Anchorage’s oldest neo-burlesque troupe came to life in a little house in Mountain View: Call it the House of VivaVoom
It was 2005. Kamala Stiner and her husband, Frank, were on the hunt for a new home. They’d lived on the west side for years and that’s where they wanted to stay, but more than a dozen showings later, nothing was panning out. Then it happened.
“Our realtor came and picked us up one day and said, ‘Look, I found the cutest place and I know you’re gonna love it,’” Stiner recalled.
They drove into Mountain View, “And I was like, ‘No. No, no…no.’”
But then they pulled up to a property with lots of windows and a big yard. When they walked inside, Stiner’s “no” turned to “yes.”
“I didn’t even have to see the rest,” she said, sitting in her sunny kitchen one Saturday afternoon. “I already knew that this was our house.”
Within a few months, they were all moved in. That was about the time Stiner and a friend launched VivaVoom Brr-lesque, the first act of its kind in Alaska. Their vision for the group was vivid and dynamic: part variety show, part striptease; a celebration of entertainment and women and history.
Over the years, it grew into so much more, Stiner said. VivaVoom performed for packed audiences around Anchorage and took the show on the road. The little house in Mountain View hosted photo shoots and workshops and basement band rehearsals and endless parties.
Stiner found herself drawn to the variety within the neighborhood around her — pristine new construction on one block, chaos on the next; tiny, hardy survivors of the ’64 quake next to crowded, pipeline-era apartment buildings next to matching, modern single-family homes and duplexes, all filled with people from all walks of life. In a way, it’s like the art of burlesque itself, full of surprises and color and character and spice.
“That’s what makes it so great,” Stiner said. “I love the color in this neighborhood.”