oh man oh man, time is almost up to submit to the jim thorpe burlesque festival.  I am currently piecing together my application so that I can go from burly q newbie to established performer in 1 year. Here is the website for the fest in case any of y’all are also interested in attending, vending, taking classes or performing!

Photo by Bianca Dupree

Jim Thorpe Burlesque Festival 2011

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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.

fans

April 30, 2010

For a week I had struggled with whether or not to sign up for a 4 week Essential Burlesque Movement class through the New York  School of Burlesque.  I waited to try and get in (there were only 10 spots available) as a way of procrastinating so when I eventually did sign up, it was full.  I emailed Jo Boobs about letting me know if a spot cleared up.  I almost instantly got a reply that there was one spot left and I could paypal her the money.  Taking this as a sign, I signed up and read mroe about the class.

There are two parts that had me a bit concerned – boa work and fan dance.  Both of these rely heavily on feathers, which as a vegan, I can’t get behind.  I emailed Jo back and asked if it would be okay for me to bring vegan substitutes and she said that it would be fine.

Awesome! I have a scarf I knitted with fun fur I could use no problem, but what about feather fans? In case you don’t know what I mean, imagine Las Vegas showgirls with those really fluffy looking head dresses.  Well, it’s that but the plumes are stuck on a fan.  Fan dances are beautiful to watch, but I can’t help but feel saddened by it in the end.

So, what to do in exchange for feather fans?  I have been struggling enough with finding fake feathers for head decorations, I don’t think I’d be able to find large fake plumes on top of that.  I also don’t think fake fur would do the trick like it did for the boa.

As I sat and pondered this, I remembered an act I saw at the Jim Thorpe Burlesque festival where a woman had fabric fans that looked like fire when she moved them.  I contacted her and she sent me a link to them. Ugh, silk.  ALSO NOT VEGAN!  But this got me thinking about the fans and their construction.  The fan is merely a piece of silk attached to a fan frame. No reason I couldn’t use satin or another kind of fabric.  This will become a new project, but in the meantime if anyone comes across a vegan one, please let me know.

A few weekends ago I attended the Jim Thorpe Burlesque Festival in the mountainous Carbon County of eastern Pennsylvania.  That weekend had a strong and lasting effect on me. 

Always a performer throughout life, I instantly fell in love with the empowering and freeing aspects of the neo burlesque movement.  As I participated in classes, workshops, and dance routines and watched my first burlesque show I was in awe of the performers with their grace and gust-o.  I knew I wanted to become part of this movement and have been researching and brainstorming over the past few weeks as to how I can.

The only downside of this endeavor has been the clash with my personal ethics.  It has nothing to do with the dancing or pasties though, it has to do with my vegan lifestyle.  As a vegan, I don’t consume or wear any animal products, which can be at odds with the burlesque traditions.  As I looked through the vendors at the festival, I repeatedly was met with feathers, leather and other items that I knew I couldn’t support or wear.

This brings me to this blog.  I hope to share my adventure with all of you as I research, learn, discover and go forward into the world of burlesque on my own vegan terms.  This won’t be a preachy blog, so no worries if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian.  Instead I hope this will be more of an informative resource on places to shop, inspiring burlesque performers, and a way of tracking my progress as I work to take the stage and become a burlesque star, so you can do it too!