Cabaret show for the ‘end of time’

Dec. 18, 2012 @ 10:54 AM




Go and Do

WHAT: “Apocalesque,” a cabaret and variety show

WHEN: Friday, 8 p.m.

WHERE: The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro

ADMISSION: General admission is $12. For information, call 919-929-2787. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Hidden Voices organization.



The more rational minds among us say the world will not end Friday, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of people from having some fun with the Mayan calendar date that some say marks the end of everything. The organizers of “Apocalesque,” a cabaret and variety show at the Carrboro ArtsCenter Friday, are using the date to celebrate the idea of transformation, the idea not of an ending, but a new beginning.

“Apocalesque” will have 17 performers – musicians, singers, circus performers, aerial performers, hoop dancers, burlesque comedy artists and more. “We’re aiming to make it a pretty balanced blend of performance art,” said Sirona von Sirius, a Carrboro-based performer who is producing the show and also will perform. Lauren “Madame Onça” O’Leary, who will be the host of the show, said the event is about “levity, hilarity and personal empowerment.”

With the Mayan calendar date approaching, Sirius said a variety cabaret show sounded like a good way to acknowledge the changes occurring in the country and nationally. “We are going through a lot of changes right now collectively, globally,” Sirius said. “There are terrifying changes that are taking place, and there’s amazing, uplifting change at the same time.”

Sirius has 20 years of theater and musical experience, and is new to the burlesque form, which has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years. Sirius said she thinks burlesque as a performance medium “helps people heal. I think we as a society, particularly in America and globally, we have a sickness of the mind and heart.” When someone performs burlesque “they’re allowing themselves to express themselves creatively and allowing themselves to be seen by an audience.” Ultimately, performers are expressing a desire to be seen on a deeper level, she said.

Madame Onça got her start as a performer through belly dance. She teaches dance, sings, and organizes the annual Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival in Asheville. She is not exclusively a burlesque artist, but works with performers “to promote informed polished, political burlesque,” she said. She stands behind the genre “even though it’s a bit risqué… because I feel the single thing most Americans need is permission to feel OK about who they are,” Onça said. “Individual empowerment strengthens society,” she said.  “Anyone who historically could use some lift can often find it in the burlesque community.”

Her role has emcee and host at “Apocalesque” will include some performance. “In an epic show of this nature, there will be some time that needs filling as they prepare for the next act,” Onça said. She always “ends up throwing in a few a cappella vocal performances --  that is my tool and trade as the emcee,” she said.

Liz Bliss, a Chapel Hill-based performer who is part of the “Apocalesque” lineup, said she does not perform traditional burlesque. Her specialties are gymnastics, yoga, and circus performance. Bliss, an instructor at Flowjo, a Carrboro movement school, will perform an aerial silk routine and an acrobatic partner movement piece at Friday’s event.

She taught herself most of the circus-style work she does, and took lessons from circus performers. “We do a lot within our own community of circus performers as cross-trainers,” Bliss said.

Among other “Apocalesque” performers will be Sara Beaman, musicians the Onyx Club Boys, Khalima, Juno Star and more.

The organizers want the audience – recommended 18 and older – simply to have fun. “I want this to be as accessible and inviting as possible,” Sirius said. “I would love for people to go into the holidays a little bit lighter in their hearts, and a little bit less stressed, and feeling a little bit better about themselves,” Onça said.