July 9, 2011
September 16, 2010
I had met Kat Mandu at the book release party that I performed at and she was such a sweet lady. I had originally seen her perform at that now infamous Jim Thorpe Burlesque festival that set me on my path to where I am now in the burlesque world. I didn’t get to talk to her in Jim Thorpe, so the book release was my time to bond and get advice. That was why I was so sad to find out that Kat is soon leaving to go to grad school in London for a year.
In order to send her off in style, Siren Song Burlesque, a show she co-produces with Boo Bess the Baroness, had an England themed show a little while ago, London Britches falling Down held at the Delancey. I asked if I could get in on the action and was invited to come kitten.
I quickly worked to create my very own Union Jack bustier which you can see in the picture. I wasn’t the only one sporting one though, Sticky Ricky, who did his burlesque debut that night had a very charming union jack speedo like bottom he stripped down to and Boo Bess had an ever so glittery bra and panties set which she got down to and wore for the rest of the night to host in.
Other performers included B.B. Heart was blew me away with an act where she sang and went from sweet blonde to chaotically and dramatically ripping off clothes in between verses. Misty Lux (the only official Brit in the house) did her glass walking act which always impresses me. Sizzle Dizzle did her NY act, as Kat had requested, which I also saw at the Jim Thorpe burlesque festival. And the lady who inspired the nights show did a wonderfully hilarious tribute to brit comedy by envoking Mrs. Slocombe from Are You Being Served?
It was a smashing good time, and what even made it better was that including myself, there were 3 vegans in the show! I spoke with Misty Lux and B.B. after the show and they were totally excited about the idea of a vegan burlesque brunch with all the NY veg burly-q people!
July 27, 2010
I need to make this a short post because it is late and I should really be in bed, but I couldn’t wait any longer! I had been invited by Lefty Lucy and Sizzle Dizzle to help out in their new burlesque production, Drive Thru burlesque – a 3 part burlesque show that goes from 8pm till way late into the night at the Parkside Lounge.
I had been invited to go-go and kitten, which i was excited about since it was my first go-go gig. I had made two separate mixes to go-go to in case there was some extra time. I also took an old burlesque costume and added so much more dangle and sparkle, it was ridiculous!
On the way to the Parkside Lounge I got to stop by Babycakes Bakery – an all vegan establishment that specializes in gluten free and some sugar free desserts. I got a doughnut, which was delicious, though I was expecting a fried doughnut and this one was more cake-like in consistency. Still I had little time to get from work and make the 7:00 call time, so this sufficed to keep my energy (and sugar levels) up during the show.
Now, I had made these go-go mixes and was super excited to dance to them, but unfortunately time constraints made me have to shorten my go-go time. Although I was sad, it was also nice because the sweltering heat wave hitting NY made for super sweaty go-go dancing. Backstage I could literally ring the sweat out of my hair it was so ridiculous. So I did my go-go, which went well except I slipped out of my shoes a few time from being so sweaty. I made a fan in the audience who just thought I was the cat’s pajamas and kept praising me from her seat. I also had a lot of fun.
After this I kittened for 4 performers: Philly Caramel, Franny Fluffer, Gemini Rising (who I Slipper Room debuted with), and Little Stormy doing a magic act with her husband, Magic max. The ladies were kind and friendly backstage and before I knew it, the first act was done. I jumped up and danced until the next go-go lady, Beelzebabe agogo, was ready, and then I caught an act by Clams Casino and lefty Lucy before having to head and out meet friends.
It was a hot night outside, but inside it was even hotter. No, really, I was sweating like no one business. It was a great experience though and I can’t wait till my next chance at go-go dancing.
May 16, 2010
Earlier in the week I got an email from Doc Wasabassco asking if I could help out at their show on Saturday. This time would not be stage kittening, but rather behind the scenes work to make sure things ran smoothly. Of course I agreed to help and looked forward to the chance to meet and get advice/ hints from more performers backstage, plus see some more great acts!
Doc had told me I wouldn’t have to be dressed up for the show since I wouldn’t be seen, which made the night a little less stressful. I got to the City Winery around 10:30, found the really hidden dressing room in the basement, and started to help out. Compared to other shows I’ve been to, the number of performers at this one was astounding! I went around and introduced myself to the performers I had no met yet, and then started to do my backstage job – trying the CDs to make sure they worked, check the stage, learn how to work the curtain and make sure the performers were on deck when needed. Ends up the band before the burlesque show was The Crash Test Dummies (yes, that band with the guy with the super low sexy voice) so I also cleaned up left over bottles and swept up guitar pics that were left on the stage.
