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Interview: Dina Martina

The cabaret star and “surreal raconteur” plays Cafe Istanbul Feb. 27


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Last year, cabaret star, performance artist and "surreal raconteur" Dina Martina sold out One Eyed Jacks with an evening of dubious entertainment that included the world's shortest version of "The Rose" ("Some say love/Becomes the rose") and an energetic take on Duran Duran's "Rio," during which the performer simply gave up and ate a plate of spaghetti while the music played.

  The self-described "old-time hoofer with a ballpark figure" returns to Cafe Istanbul this week for a return engagement.

On your last visit, you compli-mented New Orleans' RadioShack. What else impressed you about the city?

Dina Martina: The video games and the track lighting.

We're known as a culinary capital. Are there any foods you look forward to trying?

DM: Yes! Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I'm really interested to see how your Cheerios differs from ours. And I bet your day-old bakeries are real good, are they?

What songs have caught your ear lately? What can New Orleans look forward to hearing you interpret?

DM: I like free songs best, so "Happy Birthday" has really been stuck in my head a lot now that it's back in the public domain. And although I don't like to give away too much about my show in advance, you can bet that whatever I do sing, it'll be in English.

Your look is instantly recognizable. Do you have a stylist, or are you your own creation?

DM: Thank you so much. I don't think I have a stylist. But as a woman, I've always aspired to be recognizable. For the children.

Does Dina Martina have super- fans? If audience members want to please you, what should they bring as an offering?

DM: I think I have super fans, definitely. And although I certainly don't expect them to bring me anything, I would never dream of depriving them of that pleasure. So if they really wanted to bring me something, I would like toffee, fried rice, clogs, rare coins, Dulcolax and Lark Voorhies.

Is Dina Martina political?

DM: Sure, if I'm provoked.

What do you think of the 2016 presidential candidates?

DM: I was just making a pie chart about them this morning. I think that if they were bananas, it'd be time to make banana bread.

What do you hope audiences take away from your shows?

DM: The silverware.


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