Search
| Clear, 70 F (21 C)
| RSS | |

SECTIONS:

 

Arts · Politics · Crime
· Sports · Food ·
· Opinion · NOLA ·
Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

The Art of Activism

Picolla Tushy's 'Resist This' Series Blends Politics with Performance



Resist This, an ongoing activism-infused affair presented by Picolla Tushy with her troupe The Bluestockings, held its June edition on Saturday (6.10) night at Sidney's Saloon. The intimate night weaved burlesque, comedy, music, poetry, and vaudevillian varieties to raise funds and awareness for the LGBT Community Center, during New Orleans' Pride weekend. 

 

Resist This was born in the immediate days following the 2016 Presidential election, according to Tushy. In essence, it is an entertainment-focused series of fundraisers for local non-profits which, in Trump's America, are in danger of losing funding. For the June edition, Tushy partnered with Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) to benefit the LGBT Community Center. Deciding to nip the deprivation of social funding by the state in the bud via performance is, obviously, more entertaining than one might think. In fact, it seems that the efforts on display each month during Resist This provides an outlet to strengthen the ties and wellbeing of the New Orleans community at large.

 

Picolla Tushy is a proactive leader in the Crescent City’s booming burlesque scene, at the helm of the self-described “naked theatre troupe” The Bluestockings for over five years. A Bluestockings show isn’t just a typical burlesque show. Each performance features spoken word, Picolla’s unique character play, and thematic explorations into facets of New Orleans (think the writings of Bukowski and sexual liberation storytelling). The intimate setting of Sidney’s Saloon serve well for the troupe, who previously held a long term residency at that cloistered Shadowbox Theater for years. 

 

Resist This kicked off the show with the talents of Chatty the Mime, who managed to awe spectators while incorporating an assortment of top-hats into her performance. The program then alternated between good old-fashioned and not-so-old fashioned burlesque, with short storytelling performances that explored life on the periphery and in the midst of LGBTQ communities interspersed throughout the evening. 

 

Rather than sticking to scripted performances, as is typical of a standard Bluestockings presentation, Tushy decided to let her performers surprise her on Saturday night. She expressed complete confidence in her performers. “Oh God, I love my performers,” she exclaimed over the phone. "I just gush over them.” 

 

In this manner, traditional burlesque inspired by European and early-American fashions were paired alongside more neo-burlesque numbers, with looks more reminiscent of alt-Halloween fashions a la a Tim Burton flick. This is the work of Bluestockings, as the troupe has done more that to just bridge the gap between old-school and new-school burlesque, presenting differing styles in a cohesive show. 

 

Through its collaborative spirit and charitable contributions, Tushy’s troupe has done a lot to stay true to the roots of the original Pride marches that blend parties with politics. Set amidst New Orleans’ celebration of its annual Pride weekend, Resist This was a compelling instance where members of the community came together to create their own safe space to assemble, support, and celebrate. It’s beautiful to see people of all backgrounds come together to provide a platform for artistic expression while also committing to large scale organizations that serve necessary functions for the greater good. 

 

Picolla was positively overwhelmed by the amount of good spirits and contributions that community members are consistently willing to award at Resist This. “I literally have $900 dollars worth of art [for this show] in my living right now thanks to how awesome people are being,” she said ahead of Saturday’s show. 

 

In the near 47 years since the Stonewall riots in Manhattan, America has come a long way in terms of LGBTQ rights — though there is still a long road ahead. The current White House administration advocates a platform that poses major dangers for the marginalized, evident in everything from stances on Planned Parenthood and immigration bans, and serves as proof enough that the brunt of providing safe spaces and a decent standard of living for non-binary communities falls on their own shoulders.

 

Through Resist This, Tushy and her Bluestockings troupe are effectively laying the foundations for what is necessary to create a thriving non-binary community. Though she is taking a sabbatical of sorts from her leadership position, the Bluestockings will continue to perform around town, including at their regular show set in Bywater’s Bar Redux. 

 

 

Upcoming shows for the cast of Resist This below: 

The Bluestockings

Chatty the Mime

Reverend Spooky Le Strange

Honey Tangerine

Erin Rose
view counter
view counter
Mardi Gras Zone
view counter
Advertise With Us Here
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter


Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

Published Daily