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February 3, 2012 / Siobhan Argent

Julie Atlas Muz for Apocastrip Wow!


Published February 2011 in Beat magazine

“It was lovely lying in bed, luxuriating in my curlers [and being] naked, talking to you.”  Julie Atlas Muz manages to purr even when her throat is cigarette-style croaky after sleep. She’s on the phone in Sète, France, yawning constantly. From what I’ve gathered during our conversation, she’s really coming across as a reserved type.

Muz is an experienced burlesque performer with signature acts that include a fake severed hand and a giant bubble big enough to fit a person inside. She’s been part of the Whitney Biennial (2004), a well-known art exhibition in New York for emerging visual artists, as well as winning the Miss Exotic World and Miss Coney Island pageants. She also used to be ‘head mermaid’ at the now-defunct Coral Room in New York, where she swam in a 34,000 litre tank for customers of the bar.  In February, she’ll be in Melbourne to perform her Apocastrip Wow! show with fiancé and stage-partner Mat Fraser, and it’s quickly becoming clear that from Muz’s perspective, being open intellectually is hardly any different to being naked on stage doing her eccentric live shows.

“Well when I’m on stage, I like to think that there’s a beautiful open dialogue between me and the audience.” Muz says. “As comfortable as people think I am on stage, naked, I am like any other performer, riddled with insecurities. I need to be loved by at least two hundred people a night, otherwise I feel valueless.”

Having two hundred people applauding you every night for performing naked has to be an ego boost, surely. But then there’s the unexpected caveat of crowd adulation.

“You would think it would just be good for your ego (and it is good for your ego), but then it sort of creates this spiral of ‘Do they really love me?’” she chuckles.

Muz is passionate about seemingly everything she’s done in the art world, but her fiancé, Mat Fraser, seems the obvious winner in Muz’s estimation. A well-known disability activist and performer, Fraser is over in Ireland as we speak, filming his part in Irish soap opera Fair City. Muz can’t help but get gooey over Fraser. Even she admits that she “always had a wandering eye” before she met Fraser, her newfound I’ve-only-eyes-for-you mode is something that still has her Polish parents thrown.

“It’s sickening, it really is sickening.” Muz says. “It’s like my Mom says,” and at this point, Muz launches into a heavy Polish accent, “‘Do you really want to get married again?’ I was like ‘Yes, Mom. Are you going to come to the wedding?’ She’s not convinced. She really likes Mat a lot, but she’s not convinced!” she laughs.

You can tell Muz is always up for a chuckle. It’s an approach appreciated by Australians, who apparently rule the roost when it comes to Muz’s audience preferences.

“Australians are the best.” Muz says. In her shows, “Americans are a little too cool for school, so they don’t really play along very well…English people will make a fool of themselves. Give them half a reason and they will, so that’s no fun…the audience likes to watch one of themselves, to watch one of them volunteer and be shy at first, and then transform, and then there’s a dramatic arc right there. That’s what makes the best audience contestant, someone who has an inherent arc. They want to be wild and free, but they just need a little bit of a push. That’s what is the most beautiful thing, and Australians are naturally like that.”

Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser will be performing Apocastrip Wow! at The Gershwin Room, Esplanade Hotel, on 21 and 22 February. For more information see www.espy.com.au.

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2 Comments

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  1. Red Hot Annie / Feb 5 2012 3:01 AM

    Love seeing burlesque featured! Very cool, and I’m a huge fan of Julie Atlas Muz! xo

    • Siobhan Argent / Feb 5 2012 8:00 PM

      Thanks Annie! She was a lot of fun to talk to – I’ll post an extended version of the interview soon, there was so much more to be said…

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