Burlesqueadelphia asked Sharp Robert to put down his light saber for one short minute and answer a few questions about his art. He agreed, but refused to remove his superhero mask. We agreed to the terms because, how can you say no to such commitment to nerdlesque? Stay up to day with Sharp Robert on his Facebook Page.
Burlesqueadelphia: How long have you been involved in Burlesque? Why?
Sharp Robert: I’ve been a fan of burlesque for about six or seven years and performing for around two. I’ve always been a fan of live entertainment and artistic expression. For me, burlesque combines so many types of expression that I find it really liberating to be able to construct something that isn’t bound to a set of rules about how to do something the way many types of art or creativity can be. Your limits tend to be your creativity and your budget. There’s usually a way to work around the budget.
BXPHL: How did you choose your stage name?
SR: My stage name was chosen for me by Nasty Canasta, a NYC performer and creative genius. I’m pretty sure she invented burlesque or ruined it. The way I heard the story was my name would come up around her and she would say that she knows a lot of Roberts and needed a clearer identifier of which one was being mentioned. So Sharp Robert was born. When I moved to Philly from NYC people here already knew me as Sharp Robert so I just rolled with. Can’t mess with branding when it’s working.
BXPHL: How would you describe your persona onstage?
SR: My stage persona tends to shift with the character I’m portraying because I don’t really do acts as Sharp Robert. I tend to inhabit a character and try to bring that energy to that stage.
BXPHL: Why do you love performing for Philadelphia audiences?
SR: Philly audiences tend to be a cross section of different communities that are wildly accepting of different points of view. They are excited for the show and want to see the performers succeed. I personally try to give them more than what they paid for and the appreciation and acceptance I get back from the audience is always amazing.
BXPHL: How do you invent/create your costumes?
SR: This is always a collaborative process between me and the costume designer. I like to sit down with the person actually constructing the pieces for me and explain whatever is bouncing around in my head then get feedback on how my idea can be improved or simplified. I’m lucky to be able to work regularly with the some awesome costumers like Liberty Rose, Sway Bradbury (Closet Champion), Magdalena Fox (Booty and the Geek) and Masokiss.
BXPHL: Where do you get your ideas for different acts?
SR: I primarily consider myself a nerdlesque performer so I tend to get my ideas from pop culture. One of my jokes is that I only really do nerdlesque acts as supervillains. Then it kind of stopped being a joke and started being a reality. It usually takes me a month or two to come up with a act that I actually like. I’ll find a character that is speaking to me for one reason or another then sort of come up with a straight forward concept for the act. After I settle with that I try to figure out a way to either make that character even bigger and more ridiculous or subvert the audiences expectations of the character or act. It takes awhile for me to really pin down what I want to do and none of my acts are ever finished. They are always evolving as I gain more experience and perspective on whatever it is I’m trying to say.
BXPHL: If money were no object, what would be your dream burlesque act?
SR: Well, my eventual goal is more of a show than a act. I want to create an immersive burlesque experience in Philadelphia that has a longer run than one or two nights. It’s going to happen. Stay tuned. In the meantime go like The Bare and The Bold Burlesque on Facebook! Come to a show! I promise they are super fun.
**Now for a special BONUS section**
10 Random Sharp Robert Facts, by Sharp Robert
My favorite color is purple.
I have over 500 ties
I have over 100 bow ties
I have a room in my apartment that is dedicated to nerding out
I have 8 lightsabers
I have two cats and they have pirate names (Ask me about them)
I was once an air traffic controller
I grew up in Detroit but there’s a rumor I’m Canadian
I have three alter egos
I am a member of a secret society