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BeeBee Sanchez Oral History Interview, December 16, 2021

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LAURIE KURUTZ: Today is Thursday, December 16th, 2021, my name is Laurie Kurutz. My pronouns are she/hers. Would you please introduce yourself, tell us your pronouns if you care to, and all the things you do?

BEEBEE SANCHEZ: I am BeeBee Sanchez and I use she/her pronouns, and I am a producer and performer in Portland. My production company is Querencia Dance Theater.

LK: Great. What is Burlesque?

BEEBEE: Right off the bat! So, I have been listening to a lot of my colleagues talk about this. It is an interesting, fascinating question and I would say that to me, Burlesque is The Art of the Reveal. That's-that's my favorite concept of 00:01:00what Burlesque is.

LK: What are they revealing?

BEEBEE: That is the beauty of this beautiful, fantastic, diverse umbrella, is it can be anything. It can be actual body parts, which is what most people think of when they think of Burlesque, but it can also be something so many different layers to it. And so I love that aspect, the theatrical aspect of it, the storytelling aspect of it, and also just revealing something about yourself, and it also reveals a lot to the audience about themselves and their reactions to things. And so I am-I just love this way that it can be flipped back-and-forth between the audience and the performer about what the reveal actually is. I think sometimes you're going to watching an act and thinking you know what the reveal is going to be only to discover it was you all along.


LK: How do you describe the kind of Burlesque that you do?

BEEBEE: So there are-there is conceptually is the idea of classic Burlesque and Neo Burlesque and I think that much like in-I studied art and art history in undergraduate and we learn that language is never enough right it's always evolving and changing. I think the right now we haven't come up with a new word yet. Neo Burlesque is too broad it covers too many genres. It isn't, it no longer serves its purpose, to me, as far as really being able to describe the art I make and the art that some of my other favorite artists make, as far as Burlesque goes. I think in a truly sort of academic check the box-when I have to click a box on a form-Neo Burlesque is more correct for what I do, but I do feel 00:03:00that-that just really scratches the surface of all the different aspects of what Neo Burlesque is, to me anyway.

LK: Just give us an example of what those aspects are.

BEEBEE: Sure. I think with a Neo Burlesque in general, and the kind of Burlesque that I do, it's very storytelling driven. I come from a theatrical background, and I've been dancing, and doing theater my whole life, and so to me those are what I'd like to bring to the stage. That even-even if it's only a brief glimpse at a story, it's a bit of a character that you're revealing to the audience, it is important to me that's where the art-the art starts from. Is wanting to convey something about this particular character even if it doesn't always-the audience may not know that, "oh I was being told a story!" But you as an artist know what you-what your base was to creating. And so when I'm creating a new 00:04:00act, it is often inspired by "What is this that I'm trying to tell?" And sometimes it's the songs-some sometimes it really can be anchored in "I really wanna capture this part of the lyric." But I also really love playing against a song, and using a song in a different way than what it was expected to be, and having-finding another layer of meaning to the song that people may not have anticipated.

LK: So you touched a little bit on it, but, why do you do Burlesque? What does it give you artistically?

BEEBEE: Yeah. It's-it's sort of an interesting place to-to of end up. I have been performing on Portland stages since 2001, as a belly dancer. That was sort of the foray into performing and being paid to do it. And what was interesting, 00:05:00is that I've always been a dancer-I've danced so many different styles, I've been trained in so many different styles-but once you become a big girl, you start to have very really limited options on where you can present your art and be taken seriously.

We have more ways to do that now. I love today. That is the great thing about today, is it there's so many more opportunities and you get: Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion. And you have all these wonderful, wonderful, thick, thick lovely, beautiful humans creating and bringing space for other thick people to create their work. But back in 2001, we didn't have that. We didn't. We had Catherine Manheim. We had big actresses who were kicking down doors, and we loved them, but they were not movers. And, so, belly dancing was a safe place to create and make art and feel safe doing it... until it wasn't. That is how I'm going to say how I transitioned out of that career.


But even-even then my path to Burlesque was foraged because about-gosh, it must have been easily 10 years ago now....Aurora, DJ Aurora, in Portland, who Portlanders will know. She has created space for so many different performance artists in her time. And she produced a show that was a celebration of fat movers and performers. We had crossed paths a couple times, and so she said "I would love for you to do the show" and I said "absolutely" and it's where I met Marla Darling, and The Witch Prince-wonderful thick humans. And it was a-I wasn't-I didn't have to belly dance. She billed me as a dancer, and it was the first empowering moment where I was able to just make whatever art I wanted to 00:07:00make. And so I did a duet with another artist, and I did a solo. And that solo, honestly, if you look back at it and you look back at the photos, you'd be like "girlfriends doing Burlesque." I just didn't have that language for it yet. So that's kind of the first-the first-the first reveal of the path, was starting to come-come to fruition even back then.

LK: You know some other people I've interviewed have said a similar thing to what you just expressed. That children are given opportunities to do dance in theater and create and such, and then when we grow up we're-it's not so permitted. Does that resonate with you?

BEEBEE: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. It becomes "oh bless-bless her heart. She 00:08:00wants to keep dancing" that's you know "hmm". And we didn't-you know now when we've become so much more of a global society we're able to see performers-we're all able to see Alvin Ailey, even Alvin Ailey isn't touring. If I had been able to see more Alvin Ailey when I was a kid, I would've known that there was more that was possible. But I didn't.

And so we-ya know, the rest of us had to kinda keep carving our way through, and keep fighting against what everyone expected of us to do. And so yeah, it was a real challenge. I danced all the way through college, but it was always instead of the club level. You know, the dance club or the kookie, you know-well, you're an academia, so you, know there's a little bit more of the eccentric professors that you may-and you know. I-I was blessed at a liberal arts college to have plenty those. And so I was able to have a dance instructor who loved putting us 00:09:00all together, and-and I was able to to bring in jazz, and contemporary movement, and hip-hop, and bring it all together into a piece. And, you know, one minute we're getting to do that and the next minute I'm dancing in, you know, a black turtleneck and a parachute...because college. Anyone who's been in college dance, we've all done that piece.

LK: Another aspect of this kind of topic is the "Amateur versus Professional" conversation. And I think, you know it used to be that if you liked Ballet or liked dance then you had to go into a ballet company, and you had to go to New York, and you had to look a certain way now to be a certain something, and Burlesque offers something else. Can you talk about that?

BEEBEE: 100%, yes, this is a hill I will die on. So. Yes, in a more formal dance 00:10:00training that is absolutely-you're 100% correct. That you have to have certain credentials to be taken seriously, otherwise we're just sort of an enthusiast or a hobbiest or, you know, they want to pat you on your head and sent you on your way. And I get-I understand it to a degree, obviously went to school with a lot of different theater professionals, some who went on to do Big Things. Okay, however, there's so-it's classist at the-at the minimum. And so it's-it's a huge barrier that sort of arbitrarily put up in order to say, "Well this becomes art because you've done XY and Z."

