Producing Burlesque for Film With bonus Fire Tits safety tips!

Tonya Kay video - Pyragraph

Burlesque is a sensibility, I’ve decided. You can burlesque your performance, you can burlesque your style of dress and in the case of film, you can burlesque the locations, the lighting and the editing technique.

This is the first film I’ve ever produced. I chose the abandoned LA Zoo…morose (the animals lived in these horribly small concrete cages at one point!), hidden, yet exposed. The natural lighting in late day was just soft and partially concealing and fellow actor Jason Paul Field (The Kill Corporation) directed and ran our single Mark 5 camera.

My performance was decidedly taunting and dangerous, yet playful. And I edited the film myself, offering just a little more information in each clip while giving nothing away—building up to just one brief moment of reveal: my Fire Tits danger art. Everything about this project was done with burlesque sensibilities.

I hope you appreciate my first film production effort. I put a lot of my taste and skill into it and am absolutely pleased. Inspired to create more! Heck, my city apartment is too small for me to be building the next bigger act anymore—there’s a prop bathtub, drum kit and dance pole in my living room alone—so perhaps the next creative outlet for me will be in this digital medium.



Fire Tits Safety Tips

There is a fine line between genius and idiocy when you are a renegade rocket like me. In tribute to burlesque legend Satan’s Angel, the original Fire Tassel twirler, I’ve developed my own rebel rock and roll Fire Tits act. Here are three safety tips to incorporate into your Fire Tits act that will keep you on the brilliant side of the genius, instead of in the idiotic emergency room.

Tonya Kay fire tits - Pyragraph1. Choose the right fuel. I learned this the hard way: 70% rubbing alcohol burns pathetically. The flame is weak and any movement puts it out, causing the need to constantly relight and leaving you looking like a wannabe on stage. Lighter fluid burns too hot and too fast; the atomic fire ball that shot up from my pretty little pasties the night I used lighter fluid almost ignited my hair and left 1st degree burns exactly where a mature woman never wanted them. The perfect fuel for your Fire Tits act is 90% rubbing alcohol. It will leave you looking like the master of your prop and physically unscathed at the same time. Thank goodness my Lover digs chicks with scars.

2. To lube or not to lube? Stunt people swear by it, fire performers carry it, but I say forget it. Fire gel doesn’t do shit. Supposedly you smear this clear gel as a coating over your skin to create a barrier to heat, but when the fire is as close as it is in the Fire Tits act, that gel dries up within 45 seconds but not before staining your handmade costume with chemical goo. Forget it. Learn how to manage the act safely through technique and fire awareness.

3. Shake ’em girls, shake ’em. If you’ve got a full B cup or larger, you can do this act more safely than us Tiny Tinas. I’ve seen a full-chested performer light her fire pasties and actually stand still long enough to have photos taken. Busty Brenda and Enhanced Erin got clearance, you see. But if you’re naturally perky or work out like an athlete as I do, the tassels that hang from your neato nipples actually touch your stomach. What’s a small-bosomed beauty to do when those tassels are aflame? Keep’em moving, girls! Shake’em like it’s an earthquake. Jog back and forth to the beat and raise your arms, itty bitty tittie committee, and you might even get them move in a circle like the big girls can!

Nothing is more exhilarating than a well-honed Danger Arts act. And nothing more repulsive than a fire act gone wrong. Keep your bodies, the audience and the property safe, grrls. You know it’s a successful show when: no one gets pregnant and no one burns a boobie.

Photos courtesy of Tonya Kay.

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About Tonya Kay

This Magickal Child from Michigan farmlands is an award-winning actress and writer, professional dancer, burlesque performer, pole athlete, danger artist, stunt woman, world-traveling conservationist, raw vegan celebrity and living proof of what a child raised in love grows up to be.

You’ve seen her on TV’s “Criminal Minds,” “Glee” and “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien”; in The Muppets, The Lone Ranger and Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant movies; in Rolling Stone, TV Guide, SPIN, Inc. and Vertical magazines; and on stage with STOMP, De La Guarda, Panic At The Disco and the Lalas Burlesque.

When she is not road-tripping to see her favorite heavy metal rock bands play live or rebuilding her 1965 Buick Riviera classic hot rod, Tonya Kay is seeking out organic farmers markets, sustainable vineyards and life-changing art. It is this renegade’s passion to shape reality, push evolution, exist in love and take the whole wide world along for the ride.

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