dapperQ strives to bring brands, apparel, and accessories that our masculine-of-center followers are obsessing over. Femmelicious Productions produces a platform for these stylings. “Butchlesque” is a music-and fashion-driven showcase of butch-identified lesbians displaying various concepts of the “butch” identity. Because of this symbiotic relationship, we tracked-down Femmelicious Productions CEO Kim Herbel and posed a few questions to her.
Q. You don’t appear to be a masculine-of-center lesbian. Do you mind telling us, then, where the idea for “Butchlesque” came from?
A. I didn’t come out as a lesbian until I was 41-years-old. Although I had always felt that I was a lesbian, I wasn’t finding myself attracted to the women I was going out on dates with. Then I saw my first butch and I nearly slid out of my seat! From then on I was saying things like, “that’s one hot butch”, or “she’s so butch”. In short order someone pulled me aside and said, “You can’t be throwing that word around. People don’t always consider it a compliment”. I couldn’t understand the negative connotation attached to the word “butch”. That’s when the seed for “Butchlesque” was planted.
Q. This is an event where 15-20 self-identified butch lesbians take to a catwalk to give the audience their individual perceptions of what it means to be butch.
A. Yes! And those two words — “individual perceptions” — are of paramount importance to the show’s vision! “Butch” covers a broad spectrum, and we want as many variations represented as possible.
Q. What are the criteria for what constitutes “butch” for your show?
A. Applicants to the show are all self-identifying as butch. If the number of applicants exceeds the allotted number of contestant slots, then we resort to democratic processes such as first-come, first-accepted; or by paring-down the candidates through social-media voting. I am not in the business of policing gender identity, nor is anyone else on the creative team.
Q. What can the audience expect at a “Butchlesque” event?
A. Well, for one, a great opening! We like to give our contestants what we refer to as their “rock star” moment where, hopefully, the audience regales them as the backbone of the lesbian community that butches have always been. Then we get down to costume changes as the butches compete in categories of “Dapper”, “Beefcake” and “Crowd Favorite”. We always encourage — and the show thrives on — audience participation & energy. Nowhere is that more apparent than during the “Crowd Favorite” segment. Typically, the butches work their way through the audience, dancing & demonstrating their swagger, in order to collect votes. The butch who collects the most votes is declared the “Crowd Favorite.”
Q. How has “Butchlesque” been received?
A. All the way around, “Butchlesque” has been a welcome addition to the community. I measure our success not only in attendance figures, but in the feedback from our participants and followers. I continue to hear from audience members and contestants alike, who feel that something is finally available that “speaks to” their lifestyle. Our contestants stay in touch with one another, in sort of a “butch brotherhood”, long after the shows are over. It’s also not unusual for our shows to be a bridge to romance for a few of our contestants & audience members.
Q. You’ve garnered quite a following in a short span of time. Where can interested followers – and promoters in other cities – find you?
A. You can follow “Butchlesque” on Facebook and on Twitter. We also have a website, Butchlesque, where followers can stay abreast of contestant / show details, as well as read insightful articles by guest bloggers from across the country. Our following is not limited to the masculine-of-center community, either! Femmes are always encouraged & welcome to follow and add content! We crave well-rounded feedback from the LGBT community!
Fans who want an insider’s look at show production are invited to join our Facebook Group where contestants and the creative team share ideas, photos and offer cyber-backstage access to the production experience.
Q. What is next on the “Butchlesque” event horizon?
A. We have already started production for a “Butchlesque” New Year’s Eve show & dance party at the Gulfport (FL) Casino & Ballroom. We’ll begin accepting contestant applications in the fall. Meanwhile, I would love for other communities across the country to have the “Butchlesque” experience, so I’m always looking for ways to make that happen. Also, I’m hoping to bring the show to the large Pride events around the country.
And there you have it, dapperQ followers! “Butchlesque”! Coming to a city near you!