The stage kitten for the night, Hazel Honeysuckle, was very sweet and nice and we struck up a great conversation about transitioning from burlesque student to burlesque performer, showcasing and how to get cheap promotional pictures taken. It also felt good to know some of the performers I had met before remembered me, and Nasty Canasta even complimented my stage name!
One of the fun additions to the striptease ladies was Chris McDaniel, a trick roper who was charasmatic, charming, and put on quite an entertaining act! As for the burlesquers, I could write so much about each performance, but for time’s sake (and to prevent eye strain for you) I’d just talk about Madame Rosebud. In college I studied fine art and fell in love with performance art. I was chosen with three other classmates to perform at the Brick theatre which inspired us to start an underground performance art troupe on campus. Watching Madame Rosebud’s act made me nostalgic for my performance art past. Her act was intense, dark, cryptic, and so different from any other burlesque I’ve seen in person. She threw herself on the stage, she gyrated in the air and did all kinds of dance moves ranging from sexy to jerky and robotic. She began the act completely covered and wore a mask for most of the act. By the time she finally took off the mask and peeled off the tight black ski mask like covering to reveal her blue and turquoise mohawk, my mind was blown (even though I knew the mohawk was there, it was still shocking to see the reveal). Mixing in themes of bondage and kink, her performance left you startled and excited, but also in shock of what you had just experienced. If you ever have the chance to see her perform, I can not recommend it more!
The night seemed to go by so fast and soon it was time to say goodnight. I thanked all the performers and Doc, who said I should do my Wasabassco debut with them soon, and made my way home. I was giddy and my head was spinning from excitement. The experience was fantastic, but I had a busy day on Sunday and needed to get home and sleep!
May 2, 2010
This past friday (April 30th) I got to stage kitten for the first time. I was pretty nervous and flustered that day with a mix of excitement and worry. There was still so much I didn’t know but I was excited to learn. To help calm my nerves I watched the burlesque episode of Rupaul’s Drag Race with the ever so wonderful Dita Von Teese, the Queen of Burlesque, as a guest judge!
I had put my hair into two tight buns in the morning so by 7:45 when I took them out they had a good amount of curl and wave which I set with hairspray and gel. I never used hair products growing up, so I was pretty impressed with how well it stayed! I also gave myself a little volume bump in the front to off set my sailor hat I’d pin on at the venue. I then got started on my makeup, using Kandee Johnson youtube videos to assist me on smokey eyes, eyebrow arching, and applying false lashes. Sizzle Dizzle, who was the other stage kitten had suggested I do hair and makeup at home since you can never tell how well lit a backstage area will be. I actually got the fake lashes on, which is a big step for me since I’ve failed at attempts in the past. It was semi difficult finding fun lashes that are vegan, but I’ll save that part for another post!
My partner and I then quickly made our way to the Q train to get down to Coney island. Upon arriving there, I met up with Doc Wasabassco and headed backstage. Sizzle and Gigi were already there as well as Keith Bastard, who was doing a special song and dance peddling Burlixir, the Wasabbasco ‘medicine’ for the medicine show. While the other ladies made their way in, Sizzle went over kittening do’s and don’ts with me and also showed me how to fill out the sheet for the music cues. Keith, Sizzle and I did one run through which consisted of Keith doing his really funny routine and then Sizzle and I running on stage, acting like excited tweens at a Jonas brothers concert, and then going out into the audience to sell the Burlixir during intermission.
Before I knew it, the show was beginning. Although I was not nervous to be on stage, I was very nervous about missing or losing a costume piece when it was my job to pick up after a performer. Luckily, I got every piece every time and also didn’t flub any stage prop setups. The ladies backstage were really nice and considerate but seemed very busy and focused, which I could understand considering the difficulty of some of their acts. When it came time for intermission, we ended up selling almost all of the Burlixir and I had a fun time joking and working the audience.
The second half seemed to fly by and all the ladies (GiGi La Femme, Nasty Canasta, Sapphire Jones, Gal Friday) as well as Keith and a juggling act named Der Achten Taschen did a fantastic job, though I was somewhat jealous I didn’t get to watch them front and center. Finally, the night ended with a champagne bath as a tribute to Tirza’s Wine Bath Revue that used to happen in the 1940′s at Coney Island.
Originally I had planned on wearing a sequined outfit but after realizing I would be having champagne poured on me at the end of the show, I decided to go with my vintage bikini instead. GiGi and I got in the tub, and the rest of the ladies poured champagne on us, which they collected in cups and gave out to the audience. (For those of you who may know me from college, this wasn’t too different from that one Peddle to the Meddle performance I once did!) After all the champagne was gone, I went backstage, toweled off, got dressed, thanked everyone and headed back to the Q to go home. It was a fun and exciting night where I went from nervous to really pumped and stoked at the end. I hope I have more kittening and eventually performing in my future!
