Perhaps you were lucky enough to witness a clowder of human-sized cats prowling the aisles of the Downtown LA Whole Foods a few months ago. These vibrantly colored, anthropomorphic kitties mewled their way through the store in the company of Granny, their benevolent owner, whose heart swells whenever a wayward feline needs a home.
And if you were wondering what kind of acid trip flash mob you'd just stumbled upon, well, it wasn't just a random act of performance art: It was the making of a short film about Furlesque. And Furlesque, according to co-founder Jill Evyn, is a multimedia production company that focuses on immersive entertainment, film, web, and TV content. The cats are just the beginning.
As you may have presumed, "furlesque" is a portmanteau word combining "furry" and "burlesque." Burlesque, of course, is the time-honored art of the elegant striptease. For modern audiences, it's been turned myriad ways, from the grotesque to the humorous to the downright bizarre. Furries, on the other hand, are people who appreciate the idea of animals with human qualities, similar to those found in cartoons. Many create their own anthropomorphic characters and either depict them on badges at conventions or go all out on their own impressive costumes, known as fursuits. Furries have often falsely been accused of being strictly fetishists, though for a majority of furries, there's nothing sexual about it. Furlesque, in its own way, combines the ideas of both furries and burlesque -- which, honestly, does add a certain level of salaciousness; as Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Michelle Pfeiffer have proven, there’s just also something inherently sexy about a woman in a cat outfit. But while Furlesque toes many lines in both communities, its creators do not specifically identify as furries.