April 1st, 2014 | by AARON SPENCER Arts & Books | Posted In: Theater, Dance

Burk Biggler, Portland Circus and Burlesque Producer, Dies From Asthma Complications

The performer, best known for his little-man strip teases, was 36.

     
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1016744_709396512413426_1253856541_nJohn Dutch and Burk Biggler in Miss Kennedy's Cabaret in February - Photo by Jason Standefer

Burk Biggler, a Portland performer and producer best known for his little-man strip teases and comedy acts, died Monday morning from asthma complications. He was 36.

Biggler often performed with massive circus man John Dutch, forming a comedically inconsistant duo—save for their pink tutus. Biggler was also known for his strip tease to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” and he was in a recent episode of Grimm as a clown. He recently produced shows at Shanahan’s in Vancouver, Wash., including a St. Patrick’s Day show during which the crowd got so drunk they stopped tipping. Fellow performer and producer Miss Alex Kennedy says before she went on stage, he offered to warm the crowd up a bit. 

“He stops and says to me ‘Hey, they aren't tipping too well so I'm going to go on before you and strip so we can encourage them to tip more,’” Kennedy recalls. “I cracked up for so long because...yeah, Burk you're right you should probably swoop in and save the day by stripping!”

John Dutch and Burk Biggler at Miss Kennedy's Cabaret, Jan. 2013. 
Photo by Beth Olson Creative

Burk’s friends are offering support to his mother Jo Dee, who often drove him to his shows and sat in the front row. “His mom adopted me as her daughter,” Kennedy says, “and he became my crazy little brother.”

“All he ever wanted to do was be silly and make people laugh,” Kennedy says, “and they did. I loved watching people double over in laughter when he took the stage.” 

Members of Portland’s burlesque and circus community are posting memorials on Biggler’s Facebook page, among them, performer Scott Maxwell, who wrote, “Your time here was well spent, my friend. You sucked some serious marrow from life's bones. I'm honored to have shared some stage time and some life time with you, and I treasure the memories, laughter and smiles that come to mind when I think of you.”

 
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