vintage Jan and Dean-that was the first concert I ever went to. I was 13 years old and I was going to a Jan and Dean and Sha Na Na-and so I ended up becoming friends with 00:40:00Gidget, who is still around. She runs Sunday Nights, she is 83, I think, 82, and she hosts Duco Amoko down in Southern California. So I got to introduce Shag to Gidget and they were both so happy to meet each other, so that was cool.

LK: And so focusing on Tease-O-Rama, how did that develop?

CK: So what did I just say? Let me think, where did I leave off? So '99-right yes, I got distracted from that story. I get a call from [Baby] Doe, who as I've established, now I'm friends with Otto and so I'm friends with Doe through Otto. Then Doe started The Devil-Ettes right around that time and I would stick The Devil-Ettes in anything I could. That to me-.

LK: Who were they, what was that?

CK: So The Devil-Ettes is a-Doe's dance troupe. They were a synchronized dance troupe, straight out of a Busby Berkeley women's swimming and synchronize. Just 00:41:00the cutest thing ever because they're all not what would be traditional dancers. They're just whoever would be interested, all shapes, all sizes, all colors. It's so San Francisco and, you know, what would be-I say this with affection-nerd girls, like band camp girls, or theater girls, whatever right. But they had this-and it was sexy enough to be a part of Tease-O-Rama, we would always put them in there, but it was just a wholesome old hullabaloo. Like they had the white dresses with the fringe on them, and they had the red ones with the light up a little devil horns, and they would do these really cute dance-synchronize dance routines.

I think they have a documentary somewhere out there on them. Doe would choreograph it all, and then she would call up her DJ friends, and which I was one, like, "What do you got?" We would give her, like, some weird cool song and 00:42:00she would take snippets of it and edit together into her routine.

So she called up and said "Hey, I met this woman online," which was '99, so it was still a new thing "and was in a chat and we started talking about"... 'cuz she had come to Tease-O-Rama with Brian and she was also friends with Brian-I might have even probably met Brian through Otto. She said "Yeah, we're going to New Orleans and have like a get-together of Burlesque people. Do you want to come be in?" And I had just had a baby-that was my first son, I have two. That was a year before she had a baby-so I said, "Yeah, I can't do anything now. I foolishly procreated. For the next 20 years I'm not going to get to go do anything." But that wasn't true. I dragged my kids to everything, we had fun.

And so I didn't go to that and then she came back and she said-then she called up from New Orleans, "Can-can we steal your name? Tease-O-Rama?" She goes, "It's 00:43:00a really good name." and I was like, "Sure." I didn't ever do anything ever twice. She came back and said "Oh my gosh, it was so much fun" and she goes "We ended up finding 50 performers." Keep in mind Burlesque was dead for at least 25 years and Dita had just started out, and she was starting to make a name for herself.

LK: Dita Von Teese?

CK: Yeah sorry, Dita Von Teese, yep. And other than that, there wasn't a ton between the '70s and her, except for the woman who trained her and taught her everything, which was Catherine D'Lish. But I didn't know Catherine at the time we ended up-she ended up being in every single thing we did. We became friends and she's an extraordinary performer. There are other people who could tell you better the real lineage of Burlesque, probably yourself as well. But to me Catherine was the link between the old world and this kind of Punk rock version 00:44:00of Burlesque, that she kept it going.

So she [Baby Doe] came back [from New Orleans] and said it was really fun and I said well-she goes, "we're thinking of doing it next year." And I said "Well why don't we do it here? So we don't have to travel anywhere." And her and Allison were-I think Allison and I were very Punk, Allison is much younger than me but she's from New York right, so she's got that New York Grungy aesthetic. Doe also was still coming out of that Tiki, Grungy kind of a thing, but I was kind of bored with that in the sense that I was in my 30s, and I kind of wanted to, I don't know, it was inspiring, I want to be around cool-to be one of those people that flies places, to like, consults or whatever. You know, like, I just like-I 00:45:00didn't want to sell out, I don't need-like stuff, but I just wanted a different kind of romantic life and I was like "Well, let's just go upscale."

