Thanks to the SuicideGirls, the whole concept of women who sport a punk-rock, goth and “alternative” look working as models has been driven at full-speed into the mainstream. What started as an esteem-boosting online community is now a touring machine, with troupes of dancers performing to thousands of people night after night for months at a time.
Blackheart Burlesque is the name of the ongoing tour, first performed in 2003, when the Girls opened for Guns N’ Roses and Courtney Love. Every time the SuicideGirls take it back out on the road, the show is updated with new pop-culture elements. You’ll never look at Star Wars or Stranger Things the same way again. We spoke with co-founder Missy Suicide (real name Selena Mooney) about all that we can expect at the forthcoming Denver show…
Westword: The Blackheart Burlesque tour has been going on for years now. What’s different this time around?
Missy Suicide: We change up the numbers each time and rotate the girls. We keep making it bigger and better. We bring in TV-themed numbers, because it seems like TV has gotten so good recently. The one I’m most excited about is the Westworld number. They have jazzy standard versions of pop and rock songs, like Radiohead, and (Soundgarden’s) “Black Hole Sun” in that show. We’re doing one that Sunny (Suicide) sings that’s Westworld-themed, and it’s pretty amusing. We’ve also added a Stranger Things number.
There seem to be so many similar dance troupes these days. How do you stay ahead?
Ours is really a merging of cosplay and burlesque into this unique kind of show, mixed with amazing music. Our show is just a lot of fun, and I don’t really think about competition.
You’ll be in Denver on April 20 — will there be a 420 theme?
Yes. The girls are, in general, very enthusiastic about your state’s laws, so the 420 show is no accident. I can’t give anything away, but we’ve got you.
Are there any Denver dancers in the troupe?
I don’t know if any of the girls are from Denver. We also have a merch girl, and the DJs are also SuicideGirls, and I feel like one of them is from Denver. I’m not sure.
How many dancers are performing on the tour?
There are six dancers on tour at any given time. There’s some rotation throughout the tour because it's quite long, but they tend to stay out there for a good stretch. It varies, but a month to two months, three months, six months — however long the tour is.
Do the dancers offer any input on TV shows and themes that they’d like to make into a number?
We actually have an ongoing list at base camp that we keep that has over 1,000 things on it. The girls are like, ‘I wanna do this, I wanna do this.’ If we find a song that pairs well with the theme, then we’ll try it out and see what we can do. We’ll go back and forth a few times and see what comes out. Sometimes they’re awesome, sometimes they’re not so awesome.
What do you think is the highlight on this tour?
The sexiest is the 50 Shades of Grey number, but the Star Wars number is, I think, still my favorite.
Do you usually get a good crowd in Denver?
Denver always shows us a lot of love.
The SuicideGirls perform at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, at the Summit Music Hall; 1902 Blake Street; 303-487-0111.