TARANTINA: Quentin-Inspired Burlesque Highlighting Strong Hollywood Femmes

A few legendary lady characters created by the infamous film director Quentin Tarantino danced, performed acrobatics, and sang themselves live and loose early July in LA. They were part of an interpretive new cabaret titled TARANTINA.

Prior to attending, I had a few questions in my mind, and luckily, TARANTINA’s resident dominatrix, writer and MC – the nothing-short-of-amazing Miss Emma – let me know that Daddy, as the players call him, apologized for his absence.

“He sent us a really loving email, which means that he’s thinking of us,” she said, while I stared at the tip of her top hat. “He’s got a movie coming out in two weeks, so what are you going to do?’

Would I be turned on without my consent? After all, many of the films referenced in the show were produced by Mr Harvey Weinstein. Miss Emma was clear with me regarding this matter, otherwise known as, the elephant in the room.

“I just don’t want to belabor the point, you know? I don’t try to land on it too hard, or harp on it, and I never say the word ‘Weinstein’ out loud during the whole show. Because we’re not trying to jump on this moment, or harp on rah-rah girl power, or even, you know, latch on to anything. At the same time, it’s just that together with these women, we can create this incredible energy that goes out there, and nothing can slow that down.”

One step into Club Bahia – a big Echo Park bar bathed in glittery lights and shadows from TV screens with “Pulp Fiction” on display – reminded me though, that the serious sex appeal of show business is no mere cosplay. This hula-hooping dance troupe was more interested in creating an atmosphere than making a statement. 

Tarantina

Polyamorous couples sat together in the audience on the venue’s plush red seats. Women with studded heels and crossed legs sipped on margaritas flavored by activated charcoal. I’ll always remember when the lights brightened for the first act, setting the night of talented performances off. 

Tarantina

Those in the Los Angeles area can and should witness this floorshow when it plays again on August 15th. Fun fact; you may consider hopping on Instagram and finding out more about @Tarantinashow. Why? The show’s opening singer @Cocolamarrsings was invited to join the cast after she DM’d the director on social media! The ravishing Miss Emma shared more of Tarantina secrets with me on the night, check them out below.

Tulip Texas: How are you feeling about everything tonight?

Miss Emma: Tonight’s going really well so far! As you may know, live performance is a dying art, so it’s all about getting these bodies in the room, and making sure the show rolls out while that happens. I like to think I know what I’m doing. I’ve been doing this for a long time. Typically I do get a little nervous in the beginning, but then I realize it’s just my corset. *Laughing* I’m not nervous, I just can’t breathe!

TT: How do you keep the show going so naturally though? 

ME: Right, I wrote it, so I’ve got the script. And that script changes all the time. Of course—I’ve got canned material for days. Between that, my own jokes, and the things that happen with the audience, well—the beauty of cabaret. The combination of script, the combination of live excitement; not to mention, one of my favorite things is fucking with people. *Laughing* I’m here for the shit-talking really.

TT: Have your goals for TARANTINA changed over time?

ME: The goal is always just to wow people, and to pay homage to a great artist. It’s also been about working with Tosca [our director], who’s a very thoughtful, organized, and an incredibly experienced producer and performer herself. Some of the most dynamic women characters were created in the 90s— and really, no one was writing for women like Quentin did — alongside this all-woman cast, and producers has been one of the highlights of my ten-year career as an MC and producer in cabaret. It’s about this energy backstage, you know?

TT: Ah, definitely, and I love feeling like a part of it!

Interview: Tulip Texas

Photography: Gustavo Oliver @g.0liver

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