I had just, because of Bardot A Go Go-it's good that I told these stories early-I had got a call one day from some guy going, "Hey, I saw these flyers, Bardot A Go Go, I love Brigitte Bardot! These are really cool, and yeah, when's your next show? I want to come up, I'm in LA, and by the way I'm Nancy Sinatra's manager." And I'm like-'cuz I was a little obsessed by Nancy Sinatra too. So, I ended up working with Nancy for a couple years, and he wasn't actually her manager, but he was her publicist. But he hooked me up with her and I ended up doing a bunch of shows with her.

I was working with The Ventures at the time-because like I said I love anything surf especially from the '60s. Then it turns out one day, I'm talking with the two publicists on the same day. And Nancy-turns out Nancy likes The Ventures and The Ventures like Nancy, so I hook them up. And they recorded a song together, 00:46:00"Kicks" by Paul Revere and the Raiders, who I immediately then called up Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Riders-because that's how I work-and I was like, "What could I do with you now?" Anyway, his wife was like, "Wait! Wait! Mark's song?" and I was like, "Yeah!" so that was kind of how it started to evolve. So I pushed-I said let's go to Bimbo's 365 club. I just did Nancy Sinatra there, so I know the owner, and honestly I've never loved a place, to this day, as much as I loved Bimbo's.

LK: What is that? What did it have?

CK: It's pretty much untouched. It's almost 80 years old now. It used to be on 365 Market St., which is why it's called Bimbo's 365, not because it's open every day of the year. Michael is the grandson-Bimbo is an Italian name, it's not a pejorative name for women. His grandfather, his name was very hard to 00:47:00pronounce so Bimbo was an Italian nickname, people would call him Bimbo because they couldn't say his actual name.

And I believe-I just looked him up recently. I haven't seen Michael in about 10 years, but I just looked him up 'cuz I might go down next month. I think his dad's still alive, his dad's got to be in his 90s by now. So I just called Michael and I said, "I'm doing this thing," and I don't know why Michael-I mean Michael had, like, Robin Williams calling him up and going, "I need to test some new material.," And Norah Jones' first performance, like, everybody who wanted to do something super classy would go to Bimbo's. Michael never really had to worry about anything, and the cover band thing hadn't quite exploded yet, but it was starting to, that was his bread and butter for him. I think he would pack that club with people who would drink and spend a lot of money, and just want to pick each other up, and listen to Neil Diamond cover tunes.The big one is tainted love right now, they do '80s stuff.

So Michael just said "OK" and he drew up a contract. I believe there was a bar 00:48:00guarantee and a ticket guarantee, and some other stuff-I don't know what I would've done if we had tanked. I didn't have a penny until about three years ago. Was the first time in my life I had a dollar left at the end of a paycheck. But I just signed everything and said "We'll figure it out." It always worked out, like, whenever I did anything, it just always kind of happened OK, and there was never anything left for me, but I paid everybody. I never welched on anybody.

And yeah, so we did it at Bimbo's and it was incredible. First of all that marquee, that vintage style marquee that only said Tease-O-Rama on it, and then in red, big plastic red letters: SOLD OUT. You know, in three days. Then when Friday night came, it was like, 3 o'clock-no even earlier. When did we 00:49:00open-seven? It was 1 o'clock in the afternoon, six hours before the show. People were sitting outside in lawn chairs, and Michael came up to me at the end of the weekend and he goes, "You know this is your ticket right?" and I'm like, "I've thrown a lot of tickets in the garbage, Michael."

But no, I don't know, I thought maybe I would do something, but, I don't know. There's always another butterfly flying by, but it was fun. It was a fun ride for about five years, and yeah. A lot of my jokes was "This is like an episode of the Love Boat." All of these, like, second teir celebrities that would come in-I don't want to say any of their names 'cuz I don't want them to think they were second tier, but for me they were exciting! I'll say two, two people that I was just really excited to see: Q from Star Trek, because I was a big Next Generation fan, and Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz.