And a very-it just really, completely defies all the actual art that's being produced in the world and being made by so many people, because they have a story to share, a song in their heart-as it were-a dance to be made. They have 00:11:00something to share with the world and that is-that you don't have to have special credentials to create art and be an artist. If you want to make art, you are an artist. And so I absolutely love that about Burlesque and really love being able to support other artists, as they want to investigate what Burlesque is, because you don't need to have all the special credentials.

And I found that even in belly dance that there was starting to become more and more of these arbitrary barriers put up . You had to have studied with this person, or certificate from that person, in order to be taken seriously in-in belly dance. and I-Why? I don't understand the question. And it-it does start to become really, really limiting and you have to sort of take a step back of well "who's putting these barriers and why are they putting them up?" and then "How 00:12:00do I kick them down?"

LK: And so, some people think of Burlesque in the realm of sex work. Is it sex work? is it sex education? What-what's your take on that?

BEEBEE: Well, there is-there is definitely a Venn diagram of sex work in Burlesque. And I think that sex education is-is a really lovely way of putting it. I think there's-there's an element of sex education, although I think even in that realm, I think the sex workers have really put their thought process into what being a sex educator actually is. I do know that there is quite a number of active Burlesque performers who do the work of sex education, and have clients and-and work in workshops and do wonderful ritual and and all sorts of 00:13:00elements. I think there is definitely trying to extract the two, I think it would be full hardy. I think there's-there's definitely work to be done there.

It's interesting to sort of figure out where I fit in into-because again, to me, sex educator, again, you know titles, it feels like something that should have some-something behind it. Like I've written a book or I do workshop or I've studied "x", I've done this discipline I'm gonna-gonna work on something, even if that means it's as a tantric discipline or a kink discipline.To me those are still disciplines that you study and you become good at. You know, you won't just-I mean unless you're maybe Sting-You don't just like automatically become a Tantric, you know, sex guide. You have to actually work at it. You may have a natural affinity, don't get me wrong, but. You know, those are things you have to study and become better and better and better at.

And so, is there-is there-is there sort of a giant umbrella and Burlesque sort of fits somewhere in that umbrella? I think there's an element that says it does. Because in a lot of ways, again with our reveals, we're bringing things to 00:14:00the stage and presenting things to the audience for them to think about and take in and digest, and that is a form of education. And our business is "you can say it's sex, it's sexual, it's erotic." Whole different conversation-talk about erotica 'cuz I can-but it is-that's a part of this.

It is all part-partly related. That is-I mean there's that sort of like, element too, right. We're talking about the bricks of how-how did BeeBee get here? And we know one of the other pieces to the trail is when I started writing erotica.

And so the-when I was thinking about performing and coming up with a name, I was like "Well, I already have a name. I'm a writer who writes erotica." So thinking about character and persona, I was like, well that's an element of this character, a person who writes erotica would actually feel comfortable enough getting on stage and revealing something about themselves. And so I didn't have 00:15:00the classic sort of like, pun name or you know, something kind of fun or whimsical. But I appreciated being able to take this writer name and making-and making her a full three dimensional character and giving her-giving her life in this way. And so that was another- sort of few more bricks in the-in the path that led to me being on stage, and feeling comfortable being on stage, sharing the sensual and sexual part of me as a human.

LK: And how did you come to be writing erotica?

BEEBEE: Well, this is where we first start to talk about Miss Fisher.

LK: Let's talk about Miss Fisher!

BEEBEE: "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries." Which is a delightful show that aired for three seasons out of Australia-and if you haven't seen it, of course I will insist that you watch it. If you spend long enough with me you will end up 00:16:00watching an episode.

And it is, on the surface, it is-you can just enjoy it for the costumes, you can enjoy it for being sent in the 1920s. You can enjoy it for two absolutely handsome and lovely leads, you can enjoy for all of those different reasons. How did BeeBee become obsessed with Miss Fisher?-which is an accurate statement. It is finding a community of people that also really-there was something special about the show. My husband and I started it together on a whim, and in the context of watching this show, there is just something extra special in the delivery, and in the the the age of the characters, and even though-in theory she supposed be 29, wink wink nod nod-the actress playing her is clearly not. And I also love that about her, because she's clearly a woman in her 30s who is 00:17:00scaling buildings in heels, wearing beautiful 1920s frocks and-and there's a will-they-won't-they element of relationship with the handsome and dashing inspector.

And yet it isn't the only driving force of the show, and I actually love that because it's really an ensemble show. One of the things that really-I just kept thinking about this show and stumbled into the community, 'cuz wanting to know a little more information about it. I stumbled into all of these wonderful, wonderful humans, who we connected on this really deep level, and it was because we were finding all these other things about the show. And it was a woman-driven show. It was a wealthy woman who was able to do what she wants, when she wants, and how she wants to do it. She's completely sexual-sexually free. Her romances 00:18:00are legendary and unapologetic, which was just a beautiful, beautiful thing to just sort of just digest and-and love about this.

There's also, her best friend is a lesbian, and that's like not at all hidden, it's not implied with a little like, wink and a-no. She's a lesbian and she's her best friend and they're amazing. And so I'm seeing all these wonderful-like, okay, so this show has everything, right? There's queer characters, and there's older characters, and there's and-and you know, there's all these beautiful costumes, and settings and-I've always love the period of the 1920s but-but being able to see Australia in the 1920s was sort of a fun thing.

But, in the context of getting into this community, we kind of got dared into writing each other. There was a small group that already writing when I joined the fandom. I started reading their-their fics, it was the first real fan fics I 00:19:00read, and was like this is a fun thing to do. Because I used to write all the time. I was a writer from-I wrote my first play in the fourth grade-like I was a writer. But I had let that part of my self go dormant for so many things, including college which kind of saps it right out of you, to be honest with you. And so this was-people started having these little, like, writing challenges, like, "Well, what if you took-" one friend had a word of the day calendar, and was like "I'm gonna write a fic based on this word of the day and I'm just gonna write 500 words." And I was like "Well, 500 words is like, I can write 500 words on something." And so I did. So I started writing these little snippets. and it was like "Oh writing! I remember Writing this is really fun."

Then being able to write more and more, and then be able to write about 00:20:00this-about a queer character, and being able to queer up the other characters-which is the magic of fanfiction-and then it was like "Oh I want to do more and more and more." And so then it turned out I was actually pretty good about writing the sex scenes. And so I wrote a lot of them.

