Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Interview: Photographer Joel Price

As we rush toward year end and the holidays, I’d like to take the time to interview one of the people responsible for showcasing the guys and dolls of Cherry Sparkle Burlesque. As a result, I have their primary photographer, Joel Price, with me today for an interview. I look forward to finding out more about him, his work, and what it’s like to work with a troupe of burlesque performers.

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How long have you been a photographer? And when did you know that you wanted to do it professionally?

I have been shooting for about 4 years. For three of those, I have been shooting weddings, magazine articles, families, boudoir, and whatever else in between. I am currently not doing it professionally. I still have a day job but try to be a weekend warrior and pick up either weddings or family shoots when possible. I hope in the future I will be given the opportunity to do so.

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I’m not sure there are many of us in creative field these days who are not tied to a day job of some sort, Joel. Seems to be the nature of the new economy. And the exponential growth of those realizing their creative dreams. So don’t sell yourself short as a professional because you still have to work daily to keep the bills paid.

If you had to pick a favorite photographer and/or one who influenced you the most, who would it be and why?

My all time favorite photographer is Nick Fancher, his home is Columbus, Ohio. His work is very unique and always exploring new ways to shoot. He is currently in the process of finishing up a book deemed “Studio Anywhere.”
And you can check out his work at: http://nickfancher.com/ Nick, has influenced my work for the simplicity of his setup. He has a run and gun style. He shoots with limited gear and has always been kind to show his process in photography via social media and or publications. He is either using one flash and a bed sheet, or shooting on the side of a busy interstate. He has the ability to always think outside of the box when it comes to photography.

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Have your photos been featured in any magazines or on the web?

My work has been shown in a few local magazines, newspapers, and various websites. My biggest achievement to date was having my photo on the front cover of local love magazine. The company I shot it for was What A Whirl Events based in Gadsden Alabama.

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Congratulations on the magazine cover! I’m sure it’s just the start of good things to come for you.

The nature of creative enterprises often involves carousing, partying, schmoozing, or otherwise networking with others in the same or similar fields, so I like to ask a version of the following question.

If you could party with any photographer, artist, or other creative type, living or dead, who would it be?

I would probably pick Terry Richardson. He is way out there!

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Artists rarely limit themselves to a single medium. Do you have any other hobbies or creative pursuits?

I really enjoy fashion and portraiture. Since the first time I picked up a camera, I have been drawn to taking photos of people. Either in a controlled environment or out on the streets. People are constantly changing, and I love to document the change with my added eye.

When I was younger I would sketch and doodle. At times I will still pick up a pencil and a pad to sketch. Nowadays, I just focus on photography primarily.

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Much like me, you’re a local boy, one of the Piedmonsters lurking around the foothills of Calhoun County, Alabama. How did growing up here influence you artistically?

I am very much influenced by our natural backdrop. This ranges from crumbling buildings to mountainous terrains. It amazes me each time I get out to take photos and see what we have in the sense of natural backdrops. I like that I am not confined to a concrete jungle.

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How long have you been the chief photographer for Cherry Sparkle Burlesque Company? And how did you find yourself in that envious role?

I have been photographing CSB for almost a year. I was given the honor of shooting the CSB Group on a whim. I talked to Phoenix Rose and the Red Dahlia (both performers) of possibly having the chance of photographing the troupe. After a phone call with Miss Cherry Sparkle herself, we set a date for a photoshoot. I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time. I reckon they like me so they still use me today…lol!

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Could you tell us about your involvement with the upcoming Cherry Sparkle Burlesque calendar?

Yes. We are currently in the final stages of finishing up the 2015 calendar for CSB. The calendar will be 12 months of pure awesomeness! The majority of the photos were shot in a single day. Nine photoshoots in various locations around Anniston. The others, due to scheduling, were shot at Miss Cherry Sparkle’s home. Michael Hardin has also helped with some of the heavy lifting when it came to backgrounds and fine details. Look for the release at the first of the year. I do believe the group will be throwing out some teasers sometime in the next week or so.

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When and where will we be able to find this eye-popping calendar?

I do believe the calendar will be available to purchase online or at any of the shows. Dig deep, boys, it’s well worth the money!

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Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Joel. It’s been enlightening to learn more about you and your photography as well as your involvement with Cherry Sparkle Burlesque. Not sure if you’ll be able to make it, but I look forward to seeing them again for their Tits for Tots benefit at The Smoking Moose on Friday, Dec. 12th. People will either be able to donate cash or an unwrapped toy for entry to the show, with the proceeds going to Toys for Tots. If I don’t see you there, Joel, I’ll be sure to contact you about signing the new calendar when it launches. Good luck on it and all of your future projects.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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 jennaQ.com, 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:

https://www.facebook.com/quinnessentialphotography

https://www.facebook.com/Quinnessentialhairmakeupandphotography

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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.

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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.

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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.