April 25, 2010
It was a pretty jam-packed weekend so far, but to save y’all having to read a super long entry, I will break Friday and Saturday into two different posts (though in my mind it has all been one big roller coaster).
I left work early on Friday to take my 2 hour commute home where I had about 15 minutes to change from mellow work clothes into a retro glam outfit for my night of burlesque. Huffing and puffing, I quickly tried to curl my hair (no luck) and head out the door to catch the 5 train. I very carefully did my makeup on the subway, and got out at the 14th st station, where I quickly ran to Quad Cinema for a special showing of Behind the Burly-Q. This documentary follows burlesque (burlesk) as it grew in popularity during the 40′s via vaudeville and thrived during WWII till its sad downfall into the late 60′s-70′s. The stories are told by the performers that actually lived it including Dixie Evans, Tempest Storm, and April March plus many others. Even if you are not into burlesque, the film is fascinating just from a historical perspective and gives insight into a world of performers that they previously did not get to speak out.
The movie was followed by a quick Q&A with the director, Leslie Zemeckis, and April March (with her daughter and granddaughter in tow). This weekend was the US premiere of the movie, and I have no idea how far screenings might go, but if you have the possibility of seeing it, I highly recommend it!
After the movie, I met up with my friends and we headed down to Coney Island for the kickoff of Burlesque at the Beach. Since I had been rushed to get to the movie, I took my time in the car putting on my mini fishnets and heels so I’d be ready for the show.
Wasabassco had put together the show for the night and it starred the reigning Miss Coney Island 2010, Miss Gigi La Femme as well as Nasty Canasta, Melody Sweets, Keith Bastard and Snake Charmer Nikki Le Villain, plus Sizzle Dizzle and Jenny C’est Quoi stage kittened (picked up after the performer, kind of like a stage crew with more face time). The show had a great energy and a friend from my burlesque choreography class (Cheeky Lane) showed up. The show centered around Coney Island and side shows, but brought some other amazing and creative burlesque to the stage.
Earlier in the week I had emailed Doc to find out how I could eventually join Wasabassco when I felt more comfortable and had an act ready. He told me that he typically books performers he has seen before and that many performers get their start by volunteering and kittening so they can get some backstage experience. He did say that he was also considering putting together a show of first time performers so I should introduce myself at the show and we could discuss things further. Fast forward to after the show, with me all smiles and excitement from just seeing some high quality acts. I eventually make my way up to Doc and reach out for a handshake.
“Hi, I’m Danielle. You told me I should introduce myself to you.” He shook back, “Indeed you should! So you read the email and what did you think?” I kind of stammered out something about how I completely understand and am interested in volunteering for Wasabassco in the future sometime. ”Well, what are you doing next friday?” he asked with a grin. I look back, shocked “possibly going to a burlesque show?!?” ”Fantastic, how about you stage kitten with Sizzle Dizzle then?” I nodded and thanked him and kind of walked off in a daze. It was mind blowing to think that less than a month ago I had gotten my first dose of burlesque and now in a week I will actually be on a burlesque stage during a show! The rest of the night was a blur with me reeling from the excitement. Oh my gawd, so much to do in one week, and I don’t even have a stage name yet!?!
April 12, 2010
This past Saturday night I attended my first burlesque show in NY. NY actually has a pretty active neo burlesque scene with different shows running nightly all over the NYC area. Through the wonderful Sizzle Dizzle I was tipped off about one happening in Park Slope at
Union Hall (which she happened to be performing at). I made sure to take it easy on Saturday, did some striptease aerobics, downloaded some music to possibly start choreographing to, and then started the beautification process. I did some new fancy makeup styling (which will be featured in another post), tried out a new retro hairstyle, pulled out a dress, heels, gloves, grabbed my coat and I was ready to paint the town red!
I headed over to Park Slope, first grabbing a quick bite to eat at S’nice, a wonderful little vegetarian sandwich place nearby in Brooklyn (as well as Manhattan) that I highly recommend. I then headed to Union Hall and anxiously waited down in the basement for the show to begin.
This show was organized and hosted by Doc Wasabassco and featured several ladies, and one gentleman, who performed an amazing show. Two of the women were even doing their burlesque premieres that night, which was an inspiration to me. The show was amazingly creative and involved such varied exciting aspects as a walrus, Ms. PacMan, a fake sausage boa, and Carmen Sandiego (plus more). I sat in the audience and jotted down notes between sets in a little notebook like the good little burlesque student I am. Since Wasabassco is a Brooklyn based show, I plan to try and get more details about performing with them. Being located so close it could be a great place for my first performance, whenever that might be. Overall it was a great experience, a great inspiration, I was rocking a pretty amazing hairstyle and I can’t wait for the next show already!