Heather MacAllister, 1968-2007: Founder of a burlesque troupe for large women
Friends and allies of Heather MacAllister gathered in Detroit today to recall the woman who was not only an assertive advocate for gay rights and social justice in general, but also a flamboyant performance artist who founded the San Francisco-based Big Burlesque, the Original Fat Bottom Revue, a dance troupe that features large-size women…She died Feb 13 in Portland of ovarian cancer.
Eulogists talked of MacAllister’s outrageous sense of style, “bodacious body,” fierce intellect, passion for social justice, high-energy flirting and her perception that there are links among the struggles to alleviate racial, sexual or body-size discrimination.
MacAllister fought especially hard against “fat phobia,” as a speaker defined it Sunday. “Steeped in shame, blame, buried deep in the folds of our bodies, it is virtually impossible to come across a fat person who has not internalized it to some extent,” said Davis, who read an essay written by several people. “You can’t even be sure when you meet a fat person that they identify as fat at all, or if they can bear to hear the word.”
MacAllister’s burlesque troupe of big-sized women turned fat phobia on its ear. The dancers performed around the country, and caught the eye of Leonard Nimoy, the Trekkie-turned-photographer who immortalized them in a book and photo exhibition for a New York City gallery….
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[photo: (Shiloh McCabe)]