Illuminautians Club Dancers Use Flames, Sparks and Artistry-a-Go-Go
Since he brought the nine-member visual performance group together about a year ago, they've performed on stages like Dayglow, Ultra, Dancegiving, and have a regular thing going with Vice Lounge.
At face value, they're go-go dancers in raw outfits, but when you take into account their use of cryogenic guns, spark grinding, fire throwing, and balloon dropping, you start to see they offer more than just hip shaking. Icon spoke to us about the growing market for performers like him and his friends, his inspirations, and taking go-go dancing to a whole new level.
New Times: Where did the idea for the Illuminautians come from?
Antic Icon: Some of my friends, they do Dayglow, and when it was really small, I would just go out there and throw fire and whatever. They started to get bigger, and they started to book the Devil from Acapulco. I saw him and was like, "wow, he's like a visual performer, I've never seen anything like that." He was really my first inspiration.
I saw a window of opportunity to create my own character. It was first just going to be me and it was Illuminati ... Then I started to use Ill Ra (his partner) and I was like, "it can't be Illuminati anymore, it should be plural," even though Illuminati is plural. And I didn't really want to keep with that name because of everything else that comes with it. So I thought of Illuminautian. Really, Dayglow has helped make who we are. They have supported us the most, so I think a lot of credit is due to them. They're working with all the biggest artists. They give me the opportunity of getting my girls to perform with them and then everybody else gets to see it, so they've really helped with the exposure of it.
Each performance features the girls in different costumes. How do you decide the themes?
I call it inspiration from false prophets ... For instance, the jester outfit came from somebody telling me, "Oh, I can get you into Louis," and I thought to myself, "What can I provide for Louie?" That's kind of 1600s king style ... I created the outfits and then we didn't get into it. But I ended up using them for Dayglow and using them for other things. I started with clothing. I experimented with that first ... Then my friend got into Dayglow and I really wasn't making money from the clothes so I wanted to shift my creativity towards creating outfits for girls, and outfits for me as well... I knew that this was going to be a market that would be able to make money. I knew this was going to be the next level of entertainment for clubs. I was just sick and tired of going to a club and they got the DJ playing and there's no visual stimulation.
It seems like the electronic music scene has become a venue for a lot of new businesses.
Monetarily, I feel electronic music is really starting to become commercial and generating a lot of money. There's bigger budgets for more things, and I think it inspires more people to be able to jump into it.
How this is bigger than just some girls dancing? You use the term "visual performer." What does that entail to you?
Most go-go divisions, they're strictly just the dancer ... I'm creating more of a theatrical performance where, like I said, these girls are going to come fully dressed. I drop them off right in front of the club. The minute they walk out, their wings are open, they're taking pictures and interacting with people. They get instantly into the window and they start performing. And then that's the same way that they leave. I want it to almost be like a bank robbery. You don't know who these girls are -- they do their thing and then they leave. We're typically more expensive than most, but we charge that because all the outfits are hand-made, they're all original. They're really works of art that they're wearing. What I'm really doing is, I'm starting my own industry, and it's called performance production. Instead of having the pyrotechnics and the cryogen effects with all these things that are just hidden and then you press a button ... you have an actual character that's holding the cryogun on stage, providing more visual.
What are your plans for the future? Do you see your guys ever breaking off from the DJs and doing something on your own artistically?
We actually got a call from America's Got Talent to be on the show and they're inspiring me once again to put together my full package. We have our own Illuminautian DJ. I have a friend, Diego Val, that's a super talented singer, put them all in character, even have a guitarist that's shooting cryo, a drummer that's grinding. The DJ will be grinding, shooting cryo. Everybody instead of just being a musician is a visual performance musician. Like Blue Man Group kind of, but a little more extreme and sexy at the same time.
My overall goal with the Illuminautians is to somehow construct a way of awakening more people, pushing them to become more creative. Pursuing real passions instead of the kind of slavery system we have here where you just are a monetary slave. I don't really know how I'm going to do it, but that's in the back of my mind the whole time. I'm developing a tool which is the Illuminautians, which is the entertainment which will capture their eyes, and then after I get that I want to use that power to awaken people, make the world a better place.
Catch the Illuminautians at Vice Lounge Fridays and Saturdays.
-- Kat Bein
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