Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Interview: Introducing the Kickass Kittie Von Carnage

Let’s start this short week off on the right note, with something to give thanks about, the next installment of my interviews with the performers of Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company. This week I’m talking with the kickass Kitty Von Carnage, a snarky sexpot with a mind as hypnotic as her dark eyes and disarming smile.


I must say that I love your stage name, Kittie von Carnage. It conjures up the image of a hardcore, hard-edged woman who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. She embraces her sexuality and uses it to empower her, to embolden her and her performances.  Is that far from the truth? What does that moniker mean to you? And does that stage persona carry over into your daily life, once you’re off stage?

Your image of Kittie Von Carnage is exactly what I want to portray. Not only does the name empower me, but I hope to spread that confident and badass energy to anyone and everyone in the audience that needs it. Being a full figured woman I definitely want to embrace my sexuality and that women (and men) of all shapes and sizes have the power to be incredibly sexy. I won’t shy away from saying that  before becoming Kittie Von Carnage I lacked confidence, but I can honestly see a huge change in how I see myself daily and keep her in my mind every day to make sure I stay strong.

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From what I’ve come to know about you and your life, staying strong sounds like what you do best. With your indomitable spirit, strong work ethic, and sense of humor, I’m sure you’ll succeed at whatever you put your mind to in life.

How did you come to join Cherry Sparkle Burlesque? And how long have you been a member?

I was actually watching the movie Burlesque thinking to myself how I wish I could perform in that setting and I coincidentally saw a Facebook post advertising auditions for the company. I almost immediately messaged Kaitie for more information. I ended up not auditioning at that time because of fear that I wouldn’t be accepted being that I am a larger female. I finally decided a few weeks after that to give it a shot and I am so glad I did. I auditioned, got the job, and right off the bat I felt an amazing sense of acceptance and self-worth from this wonderful group of people I like to call my Cherry Sparkle family.

I have been with Cherry Sparkle only a short time now but I look forward to continuing on much longer. My first show was August 30th and it was a most intoxicating feeling to perform.

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With a few notable exceptions like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I never thought I’d be thankful for a musical, but I can see I’ll have to add Burlesque to the list for inspiring you to perform.

Did you have a background in dance, theater, or performance art before joining?

I performed in a few community theater productions at a very young age, but other than that I have no professional background in it. As far as dance background, I have only taken various classes at my gym for fitness purposes. But I do have an awesome group of people to ask for help if ever I get “dancer’s block.”


How would you describe your role in CSB and your performance style?

I currently perform vintage burlesque dance, and I love every moment of the art of the strip tease. My performance style has not had a ton of chances to shine yet as I am still new to the company but it surely will soon. My first show I performed to The Dope Show by Marilyn Manson. I will be performing to that type of music mainly. I really like that hard, sexy music and may throw in a little tasteful shock value.

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One of my favorite caveats holds true here, great minds do think alike. Because I love the art of strip tease, especially coupled with hard rock and a sexy, shocking dancer like you.

What’s your favorite part of a burlesque show? What’s your least favorite part?

I love everything about the shows so far. I love the beginning of the process from picking a song and concept, to coming up with a costume and choreographing. On show days it is invigorating to get into hair, makeup, and full costume to perform for an always supportive audience.

I wish I could watch the performances because I know everyone does an incredible job, but I have no least favorite part about the shows.


Besides burlesque, do you any other creative pursuits or hobbies?

I have a dangerous addiction to Pinterest. If I think I can DIY, I will more than likely attempt it. I love to paint, draw, any number of creative things. I have a love for learning how to do new things so I often find myself looking up tutorial videos. I can also cook the hell out of some food. I have been in chili cook offs most of my life and I often place in the competition. I make some killer pretzels too. It takes a lot of calories to keep my body in this shape so I obviously know how to cook. haha


Whatever you’re doing, please keep it up. It’s worked to create one helluva Kittie Von Carnage!

You’re not only a self-described Disney fangirl, but you’ve worked for them as well. Given no budgetary or content restrictions, what character and/or scene from the vast Disney archives would you turn into a burlesque performance? And what song would you use while performing this fantasy piece?

You have stumped me with this question for sure. I would probably go with Disney’s darker side and do a villainous performance. I love the villains and it would tie in perfectly with my stage presence. Maleficent is my favorite villain so I think it would be awesome to use her character. I mean, she turns into a dragon so how is that not cool? J Add a little “Disney green” fire to the performance and I am set.


