Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter The opportunity to see international burlesque star Dita Von Teese put on a complimentary performance was too tempting for many San Franciscans to pass up, which explains why so many people packed the Living Room Bar of the W San Francisco hotel on March 19. It was all to celebrate the opening of the W Beijing – Chang’an. Von Teese performed in a golden oversized birdcage, symbolic of China’s multi-century love affair with bird keeping, as her fans sipped Beijing-inspired cocktails and cuisine. Before the short but sultry show, which drew boldface names, including designer Karen Caldwell, Olga Dubrovsky and Gypsy Rose Lee’s son Erik Lee Preminger, to the VIP area above the bar, Haute Living chatted with Von Teese.
HL: You’re in San Francisco a lot. What is it about this city that you love?
DVT: This is my favorite city in all of the U.S. to perform. I brought my full length movie here a few times and we sell out almost immediately. We do The Fillmore usually. It’s like people (hanging) from the rafters. It’s the most energetic and diverse crowd. There’s something about San Francisco; it’s so liberated here and I feel like it’s a place that embraces all different kinds of people. I’ve always enjoyed coming here. I feel really supported here.
HL: Tell me about the bird cage you’ll be performing in tonight.
DVT: The W Hotels has created this bird cage art piece. Its not my usual bird cage because I have my own bird cage. But they created this art installation that people can take photos in after the show. I have a golden bird cage that it actually rains on in the inside. I can spin around in it on a perch and the finale is it pours rain down inside of it.
HL: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve performed in?
DVT: It’s never really weird for me because usually I make the props myself. A few times over the years people have built props and I’ve shown up and said “OK, here’s the thing. I’m going to see what I can do with it.” Christian Louboutin built me a giant shoe and it was way bigger than i thought it was going to be. There was a staircase in it. I said, “Oh wow, This is a very large shoe.” Sometimes i have to figure out what i’m going to do with the thing.
HL: You performed at a W New York and you’re going to the W Beijing. What is it about the brand that makes it right for you?
DVT: It’s hip and cool and fun. A lot of hotels (take themselves too seriously). I love staying here because the service is always great. I’ve stayed here over the years when I’ve brought my tour to town. It’s got that cool factor but still the service is up to standard for people who travel all of the time.
HL: Plus, the W is a pet-friendly hotel brand and you travel with your cat Aleister. Did you bring him on this trip?
DVT: I didn’t this time, but I should have. Sometimes on these short trips I don’t like to bring him on the plane. And also (in) my household, everyone wants him to stay there. They’re like, “please leave Aleister for us.” He’s very popular.
HL: He’s a Devonshire Rex and very popular on social media too, right?
DVT: He has 43,000 followers on Instagram now, which is about the same amount as Karl Lagerfeld’s cat so he’s pretty popular. He has a face that people love. He’s got a little bit of a Grumpy Cat thing going.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Dita Von Teese