Interview with Missy Suicide

                                                                      Blackheart Burlesque performers during their Star Wars Routine (vimeocdn.com)
‚ÄčLisa Sanchez

Missy Suicide is soft spoken, unlike the feisty and brash Blackheart Burlesque show she has helped create and cultivate over the last three years. The burlesque show is set to come to the Agora in Cleveland on Monday, October 12. Suicide spoke with me to explain the unique quality of the Suicide Girls live show, where the inspiration comes from for the numerous nerd and pop culture references, and how sexy confidence can change the world.

"It's a fun, silly, sexy show. It's impossible to leave without a smile on your face." Suicide described the this year's thrilling Blackheart Burlesque show, which features live singing, choreography, and strip teases. The co-founder of the Suicide Girls franchise is enthusiastic about the show, currently trekking across the United States on a massive cross-country tour. Suicide spoke with me in L.A., but she is deeply invested in the progress of the burlesque tour.

Suicide explained she wanted to expand beyond the still photography of Suicide Girls and expand into a live show. "The same way Suicide Girls captured the sexy spirit of pin-up photos we wanted to do a burlesque show with a modern twist." The co-founder said. According to Suicide, the 2015 show is the most polished performance to date with revamped song and dance numbers, new material, and audience participation parts of the show. 

The Blackheart Burlesque show is jam-packed with relatable, fun, pop culture references and homages. Suicide said, "We have a list of 250 things we geek out about that we're constantly adding to. I go through the list and find songs that match the themes." This can be a considerable challenge considering the Blackheart Burlesque performers are on stage making Planet of the Apes and Ghostbusters sexy. Suicide continued, "It sounds like it doesn't fit at first, but of course it does." 

While Suicide helped decide the soundtrack and wrote the show, professional Blackheart Burlesque choreographer Manwe Sauls-Addison helped bring the stage show to life. The professional dancer has worked with megalithic pop stars like Lady Gaga and Beyonce. "Manwe is a secret nerd," Suicide laughed, "He takes the movements of the characters and incorporates it in ways you wouldn't expect. There's just enough referential movement without being a caricature." If the Blackheart Burlesque can make characters like Finn from Adventure Time come to life and add a bit of allure to the performance, I think Sauls-Addison is pretty much a miracle worker.

Although many of the characters portrayed aren't intrinsically sexy (such as R2D2 and Clockwork Orange's Alex DeLarge) Suicide also said some choices were "no brainers" when creating the 2015 show. "Not all the references are overtly sexy, but we also go with what's timely, what we nerd out about, and what falls on the radar." For example, this year's performance features a portion inspired by 50 Shades of Grey. Suicide continued, "'Where You Belong'" by The Weeknd is basically the sexiest song ever...it fits perfectly." Suicide also cited the provocative S&M, bondage motif of 50 Shades of Grey as a perfect sultry fit for the Blackheart Burlesque performance.

Since its inception, Suicide Girls and its co-founder have prided themselves on cultivating a community, both online and in real life. Suicide said the multiple cultural references in the Blackheart Burlesque were both a challenge for the audience to find them all and helped people relate to each other and to the girls performing on stage. "The pop culture references are for fans, they're for us, and for a fun experience. It helps people relate and solidifies that element of community, which has always been a large portion of our website." Suicide stated.

The Blackheart Burlesque has been touring since 2013, but Suicide Girls has been changing the ideas of beauty and female presentation for more than a decade. The Suicide Girls website boasts hundreds of diverse models from across the world and Suicide assured the Blackheart Burlesque performance embodies the same independent spirit. The co-founder said, "All of the girls have an eclectic look, different body types, unique beauty, and confidence. Confidence is sexy and we showcase that in the performance."

Suicide explained, "There is still very much a standard idea of beauty. But, we're pushing the envelope. When Suicide Girls first started, there were only two kinds of blonde beautiful, the thin waif or the buxom Pamela Anderson type. We're about a different form of beauty." 

Suicide Girls has grown considerably since its creation and maintains a constant flow of social media attention and fan base loyalty. Because of the popularity of Suicide Girls, when Blackheart Burlesque comes to town, Suicide explained the show usually attracts a lot of first-timers. "There are a lot of people who have never been [to a nude show] before. That's a hefty responsibility for us." Suicide laughed, "We hope everyone can relate to the show. Plus, we always have local burlesque acts in each city opening for us." Suicide hopes that people will enjoy the Blackheart Burlesque, but also spur the crowd to support their local burlesque troupes. 

Whether its your first burlesque show or you're a seasoned veteran of all things naked and nerdy, check out Blackheart Burlesque for a once in a lifetime show with beautiful ladies, killer dance numbers, and a chance to be a part of the show.

The Blackheart Burlesque will hit the Agora in Cleveland on October 12, advance tickets are $25 and day of show tickets are $30. VIP tickets, including early entry for a meet and greet with the performers can be purchased for $85.