Wednesday, 30 September 2015 13:41

Bombshell Burlesque: SuicideGirls Stop at The Intersection

Written by  Dwayne Hoover
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SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque COURTESY PHOTO

SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque
The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 5, 7 p.m. / $25-$110, sectionlive.com; (616) 451-8232

If you’re not familiar with SuicideGirls, think edgy, nonconformist pin-up models for the 21st century. The website has a devoted cult following, thanks to photos, profiles and interviews dedicated to its never-ending roster of tattooed, outsider models.

Since the site’s launch in 2001, SuicideGirls has grown enormously in popularity. As a result, the brand dedicated to “alternative beauty” has branched out into other mediums. Their (often nude) models, aka their “bad ass bombshells and geek goddesses,” are featured in everything from books and DVDs to video games and music videos, and yes, even their own touring production, Blackheart Burlesque, which stops at The Intersection in Grand Rapids on Oct. 5.

“The ethos of the website is that we took classic pin-up photos and put our modern, updated twist on them,” said SuicideGirls co-founder Selena Mooney, who goes by the name Missy Suicide. “So to do a live show we wanted to take classic burlesque and put an updated twist on it and do it with our type of girls — the girls with piercings, tattoos and crazy colored hair [who] wouldn’t be seen typically in mainstream media.”

From 2002 to 2006, SuicideGirls put on shows across the U.S. and Europe and even opened for musical acts like Courtney Love and Guns N’ Roses. But given they were a small company, they decided to put a hold on touring indefinitely — that is until 2012 when they sent a couple of their models to a book signing.

“In 2012 we put out our book called Hard Girls, Soft Light and we sent two girls on a book signing tour up and down the West Coast,” Mooney said. “When they got to Santa Cruz, there were 750 people waiting outside a comic book shop to get an autograph.”

That’s when they knew that fans wanted a live experience and that they could do better than sending a couple of girls out to sign books. The company recruited choreographer Manwe Sauls-Addison, who has worked with Beyonce, Lady Gaga and others, to resurrect the SuicideGirls burlesque concept. What cultivated was the Blackheart Burlesque tour, a re-imagined burlesque show with themes ranging from Quentin Tarantino and Star Wars to Game of Thrones.

“In the interim seven years we had taken off there had been a lot of burlesque shows popping up. People had been pushing the envelope with burlesque,” Mooney said. “So we decided to reinvent the pop-culture burlesque — do a fully-themed, pop-culture burlesque.”

For more information, visit blackheartburlesque.com.

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