RedBone by Jon Gitchoff
RedBone talks poker with the fishes, waiting until you’re ready, stage humor, and The Wham Bam Thank You Ma’ams.
Q: You began your burlesque career in 2004 after auditioning for Le Cirque Rogue in Minneapolis, but it wasn’t until 2005 that things got super serious. Tell us about that call from your dance mentor that kicked off your time with Minneapolis’ Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am’s” (2006 Winner of “Best Troupe” and “Most Vegas”, Burlesque Hall of Fame Competition.)
A: I would say I had my first encounter with burlesque in 2004. My partner Meesha “Boom Boom” Ariel and I had a partner act with Le Cirque (this is post split off groups) for a short stint. But back to your question…yes, one of my dance mentors shot me a call and inquired if I had any interest in a weekly dance gig being a back up dancer for her friend Foxy Tann in a new venture called The Naughty Naughty Show. The Wham Bam Thank you Ma’ams had the role of backing up Foxy as well as stage kittening (no peeling. That was left to the soloist in the show). At the time, I was mainly studying, performing & teaching Hip-Hop/B-Girling, go-go dancing and doing community theater. All I wanted to do was perform so I accepted immediately. I was officially a Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am!
Q: Speaking of BHoF, last time we chatted you mentioned you thought you had competed in the debut category too soon. In an effort to give advice to fellow performers on the should I/shouldn’t I fence, what would you do differently if you had to do it all again?
A: I actually didn’t start soloing until 2006. Right after we returned home with our BHoF win Foxy launched our new show that included The Wham Bams as soloist. I debuted at BHoF in 2007. I had only been soloing for less than a year and we were already title holders. I felt a lot of weight being the first one from our troupe to hit that stage solo, changing my hair last minute to try and “fit in” and doing an act that some would consider controversial since I was barefoot. At the time I was just rolling through and enjoying every minute of this immersed experience.
Now mind you this is all hind site. Looking back I would have waited until I was ready and it was something that I wanted to do. It’s that simple. Make sure you have the right intentions or any intention at all for that matter. At the time I just thought it was something you’re supposed to do. I had no goal of what I wanted to do with burlesque after I had debuted. It was just something I fell into and did to be on stage more. Now that I’ve been thinking from a stance of REALLY making RedBone a profession, I would have summated to debut last or this year do to the fact that being on the BHoF stage can really be a good launching pad for any future endeavors.
Q: Fast forward to today and you’re a traveling pro. What acts are your favorite to travel with and why, and what do you take into consideration when choosing which festivals to perform or compete in?
A: Boom! and Tomatoes. They both fit in a ziplock freezer bag..when you’re traveling with 4 other performers packing well is KEY, plus they are both self contained acts that use little tech and no props which is very low stress when when you’re not at your home stage(s)… All personality!!! & Princess Pinche (pronounced PIN-SHAY) which is performed to the song Mary Jane by Rick James. This is another one I’ve been traveling with due to it’s advocacy and it gives a glimpse of my classic side.
….Festivals, oh festivals, well I have been invited to some and applied to others. The ones I have applied to so far were simply places I’ve never been, curious about the people in that scene and/or had buddies that I wanted to hang out with that were going. The only other festival besides BHoF that had a competition was Viva Las Vegas 2013. I don’t necessarily like competing. I mean, if I get into a dance off at the club or something sure, let’s do it!
Q: On the traveling subject, you recently co-produced your own tour with Afrodisiac production. Producing a tour is quite different than producing in your own town. What’s some advice you could give to performers looking to tour?
A: Yes. Afrodisiac is a performers of color show that Foxy Tann and myself produce under Wham Bam Productions. It started in Minneapolis and over this past year we’ve brought it to Seattle, Denver and Dallas. We try to have at least one Afrodisiac show when we tour. In regards to touring overall, Foxy had more leads when I came back from my hiatus so, I basically tagged along the first year, but even then she told me where she was getting hired and I sent a some what official inquiry to those producers with a bit of background and links to my videos. Now, we figure out our anchor dates, figure out what route we want to take between our anchor dates in conjunction with any other bookings and go from there. Big shout outs to Peaks and Pasties, Lannie’s Clocktower, and Gilded Cage! They have all been a big part of us being able to tour!
A: I did and am. Boom! received a lot of attention since The 5th Annual Show-Me Burlesque Festival in St. Louis (by the way, by far one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had with festivals). Boom! actually started as a one off number for Nadine Duboi’s Burlesque Throwdown here in MPLS last November. Who knew?! It’s been a really great way for me to hone the skills of staying in the moment and actually engaging and reacting with the crowd in front of me versus following all of my choreography, so to answer your question, you’ll have to be there to find out..lol
Q: Which places are next on your list to conquer?
A: WORLD DOMINATION!!! hahaha…But really, by 2016 I would like to see Foxy Tann and The Wham Bam Thank You Ma’ams touring Euro-Asia in celebration of out 10 year anniversary of our win at Exotic World. I also have a personal goal of chillin’ in natural hot springs with some snow monkeys in Japan.
Q: Your timing and humor are impeccable on stage. Is this learned or a natural talent? What advice would you give to performers struggling with on stage humor?
A: Awww snap! Thank you! A little of both. I’ve done dance and theater since I was young but with that you have a bit more time to get your story across through your acting and movement and It definitely took me a while to get how to be funny with out it being super slap stick even though that is super fun too. The best advise I’ve ever gotten was from 1. Foxy Tann “Stop!…and let them see your beauty!” (If I realized I was dancing around to much, I would quite literally Stop and say that in my head while standing there holding character.) and 2. Ray Gunn “Think of burlesque as performing a joke and you are acting out the story and punchline”
Q: When we first met around a poker table in Vegas. What’s your Hold-Em strategy? Are you a loose player, Tight/aggressive player? If you could sit at a table with any 5 people, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
A: Every game is different for sure, and for the most part I play tight and in position however I do take chances in optimal situations.
This would be my wish list if it were a final table of a tournament with only the top 2 paying out…
1. Charley Chaplin – He has lots of tells
2. Nemo – He’s a fish!
3. Shamu – She’s a whale! She’s gotta be rich right?
4. Roxi D’Lite – amazing eye candy never hurts
5. My boyfriend BBoy Sequal – We would more than likely be heads-up and either way I still win.
Q: What does the immediate future hold for Red Bone?
A: The Twin Cities Top Drawer Burlesque Exposition August 15 & 16, A Burly Q! August 21-23, Hot Dish Cabaret (MPLS) September 5th (Which just happens to be my birthday weekend…haha #cycloneredbone), producing Nudie Nubies – An Amateur Reveal (2nd Friday of every month) and getting ready for winter! I am planning on being down south and the West Coast for a period of time. MN Winters are wicked!