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“… My introduction to burlesque isn’t unlike most other performers — I stumbled upon it. I remember it was 2011, one of my closest friends was making her debut at a metal event in Sydney (that sadly no longer exists) and I was there in support of her. I remember watching her process and act development in awe, it was so exciting. She was incredible (still is) and it was after her performance that they introduced a male act for the evening, Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Windmill, and the memory of his performance is something still so strong. I’d never seen sexuality from a man represented in that way, it was so enigmatic of everything I understood and identified with about myself and performance. I didn’t even know there were male burlesque performers. His performance was so mysterious, electric and erotic — it opened my eyes to something I’d never experienced and I’m so grateful to him for that. It was after that that I threw myself into finding out as much as possible about the men of burlesque and I even started making a few inquiries around the Sydney burlesque scene. I was (to my surprise) offered a spot in an all-male burlesque revue. I didn’t think twice before saying yes, I had 2 months to develop an act and I debuted with an Yves Klein tribute. I don’t remember actually being on stage, just the moments before and after.

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That was at the beginning of 2012 and 7 and a half years later, it’s my profession and passion. Through my industry I’ve been afforded some of the most incredible experiences both locally and internationally and met some of the most brilliantly creative talents of the underground performance scene. I was at a gallery show a few years ago and through a chance encounter and conversation with the gallery director, I was offered a spot as a core cultural artist for Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival to curate my body of work; including props, digital content and performance over the course of a week at Gallery One Three. As part of the curation, I also designed an intimate apparel collection from deconstructed menswear which combined my love for performance and fashion. Fashion has always been a romantic resource for my work, especially the imagery and performative presentations. I could watch John Galliano for Dior and Alexander McQueen runway’s on repeat for days (and I definitely have). The agency they activate when it comes to the relationship of garment and form deeply resonates and my own practice is derivative of these notions.

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What I appreciate and adore about burlesque as an industry is that it’s female created, dominated and pioneered. When I look to developing my performances, I look to these women as the heroes who afford me the chance to present my own definition of masculinity. It’s through only through these women I’ve been able to understand the man I am…”

Adam Kassar 2019

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Credits:

PHOTOGRAPHER Donny Dino @tachobelle

HMUA/MUSE Adam Kassar @adam.ext