And he was under age at the time and I was like, "Dude you you gotta, like, go get a wristband, and it's going to cost some money. We gotta keep an eye on-" But I guess he knew somebody in the show, and yeah. So-but people like that would come, and so I knew we were onto something-'cuz people would sit in lawn chairs for six hours-and part of that was because, unlike Los Angeles where everything was, like, "How can we make maximum profit?" we wouldn't block anything off. I wouldn't do that.

I ended up, in the end, there's two side rails of tables that are slightly risen with little railings-little four seaters, I think maybe five or six of them on either side, and I ended up blocking those off for the performers, the Legends. Because everybody else, even the performers, they didn't-they could stay, but 00:51:00they couldn't block off seats for their boyfriends-because, you know, people were waiting for hours. People were excited to go and I thought-I still believe, like, if you really want to go to a show and you're willing to sleep out, you should get to be in the front row. And I hate now, if you go, and if you're a huge fan of some band, and their first 10 rows are all people in the industry who are so jaded and bored, whereas you would be so excited to be in the front row of The Who, oh my God.

LK: How long did Tease-O-Rama run? Years, I mean, through the years?

CK: So if we forget '97, and we just go with the Doe and Allison-so Doe brought in Allison. I don't-I think, oh, Allison had contacted Doe in that chat. I think that's how they met so. So that was '99 and I think the last one was 2006 or 2008, so maybe seven years? And yeah, each time it would be like "Well what's 00:52:00next? What's next? What's next?" Right, so. We did Bimbo's and that was huge. Then we were like "OK let's do these classes."

And then somehow-I don't remember how I got Cirque du Soleil, maybe Allison or Doe will-no, it wasn't Allison. I don't know if they contacted us, or if we contacted them, but somehow I ended up with this woman-who just had a baby and she just texted me yesterday, we don't see much of each other much, but she still promotes for Doe's Tiki Oasis event, Christie Crow and Flag Marketing. So it might have been through Christie, because she got involved-she came to the show and was like "This is amazing! What can I do? How can I get involved?" So we hired her, that was the only real semi-professional person of any sort that we hired, and she was a professional. She was at the start, in the '90s, of Internet marketing, and that was her thing, and she would hook up all kinds of 00:53:00stuff for us.

She was the one-and she would still-she's so funny when she sees me ,she's still like, appalled by how much I am embarrassed by money or I want nothing to do with money. She's like, "[Cali Kid] you don't understand, this is gold for people!" She would be like-'cuz we were just like-we would go up and down North Beach just trying to get local businesses to try to take out a little ad, so we could put out a program that didn't cost us-you know, they were like, two grand to get those programs out. Then she started selling ads. I think if we kept going we would have gotten real sponsors. I turned, you know, this is me again, I turned down a ton-and Doe agreed with this too-of cigarette money. My dad had died of cancer from smoking, and my mother in law had emphysema, and crashed her car while coughing and died, you know. So it was like, I never took-there was so much cigarette money in the '90s, and I never took any of it. But I think there was one show I did, through somebody else, because I wanted to work with the guy from The Kinks. I was like, "I'll turn an eye this one time."


LK: So in 2008, Tease-O-Rama went on a tour and came to-went to Seattle, then Portland, then Ashland.

CK: So that's 2008.

LK: 2008.

CK: So nine years we made it. That's a good run.

LK: How did that tour come around and talk to me about Ashland and Portland specifically.

CK: So, that was again, "What's next? What's next?" For me, like, I would come up with these alliteration's and stuff, and I was like, "How about the Big Book of Burlesque?" and we'll like-did we do this online or was it just you and I talking about the-we did it already? OK. Yeah, so, yeah it was kind of coming up with the "How can we make money without exploiting the women who are our friends."


