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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"So keep your head up Billy, buddy"
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September 05 2012

Whedonesque (no relation. ed.) Burlesque - Seattle. After five sold out performances, Whedonesque Burlesque has left Seattle. Here are the cast photos. ('Whedonesque Burlesque' is not affiliated with our website. Ed.)

I still think it's (pause to find non-expletive version) weak tea that they use the name of a site that's existed for ten years despite it not being at all connected.
b!x, I was thinking the same. It took me some time to figure out what this possibly had to do with Whedonesque, the site. I might be cynical to think it was done intentionally.
Perhaps you are being unfair.

They want to do burlesque with a theme of Whedon characters (I assume from the title). "Burlesque" ends with "esque". I'm not saying that they coined the word "Whedonesque" independently. But it is the most catchy word to title their show; therefore, the fact that they are using it does not mean that they are trying to piggyback on this site, only that it's a catchy and descriptive title.

Another possible justification: I tried to think of other catchy titles and a lot of them started with "Joss Whedon's . . ." which would suggest a personal connection between JW and what happens on stage, and that would be offensive.
only that it's a catchy and descriptive title
Typically speaking, it's considered unethical to use a term that's already in use. "Whedonesque" might not be registered with a trademark office or anything, but established prior -- and ongoing -- use usually warns people off. Or, to my mind, should.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-09-05 19:59 ]
Also, call me a prude, but I don't care for burlesque and I think some people with kids who are new to the Whedonverse because their kids loved Avengers might get confused by Whedonesque the site, and mistakenly link it to Whedonesque, the burlesque people.
I could have gone my whole life without seeing "Malcolm Reynolds" licking his pistol and died happy. Now, I'm just scarred.
I think some people might be a little over sensitive to this issue because it's so similar to the topic of legal use rights. And if you frequent this site, you'll know that copyright infringement is a major hot button issue in here. From Dr. Horrible "live" shows to OMWF sing-alongs to "Buffy nights" in local bars and most recently, that Firefly MMORPG issue. Sometimes these obvious infringements are just so over the top they make me shake my head in wonder. It seems so simple, if you "borrow" some one else's property, and they don't give you permission, its called stealing.

However, in this instance, I don't think its stealing. I think its safe to assume that over 99% of the internet using public is quite unaware that we exist. On the other hand, it is a show that features everything Joss and therefore, I'd think the chances are that the producers of the show are very familiar with Whedonesque the website. On the other other hand, we are dealing with an actual burlesque review! As in -esque.

I don't agree with b!x's assertion that they are being unethical. IMO, its fine for a burlesque show to "borrow" an uncopyrighted suffix for a five day show. Obviously, if they decide to put up a website called WhedonesquePlus or something similar, that would be crossing the line.

It should also be noted that their twitter account is, "WhedonBurlesque" and not "Whedonesqueburlesque." Again, this indicates a lack of intent to confuse the public. The ironic thing is if their live show were to become a huge hit that ran for years on Broadway, they could copyright the term and send Caroline a cease and desist...and despite being in the right, who's got money laying around to protect the trademark on a non-for-profit fan site?
It should also be noted that their twitter account is, "WhedonBurlesque" and not "Whedonesqueburlesque."

Not quite. Their Twitter handle is @WhedonBurlesque but the name used with the account (the one used in retweeting, conversations etc) is WhedonesqueBurlesque.

But they sent us an email a year ago and I think the matter is now closed as apologies were extended for not giving us credit and not getting in touch. Someone in Madison came up with the name first and wires got crossed. Burlesque isn't my thing but these guys are fans, they're not trying to make money off us unlike others I could mention.
And at least one person assumed it was related and at-replied to @whedonesque about it the other day. It's an obvious recipe for market confusion and should have been avoided.
Twitter has account name character limits, hence the name I'd imagine.
And the site's name inspired a spaceship. So there's that.
Drat! Thanks Simon

And yes b!x, I think I'm second guessing myself, also. Not so much because of the twitter name or because a couple people replied to the wrong twitter feed but because they don't really have the "right" to use Whedon. My justification was that they are only borrowing the "esque" but that's not really true because they don't have the right to the name that is being expanded.

If they had the right to Whedon, adding the suffix seems totally acceptable. But they don't have that right and therefore, the entire name, Whedonesque, becomes the base word and therein lies the issue.
Now I'm wondering how much Caroline would charge for the licensing rights to Whedonesque. I can totally see it now, Whedonesque: The Movie. It could happen! Who'd play Simon? Who'd play QuoterGal? Would Brad Pitt play b!x? Would Joss be attached?

In my head it has a very Being John Malovich feel to it. Then again, Joss writing and/or directing a film about a website devoted to his own work....yeah probably best kept in my head. (At least in there, only I'm calling the author a hack.)
Oh god. I clicked on the cast photos, the guy dressed as Cap Mal with his gun has blinded me.
QuoterGal is playing me.
Years ago I thought I should have been played by Jodie Foster or Sissy Spacek, and a little later it was Laura Linney, and just after that it was Jennifer Coolidge, but now we're in Camryn Manheim country, and then ultimately, the late Shelley Winters.

No one can play gossi. Even he has trouble sometimes.*

(*Apologies to Tallulah Bankhead and the writers of the Baby Snooks radio show.)
Charge? Me? For anything? Make money? Huh?

Seriously, I don't like that this is confusing people, but there's nothing much I can do about it.

In future, perhaps we can link to it (if we absolutely have to) without using the word 'whedonesque' in the title of the post.
The name's become so ubiquitous I think people treat it as an actual adjective. A complete stranger I was speaking to used it as such in conversation the other day, and I don't think he was referring to the site. But by all means, protect your intellectual property!

As to these photos, besides the obvious examples of YoSaffBridg and Bad Horse's Mom, what exactly makes this "burlesque"? Also some of them I didn't recognise as Whedon characters.
daylight, the images were taken as part of the Burlesque show that took place in Seattle on Aug 30. (I hadn't noticed this before but there is a shoutout to this website at the bottom of the linked page.)

I attended a session about Whedon burlesque at Slayage 5 (and Vancouver's Geeks After Dark had a recent Whedon-themed night). It seems a whole lot clearer to me since seeing that presentation, the level on which burlesque operates as a fan phenomenon. Pretty sure pictures of the burlesque-parts would make it nsfw.

[ edited by counti8 on 2012-09-06 17:13 ]
However, in this instance, I don't think its stealing. I think its safe to assume that over 99% of the internet using public is quite unaware that we exist.

Very true, but when it comes to Joss Whedon fans, I think a very large percentage of fans (40%? 50%?) are aware of this website. At least perhaps came across a link to here to one of Joss' own posts over the years that many other media sites picked up on. Meanwhile this type of burlesque is mainly targeting Whedon fans, which is why there has been some confusion.
At least they didn't have a picture of The Hammer. (No, I don't mean Thor's).

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