Interview: Q and A with Dina Martina

Dina Martina is coming to the Flying Beaver Pubaret in Toronto

Because I haven’t seen Dina perform I’ve been reading about her in order to prepare for this. I’m struck by the contrast of the statements I found while doing my research. On the one hand, people clearly adore her. They call her a living legend. On the other hand, they follow the statement of adoration up with the statement that she has no talent.

An article by David Schmader, published in The Stranger, is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. He says:

DINA MARTINA is a living legend. Singer, dancer, raconteur, she is the quintessential post-postmodern celebrity, a one-woman Circus of the Stars. To those who have experienced the magic of Dina, she is a reason to live. To those who have not, she is nearly impossible to explain. … The primary fact that one must understand about Dina Martina — beyond her stature as a superstar entertainer without peer — is that she is in possession of not one shred of discernible talent or grace.

That brought two questions to my mind, first, ‘How does it make her feel?’ and second, ‘What can this performance possibly look like to have both statements made by the same reviewer?’

 SM – So, how do you react to these kinds of statements? How do they make you feel? Do they effect the work you do?

DM – I usually go into anaphylactic shock and sink into a month of deep, deep depression.  Fortunately, though, it doesn’t effect my work because electroshock therapy is making a big comeback.

SM – For those of us who haven’t seen you perform, what can we expect from your show “Sitting Ovations”?

DM – A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever.  My mother used to call it an immensely entertaining tragedy, and actually, when I was little her nickname for me was “Little Tragedy”.

SM – What inspired you to begin performing?

DM – It was always in my blood, I guess.  When I was four, my mother entered me into the Little Miss Las Vegas Pageant, and during the talent competition, I sang a lovely piece by Johann Strauss. I won, and started doing a lot of commercials. Mostly baby shampoo and cereal commercials…I was the Johnson’s Thumbtacks Girl, which you probably remember.  Then I got into modeling when I was a teenager, mostly print work, for the Braille edition of Vogue.

SM – What inspired this piece specifically?

DM – The two years when I was a Navy Seal.

SM – This is your first solo performance in Toronto. Do you think Toronto audiences are ready for you?

DM – Actually, I did solo performances up here at We’re Funny That Way in 2006 and 2009, and although those audiences were largely homosexual – not sure what was up with that – they seemed fairly ready, so I feel confident that normal people would be ready as well.

SM – Thanks Dina.

Well Toronto, are we ready for Dina Martina? I know I am.


Dina Martina will be appearing live at The Flying Beaver Pubaret (488 Parliament Street, Toronto)
– Performances are on February 9, 10, 11 and 12 at 7 pm
– Tickets are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door
– Tickets are available online, and at The Flying Beaver. Reservations recommended, call 647-347-6567