Savannah is curious, capricious, peculiar, and at times, strange. To only use the word eccentric is to reduce her complexity and charm. Savannah is the oasis of the South. She is hidden where the sun rises and behind pine forests and Spanish Moss.
Even her name rolls softly on your tongue. Her weather takes you to places of pure madness when you are dealing with her cruel heat and humidity. Madness that leaves us wearing close to nothing, and in return, we bare our authentic selves and dance outdoors until sunrise in the hot summer months.
I am convinced that Savannah is also a muse. She holds the key to so much knowledge about art and history. I am certain I have conjured upon her when my mind and thoughts needed to be free and so have the Savannah Sweet Tease.
I sat down with Anita Narcisse ak.a. Rita D’LaVane. She is a co-founder and performer with the Savannah Sweet Tease since its conception. Embarking on their 7th year as a performance troupe, the Sweet Tease have become a Savannah tradition and for that reason they have revived their Savannah themed show.
Do: So, Savannah is the theme eh?
Anita: “Yeah, when we were planning our shows for the year, we all agreed the Savannah themed show is one of the best. The first one was wildly successful and collectively we realized we are all so in love with this city. Individually our relationship with Savannah is real. From love, hate and at time frustrations. All the emotions you feel towards someone you have a relationship with. So, this would be our love letter. After 7 years many of us have put roots down. From marriages, to births to owning brick and mortar businesses. We are all a part of the city.”
Do: What is different about the city since the previous Savannah themed show?
Anita: “Savannah has changed so much since. There are new challenges and so many changes that have threatened the vibe that we have going on here. Things like the moving and relocating of “The Waving Girl Statue” to another part of River Street regardless of what it means to the people that live here. There is a new hotel popping up each week but not enough housing for the employees of said hotels that are being built. The scope of the city is only focused towards accommodating tourism, not our residents. Our residents are what made Savannah a tourist destination to begin with. The lives of some of its residents, the stories and its natural beauty which is preserved by locals. These are things that make tourists come and visit but we cannot forget the residents and what they bring to Savannah. “
Do: How would you describe the upcoming show and the production of it?
Anita: “We are taking you on a journey from beginning to end. We kick off with Asheville’s own “Bless Your Heart” which are a post-rock, alt-country duo. We are opening the burlesque show with a number telling the story of a favorite way to move around and travel the city — pedicabs. We have a waving girl number and so many stories that will resonate with all our locals. What I am most proud of is the way the show moves along. We take you from one location to the next almost in a tour like way.”
Do: What are your favorite things about Savannah?
Anita: “This place is like no other. You can come to this city create and build upon ideas and the locals will support it. Not sure if it is because of the percentage and number of artists that live within the city limits. But Savannah is the perfect canvas to express yourself. “