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Meet Talloolah Love of Metropolitan Studios and The Atlanta School of Burlesque

Today we’d like to introduce you to Talloolah Love.

Talloolah, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Georgia. I never planned to come back once I graduated high school and went to college in Colorado, but family and circumstance pulled me back and eventually I ended up in a burlesque troupe in 2002. I assisted with costumes in their very first show, and by the troupe’s second show, I was one of the staple dancers. I even wrote my very first group choreography with them in 2005 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have never taken a break. Not in 17 years have I ever taken a break. I just love it so much.

I think it was 2007 when I went to my first international festival in Boston MS where I saw what burlesque was capable of. It opened my eyes to the scope of possibilities in ways I wasn’t seeing in the tiny community here, and I wanted to make Atlanta become a part of the larger conversation. When I got back to Atlanta, I helped found Syrens of the South, I was part of Torchy Taboo’s Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum Fundraiser at The Star Bar, I helped to create the first burlesque school in Atlanta: The ABC’s and 123’s of Burlesque. Finally, to help curate and educate burlesque performers throughout the city, I started The Burlesque Atlanta Society where folks could come together, talk about the local events, history, politics, and even work on peer reviewing their numbers so that they could get feedback and video of their performances. That went on for a little over a decade. I only just stopped holding them last year.

By 2013, no one was teaching burlesque classes anymore that you could speak of. Ursula Undress gathered a few seasoned performers together from the community and asked if everyone would like to start a new school at a studio in the city. Eventually, we realized that we wanted more than just a couple of classes… we wanted an entire building where we could create a community, a refuge, a haven for underground grassroots artistry and that’s what we did. Metropolitan Studios was born from a vision of Ursula Undress, Roula Roulette and my self. One that’s taken a lot of sweat equity, love and glitter to make realized. From the school, we created Candybox Revue, which, for many has become like a whole new family. We create something so beautiful, powerful and meaningful when we all get together because we are all from such rich backgrounds, cultures, sexual identities, sexual preferences, ages, and races. We all have a unique voice, and we are still looking for more because representation is a huge part of what makes the burlesque I want to see in the world special.

Burlesque has taken me all over the globe. I get to produce The Dragon Con Glamour Geek Revue to over a thousand people every year because of my vision and contacts gathered over the years. For all of it, I am INCREDIBLY grateful. Because of burlesque and the people I have surrounded myself with, I am an infinitely better person for being in and helping with building this community. It is my hope that as we grow from here, people see what we have to offer. A haven. A space of freedom of expression, non-judgment, and encouragement in a time when I think the world needs it most. I feel like we are doing exceptionally important work but packaging it in an incredibly fun way. With dance, self-love, and body positivity, WHATEVER that body may look like.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Folks come to burlesque because they need to say things without limits. That attracts all walks of life. Burlesque is limited by you and you alone… oh yea, and a few blue laws (archaic clothing regulations for artists).

I think that our biggest struggle is the struggle with ourselves. I don’t know that Burlesque has more folks that self-sabotage than any other art form, but I find that the biggest struggles I have had are from people who become toxic because they can’t seem to get out of their own way. Including my self. Coco Rose said something to me once and it’s really resonated: “We all take our turns being toxic people” and I absolutely agree. I have DEFINITELY gotten in my own way many times, and that can take many forms. Either by cutting corners when I know, I shouldn’t, gathering the wrong people to me, disregarding my own needs, or not rehearsing a number like I should, self-harming, or letting my ego get in the way… Things like that.

I think the best way to approach anything is to just roll with the punches, and be willing to let things or people go when they no longer serve you or bring you happiness.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Metropolitan Studios and The Atlanta School of Burlesque – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Metropolitan Studios is about bringing forward voices, beings and artistic expression from the margins. Our desire is to make anyone who comes into the feathered lobby feel like they’ve entered an exclusive space for people like them to emote, express, enjoy, and entertain to their heart’s desire. Metro brings me no end of joy, and I hope that is the same for everyone who comes into our space. So much love, attention, and care has gone into the very walls, floors, trim and glittered furnishings to hopefully convey our love for the messages we want people to receive by attending our studio events or renting it for their own event or workshop purposes.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Honestly? I want to take what we’ve learned, and what we’ve teased out of Metro and open our own Burlesque venue. You know Lips? That glorious drag venue? Why can’t burlesque have a Lips? That’s my dream, but it’s just a dream for now. We are in our third year going strong with Metro, and I believe wholeheartedly that we have the moxie, we just need the opportunity to unfold.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Metropolitan Studios
    1259 Metropolitan Ave. SE
    Atlanta, GA 30316
  • Website: https://www.metrostudioseav.com/
  • Phone: 4042192003
  • Email: classes@metrostudioseav.com
  • Instagram: metropolitan_studios_
  • Facebook: @metropolitanStudios

Image Credit:
Danielle Boise, La Photographie, Marc Turnley

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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