Q&A With Ethel Loveless

By Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2018 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Ethel Loveless is a burlesque performer and producer in Louisville. She is the host of Titty Tiki Tuesdays at The Limbo and Co-Producer of the Boots Off Burly Brawl, She has performed with Va Va Vixens and, with Beatrix B. Naughty will be hosting Boots Off Burly Brawl: A Burlesque Improv Competition! on April 13.


Keith Waits: How did you come to be a burlesque artist?

Ethel Loveless: As a kid, I never thought twice of being “naked” or wanting to be the center of attention, even if for a short amount of time. I found out about the idea of burlesque through videos of Tempest Storm, Bettie Page, and a specific Panic! At The Disco music video as a teenager, my life from then on had meaning. I no longer felt like the black sheep and wanted to know more about what was outside of my quaint, southern Catholic upbringing in Bardstown, Kentucky. I moved to Louisville and stumbled upon a local burlesque troupe booth at an art show back in 2013, and I was immediately sold!

KW: Do you find people frequently misunderstand what you do?

EL: I can definitely see where people misunderstand, but they’re thinking too much! Burlesque, to me, is magic. You’re not supposed to understand, you’re supposed to feel it, y’know? If you’re watching a performer, someone who has spent hours on costuming, listening to the same song literally over and over, practicing, just to have the chance to make you feel the emotion they want to you to feel. It’s empowering. It’s not just takin’ your clothes off, it’s being in the moment.

KW: Why is burlesque enjoying such a resurgence right now?

EL: Timing. There’s been a spark of local burlesque producers the past couple years that all have ideas to share with this city. I feel that times have been so tough; we have all been in need of outlets to distract us.

KW: What I see happening at burlesque shows is that the whole experience allows for an honest expression of sexuality in a safe space. Would you agree with that observation?

EL: I agree and disagree. I’ve seen/worked shows that left me feeling unfulfilled or hurt. It could be the producers, the venues, and the audience, even you. I mean every rose has its thorn, am I right? Luckily in most of my experience, I agree with your observation. I love watching performers really feel themselves to the point I just have to sit back and say “Damn, I love my life”.

KW: What other cities do you work in other than Louisville?

EL: Just this past year I’ve been branching out to other cities. I headlined Shrimp’s OH! Strip! Show: Boobstock last August, I was a one-time loser of Van Ella Studio Productions: Shimmy Showdown in St. Louis, I’ve seen a couple of the Rocket Doll Revue shows in Indianapolis and will actually be performing with them for their annual Titty 500 at the White Rabbit Cabaret May 5th -Exciting times in Loveless land. I’m focusing on more signature acts this year to travel even more in the future. This is only the beginning!

KW: When did you first start to be a burlesque entrepreneur?

EL: When I was 20 I left the troupe I had started with to perform just as Ethel as much as I could. There really weren’t any shows being produced, I had like, no connections other than other performers free-lancing like myself. I put together a couple of meetings with people I saw potential in. Long story short, I followed my intuition and it led me to the right people who saw the potential in me to do something great. I now produce and host Titty Tiki Tuesday at The Limbo Lounge and am co-producer of the wildest burlesque improv competition the South has ever seen, Boots Off Burly Brawl which is happening April 13th at The Cure Lounge. It’s been a long, crazy journey to get this far and I don’t plan on stoppin’!


Boots Off Burly Brawl: A Burlesque Improv Competition!

April 13, 2018 @ 8:00pm

The Cure Lounge
1481 South Shelby Street
Louisville, KY 40217

Boots Off Burly Brawl 2018 Contestants:

Boybarella (Indianapolis, IN)
The Delightful Miss Coco (Louisville, KY)
Dita D’Vile (New Albany, IN)
Ellie St. Cyr (Cleveland, OH)
Frenchy Larouge (Indianapolis, IN)
Jezabelle Von Jane (Easton, PA)
Madame McKay (Lenexa, KS)
Matchstick Merryweather (Metamora, IL)
Rex Marietta (Lexington, KY)
Shrimp Cocktail (Mayfield Heights, OH)
Sweet Nightmare (Louisville, KY)
Venus Pearl (Lanesville, IN)
Violet Minx (Louisville, KY)

Headliner: Patsy Blue Ribbon
And local favorites: Stevie Dicks, Buster Fireel, Victoria Delight

General Admission tickets on sale NOW.
Doors open @ 8pm / Show @ 9pm / 21+


Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including hosting of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. He has written for Louisville Public Media, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.