Welcome fellow readers to the first Morbid Moments, an exploration into the unknown where we interview people who will definitely satisfy your morbid curiosity!
This week, Morbid Planet sits down with Vita DeVoid, an entertainer that brings life to any stage, even if she is playing the undead. Without further ado, Miss Vita DeVoid…
Erin Chapman: Can you tell our readers about your many talents? From what I can see on your Instagram account, you don’t just perform, you design and create as well.
Vita DeVoid: I’m a career burlesque entertainer, vaudeville performer, circus sideshow talent, stage host/emcee, costume designer, makeup artist, wig stylist, fortune teller, and teacher of all of these things. I do love being a creator, but the curse of this is that I’m always working on something. Very little time with a clear head.
EC: How did you get into this kind of work and how long have you been doing it?
VD: I’ve been at this professionally since the late 90s, it is a life of dedication. As far as getting into it, I was a self-starter. No one was really producing live entertainment outside of drag queen revues or fetish shows, so I found a nice window of opportunity to revive burlesque and variety talent and bring it to the stage. To my knowledge, I founded the longest-running show in Florida that focuses on this style of entertainment. Many connections to venues through a steady bartending career allowed me to utilize the venues I was already working in and it took off from there.
EC: What were you like as a child? Has creativity been coursing through your veins since then?
VD: I was bizarrely quiet. I wasn’t fond of kids, so I kept to myself and worked on music and art all the time. I was surrounded by instruments and art projects and passed my time creating. Any instruments my family could afford and keep my hands busy with. I also wrote a lot of stories, mostly dark fantasy and horror, strange tales inspired by the work of Baudelaire and Byron. I read a ton of books and still collect them to this day- in fact I have fans around the world who mail me care packages full of books and graphic novels they think I’ll like, and I love every single thing they send me. I devour creativity. As a child, and still today, I isolate and tend to be a hermit even though my work is extremely public. I need the quiet space around me to focus on whatever wacky things are brewing in my head.
EC: Tell me about your first big break into the industry? Did this influence the direction you wanted to pursue as an entertainer?
VD: I don’t feel like I had a big break. It just sort of flows, and I flow with it. It takes a lot of work and time dedicated to your craft to be able to create something worth selling. Things build and grow organically from a simple idea, and you just have to let it germinate into something your’e comfortable with sharing. I’d say one of the biggest events I was able to perform for was Lollapalooza 2012, with a sideshow company called Cirque de la Femme and DJ Zebo, based in Chicago. We were part of an opening act for Black Sabbath, and it was amazing. I’d already had my productions and touring shows for over 10 years by that point, but it was a wonderful reward for years of work. Big breaks. Well, when I was first working there was no YouTube, no way to have things go viral on the internet, all we had was printed news and I’d been on the front pages of plenty of papers. I focus more on keeping the work consistent rather than hoping something breaks for me and turns me into a flash in the pan. Longevity is important to a lifer like me.
EC: I found a video online where an audience member was stapling money to your ass. Can you tell me about that and do you incorporate other events like this into your shows?
VD: HAH! Yes, that happens at a lot of my shows. It’s a sideshow thing. It’s how we get gas money for the road. I like to tell people that I’m allergic to cash without a zero on it. As far as sideshow elements I blend into my variety performances, I also eat lightbulbs, swallow 5-foot-long balloons (that has gotten me many marriage proposals on the internet), perform Human Pincushion acts by putting spinal tap needles through my flesh, dance with an angle grinder throwing sparks off of steel costume pieces, and work with a lot of fire. I love it.
EC: Tell me about your favourite show that you have done and why?
VD: Easily my Lucille Ball “Vitameatavegamin” act. It was an act I threw together as a joke, and it ended up becoming my most-requested and most-toured act nationally.
EC: I love your make-up that goes with your costumes. Do you do this yourself and if so, did you have any professional training?
VD: When I was a teenager I really got into makeup art and was performing with a dance company that required heavy stage makeup, so I kept at it until I wasn’t terrible. Talent just means practice. I have no formal training but implemented a lot of my art classes and art theory into my makeup work. Small one-off classes on hygiene and technique helped, but it really just comes down to practice. I always enjoy turning myself into someone or something else entirely when I go out, or for my shows – often changing personas entirely through one full show. It earned me the nickname “The Chameleon of Burlesque” since I can pretty much turn myself into anything. You like redheads? Trees? Mermaids? You want Marilyn Monroe? Sure, I can be that for you. Makeup is the fun part. I also teach stage makeup and absolutely love helping other performers create the face that completes their act.
EC: What is your favourite costume that you have made and why?
VD: The Shape of Water. It was the first film I’d seen upon moving to California. It was so beautiful and inspiring. It made me feel like I’d found home. Del Tor’s work had affected me this way for years and years, and he deserves every bit of adoration this film earned him and his crew. The way he talks about his creatures is the way I’d hope a god could speak about his creations. The endearing heart and love that goes into his work really affirmed to me that I was meant to be a creator. I built the costume in 3 days, and it has become my absolute favorite thing in the world. Any excuse to bring it to the stage, I’m bringing it.
EC: What events do you have coming up in the near future? Where can fans find you on social media?
VD: Well, we are in dark times at the moment, I’m afraid. Due to coronavirus fears, every show I’d planned for the year has canceled. I’m hoping that I can still bring my Shape of Water act to the Glamour Geek Burlesque show at DragonCon in Atlanta this year, that’s my last potential standing event at the moment. You can find all of the acts I’ve mentioned on YouTube with a quick search of my stage name and the title of the act. My Instagram and Twitter handles are both @vitadevoid, those are the easiest places to find me. Due to adult content, I have restrictions in place to protect my work from being reported, so I have an age limitation on these. I am relaunching my OnlyFans site, and will be uploading videos on mentorship in the world of stage production, coaching, act creation, and posting filmed acts just for my subscribers. Just look for Vita DeVoid. I’m all over the place.
EC: Do you have a day job? What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
VD: I am a bar manager at Beetlehouse LA! It is a Tim Burton/Halloween themed entertainment venue, restaurant and bar in the heart of Hollywood, California. The food is amazing, the cocktail menu is fabulous, and the talent is brilliant. I absolutely love the place. I really wish I had official days off. I don’t really get to partake in that. When I’m not at Beetlehouse, I’m home working on acts or building costumes, fabricating props, working up stage makeup looks, or mentoring up-and-coming talent. When I’m not doing that, I’m playing my bass guitar or drumming.
EC: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome in your life?
VD: Discovering at age 30 that I was a Type-1 Diabetic. I almost died several times from it. It has affected my life in ways that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
EC: What is the most absurd thing that you love?
VD: Avant-garde Japanese rock. I am absolutely obsessed, and have had to fully embrace that I am in fact a music weeaboo. Dir En Grey, Buck-Tick, X Japan, Luna Sea ( I was in a music video with Inoran when he was with Muddy Apes! The song is called New Sunday.), The Gazette, Sukekiyo, Versailles, HYDE, Miyavi (Whom I was just able to catch in-concert in Hollywood!).
EC: Can you tell us one fun fact that not many people know about you?
VD: I cannot whistle or snap. It is so embarassing!
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