On Point With: Jack Rabbit Slims

Beginning as a drag performer, this fierce and fearless star of NYC’s burlesque scene has just nabbed a major award nomination. Let’s go down the rabbit hole with The Burlesque Cult Classic, Jack Rabbit Slims!

Thotyssey: Hello JRS, thanks for chatting with us today! First off, congrats on your recently announced Best Burlesque GLAM nomination! Amazing! Is it your first?

Jack Rabbit Slims: Hi! Thank you so much; it is my first. I am genuinely gagging, lol! The honor I feel.. is beyond. It’s a sick lineup of nominees, too!

Yes! I’m betting you’ve worked with or at least interacted with all of them before.

All except for Richard JMV, to be honest. They’re a smoke show, though!

[Photo: Kenny Rodriguez]

The burlesque community is pretty tight.

Very tight. Some of my bestest friends I’ve ever made, including Jack Barrow! We call one another Jack Jack Attack, ha!

And I notice you also tend work alongside a variety of drag performers as well, like Neon Calypso.

Neon is my sister. She’s gonna blow up; a true star.

Drag and burlesque go well together onstage.

Get this: I started off in the drag community doing drag shows! [Drag] has influenced my burlesque, and completely is the reason I am an artist in the first place. I owe everything to drag. Burlesque is what became of me!

So where are you from originally, and how did you eventually come to find yourself performing in nightlife?

I grew up in Jersey (Hudson County), right across the river. I moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn as soon as I was ready–in my early twenties. It felt right.

I’ve been a bartender in Hell’s Kitchen since I was about 19, so I was exposed to nightlife in HK at very young. I’m retired now from Manhattan bar gigs, lol! I did a few gigs at the Hotel Chelsea for someone dear to me named Tony–coatcheck, shit like that. I was exposed to burlesque there, and then the Slipper Room, and it immediately clicked. I knew that everything I learned from drag was meant for this. I am a professional slut… oops, I mean showgirl!

[Photo: Kevin J]

Scrolling through your Instagram, I see looks ranging from Morticia Addams to a pizza slice! How might you describe the type of burlesque you like to, or the sort of things you want to convey?

Oh, well I guess you can say classic–and lots of neo, too. I love classic bump and grind burlesque, and Vaudevillian influence. I’m leaning more towards that these days, but my mood’s always changing. Sometimes I wanna be a sexy pizza, or do my Lucille Ball Vitameatavegamin act where I lip sync the whole time! Those would be considered more neo-burlesque. I’m always shifting gears.

Have you had any favorite or just plain bizarre onstage moments?

My all time fave: I once did my pizza act, and got fully naked for it. If a venue allows it… shit, I’m gonna do it! And I covered my no-no triangle with a pizza slice, and then auctioned it off after. I mean, this slice was on my poom poom! And someone actually bought it… for, like, good money!

Was fear of public bareness a thing you had to overcome, or was it never there to begin with?

It was never there, to be honest. The fear is the expectation you set for yourself to be perfect, and to do the act like you planned. No fear of nudity… fear of anything but greatness. Always.

How did your performing name come to you, by the way?

Pulp Fiction. Jack Rabbit Slims is the restaurant where all the waiters are old Hollywood stars. $5 dollar shake. The twist contest. And that’s how my tagline came about–“The Burlesque Cult Classic”–as in the film, but also a play on how I love classic burlesque.

So, December 3rd sees you taking part in “Illegitimate Theater” at Chemistry Creative in Brooklyn, care of Fire & Fury Burlesque!

Yes! Fire & Fury is an awesome production. Nip Fury is a wonderful Latina burlesque performer. She’s smashing. And Rex is the Fire! He’s so knowledgeable about burlesque and history in general; I love when someone’s brain ties into their artform. He brings the house down when he strips, too. They paired together and created Fire & Fury; it’s a dope-ass production, the best of the best. And “Illegitimate” is an all nude show–no pasties no panties. The real deal. I’m stoked for it!

Hot stuff! Anything else coming up for you?

Plenty of December shows… and on January 22nd, I’ll be performing at this show I’m really excited about called James and Jiggles. It’s burlesque to a live band. just like the good ol’ days.

So fun! Okay lastly, as I like to ask all folks in your line of work: what’s the worst song to burlesque to, lol?

LoL! That’s a really hard question because I have my own liberty; I don’t really drag roulette… anything fast. Not my thing. I’m a slow burn kind of girl. I like taking my time. Any trendy pop music’s not really my thing.

Thanks JRS, and congrats again on your nomination!

[Photo: Natalia Neuhaus]

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Jack Rabbit Slims’ upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram.

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