We thought you might like to know more about Don’t Blink Burlesque co-founder and co-producer and the 2015 King of Burlesque Matt Finish. So….we found him amongst a pile of feathers and rhinestones and asked him a few questions for you!
Q: How did you start doing burlesque and become a performer?
MF: It was another performer, Philippa Rouge who convinced me to go to a burlesque show. I knew what burlesque was, but I figured naked women weren’t my thing. She finally dragged me to a show, and within 5 minutes I was hooked. Both of us signed up for performance classes with Fanny Galore (pre-Fox Den days) and I haven’t stopped since.
Q: You are clearly a trained dancer. Tell us a little more about your background.
MF: I’ve been in classes since I was 4. I started with ballet and branched out to other techniques later. I have a BA in Dance from UC Irvine and a Masters from The University of Arizona. In between, I danced with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo under the name Nadia Doumiafeyva. After grad school, I started teaching and now am the Director of Productions at Pima Community College in Tucson.
Q: How many acts are in your repertoire and which is your favorite?
MF: I think I have around 25 finished solos in my repertoire. It’s hard to pick a favorite! I think Toto was the most revolutionary for me because it was the first act where I really played a character and realized that in a burlesque performance there really aren’t any limits.
Q: You are an internationally recognized performer and have won several competitions. Tell us about the titles you hold.
MF: Oh, titles! They are fun to have. My first award was Most Comedic at The Hollywood Burlesque Festival in 2013. My first big title was King of A Peel ( it was changed from Princess which is still on my trophy) at the 2013 Iowa Burlesque Festival. I have medals for Master of Assels and Best Improv from the 2014 BurlyPicks New Mexico Regional and I went on to Win the International Master of Assels and be crowned the 2014 BurlyPicks World Champion. And in 2015, I was awarded this tiny honor: KING OF BURLESQUE at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Tournament of Tease. Later that year I was also crowned the Golden Legends’ Champion (my mentor was the Legend Kitten Natividad). I’ve also managed to snag spots on the Burlesque Top 50 (Most Influential Performers) twice: #48 in 2015, and #24 in 2017.
Q: What is your favorite thing about burlesque?
MF: I love burlesque because I get to be naughty. As a career ballet dancer even when I was doing satire it was very scripted. With the Trocks, I did the same jokes that had been choreographed in the 1970s. When I’m doing a burlesque act I can really get away with anything.
Q: What do you call that sparkly thing you wear over your man-parts?
MF: It’s called a codpiece! Some of my students call them my “penis chandeliers.” I really don’t like wearing anything else. I think that c-strings look like pool skimmers and thongs aren’t that flattering on me. I like unbroken skin from head to toe.
Q: Honestly, how long does it take you to get ready for a show?
MF: Honestly? I’ll get flack for saying a lot less than my fellow troupe mates! The hardest part is shaving everything. But from start to Finish (get it?), if I’m on task I’m done in about 45 minutes.