Mr. Pustra

Text Akim A.J. Willems


“I wouldn’t mind appearing on the cover of Vogue.” Mr. Pustra aims for no less than the sky when he is asked about his goal for 2012. Knowing one should never run before one can walk, he tests the waters with an interview for Et Alors? Magazine.


We caught up with the UK based performer, artist, musical saw player & video editor after a trip to Rome where he taught a “vaudeville & variety masterclass”, which can only mean that he’s good at what he does. No wonder our curiosity was aroused: who is this Mr. Pustra? “I was always shy and insecure. I just day dreamed most of my time and pretended to be someone else, be it no one in particular though. Gradually, my confidence grew during my 20’s so I was a late bloomer as they say. I feel more assured with the person I am today and I owe it to performing. Being Mr. Pustra has made me more at ease and people seem to respond well to him. Or me? I get confused. Mr Pustra “is” me. But he just looks better.”

Mr. Pustra discovered cabaret and vaudeville by chance. “I always liked comedy, and vaudeville was an unknown term on the neo-burlesque scene in London circa 2006. On a side note: nowadays everyone and their goats refer to their acts as “vaudeville”; no bitterness here as you can tell. But anyway: in those days “Pustra/Vile-een” was born, a double act that quickly established itself as a refreshing, strange and highly talented duo with a twist of a sideshow. We split in late 2009. Later on I reinvented myself as Mr Pustra, Vaudeville’s Darkest Muse.” A “dark” muse? Is he angry, evil, melancholic or perhaps depressed? “Mr. Pustra started out as an “evil sideshow character” with a background in the circus which we used in my show “Villains”. And yes, he also has a melancholic or tragic side to him.  He has developed into an almost real person rather than a fantasy.”

Although his family was absolutely not into music or theatre – “Not at all!” – Mr. Pustra has a background in theatre and fine arts. “I studied ‘Theatre’ and had a few years of education in the “Fine Arts”; that helped me all the way. I learned to do everything myself and hone my various skills. It’s bloody exhausting, I can reveal that much.” That background is also noticeable in his influences. There are, of course, the obvious instigations for cabaret/vaudeville artists: circus side shows, American vaudeville, German countertenor Klaus Nomi, German dancer, actress, writer and prostitute Anita Berber, movie stars Marlene Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin or the Berlin Weimar “kabarett” scene of the 1920’s and 1930’s. But Pustra also lists painters such as Otto Dix, Edgar Dégas or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.



‘Being Mr. Pustra has made me more at ease and people seem to respond well to him.’

“I used to be a painter myself; the images that these artists created represent dreamlike scenes I often experience. Their work has style and story that I greatly admire and draw from.” “If I could ask any of my “heroes” – dead or alive – a question, I would ask Dietrich to give me make-up tips and Nomi to give me singing lessons. Dietrich’s make-up was flawless. She also was fearless and a very strong female role model for women and men alike. I admire Nomi for his incredible falsetto vocal range. To top it all off his stage persona was fiercely enigmatic and original.”

Mr. Pustra has performed in New York, Frankfurt, Rome, Berlin, Basel, Dublin, Strasbourg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Paris and in  many more cities. “But London is ‘the’ place to be for cabaret. It is vibrant although somewhat jaded. I have a love/hate relationship with London. It’s like an ex-lover you can’t stand but still want. Know what I mean? Paris and Berlin have smaller scenes, but offer different delights and treats.” His newest show is called Kabarett der Namenlosen (i.e. Cabaret of the Nameless).  “It’s a work in progress and inspired by the Berlin cabaret of the Weimar Republic. This is a show about Beauty, Glamour, Depravity and Melancholy. Sounds nice, non? It is not a solo project. I would want to include performer Vicky Butterfly and actor Benjamin Louche for different reasons. For now, I perform at various other shows with smaller acts and cameos.” To round up we end with a similar question as we started: what are his long term goals? “A house in the south of France. Or maybe in Los Angeles, but I certainly would have lots of cats. And a naked butler!”Don’t forget to call us when you’ve moved there. We will come and visit.


Related articles

Jorge Clar

We caught up with poet and performance artist Jorge Clar in his home in New York, and talked about words, sounds, and image. An ideal for living. Initially, you came to New York because you wanted to be close to the disco scene. That was…..

read more

Mount Olympus

It took more than one year for Jeroen Olyslaegers to write the text for Jan Fabre’s 24-hour theatrical performance Mount Olympus, to glorify the cult of tragedy. A labyrinth of time where the actors sleep and awaken on stage, dance and move…..

read more

Kabarett der Namenlosen

Ever since the beginning of Et Alors? Magazine we have had a soft spot for singer, model, bon vivant and muse Le Pustra. Being inspired by the same artists and artwork such as the Oskar Schlemmer’s costumes for the Bauhaus movement…..

read more

Shania LeClaire Riviere

When you’re visiting Provincetown in the summer, you’re in for a creative treat. Every other Friday, performance artist Shania LeClaire Riviere dresses up and takes his work onto the streets to show his latest creation. Art on Shania is a walking art…..

read more

The Vivid Angel

She’s the queen of alternative performance, won the Twisted Cabaret Crown World Burlesque Games in 2014 and is this edition’s cover model. But most important, sometimes you just meet one of those people who make you think YAY!…..

read more


Criaturas is the name Saskia De Tollenaere and Olivier Desimpel gave to the world they created for everyone who dares to dream. An experience concept where their passion for theater, art, fashion, beauty, spirituality and emotion merges in the form…..

read more

The Cabaret Switch

When two of Et Alors?’s favorite artists decided to do a personae switch, a smile appeared on our faces. Queen of fetish cabaret and diva extraordinaire Marnie Scarlet, transformes into Mr. Pustra, Vaudeville’s Darkest Muse. We leave it up to them to…..

read more


Lars de Valk founded Extravaganza. The first extravagant bears, lesbians, muscle boys, club kids, drag queens, fag hags, fetish clubbers party with a positive vibe in Antwerp, Belgium. Bringing you happiness with themes such as Asian Persuasion, Sinners…..

read more

Mister Joe Black

‘A constantly evolving cabaret chameleon, blurring the lines of decency within entertainment and continues to drive music and performance into strange new realms’ and ‘No stranger to the absurd, Joe Black creates a world where the shocking is the…..

read more

Marnie Scarlet

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…..

read more




Et Alors? magazine. A global celebration of diversity.