"We initially came up with the idea just as a joke," says producer/performer Linzy Beltran, who created the female-led jazz and comedy show Jazz Kween with Sarah Marine and Jessica Pyrdsa. "We were like, 'Oh, we should be Jazz Queens' ... because Sarah's from New Orleans and Jess is a musician and I do a lot of comedy in town."
That joke quickly started to sound like a pretty good idea to Beltran.
"We actually noticed that jazz and comedy are pretty much -- for the most part -- male dominated, she says. "And we were like, 'Well, let's have a platform for women and people who are non-binary.'"
"All of a sudden, we had a date booked and we had a venue booked and we were like, 'Uh-oh. We better... get prepared," says Pyrdsa. They got prepared, put on their first show on Valentine's Day, and got immediate positive feedback.
"We were like, 'Wow, people really what we're doing,'" Pyrdsa says. "And every time we do it, we just get more and more interest from different performers and comedians. And it's just so beautiful that people are actually taking to this thing that kind of just started as kind of a funny idea that we had."
Marine started as a behind-the-scenes producer, but the inviting and supportive atmosphere of Jazz Kween made her feel more comfortable taking the stage herself. "I grew up singing, but I never really had a community behind me, and I had crippling stage fright. So this was a nice way to get past that," she says. "I've been there from the beginning doing planning and now performing at each show, and it's been a nice way as a non-performer to kind of get over that fear and get up there on stage."
"Something I really love about the show is that we introduce music people to comedy... and vice versa," says Beltran. "A lot of my comedian friends don't go to music shows. I work in the music industry but I also do a lot of comedy, and I'm like, 'Please come together. Both are very beautiful.'"