For World Goth Day: Becoming Bettie Page

May 22 is World Goth Day — the perfect time to extol the virtues of Becoming Bettie Page, for it seems to be me you can draw a line from those dark beatnik bangs of Bettie Page’s to those of Jean Brooks in The Seventh Victim and from thence to a million vampirellas who came later. An interesting thing about Page however was that though dark things happened to her, she herself was as sunny as the Coney Island Beach on which she was discovered by photographer/off duty cop Jerry Tibbs. Coney Island USA’s Dick Zigun and scholar/dancer/actress/director Chicava Honeychild of Brown Girls Burlesque have been developing this theatre piece about Bettie for several years. This past week they presented a panel discussion (via Zoom) about what they’ve been working on, moderated by Adam RealMan. Dick opened the program with a talk about the Funhouse Philosopher’s program at Coney (their in-house stock company), the genesis of the project, and about the history of CIUSA’s building (which was formerly the Bluebird Cafe, whose in-house musician was Champion Jack Dupree). Chicava, who co-wrote and directed the stage workshops, spoke about the process of getting it on its feet in 2018 and the many hands who contributed. The program’s centerpiece was a promotional film created by Seedy Edie (Elle Anhorn, who plays Bettie) and the team, containing biographical info about Page and fun, spot-on period re-creations of her stag films, co-starring Francine the Lucid Dream, who was also a cast member of I’ll Say She Is. Portions of the film are to be included in a future live production of the play, which we very much look forward to seeing. To stay apprised of that and all Coney Island USA productions, go here.