Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
Age: 31, Occupation: star of the burlesque stage, mermaid and all around show person. I come from Detroit, Rock City and I currently live in the wholesale flower district in Manhattan.
Three for You
1. For the folks more at home in flyover states than in semi-debaucherous NYC, please describe why performing as a mermaid in a 9,000 gallon aquarium for drunk investment bankers is better than performing as a waitress at a Hooters, serving wings and family-oriented sass.
As a mermaid I am isolated in my magical underwater world. I don't see the investment bankers and drunkies. I leave the grounded world and submerge myself in my own dreams.
2. Does the art of underwater dancing require any special training? Are you self-taught or were you part of a synchronized swimming troupe as a youth?
I am self-taught. Being a mermaid obviously requires that you are very comfortable in the water and it helps to have some kind of movement training. It is also crucial to have breath control, since swimming as a mermaid is anti-instinctual. (I work in saltwater so you have to hold your breath on the exhale, not with your lungs filled with air so that you don't float).
3. The New York Times has called you "the bemused blond of downtown performance art" and you recently participated in the 2004 Whitney Biennial which means your appeal is not relegated to below 14th Street. Do you have any inspirational role models such as: Amphitrite (the sea-goddess wife of Poseidon), Daryl Hannah (who played a mermaid from the depths of the Hudson River), or Courtney Love (a lost soul drowning in her experimental art piece called "life")?
Role Models huh? Well to be honest I often think of Sigourney Weaver in Aliens 4 in the underwater swimming scene. I really like her swimming technique, not to mention the fact she's so both the beauty and the beast.
What's your New York motto?
I M NY
Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
I trained Kate Winslet how to be a mermaid at the Coral Room for John Turturro's upcoming movie "Romance and Cigarettes".
Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
When I think about leaving NY, I'm not leaving NYC but the United States as a whole. When W took office I seriously considered leaving the States, but now it is a little bit of a goal to get kicked out, like Charlie Chaplin not like Roman Polanski. I'm worried about brain drain in this lovely city of ours and strongly believe in the fight for the right to party in any way we choose.
Just after midnight on a Saturday - what are you doing?
Backstage, taking a deep breath ready to go onstage and dazzle. You can catch me at the Slipper Room, the Slide, Coney Island Freak Show, The Coral Room in NYC. In SF at the VaVaVoom Room and in Chicago at Martyrs.
Where do you summer?
What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
I got a standing ovation. Us New York girls might not be as style-ey as those LA girls, but we got that edge that you can only get from living in the biggest city in North America.
Medication: What and how much do you take?
I take meds only recreationally.
The End of The World is finally happening. What are you going to be doing with your last 24 hours in NYC?
Fucking on stage.
On THAT note, please check out more of Julie and her upcoming performances on her website, Julieatlasmuz.com. Photo credit: Andrew Brusso.