BEHIND THE G-STRING with MINA MONTENEGRO & MISS AMBER LUST
Names: Mina Montenegro & Miss Amber Lust
What shows/venues/extravaganzas are you best known for?
We became interestingly popular amongst the artistic community in Panama when we decided to venture into our first and only burlesque production—The Panama Burlesque Festival.
For the most part the reception to the idea of Burlesque was great, many people had never heard of or seen a show, so curiosity was there…but it also came with its own challenges when facing public scrutiny amongst the conservative community.
How did you discover burlesque?
We knew about Burlesque through mainstream media. Dita, Tempest, Bettie. These were big names and figures we got exposed to within the local Pinup community but we never quite knew that this performance style was still alive until later.
Circa 2010, Amber was visiting the Bay Area for the summer and I was still producing art and performance festivals in town. When she returned, she described what she had seen at some of the local venues in town. Dancing, comedy, amazing costumes, and stripping all wrapped up in a wonderful glittery bundle of story-telling.
That’s when we decided our local scene needed to see this, so we took the plunge and dove into Burlesque!
What did you do before you got into producing burlesque?
We trained in different dance styles, researched its history, learned about burlesque costuming, observed the landscape for many months and with the previous producing experience we had in our tool kit, we endeavoured into writing our first production which launched four or six months after we initiated our project.
Do you ever produce “regular” entertainment?
Now with our company moving into different parts of the U.S. we’ve focused on growing our knowledge and skills. It’s been almost six years since we haven’t had a show in Panama but we hope one day people will get inspiration from our annual festival and decide to reactivate the scene.
Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to performers? Venues?
Performers: PLEASE, cut off your bra tags.
Venues: We want to see you book a diverse cast where every body type, skin color, gender identity, sexuality and people with disabilities are welcomed on stage.
Have you ever blacklisted a performer? Or a venue?
We’re proud to say we have been lucky to work with some of the most kind, generous, and professional performers and venues in the industry.
What is the biggest challenge in producing burlesque?
Educating the audience about the importance of Burlesque and how it contributes meaningfully to our country’s cultural and artistic offerings.
What has been your proudest moment as a producer?
Seeing our first festival come to life after two years of hard labor finally executed. Welcoming performers from all over at our home, a place that many have never been before and sharing with them our culture.
What would your dream lineup be…no restrictions….any time, any place…
OH GOSH…we have so many people we wish we could have on stage right now if we could, but for the sake of our reader’s we will list just a few:
Marinka (we had planned for her to come visit once the world opened back up 🥺)
Gina Bon Bon
Isaiah Esquire & Johnny Nuriel
Aria De La Noche
What is your biggest strength as a producer?
Our biggest strength is our cast, we cater to a diverse audience so that helps us create a highly entertaining show.
If there was one producorial function you could have someone else handle, what would it be?
Social media, we are a very tiny team and this portion requires LOTS of time, patience, and planning.
What do you have in the pipeline that we should know about?
We are working on several productions after the festival that we think will be a great opportunity to raise awareness about Burlesque! Stay tuned!