The Erica Reid interview

Today's interviewee is a friend of mine (as well as the wife of the fellow I interviewed on Wednesday). I think she's awesome because she turns her passions into her work--she loves dance so she's a choreographer (catch her work in Sweetie Maude and Boobs of the Dead.) She loves to drink so she hosts a fun podcast about booze called Drunk Monkeys. She had a hobby of officiating weddings and now she's turning it into an official planning biz called Wicked Weddings. She's also an improv comic and producer (you can see her work with Steve Gadlin's Starmakers here.) She also introduced me to Dance Dance Party Party, is my sometime running partner and once made me an entire fried dinner from scratch with her own hands so I am awfully fond of her.
What draws you, as a choreographer, to the art of burlesque? 
I love how silly burlesque is, and I love how it celebrates the woman. When burlesque is done right (in my opinion) it encourages all colors, shapes and sizes to get out there and own and be proud of their bodies. I love helping women feel beautiful and sexy.  Burlesque can be anything--it can be funny, it can be scary, it can be serious, it can be very dancey, it can be light dancy--it is all welcome and it is all sexy. There's a built in challenge to figuring out how to take items of clothing off.  Plus, it is really sparkly.

But the BEST part about burlesque, hands down, is the amazing women that I get to work with. I've made the best friends over the years through the burlesque world. Those gals are some of the sweetest, most fun, and creative people I've ever met. I love to see how their art grows and develops over the years, and it's a treat when I get to work with people I've worked with before and already know how they work and move. It's a really solid and amazing community.

What dancing-related videos have you been watching on repeat lately and why?
Music videos are my obsession and I can watch them for hours and hours and hours. The one I have drawn the most inspiration from lately has been "Man on Fire" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
It is perfect to me. I love dance that doesn't land right on the beat with the music, but yet, it still is perfect with the music. Seeing all the different styles of real people dancing in this video is beautiful, and the NYC Ballet company at the end just moves me to tears. It is so joyful, positive, uplifiting. And the move the dancers do at 4:14 in the video is the best. That video is sheer perfection. 

Another one that is amazing as far as choreography, concept, direction, cinematography and everything is "Islands" by The xx.
The first time you watch you, you're like "this is weird." Then you start to notice all the amazing subtle differences and when things start to change and fall apart. Everyone should watch it at least 6 times, each time only watching one of the dancers.  It is so hypnotizing and it just blows my mind. It's amazing what can be done with only two 8-counts of choreography. Incredible. I bet I've watched it over 100 times.

It's also easy to get lost in a spiral of Industrial Dance videos.

As a professional, do you have any tips on twerking, if there is anybody left out there who's going to give it a try? 
I just choreographed some twerking in a dance the other day, actually. It's super fun to do and it is a good workout.  My biggest advice would be to have confidence. You can't shake your butt in the air if you don't mean it. There's no, pardon the expression, "half-assing" in twerking and booty popping. And also, keep your cheeks loose--twerking won't work with a clenched booty.  I think Nicky da B says it best in the song "Express Yourself": "Spread your legs and arch your back go up and down and make it clap."

You've officiated many weddings: what made you decide to go into the wedding planning business?
I think I am a mostly warm and positive person, and that's the kind of vibe you want to have around on your wedding day.  I love to celebrate what makes people unique, and I've been to a lot of ceremonies where the person officiating didn't match the vibe of the wedding or the couple. And in the modern world, the last thing you want is your officiant to slip in any surprise "submit and obeys."  Anyone can have a friend perform their ceremony, but not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. So I thought I would extend my services and experience to beyond just my friend base and help others get their perfect wedding day. And since I have weird hair and tattoos, I can bring a youthful modern vibe to the table. I am "cool", but I am a nerd and really weird and quirky. So Wicked Weddings was born.

