Pastel Supernova: Smoke Show

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Pastel Supernova in The Naughty Nutcracker

You run out of fingers counting all the things Pastel Supernova does. Pin-up Doll (2 calendars under her red leather belt), Burlesque Dancer (reigning Miss Burlesque Ontario), Dancer (incl. pop heavyweights Nelly Furtado & Lady Gaga), Actor (commercials, music videos, movies she graces) and where she truly shines, Choreographing, Styling, Producing and Performing in her baby, Love Letters Cabaret. After a sold-out 3-show debut last Valentine’s, she’s knocked 2 more Love Letters’ productions out of the park (The Bacchanal & The Naughty Nutcracker) and is celebrating Love Letters’ 1 year anniversary with the salacious new cabaret Smoke. Bringing to life the fantasies of women sweating out their nights working in a cigar factory, the women pour their vulnerability, madness, and sexiness all over the stage, while still remaining powerful, a Pastel Supernova signature. She loves her ladies strong, her dancers are her army, and they suck you in with every gesture and glance, the littlest details giving away their true desires. We caught up with Pastel between rehearsals to get the dirt on Love Letters’ and how she became Supernova.

You have an incredibly diverse background in performance, incl. spoken word, singing, and dancing, what have you learned and how do these experiences shape your work now?

Through it so far, I’ve learned exactly how much I love performing, and how much I truly love the audience. For so many reasons the stage can disappear at any given time so no matter the size or the venue or the state of my day to day life at that time, I always enjoy my moments performing. I have less tolerance for the schlepping though. It’s all given me insight to how to better present what I want to share and also where I want to take the cabaret.

Describe the moment when Pastel Supernova born. If you say from an exploding asteroid, I may be inclined to believe you.

I was born a week late and feet first on Beltane on the hour of Venus, Goddess of Love, in the month of the arsty feminine storyteller. That’s 100% true.

Your parents are a natural born glam team. Your mom has hand-sewn some of your most fabulous costumes and your dad is a hair guru. What are a couple of key things they’ve taught you, inside or out, that we see every time you perform?

Intelligence, love and a passionate curiosity for life will forever keep me inspired.
What was your original vision for Love Letters Cabaret? How has the reality matched the fantasy?
I had two main intentions for Love Letters. The first was to create work, inspired by the past in honor of strong, confident women. The second objective was to create an environment where the audience feels – free “feel animal/ primal” for at least the duration of the show and ideally beyond that. So far the cabaret is off to a good start. Smoke will be our one year anniversary show and over that year I’ve choreographed four full-length shows with a  strong and beautiful ensemble who is now being followed by a loyal audience…  My plans are larger and include more live musicians, a touring company and a few more details but for year 1 I’m happy with our accomplishments.
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Love Letters’ Cabaret feels like a babe gang. Paint a picture of the weeks leading up to a Love Letters’ cabaret show, from initial concept to team tassel-sewing to when the lights come on.
My purpose is to tell stories, so the shows are very autobiographical, down to it’s abstract nature. I make up a concept, develop it into a theme and start playing with music right away. From ‘go’ I already have the movie version in my head so come audition time I know what characters to look for. Rehearsals begin… I work my dancers out hard… I make them dance in next to nothing… then costume time rolls around. Depending on the story we may or may not change outfits but we definitely peel down and because we are all individual characters in one story, I need our wardrobe to be unique. This is around the time costume parties are organized, my mom comes in from out of town, we buy some booze and get the glitter out.

Love Letters Cabaret has explored everything from the bacchanalian to the naughty side of the Nutcracker to now the fantasies of cigar factory workers. Is Love Letters the place where impulses and desires don’t have to apologize?

Exactly. As a culture we are way too censored and apologetic for even thinking certain private thoughts and I find that ridiculous. When you come into my Love Letters house, it’s all love and no judgement. All respect and lots of fun.

Love Letters’ latest Valentines’ production Smoke is a glimpse into the fantasies of a woman. Where do these ladies’ daydreams delve, do you have a story that’s a personal fave?

The daydreams and fantasies range from an ideal murder to a stoner’s hallucination to a memory of an intense love affair…
And a few other things in between. Every time I run the show I have a new favorite… Seems to depend on my mood that day.

In all the Love Letters’ shows, the women are incredibly strong and powerful, even when they’re wild and unpredictable. What female icons inspire you and what is it about them in particular?

Sophia Loren, Madonna, Angelina Jolie and my mother are major influences… They are always strong, and unafraid of showing vulnerability. They are creators, innovators and a huge inspiration because despite never quite fitting in, they stayed true to themselves, which is exactly why they stand out.

The most surprising thing about Love Letters is in the midst of all the sexy, the Cabarets have a wicked sense of humour. Do you always like a little tongue in cheek in your shows?

I am always surprised when the audience gets my jokes… Comedy is a new monster for me so all I do is stay committed to the task or conflict and see what happens.
After a personally challenging year, you’ve mentioned you’ve found solace in performance and expressing yourself through the stories you tell in Love Letters. How would you describe your relationship with the stage? Is it your rock? Is it your confessional? Is it your punching bag?
The stage is my home. I feel free there, and it takes a lot of work getting there, like heaven.

How does performing make you feel in the moment?

It’s difficult to describe what performing feels like but I can tell you it feels right… I thank my audience every minute of my life for allowing me to do it for them.
Keep up with Pastel's latest performances and pinup adventures  at @pastelsupernova @lovelettersTO and @lovelettersTO and http://www.pastelsupernova.com

Catch Pastel and her army in Smoke Feb 13 & 14 at Lula Lounge and hunt down @pastelsupernova @lovelettersTO and http://www.pastelsupernova.com for her latest creative endeavors.

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