Thursday June 16, 2016

Burlesque legend Tempest Storm bares her soul

Yes, burlesque star Tempest Storm seduced a superstar and a U.S. president, but the man she married and the child they had were the real gamechangers in her life.

Yes, burlesque star Tempest Storm seduced a superstar and a U.S. president, but the man she married and the child they had were the real gamechangers in her life. (Mongrel Media)

Tempest Storm tore through the burlesque scene in the 1950s, attracting international fame and the affection of powerful men — including Elvis and John F. Kennedy. 

But the fiercely independent dancer is fascinating far beyond her fame and romantic history. For starters, she was sober in a drink and drug-fuelled industry. She later scandalized her fans by marrying to a black man at a time when racism was widespread and overt. 

Now in her 80s, the performer formerly known as Annie Blanch Banks has never retired. Today she joins Shad to discuss Tempest Storm, a revealing new documentary about her life on and off the stage. 

The dancer opens up about the high personal price she paid behind the scenes, the healing power of telling her own story, and what influential men are really like up close.

WEB EXTRA | Watch the trailer for Tempest Storm, which opens in Toronto and Vancouver this weekend, then scroll through some captivating images of the unretired burlesque legend.


Tempest Storm

Tempest Storm was offered another name early in her career: Sunny Day. Her reply? 'I don't feel like a Sunny Day.' (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)


Tempest Storm

Tempest Storm is in her 80s but, as she says, she doesn't plan on 'hanging up [her] g-string' any time soon. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)


Tempest Storm

'Advice for Young Women' is Tempest Storm's collaboration with Jack White. 'Don't look at yourself through other people's eyes. That's quicksand.' (Jessica Earnshaw)