a magical night

April 14, 2011

photo by Norman Blake. Jo Weldon interviews Bambi Jones, April 14th, 2011

Last night I attended Bambi and Bambi: Classic Burley-q meets the New Burlesque at Coney Island USA, the museum and theater that houses Burlesque at the Beach and Sideshows by the Seashore. It was truly an amazing evening that included talks about burlesque at Coney Island, in interview by Jo Weldon with Bambi Jones, a burlesque performer who started performing in 1949 and worked with many famous performers and hob knobbed with Errol Flynn (who said said was a “nasty man”).

The show also included 2 other Bambi’s: Bambi Galore a wonderful neo burlesque performer  who plays a lot with gender and queer culture and Bambi the Mermaid who is one of the main neo burlesque performers who is responsible for the NY scene.  This plus Little Brooklyn (a NY burlesque staple) doing her first performance since the birth of her son, Bunny Love (another NY Burlesque staple), current Miss Coney Island Lefty Lucy and the cutie with the bootyKita St. Cyr made for a magical night.

It was an evening of fabulous performances, great lectures, and I’ll tell you, when Bambi Jones performered, I cried.  The woman is 80 years old, and she was up there, shaking it and the crowd loved her back. Check out the video below to see the powerhouse that she is and check out her book My Journey Burlesque: The Way it Was for more amazing stories about her life

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/9325669″>Bambi Jones Burlesque Hall of Fame</a>

Also, the next two weekends I will be back in Pennsylvania, which means I get to indulge in

shoo fly pie, A-Treat Soda and vegan Girl scout cookies! I love PA!

some of my favorite PA goodies! Note: In the photo you seem me with Girl Scout cookies.  Vegans – take note, there are two companies that make GS cookies.  If you live in an area that has caramel DeLites (and not Samoas) your company is ABC (not to be confused with the vegan Alternative Baking Company) and there are currently 4 vegan friendly cookies: Thanks a lot, the new cinnamon ones, the Lemonades and Peanut Butter Patties.


posing with sexy S&M Vader after the show.

Last night i finally got to see an Epic Win performance, and man oh man was it awesome.  Since I am a nerd I of course got dressed up as a jedi to support my Star Wars vs. Star Trek.  It was truly epic.  I am a huge fan of themed burlesque so this was my cup of tea.

First we met up with some friends and got some Ethiopian food for dinner at Meskerem near 42nd street and then headed over to the show.

There was a slight mixup since I accidentally had bought my tickets for the wrong night, but everything worked out fine and we got in.

What can I say besides that it was awesome.  The show started with Nelson Lugo (Trek)  and Schaffer the Darklord (Wars) defending their side in the debate and then quickly went into a night of alternating themed burlesque  acts.  Some were funny (B. B. Heart, Lefty Lucy, Miss Mary Cyn, Bonnie Voy’age, Fem Appeal), some were more sexy (Rosey La Rouge), some were creative (Victoria Privates) and Magdalena Fox pulled out a stunning and beautiful Queen Amidala act that literally brought tears to my eyes. Dangrr Doll also had an amazing light up outfit as she portrayed ‘the force’ while stage kittening.

The Epic Win Burlesque: The Great Star Debate cast

The debate was settled by a selling of raffle tickets for the themed prize bags.  Luckily since Star Trek had won Friday night, the Star Wars team was really pushing it and offered cupcakes to anyone buying $5 worth of tickets.  Now, the normal cupcakes were tiny little buggers, but thankfully there was a vegan option if you bought $5 worth of tickets for the Star Wars bag, and those cupcakes were normal sized ones from Babycakes.  om nom nom!!

Star Wars ended up winning, there was celebration and pictures and then it was time to go home.  Sadly, but understandably, EW Burlesque will be taking a little break while Schaffer the Darklord goes on tour in the fall and Nelson Lugo works on some other projects.  But trust me, when they come back, I’m sure it wil lbe a show not to be missed!

Beelzebabe Agogo dances before the 2nd show at Drive Thru Burlesque 7/23/10

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.

doughnut from babycakes= pre show dinner? Looked better in the store but melted due to the ridiculous heat!

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.

sweaty sweaty after show Anja. It's in the dark because the show was going on and I didn't want to distract with a flash.

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.

Hello all! I know I know, I haven’t updated in awhile.  The past week and few days has been incredibly busy and included a vacation, getting a pretty bad cold, lots of travel, work, and trying to finish two different costumes for events this past weekend.  I’m still trying to get over this cold and the horrible congestion it entails, but I wanted to make sure I got some kind of post in before people thought I had abandoned this blog.

oh my, these fake lashes are ridiculous but so fun to wear!

The first major event of this weekend was getting to go to the Lady Gaga concert.  Despite your feelings about her music, if you enjoy offbeat glamor and a chance to dress up, Lady Gaga is a great inspiration.  Of course, her concert also doubled as an offbeat fashion show for her fans.  Originally I had planned to create a dress out of mirrors, but come thursday I couldn’t find the bunch I’d been collecting, so instead I modified an old prom dress I had, hemming it to tea length, doubling the tulle, adding sequins and changing the top.  I also glammed up the makeup and tried some new stuff with my hair.  At the concert they had a photo area where you could pose with a mock up Gaga gyroscope.  I’d been waiting for them to post their pictures of me but have become impatient and decided I should just get this posted and then put up the picture later when I can get access to it. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of my outift, but I did get a picture of my hair and makeup before I showered for the night.

As soon as the Gaga concert was over, I quickly jumped the 1 train downtown to the Wasabassco City Winery Show.  Lefty Lucy was the stage manager and kitten for the night, but Doc had said I could go around and collect email signups instead.  I arrived at City Winery just before the intermission was about to happen so I ended up going around during the intermission and at the end of the show.  I also got to see performances but Bird of Paradise, Madame Rosebud, Nasty Canasta and Gigi La Femme.  Getting the email signups was pretty fun since I enjoy talking with people and interacting with “the audience.” This Wasabassco event was a super fun way to end an already fantastic evening.

That evening I ended up getting to bed pretty late, but woke up around 10 the next morning and headed up to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.  For those of you who don’t live in New York or are unfamiliar with the Greenmarkets, here is a great synopsis from the the Grow NYC  website:

Greenmarket was founded in 1976 with a two-fold mission: to promote regional agriculture by providing small family farms the opportunity to sell their locally grown, caught, foraged and baked products directly to consumers, and to ensure that ALL New Yorkers have access to the freshest, most nutritious locally grown food the region has to offer.

What began over three decades ago with 12 farmers in a parking lot on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan has now grown to become the largest and most diverse outdoor urban farmers market network in the country, nearly doubling in eight years from 28 locations in 2002 to 50 today, with over 200 family farms and fishermen participating, and over 30,000 acres of farmland protected from development.”

ALL VEGAN - nom,nom, nom!

I am lucky to have one of these greenmarkets (or farmer’s markets as I grew up calling them in PA) very close and love the chance to spend my Saturday morning looking through the variety of veggies and locally made food products.  This week, with bags of veggies in tow, I approached one of the bakers stands I had seen previous weeks.  Their sign mentioned vegan products, but boy was I surprised when I asked and found out ALL their food is vegan!  Ends up the whole bakery is vegan and sells at both the Grand Army Plaza and the Manhattan Union Square green markets.  Their peach muffin and corn bread made a great addition to the spring onions, collard greens, romaine lettuce, green beans, bok choy, raspberries, blueberries, mixed greens and apples I had bought.   I used the berries as a sweet snack to help me get through the costume work I did the rest of the day for my Wasabassco debut later that night, but we’ll save talking about that experience for the next post!

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!