Miss Tosh | A Dance For All

Miss Tosh | A Dance For All

There are some things in life which are held with the esteem as performance art in its various forms. From ballet and jazz dance to puppetry and geisha fan dance. In these spaces there is an expectation to innovate or clasp onto tradition. Either way the sheer visceral experience of live performances has been ultimately halted amidst openings and closings of regions and the limitations of a 25% capacity. While we have to think of the safety of ourselves and others, we are creatures who need social exchange and the entertainment of beauty in all of its abstractions.

At a recent socially distance interaction I chatted with Miss Tosh, the world-renowned burlesque performer and designer, who holds a devotional clasp on the tradition of the craft. Her presence has been one which cultivated and champions the contemporary beauty of LGBTQIA+, body positive and POC figures, while shattering the institutional white hetero-gaze which has long been so deeply rooted int the craft’s identity.

Her latest presentation The Beauty of Burlesque, has been one which celebrates the glitz, glamour, and the precision of the art, which affirms that the dimensions of the performer do not fit rigidly in the parameters of yesterday’s performancer. One thing is clear, the corsets are always gonna cinch you in, the crystals will glimmer, and the dances will knock you off your feet. See our conversation below as we speak frankly about the state of burlesque, breaking the 4th wall, and maintaining curiosity in the midst of sheltering.

What inspired you to put this event together?

The lack of authentic diversity in the entertainment industry is was motivated me to create Beauty of Burlesque. This is variatease revue starring diverse artist from around the world. As the founder & producer of the show it was very important from day one that we shine the spotlight on artist that represents diversity in talent & identity, focusing on lgbtqai+, poc, differently abled, and body positivity. 

At the start of the Covid Pandemic theaters shut down and so did live entertainment. Artist didn’t have any where to performer and especially our POC Trans community was facing so much hardship we had to come together as a community and do something to keep the showbiz flame still burning! 

Our annual halloween event is something we all looked forward to, so I created a the first ever Drive-In Burlesque Theater & Virtual Streaming Platform. The first event was on Halloween this year. All the talent donated their performances and we were able to raise funds for the Marsha P. Johnson Institute!

Do you feel like working digitally has been a helpful medium to expand in or has it be stifling?

One of the most beautiful things about artists is that they are resilient! I am so joyfully overwhelmed by the creativity admits this madness. Producing and performing in the first ever feature length Burlesque film was no small feat and comes with its own challenges. But the most exciting part is seeing what new innovative ideas the performers have. We are now able to reach a global audience, which is really incredible! Beauty of Burlesque has really brought the global burlesque community closer together during this hard time.

How do you see the art of burlesque adapt and change with the culture of social distancing?

There is something so special about performing live. Being close to the Audience, and sharing that energy when on stage is something that cannot be replicated. But there is also something magical about film! To bring the traditional burlesque act to the big screen opens a whole new arena for creativity.

What are some mediums and or techniques you have been using to adapt to a digital performance?

I wear many hats in my life and one of them was film. I worked in art departments and behind the scenes, editing, post production ect. These skills I learned always felt like a past life once I began performing full time. Its exciting that I can now combine past experiences with my performance art. There is always a silver lining if we look for it. 

How do you see the art of burlesque adapt and change with the culture of social distancing?

There is something so special about performing live. Being close to the Audience, and sharing that energy when on stage is something that cannot be replicated. But there is also something magical about film! To bring the traditional burlesque act to the big screen opens a whole new arena for creativity.

What are some mediums and or techniques you have been using to adapt to a digital performance?

I wear many hats in my life and one of them was film. I worked in art departments and behind the scenes, editing, post production ect. These skills I learned always felt like a past life once I began performing full time. Its exciting that I can now combine past experiences with my performance art. There is always a silver lining if we look for it. 

In these times of isolation and self reflection what else have you been working on?

I also have a fashion label (MissTosh.com) During isolation I’ve been able to really focus on designing new pieces, sewing everything in my pink garage. I was very lucky to have just moved in with my love right before lockdown in March. We have been nesting and having fun building furniture, painting murals and decorating our home. Im always making something.

How have you been able to maintain and celebrate yourself and your mental health?

With so much uncertainty finding a ways to cope, process and heal can be really hard. I get anxiety, and have non epileptic seizures when I’m stressed or overwhelmed. Maintaining balance by just taking it day. Enjoying a bite of food, feeling the sun on my face, and trying too remain grounded and present. All we can do is try the best we can. 

Items available for sale at MissTosh.com Photographed by Eva Ziegfield

Items available for sale at MissTosh.com Photographed by Eva Ziegfield

Items available for sale at MissTosh.com Photographed by Eva Ziegfield

Do you have any luxuriant items that have kept you sane and well?

