got a name, now what?

April 28, 2010

Last you read I had decided on my name.  So, what comes with a name and what needed to be done to choose that name?  First off I had to do an online search for Facebook, MySpace, the yahoo burlesque name database, and as a domain name by itself to see if it had been taken.  With some performers using MySpace and others Facebook, you can never tell where someone might be promoting themselves.  After checking and deciding, I added my name to the database, quickly opened a new Gmail account for Anja Keister, which then allowed me to make a Facebook page.  The domain name is not taken, so once I start doing shows and have more publicity pictures, that will be the next major internet challenge for me.

The next promotion task is to get business cards made.  Jezebel Express had recommended them as a great way of networking and also to have at shows and auditions to spread your name in the scene. Awhile ago I used vistaprint for promoting a co-op I’m a member of, so I will probably use them again. Aside from the ever so annoying almost daily emails touting their on sale products, vistaprint does do high quality printing of brochures, magnets, business cards, posters, etc.  If you can work thrifty, you can get a bunch of stuff for free and end up only paying for shipping.  Right now they are doing a sale with 500 premium business cards for free. 

bathroom photo shoot at 12:30 am

But what needs to go on the business card?  First off, this is the very visual burlesque world, so a photo is probably a good start!  I decided to do an impromptu photo shoot around 11:30pm Monday night so I would have pictures to put on the cards. Also, some nice photos for Facebook and other promotional use would be a good idea, so I curled my hair, did some makeup, put on my new vintage bathing suit, and did a self shot photo shoot in my bathroom.  It was definitely difficult to work the camera by myself, but fun at the same time to see the results. There are a few more which can be seen on the Facebook page.  I am starting to contact photographers to set up an actual photo shoot, but I want to wait till I have more costumes first to really makwe the shot worthwhile.

Other things to put on the business card would be contact info, like the email account, any information about the kind of performance I would be doing (comedy burlesque), and maybe a catchy phrase or tagline which I have seen several other performers have.  I’m going to wait till after friday when I can get more examples of business cards from  the other performers at the Coney Island show before I start layout.  I also plan to bring my camera and get some shots in full glam face and outfit!

For now, I return to sewing on sequins and dreaming about Friday…..

Will I see any of you there??

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First off, my apologies that I haven’t been updating this very regularly.  With the excitement of Friday, I have been very busy trying to pull together everything I need by friday. The first major daunting task that faced me was having a burlesque name. When I am up on stage helping, they would need a name to call me.  As simple as this sounds, this name would become part of my persona, and hopefully will be on posters and ads in the future.  This was a major decision!

When people first started asking me what my burlesque name would be, I usually said “something German sounding.”  I am of German heritage, and having studied the language, I love the instant reaction people have to typically German  sounding women’s names.  Think: Helga, Heidi, Olga.  When you hear them, you probably have some kind of thoughts of beer steins and dirndls. The other thing I wanted was some kind of pun.  I am a huge fan of puns, which are fortunately very prevalent in burlesque naming conventions.

Saturday morning I woke up, started the laundry, made some vegan waffles and began brainstorming names.  I talked with my friend Caitlin who has lived in Hamburg for awhile.  She helped me come up with a list of typically German names and words that the average person would know how to pronounce in German.  When she typed ‘Anja’ my affinity for puns was roused.  Anja = On ya _______. Wonderful!

I came up with the name ‘Anja Bach,’ and pleased as punch I began to brainstorm it.  Ends up the name had already been taken by a drag artiste in England.  Drats!  I brainstormed again…..’Anja Knees!’   Taken by a drag queen in Seattle! Double drats! At this point I was beginning to feel beaten by my own pun.  The only other thing I could think of was ‘Anja Face’ which I found very racy but clever.  I posted about the whole situation in the yahoo groups stage names- burlesque database site that keeps a track of the different burlesque monikers used all over the world to make sure no one duplicates a previously established artist.  Still unsure of the name I decided to go to my second choreogrpahy class at the New York School of Burlesque and ask Jezebel Express.

Sadly, due to the 2/3 line not running, I was late to class.  I walked in and Jezebel explained that she was walking us through an act and pointing out various chorepgraphy tips and hints.  It was very helpful and made me realize the importance of even the smallest gesture, like how big a role your hands play in focusing the audience.

After class I asked Jezevel about ‘Anja Face.’ She laughed, said it was clever, but did agree it was pretty racy.  When I imagine myself performing, I see myself doing more comedy-satire kinds of things so I felt the name did not match the persona I hoped to have.  The problem was I didn’t have anything else thought up.

I got home from the class and cooked a big dinner or vegan goodness for my partner and I, watched a movie, and sunk into a lump for the night.  While continuing to sew stars onto my bra, I decided to check my email.  Someone from the yahoo group had posted a reply listing different name ideas since Anja Bach and Anja Knees had been taken:

Anja Likeacheapsuit, Anja Face, Anja Keister….

ANJA KEISTER!

I was so happy I could cry.  It was a clever, it was German, it was a pun, it was everything I had hoped for.  I instantly began researching it.  No one on facebook, no one on myspace, no website, it wasn’t popping up anywhere!  I had found my name.  I spent the rest of the night setting up a gmail account and a facebook page for Anja Kesiter.  I also entered my name into the burlesque name database.  I should have gone to bed earlier, but I worked off the excitement instead.  I had a name, which meant I could be on stage, start making business cards, network, and all that stuff.  I felt like things were really falling into place!

So, check me out! Friend me on facebook! Drop me a line here telling me what you think about the name. And to finalize this post, I leave you with a picture of this facebook event.  Read carefully for the pertinent/exciting part: