Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Miss Rose’s Sexploitation Follies, a series of film-themed burlesque shows with routines based on the work of a director with a distinct style — past evenings have taken on Wes Anderson, David Lynch, John Waters and more. This time, Miss Rose is paying homage to Quentin Tarantino with a two-show double feature, with eight performers and a slew of D.I.Y. props and sets. We asked the self-professed film nerd about translating the work of a director known for rapid-fire dialogue about Royales with cheese into striptease.
City Paper: What’s the first step to figuring out an act?
Miss Rose: A month or two before every show, I try to find all the soundtracks for all the movies so I can have a wide array of music to choose from, and I’ll re-watch the films over and over again. Part of it is kind of a character study — there’s a lot that goes into the costumes and thinking of ways to embody the characters. ... A lot of times, a character, rather than a whole idea of a film, works better.
CP: How many times do you watch a film?
MR: It depends. A lot of times I’ll watch a whole film three or four times. Or I’ll find a specific scene and watch that scene a lot. With Tarantino, I feel like I’m going to watch that scene [from Kill Bill] with the Crazy 88s a lot. This one is different; I have to watch a lot of martial-arts movies and clips so that I can make sure my form looks good. It’s one thing to be a hot chick with a sword, but if you know how to use it, that’s a lot better. I’ve been practicing with a katana.
CP: Ooh, a real one?
MR: Well, no (though I have a real katana). I don’t want to kill people, or myself. Also, I’m in West Virginia, so I don’t want to scare any of the locals.
CP: Do you assign characters, or do performers pick their own?
MR: I try to let people pick, unless there’s something I think they’d be really great for. A lot of the time I’ll have people contact me, like, “I wanna do this!” And I’m, like, “OK, that’s yours.” Part of making it fun is that people are into what they’re doing, and I don’t think I could get that by assigning people or telling them what to do.
CP: Does everybody practice together beforehand?
MR: It’s all separate acts, which means we don’t practice together. I’ll practice with people that I’m doing a specific routine with, but other than that it’s pretty much all individual things.
CP: Does it freak you out that you’re seeing most of the performances for the first time on the day of the show?
MR: No; I mean, there’s things I’ve been nervous about, but I really try to book people I have faith in.
CP: Tarantino’s signature is his dialogue, but you can’t exactly turn that into a striptease. What are some other trademarks you’re relying on to make the connection to the films?
MR: Music. The music, and the throwback, ’70s feel that he’s so into. And I try to set the tone with the go-go sets — I project the last 15 minutes of a movie during the go-go sets. I call it “Spoiler Alert.”
CP: Was Tarantino hard to translate?
MR: I think [Tarantino’s] one of the easier ones. He might try to appropriate things that don’t belong to him sometimes, but I think he does it out of respect and geek-love. And he has a ton of really strong female characters. Sometimes, my problem is booking performers. I don’t like to book people that don’t really like the director, because if you’re not into it, then you’re not going to get it, and it’s a show made by a fangirl for fanpeople who love movies. This was one of the easier ones to book because people love Quentin Tarantino.
CP: Since this is Tarantino, are we going to see a lot of feet?
MR: I’ve been trying to think of how to work that in with my Kill Bill act — if I’m doing the Bride and I’m going to fight with swords, I think I should be barefoot because it’s safer.
CP: Are you going to wiggle your big toe?
MR: Yes! I think there is going to be a little bit of that.
CP: Is doing two shows back to back a reference to Grindhouse?
MR: I’m definitely working it in as such, but it was more because at the Wes Anderson show, I had to turn a lot of people away, which I felt bad about. That was one where I was, like, “Man, I put all this time and money in and no one’s coming. No one cares about Wes Anderson.” I was so wrong.
Sat., Aug. 10, 7 and 10 p.m., $12, PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., sexploitationfollies.com, philamoca.org.