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Red Rum

Photo by | Black Pearl Photography

A little bit PEEPshow, a little bit FREAKshow, a little bit CREEPshow!

Hailed as the ‘Queen of Halloween’ and the ‘Lon Chaney of Burlesque’ Red Rum is a multidisciplinary artist whose formal background is in painting and video art. She earned her MFA in Painting & Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. After two years experimenting with her own video and horror film special effects she was quickly creating live Grand Guignol style performances in Chicago galleries under the collaborative umbrella of Death By Design, Co., a special effects and video based company founded with her colleague Teena McClelland. Piloted by an Innovative Art In Chicago grant opportunity, DxD transformed any space into a film set where clients were invited to engage in an in-depth conversation with life through the creation of their own “Hollywood” style death. With this project, DxD sought to offer a safe vehicle for exploring ideas on myth, storytelling, cinematic illusion, celebrity, and our own mortality.

After 5 years immersed in Death By Design, Co. the transition to burlesque in 2010 seemed to offer the perfect combination of her love for makeup, prop building and the catharsis of a live audience. While exploring the scene she noticed performers who approached macabre and gory topics still had a concern with keeping the face beautiful. What would happen if grotesque figures and faces were presented in the same medium that elevates beauty, sexuality and fantasy? Is there something meaningful in the space between attraction and repulsion, between what is deemed acceptable by society and what is taboo? RedRum’s work has always taken shape out of the things we are most afraid of. It is not only a way of processing the fear but a means of protection against it.

Always keeping in mind, "if you can't do something better do it different" RedRum has been headlining burlesque productions across the country and currently produces this grand annual event called Satanic Panic: An Evening of Paranoia & Power that puts a spotlight on epidemics of moral panic through history. Choosing narratives that combine elements of sex, death and humor, RedRum twists the expectations of traditional striptease and utilizes it as a vehicle for storytelling and grotesque transformation.

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