Here’s Looking at You Podcast #5 Why Burlesque Needs Rubyyy Jones

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Image of Rubyyy courtesy of Matthew Kitchen. Shot at The Cat’s Pyjamas ‘Thanks For The Mammaries’ tenth anniversary, farewell show. Copyright

A little later than anticipated, but well worth the wait, here is podcast #5 ‘Why Burlesque Needs Rubyyy Jones.’

In this podcast I chat with the award-winning queerlesque star about how she defines herself, as a performer and persona, where the three yyy’s comes from, her roots and role models, her early performances, how her style came about and her experience as a promoter.

We also discuss burlesque audiences and their role in the form, the sense of responsibility she feels as a performer, promoter and activist, the current social context and where she hopes burlesque will go in the future.

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Whilst we will return to the notion of the carnivalesque in the next podcast, it is also useful term to apply to Rubyyy.  When I talk about the notion of the carnivalesque and the unruly woman in the podcast, I am basing my observations on ideas I have read in Kathleen Rowe’s book The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter which uses the Bahktinian notion of the carnivalesque to discuss bawdy femininity.  Essentially a carnivalesque form is a form which temporarily contests, subverts and disrupts authority.  In Rowe’s terms it does this through ‘inversion, mockery and other forms of travesty’ so I think you see just why this theory works so well when considering Rubyyy and her work.

Inspired by my conversation with Rubyyy and carnivalesque notions, I also reflect on my own bawdy activities as part of the Cat’s Pyjamas Burlesque cooperative, of which I was a member for ten years, producing and performing in shows. This thread of unruliness, which is a constant throughout my academic work, will be teased out further still in podcast #6.

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Cat’s Pyjamas crew and some of the audience at the last ever Cat’s Pyjamas show. Copyright Matthew kitchen

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