Vintage Roadside: You do all of the booking and promotion for your tours. That seems like a gigantic task! As you tour more has it gotten easier to find venues?
Go-Go Amy: Gigantic is an understatement. When I started the show I had no idea how to book a show or run a tour so I faked it and tried to pick up everything as I went along. The first 2 years were really hard, but as our tour dates started adding up the show got better. We started gaining a good reputation with the venues and as I learned from my mistakes it did get better. At first, it was like fighting a room full of wild animals while blindfolded. Now the blindfold is off, but the wild animals are still attacking. It's still hard to string together enough shows to have a good tour but at least now I know what I'm up against.
Vintage Roadside: Your tours always include a mix of burlesque and sideshow. Have you always been a fan of classic sideshow entertainment?
Go-Go Amy: I've always been a theater geek. I grew up in the NYC area and loved going to see Broadway shows with my parents. (A love that's still very much alive - we're going out to see the Follies tomorrow night!) I seemed to gravitate towards the 1920-40's style shows with more of a vaudeville theme. That's why we define our show as "Broadville" - a combo of Broadway and Vaudeville. I didn't know much about sideshow until I started performing with the Brothers Grim but I absolutely fell in love with it. I've always loved the touring lifestyle and my want to go out on the road has as much to do with putting this show together as my love for life in front of the footlights.
Vintage Roadside: We follow you on Twitter, and being veterans of many road trips always enjoy your updates from the road. Any idea how many miles you've traveled in that RV?
Go-Go Amy: If miles were Playboy bunnies my odometer would have seen more of them than Hugh Hefner and an army of rock stars...combined! We're on our 8th national tour right now, and thanks to Johnny Coconutz (our roadie and mechanic) and some amazingly dumb luck, we're still going strong. One day I'd like to upgrade to a nicer bus but we've got to stick to the "Shasta" till we start pulling in some more money.
Vintage Roadside: Follow-up road trip question - favorite road food?
Go-Go Amy: My tour food consists of creamy chicken-flavored ramen noodles, rice in a microwaveable bag with canned veggies and canned salmon, or carrot sticks and hummus. But my favorite on the road food is when we're lucky enough to roll into a town where we have friends or family and can get a home cooked meal. I'm a microwave gourmet, but I prefer to eat something that doesn't come with a "flavor" packet whenever possible.
Future Vintage Roadside dinner party guests
Vintage Roadside: How about truck stops? 2 hot dogs for $2.00, 55 gallon drum-sized sodas, t-shirts with eagles riding choppers - late at night it's like landing on another planet! We're smitten.
Go-Go Amy: I hate to shatter your romance but I really don't like truck stops. At first all the funny touristy items are cute, but now it's just annoying to get stared at because it's 5:00 am and I have a head full of curlers, or having to eat truck stop food when all you want is a good salad. I do like truck stop showers as they're usually cleaner than most motel and RV parks we stay at.
Vintage Roadside: Fair enough. Back to the Pretty Things Peepshow. You've always got incredible performers touring with you. How do you choose the cast?
Go-Go Amy: We have had a variety of performers on the show but for the last year and a half our cast has been me, Lil Miss Firefly, Miss Heather Holliday and Donny Vomit. I really really lucked out when I got those 3 to commit to the show full time. They are like the Holy Trinity of amazing! Firefly and I met when we toured on Ozzfest with The Brothers Grim Sideshow in 2007. I met Heather the following year when Bros Grim took us to Sweden for a big festival and we also did several Halloween shows together. Heather in turn introduced me to Donny who worked with her on the Coney Island Sideshow.
We have a new performer named Stoya and she does some fabulous aerial and contortion acts. She came to us through our company photographer Steve Prue. Basically anytime Steve introduces me to someone something good happens...and that's totally the case with Stoya - she's been a great addition to the show.
Vintage Roadside: You've done quite a bit of pin-up work and even offer classes through your Pretty Things Academy. What can people that attend those classes expect to learn?
Go-Go Amy: Pretty Things Academy is my national network of Pin Up Modeling classes. In the class you'll learn how to do vintage hair and make up, pose like a pin-up and get a good kick in the self esteem. You'll also get a makeover and a photo shoot. Classes are now taught by me or one of my approved teachers all across the country. You can learn more about the classes on my website here.
Vintage Roadside: We'd like to ask a few questions from the "always wondered" category. Say the venue is either too hot or too cold. In your line of work which one is worse to perform in?
Go-Go Amy: Too cold is always worse than too hot. The only things you have to worry about in a venue that's too hot is sweating your pasties off and smelly costumes, but with all my wardrobe experience we're prepared for that. Cold is far worse. It's really hard to dance because all of your muscles tense up. No one wants to go on stage in our skimpy outfits, and pulling pasties off is a painful experience. Also, people can get really crabby when they're cold so it's harder for us to sell merchandise, and it's even hard to socialize after the show because all we want to do is huddle around Heather's space heater in the dressing room. Right now we're working on constructing fabulous matching 1930's style dresses with fur collar and cuffs that are fully lined and insulated (inspired by a Mae West costume we're all in love with) in preparation for our upcoming winter tour. With these we won't have to wear our coats around the venues.
Vintage Roadside: Pasties - Are they like roller skates in that once you take them off it still feels like you're wearing them?
Go-Go Amy: I don't wear pasties for that long. I'm in 6 acts in the show so I basically stick them on, hop on stage, and then pull them off to get ready for my next act. They may have a roller skate factor for someone who doesn't do as many changes as me but they're not on long enough for me to share in that experience. I have accidentally fallen asleep in them which I do not recommend to anyone. Pulling tape and rhinestones off your nipples while making your morning cup of tea is not as glamorous as you would think.
Vintage Roadside: Strangest gift ever given to you by a fan?
Go-Go Amy: Thank you for both thinking that I have fans, and that those fans actually like me so much they give me gifts. Both of those statements are false but I needed an ego stroke today. There are people who frequent our show and who buy us drinks as well as the occasional Valentine's Day card or rose, but I'm not nearly famous enough to have a good story about getting a pig heart or a lock of hair or anything like that. I did have this really cool chick tattoo the picture of me that Krysztof Nemeth did for my t-shirts on her arm. It's not necessarily a gift for me but I did find it really flattering that I'll be on that girl's arm for the rest of her life. I'm considering letting anyone who has a go-go Amy or Pretty Things Peepshow tattoo into any/all of our shows for free just to see if I can get someone else to lend us some flesh.
Vintage Roadside: So what's up next in the world of the Pretty Things Peepshow?
Go-Go Amy: We're taking Stoya out on the road with us for the first time this December so please come out and support our fabulous new cast member. Those tour dates are up on our website right now. We are also touring January-March of 2012 and those dates will be posted as shows get confirmed. And, we have a big show at Stage on Herr in Harrisburg, PA on New Year's Eve.
I also want to congratulate Miss Heather Holliday for her new gig hosting the MTV Iggy Show which can be seen online now and will start airing on TV next week!
Vintage Roadside: Where else can people get Go-Go Amy news and updates?
Go-Go Amy: You can sign up for our email list here, follow us on Twitter here, and "Like" our Facebook page here.
Vintage Roadside: Thanks Amy, it's been great talking with you and we're looking forward to your next show in Portland!
Go-Go Amy: You're welcome!
Jeff & Kelly