POSTED ON OCTOBER 14, 2009:
Apple of Our Eye
After three years together, Eye Candy Burlesque teases and pleases in anniversary show
We Belong Together. "There was an undeniable synergy between us from the moment we came together as a troupe," Savonne said. "But, I don't think we knew how much Eye Candy would encompass our lives over the next three years, how close it would bring us together, or how successful it would be."
Every week we've got numerous shows, and usually a few good reasons to celebrate around Tulsa. CD release parties have become the norm as our local talent continues to mature and achieve new levels of success, and we've even had a few opportunities to cheer on Tulsa and Green country acts that have scored record deals or grown to national feats.
This week, however, it's time to celebrate some young ladies who might not be musicians, but are definitely and indelibly intertwined with our local music scene. Believe it or not, our inimitable Eye Candy Burlesque Troupe is celebrating its third anniversary this weekend. Even if the ladies aren't singing or playing instruments, they've become a staple of our music community by virtue of performing in the same venues, serving as guest performers at shows and even just being there to support the other artists in Tulsa.
It seems only natural then, that for the group's third anniversary, Eye Candy would throw a soiree that features some great live music to help make an evening celebration as much as a performance. That's exactly what the group has done by inviting Sam and the Stylees to be a part of the program this Saturday night at Blue Dome Diner.
Before getting into the details of the show, however, the ladies were nice enough to bring me up to speed and look back for a few moments at how the group has evolved.
Initially formed in the summer of 2006, Eye Candy Burlesque (ECB) made its official debut on Oct. 20 to a sold out audience at the Nightingale Theater, something that none of the members expected. From that point forward, Eye Candy has been an unabashed success, seemingly ubiquitous within our local arts and music communities.
When asked about the inspiration behind forming the group, Lu Foxx was characteristically cool and concise, sharing that it was "a combined love of performance, laughter and freedom."
Savonne "The Minx", however, was a little more revealing when sharing that for her, joining the troupe was an opportunity to explore a new medium for her to be able to express her creativity and love of dance. Once involved, however, it quickly became something more.
"There was an undeniable synergy between us from the moment we came together as a troupe," she said. "But, I don't think we knew how much Eye Candy would encompass our lives over the next three years, how close it would bring us together, or how successful it would be."
More specifically, something Savonne called an "unbreakable comradeship" was formed between the original five members. If you ask anyone who has been involved, Eye Candy Burlesque might be a dance troupe or a group of performance artists to outsiders, but behind the scenes, it's a sisterhood or sorority.
Over the past three years, the group has evolved. Leaving Savonne and Lu Foxx as the lone original members as life led Scarlett Poppy to become a mother, Katerina "the Naughty Ballerina" stepped away to get married, and the group's original MC, Momere, moved to New York. While Savonne admits the group almost called it quits when the first member departed, the remaining ladies were intent on moving forward.
By the time Eye Candy Burlesque held auditions for new members in early 2008, the process had definitely changed. Instead of coming together informally to explore a new creative outlet, ECB was an established entity and becoming a member meant withstanding a rigorous audition process and preparing a new show in the course of weeks instead of months. Nevertheless, the new members (Shea Butter, Slippery Sue, Oliver Clozehoff and Ilsa the Wolf, at that time) not only fit Eye Candy's image, but added to its identity.
Since that time, ECB has continued to evolve, both in membership and in focus. No longer just a Tulsa phenomenon, Eye Candy has performed in Kansas City and Little Rock, and individual members have performed in San Francisco and New York City, as well, expanding the troupe's exposure and notoriety. Even so, the group is beloved here as Urban Tulsa readers have rewarded the group with three ABoT awards over the past two years: Best Live Theatrical Group in 2008, followed by Best Dance Troupe and Best Stage Performers in 2009.
Looking forward, Eye Candy will continue evolving as its current three principal members (Savonne, Lu Foxx and Ilsa the Wolf) pursue some new options. Tulsa performances will likely be more infrequent as key members relocate, and the troupe will likely concentrate more on performing nationally at larger events in 2010, but as LuFoxx said, "Tulsa will always be home, but horizons are broadening. As for the near future, we will perform wherever we are in demand, in whatever form we may be at the moment."
