Glam clowning: From Dada to Gaga – a conversation with Le Pustra

Anna Sophie Jürgens, Le Pustra

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter examines how avant-garde aesthetics and style have (re)appeared in popular entertainment and contemporary performance since the late 1970s. It focuses on the fantastically long life and performance traditions emerging from a specific Dada costume from 1923. This costume was reinterpreted in 1979 by David Bowie, reinvented by Klaus Nomi and, with explicit reference to both, refashioned by Lady Gaga in 2010. However, this costume appears most extravagantly and elaborately in the contemporary performances of “Vaudeville’s Darkest Muse”, Le Pustra. Le Pustra is the artistic director of Le Pustra’s Kabarett der Namenlosen, a contemporary reimagining of the cabarets and nightclubs of 1920s Berlin; he features in the blockbuster drama Babylon Berlin, and regularly performs on the international circuit in cabaret, burlesque and variety. Called an avant-garde artist, his work is inspired by both the historical avant-gardes and circus/vaudeville aesthetics. In conversation with Le Pustra, this chapter analyses the artist’s interpretation of the Dada costume and his understanding of “avant-garde” and “circus”.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCircus and the Avant-Gardes
    Subtitle of host publicationHistory, Imaginary, Innovation
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Electronic)9781000552362
    ISBN (Print)9780367757281
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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