Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Hallelujah Hollaback Hump-day! I've got a real treat for you Womanizers out there. Most of you know that my two favorite things that the horror genre has brought to me, is Bruce Campbell and the Living Dead Girlz. I just recently was blessed, honored, graced with the ability to interview the Queen Zombie herself, Amber Steele. So instead of me just writing up why I think someone's awesome, I've got proof to show you all right here! She was kind enough to give time out of her busy schedule (and wedding planning!) to talk to me! So sit back, relax, and enjoy my interview with our Woman of the Week.
DotW: What inspired you to create LDG?
AS: Well, Shannon Lark, previously a member of LDG, wrote & directed a short film called "What Ever Happened to the Zombie Killers?"It was a music video. There were 4 Zombie Killers-Shannon, Myself, the woman who would later become Officer RPS, and another young woman. We go into a club where the zombies hang out & there are cuts to two zombies experiencing love at first sight, and each zombie & the three zombies behind him/her do a little dance as part of their courtship. So Shannon had me choreograph that piece as a parody of the Thriller video. And then I wielded a chainsaw & all of the zombie killers get devoured. I got devoured by the woman who later became Pippi Long-Zombie. Shannon's character lasts the longest, even though she's only armed with a rubber fish. It was fun, but I had so much fun choreographing the zombies that I was inspired to start LDG!
DotW: You've got a pretty cool range of girls, where do you find your dancers?
AS: They were all women I knew at the time, many of them were also go-go dancers, at the industrial events.
DotW: Who was the "brains" behind the BRAINS video?
AS: Well, it was really a group enterprise. Officer RPS & I were the two folks who charted out every second of the Shoes video, drew the story-boards & re-wrote all the jokes, Shannon directed & organized the 30-40 people involved, Steev Dinkins of HolyZoo was the Director of Photography, did the hours and hours and hours of editing, covered all the lighting & professional filming. He's also the one who recorded me singing the new lyrics & did the music & sound production. We all laugh a bunch together, so a project involving re-working something that made us all fall out of our chairs was spectacularly fun!
DotW: The first time i saw the video i think i was more blown away with how closely the videos resembled themselves. and i will admit that whenever someone asks me about my "favorite horror actor" i always say BRUCE CAAAAMPBELL.
AS: *laughs*; me too!
DotW: the music you use in your shows sometimes isn't always music you'd pair up with horror, where do you get inspired for that?
AS: oh, it's ALL about irony. we chose our first pieces for that reason "Wicked little girls" was... sort of irony - we were playing against the eroticisation of teens/tweens with that one. PCD's "Doncha" was just too hilarious to skip: "Don'cha wish your girlfriend was RAW like me?" As an academically trained artist, especially at UC Berkeley & Mills College, there is a total disavowel of the value of Jazz dance or pop music or production. my awesome thesis mentor and i both think it's silly classism and sexism; even though they say, "that's LOW art" when things get sexy; it's also a squashing of feminine power and many schools draw the line; for example at UCB, they would not let you choreograph any major projects to anything with a 4/4 beat. so LDG was my way of taking back the fun, putting a stake down to say that dance *can* be art & popular at the same time, and also saying, that pop music & pop subjects don't always have to be relegated to sexist cliche's alone. However, those cliche's are of course unavoidable. so it's best, rather than restricting oneself to post-modern or post-post-post-modern abstractionism, to rethink them. Ew, let me just insert that I really don't like Warhol. *laughs*...oh the irony.
DotW: That’s hilarious. I'm of course forced to ask some expected questions like...."what are your favorite zombie films"
AS: Sure! I have new ones now "Undead" from New Zealand. Love that female heroine! "Dead Alive" of course, and "Convent" which is so purposefully bad, its the best, smartest thing ever. Also, it stars the woman who went on to be "Heather Campbell, the Vampire," Adrianne Barbeau & Liam Sullivan!I bought it for five bucks and must have seen it ten times
DotW: Any chance of a LDG home "learn to dance" video?
AS: *laughs* dunno; could be! Could be a fun thing to have a huge group of zombies.
DotW: Would you ever consent to a battle royal with the zombie pinups?
We know them, actually the woman who runs ZP used to co-produce some very very inspiring events out here with Jim Sweeney. Together, they were called, "Spectacular, Spectacular" and put on awesome variety shows. So, she eventually got burned out (they never managed to make a profit, and she used to **hand sew*** all their costumes!!! it was amazing, but no wonder she got tired of it! They put on an awesome talent show/zombie event that inspired me, and I really wanted to make my LDG idea come true then (it was between "WHTTZK" and LDG'z inception I talked to Jim about it, and he said he'd be very interested. And I said to myself how much I would love to perform in the annual Spectacular Spectacular Halloween show (totally the best thing in town). The first time we performed, she was there, but it was after the second piece that she came up to me and said that she was so pleased & happy to be passing the zombie mantle on to a worthy organization. I was pretty chuffed, really. And now, oddly, not only did we perform as headliners for the Halloween show, but I co-produce events with Jim. Heh. That I did not expect!
DotW: Small world, but a very awesome one at that!
AS: Especially in SF. there are a lot of neat folks here and a big vaudevillian crowd although they're constantly using the word "Burlesque" instead, which bugs me.
DotW: If you could have any celebrity dance with ldg who would you want to guest star with you?
AS: Oh jeebs, judged by dance technique? Lord, haha Who knows?, I mean I always think of us as an antithesis of PCD, with plot. (Sorry, PCD), But if we were going to be in a big music video. I'd rather we do backup for P!nk, Not that I'd turn down any opportunities.
DotW: Well my final question, if you could send one message to the horror/zombie and especially the dancing community, what would it be?
AS: Hmm...one message. Well, LDG'z message has always been to put strong, healthy, happy women out there, and that the ladies should protect & stand up for each other. in the horror genre, there is very little of that and it's also important that these strong women don't always have to be also crazy or also unable to love or be loved You know? Most of the horror heroines are broken and doomed to be lonely. I like the LDG'z to have stories where the ladies save each other and themselves, and where they support and protect one another, and that the stupid folks have to go through metamorphosis to stick around. I think that's often true of Heroes; but once a heroes quest is over, he gets to choose a mate (archetypically speaking)
DotW: You are seriously the best woman of the week I've done.
AS: AW thanks, hon!
DotW: Thats my main focus of my blog. it gets off topic a lot of the time, but the heart of it is to showcase women in the horror genre for being so much more than the "damsel in distress"
AS: YAY! I think there is more and more of that.