History will be laid bare, as will much of performer Delicia Pastiche, as she brings to life the female queer history figure who started it all — Sappho.
The term “firecracker” can often refer to a strong, outspoken woman, so it’s fitting that The Firecrackers burlesque troupe is honouring some of the most striking women of history with its Bad Girls of History show. Made up of Li’l Relly, Fan Tan Fanny and Scarlett LaFlamme, the ensemble will perform alongside a slew of special guests, including Nerd Girl Burlesque’s Pastiche.
For the individual acts, performers were encouraged to choose “someone who actually did something bad,” or at least “someone who was considered risqué and somehow different in their time,” Pastiche says. She chose someone with whom she’s had a longstanding fascination, going back to her teens, when she would nerdily sketch comics based on the ancient Greek history she read.
Sappho was an ancient Greek lyric poet who wrote passionately about both sexes, and it is because of her association with the island of Lesbos that the term “lesbian” was eventually applied to homosexual women (check out this issue’s History Boys column on page 20 for more on that). Many have tried to cover up Sappho’s same-sex desire, and very little is known for certain about her life. “That was also part of the appeal — she’s very mysterious, and burlesque is about mystery and concealment as much as revealing,” Pastiche says.
“Whether you go to a show to be intellectually influenced or just to see people get naked,” she says, “they’re both good experiences — I just want to make people feel something, and if it’s educational as well, great.”