Fonda Feeling of the Boston Burlesque Scene!

by Thrasher on December 14, 2011

Hello Girlhackers!

About a year ago I realized that my love of Halloween and costumes was so strong that I needed an excuse to be covered in costumes and glitter year-round, so I became a performer! One of the coolest people I’ve shared the stage with has been Ms. Fonda Feeling. She’s probably the epitome of Girlhack’s Geeky plus Girly motto, so I wanted to introduce her to the rest of the GH audience. Below you’ll find the text of a quick chat we had together about being geeks, performers, nerds, and most importantly, independent  and strong women.

So, for those who don’t know, who are you, and what the heck do you do?
Hi! I’m Fonda Feeling and I’m a Bostonian Burlesque and Circus performer! I’m an aerialist, with some fire art under my belt, and a couple years of burlesque. Lately I’ve been traveling a LOT with Cosplay Burlesque (You may have caught us at Anime Boston, Anime Next, or Otakon… or maybe you will catch us at Anime USA), as well as producing the Boston branch of Geek Girl Productions!

For those who may not be familiar, how do you define burlesque?
Burlesque is, of course, the art of the tease… but to me there should always be a twist. I think of burlesque as striptease with a nerdy, comedic, scary, or just plain ridiculous point of view.

How do you see “geekiness” and burlesque overlapping? (For me, it seems a natural fit – hell, most of the people I meet through videogame channels are also somehow involved with burlesque or circus arts, at least in this city).

It absolutely seems like the natural progression for me. I’ve been a cosplayer, gamer, and anime-nerd since I was 14, and jokes just translate better when you have a specific character to guide them. Sometimes the character/fandom’s quirks lend to ideas too brilliant to pass up. This creates a great dynamic between the performer and the audience, a deeper understanding than more “classic” burlesque, in my opinion.

How did you get your start as a performer?
Well, I’ve always had a bit of a dramatic side, of course. But when I left college I went on a search for professional theater, and I came across a show called “Naked Girls Reading.” It seemed liberating and exciting. The people running the show turned out to be from the Boston Babydolls, a local burlesque group. They asked me to audition for their next show and from there my life just took a turn for burlesque!

Have you always known you were a bit of a geeky girl?
Always. I never quite “fit in” with the cool kids – even now that I’m an adult in the “real world” I find myself a bit separated… but as soon as I found friend who liked the same anime and video games as me it all made sense! Geeks Girls are just a totally different type of “cool kid”.

Tell us about Geek Girl Boston – what it is, how it came to be, the players involved, etc…
Geek Girl Productions started with a branch in  New York, they run out of bars and smaller venues in NY and have a rotating cast of local performers. When Cosplay Burlesque came to Anime Boston an old friend of mine who booked them asked me if I (as a local burlesque dancer) wanted to join in, so of course I did! I met GGNY’s promoter, in the show and was asked to run the Boston branch. We’ve become a lot more extravagant in our lovely Boston venues than other Geek Girl branches but we’ve kept alive the show-specific themes and geeky, fun acts! Arson of Honor Amongst Thieves, Rachel Stewart of Esh Aerial Arts, Devora Darling of The Boston Babydolls, and Brandy Wine of Rogue Burlesque have all really been key players in making this all come together. And, of course, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band was the icing on the cake!

**(authors note from Alli – you’re really in for a treat if you’ve never heard of Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band – look them up on youtube).

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting Geek Girl Boston?
Trust your gut and never second guess yourself. If you throw yourself behind your ideas then it’ll all be AWESOME in the end.

What’s next for Geek Girl Boston?
The Cambridge Science Festivals wants us for this coming year, and in early 2012 we’ll be returning to Oberon with our SPACE themed show!

What advice do you have for young women who may be just discovering their inner geek?
Love every second of it. It gives you a depth, and an artistic appreciation beyond what many people have. Gamer? Play 70 hours a week (I used to). Otaku? Cosplay your pretty little heart out after marathoning a 30-episode-season of the newest magical girl anime (or mecha, or what have you). Fantasy? I challenge you to know the map of Middle Earth better than I do.

Quick! Give us your recommendations for:
Comics to check out: Jeff Loeb amd Tim Sale’s Batman Dark Victory
TV shows to check out: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt!
Movies: You can never go wrong with an old classic… Always Akira!
Music: I’ve totally been on a Lords of Acid kick lately, not the newest music out there, but so much routine fodder…

Any advice for aspiring burly-queens, aerialists, pranksters, or rabble rousers?
Go for it, act on your instincts and always go all out. What’s the worst that can happen? When I took a date from Oberon for the Geek Girl premiere a month before the show I risked completely underselling and looking like a total tool. You know what happened? We filled the venue!

And where can folks see Ms. Fonda Feeling perform?

Well, come 2012 GGB will be around far more often! I can be found at facebook.com/furiousfondafeeling for more updates on performances!

The silks picture is courtesy of Patrick C. Sullivan, and the chair picture is by Deidre Waterman. 😀

There’s a couple references: Faye Valentine from Bowboy Bebop, Rose Tyler from Doctor Who, The Bumblebee Girl from the Blind Melon video…
Thanks so much! <3

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