In this series we explore the favorite haunts and hangs of notable SoCal residents.
Courtney Cruz describes herself as the "instigator of shenanigans." She's the producer and director of Devil's Playground Burlesque, L.A.'s purveyors of sultry and nerdy good times. They regularly perform at Hollywood club Dragonfly.
With their burlesque and wrestling events, Devil's Playground has lampooned pop culture icons, from video game and comic book characters to fairytale princesses and the idols of sci-fi and fantasy films. Their sexy parodies have made them Internet famous, sure, but Devil's Playground is popular in real life too. Their Star Girls show, a send-up of the epic from "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," consistently draws crowds. They'll be reprising the show in Orange County for a May 4th Star Wars fan celebration. It will be the troupe's last gig for a little while, as Cruz is expecting her first child at the end of May.
We caught up with Cruz to ask what she does on her days off.
What's your work schedule like? Do you work weekends or weekdays?
I work every day. I think that when you work for yourself, you work whenever you need to work. I always do something that's productive for my business at least once a day. Sometimes all day, sometimes for an hour a day. It depends. As far as my shows, those are always on the weekend. Friday night.
What do you do on your off days?
I go for massages.
Where do you go for massages?
I went and had a really good pre-natal massage at this place called Heaven Massage and Wellness Center on Ventura Boulevard the other day. It's a really unassuming place from the outside. Very simple sign, no crazy set-up for their window or anything. It was probably one of the best massages I've had in a long time. That place is gold. I spend a lot of time right now at Target, shopping for baby stuff. I'm trying to get the nursery ready.
How is that coming along?
It's different. It's a very different lifestyle from what I'm used to leading. All my money went into props and crazy costumes and set pieces, always for stuff for my show. Now my money is going to little tiny baby outfits. I do find myself online looking at baby costumes.
Where have you been shopping?
Target is pretty badass. Online mostly for them, but their in-store is pretty cool too. We're doing a tiki-themed baby room. You can't really find baby decor. If you look on Target's website or Babies "R" Us, you can't find that nautical theme. You can find jungle theme and you can find animals and things like that. We decided to do a tiki theme when we were in Hawaii for the last trip, just the two of us, before the baby comes. I searched eBay and Amazon looking for Japanese fishing floats, the glass ones with the hemp rope around them, and hand-painted fish. We're kind of doing the decor to look like the inside of a tiki bar.
Where do you like to go to eat?
I found this place that's a macrobiotic, vegetarian, vegan sushi place. It's called Shojin. It's inside of this mall. You go inside this mall and it's on the third floor. Again, it's unassuming from the outside, but, once you go in, it's super cool. Their menus are hand drawings from little kids, like crayon drawings. All their food is made for vegan macrobiotic diets, so there's no fish in it. There's no eggs, no cheese. There's none of that, but some of the best tastes that I've ever experienced. I think my favorite burgers are still In-N-Out.
Do you go to shows?
I'm going to a show on Wednesday in Pomona at the Fox Theater. It's Trent Reznor and his wife's band, How to Destroy Angels. My boyfriend turned me on to that. We had bought tickets to go see Alice Cooper, when he was playing the Orpheum, but with pregnancy brain and everything in our household being so different right now, we totally forgot that we had tickets. I think we were in the 13th row. It was one of those ones that hurt for a good two weeks after because we didn't make it.
[We followed up with Cruz after the concert.] How was the How to Destroy Angeles show?
The show was insanely beautiful. Crazy moving computer screens with light show and visual effects. As a producer, I love going to big budget production shows and dissecting it to figure out how they do what they do. I get inspiration from all the performers, entertainers, artists, and creative visionaries that I love. I have seen several of Cirque du Soleil's productions but when I saw "Kà," it literally brought me to tears. It was such an overwhelming and immersive display of art, an experience I will never forget .
How about movies?
I want to go see the new Evil Dead movie, but I've heard mixed reviews. My boyfriend and I were talking about it. I think a lot of these remakes, it's hard for us -- our age group-- because they're so personal to periods of time in our life. To see them modernized for the way the movie industry is now, instead of 1983 when we were seeing these movies, there's such a personal association with the original that I think it's hard to appreciate what it is now. But, I don't know, Evil Dead looks pretty good in the trailers, but I've heard mixed stuff about it. It's probably one that I'll wait until it comes on Amazon.