reigning Queen of Burlesque, Lucy
Fur, is typing a resumé,
packing a moving van and forsaking
us for Los Angeles.
For seven years our Lucy has been
a downtown fixture: stripping at
a handful of clubs (most often Mary’s),
go-go dancing at rock shows, producing
her own ultra-fabulous cabarets
(including 2001’s totally
rad Cartoon Cabaret) and performing
über-awesome burlesque acts
at Dante’s Sinferno.
Amply endowed with boobs and brains,
Lucy sews and bedazzles (and fringes
and feathers) her own costumes and
regularly travels to the Miss Exotic
World Pageant to compete amongst
burlesque’s crème de
la crème. She is also a photographer
(see “Exotic Art,” December,
2004) and a book of her photographs
will soon be published by Daniel
Portland nights will undoubtedly
be darker without her. We love you,
When did you start dancing?
LUCY FUR: I began dancing in March
of 1998, three months before I graduated
from Lewis and Clark. I started
dancing so I could have time to
finish my thesis: “Gender
Analysis of Female Archetypes in
Were you always interested in burlesque,
or was there a watershed eureka
LUCY: I don’t think I even
knew what burlesque was when I started
dancing. I did Miss Mona’s
Lingerie Show at Mary’s Club
and then Danzine had me do something
at Berbati’s. After that Kitty
Diggins got me into it. I go-go’d
for her for about a year before
I decided to try and do something
on my own.
Describe how you learned to twirl
LUCY: I never learned from anyone,
I just kind of jumped up and down.
If you jump up and down with your
arms outward, over your head, the
tassles twirl outward. If you jump
up and down with your arms at your
sides, they twirl inward. If you
put one arm up and one arm down,
they’ll go in different directions.
It’s really just gravity.
You joined Sinferno at the very
beginning. Can you recall some of
your favorite acts?
LUCY: I used to really love coming
out of an ape costume while Natalia
played guitar to “The Cavegirl,”
a total homage to Marlene Dietrich
in the movie Blue Venus. But someone
stole the ape costume so I haven’t
done that one in years. I like my
barbecue set which I retired a long
time ago. I’d eat barbecued
ribs onstage and drink a beer and
have watermelon and just chow and
make a big mess. I’d come
out to “I Dig You” by
Boss Hog, then do “Mississippi
Queen.” I used to do a lot
of food shows.
How many Miss Exotic Worlds have
you performed at?
LUCY FUR: 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Who in your opinion should be crowned
the Ultimate Miss Exotic World of
LUCY: Of all time it would have
to be Dixie [Evans] ‘cause
it’s her deal and if she weren’t
there none of those woman would
have a place to go to talk about
what it means to do burlesque. But
of the newer girls I’d say
What is it that makes Mary’s
Club so unique?
LUCY: It’s run by women from
top to bottom, and by a family.
That cuts out a lot of the bullshit.
The thing about [manager] Vicki
is that she treats you like a human
being; and she treats you like an
intelligent human being if you warrant
it. Other clubs have no interest
in you outside of your ability to
take off your clothes and what money
you make them.
What are your favorite songs to
LUCY: Lately I’ve been really
excited about playing thematic sets.
I found out that we have three songs
about monkeys on the jukebox, which
made me ridiculously happy. Three
songs about flies. Three songs about
honey. I also like any song that
makes me a lot of money.
Which songs make you the most money?
LUCY: It always changes. There are
certain bands that will consistently
make you a lot of money. The Pixies.
Why oh why are you leaving us?
LUCY: It’s time. I always
said I wanted to go out happy about
dancing, so I could look back on
it and be happy and not be bitter.
Plus I’ve danced for seven
years. That’s a ridiculous
amount of time.
LUCY: ‘Cause I’m happy
there. It’s got all the irony
about the American dream. It’s
the place that encapsulates everything
that is wrong with this country.
It’s a great fuckin’
Will we ever see you onstage again?
At Miss Exotic World, Sinferno,
or in L.A.?
LUCY: I’m sure that I’ll
come back up and do Sinfernos. I’ll
most definitely still be auditioning
for Exotic Worlds. I’m too
much of a performer and a ham to
totally give up the stage. I’ll
probably start doing burlesque right
away when I get to L.A.
When is your last shift at Mary’s?
LUCY: August 12th. Friday night.