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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Photos copyright Davonroe, 2010.

more can be found on Anja Keister’s facebook page.

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!

Feeling the burlesque bug biting all day Friday, I knew I had to do something productive this weekend to get me closer towards my performance goal. I searched around the internet for shows, shops, whatever I could find to make some progress. It was when I was, once again, looking at the New York School of Burlesque’s website that I found out about $10 choreography classes. I sent the necessary pre-register email for the class and was in.

I was a bit nervous getting ready for the class (do I take the heels or not? Should I bring a non-feather boa in case the instructor asks us to do boa work? Should I wear a skirt or pants or a skirt over pants?!?) but luckily I pulled it all together and got to the class with a few minutes to spare.  When I made it to the dance studio located in the lower east side of Manhattan there were two other girls waiting for the class. I felt awkward and excused myself to go change into workout pants.  When I got back another girl had shown up, and during the class one more girl arrived late making the class 5 people in total.  The instructor entered, I put on my heels and the class got started.

Jezebel Express, who was the instructor for the class, had us all sit on the dance floor and introduce ourselves and our experience with dance and burlesque.  It ended up that the other girls were all aspiring burlesque  performers too,

My instructor, Jezebel Express. (She didn't wear that to class)

 and I felt much more comfortable.  During the class Jezebel went over different ways to improve your choreography such as different ways to sex up a walk, how to circle all parts of your body, simple ways to choreograph music.  Jezebel was so nice and approachable and even stayed after class to answer more questions we had when the studio time ran out.  She seemed really excited about the class and how she could gear the workshops towards exactly what we want to achieve while working towards our first performances.

After the class, a few of the other girls and I walked downstairs and discussed our burlesque plans till next class, which resulted in finding out more info about the Slipper Room‘s show that night.  I spent the time until the show that night looking for some music to possibly choreograph to and eating a delicious dinner at Kate’s Joint, a great vegetarian place near the Slipper Room. Side note: I had the southern fried tofu with mashed potatoes, gravy, and broccoli, it was great!

Then I was off to the Slipper Room, where I luckily got a table close to the front, sat myself down with a rum and coke, and waited for the show to begin. The place filled up pretty quickly but my partner showed up right before the lights dimmed and the go-go dancers came out.  The show contained sets from Trixie Little & The Evil Hate Monkey, Mstickle and Darlinda Just Darlinda.  I enjoyed all the burlesque, but the crowd was a little too “frat boy” for me and I was getting frustrated with the disrespectful things a bachelor party was yelling from the back.  My partner and I ended up leaving after the second set of burlesque performances, which was still a great amount of entertainment for a $5 cover.  All the performers were great, and Darlinda just Darlinda did some stuff that shocked me and I am too shy to mention on this blog!  My favorite act of the night was Trixie Little & the Evil Hate Monkey so  I’ll include a youtube video of them below so you can experience some of their magic.  If they come to a town near you, I highly suggest you check them out!