mad men

August 14, 2010

I know I am totally behind the times when I say something like, “so I got to watch the first season of Mad Men recently,” but I do have to admit it’s true.  I can be pretty stubborn sometimes, so when everyone was Mad Men crazy, I refused to see it, waiting for the hype wave to break and see if it had lasting power.  Well, apparently it does.  I was also inspired to give it a try when i found out that Bastard Keith and Madame Rosebud’s new burlesque show, The Sophisticates, was semi inspired by it and was having a screening of the new season episodes during their show (this has since stopped, but I didn’t know it when I purchased the season 1 DVDs) and realized I should probably give it a try.

Screen cap from the Pilot of Mad Men

Well, boy oh boy, how surprised was I when in the very first episode they go to a burlesque show?!! But that wasn’t even the most exciting part of that little story line…..

I don’t want to give anything away in case there are other people out there who haven’t seen the show, but yes, the show takes place in New York City and yes, they do go to a burlesque show, but where does that show happen to take place????


at THE SLIPPER ROOM!
So if you are a fan of the show, I would totally like to brag that I performed on that very stage that is shown in the pilot since it was shot on location.  I’m basically a celebrity now, right?

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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!

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.

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!