Picture this: music starts to play, a spotlight swings to hit center stage, illuminating a performer. The star, moving to the rhythm, pulls out a bowl of spaghetti. Welcome to Brunchlesque.
Take A Bite Brunchlesque is a “magically delicious” show created by the Velvet Hearts! Pittsburgh. This celebration of brunch is part of a birthday performance for producer and burlesque artist Luscious D, with a variety of acts from the Velvet Hearts! Pittsburgh and Columbus.
The Velvet Hearts! are the city’s original queer performing arts troupe. Since founding in 2008, the Hearts have moved across state lines, establishing groups in Columbus and Cleveland. Luscious D has been with the Velvet Hearts! since 2016, debuting as a director in 2018.
In its purest form, burlesque is the art of the tease. The name, derived from the Italian word burlesco, alludes to joke and ridicule. Burlesque focuses on character play, flirting with concepts that are both taunting and erotic.
Today, the art is in a neo-burlesque era, deviating from the classic showgirl form. Performances combine sideshows (hula hoop, fire play) spoken word, and dance, and branch into sub-categories like nerdlesque (using cosplay and comics) or boylesque (male-identifying performers).
Troupes are, as Luscious D describes them, “one sparkly family.” Her performance family is the inspiration behind brunchlesque.
“When I hang out with my friends, I want to have Sunday brunch,” she says. “It brings people together. It’s family time.”
At Brunchlesque, edible props are everywhere. Luscious D compares the diverse cuisine in performances to the variety of options in Pittsburgh. A meal at Franktuary in Lawrenceville is wildly different from the Eat’n Park buffet. Brunchlesque artists take cues from all angles of brunch, using ice cream sundaes, pizza, bananas, s’mores, and spaghetti.
“You can get pretty seductive with spaghetti,” she says. “You have to see it to understand.”
Artists use their personality and character to create with food. Luscious D, for example, known for her body-positive spoken pieces, is heading for something more sultry. The artist, who is fiber glycemic and sensitive to gluten, is paying tribute to her allergies. Her act, a play on BDSM, is a mix of sexy and silly. She’s punishing the food that makes her sick. It’ll be a little wacky, a little weird, and totally dazzling.
Take A Bite Brunchlesque. Sun., March 24. 2-4 p.m. Better. A Studio for You. 730 Brookline Blvd., Brookline. $15. Search the event name on Facebook.