Then through that I started seeing like other writing challenges for publication and so I started writing and submitting stories to be published. And it was all because of this humongously supportive community that absolutely-we're copy editors, we read each other's work, and this core group that I really cherish with all of my heart. There was a group of five of us that really, really bonded over the writing, and cheering each other on, and we're all our biggest fans, and-and we got a few novels between us, and some-some short fiction and a couple 00:21:00pending. It's all been because of this charming little show that really at the core of it is competency porn.

LK: That is great. That is great. So just sort of nuts and bolts here, where were you born and where did you grow up?

BEEBEE: I was born technically I was born in Fresno, California. Hello! Did not grow up there though. I grew up in the Bay area of California. And so East Bay, and what was the not so great suburb-at the time which is Pittsburgh-named after the big city. And then-and now of course everything's flipped because, you know, time. Now there's like million dollar houses in that suburb. Which is insane to me. That is not the neighborhood I grew up in. Hard stop.


LK: What brought you to Oregon?

BEEBEE: I came up for college. I went to an undergraduate university in Salem, and-and loved it, and loved everything about-and I loved my trips to Portland. And it was just-everything is just so green, and beautiful, and lovely. I also just felt like I could have the lifestyle to which I wanted to become accustomed to here, that I wasn't gonna be able to afford down in California. And so the-when the opportunity struck to stay or-well leave and come back, I should say-I left, came back, went to grad school down in Corvallis, and-and then that was-that was it. It was like, I'm not leaving the state now. I don't want to. 00:23:00And hightailed it up to Portland as quickly as I could.

LK: And so, you've already talked about dancing, and theater, and art and art history, and all of that. Burlesque, in what year, and how did you get started in Burlesque?

BEEBEE: So like I said, the roads to Burlesque was sort of winding. But the-the real moment happened...well, JoJo Stiletto. So, all roads lead back to JoJo. So Miss Fisher led me to meet JoJo, because she produced a Miss Fisher Burlesque show. So she's jumped into my messages and said "I'm producing the show." I said "I absolutely need to see the show", and so I went to go see it and it blew my socks off. Because it was-I hadn't seen-I had seen some Nerdlesque [Nerd 00:24:00Burlesque], I've been in Portland a long time. I've seen some Nerdlesque, but I hadn't seen this kind of level of Geeklesque-Nerdlesque.

I was just totally enraptured with how they were taking these characters I knew and loved, and turning them into Burlesque acts. And they were-they were funny, they were reverent, they were sophisticated, they were all these wonderful, wonderful things. And so I started to think-I was becoming more and more disenchanted with my current dance career and was like, well, maybe there's something else out there. So that was like, "Well maybe this is something that I would enjoy doing?" And so I kept thinking about it, and then I decided to do the sort of year of study.

And so I took a long year to really, sort of take notes, on what I was loving about certain artists and what I'm seeing, what kind of depth of work, and the 00:25:00variety of work, and really noting all the different changes and things that were possible on stage. It started to become "I think I could do this." Then, the final impetus was my mom got really really sick, and-and then terminal, and we knew she was-we didn't have long with her. And it was a stark reminder that this beautiful dynamic fierce woman who had tried to instill all those qualities in me, was-was going to be leaving this earth. And that was just a unfathomable concept to me. She was my rock, my champion. Just so many things. And-and I was-I was super glad that I was able to get one last performance for her, my group and we did a whole thing, and she was honored, and-and she got to see, you know, us gift her that. And then-and then she passed away much faster than we 00:26:00thought she was going to.

I was reeling and needed an outlet-I needed to move. I needed to do something. I needed to do something so I didn't bonkers. I needed-needed to get back on a stage, and needed to find a way to outlet all of this energy and grief and everything else.

And there was an opportunity to study with Eva D'Luscious. She was doing-it was a six weeks, and it was in theory to create an act, and it was her Showgirl Temple series and I was like "Six weeks. I can do something for six weeks." Actually, before that Fannie Fuller had been doing a Burlesque yoga class, and there was a yoga instructor in town-well she's still here-and Anna Chapman, who 00:27:00is this amazing yoga instructor in town, is a yoga instructor of size, and that was also really empowering.

So that was my first sort of, channeling of physicality, was to be in this class, because it was yoga and then it was Burlesque. Which is this element of movement. I just fell in love with Fannie as being this delightful human that I went and supported their work. They were part of my notetaking, because they often performed really theatrical and beautiful, thought provoking pieces with their partner T.L. Ford, and they-they produced... just Art. I knew T.L. from being a dancer, and so I loved seeing how they were taking their whole dance background and putting it out there, and how Fannie was taking her dance background, and Theater background, and putting it all out there. It was like, "Oh. Yeah that-that's-that's resonating. A Lot."


And so, with Eva's six week class I was able to like "OK. I can do six weeks and then figure out if this is feeling like a thing." I loved her format because there were other performers of size that were gonna be participating in it. Vanity Thorn and RiRi SynCyr who are two absolutely beautiful, luscious full figured babes, and I was like "I'll feel safe. I will feel safe in this environment." And so I did. And so I took six weeks, and we got to create. We had our name, here's your act, your persona, and create all the little elements of it, and create a piece. We debuted at the end of the six weeks. We had a show. We had a show and suddenly I was a Burlesque performer.

LK: And what year was that? That year of study?

BEEBEE: So, year of study started in 2017-2018, that kind of overlap there.


LK: Great. And you-you mentioned your stage name is your writing name.


LK: Yeah, yeah. And it was-is there-how did you choose that?

BEEBEE: That is-so back a million years ago when I was in kindergarten, one of my favorite-because I've had a variety of nicknames over the years. But way back in kindergarten, I was in Montessori school, so I was raised by wolves. I highly recommend it, so if you can get your kid raised by wolves and go to a Montessori, do it. The gal that used to watch us, that was my nickname for me, my nickname was B.B. B.B and it was for Beautiful Bee. When you're in kindergartener and you're not really sure about yourself and you kind of feel like you look different than everyone else, when you have someone that calls you 00:30:00beautiful-here you go, you remember it. You know, 40+ years later. The Sanchez part is actually a family name and that's all I'm gonna say about that. It's part of my lineage. Makes my family giggle when they see it, because they're like "you seriously plucked that from the family and are putting it out there?" Yes I am. Yes, yes I am.

LK: And so, you perform a lot.

BEEBEE: It feels that way now, isn't that funny? I-I wouldn't have said that at the beginning, but it does feel that way lately.

LK: Yeah. Yeah, and performing-and then you're also artistic director and producer, dance productions. Tell me about that.

