Geek Speak: Kayleigh Lum, aka Rufflesilkskin, Video Game Burlesque

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      Ever wonder what the video game Dance Dance Revolution would be like as a burlesque number? On February 10, Vancouverites will get their chance to see this concept become a reality when the VanDolls put on Video Game Burlesque.

      Kayleigh Lum will be the dancer taking on this particular game. Better known as Rufflesilkskin in the burlesque community, the 22-year-old marketer was born in Surrey, lives in Vancouver, and is a founding member of the VanDolls.

      Video Game Burlesque, which will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion (2205 Commercial Drive), is set to be the troupe’s biggest show yet. The event will feature solo and group burlesque interpretations of such games as Fallout 3, Metroid, Portal, Super Mario Bros., and Tetris. Tickets are $15 online, but members of the video-game industry are being offered the discounted rate of $12. The show, which starts at 9 p.m., is open to people 19 and older.

      On January 21, the VanDolls are presenting a show as a fundraiser to help stage Video Game Burlesque. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll will take place at the Prophouse Café (1636 Venables Street). The show kicks off at 9 p.m., and tickets will be $10 at the door.

      The Georgia Straight reached Lum by phone at her home.

      Where did the idea to put on Video Game Burlesque come from?

      Well, we wanted to do a themed show since there are nine of us. We have nine different styles, but we still wanted to deliver a cohesive show. We were just bouncing around some ideas and some themes, and the video-game theme is something that really stuck with us. We have a few gamers in the group and stuff like that, and we thought video games would help us reach a different audience that maybe wouldn’t be exposed to burlesque otherwise.

      What should people expect to see at the show?

      We have over a dozen performances, and each of the burlesque dancers’ performances are inspired by different video games. Everything from what people know, like Mario and Tetris, to more hard-core gamer stuff, like Fallout and Portal. Aside from the performances—we make all of our own costumes, we do our own music, our own choreography, everything—we have other things going on. We’ve rented a few vintage video games that people can play on for free. We’re going to have video-game-themed food and drinks there. We are also doing a costume contest, so if you come in a video-game-themed costume you get a free drink and you can also win something. We’re giving away a few video games and stuff like that.

      How did each dancer pick the game that she’s going to be interpreting?

      It probably varies for each dancer. Some people thought of the game first, like, “Oh, I love this video game, and I’d really love to do a number to it.” Other people were like, “Oh, this is my style, so I’m going to find a video game that fits it.”

      What approach are you taking to Dance Dance Revolution?

      Well, I’m not the most hard-core gamer or anything. I’m very into the Nintendo Wii and kind of those cheesy, super-easy games. So, I thought Dance Dance Revolution would be really fitting to me, because this whole time I’ve been really learning more about video games and that’s something that I’m familiar with. I just thought it’d be fun to do a cheesy take on this cheesy dance game that is everywhere. It is a big part of video games. But I think it helps with that percentage of the audience who are kind of like me and maybe would see a Portal number and be, “What is that?” So, it’s something more relatable for that type of audience members.

      What kind of audience are you expecting?

      We expect everyone. The burlesque community—we expect them to come out—and people who have never seen burlesque. We’re actually offering a discount to people in the video-game industry, so we’re hoping to get lots of industry out and just people who are interested in video games and burlesque—combining the two cultures.

      Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? You can tell Stephen Hui on Facebook and Twitter.