'Cuz you know, at this point, it's a movement and we're all part of something, and we're seeing each other socially. I've never been big on being online but Doe and Allison are online, and they are going all over and seeing all these people in all different places. I traveled a lot also, I would go to New York and get-my friend worked on Xanadu, and she would take me to the play. Then I would go see the Pontani sisters, and someone would take me in, then someone else would take me to a restaurant, and it was super fun. Like, that life I wanted without having to, like, have the material obligations of being rich, but I got to do all that stuff. And so it was fun, and we didn't want to exploit them, and so yeah, we were trying to do that and we had The Pink Pages, which was like "How about we just make-pre-internet, right, '99 was still pretty new, how do we make a -we'll put a pink pages, like the Yellow Pages and everyone can pay 10 bucks, and we'll update it every year with our contact information," and our goal was for them to be able to go off, and do stuff.


I remember coming up with "See the show this year, be the show next year." And you know, all this was possible because Doe is like, like a gift to somebody. I knew she was my ticket to-to the big time and I just never figured-she is the most organized person ever. She'd keep track of everything, and she was super computer savvy, and she worked for office manager for some really hip San Francisco firm. So she was so dialed into all this kind of stuff, and Allison, for the bit she was there, came from New York. So she would bring in-to me, I grew up a bit outside of there, I love the New York performers, they just have this "in your face-ness" about them. So Allison would bring in these really cool New York things that was super fun, and Allison was part of the Zine movement, and so more on the publicity side of things.

After she left it was really fun for me, because I like-as I said with the other 00:57:00shows-doing the press releases and writings, so a lot of the stuff in those books, the-the really weird stuff, it-that was my favorite thing, was just writing those up. But Doe would organize that book and she would be up until like, 4 o'clock in the morning, and she had kids, and then she would go to her job, and then she would-have this thing printed up and it was amazing. And so, my job was always to work the deals, and meet people, and I guess schmooze, right. I guess I didn't realize that was a skill set. I now understand that, like, that's what every CEO, and like, all those people who do mergers, they have that one skill set but they drink and play golf, and I don't do either of those.

LK: Who bought the Big Book of Burlesque? Who bought that?

CK: I don't-I can't recall if we actually did it. I don't know that it's a real thing that existed, but we-we did the Pink Pages, those are in the program 00:58:00guide. And I don't know if we-I think we started it and then it got overwhelming, 'cuz it was all on Doe's plate again, you know. She was still doing Tiki Oasis, and her job, and her kids.

LK: So the tour in 2008, to Seattle, Portland, and Ashland. Did you tour with them?

CK: Yeah, so that was like-OK, so this is a lot of work. How-we need to go to more places, 'cuz at the end of the night I think we had two grand or something, we split it three ways, when it was her and I. $1000 seemed like a lot, because I never had a real job, I just always managed to get paid to do whatever I wanted to, but it was just enough hand to mouth. So I was like, "Well, maybe we have to do more of these," right, and then Christie, from Flag Marketing, was 00:59:00like, "Yeah, and then I could sell more ads!" Because they want to see bodies, and eyeballs on the page, I know she used some good advertising jargon, I was like, "OK let's do it!"

So-because I had moved to Ashland at this point, so I was like, "Well, Seattle, Portland, to San Francisco, makes sense. Those are all one day things." And then we really wanted Los Angeles, 'cuz that just-that was where something was going to happen, somebody was going to see us and it was going to explode, and plus we could get Dita down there, she wouldn't have to travel. I don't remember, I don't think she did all of them-I think she only did Los Angeles that year. So that was that, yeah I had just bought a house and it was right at the start of Ashland getting discovered, so my house, Steve Smith-I hope he doesn't mind me 01:00:00using his name-from [the rock band] Journey bought the house next-door to me, and my house immediately doubled in value. So-so we became friends-and I actually got to go on the Journey airplane and he jammed with my son at the Jazz Festival and so anyway, it was really fun.