BEEBEE: Yeah. So, Querencia has been-so my first version of a production company was called Nine Ladies Dancing. That was more from the fact that I think nine is 00:31:00one of the perfect numbers for movement on stage. And then I love the play on words, right? I knew it was going to stick in people's brains, right, so marketability. So Nine Ladies Dancing was my first foray when I was consciously uncoupling from my previous dance group. I created Nine Ladies Dancing as a space for a collective of humans to create together.

That lasted for a while and then as I was doing more and more queer support of work I realized the name was too limiting and it was not serving me or my community. And so, I did a deep dive in and was searching through, again, language and words. I really love finding those words that mean like a lot of things, but they're one word. The Japanese are so good at this, the Germans are really good at this, although it has like 1 million syllables.


So I love finding those words, and so, I really, really, really want to find one in Spanish, because there are a lot of wonderful Spanish words that often defy English translation. Or, they don't really work well as a hard translation and Querencia is kind of one of those words. The gist of it is being able to find that place where you feel safe. I wanted people to feel like they were-had a safe space to create on stage. Once I kind of did a dive into that word I was like "This, this is the word. This is what we're trying to do." Being on stage is often the safest place for a lot of us to feel like our full selves, and that's really at the core of what the word, and what is going for is being that-you're finding that place to be yourself.

LK: What year was that?

BEEBEE: So that would've been-gosh, '20-it's either late 2019 or 2020. Right 00:33:00around the pandemic, was right before. I think I got to do at least one stage show under that name, before things went to Hell in a handbasket.

LK: So just to describe some of the shows that you do, just get a flavor of how different they are and so forth, you do a "Booklover's Burlesque". Can you describe what that's about?

BEEBEE: Yeah, that was-so I was connected with Lacy from a couple different communities that we're both involved in. And of course, again, and partly Miss Fisher, and I-they knew I wrote. My first chance to be at Booklover's was as a reader of my own work, and that was really exciting. Yeah, I was really-once I started seeing Booklover's, I was like "Why am I not-" like that was another reason, "This is-this is where I wanna be, either as a reader or a performer. Like if I make it to Booklover's I have arrived as an artist."


And so when I was invited to be a reader, I was super stoked, because that was going to be awesome and I get to read my own words. That was also terrifying, because I hadn't read them out loud to other humans. But it was really awesome and I loved it, and I met so many wonderful other writers and other performers.

Then once I started moving as well, then Lacy was like "Well, do you want to come back and be a performer?" That was fun because the words the reader was reading one of my fanfics. And then I got to perform a piece based on the fanfic, and I was like "Well, I mean, if the world ends tomorrow-" So I guess the pandemic is my fault, because that was right before. 'Cuz I put it out there, I said, "Well, if this is it, I've done it. I've done it. I've done the thing."

LK: The pinnacle.

BEEBEE: Little did I know that-that was-it was a good-it was a good place to hit, but I-there was gonna be even more to come. We just never know.


LK: And I noticed, when I was doing research, that you've performed in Astoria? What's it like doing Burlesque in a small town on the Oregon coast?

BEEBEE: Oh it's-it's a blast. So Astoria is fantastic, because there are so many different communities that have coalesced in Astoria. The Oregon coast is always a hoot anyways, because you just get all kinds of folks to end up on the coast. It's often more conservative and yet-as you as you sort of move around and migrate, you end up with his pockets of super liberal folks, and then you-so you get this wonderful clash of these two beautiful groups.

Which is just like being in a college, most college towns-not most-many college towns, once you leave campus you were in the middle of a very conservative neighborhood. And so it reminds me about that every single time and Astoria is 00:36:00one hundred percent like that. Because Astoria also has an enormous queer community and the-there's sort of this winter bird of the gays that come and go through Astoria. Astoria has become this very wonderful, artsy, quirky, hub. So you have the dock workers, and the queer glitterati, and everyone comes together and they go see a show at the local lounge. It's awesome and they hoot and they holler, and they are so thrilled that you were there, and they are a giving audience, and they just, they're a delight. They're an absolute delight to perform for.

LK: So would that be an overnighter out of town, or do you do a show and turn around and drive home? What are the logistics?

BEEBEE: Yeah, I'm too old to just go up for-do a gig and come back. Like that 00:37:00with-10 years ago I would've been like "Yeah! And then you stop here and this where you get the best all night burger!" Ten years ago me, absolutely would've been the case. 40-something year old me? No-no-no. We get a hotel room. Yeah, and then I get to get ready in the hotel room, and I get to take my time, and I can feel my little rituals, and then I get to do performance, and then I get to leave the performance, and I can go crash-like a civilized person-and then get up in the morning and go head back to town.

LK: And then financially? Payment? How does that work?

BEEBEE: Yeah, so-and that's one thing you start to-I could be more finicky now that I have-I've been doing this for a few years and-you-I always get paid. Don't do Burlesque for free. But yeah, I try to work with producers that-that, 00:38:00well, A) that I trust, but B) that-that are going to pay you a set amount. Or you know for sure that they are the kind of producer that sells out houses. So they are giving you a percent of the door, you know that there is some level of guarantee to that. So there is-I mean those are the classic ways of getting paid. There's some sort of split of the door, of ticket sales, or a guaranteed rate. And so I generally try to only perform only with shows that are a guaranteed rate unless I'm really excited about the show or festival in question.

LK: And then you were a producer and an MC in October of 2021, "Midnight at the Crossroads" and so, as a producer those financial considerations, how-talk about that from the producing point of view.

BEEBEE: Producing is-is a challenge. It's a really a big labor of love, because 00:39:00your priorities are making sure the artists are getting paid and paid what they're worth. You're also trying to provide a safe space for them, and making sure that you are providing a place where they feel that they can create their work and bring their work safely. And that they can also bring in a wide version of audiences and all that.

So to do "Midnight at the Crossroads" I was actually able to write a grant. We have a lot of our local regional funders have been wanting to get the arts and the venues back open, and so there has been a lot of cash coming in through all the different programs to try to make that happen. Because a lot of [art] work had to come to-come to a complete halt and people have been doing their best to try and do outside work but at some point, I mean it's Oregon. It's still Oregon, and even in the freakish, weird weather we're having right now, because it's sunny right now and it's December, and there's no snow, and there's no 00:40:00rain, and it's kind of mild you could almost get away with an outdoor show, but at some point it's just not comfortable for your audience, it's not safe for your performers, you want to move. So people have got to come inside.

