It takes skill to be a burlesque performer, but even more skill to be a performer in two major markets and a producer in one. Redd Skyy, who now makes her home in Portland, OR, got her start in Kansas City, MO, performing to “Shatner of the Mount” (still one of my favorite things ever). Over the past five years, she’s grown into a producer of considerable skill, and is an in-demand performer. This year, she’s working with her partner, Nada von Darling, on a Fringe festival show for Kansas City while in Portland. We’re lucky enough that this master of a multitasker had some time to talk to us recently about the challenges of being a burlesque performer in two markets and a cross-country production.
TF: You’re still part of Redd Katt Productions, which is based in Kansas City, MO. Are you doing any production in Portland as well?
RS: Currently no. It’s been an interesting experience. Portland is currently saturated with burlesque — just saturated. Not to say that I can’t eventually fit into it, but I’m still figuring out the flow, the different producers, venues, etc. so it’s kind of a feeling-out game that I haven’t fully committed to yet. But eventually Redd Katt will make a presence here in Portland as well.
TF: The Fringe show, with Nada von Darling, is being produced from across the country. Is there any unique challenges to a long-distance production?
RS: I think because Katt and I have such a solid relationship and we are very communicative that if any issues arise on either end, we immediately call each other, set up a meeting and talk it out. Because of that solid communication between the two of us, we haven’t run into any snags or hiccups during the production process. It’s been really nice, because we set up our roles of who’s in charge of what, and we’re able to come together when we need to discuss who we want to hire, what venue we have, the cost, pricing, and everything else we need to do. We’re very transparent and open with each other about what we need to do.
TF: I honestly think that’s really neat, because I wouldn’t be able to do a production in the way you guys are.
RS: It’s definitely a challenge because “Go big or go home,” like everything Redd-Katt, but because we trust each other — and each other’s judgement — it became more like a “You know, why not? Let’s do it. If we do it and it works, great — if not, oops” sort of thing. We have confidence in each other and the people we hired. Because I’m from KC, I know the people there, and I know their skills, and what they can bring to the table, except for some really new people from the last year. It helps. It would be different producing here in Portland, because Nada doesn’t know the scene here like I do, and she would have to defer to my judgment, whereas I know the scene in KC so I can offer help and advice in hiring.
TF: I think that’s pretty neat, to be honest. My experience is that some women aren’t able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in each other, and then maximize them to a mutual advantage. It’s awesome.
RS: We’re working out the kinks so far — Fringe is just the beginning. After this, we’re going to figure out the next year and see where it goes.
TF: You guys are known for nerdlesque, is that something we’re going to see in this year’s Fringe?
RS: Oh yea. There’s such a demand for it — we did a show a while ago after Planet Comicon and we sold out. We were told that there wasn’t a demand for it, but we decided to do it anyway, and we did, and it was amazing! Redd Katt is known for nerdlesque and putting on amazing shows, so why not go with what we are good at? Kraken Kabaret is right up that alley — and it’s very exciting for us that we are able to draw performers from the area, especially when nearly every troupe is staging a performance as well.
For Fringe this year, Redd Katt Productions is producing a show called “Kraken Kabaret”, which boasts a variety of neo-burlesque, comedy, acting, and vaudeville acts. If you’re in the KCMO area, and you are familiar with Redd Katt Productions amazing eye for Nerdlesque, then don’t miss out. Shows are on July 17th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 24tf and 25th. More details can be found on the Facebook page here.