Could you introduce
I have many favorite foods, but one
of them is chicken Marbella, a dish
my mom would make when I was
little. The chicken is massaged in copious
amounts of olive oil, balsamic
vinegar, white wine, and sugar until
these ingredients begin to color and
plump its raw flesh. Then it’s roasted
in the oven while relaxing in a deep
dish with prunes, olives, rosemary,
and oregano. Basting is appreciated.
Sucking on bones and cartilage, one
always needs to use fingers, tongue,
and lips to lick up the last drops of
pleasure inside the sticky soft carcass
that inevitably remains.
What is burlesque
For me, burlesque is a format for a
seductive performance, in which the
audience and performers engage in a
spell action for self-love, body and
community empowerment. Something
really powerful to me is the audience
in burlesque and their involvement
being so necessary to this spell action.
Their screams create a choir of support
and pleasure that feed this whole
banquet of flesh lusciousness. I love
the way this widens and puts into
question where the performance is
Can you talk about
dimension of burlesque?
I think it’s political to give human
beings space and time on stage to
focus on their appreciation of themselves.
Burlesque can be a platform
for people to reclaim their bodies and
celebrate themselves and their sensuality.
The political potential of burlesque
is enriched by a queer context,
because the queer fuels what beauty
can be in all its possible possibilities.
So often we are bombarded by a singular
image of who can be, and what
is deemed, seductive. I find it important
to have sensual spaces to celebrate
difference, not only in how our
bodies look, but in how we use them,
how we perform them, the identities
that flow through them.
In which sense is
it political to feel good?
There are many ways to be political.
I think it’s a beautiful way to be political...
through “feeling good”. Joyous
opposition is a term I have been thinking
about recently as my favorite way
to respond to structures I find oppressive.
In a joyous opposition I can
say no to something, but I can also
say yes to myself and yes to what I
want. It is possible to celebrate and
be in opposition at the same time. I
find it puts me in a place of political
motion rather than a place of political
What’s special about the
six performers who
will each do an act in
The performers who will do acts in
WE COME BEARING GIFTS are all,
in some way or other, embedded in the
queer community of Vienna, so they
represent a portion of its bouquet.
Veza: It is my first burlesque act, which
is in itself exciting, very exciting. Maybe
I am more curious than excited. I
am curious how it will feel to undress
embraced by the humour of the genre,
trashing conventions of how my body
and desire is usually seen. It is exciting
how us queer artists embody as a
practice a continuous transformation
adapting and shifting depending on
the urgency and the contexts we share
our art in. This night is for sure a
necessary event to fight shifting from
Ina: I love doing burlesque because
it’s a very good way to embrace my
fat- and queerness in front of an audience.
As a fat lesbian, I experience
many forms of discrimination, mostly,
but not only in mainstream-society
contexts. Burlesque can be a way to
reclaim my body. This queer context
is important to me, because everything
I am and perform is only for
the eyes of homos and queers, especially
Robyn/Hugo: I am really excited to be
amongst strong, powerful and beautiful
queer people to celebrate the beauty
of our uniquenesses. WE COME
BEARING GIFTS is (for me) an evening
in which each performance acts
as a reminder that our self-love is a
magical wand we can wield against
the on-going (LGBTQI) oppression.
Mzamo: The mere fact that there is
a space to celebrate one’s body in a
collective space where there is support
and tenderness excites me. Celebrating
one’s body (existence) is in
itself a political act, an act of self-determination.
Our queer bodies, especially
black and brown bodies, have
been used as an object of desire. This
space allows me and people who look
like me to reclaim our bodies and uphold
spaces. This in itself is empowering,
and everybody wants to be empowered
in their existence.
Mwoyo: I’m excited to embrace our
bodies in a way that allows us to be
authentic to ourselves and our community.
Sharing the stage with black,
non-binary, fat, queer magical-mystical
human beings. Radical softness
meets intense tenderness. Breathing
deeply and exhaling in awe!
Lau: Hosting a queer burlesque evening
with Alex excites me because it
feels like a chance to be ravishing together.
Feeling stunning as who you
are is a collective act at its best.