So I was very fortunate to write and receive a grant to help cover "Midnight at the Crossroads." I really, really, really wanted to do a show with live music and I really, really, really wanted to support as many BIPOC artists as possible. I was super stoked because it ended up being that all of the performers were-identified as black, and I had several disabled performers, and I had a mix of humans. One of my favorite blues artists-local in town-agreed to the show, and brought her immensely talented group of musicians with her. And it 00:41:00was-I was willing to do this labor of love, but I was super ecstatic that this local foundation understood what I was going for and supported it. Because then I-then it gave me some freedom to not stress about everyone getting paid. I knew right off the bat "I have this grant will cover everyone's salaries. I'm gonna be covering all of my Tech Team, my tech artists are getting paid, the lighting, the sound. The crew's are getting paid. Now I can just focus on some of the other elements of producing a show."

So that's a huge gift to be given, because otherwise, when you don't have those backers, when you don't have sponsors you are-it's you. It's you, you know, you're helping to foot the bill and you hope for the best.

When you have an established brand-like there's several shows in town. Well, you know, we talked about [producer] Lacy [Knightly] and Booklover's. Booklover's is a wonderfully established brand. When people see Booklover's-I mean Lacy almost doesn't even have to post the line up and the show will sell out. Because people know they're gonna be getting fabulous stories, and they're gonna be getting 00:42:00wonderful Burlesque artists, and they're willing to come see whoever is going to be there for that theme, because they love the theme of the show. And that's wonderful. That is a wonderful place to start from.

Boyeurism in town, it's-it's Boyeurism! You know you're going to be getting blockbuster acts you know you will be getting-it's going to be a variety of acts, it's not just going to be Burlesque, it's not just going to be one thing. You're gonna be getting a variety show, and that's very exciting, and you know you're gonna be getting some of the best of the best in whatever variety or-or theme that they may have, you know, depending on the month.

And so you have some of that-that can help, it's not a guarantee, but it can help because at least you know you've got kind of a built-in audience who's willing to go on lotta different journeys with you, and is willing to go with you.

When you only produce shows three times a year, you have to rely on some other tricks to get bodies to come and see the work. And so I really wanted to create with live, because not everyone gets a chance to create with live music, and 00:43:00it's such a treat when you do. It also meant that I had to find artists who I knew could dance to live music, because, not everyone-it's-it's a skill set. You need to be able to improve. There needs to be some level of being able to have that back-and-forth language with a live band. They're not gonna play it exactly as the song was written, they're just not. So you can't have your choreography so nailed down that you can't pivot. That was part of my decision making too, and picking which artists to chose and work with, because I knew they had to be able to have that-that playful dialogue with the live band.

LK: That's great. And so, tell me about your participation in "What the Funk?!" Festival in 2021.


BEEBEE: That was easily a year in the making. When-when-in fact over a year. When Pucks [producer Mx. Pucks A'Plenty] did the first "What the Funk?!" It was in August, and I had other commitments, and I couldn't-I couldn't get up there. I couldn't afford to get up there to go see it. I was breaking in two because I loved it, it was like absolutely everything-it was the music I love, the concept, the theme, the reason behind it, absolutely everything about it I was like, "Yes, yes, and more yes." And so I was like "The minute that this happens again, I'm there. I don't care what has to happen, I'm going to be at this-at this festival. I have to support this festival in whatever way I can." And so I-I spent that whole year, and they were like, "It's not going to be every year, it's going to be every other year."

LK : And can you describe what that is? What is it?

BEEBEE: So "What the Funk?! Festival" is a-was envisioned by Mx. Pucks A'Plenty. 00:45:00It is based on the foundation of Funk music, and it's supporting BIPOC artists, and that is a tremendous achievement unto itself. There's an entire festival-a multi-day festival, celebrating all of these different BIPOC artists creating their work, and then be able to play with Funk music, and celebrating this very black art, you know, artists that created original Funk music.

Of course, it's grown since then, and you know there's a wide berth of artists who are part of the Funk music scene. But though, the fact that it's also rooted in that, and I also just sort of love talking... Pucks talking about it, and that part of it was rooted in the fact of wanting to do classic style Burlesque but to not classic Burlesque music. Sort of the-the frozen in time '40's jazz 00:46:00and things that we often associate with Burlesque, and wanting to-to dance to the music that they wanted to dance to, that spoke to their soul, and I was like "Absolutely, yes to all of this. How can I, you know, put me in Coach!"

I knew they were going to be every other year, so I knew-I was like "OK I have to think." I was thinking about all the different Funk artists I love. I was listening to so many different songs and trying to find what the inspiration would be, and then finally kind of came into this act and was like "OK, this could be it." Then other people saw the act and they were like "This has to be it! Of course you have to submit this act." I was super psyched that people were responding to it, and was able to make the pitch, because I had already told Pucks that I was volunteering.

I was one of the first people who signed up to volunteer, and so I knew I was going on the crew. So I was on the crew to help produce the show, and produce the festival, and-and again whatever capacity you need, I'm there. I was already 00:47:00doing that, and then the act was chosen to participate and I was just beyond the moon. Then, of course, the fear sets in, because you see the lineup and then you realize you're dancing on the same night as GiGi Holliday and Samson Boylesque. "Oh, Sampson and Gigi Holiday? Sure-sure, OK-OK." And then panic sets in, and you go and rehearse your act and change all of your costuming, because oh my stars and garters that night was amazing.

LK: It was. I was there. It was amazing. So, before March 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Oregon and shut it down, so before all that, what was the Burlesque community like in Portland?


BEEBEE: Oh gosh. Well, there was a-a number of monthly and weekly gigs and, well, and there was Crush.

LK: And what is that?

BEEBEE: Crush-Crush was a bar and it was one of the top queer spaces in Portland. It was really open for their stage to be used for a lot of the different Burlesque producers in town. And so, there was a easily, in one weekend, you could have three or four Burlesque shows, or drag shows, or combined shows at Crush. It was kind of a clubhouse. It was-you often saw the same people there, there were many of the same performers there, either in the crowd or on the stage, and it was a very supportive community.

There was also the Local Lounge, another-may they rest in peace-and-and there 00:49:00was just a few other sort of smaller venues that were also open to Burlesque. There often is a combination between Burlesque and drag when you get two-two in one show and so there-there were a variety of different spots in town. There was a lot-a lot of performances and-and the pandemic really put a squelch to that.

But I would also say it wasn't just the pandemic, because we also had a bit of a reckoning in a lot of different ways, in Portland in the arts community. And the-that was just pointing out that we need safe spaces for people to create, and also a real, real stark reminder that a lot of our shows were really not diverse-in whatever way you want to take that-but not diverse. There was a lot of-as much of it was sort of this nice community, there was certain shows that 00:50:00would often have the same performers, or with a slight variation. We weren't seeing other folks being supported and uplifted in the same way.

