When one thinks of burlesque, images of scantily clad women slinking around a stage come to mind. But when one thinks of Tilted Torch, the group headed by Ms. Joule (yes, like the chemistry term) and Malibu, that image is enhanced righteously by fire. And extreme hoola-hooping and stilt-walking and general sideshow madness. This ain't your average show. This is variety to the max.
"I actually started out just by doing fire performance," said Ms. Joule, whose conventional uncostumed appearance at the coffee shop we met at in Silver Spring made this statement sound excessively weird. It was a few years later that she got into more circus-y acts and burlesque. "It's very much a do-it-yourself art," she said. "If you are motivated to get out there and do it, it's very accessible." And that goes for the audience, as well. Ms. Joule calls it "performance for the people," which not only means the person performing has a greater hand in forming her act, but also that the audience is encouraged to be very much involved via old-fashioned hootin' and hollerin'. "Let us know if you like what we're doing," said Ms. Joule.
Which brings us to this weekend's "Sweet Things" show on February 4 at the Red Palace on H Street. While there won't be fire due to venue regulations, there'll be all-of-the-above plus live music, comedic storytelling and more. "It's going to cover a lot of different areas," said Ms. Joule. Of course, the most visually titillating will be the barely-there outfits, which Ms. Joule also designs. "I get my materials from a few spots locally," she said. And so I said, "Spill it! Where can I pick up all those fabulous trims and stunning accessories?" Here are her Top 5:
Sarah Fabrics in Takoma Park, Md.: "They've got fantastic fabrics and trim.
Dancer, the Unusual Store, in Clinton, Md.: "It's a bit of a drive, but this shop is worth it. It has a great selection of sequin trim and appliques and also a decent selection of fringe."
Esther's Beauty in Silver Spring, Md.: "I go here for fabulous wigs and costume jewelry."
PollySue's Vintage Shop in Takoma Park, Md.: "This place has great vintage jewelry and vintage clothing to use as a costume base.
India Sari Palace in Takoma Park, Md.: "Three words: sparkly costume jewelry."
Find out more about Ms. Joule and Malibu's production company Tilted Torch by checking out their Facebook page and, more fun, coming to their show this Saturday. Get your tickets now because it'll likely sell out.