Last week I made the trek down my street to attend a burlesque show.  That’s right, a burlesque show in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn!  The recent addition of The Way Station, a steampunk themed bar, has become the home of “Wasabassco at the Way Station,” monthly show that takes place in the venue side of this wonderful nerd bar in my neighborhood!  Doc Wasabassco, who is also one of the people running this bar, hosts as emcee for the evening, which has been showcasing 4 performers an evening, each doing two acts, giving the audience a chance to see the performer’s breadth of talent.

The venue side

the bar side

This bar, which is a great haven for those who want to have a charming place to imbibe without having to endure the stereotypical bar douche dude, is split in to two areas, the bar side and then a venue side which has booths and a small stage.  This section can also
be curtained off to create privacy, something that is helpful when hosting a burlesque show.  I’ve been to two of these burlesque evenings, and I have to say that the crowds have been welcoming and the performers are fantastic. It is quaint and gives the performer a chance to really connect with the audience.

Another reason I love going to these shows is I get to stop by Natural Blend, a vegetarian (possibly all vegan?) Caribbean food place and juice bar located nearby.  Not only does Natural Blend offer great patties filled with your choice of veggies, soya or fake meat, they also have all kinds of vegan baked goods as well as vegan meals.  But what I am really jazzed about? Non-dairy hard scoop ice cream!!!  It is this that allows me to walk, a short distance, to a burlesque show, and pick up a vegan ice cream on the way.  HEAVEN!

If you are in the area, you should definitely check out The Way Station and Natural Blend.  Here is a link to Natural Blend’s menu  so you can check out their food options so you aren’t overwhelmed by all the tastiness upon entrance.

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boobie cookies

October 20, 2010

On Saturday night I headed to Union Hall to take in Wasabassco’s monthly burlesque installment, but also to wish Gigi La Femme a safe trip as she goes on a 3 week tour with Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go. In honor of these I baked her some boobie cookies, and even made them tan to better represent her. If you’d like to make your own, see the recipe below!

mmmmmm, boobie cookies

2/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 tsps ground flax seed

1/2 cup almond milk

2 tsps vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

 

2 cups all purpose flour ( I use a mix of unbleached and whole wheat)

2 tbsps cocoa powder

4 tbsps almond meal

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Starting by mixing  the oil and sugar  in a large bowl,  making sure the mixture gets all gooey. In the same large bowl, now mix in the remaining “wet” ingredients and the flax seed.  Next sift the rest of the (dry) ingredients together (minus the choc. chips) and slowly add them to the wet bowl in batches.

Take this dough and roll it into little balls.  Here you have the option of dipping them in some extra loose sugar to make them sparkly burlesque boobs.  Place the balled dough on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Finalize them by pushing a choc chip into the middle (nipple or tassel point out) and bake them for 10 minutes.  Let cool for 5 before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Hope you enjoy them!

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!

If you have been a reader for the past few months you know I have done a lot of backstage work for Wasabassco Burlesque since I’ve gotten involved in the NY  new burlesque scene.  Well, a week or so ago Doc Wasabassco had been asking around to try and find a stage manager for the Saturday City Winery show. I asked if I could step up to the plate and use my past backstage and kittening experience to help out.  Doc was down with the idea and I once again joined some wonderful performers down in the weird hidden dressing room of City Winery.  I was in charge of collecting music, filling out the info sheet for the show (performer order, song titles, when to cue music, etc) rounding up the performers, working the curtain, stage cleanup and helping to set up and props/chairs that the performers needed for their acts.  Since people had seen me the previous show from backstage, this time I got more dressed up.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures of any of this because things just went so quickly I completely forgot.  To keep this post short I’ll briefly give a synopsis of each performer and their amazing act (not listed in any specific order).
Marlo Maruise did a super adorable act where she had a large makeup puff that she used almost as fans to dust powder all over he body. Kita St. Cyr did a traditional glam striptease with some sparkly articles of clothing. Amber Ray did a super creative almost showgirl act where she had lilly pads on the stage and a bra that when she took it off and put it together it created a flower. Jenny C’est Quoi did her “I am the Walrus” act that I love so much and makes me giggle everytime. Vikki Likkerish did a fan dance, but the fans were made of balloons. Ruby Valentine did an act that included swinging nun chucks around. Stormy Leather started as a housewife, then undressed and used rope to create a knotted corset for herself, while blindfolded. Nikki Le Villian performed an act with candles and in the end poured the wax on her chest. Sapphire Jones did a comical routine where she was dressed up as a school lunch lady.  Also,Albert Cadabra, who performs  at Ripley’s Believe it or Not, did a magic act and a balloon swallowing act.
At the end of the show during the curtain call, I got to go on stage and share the applause with the wonderful performers.  Overall it was a very fun and rewarding night and I look forward to working with Wasabassco again in the future, hopefully soon as a performer!

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!

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!

