Lefty Lucy’s flannel fans

June 6, 2010

Photo copyright Monty Leman, 2009

The night of my debut I was lucky enough to see Lefty Lucy perform a fantastic fan dance, but with no feathers used at all.  For those of you who have been reading since the beginning, as a vegan, I don’t use animal products, so trying to find a way to do a fan dance without the feathers has forced me to try and become creative.  When I saw Lucy’s fans backstage I knew it was something I would love to share with others!

“Fan dancing is a staple of burlesque, and I wanted to figure out what would make my fan dance unique. I am really impressed when I see someone like Dirty Martini or Catherine D’Lish do a fan dance, but I’m not yet skilled enough to do a pretty fan dance. I needed a “gateway drug” so I could at least begin getting more skilled at fan dancing, but I didn’t want my lack of skill to make the act look sloppy or unintentional.


I love Nasty Canasta’s Car Alarm fan dance, and I love when people do fan dances with things that aren’t fans, like Little Brooklyn in her mechanic act, or Sapphire Jones in her lunch lady act. All of that had

Photo copyright Davonroe, 2010

been on my mind for awhile, and I’d been watching a ton of fan dances at shows and through youtube. There are three main elements that usually inspire an act idea; One is the costume, one is the concept/character, and one is the music. For this act, I heard the Richard Cheese cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, and “apathetic fan dance” was my first instinct. I instantly knew that this would be my tribute to Kurt Cobain and the imagery of the grunge movement of my youth, and fans made out of old flannel shirts from thrift stores seemed perfect. I also found the contrast between apathy and the beauty of a fan dance amusing, and thought I could play with that.

I spent a few weeks collecting plaid flannel button down shirts in the right colors from various thrift stores, bought a yard of tissue lame to give the fans some shine, and went to home depot, bought some wire, and asked for as many free paint stirring sticks as they’d let me take. My friend and costume designer David Withrow (DW) was living with me at the time, and he helped me figure out the physics of making fans that work, and patterned feathers for me. I then spent a few weeks tracing the pattern and cutting out a billion faux feathers in a

Photo copyright Davonroe, 2010

few different sizes, and once all the materials were ready, I E-6000’d the staves together. David took it from there, and assembled the “feathers” in to the fan I use now.”

-Lefty Lucy, 2010

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3 Responses to “Lefty Lucy’s flannel fans”

  1. Great post! Love these fans.

  2. Tanya said

    these are so rad! didnt make it to brooklyn this weekend but got to see the lovely lady who commented above me! 🙂 kind of a small world?

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