Forget Cirque du Soleil and their occasional Miami residency. Circ X has served as Miami's edgier answer to the burlesque scene for almost 10 years. And with a little help from their friends, they're looking to plan a blowout anniversary bash at the eternally iconic Fillmore Miami Beach.
To fund the celebratory show, the group has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $6,000. They have big plans for the stage extravaganza (dubbed an "interactive circus cabaret"), but they need community support to make it happen. A gig at the Fillmore ain't cheap, and while the venue itself is absorbing some of the cost, the group still needs dollars to fund technical production costs (video production, tech, costumes and marketing) -- not to mention paying its performers.
Established in 2002, Circ X has traveled the world performing their oft-bizarre stage antics for a wide array of clientele, from Fortune 500 companies to independent clubs and cabarets.
We spoke with lead creative director and founder Diana Lozano on the fundraising campaign, plans for the Fillmore show and why spotlights & alcohol always seem to lead to amateur strip shows.
Cultist: A decade is a big deal. Congrats! What kinds of craziness are planned for this monumental 10th anniversary show?
Diana Lozaro: Thanks! It's going to be a retro-spectacle, so to speak. We're going to take some of our oldest and most popular production numbers that we've performed at the smaller night clubs and cabarets and blow them out for the Fillmore Theater. Since we're usually confined to small platforms, runways, or even just a dance floor when working in clubs, performing on a proper stage will give us the opportunity to breathe new life into these stage choreographies. We also plan to enhance them with aerial components and other circus style acts. In addition, we're going to feature many of the individual works of some of our great performers and choreographers.
Unlike other companies, who tend to hire random cute girls in costumes, I am proud to say we're strictly composed of some of Miami Florida's best performance artists and visionaries. Most of us have trained at the New World School of the Arts Conservatory (where I currently teach) and come from a very similar methodology when creating work.
For those who haven't seen Circ X, what can they expect?
I like to always emphasize our tag line: "One part circus, two parts burlesque, a pinch of Class and a Dash of Trash." It's going to be a fun and provocative show, however not in a way that people usually associate with burlesque. Unfortunately, people nowadays tend to associate burlesque with girls in tassels and feathers, where in actuality "striptease" is a very small component of what true burlesque really is about. Burlesque means to mock, caricature and/or parody a serious work or current political/social situation. In my opinion, TV shows such as South Park or Saturday Night Live are truer to the definition of burlesque than Dita Von Teese or even the movie Burlesque. That being said, we still plan to have a lot of T&A, as well as feathers and rhinestones -- they'll just be presented with the over-the-top and subversive approach we're known for.
Why did you choose to use Kickstarter as a tool to facilitate the project?
Normally we're funded for shows either by nightclubs that want to cater to a specific clientele, or by corporations that have a laundry list of restrictions on what we can or cannot do. Being individually funded means we can do exactly the type of show we want to do without running the risk of offending someone or misrepresenting a particular brand.
Also, a show at a venue like the Fillmore is incredibly expensive, so we needed a way to raise the money to pay the cast, among other things. I preferred Kickstarter's "all or nothing" funding model, as opposed to Indiegogo's "Keep whatever you get" model, because it builds a sense of urgency with yourself and the community. Moreso, it provides a sense of accountability for the backers. That way, you know your money will be used for the intended purpose rather than say, pay our electric bill or send us on vacation if the project only reaches an amount under the set goal.
Do you get any wild reactions from audience members when they experience Circ X? Particularly if they're pulled on stage?
All the time! We never know what to expect when we bring a random person up on stage with us! Sometimes we're blown away and they happen to be an incredible talent and sometimes it just gets plain ridiculous. I don't know what it is about alcohol and a spotlight that makes people want to strip, but that tends to be a popular reaction.
Why should people make a contribution to your efforts?
For starters, there are some really fun rewards in return for your pledges; everything from tickets and VIP table seating to hand-made Swarovski crystal masks and bras (all hand bedazzled by myself). There is even ONE reward for a full-on party experience. Say if you're having a birthday or office party, it would actually be cheaper to come reserve a section for our show rather than to rent a venue and hire entertainment separately. We will even create a special act or number around your guest of honor or company.
The highest reward is reserved for corporate sponsorship. In that case, a brand or organization can have their name in lights on the Fillmore Theater to read "(their name here) Presents Circ X", along with a laundry list of other perks detailed on our Kickstarter pledge page.
However, the main reason people should contribute is to enrich their community! Cities across the U.S. have their own thriving cabarets. It's a shame that with all the raw fringe talent here in Miami, we don't have one.
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What other sexy details can you share about Circ X? Future plans? Long-term goals? Sneak peeks?
The show we are planning for the fall at the Fillmore is a retro-spectacle, sort of a "Best Of" type of performance. However, our greater goal is to build a completely new production with new costumes, choreographies, and acts. That's the type of show that would take three to six months to create and rehearse for. Ideally, we'd like to have an actual run for a season like they do at any theater, typically three or four months. However, something like this would require an incredible amount of funding. This show at the Fillmore would be the first step in that direction.
With 34 days to go, they've raised $2,909 from 36 backers. Their "do or die" date is Monday, August 20 at 7:33 p.m. EST. So whip out those wallets, people. We could all use a little more burlesque in our lives. Click here to visit their Kickstarter page to donate.