I think over the pandemic a lot of things-there was a hard light was cast in a lot of different corners of-of our scene, and I think the great part about that, is there emerges more opportunity and more faces and more voices and more humans being able to create the work they wanna create, in-and having those environments to create them. And so, while it was a-the first year was very challenging, as all of those hard truths were coming to light, I think ultimately I have a very positive outlook on where we're heading, because of seeing so many of the artist really wanting to make the spaces that they want to create in a community that they want Portland to be.


LK: In that pre-Covid life, what was a week in the life of BeeBee Sanchez like? All the skills you have, all the projects, just juggling, plate twirling, just sort of paint a picture of that.

BEEBEE: Yeah. There-there's the-often... pre-pandemic I did a lot of Kittening as well and I highly recommend that as well.

LK : And what is that?

BEEBEE: Kittening, or stage assisting, or-again language-the names are changing. It is the act of assisting on the stage between acts. And so-sometimes it's during a act, that depends on what the artist needs, but it's often the-the clearing up of the "stripper droppings" as we like to refer to them, and pre-setting [props and costumes.] So making sure that props are set and set 00:52:00correctly, and then yes, definitely going out and gathering up items that are either on stage, or maybe were tossed into the crowd, and collecting those items to bring back to the artist after their act is completed. And so I had been doing quite a bit of that, I hadn't been hitting-again because I wasn't a well known entity as a Burlesque performer, the performers who knew me as a dancer and mover, I was getting cast in some of their shows.

But as a fairly new Burlesque performer I wasn't necessarily in a lot of the other shows, but I was able to Kitten for them and was getting to a lot of the producers that way, because they can see that I was respectful of the work and able to-you know. And, you know, there's a bit of an art to Kittening as well. You-you know, if you add a little sass to it, a little something something, a little schtick, something, it is it's own form of the art as well. 'Cuz you are 00:53:00part of the evenings experience, and so it isn't quite the same as in theater, where you might be in all black and very-a hoodie, no one knows who you are, and you're trying to be very anonymous as you sweep up some thing from the stage or preset a prop.

In Burlesque, it's more the opposite, you're part of the show. You're part of the action, the MC. My reference, you might do a little bit a song and dance with the MC, you might do a little something. So you-you dress the part, you dressed to the nines, and you are part of the action. So that was all-I did a lot of Kittening so there was a lot of, you know, as far as like the week it, you know, do day job, decompress from day job, work on costuming, rehearse the set.

"Rehearse" is a loose word for me because I'm mostly an improv dancer and so I 00:54:00have a map-I map my music and I-I rehearse certain sequences in a play with the costume. 'Cuz you have to practice your reveals, and what goes off when, and which part of the music, but I don't have a set choreography where X always happens. If you watch any of my performance, they are never the same way twice because I am never the same way twice. But rehearsing some element of an act and then-and then getting dolled up and heading to the venue and getting to work.

LK: So when Covid hit, a lot of artists, it had a negative impact on their creativity, mental health, all that good stuff, how did the Covid pandemic affect your creativity?

BEEBEE: It went in kind of a interesting direction. It was probably because, I think it was such a newer flame and I didn't want it go out, and I was worried 00:55:00that it could. I quickly started to pivot to video and the opportunity to produce chosen video, hence the reason that I have all the sparkles behind me. My very generous husbear let me staple fabric all around the house, up on the walls so that I can have a backdrop to do work from.

Because the first thing-the first couple things I did where I tried to videotape, were are all terrible, and when you look back at the video they are awful. Because we were working out of our homes and we didn't-I didn't have the lights set up yet, I didn't have my ring lights, I didn't have all the equipment that I needed. So we were stumbling forward, and the more we learned it was like, OK I-I-I, you know, I saw a couple other people with backgrounds and I was like, "Oh God that's so obvious." But it makes such a better look, and it's a 00:56:00better-OK I can do this and then the Theater brain kicks back in, right? And it's like "OK. Alright. Theater brain here's what we need to do. You need to create a space, you need to create this, you need to be able to do that."

And so you start to-to remind yourself of all the different elements of creating performance, and so that became kind of fun. I don't think anyone's gonna say that they totally love it more. But it scratched an itch, and I was able to play with some things that I enjoyed. I did just come up with a couple of videos I actually really enjoyed making, and that turned out really well. But I just wanted to keep feeling that art and also I did see the benefit of being able to keep sharing work.

I think of the video shows were essential to keeping people going during the pandemic, both on stage and as an audience perspective just keeping us connected. There are absolutely, absolutely people that I got to know better 00:57:00because of the video shows, and the absolute-you know the zoom after-parties and kind of chatting on crowd cast, all the different things that we were using, and being able to stay connected with people. Then also becoming connected with people across the country and in fact across the world, really, some of our shows were quite international. So I feel it was a really important piece to keep going and so I was happy to do it. I produced one show during the pandemic, that was about as much as I could muster, but it was a-I was very proud of the work that we did and I love the show. So I will-I was happy to have that.

LK: And so, now in December 2021, in the last couple months-few months in the "new normal" of living with Covid, how do you produce shows to ensure-what -what 00:58:00are you doing to ensure safety for performers, backstage folks, audience, what are the new set of considerations?

BEEBEE: Yeah, I'm lucky in that my day job is also at a theater, and I work at a theater and so I've access to a space, and our protocols are pretty-we take our protocols very seriously because of the size that we have. I knew when I did my show back in October that we were going to be able to distance the audience, that we were gonna be able to create a space where people could feel safe in the audience, that we were gonna-that masks were gonna be mandatory. We basically eliminated food and drink for that reason, and it's like, as much as audiences like to go out and do that it was like, "You know what? Safety first."

So everyone stayed masked, and we've ended up requiring a Covid vaccine card or proof of a negative test before you can walk into the building. We were very 00:59:00clear about that from the get-go before-when you were buying your ticket, at multiple locations buying your tickets, and then we actually had somebody checking vaccine cards at the door. And luckily we didn't have to turn anyone away.

I didn't really hear any like negative feedback about it. It was mostly positive feedback from artists and from audience members who are willing to come to the show, because we have made so many rules in place. So-and all the performers had to be vaccinated, and show proof of vaccination, so that-I see that more and more and I just think that is gonna be our normal for-for quite some time. Until we can get a handle on this thing.

LK: Yeah, and moving forward. There's even a new space open in Portland, can you talk about that?

BEEBEE: Yes. So apart of Portland's re-emerging from the rubble, and hard 01:00:00conversations and rough things happening, a group of-of performers and artists connected with folks who know how to run restaurants and a beautiful collaboration was made, and so we have The Queen's Head.