This cherry 'dress' is actually a skirt I put a belt around!

It was a pretty jam-packed weekend so far, but to save y’all having to read a super long entry, I will break Friday and Saturday into two different posts (though in my mind it has all been one big roller coaster).

I left work early on Friday to take my 2 hour commute home where I had about 15 minutes to change from mellow work clothes into a retro glam outfit for my night of burlesque.  Huffing and puffing, I quickly tried to curl my hair (no luck) and head out the door to catch the 5 train.  I very carefully did my makeup on the subway, and got out at the 14th st station, where I quickly ran to Quad Cinema for a special showing of Behind the Burly-Q.  This documentary follows burlesque (burlesk) as it grew in popularity during the 40’s via vaudeville and thrived during WWII till its sad downfall into the late 60’s-70’s.  The stories are told by the performers that actually lived it including Dixie Evans, Tempest Storm, and April March plus many others.  Even if you are not into burlesque, the film is fascinating just from a historical perspective and gives insight into a world of performers that they previously did not get to speak out.

The movie was followed by a quick Q&A with the director, Leslie Zemeckis, and April March (with her daughter and granddaughter in tow).  This weekend was the US premiere of the movie, and I have no idea how far screenings might go, but if you have the possibility of seeing it, I highly recommend it!

After the movie, I met up with my friends and we headed down to Coney Island for the kickoff of Burlesque at the Beach.  Since I had been rushed to get to the movie, I took my time in the car putting on my mini fishnets and heels so I’d be ready for the show.

Wasabassco had put together the show for the night and it starred the reigning Miss Coney Island 2010, Miss Gigi La Femme as well as Nasty Canasta, Melody Sweets, Keith Bastard and Snake Charmer Nikki Le Villain, plus Sizzle Dizzle and Jenny C’est Quoi stage kittened (picked up after the performer, kind of like a stage crew with more face time).  The show had a great energy and a friend from my burlesque choreography class (Cheeky Lane) showed up.  The show centered around Coney Island and side shows, but brought some other amazing and creative burlesque to the stage.

Earlier in the week I had emailed Doc to find out how I could eventually join Wasabassco when I felt more comfortable and had an act ready.  He told me that he typically books performers he has seen before and that many performers get their start by volunteering and kittening so they can get some backstage experience. He did say that he was also considering putting together a show of first time performers so I should introduce myself at the show and we could discuss things further. Fast forward to after the show, with me all smiles and excitement from just seeing some high quality acts.  I eventually make my way up to Doc and reach out for a handshake.

“Hi, I’m Danielle.  You told me I should introduce myself to you.”  He shook back, “Indeed you should! So you read the email and what did you think?”   I kind of stammered out something about how I completely understand and am interested in volunteering for Wasabassco in the future sometime.  “Well, what are you doing next friday?” he asked with a grin.  I look back, shocked “possibly going to a burlesque show?!?”  “Fantastic, how about you stage kitten with Sizzle Dizzle then?”   I nodded and thanked him and kind of walked off in a daze.  It was mind blowing to think that less than a month ago I had gotten my first dose of burlesque  and now in a week I will actually be on a burlesque stage during a show!  The rest of the night was a blur with me reeling from the excitement.  Oh my gawd, so much to do in one week, and I don’t even have a stage name yet!?!

stepping out on saturday

April 12, 2010

This past Saturday night I attended my first burlesque show in NY.   NY actually has a pretty active neo burlesque scene with different shows running nightly all over the NYC area.  Through the wonderful Sizzle Dizzle I was tipped off about one happening in Park Slope at

All dolled up to see a burlesque show!

 

Union Hall (which she happened to be performing at).  I made sure to take it easy on Saturday, did some striptease aerobics, downloaded   some music to possibly start choreographing to, and then started the beautification process.  I did some new fancy makeup styling (which will be featured in another post), tried out a new retro hairstyle, pulled out a dress, heels, gloves, grabbed my coat and I was ready to paint the town red!

I headed over to Park Slope, first grabbing a quick bite to eat at S’nice, a wonderful little vegetarian sandwich place nearby in Brooklyn (as well as Manhattan) that I highly recommend. I then headed to Union Hall and anxiously waited down in the basement for the show to begin.  

This show was organized and hosted by Doc Wasabassco and featured several ladies, and one gentleman, who performed an amazing show.  Two of the women were even doing their burlesque premieres that night, which was an inspiration to me.  The show was amazingly creative and involved such varied exciting aspects as  a walrus, Ms. PacMan, a fake sausage boa, and Carmen Sandiego (plus more).  I sat in the audience and jotted down notes between sets in a little notebook like the good little burlesque student I am.  Since Wasabassco is a Brooklyn based show, I plan to try and get more details about performing with them.  Being located so close it could be a great place for my first performance, whenever that might be. Overall it was a great experience, a great inspiration, I was rocking a pretty amazing hairstyle and I can’t wait for the next show already!