Judging by our previous conversations, you’re also part of the unofficial lifetime learners club known as Nerdom. Given no budgetary, geographical, or temporal restrictions on your education, where would you go, what would you learn, and why? What would you do with your new found knowledge and credentials?

So many options, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would don a Sherlock Holmes hat and travel the world to solve Earth’s greatest mysteries. I’ve always had an interest in urban legends, myths, and anything unknown or unsolved. I would want to explore things such as Atlantis, and the Nazca lines. Just put me with Sherlock and Indiana Jones and send me on my way to explore. My mind just had a Nerdgasm so I think I’ll move on now.


Getting back to the topic of burlesque, in my last interview with Phoenix Rose, she mentioned an upcoming Cherry Sparkle calendar. Can you tell us more about it, like what month you’ll be or when it will be available, or is that project top secret for now?

You know about as much as I do. I am super excited to find out what month I will be featured as. I can tell you that from the pictures I have seen, this calendar is absolutely something that people will want to own. We all brought our stage personalities to life in photo form so of course my photos show a dark side. And we have an incredibly talented photographer as well. There really are not enough positive words to describe what he is capable of capturing behind that camera lens.

Kittie & Phoenix Rose

Finally, when will we be able to see you onstage with Cherry Sparkle again?

We actually have two shows coming up very soon in December. “Tits for Toys” is one that will be on Friday, December 12th and The Smoking Moose and it is a charity performance so the cover charge will be an unwrapped toy that we will donate. We want people to understand that we have generous and caring hearts to go along with these lovely faces and giving back to the community is a huge interest for the Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company.

“Can-Can for Cans” is another upcoming show on December 20th at the newly opening Dark Horse Saloon. This place is going to be an amazing venue so I certainly hope plenty of people come to check it out. The cover for this show is either 5 cans of food or $5.00 all to be donated to a local charity.

We appreciate all of our supporters and I hope that people will help us make this a successful form of charitable action by coming to these shows and participating in giving back.

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Tits for Toys? Now there’s a Christmas charity that I can get behind. Or in front of. Hell, as long as I’m within eyesight of the tits or toys I’ll be fine. But in all seriousness, I think it’s a wonderful thing that your organization is reaching out to the community and helping bring joy to the disadvantaged for the holidays. It’s heartwarming.

Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Miss Kittie. I’ve had a great time getting to know you. And I am sure those out there reading this feel the same. The best part about this is making new friends and introducing them to the world. Good luck with your future performances and the rest of your creative, educational, and professional pursuits.

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Movie Rights!!!

My good friend and editor Alan Lewis just optioned the film rights to his book to the executive producer of HBO’s True Blood. Finally, the best Christmas murder mystery ever told will be seen in either a film or series format. Truly awesome news!

The Dark Oak Blog

Alan Lewis is happy to announce that the movie/TV rights for his first novel, ‘The Blood in Snowflake Garden’ have been optioned by Sidecar Inc. Brian Buckner, executive producer of HBO’s ‘True Blood’ and his production team are working to developed the novel into an ongoing murder mystery television series in the tradition of Twin Peaks.
So, everyone keep your fingers crossed that one of the networks will bite and pick it up!

Read Chapter One here:

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Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Interview: The Fantastic Phoenix Rose

Once again, I have the privilege and pleasure of interviewing one of the ladies of Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company. In my interactions with her, Phoenix Rose has come across as a woman who is as creative as she is beautiful, as humorous as she is engaging. Today, I have a chance to find out more about her and showcase her beauty and talents for all the blogosphere to behold.


How did you decide on the stage name Phoenix Rose? And what does it mean to you?

I just thought about the Phoenix being a beautiful, powerful, creature and rose because it’s a symbol of love. I feel like it’s an empowering name that I can carry with me beyond the stage.

Empowering indeed. I think your electric blue eyes transmit that energy and verve quite well. And photographers seem to have no problem capturing it when you’re their subject.


By my recollection, you were originally the person responsible for makeup and styling for Cherry Sparkle. How, when, and why did you make the transition to performer?

I was doing Ms. Cherry Sparkle’s makeup one evening and I asked about the audition process. I’ve always loved to perform and dance so I figured I’d audition, what could it hurt? I joined in May and had my first performance on July 26th. I love doing their hair and makeup but performing with these amazing men and women was definitely higher up on the wish list. I still do their hair and makeup though. Lol

I can certainly see why they’d want to make full use of your talents, especially after seeing you work your makeup magic at the Seven Deadly Sins photo shoot. I am not sure what impressed me more, the transformative work you did on the dolls at the shoot or your quiet confidence and professional demeanor.