But anyway, he-just by buying the house my house went up 300,000 or whatever, so I had a credit line now of $250,000 now. Suddenly I could back the tour, and so I could get the vans, and pay the venues, and put up the whatever we had to put upfront. There was some people like Dirty Martini from New York, they had been doing it a while at this point and it was-they would have done anything for us. But like, you know, it was a full-time occupation for them to just scrape enough money together, and then spend it on their costumes, and then spend it on plane tickets. So we always tried to fly out the ones that we could fly out, and that was expensive, but it was fun.


And so that's-that was kind of how we did that, and then it just became obvious that like, "I live in Ashland." It was still be pretty new here, but it would be pretty funny, 'cuz I had seen the Armory and I had bumped into this guy Jason Gallagher-who still books the Armory and he was another one of these people, he's an Ashland person-and then he ran a place called "Off the Grid Waffles" in That A Street building that's now that toy place that was Plexus for a long time.

And there was a bunch of shops in there, and I was sitting there and I was looking around saying, "This would be a cool place to put a show" and the guy serving the waffles was like, "Damn right it would." And then it turns out he was also a promoter, and he's just another one of these dreamers, and he's always just doing stuff-really cool stuff, but he's a little bit more of a like, Burning Man, jam-band kind of person. But still, he made it happen. He was like, 01:02:00"I can book the armory" and so he went in with us on it. I had done one show here and I lost three grand or something. The only time I had lost money.

I had moved here, and I had the Pontani sisters and Los Straitjackets, and they had just come off Conan O'Brien the night before. They had sold out everything on this whole tour, everywhere they went everyone loves them-and Los Straitjackets were, for us surf fans, the surf band the '80s, and 10 people showed up to my Ashland show. And that's when I realize nobody in Ashland does anything, 'cuz it's cool or they know it, or any traditional means of going to things. They go because everybody else in Ashland is going.

So when we did the show in Ashland, the Tease-O-Rama show, I booked the Armory which-what is that, 500 people or something like that. We decided to table it 'cuz that made much more sense than people my age standing up. I just gave away 01:03:00a spot at each table because by then we were $50 tickets. I don't know if-I think we were $100 for the week in San Francisco and then $50 for the one nighters or something.

I just knew I had a lot of friends, my kids were in Montessori so I met some really interesting people that were-had big social groups. And I just said, "I'll just give you a table," nobody knew, A) Tease-O-Rama, but they didn't even know Burlesque like it wasn't even a thing. I remember hearing people going "I don't even know what I'm here for, but it looks fun!" Right, because we are so remote. And what was awesome-which is still true 20 years into my stay here.

We're the best audience in the world, like, for performers, right, because of OSF. Because we are so appreciative of anybody coming out here, and because we 01:04:00have the facilities to get real performances, not like a normal small town. People are just-they applaud like you know, you've been to OSF, standing ovation for every-our highschool plays right-everthing, and they're awesome! I just watched Hair that we put on at the high school four years ago last night, we watched the video and it was extraordinary. So all the performances, say Ashland was my favorite performance I've ever done. People were just howling, and screaming, and standing up, and cheering for every single thing.

I talked to Susan around The Black Sheep. She did the silks. We put silks up so they could spin down into the middle of the crowd at some point. I tried to bring in lots of local people, [local band] Hamfist, I just, we're friends from my cousin and I was like, "We need something while people are coming in." So I said, "Just do your dirty country songs," So they did a lot of-they did a lot of those-what do you call them, grease your griddle songs, so. So that was fun, so 01:05:00that's kind of how we ended up with those dates, and I think the next plan was to plug in Vegas.

