I had the great pleasure of bunking up with Bettie in Berlin this summer, we were both staying with our dear mutual friend Scotty The Blue Bunny. I believe Bettie and I first met in Stockholm performing at the last The Hootchy Kootchy Club show in 2011. It was exciting to finally meet this vibrant Finish Norse Goddess, who had created the Helsinki Burlesque Festival to warm up the cold dark month of February in Finland. I admit I was skeptical if an event in the dark and cold would get traction, but it sure did take off like a wild exciting dog sled ride. The darkness of the North in Winter is another kind of Exotic, that really needs to be experienced.
When did you start in Burlesque?
I started to find out about new burlesque in the beginning of 2001-2002 and when Myspace arrived it became easier to find info about what was happening. In 2004-2005 we traveled to NYC with my husband Frank Doggenstein to see some shows. Nothing was happening in Finland at the time and not so much in the rest of Europe either. So we started looking for ways to build something. I made my first “act” in the comfort of my own home in 2004, with tassels I got from Twirly girl. It was videotaped but never saw the stage-lights. After a slow and bumpy start to find venues or even people with interest, we finally got it all going in 2006-2007 by starting Dr. Sketchy Finland together with Kiki Hawaiji who now runs Turku Burlesque. The first Helsinki Burlesque Festival took place in 2008, and now we are going towards the 9th annual Helsinki Burlesque Festival.
Who inspired or inspires you in Burlesque ?
The New York scene has of course been a big inspiration since that was where we first traveled, also I have great admiration for Stockholm’s Hootchy Koothy club where we have had the joy of performing too. My mentor Satan´s Angel has been a great inspiration and naturally all the legends. I have been lucky to get to know also some Finnish showgirls who danced in the 50s and 60 in local cabarets.
What have you contributed to Burlesque ?
My contribution to burlesque is bringing it to Finland, and trying to run the Helsinki Burlesque festival as ethically as I possibly can. I am a visual artist since over 25 years, and I want to do my part to build a world where the artist is appreciated in every possible way. I hope to contribute to the image of the woman by standing strong in the pressure of the media and society.
Create a new word or share one that you use for the Burlesque slang dictionary along with its definition.
These are both Finnish words from the men’s magazines of the 50s, they are both words to describe STRIPTEASE.
RIMPSUÄRSYTYS (direct translation FRINGETEASE)
NAKUBALETTI (direst translation NUDIEBALLET)
Please share an of your favorite image of you in your Burly Persona, with a photo credit.