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One of my most popular acts – now on video. This might just be one of my favorites, too.
Every performer comes to burlesque for a different reason. Tonya Kay, The Most Dangerous Woman In Hollywood, grew up acting in theatre and she came to burlesque out of a love for the stage, a live audience and the Vaudeville greats.
Please enjoy Tonya Kay, The Most Dangerous Woman in Hollywood’s, Circus Clown Burlesque solo in authentic Vaudeville style, performed in Tease If You Please at First and Hope, downtown Los Angeles, 7/27/14, hosted by Patrick J Saxon.
More Tonya Kay burlesque:
More Tease If You Please:
Video filmed by Gene Blalock and James Boring of Seraph Films:
His art. Touches this artist heart.
Brion Verkler‘s 3 part series based on my modeling work. Follow him on G+ and support this talent.
I’d like to think that my 23 years of vegan status got me the role, but I had to audition like any actor would for any indie film. The casting breakdown went out like this:
“Lead, DARCY: Caucasian, Late 20s, The cool girl. Stylish, fit and confident. She stands out in a crowd. Open to tattoos, piercings and awesome hair. Vegan chick—but nowhere near a cliche. She has strong opinions and doesn’t care who hears them. She loves her mom and sister, but sees them as uninformed. She embraces change in every aspect of her life. Perhaps Kristen Ritter type, but open to options.”
I submitted and was called in, fortunately. Directors Liz Lytle and Deanna Dylan Scott and I were familiar with the others’ work in the vegan community—but that wasn’t going to land me this spot alone. They wanted the best actor. Well…I booked it.
The Pampleteer’s tactic was to nail a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first scene.
It’s always a pleasure to work on a set where production is health-savvy or better yet, full-on vegan, like myself. There tends to be a respect and open-mindedness in all avenues and c’mon, who doesn’t like eating lunch with the rest of the crew for once? But when the actual content of the film being produced is built around the ethics I support in everyday life, the passion I have for the project runs even deeper.
There are plenty of consciousness-raising documentaries out there, and some fantastic ones at that (don’t miss Lion Ark and Forks Over Knives). I meet and work with fellow vegans on almost every set I’m employed on nowadays, like Rob Zombie, Ellen Degeneres, Russell Brand and the independent names Gene Blalock, Nathan Barnatt and Stephen Wozniak.
But it is still rare to get to play a vegan character or deliver lines on-camera on the subject like I did in the groundbreaking scripted film Bold Native, about an Animal Liberation Front activist running from terrorism charges or recording the voice of Green Girl in the four episode “Rawman and Green Girl,” the family-friendly animated raw vegan superhero series. I wanted to play DARCY in The Pamphleteer desperately, to tell the truth. It had the makings of an important film to me.
As innovative as films with an activist purpose are, their niche audience status provides benefits and challenges to producers. I asked co-directors Liz and Deanna what their formula for producing an independent niche film and they confessed that they knew they had a built-in audience within the animal-welfare community. But they wanted to keep the investing sources private and small, if need be, so as not to risk watering down the scripted message. So funding becomes a more precise endeavor.
The Pampleteer’s tactic was to nail a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first scene, which they could distribute independently and/or use as a teaser to secure more funding to film another scene. Or shoot the entire film.
It worked! The Pamphleteer Kickstarter campaign got funded and the first teaser scene we shot is called “Harmony Drive” and features an older sister that continuously debates DARCY’s new vegan lifestyle as part of their natural sibling rivalry. It happens to all of us who stand for something at some point: our family or loved ones may lend little support to our new thinking and behavior. And we feel like we are defending ourselves to just convince them we are okay.
Or better than okay. Fantastic, actually.
Enjoy the first scene, Harmony Drive, from the feature film The Pamphleteer. Hopefully I nailed that original character description and brought DARCY to life!
Originally published in Pyragraph Magazine
Sean Tiffany is one of my favorite artists of all time. I’ve known him since the Who Wants To Be A Superhero days and his artwork always embodies deviant innocence that none other can capture. I love his work so much, I asked him to create the logo for the live show I am producing, Tonya Kay’s Pinup Pole Show (logo below). Sean also created this #pinup photography of me in the dreadlock days (pinup below)! He’s the writer/illustrator of the OilCan Drive comic book series and today Sean sent me his process for his newest character, TK! She’s a renegade mechanic with a convertible jumper and stone age dreadlocks! I couldn’t be more honored than to be drawn and characterized by artist, Sean Tiffany. Check out his links and support his work. It’s easy to like – I mean, just look at this man’s style!
Shirley Temple was my childhood idol. She tap danced, she sang, she acted and all when she was little – just like me! I started tap dancing lessons when I was 4 years old and started performing in theatre when I was 6. Shirley Temple and my supportive, artistic parents are the reason I got started in the performing arts.
Since those early tap dancing toddler days, I’ve went on to perform in STOMP, tap on the Tap Dance Kid tour and in NYC Peggy Spina Tap Co and LA’s Mark Goodman Tap Co. I’ve acted in theatre and on camera and even fronted a band as a vocalist.
These days I am acting on camera and performing live burlesque as the bulk of my career and wouldn’t you know, with Shirley Temple’s passing this spring, I leaned how SHE got her start on camera – performing burlesque! She starred in a series of short films called Baby Burleske. Here is the second of those short films, War Babies 1932 in which she has her first speaking role.
Performance is my spirit’s calling. And fortunately, my exclusive career for 24 years. I truly owe my parents and little Miss Shirley Temple everything for inspiring me on this path. And so I decided to tribute Shirley in my own tap dancing burlesque number! With the utmost admiration and respect, here are some of my development highlights and the final, Shirley Temple burlesque tribute act, Good Ship Lollipop!
First I made giant lollipops, which was a creative blast. They had to be durable, portable and GIANT. You can read the details on How To Make Giant Lollipops here.
I wanted to tribute Shirley in her most recognizable guise, so I used an amalgamation of these Shirley Temple characters:
I searched Iguana Vintage on Hollywood Blvd’s three levels of thrift clothing over for hours to find this base for a sailor costume which was way too small:
So we fitted it, shortened it and put a collar and bow on – so cute!
I found red, white and blue bloomers, used some saddle shoes from a 1960s dinner girl act I already perform and embellished with gloves, sailor hat and the essential curly Shirley ringlet wig.
After choreographing a showstopping tap dance opener, I listened to the audience to hear them tell me what the comedy beats and storyline would shape out to be. And this, my friends, is my finished Shirley Temple burlesque tribute act, “Good Ship Lollipop”. There’s nothing like performing a true tribute to one of your idols – something inside feels rooted and somehow a part of the elegant lineage of the greats. Enjoy!