ATLRetro wishes Blast-Off Burlesque would put on a few more full shows— these seven delectable dolls and one groovy guy are way too much clever and creative to be on stage just twice a year now and we miss them at the Silver Scream Spookshow. But this talented ensemble is thankfully tiding Atlanta over with Taboo-La-La, a sexy vintage movie series with extras, at the Plaza Theatre. They kicked off with SHOWGIRLS in March, but this month’s show on Saturday May 21 is even more of a special treat as they present a rare chance to see exploitation classic FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! on the big screen (read ATLRetro’s exclusive review by Mark Arson here). Of course, it’s a Blast-Off production, so that’s just the tip of the fun from Tura Satana lookalike, beefcake boy and all-girls arm-wrestling contests to a shrine to recently deceased B-movie siren Satana and a silent art auction fundraiser for a documentary celebrating her life.
To find out more, ATLRetro asked Barb Hays, aka Barbilicious, for a sneak peek behind the naughty plans and got her to spill a few sexy secrets. If you’ve been to a Blast-Off Burlesque performance—and shame on you, if you haven’t—you know each has a unique personality. For Barbilicious, it’s her big smile and a certain mischievious glint in her eyes that’s likely to grab your attention first. She’s the wacky comedienne who adds that extra “oh, my,” whether in an ensemble dance sketch where everyone is dressed in banana suits or steering a giant plastic bubble around stage in homage to Jane Fonda as Barbarella in the company’s Sci-Fi-A-Go-Go show last year.
Barb also drops a few tantalizing hints about future happenings involving an all-Blast-Off photo shoot next week, Blast-Off’s September show, her punk band LUST and the debut of Burt and the Bandits, her newest collaboration with the multitalented Jon Waterhouse (read ATLRetro’s profile of Jon here), at the East Atlanta Beer Festival also this Saturday.
Any fun story about how you crazy dolls came up with Taboo-La-La?
It evolved as an idea we had so we could continue our relationship with the Plaza Theater after we decided to part ways with the Silver Scream Spookshow—a film series that was a little cheeky, a tad controversial, stuff we found fun, retro iconic, perhaps sexy and 18+. [Co-owner] Jonny Rej at the Plaza had joked that the Plaza was going to have to start showing porn again to keep the doors open. (Back in the ‘70s, it was an X-rated theater.) So that was the inspiration. Of course there will never be porn at Taboo-La-La or the Plaza. But, there’s plenty of sexy R-rated flicks to play with, stuff which by today’s standards is pretty mild for sure. We thought about calling the series “Raunch-O-Rama,” but lo and behold, there is an adult film series with that title. Taboo-La-La slipped out of Melanie‘s [aka Magnifique] mouth one night at practice. We liked it, and it opened up the idea of showing Taboo Cinema along with the tease of the “Oo-La-La”.
Tura Satana passed away recently, so I’m guessing that’s why you decided to make FASTER, PUSSYCAT! your second movie in the series? What does Tura and this movie mean to you and Blast-Off personally?
FPKK was on our original wish list of movies to screen, and her passing this past February made it seem like an appropriate time to honor her by screening her pivotable movie. The movie is classic Russ Meyer—lots of sexual tension, violence, dust- and dirt-covered flesh, bizarre and frantic editing, and every shot so beautiful you could hang it on a wall. Tura as Varla is the ‘60s superhero of all Russ Meyer girls—exotic, tough, fierce, shapely. She’s tougher and smarter and faster than you, and she will kick your ass. Much like Blast-Off…I’m kidding. Although, we may cut a bitch, or two.
No, I was in Vegas for work when she was in town a few years back. I did get to view endless pics of my friends getting karate-chopped by Tura—red, grinning faces smashed up against her boobs, sipping Mai-Tai’s with her at Trader Vic’s. I was told by her friend Siouxzan Perry that she said she had a great time here in the ATL, and everyone here said that she was a total sweetheart.
Taboo La-La is much more than a classic movie. What else does Blast-Off have in store for the evening?
Before the movie, we’ll have a short live show that will feature a Blast-Off salute to the movie and live music from Grinder Nova. Taboo-La-La is all about audience participation, so we invite them to show off in a Tura/Varla look-a-like contest, and there will even be a chance for the dudes to flex what they’ve got in a “Beefcake Boy” contest. We’ll also be scouting some ladies to participate in an all-girl arm-wrestling competition. Winners will walk away with some awesome prizes (not just swag, but really cool stuff) from our sponsor, Libertine. Also, I’ll let out a little secret just for ATLRetro readers: we scored a special video tribute to Tura by Ted V. Mikels who directed Tura in ASTRO ZOMBIES and THE DOLL SQUAD. This is a very special video message he made for a tribute screening that they had in LA shortly after her death, so outside of that, this will be the only other time it’s been publicly seen.
