By Kat Redniss, Flynn Center
A preview of Hot Brown Honey, performing on the Flynn Center Main Stage Friday, April 26.
Hot Brown Honey is a revolution, a revelation, a call to action, a laugh riot, a wild, raucous, in-your-face ferocious femme artistic protest that takes on many shapes, personas, and identities. It is always a powerful love letter to Women of Color and a fiercely clever creative vehicle for social justice and change. Founder Lisa Fa’alafi describes Hot Brown Honey, saying:
“We like to call Hot Brown Honey a genre-defying, theatrical explosion! Some have referred to the work as hard to describe, some say its energized theater, some say social commentary, others say it’s the best pumping political party in town and will have you dancing out of the building!”
This energetic and unapologetic Australian cabaret of awesomeness is on the Flynn stage April 26, using their unique performance style to address such complex issues as race, misogyny, colonialism, and body politics, often using comedy as a platform. Fa’alafi discusses this approach: “Comedy is one of the best tools to dismantle issues we often want to push under that dusty couch in the corner. We also go there with satire, cabaret, and burlesque as well as hip hop, indigenous languages, dance, song, and circus—this is our world Mother Lovers!”
This performance comes at a crucial time in our political climate, where we need to listen to voices of color, queer voices, and voices that have been perpetually silenced by dominant culture exclaiming loudly and proudly their truth, their reality, and their perspective.
Burlington and the state of Vermont are also particularly poised to receive this message and this art form with enthusiasm and attention. The burlesque scene in Vermont is exploding, offering body-liberating, sex-positive, self-affirming empowering artistic experiences for all those bold enough to shimmy and shake their stuff. Currently in Vermont, there are several burlesque troupes offering shows that range from traditional to neo-burlesque, vintage to nerdlesque, gorelesque, comedic burlesque, and so much more. With two troupes in White River Junction, one in Montpelier, vintage shows happening at Burlington’s Deli 126, and Spielpalast Cabaret and Green Mountain Cabaret both calling Burlington their home, it’s rare to find a weekend that doesn’t have at least one burlesque show.
The Flynn is at the forefront of embracing this vibrant burlesque community. For the past few years, Doctor Vu of Green Mountain Cabaret has taught weekly burlesque classes for both new and advanced dancers, many who have gone on and joined the burlesque community. The Flynn is also the home, for the second year in a row, to the Vermont Burlesque Festival, New England’s largest celebration of burlesque. And in a bold and awesome move, the Flynn is now presenting Green Mountain Cabaret’s monthly themed burlesque shows in FlynnSpace. Being in a space that has held burlesque deities such as Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser is a validating and inspiring vote of confidence in the local burlesque scene.
As Fa’alafi says, “By putting it on stage, we get to shine a light on our intersecting experiences where we confront our similarities and celebrate our differences.” Come experience the power, the sensuality, the cleverness, the bold and inspiring call to action that is burlesque, whether that call to action is feeling more connected to your own body, challenging the patriarchal idea of what beauty is, or standing up and fighting against injustice in your community and beyond.