But at that point Luke [Littell] and Laura [Herbert] had taken Dixie Evans' Burlesque Hall of Fame, which was really like a trailer in Palm Springs, but she had a very well established show. That's what really kept Burlesque alive for all those years. And people would go out to the desert for this show and then they moved it to Vegas, and it got bigger, and bigger, Burlesque Hall of Fame. So it was difficult, we couldn't really go to Vegas or we would have to figure something out, to somehow combine it with them, or do it six months after their event, but we would have figured something out, you know.

LK: So you've already kind of touched on this, what kind of cultural impact do 01:06:00you think Burlesque has had?

CK: I think-I think it's huge. Like I said, people come up to us all the time and say, "Tease-O-Rama changed my life." I think we gave a community to a large group of outsiders. I think-I think we touched on a desire for outrageousness that you see all over our culture. But because, particularly Doe and I are both very bubblegum, that's our crossover, right, we are the [comic book] Archies. Because we are bubblegum it was never seedy, it was never-we didn't focus on the fetish imagery, we never marketed like it was 1930s Weimar Berlin. We always-we used [artist] Shag, right, you've seen his art. That was kind of that feeling we wanted it to kind of like, feel like, yeah everyone is beautiful and it's sexy 01:07:00and people's clothes are coming off.

But it was also fun and safe and wholesome, but also politically Punk and-and dangerous. I remember talking with some people and saying, you know, it's kind of like Colonel Parker saying, "If I could find a white guy who could sing like a black guy this would be huge." I remember saying, "if we could liberate women to own their sexuality the way men own their sexuality without the male gaze controlling it at all, it would be great for everybody."

I don't think men understand they're their own worst enemies in terms of-you know, I'm saying this as a former Catholic, like, the virgin and the whore, right. I want the virgin until she's with me, and then she's a whore, right. And 01:08:00that's the impossible thing to expect of women and so I think from a cultural sense to see other women saying, "Well, this is how I define myself," and the acts were such a huge range from Harlem Burlesque to Dita, all body shapes, all types, all approaches of music, of imagery. I personally I just couldn't wait every year to see the Va-Va Sisters-and I don't even recall if they took their clothes off, I guess they kind of did-of course they did, but not really, it didn't feel like you were watching a striptease act. It was just this hilarious, absurdist humor and really tongue in cheek, and there was just a couple of acts I remember.

CK: They did "Sister Christian" this one time-and I must have footage of it somewhere I would love to see it again-but they did the song "Sister Christian" 01:09:00and they're dressed like Catholic school girls. They're, you know, doing these-they're really acrobatic, incredibly acrobatic, and we had to install trapez as for them and stuff-and they're doing this wonderful act. They're spinning each other around, and they're ripping the clothes off. The whole time there was this big, like a log, leaning up against the back of the stage, like someone was cleaning there and forgot to clear the stage. I just remember one of them spinning the other one, and she twirls, and she hits the log and it had some kind of a spring or something, and it goes "boom" and it turns into a cross. The whole audience goes "Oooh" and her timing was impeccable. She just looks and goes... and then they tied her to the cross, and then she was doing some thing. Then Jesus walks by and he's carrying a cross. And he comes across, and the whole audience is howling, and Jesus looks at them and looks at their one tied up with her clothes ripped off, and the other one was whipping her with something, and then he looks at the audience in disgust and he just walks off. 01:10:00And I said, "This was one of the greatest moments of theater I've ever seen."

And we had another one with a Marie Antoinnette woman that sticks in my mind too. It was like it was a techno song, "Let Them Eat Cake." She had the hair, and they wheeled a whole cake out. I just remember it was right up at the front of the stage and she like, lifted her leg across it, and looked in the audience-dead in the eye-and just let it hang that tension that comedians go for... and then she just did the splits and boom! cake all over the place, so anyway. I love that kind of stuff.