It's been absolutely delightful to have The Queen's Head open the last couple months, and that is downtown Portland-in what is affectionately known as Old town. The space is absolutely intended to be Queer friendly space. It's important to emphasise that, because we have some wonderful Gay bars in town, and we've had-every Lesbian bar we've ever had is closed at some point. I don't understand why-I mean I kind of understand why, it's just a shame, and so have any sort of Queer spaces where people of all different sexualities and 01:01:00identities can feel like they can come, and it's their space, is wonderful and that is exactly what The Queen's Head is trying to do, both in the kind of work that they're producing, and just the environment that they're creating, the atmosphere.

It's trying to be very welcoming to all different identities and ways of being, and humans, and I think that's wonderful. Lola Coquette is the executive producer and is able to bring in-she's producing some of her own work, and some of the co-producers that she likes to work with, like Kit Katastrophic is a Signature with Lola, also with Toxic doing a brunch, and doing some Drag.

Then also really being open to the Drag community as well, Clare Apparently has been producing work. We're leaving the space open and Lola's very-been thoughtful about what other producers that are they're bringing in to help 01:02:00produce work in the days, in the weekends, when she's not doing a show. Slowly but surely-and it's a lot of those Drag shows have been all ages.

Another really important aspect of Queer community is being able to bring in all of these different age groups, and being multigenerational so that people feel like they have the spaces early on. They can see themselves on stage and that's often a challenge when you have a bar spaces. But luckily they're a restaurant and bar, and so they're able to have all ages opportunities on the weekends before they transfer over to the after hours.

LK: Just some other-pivoting little bit. You've already talked about social reckoning, and moving forward in the society, bringing important topics to the 01:03:00forefront and all of that. Around the topic of cultural appropriation, what's the-is there a conversation still being had in Portland? Or is that sort of old news and we've moved past it and we all know?

BEEBEE: Well, I'd say it depends on who you ask is, I suppose the answer to that question. Cultural appropriation is not a topic that you get to talk about one summer and feel like you checked the box off and say we did the thing.

There are so many different ways to examine cultural appropriation, and we've all been-as performers-we all have fallen victim to it. Either as accidentally appropriating, or appropriating in ways that you didn't think that you were, and gaining that knowledge, right? Part of the appropriation is learning, and 01:04:00understanding that what dominant culture has decided was OK, isn't always OK. And having-listening to other voices, and listening to people from the community that you may have been representing, and hearing their thoughts and feelings about things, is-and listening to that is widely important.

The other thing is, that all communities are not homogenous. And so what is deeply concerning to some members of a community maybe isn't as concerning to other members of the community. And that's not to say that "Well, my friend said it's OK, therefore it's OK" It's not what I'm saying, but I am saying is that you have to be mindful of that, because you may have had a conversation with some member of a community and they thought that maybe your act charming, funny or-or OK, turns out maybe they're not the best spokesperson for the rest of that community.


That's just to say that we have to keep listening to all of the voices in our community-and you're never going to please everyone that's-it-we're never going to please everyone. There has to be that room for satire, and an opportunity to shed light on some things, and all that is true. However, being able to borrow, even if you think it's thoughtfully, from a community, you have to really ask you why you're doing it and what you're trying to gain from it, and what you're doing to support the community that you think that you are supporting.

But I also think that being the appropriation police is also not helpful, especially if you are not actually of the community in question. There is being an ally, and then there's being something else, and that honestly is the bigger 01:06:00problem-not the bigger problem-that is one of the big problems in Portland is the well-meaning person who maybe doesn't know what they are talking about. There are well-meaning folks who want to protect or shield a community but maybe don't have all the right information, and don't have a real business speaking on behalf of a community.

I think that those are all parts-it's a sophisticated conversation. It's not something that you can have in one day, it's not something you get to solve with one-one meme, one well worded quote, one thoughtful post, and maybe one announcement, one land acknowledgment, and one show once a year. There's just-you have to keep having these conversations and-and checking in, and 01:07:00checking the community and in seeing what you're doing.

LK: So Oregon has a fairly white Caucasian demographic. How do you achieve diversity in the shows in Portland? Do you do an outreach to underrepresented communities? What-how do you navigate that?

BEEBEE: One of my favorite lines from a urban planning specialist that I had a chance to be in a talkback that they were presenting, and he talked about the fact that really Portland is like a cream filled doughnut. That the farther out you go, the browner Portland gets. Unlike many urban centers where you expect more diversity near the urban center and the suburbs to be white, because of white flight-I mean do your history folks!-in Portland we have a sort of 01:08:00interesting reverse situation.

Where we have a lotta communities that settled out of the suburbs and you can-you can thank, you know, our big industries, you can thank Nike, and Intel, and some of our tech companies who went out to the suburbs. And so a lot of folks went with them. You have also gentrification. Let's not-also we have to honor that moment in our history as well, but people did leave these inner cores and move out for more opportunity and different neighborhoods, all the different amenities, etc.

What's interesting is that you have to keep doing the outreach. Any producer in town you have to keep doing the outreach, because the other problem that happens is the same six performers keep getting hired. Again, you haven't solved the problem, you've just been giving those six performers a great paycheck. But 01:09:00you're not solving the problem, and bringing in new voices and in different voices into the community. So as a producer-I think the Portland producers have been doing a pretty good job of this, staying in contact with each other and talking and-and letting each other know, "Hey, this artist is coming through town, who has a show for them?"

Having producers come to different showcases as different folks graduate [from the Burlesque school courses] the 101s the 201s, and start doing showcases. It's paramount to the producers to really make the rounds and try to get some of the shows to see who these new performers are. Because some of them are like me, where they're-they're new to Burlesque but not necessarily new to performing and have some wonderful skills and acts that they're bringing just right out of the gate. Some of these folks are swinging right out of the gate.


So constantly just chatting with each other about "Who should I be hiring in, I want to do a show "X," who do you know?" You have to keep networking and keep talking to each other and keep supporting the community, otherwise it does start to become homogeneous in one way or another. Even if it's the same the same four fat performers, the same four or five Black performers, the same four Latinx performers. If we don't keep rotating people through then, we haven't done much in the way of actually supporting diversity in our community, so we have to keep rotating people in and cultivating.

LK: And what about the audiences? Bringing in new audiences, audience development?

BEEBEE: That is the million dollar question, to be honest with you, because we-we joke internally that we're just passing money around with each other. I 01:11:00try to go to everyone's shows, they're trying to come to my shows... we're, you know, we're all trying to support each other. But we-we can't just keep performing for each other; we have to keep diversifying the audiences. And so, audience development, I think, is a really interesting different challenge.

Part of it is-it's going back to the original question which is: What is Burlesque? And so-because I even have very close friends that have yet to come see me perform Burlesque, because they don't get it. They don't think they like Burlesque, they think they have an issue with Burlesque, and they haven't really asked me why. They haven't really-we haven't had that conversation yet, and I'm working my way to having that conversation with them. But there are-there are some folks who just haven't gone to support, or have a barrier to trying to support. It's interesting to sort of overcome what that issue is and what I think they might be coming to see. It sort of... try to get them out, and try to 01:12:00tease them out.