How would you describe your role in the company and your performance style?

I think my main role is to keep it interesting. I always bring the crazy makeup, weird props, and slightly dysfunctional humor.

From G.I. Jayne’s candy-and-cake makeup and design for the Seven Deadly Sins shoot to your sexy, sizzling interpretation of DC Comics’s Poison Ivy at the Halloween show, I’d say you’ve nailed your role with the precision and grace of an Olympic gymnast.


From what I have witnessed, you have a special partner that helps you out on occasion with your performances. Could you tell us more about him/her/it?

I do indeed have a very special assistant. I perform with my snake “Fluffy”. She’s a 15 year old, five and a half foot long ball python. She’s a lot of fun to work with and it’s awesome to witness the audience’s reaction when she comes out of “Pandora’s Box”.

Personally, my reaction was a full blown flashback to one of the steamy scenes of my childhood. I pictured the exotic dancer in Bladerunner taking the stage with her own snake. You really should check out that movie sometime; not only is it an amazing work of science fiction, but it might give you some ideas if the company ever does a show with a sci-fi or cosplay theme.


Given complete creative control and few limitations on budget, what song would you perform to onstage and how would you garb yourself for this performance of a lifetime?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I think my dream routine would be a Lyra hoop/feather fan dance. Lol, of course there are hundreds of songs on my to-do list, but I think Hozier “Take me to Church” would be at the top of the list.

Speaking as a fan, and as a man, I hope you have the chance to make it through your to-do list. 🙂


Besides burlesque, do you have any other creative interests, pursuits, or hobbies?

I have a few things I like to do outside of Burlesque. I’m a mom, wife, I’m in school full time for cosmetology and esthetics. I work full time as a vet tech at Valley Vet. My favorite hobbies are probably modeling, hair and makeup, photography, and sewing.


It sounds to me like you enjoy working on both sides of the camera. How long have you been a photographer? And how long have you been modeling? Do you have a personal website or other location(s) where we can check out your work?

It’s definitely a lot of fun. I’ve been doing photography for a year now. I owe a lot of thanks to my mentor Joel Price for teaching me about photography. I’ve modeled off and on since I was 23. It’s one of my favorite creative outlets.

Here are the links to my hair and makeup and photography pages. I’m currently working on my website. It’s, should be up and running by the New Year.

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You can find Phoenix Rose’s hair, makeup, and photography work online at the following links:


Bringing the conversation back around to burlesque, what’s your favorite part of a performance? And what is your least favorite aspect?

My favorite part of the performance is just seeing the entire show come together. It’s truly is amazing how much hard work everyone puts into their routines.

My least favorite part (and this may sound harsh but it’s the truth) is ignorance about Burlesque. Most people hear the word and immediately assume we’re all strippers. Burlesque means an absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody or performance. To entertain and that’s exactly what we do. We have singers, dancers, hula hoopers, acts of unfathomable flexibility, comedians, the list goes on. You want strippers go to a strip club, if you want mind blowing entertainment go to a Burlesque show.


That’s a great quote about distinguishing between those two forms of exotic dancing. “You want strippers go to a strip club, if you want mind blowing entertainment go to a Burlesque show.” Really sums up how I feel about it too. For the most part, strip clubs are badly lit, boring, and designed to drain money from lonely drunk guys or people trying to impress their friends by making it rain singles. Burlesque, on the other hand, is an extravaganza, a visual feast for the eyes that tickles the funny bone at the same time. It is inspired by the combined creativity, sensuality, and wit of the performers. Over all, the energy is so much more positive at a burlesque performance.

Sadly, Phoenix Rose, we’re nearing the end of the interview. But it’s been a treat having you. One last question: When will we be able to see you onstage again?

I’m not sure when our next show is. Guess you’ll just have to keep an eye on the Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company page on Facebook to find out. I can say we’ll all be making a fabulous appearance in our new 2015 Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company Calendar.


I really appreciate you taking the time to tell us more about you and your creative pursuits. Best of luck with all of them. It’s been a pleasure, Phoenix Rose. Although the January show at The Ritz in Gadsden fell through, I know we’ll be seeing you and the rest of the guys and dolls of Cherry Sparkle Burlesque back on stage soon enough.