Describe your ideal Wicked Weddings client and what you'd do for him/her. 
My ideal client would be a couple who isn't afraid to have the wedding that THEY want to have as opposed to what their parents or anyone else tells them to do--a couple that celebrates what makes them unique. I would tailor their ceremony specifically to them and have it be whatever they wanted, I would make them laugh in our meetings and on the day of, I would make them feel comfortable and taken care of. I would help them to have fun on the big day.  And I would choreograph the heck out of their first dance for them.

If you and your husband were to renew your vows in six months and you had a lavish budget (but realistically so--you can't fly 60 friends to Paris or anything), what would you do? 
I adored our wedding, but I would want the next event to be different.  It would be a smaller affair than the first one.  For fun, I would do all the things that I didn't do the first time: taste cakes, hire a caterer, try on different wedding dresses, etc. For the actual day, I would probably want to rent a big farmhouse or something in the country, string up lots of lights and serve cocktails out of mason jars, have BBQ, and hire a bluegrass band. There wouldn't be any big dancing or anything, just sitting around with my closest friends laughing, eating good food, smelling the dirt, telling stories and listening to good music. I would appreciate the moment and breathe in all the amazing things in my life.  And I would most likely cry a lot.

What's the best thing you ate lately? 
On Sunday at hour 12 of spectating the Iron Man, my friend and I went to D Lux in Madison and I ordered a whitefish and shrimp burger with sriracha dressing and cole slaw, with a side of truffle cream fries. I was so tired and hungry, that after the first bite, I said "This is the best meal of my life." I think even out of those circumstances, it would be a damn good meal. I would just add a beer or cocktail and a dessert to it.

What's the worst thing you drank lately?
What are you like when you're drunk? 
Oh, lawsy. Probably annoying as hell. I think I get really chatty and give unsolicited advice and tell secrets. My southern accent also comes out.  I don't know--you probably actually know better than I do. (smiley face)

Heh. You do tell fun secrets! What tips do you have for someone whose spouse is about to train for an Iron Man? 
Be patient, and be nice to each other. Be prepared to change your schedule to do things without your spouse. Don't assume that your partner is going to go to every event with you, and tell him/her that it is ok that they don't join you. I often felt guilty for dragging Fuzzy out to dinner or shows when he was clearly exhausted from hours of training and needed to go to bed early. Prepare to not see them on the weekends, and find other times to spend time together. I was lucky enough that we both had afternoons at home, so although he was gone all morning and I was gone all night, we could have quality time together in the afternoon. Know that there will be lots of new things in your house, and it is more expensive than you anticipate it being. Talk to each other about the emotional effects of taking on such a huge goal.  On the day of, drink lots of water and remember to eat. Be smart about your spectating plan. Finally, tell your spouse how amazing they are for accomplishing something that is next to impossible.
You're a very tattooed lady. If I held a gun to your head and made you go to a tattoo parlor tonight, what would you get done and where and why? 
Easy question. A few years ago, Fuzzy was cartooning a lot, and he created these characters based on our lives. He drew a little design for me of these two stylized versions of us, and it is about an inch tall and super cute. I would get it tattooed either on the outside of my right ankle or on my right inner wrist.  It is in my purse for if ever the occasion comes up.

What's your favorite music to dance to right now?
The music I tend to listen to the most is very down tempo and ballad-y, but the song I am listening to on repeat the most these days is "If I Were Free" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  The best song for me to choreograph to is one that when I hear it, I instantly see the dance in my head. That happens a lot to me when I am driving in my car. The first time I heard "Stompa" by Serena Ryder, I knew I wanted to choreograph a dance to it, and I put it in a show right away (but I have to say I am not a fan of the video.)  That was also the case with Intro by The xx. My power songs are "Suga Mama" by Beyonce and "No Diggety" by Blackstreet. I also love everything Big Freedia. I'm also 100% a 90s grunge girl, so I can never ever ever get tired of that, especially Soundgarden.

How does it feel to be the 362nd person interviewed for
I feels like what I imagine it would feel like to sleep on a bed made out of a giant toasted marshmallow. Which is to say, delicious.