Calamity Chang, 37; burlesque performer and producer; Lower East Side
“I am finally returning to my roots, as my parents always predicted. When I was growing up in Texas I had to try and blend in, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten into that ’20s-through-’40s Shanghai Jazz-Age inspiration, particularly the nightlife culture. In a weird way, shows with this vibe and theme have brought me closer to my family.”
Amber Ray, “guess!”; burlesque performer and accessory maker; South Williamsburg, Brooklyn
I’m in love with Asian culture because its so dreamy and and tropical—and my lotus number is sort of a twilight number. The lotus really symbolizes getting through difficulty and going towards light, towards beauty.
Peekaboo Pointe, “whatever you want”; burlesque performer; Sunset Park, Queens
“I’m very careful with this tribute. It has to come from a place of love and respect—I don’t want to spoof Asian culture.”
The scene: The Shanghai Siren Tease at Madam Geneva
Even today, a night along the Bowery’s dark hideaways can hold many intrigues. A recent Tuesday at Madam Geneva’s was no exception—in this sexy little gin mill, a scene from a bygone era was being enacted. The Shanghai Siren Tease—a new burlesque night produced by Calamity Chang and featuring her fellow performers Amber Ray and Peekaboo Pointe—filled the cozy space with Jazz Age sparkle by way of the Orient, evoking a vintage Asian aesthetic within a modern context.