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Stay tuned to this blog for upcoming interviews with authors and burlesque performers, book reviews, and more news about the soon-to-be published sequel to The Cycle of Ages Saga.

Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Interview: The Illustrious Illusiona

Evening seems to come quicker in the autumn, an illusion created by turning back our clocks, a shared illusion that becomes accepted reality as the season proceeds. Today’s interview subject talks heavily about illusions, the power of the mind and body, and other esoteric subjects. As a result, I am very pleased to welcome the illustrious Illusiona, a lady as deeply intellectual and spiritual as she is lithe, strong, and flexible. This intriguing, brainy beauty comes to us from the Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company and joins the other guys and dolls in this continuing series.


Illusiona conjures up images that befuddle our senses and manipulate our perception of reality itself. After witnessing you’re breathtaking performances, I can see how this label applies to you. But how do you see it? And why did you choose to be called Illusiona?

Because everything you see is just an illusion, including me.

Not only an interesting answer, but one that coincides closely with my own view of this level of reality.


How long have you been a member of Cherry Sparkle? And why did you join?

I have been a member for over a year, ever since day one of the group. I wanted to join because I like to dance and wanted to try something new. Always try new things.


We actually met during the genesis of Cherry Sparkle. The first time I laid eyes on you and had the pleasure of speaking to you was in between our interviews for WLJS 92J’s Midweek Metal Fest. My friend Jon spoke very highly of you. And over the course of our burgeoning friendship, I have come to think highly of you as well.

How would you describe your role in the company and your performance style?

My role in the company is to perform with awesome, great friends, and always push to do more, to be better. Just like my life.

Illusiona with the ladies of Cherry Sparkle at Rumble on Noble 2014.

Illusiona with the ladies of Cherry Sparkle at Rumble on Noble 2014.

From our previous conversations, I take it that you have an extensive background in dance and yoga. Could you tell us more about those experiences and how it applies to your burlesque performances?

I have very little dance experience. Yoga, however, has been a part of my life for a couple years. This brings a different style of performing to the group.

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Besides yoga, dancing, and burlesque, do you any other creative pursuits or hobbies?

I like to study dreams; I practice lucid dreaming and dream walking. I am a full time JSU student and graduate with a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) this summer. All of this along with my three children keep my fairly busy. Life is exactly what I want it to be right now.

So in addition to being intellectually and physically gifted, you’re interested in introspection, self-discovery, and helping others. On top of that, you’re a busy but dedicated mom who is comfortable with her self and her life. Amazing! In case it ever comes up in conversation, I’ll be sure to cite you as an example of a living superwoman.

At the Halloween show, you performed an amazing dance with nothing but a song and folding chair to support you. It was truly a wonder to behold, and the strength, endurance, dexterity, and flexibility required to do it looked to be almost superhuman. How did you choreograph that challenging routine, much less train for it? And will you be working on variations of it for future shows?

It’s all in your mind. If we train our minds, our lives indescribably transform to exactly how we would like for it to. I body was mostly already trained for this routine; I just had to put it together. This routine left many bruises for the two weeks I practiced it. It was all worth it, though, and I’m super excited to practice and add to it for the next show. We all are superhuman. Limitation is just an illusion.


Given complete creative control and few limitations on budget, what song would you perform to onstage and how would you garb yourself for this performance of a lifetime?

I do everything I want without limitations already. Every performance is a performance of a lifetime.


What’s your favorite part of a show?

My favorite part of the shows are getting to connect with an amazing group of people and feel each other’s energy.

What’s your least favorite part of performing?

My least favorite part of performing is it being so late. I like to sleep during the dark hours.


Before I ask my final question, I’d just like to say that this has been pleasure. Rarely, do I have the chance to converse with someone so positive, empowered, and genuinely happy. I love your attitude on life, the universe, and everything we’ve discussed.

Finally, when and where will we be able to see you onstage again?

In Gadsden at the RITZ, we will be having a big show in January.

Thanks again, Illusiona. Happy to have had a chance to find out more about you and your interests. And to showcase them here on my blog. If I don’t see you again before the next show, keep up the hardwork. And keep on smiling. If not for your sake, then for ours. The world would be a darker place without it. 🙂

Illusiona and our next interview candidate.

Illusiona and our next interview candidate.

Click here to see Illusiona and Cherry Sparkle perform to Britney Spears’s Work Bitch:

To find out more about Cherry Sparkle Burlesque, check them out on Facebook.