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


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.


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.


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

Music by kind permission of The Shannon Reilly Trio The full version of the song Trouble can be found along with it’s video here, and purchased on the Shannon Reilly Band album also called  Trouble.

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