According to Savonne, "This town will always be the stomping ground for our stilettos, where we're sure to have reunion performances, surprise gigs and more anniversaries in the years to come."
As such, it seems even more appropriate to celebrate a third birthday for Tulsa's sole burlesque troupe. The group will be performing and celebrating this Saturday night, Oct. 17, at Blue Dome Diner under the theme "Third Time's a Charm" at 10pm. Eye Candy Burlesque has asked Sam and the Stylees to join them for the evening, and the band will open the night with a 9pm set, then close out the evening with more music for a giant dance party.
When asked about their selection, Lu Foxx said that the two entities have discussed doing a show together for quite some time and now just seems right. It also helps that The Stylees fit the bill for what ECB was looking for this weekend. According to Savonne, they wanted a high energy band and an audience that would get up and dance and help them celebrate. "That's what this is, a celebration of three monumental years," she said. That said: Don't hesitate to join the party. Doors open at 8pm, the music starts at 9, and tickets are $12 at the door.
The Awards Keep Rolling In...
In case you haven't heard, the votes are in and Samantha Crain, who was featured in UTW a few weeks back (check out "Long Distances, Long Career" on urbantula.com), won the "Nammy" (Native American Music Award) for Songwriter of the Year for last year's EP, The Confiscation: A Musical Novella. If you haven't picked it up yet, you need to check it out, as well as her current band release, Songs in the Night.
Another week, another round of shows to choose from. The weather might be cooling off, but that's all the more reason to get inside and support our local bands or check out some of the cool touring acts that are stopping in town. As always, we've got the highlights, to help you choose.
Thursday nights always have a few standing gigs and this week's include Cairde na Gael at Arnie's or Dustin and Jesse's Higher Education at Eclipse. The evening's biggest show, however, is in South Tulsa as Christian rock act Skillet headlines Spirit Bank Event center with Hawk Nelson, Decyfer Down and The Letter Black. For a hip-hop treat on a nationwide scale, check out Busta Rhymes at Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino.
Friday evening, Oct. 16 has a few cool shows to choose from as well. If you're looking for something fun and a little different from the status quo, you can check out Electric Rag Band at Mercury Lounge, Sugar-Free All Stars at Arnie's, or kick off Halloween early with Freaktoberfest at Flytrap Music Hall.
Fans of solid singer/songwriter material might want to check out Jeff and Vida Band at All Souls on Friday evening, with local artist Bill Erickson opening and pure pop fans will do good to head over to The Marquee for Need To Breathe with Serena Ryder and Matthew Mayfield in support. Tickets for both shows are $15 at the door.
Saturday evening's pick is obviously the Eye Candy third anniversary show at Blue Dome Diner with Sam and the Stylees, but that's not your only choice. Phil Zoellner Band will be playing Arnie's on Oct. 17 while Dance!Robot!Dance! performs at Soundpony, and Jeremy Johnson and the Lonesome Few will be getting rowdy at Mercury Lounge.
Sunday, Oct. 20, sees the ninth annual Murderfest return to Tulsa to celebrate Halloween, this time at Bob's with 16 bands on two stages and a costume contest. The show starts at 2pm and runs into the evening and tickets are only $9.
Finally, the week wraps up with Star Wars in Concert at the BOK for music and movie fans. The traveling show features displays of Star Wars memorabilia on the concourse and a symphonic performance of a selection of John Williams' score pieces with accompanying scenes from each of the Star Wars films.
Meanwhile, America's longest lasting ska band, The Toasters, will be performing at The Marquee on Oct. 20, as well. Formed in Manhattan in 1981, the band is still touring and keeping ska alive, so this is a rare opportunity to catch one of ska's history-makers. The Last Slice, Hiphopotamus, Kick Tree, The Righs and The Rippers will open the show, and tickets are only $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
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