Can you tell us a little bit about the silent auction and its beneficiary, Varla Films?
Varla Films is Producer Siouxzan Perry, along with Director Gary Beeber, who directed the documentary DIRTY MARTINI AND THE NEW BURLESQUE. I first spoke to Siouxzan when we had the idea to put a shrine in the lobby to honor Tura and collect donations to give to a charity in her name. Siouxzan was her personal manager, publicist, confidante and close friend for the past 15 years. She’s in charge of Tura’s estate and merchandising and design of products and memorabilia. Varla Films was halfway through production on the documentary TURA! when she passed. Siouxzan let me know that Tura’s greatest wish would be to finish the documentary and have her legacy live on for her fans and future generations of fans. So we will be collecting donations to 100% donate to Varla Films, as this is what she would want most, to get this film finished.
We’ll have a silent auction of signed art prints from Big Toe, Mitch O’Connell, Dave Cook and [previous ATLRetro Kool Kat] Chris Hamer, as well as pieces from Bethany Marchman and Rene Arriagada. We’ll have some 8 x 10′s from Tura’s personal collection for sale, as well as Breastacular cupcakes by The Sugar Dolls in the lobby. We’ll also take donations at the shrine, created by the amazing and hot Jennifer Belgard of Libertine. So, yes, if attendees can find it in their hearts and pockets to give a little bit at the show, they can help Tura’s legacy to live on and keep kicking ass for future generations.
Showtime is listed at 9:30, but with so much going on, when should people really get to the Plaza?
I’d get there around 9 pm.
Taboo La-La isn’t the only thing Blast-Off Burlesque is doing this week. What’s going on with Studio APG?
Oh YES! There is a rare opportunity to take pictures of the WHOLE Blast-Off team Thursday May 26th.7pm at Studio APG at the Goat Farm. You never know what the hell will happen when you get all eight of us in front of a camera, so it should be something else.
How did you personally get into burlesque and when/where/what was your first performance?
I was a theatre major, film student and multimedia performance artist, but hadn’t really been doing any theatre since moving to Atlanta in 1991. I was busy surviving and playing music. Burlesque was a neat idea to me—create 5-minute or less scenes to music; tell stories with character, ridiculous costumes, props, a short play where something sexy happens, or maybe something transformative and odd. I could be as irreverent and wacky as I wanted to because it was “Burlesque,” which in my world was the Wild West, limitless and theatrical. You see, I was never really much of a dancer, or a stripper, so I looked at it from the theatre standpoint. The strip tease has always been an afterthought for me, because it’s just funny when your pants fall off or your top pops. It also allowed me to collaborate with my good friends, crazy like-minded people whom I love and admire, and I really thrive artistically on working in a group dynamic. That, and looking hot, and having people like me
My first burlesque performance was on Halloween night 2002 with the DollSquad Burlesque Revue. Named after you guessed it, the movie by Ted V Mikels.
Yes, my band LUST will be playing Monster Bash! We are super excited to be back playing music at the Drive-In, it’s been a while. We’re getting together some HOT monster costumes as we speak. Yep. we’ll be sweating our asses off, you’ll see…
Can you tease us a little bit about the next Blast-Off show in September?
All I want to say is fasten your seat belts and get ready for Blast-Off’s WORLD TOUR! This is going to one wild ride, a crazed road trip of biblical proportions September 9 and 10 at 7 Stages Theatre. Make sure to take your dramamine, you’re going to need it, trust me. We’ve already been selling VIP tables, and there’s just a few tables left. You can get these hot VIP tables now, but they won’t be around much longer. We’ll start selling general seating sometime in July.
What question should I have asked about you that I didn’t think of and what’s the answer?
I’m in a new band, with my 10-4 good buddy Jon Waterhouse called Burt and the Bandits. It’s a Country-Western cover band played by characters from SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. Seriously, this is going to be something else. We’ve got Buford T. Justice on drums, Snowman on guitar, Junior Justice on keys, Burt is of course fronting, and I get to play Frog and sing some. There’s a whole stage show and lots of antics involved, and yes, a few dancing girls. So you really can’t go wrong. Our first gig is actually on the same day as Taboo-La-La, during the afternoon at the East Atlanta Beer Fest. So, it’s looking like Saturday’s going to be a crazy, busy, day chock full of Smokey’s, Beer, CB radios, tight jeans, go-go dancers, muscles, fast cars and ass-whipping women. Yep, that’s just my kind of day!
Oh, and on a side note, I’ve also seen recently on a billboard that May 21 is also final Judgment Day, so I expect to see ALL of you at the Plaza, so we all can go down together in a blaze of Hi-Octane Russ Meyer glory.