That's, to me, is what we-there's a market for that. My final dream-I don't know if you're going to ask for it-but my final dream was... and this is a big crossover for Doe and I probably Allison too, was Quentin Tarantino. I just wait for Quentin Tarantino movies to come out every two years. I would have loved to just get in touch with him and see if he would produce a Tease-O-Rama movie with 01:11:00that energy that he has, but I don't know if that would have made it too male. Kitten on the Keys was our MC, she's our voice, she's incredible. I did get in touch with Pee-wee Herman-before he had his Broadway come-back-and because somebody had said he had showed up to Burlesque Hall of Fame and he was a big fan of Burlesque. But at the time he was trying to make this come-back and he didn't want to get re-involved with anything related to sex in anyway at that time, because of his own story. But I think he would have interesting.

I went out and saw Penn and Teller a while ago. I talked to Penn and he had heard of us, and I said, "If we ever do this again I would love you guys to just do whatever that thing is that you've always wanted to do, and maybe it doesn't fit with your show anymore, I don't know." But like I told them, I saw them on their first tour and I took my mother, and they were in Connecticut-I don't know 01:12:00why I knew them, they must have been on Letterman or something-it was the '80s. I just remember them doing this version of "Me and My Shadow" and they were dancing, they were in gowns-operating gowns, so they made people come up, they were behind a screen, and they made people come up and see that they were completely nude, you could tell. This was Connecticut, these women were embarrassed, you know, and they're like "oh my God!"

They do this whole thing and they're singing, and then blood just starts pouring down! Like not even a little bit, gallons of blood! I don't know, to this day I don't know how they did it, but like, I would love to do that-we had a zombie Burlesque act once. I contacted them and they had just broken up, but I was going to do something here, when we had Pride and Prejudice here. I talked to Bill Rauch, the guy that ran Oregon Shakespeare Fest, at the end of the season of doing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was going to combine those people 01:13:00with-what I didn't understand at the end of the season the actors are done, so I needed to do it at a different time. So, all right, Tease-O-Rama.

LK: So, what do you see as the-final question here-what do you see as the, sort of the future of Burlesque?

CK: I don't know. As somebody working with high schoolers, alienation is as bad as it's ever been. This zoom-two years of zoom-has broken kids. Anxiety disorders are through the roof. Everybody says it. We have a bunch of middle schoolers, people can't focus, people are detached, they're lonely. You know, the severe mental illnesses are at an all-time high from-according to our health 01:14:00department, you know, we've-and I work with at-risk kids so I hear all the stories.

So I think it's, you know, what's the next generation going to need from the world? I don't know. I know that kids are getting handed devices at a very young age. Whatever you think, if you're handing a kid a device, porn is coming up on the first day they have it, right. It just is, and that the porn on the Internet is not healthy in anyway at all, it's horrible. It's, you know, Time magazine ran a story on like, you know, 20-year-olds with impotence. It's a huge thing that people don't know how to relate anymore. And even though Tease-O-Rama and Burlesque is not really-to me it's never been about sex-it's still about that kind of interpersonal relationship. The art of the tease is about the subtlety, 01:15:00and the build up, and the connection, and by that time somebody like Dirty Martini takes her top off of, you're in love with her, right, and-and that's missing from the Internet.

And so, I don't know where it goes, but I still think live theater is the most important art form right now. And-and for the most part probably, you know going back to Shakespeare's time, right, it puts us in a room together with other human beings, you know, we're clearly going to lose movie theaters, right? We've already lost ours and White City lost theirs. But theater, you can't replicate that, right.

Like I said, I just watched our version of Hair and it was wonderful. But it wasn't the same like going all eleven shows in a row, like a ritual, it was incredible to be there live. And, you know, OSF is going to-fingers crossed-come 01:16:00back this year after two seasons gone, and I just hope people just get in the room with each other and talk and like, people kept coming up to us saying, "Tease-O-Rama changed my life!" Because I was in the room with other people and I made new friends, and then they would go off, and the next year all these people who would be applying would be like, "Well, I got into this 'cuz I saw your show and I wanted to be a part of it" and that's awesome, so.

LK: Thank you.

CK: You're welcome.