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Lacy Knickers Oral History Interview

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Lacy Knickers Oral History Interview


Lacy Knickers introduces themselves as a producer a Drag artist, Burlesque artist, a model, and a playwright. They are married with two children. Lacy described Burlesque as parody, sexy, serious, and theater. In their performance, they do a mix of Neo-and Classic Burlesque. The term Classic Burlesque harkens back the more traditional Burlesque of the 1930s, ‘40s and 50s. Neo-Burlesque can be anything under the sun: it can be nerdy or hard rock or metal music. Lacy describes stripping in a strip club and stripping for Burlesque as being sister art forms that have similarities, but the intentions are different.

Lacy likes Burlesque because the art form allows them explore who they are and to be everything that they are. They feel they are an eclectic person and Burlesque gives them a way to express all those parts of themselves.

Lacy was born near Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Southern California, then moved to Oregon about 14 years ago. They hold a degree in liberal arts and teacher education, and their Master’s degree is in creative writing. They taught kindergarten and grade school for over 10 years. Starting in 2014, they studied Burlesque at the Rose City School of Burlesque and at the All that Glitters Academy of Burlesque. At BurlyCon, the Burlesque educational conference in Seattle, they attended an intensive workshop to gain skills in producing shows. They have written manuscripts for children’s books, picture books, young adult novels and poetry. They have also written scripts for historical society events.

Lacy explains that the shows that they produce spring from all their eclectic interests. The long-running show, Book Lovers Burlesque, has a literary bent in its content, and draws an audience from literary lovers and academics. They produced a show called Burly Night Live, which is based on the late night television show Saturday Night Live. They love the BBC show Masterpiece Theatre and have produced a show called Master Tease Theater Burlesque, based on those costume dramas on the BBC. Their show, Cabaret Des Arts, incorporates an art show along with Burlesque performers who would do an act inspired by a painting.

Lacy observes that often audiences for their shows are somewhat different than the usual Burlesque show demographic. Because of the content in Book Lovers Burlesque and Burly Night Live and Master Tease Theater Burlesque, they feel their audience skews slightly older and comes from a different demographic.

Lacy tells about the financial struggle of being a creative industry entrepreneur, citing the many side jobs that Burlesque artists generally have in order to support their art. Lacy describes a week in the life of a writer, performer, and producer-- as well as being a partner and the mother of two. They detail all the logistics and artistic decisions involved in creating a performance piece, and in producing multiple shows, all while keeping their writing projects going.

Lacy feels their artistic process for creating a new piece of Burlesque to perform is different for each act. Sometimes the music comes first, and sometimes the concept comes first. Then the costuming choreography come later.

As a performer, to avoid the pitfalls of cultural appropriation, Lacy makes sure that what they are doing in creating an act is something that they can relate to, that comes from their own culture or heritage. As a producer, Lacy is very intentional to make sure that all different types of people are represented on stage in terms of color and body type and sexual identity and gender and age.
Lacy has performed up and down the West Coast, and has also performed in Paris and Prague.

Lacy feels that Burlesque is empowering as it provides an opportunity for performers voices to be heard on stage, to share their story. They feel you can definitely express yourself in ways that you may not feel comfortable doing in everyday life. Consequently, Burlesque can be a force for social change. For example, there are Burlesque Festivals now that focus on uplifting marginalized voices in society. These focused Festivals help tell those under-represented stories.

Lacy feels that one challenge facing Burlesque is that people don’t take it seriously in the theater world and that it’s difficult to get grants for it. They wish that people understood that Burlesque is a real art form and can be transformative.


Lacy Knickers


Oregon Burlesque Performers Oral History Collection (OH 49)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


January 18, 2020


Laurie Kurutz


Born Digital Video




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Laurie Kurutz


Lacy Knickers


Portland, Oregon

Original Format

Born Digital Video



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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