I enjoyed that actually with the videos, during the pandemic. I was able to encourage some of my other friends to watch Burlesque and say "Hey, I'm going to watch this show, let's make a day out of it." We'll all get on and we'll watch this show together, and then we'll-we can chat about it afterwards and it'll feel like we got out. And so I did, I had a few friends that were like that really, "Oh my gosh" and, you know, some of my Miss Fisher friends they got-they got drawn in. "You'll know this performer from X, so watch this virtual show you're going to love it." And so, it was great and they watched my shows, and they watched these other shows, and they-were they were very knowledgeable now about Burlesque and what they like and what they don't like.

But it-it is that and I think that was one of the real gifts of the video shows was that it was a very nonthreatening way for people to be introduced to Burlesque, because they didn't have to physically go somewhere and be 01:13:00uncomfortable. They could sit in their own home in their pajamas and be uncomfortable, and no one had to know it but them. But so-and they could figure out how-or they could get over it like, "Wow. I thought it was gonna be uncomfortable but actually I'm really enjoying this." Or "I would absolutely go see this again." Or "How do I see this performer again, because oh my gosh, I need more of this human in my life." Which is really, I think, what most people need when they come to-something like Burlesque.

I think it's a lot easier when you bring someone in-it's when you're-you show them a clip of Isaiah and then say that's who's in my show. So you want to see more of that, then you have to come to my show. I'm in, because I need to see that human do all the things. And so, there's a little bit of that, but there's a lot of breaking down of barriers, and stereotypes, that has to happen in order to keep diversifying the audience, 'cuz there's a lot of folks that have real 01:14:00stereotypes about what they think they are going to see when they come see a Burlesque show.

LK: So people in Burlesque say it empowers them. What's your take on that?

BEEBEE: Yeah absolutely. It's-the great thing about Burlesque is that I get to bring all these sort of elements of my art into what I do, and so I'm not pigeonholed into one thing, I can be all kinds of different things and that is empowering. Like I said when DJ Aurora hired me to be a dancer, I didn't have to be a specific kind of dancer. I was a dancer and they wanted to hire me. And Burlesque is that same open umbrella, where you get to bring in all these different elements. Like I said, it's the art of the reveal and so you get to reveal different elements of yourself. One of the most beautiful pieces I ever saw-actually it was T.L and it was Fannie-and by the end of it you could've counted on one hand the items of clothing that was removed because it wasn't 01:15:00that kind of act it, it wasn't about that. Yet everyone was exposed by the end of this act, because it was such a deep reveal of the human condition, and relationships, and falling in love, that you were a mess by the end of this act, and that is just such a gift to be able to give it to people on a stage.

Being able to have a space that's safe to do that, is incredibly empowering. That you get to bring that level of yourself to the work and share that part of your-your art and your heart, and your thoughtfulness and-and being able to bring all that, and also have it be funny or-or satirical, or political, all of those are also super important parts of the Burlesque family.

I mean anytime I'm on the stage is political. You can't put a fat body on a stage-especially a fat bipoc body on a stage and have it not immediately be 01:16:00political, especially in 2021. So-but then we're gonna take it from there? So me already being on the stage is already, like, I've already pissed off half the country... you're welcome! Now how do we, you know, where do we take it from there? And so being able to have a space and a venue and a place to share your voice it's an amazing gift to have as a performer.

LK: You just talked about also, how Burlesque can be a force for change right there. What are the challenges facing Burlesque today?

BEEBEE: I think it is audience. I think it is continuing to just enhance the audience and also, that's also taking-you have the really high-level folks, especially as the world starts to reopen again, and you get the big touring 01:17:00companies going again, is it-there are there-it starts to become a more limited version of what you think Burlesque is gonna be, where it has to be, you know, $10,000 with a Swarovski crystals, and huge moving props and-and-and-and.

So on the one hand, it's going to be great to get those shows back on the road, because it-it gets people money, and it's part of the audience development because someone sees the $10,000 Swarovski outfit and they fall in love with it. They want to come see "Oh my local people do this too? What? It's been happening right here in my hometown and I didn't even know it." So you know that-those are hugely helpful for that reason.

But it's also-it's the audience diversification, that's going to continue to be the challenge, but also it's the diversity. And so not taking the moment and saying "OK we've done the work for the last two years and we're thinking about it, and so now that we've thought about it, and we wrote a diversity statement 01:18:00we've done it." It's actually doing The Work. So as we see the new posters emerge, as we see shows becoming announced again, you can tell who's done homework and which producers have been paying attention, and which producer still needs to take a seat and listen.

Because that's gonna be the real proof in the pudding, is who do we have on our stages? And that's not just BIPOC and it's not just fat bodies, it's also providing space and accessibility to those who need it. Coming out of a pandemic, we have lots of folks who need accommodations that maybe didn't need them before and really being mindful of that. Because a lot of our spaces-especially because Burlesque often exist in bar spaces-they are not accessible, they are not accessible in one way or another.

Also, understanding that accessibility is not one-size-fits-all. There is no 01:19:00checklist for like, yup, boop, I checked the box, therefore all humans who need accommodations are accommodated. You may have-you may have a ramped entrance and that's fantastic. But do you have seating that is accommodating to different bodies? Do you have seating that can be modular for mobility devices? What is your backstage area like? Is everyone getting dressed in a broom closet? Guess what? Broom closets are not going to work for everybody who needs an accommodation. What's the scent policy? What's the sound policy? Are there going to be different visuals strobes? Are you warning your audience appropriately?

There's just all these different things that we have to keep thinking about, and that's going to make our audiences, and our performers, more diverse. And so we keep making safer spaces, and actually thoughtful spaces, and be mindful that you can't solve one problem and think you've solved all problems. You have to 01:20:00keep nimble and thoughtful, talking to your performers, talking to your potential performers, and if people aren't working with you find out why. Because it's probably not them that's the problem.

LK: So, final question: what do you wish the general public would understand about Burlesque?

BEEBEE: That it is so much more than just tits and ass. But it is, in fact, the Art of the Reveal. That there is an element of theatricality, and humor, and humanity, and so many other-is it-when Burlesque is on fire it's like good theater, and you're gonna be hitting on all cylinders, and it's going to give you the feels in one way or the other, it's going to make-make things memorable, 01:21:00and it's gonna remind you of your humanity, and the humanity of those around you, and that's what I think people don't often realize they're going to get when they come see a Burlesque show.

LK: BeeBee. Thank you so very much.

BEEBEE: Thank you, It was fun.