Text JF. Pierets
Although the definition of Burlesque says “a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects”, one cannot erase the image of Von Teese having a bath in a champagne glass or cuties twirling around the stage wearing nothing more then nipple pasties. Nevertheless, that was before we saw Marnie Scarlet perform in a combining mix between fetish and performance art, between burlesque and a touch of cabaret. With her fabulously larger-than-life latex outfits and wittedly deviant shows, Marnie will shock and tantalise in a vortex of surrealism.
From SMack! in New York to TG and Club Anti-Christ in the UK and even the Cannes Film festival, Marnie has performed all over the world at fetish and cabaret events, her style appealing both to fetish and cabaret audiences.
“Besides the fact that I have elements of burlesque and striptease in my shows, I do not conform to traditional burlesque standards. It’s not that I don’t like a well produced burlesque night; some of them are really great, having circus and body acts instead of only striptease, but it’s just not me. My performance is something I myself would like to watch. A bit different and hopefully something that hasn’t been done before. Put fetish, burlesque and performance art in a large bowl and shake it all up. Throw a nice hat on it, a collar and some heels and go out there to grab the world by the balls and chuck it on stage”
Marnie creates all her outfits herself, favouring raunchy rubber, but not afraid to add some fine fabrics into the mix. From coats made out of hair-extensions to meters of beautiful lace laid over latex. Categorizing Marnie is not possible. She’s everything but ordinary, showing herself off in such a terrific way but also as a designer for Libidex UK. The one-eyed soldier, a bride corpse, a bloodthirsty nurse, a crazy clown – every detail of her costumes is perfectly composed. “The whole show starts with the costumes. It always starts with something I made and the thought about what that personae would do.”
Some of her acts like Poison Ivy and Voodoo Apocalypse incorporate body piercing and culminate in setting fire to sparklers connected to the piercings in her body. “When I made that Poison Ivy dress I thought to myself ‘What does Poison Ivy do?’. Well, she stings, so I created a piercing show.“
‘With a touch of make up and a dress, you can be another person. I always loved dressing up.’
By being a strong, independent woman, Marnie could almost be considered a role model but she’s not out there to make a strong statement. “I’m just being me when I’m on stage. It’s very basic. When I was starting I had so many ideas and I wanted so eagerly to put myself on a stage, that any audience was suitable. As long as I could do what I had to do.” Nevertheless she’s not afraid to make a point, to make people think. Her Tin Soldier act is an averment against war without making a big point of it. Once you come to understand her show, these moments of explicitness blend into the overall of the act.
Because Marnie looks like a work of art, a resemblance with Leigh Bowery comes to mind but it’s more a way of life instead of an act. “Putting on clothes always makes me feel good. With a touch of make up and a dress, you can be another person. I always loved dressing up. When I was little I had a dress up box but when I grew up people told me I couldn’t do that anymore. So I decided never to grow up. It worked.”
When asked about her future plans, one can only wear shades because of the brightness. “I have recently done the Red Exhibition at the Cultivate Vyner street Gallery (my red latex Clown Stilettos went on display there) and will put a bull skull that I have decorated and worn for a shoot/performance in an exhibition called Mexico Sienestro, at the Resistance Gallery. I have a lot of exciting gigs lined up which you can check on my website but amongst others, I’m performing my Apocalyptic Voodoo show at the infamous Torture Garden on New years Eve in London!!! You see, I love my life and it is safe to say I’m living the full on Fetish La Vida Loca!!”
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