On Monday, I had the chance to see a show I had been looking forward to for quite awhile.  In honor of PRIDE Week,  Precious Little and Bastard Keith put together a show (this was the second annual one) in order to raise funds for Empire State Pride Agenda and marriage equality.  I was excited about this show because 1) it was a benefit I can get behind and 2) the roster of performers was amazing.  The show also had a great slew of raffle prizes, but we’ll get to that later.

The show was hosted by  Bastard Keith, who is always a pleasure to be entertained by and in addition to his traditional singing and jokes, he read a tribute to David Bowie’s song, 5 years, which was really quite touching.  The show’s performers were Nasty Canasta, Madame Rosebud and Marlo Marquise (hot girl on girl tango that was beautiful to watch) , Gal Friday, Legs Malone, Tigger!, Bea B Heart, Cybil Libertease, The Schlep Sisters (Darlinda Just Darlinda and Minnie Tonka) and Jezebel Express. I was really excited to finally see Tigger! (who I had heard so much about) as well as Jezebel who I had taken so many classes with, but was yet to see actually perform burlesque.

Now, raffle prizes at the show included gift certificates for a yoga class, a krav maga class, crystal jewelry, original comic book art by artist Robert Walker, bull whip lesson from trick roper Chris McDaniel, a 2 hour photo shoot with Beau Allulli, a goodie bag from Toys in Babeland and pasties made by Nasty Canasta.  So many great options to choose from, I ended up putting in the the toys, the photo shoot, the pasties and the bull whip lesson.  I ended up winning…drum roll please….the 2 hour photo shoot!  So now, in addition to the Dale Rio photos and a shoot I did with Chris Zedano, I’ll have some nice headshots to add into the mix!

Even without the prize, the night was still all I could have hoped for and ended with a gay prom party on stage in solidarity for Constance McMillen, who was in town for PRIDE week.  At one point Tigger! and Gal Friday switched dresses and danced and hugged before going to take a (prom) picture.  It was a truly a magical moment during one magical night.

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I know I have been slacking blog wise, but I swear I have been busy!  This past week centered around getting my act together and really nothing else.  I was sewing fringe and sequins for most of the week, listening to the song on repeat, and dancing (or dancing in my mind) at work, at home and on the train.  Since I had finished almost all of the costume early on thursday, I even went down to practice with my friend and fellow NY school of burlesque student, Cheeky Lane.

Friday I left work early, but that still only gave me 45 minutes to try and get my hair and makeup done.  My partner and I then ran to the subway  and also had to take a cab so I could get there on time.  A bit winded and nervous I put on my fake eye lashes, finished my hair, and got dressed. The dressing room at the Slipper Room is very small (well for now, who knows what it will be like after the renovations) and Jo Boobs (Weldon), Gal Friday, Fem Appeal, Veronica Varlow, Lefty Lucy, Calamity Chang and Gemini Rising, plus myself, all had to try and use it.  Gemini was the other “debuting student” that night, though she had already performed once before, so I was technically the only virgin performer there.  We chit chatted and wished each other luck on our very special last student showcase before the Slipper Room closed for renovations.

backstage at the Slipper Room (from left to right: Gal Friday, Fem Appeal, Veronica Varlow, Gemini Rising and Calamity Chang)

I did a few mimed run throughs with the curtain closed but soon it was time to start.  Jo had me go first, which was nice because I could then get it out of the way and spend the rest of the evening getting to watch the others.

The performance went well, I think.  While I was performing I was so focused on making sure I got all the clothes off at the right points and trying to make sure my face wasn’t blank from focusing too much.  I had one clothing issue when my sequin belt didn’t come untied.  So what did I do?  I seductively slid it off, then kicked it up in the air, caught it, twirled it, and threw it to the side.  Supposedly, this move was very impressive and got me lots of applause from the other performers backstage.  I would tell you more about my performance, but I really can’t remember, it just went by so fast!

Once the curtain closed I frantically ran around and gathered all my clothes, except for the one glove I accidentally threw off stage, stuffed them in my bag, got changed into my little cherry dress, and watched the rest of the first act from backstage.  The other ladies did great sets, all with a great comedic edge, that had us cheering and laughing backstage. For the second act, I sat out in the audience with my partner and watched.  Fem Appeal had Gemini and I come on stage and dance for part of her  Isaac Hayes act, and soon after, the show was over.  Jo had us all onstage for a curtain call and then it was time to clean up all my supplies from backstage and take a seat for the second show of the night full of all new performers.

Whew, it was a great experience and I am excited for my next chance to perform.  I came home that night already planning out new acts and routines for the future!

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!

corsets

May 9, 2010

Today in the 4 week burlesque essentials class  we practiced isolation dance moves and how to strip out of various clothing items.   For this class, I volunteered to bring in my corset.  What is that? I have a corset?  Why indeed I do!

This corset was purchased at the Jim Thorpe Burlesque festival from the lovely ladies of Dragontown Corsets.  I was lucky enough to snag this beautiful corset right off one of the manequins at the company’s stand.  This was my first corset and I love it.  The craftsmanship is fantastic and the fabric, taffeta with embroidary and sequins details, works very well with my coloring (or at least Gal Friday said so in class today).

While Dragontown Corsets is not specifically vegan due to selling corsets made with silk and leather, the vast majority of their products are vegan friendly and the options for detailing such as all kinds of lace (including spiders and skulls) as well as crystals, sequins, and all kinds of zany fabric patterns.  If you are considering buying a corset, I would highly recommend this company for a good financial investment!

In the class today, I learned how to lace up my own corset and then how to get out of it.  I struggled slightly with both, which make me reconsider the idea of wearing one in a performance, though I do think it would be fine for stage kittening.  Gal Friday, who was our teacher today, gave me all kinds of maintenence suggestions for how to keep my corset strong.  For example, corsets should be draped over a hangers and hung up when not in use.  I also learned that the corset will shape to the owenr’s body so it is very important not to let someone borrow your corset.

Before coming home, I knew I wanted to post about this information as soon as class was over, so when I came home I ate a small snack to tie me over, got all glam, and laced myself into the getup to show some pictures of my sweet corset. Now it is late and I have  work tomorrow (ugh, 5:25am wake up)  so I will leave this post short.  I highly suggest you check out facebook to learn  more about the company and how you could attain your own corset.

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!

back stage at Coney Island

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!