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Kitten Von Mitten began as a pinup model in 2013 before venturing into the world of burlesque where she has been expanding and building her craft and experience as a performer with the Detroit School of Burlesque. She is a former member, performer and student of the Valley Burlesque Society in Fresno, California.
Mitten won Master of Comedy and second place for Best Overall at the World Championship Burlypicks Weekend held in Denver, Colorado last month. During Michigan Burlypicks in June, she won Master of Comedy, Master of Lip Sync and Best Overall.
She will join more than 50 talented burlesque performers for the fifth annual Michigan Burlesque Festival Sept. 15-16. The show is co-produced by Valencia Starling and Mabel Syrup who said she expects this year to be as fantastic as ever.
“Every year we look forward to showcasing such diverse and inspiring talent, and every year we are just amazed at the acts that come out and do just that. It has been quite a journey and we are elated to be where we are. We have had so much continued support and encouragement that we know we are bringing a truly entertaining show to Michigan, hopefully for many more years to come,” she said about the show which features original burlesque theater with a variety of vaudeville performances, acrobatics, comedy, and award-winning vocalists.
The Boss of Burlesque, the insatiable Foxy Tann, will emcee the festival. The cast of perfomers include Mr. Gorgeous and Jeez Loueez who were both ranked among the Top 50 Performers by 21st Century Burlesque Magazine. Also performing will be Chicago’s Queen of Halloween, Red Rum, and Cleveland’s Queen of Burlesque, Bella Sin.
Why did you get involved with burlesque?
I wanted to do something that was just for me to help with my self-confidence and to have a creative outlet. I wanted to do something completely aside from everything I was doing at the time.
Tell me about the name Kitten Von Mitten.
It’s a cute little rhyme. It pays homage to my home state of Michigan. And it’s a reference to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which is one of my favorite shows.
What do you enjoy most about being a burlesque performer?
Other than how empowering it is personally, the community that I’m apart of is by far the best benefit of this form of art. The women and the people that I’ve met here in Detroit and across the nation are wonderful.
What are some common misperceptions about burlesque?
Probably the biggest one is that it’s like the movie, “Burlesque.” That it’s just pretty girls up on stage dancing around. It’s not. Anyone can do it. It’s a wonderful form of self-expression and it takes a lot of time and dedication.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not on stage?
I have two kids, ages 1 and 3, so there’s no such thing as free time. That, and I run a small food business. And probably the rest of the time I try to give back to the burlesque community. Holly Hock and Leena Mynx Allure – if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t exist as a performer. They run the Detroit School of Burlesque and I owe everything to them and the community.
The Michigan Burlesque Festival is at the Tangent Gallery & Hastings Street Ballroom located at 715 E. Milwaukee Ave. in Detroit. Intermission entertainment will be provided by Detroit’s Striped Circus and LA Aerial.
Workshops On the Art of Burlesque
11 a.m. – Leena’s Alluring Makeup and Hair hosted by Leena Mynx Allure
12:15 p.m. – Creature Feature, Transformative Prosthetic Makeup Demonstration hosted by Red Rum
1:30 p.m. – Twerk and Jerk: BOOTY Intensive Twerkshop hosted by Jeez Loueez
3:15 p.m. – Fabulous is a State of Mind hosted by Foxy Tann.