Boylesque Performer Go-Go Harder Takes Male Burlesque To The Black Cat (PHOTOS)

12/08/2012 08:14 am ET
Santiago Felipe

WASHINGTON -- "The Moth" and "This American Life" crowd are going to get a little "adult" this Sunday at the Black Cat. The New York City based story telling series "And I Am Not Lying" is returning to 14th Street with another quality lineup of story telling and burlesque.

After sold-out shows at the Black Cat, the series returns with a new type of performer, Go-Go Harder. A star in the up-and-coming "boylesque" scene, we spoke with Go-Go about his art and how it fits in with the story telling scene.

The Huffington Post: What exactly will you be doing at the Black Cat on Sunday?

Go-Go Harder: What I do is called "boylesque." For a lack of a better definition it is the male version of burlesque. My stuff tends to be strip teases that are story oriented and humorous. I always try to pair sex with comedy. This is a little bit more costumed and structured than a "Magic Mike" kind of strip tease.

HuffPost: How do you go about choreographing strip tease to a story?

Harder: Not every piece has a linear beginning and end. Usually there's some kind of overall theme to the number. Sometimes the music helps informs the choreography. Sometimes I find a costume or I make a costume to build the movement around. I'm a physical actor and I also used to work as a stripper. I try to use my BFA education and my New York City stripper edition.

HuffPost: How is this different than stripping?

Harder: I think for both men and women you're not necesarily going to see a burlesque girl doing a gloves peel. So much of neo-burleqsue has a lot of humor.

I totally respect strippers as well. It's just that the audience respects these shows.

HuffPost: What drew you to male burlesque? It doesn't appear to have a big scene?

Harder: Well, here's the thing, now that burlesque is becomming more incorporated into nightlife, so is boylesque. It's a niche within a niche.

For better or for worse, we have different gender codes for women. To have a man on stage who's not doing a traditional Chippendales strip tease, it's a little difficult. It's why I use humor. If you can get people to laugh and can catch them off guard, they're kind of along for the ride.

Interview continues below ...

Go-Go Harder

HuffPost: When did you start doing boylesque?

Harder: I got into nightlife four years ago. I was an out-of-work children's theater actor. By accident I started go-go dancing. I met lots of burlesque girls and they took me under their wing. The rest is history.

HuffPost: Will you approach this specific show differently than a typical boylesque show?

Harder: Yes. In general I feel like performance always works better when you try to slightly adjust yourself or act as oppose to making the space come to you. You should meet your audience at least half-way. I don't see myself re-thinking anything but when I get to the space, I'll suss out the audience. I think performing in New York is like baptism by fire. You're always in a new environment. It forces you to listen to your audience and figure out the best way to connect to your audience.

Go-Go Harder, along with comedian Paul Oddo, story tellers Jeff Simmermon, Cyndi Freeman and Brad Lawrence perform at the Black Cat on Sunday, December 9. Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day of show.

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