Luxury for me is a cup of tea, a cozy blanket with kitties and my girlfriend snuggled up by me. For the insomnia and deep stress moments I cannot express enough how much cbd/tch oils have changed my life. A few drops and its sweet dreams haha.

What is your next project?

I will continue to produce Drive-In Burlesque shows and virtual events at www.BeautyofBurlesque.com Be sure to tune into our Holiday show, “Merry Stripmas” and New Years Eve extravaganza. Creating safe and sexy ways to celebrate safely at home or at the Drive-In. You can also shop my fashion label at MissTosh.com We will be having a major Black Friday sale of our accessories, dress, and home goods. Everything is handmade by me here in Hollywood, CA. 

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How did the brand come about, I know you have a confectionery background with the world of macarons?

Yes, I had a macaron company in NYC prior to moving to LA. When Cannabis was legalized in California I thought to myself this is going to be big! It was clear New York wasn’t going to legalize Cannabis anytime soon and so I made the decision to leave. At the same time, my dear friend Jenny Landers reached out about coming to LA to cook for a Cannabis-infused Brunch called “Afternoon Delight”. At one of the events, I was making my version of caviar and bellinis.  The bottom was the macaron and topped with THC molecular caviar pearls infused with a Moscow Mule cocktail sitting on a bed of ginger and lime Creame Fraiche. It was really fun!  At another Sowden House event, I then met our Founder/CEO, Dr. Daniel Young. Daniel had gone to school at MIT with Dan Goldfarb, Jenny’s husband, and voila we got to talking and I learned that Daniel was starting a CBD line inspired by the Sowden House. A short time later we decided to partner with me designing an edible line for Black Dahlia.

What has your relationship been with CBD and the cannabis industry?

I became interested in alternative forms of health, wellness, and recreation over the course of the past several years. I knew that Cannabis was the next big thing and I started dreaming up all the beautiful edibles I could make with it! Additionally, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to an accident I had when I was a kid. I had been on antidepressants and suffering from anxiety for a number of years without seeing much improvement. When I started trying CBD I found that it was basically like mother earth’s all-natural Xanax. I noticed my mood improving and generally felt more centered and calm, which was able to help me focus.

The packaging and design are so greatly informed by the Art Deco movement and the high glamour of Hollywood Regency where did this design element come from: 

We work with a design team out of San Francisco, Strohl Inc. They’re incredible and also long-time friends with Daniel. The other inspiration, of course, is the Sowden House, which in my opinion still represents the height of glamour. The house is its own character and of course a historic and iconic landmark in Hollywood.

How did you get involved with the Snowden House and the relations to the name Black Dahlia?

My dear friends Jenny Landers and Dan Goldfarb purchased the home several years ago with a mission to revitalize the house’s original mission of being a space for positive inspiration. Jenny invited me to come out and cook for a monthly Cannabis-infused brunch event “Afternoon Delight”. The storied home has been referred to as Black Dahlia after the infamous Black Dahlia murder that allegedly happened at the house in the 1950’s. It’s also sometimes referred to as the Jaws House because the front of it looks like a giant great white shark’s mouth. For many years now, Jenny and Dan have been supporting positive causes by hosting non-profit events, such as Home LA benefit, Wildlife SOS, Tusk After Dusk, Kindred Spirits Care Farm, and Agents of C.H.A.N.G.E fundraiser.

 

The batch presented in the video was made for the nurses at UCLA (how and why did you engage in that way?

We wanted to do something to help our heroes on the front lines. Syrisa Metzger, a friend of mine and Jenny’s is a nurse at UCLA. I messaged her asking if there was a good way to say thank you and honor the nurses? Given the benefits of CBD we thought let’s offer our lollipops. It’s a good stress reliever and hopefully something that would make them smile.  They’re one of my favorite creations and they really do bring a smile to people.

 

How did you come up with all the various flavor profiles? have it been a reference to a certain way to combine the often overwhelming taste of CBD?

I base a lot of my flavor profiles off cocktail inspiration, like our Paloma lollipop, which is Pink Grapefruit, Orange with a hint of lime. Another inspiration is, of course, is the changing of the season. I love looking at candy making a bit differently and layering flavors is a great way to achieve that along with little tricks that hide the bitterness of the CBD.

 

What is next in the range of products from Black Dahlia? Do you see the brand extending more into the spaces of savory products?

I feel like we can go to the moon and back creating flavors, it’s one of the things I love most about my work. So the answer is yes I could definitely see making something on the more savory side at some point.

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