The Burlesque Poetess: A Jewess with “Artitude”

Jojo Lazar is a Boston-based multimedia visual and performance artist with a dizzying portfolio of projects. She puts her MFA in Poetry and love of vaudeville to work performing as “The Burlesque Poetess.” She plays the ukulele in the steam-crunk band, “Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys,” and with Meff in “The Tiny Instrument Revue” and in “WHY ARE THOSE GIRLS SO LOUD it’s ‘cos we’re jewish,” with fellow Jewish writer/performer Amy Macabre.

I wanted to profile Jojo on Jewesses with Attitude ever since her early days as the fanny-flashing Burlesque Poetess; then after I heard about “WHY ARE THOSE GIRLS SO LOUD it’s ‘cos we’re Jewish,” I knew I had to. I finally caught up with Jojo during National Poetry Month to solicit a Passover poem, and I also got a chance to talk with her about her background, her feelings about Jewishness, and her plans for the future.

On her Jewish background:

“I was raised in a very ecumenically spiritual home and educated in a Reform synagogue, I also went to Georgetown Day School (in D.C.), which at the time I thought boasted something like 40-50% Jewish students. The idea of the Jewish person as outsider, an emblem of Otherness was always with me somehow, and I knew staying close to Jewish community and also building new inclusive and open-minded iterations was something integral to my identity and to what I wanted to contribute to the People of the Book, as well as my own legacy. This is in part why I went to Brandeis, too.”


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