Saturday, May 31, 2008

Moment of Truth

I found myself in Samuel French Thursday afternoon. Andrew needed a writing book that they didn't have. I haven't been to Samuel French in a while. (That's a bit of a controversial admission from someone who claims to be an actor.) Nonetheless, I wandered the aisles as he hunted for his book. I didn't touch a single play or acting text or "get an agent now" book. Instead I picked up a book about Fosse's choreography stylings and another book that represented an era of fashion from the Sears catalog. The acting books held no interest for me. Does that mean I should stop putting attention on acting and just run with this dance career?

Of course, the next night I met an agent at a show who enjoys my performances. So much for giving it up, right?


Sunday, May 25, 2008

My First Karaoke Experience

Last night was a friend's birthday party at a bar that has karaoke. This friend gets very excited about rock band and guitar hero -- things that require participation. Since I'm not a fan of video games made after 1990, I thought we should play along with him in a way I could confront.

The place we went had a huge song list. I did "Dyer Makr" by Led Zeppelin -- my first time to do it without a live band. I've heard people do karaoke before, singing flat and having a hard time keeping up with the lyrics. I've heard the excuses that the music was in the wrong key or the tempo was strange. I thought to myself, 'They just can't sing.' Well, last night I found out for myself that it is strange. Was the music in the wrong key? Was the tempo off? I didn't totally suck it but I'm glad no one was paying to hear me sing. When I was on the stage, I found the mike was too soft and the music was too loud. Same thing in the audience. Maybe they keep the music loud to drown out the bad singers, but it's not helpful to a rock diva/musical theatre wench.

Oh, and the $61 it cost for mediocre food and a few drinks left me with a bad karaoke aftertaste.


Saturday, May 24, 2008


I so rarely write about my day job so enjoy this little treat. Several years ago I had a boss who would always say something to me before I'd leave, like "Thanks for coming in today" or "Thanks for dressing up." I think he was saying it more as a joke, but it really stuck.

One of the joys of my current day job is that I get to cut checks for people. When I hand them out, I say "Thanks for coming in today." My co-workers are so used to this little bit of appreciation with their checks that it's become shorthand for "Can I get a check early?" or "Did you cut my reimbursement check?" In fact, my boss has had to cut checks for people when I was out of the office and they demanded that he thank them for coming in. It's that little extra bit of appreciation that people really like.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pin-Up Girls and Pin Curls

As I'm sure I've mentioned, Andrew is writing and directing the fall show for Theatre Unleashed. Pin-Up Girls is about World War II burlesque dancers. The idea for the show was born years before I started studying burlesque. This is our first time to produce one of his full-length plays with the support system of a group. We're trying to do everything right, and we're learning lots as we work on pre-production for the other Theatre Unleashed shows.

We booked a theatre in North Hollywood for the show this fall, and the theatre manager is the kindest we've ever met. She's actually interested in making theatre. Anyway, she announced to our artistic director today that the NoHo Arts District is supplying valet parking for area shows for free. In addition, the valet company is having the staff dress in appropriate themes for the shows they're parking. She told us we would have women dressed as pin-up girls parking audience cars . . . for free. How awesome is that?

I got a book of 1940s hairstyles from Amazon over the weekend. Last night I had a girls night with Miss Josie Bunnie and Olivia D'Helion. We tried out heads full of pin curls with our varied hair lengths. We all accessorized with fabulous rhinestone hair flowers. I think we're going to try the pin curls again now that we stumbled through it once.

While our hair was still drying, we opened a Kevyn Aucoin makeup book and tried making ourselves look as classic as possible. I think we look pretty damn incredible!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm a Model

I got an email late last week offering me the model slot at Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School in Hollywood. When I first heard about burlesque dancers doing figure modeling for artists, I thought it was pretty dope and I wished I was better with figure drawing. I was very excited about modeling for it.

There were certain challenges this gig presented. A regular dance number for me lasts three to five minutes. I had to hold poses for 1, 2.5, 5, 10 and 15 minutes. I had to find interesting poses that didn't hurt too much. When I landed in a pose that hurt, I would relax into the pose as best I could. I expected to be insanely sore today, but I just feel especially stretched in a couple places. I can't wait to see what the artists did!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More From My Little Graduation

I like trained dancers. I don't mind training them myself, but I like them to know how to move their bodies on their own and create their own style. We're doing a show through Theatre Unleashed this fall about burlesque dancers in the 1940s. I want trained dancers who can solo. And I like people to join in when I do fun things. That's why I urged some of my theatre friends to take class with me.

In this photo, you can see me chatting with Lauren, one of my dancers from Midsummer last year. You can see Katie's bun and arm just behind Lauren. Katie was also one of my dancers from Midsummer and she's coming into her own as a burlesque soloist. She made a fantastic debut at the Theatre Unleashed intro show. (Proud!) Both of them are returning for round two of the Striptease Symposium. (Round two will have an official graduation performance at some venue, and the girls will get to have a final reveal!)

This photo is just me going wild in a sea of gloves. There are two things I'd like to mention here. First, I got a prize for Best Worship one summer when I went to vacation Bible school with my cousin . . . seriously. Second, I lost a right glove to another student in a prior class. I wound up with two left gloves. That was in a class of six people. This class had about fifteen. The day we got our gloves, I took mine home and put a rhinestone inside the cuff of each. When we'd have to dig through the piles of gloves during class, I'd always have a right and a left glove because I "labeled" mine.

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A Little Graduation

Since I'm all about continuing education, I enrolled in the six-week Striptease Symposium taught by Jewel of Denial and Penny Starr, Jr. I adore both of these ladies, and I really enjoyed their class. Every class is structured a little differently. This class covered glove peeling, some boa work and shimmies. Everything was tied together in a routine that we performed for guests on Sunday morning. This is a snippet of the routine.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Stepford Wife

Here's a photo of me from last night, taken by Chris Beyond of the Burlesque Podcast and No-Fi Magazine.

Snaps go to Mr. Beyond for really capturing the glory of this dress. The back is a bit like a surprise Superman cape, and you can see its potential "pow" in this photo.

I'd also like to give snaps to my internet stalker, Vixen Violette. She really educated me on how to wear fake hair. My falsie in this photo is really well matched. It blends well with my real hair, which was a very valuable tip I got from her. Holla!

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Lucky Bastard

(I think the feminine form of 'bastard' is still 'bastard' but I'm too tired to Google it.)

Look at this line-up for the fundraiser I did last night for the Burlesque Hall of Fame.

There were a lot of amazing performers on this ticket. I've danced in the same show as a lot of them and I admire all of them. I feel like the luckiest little burlesque bastard alive to have been part of this gig. In addition, I got to dance for Princess Farhana. (I'm a fan of hers since I started belly dancing two years ago. I have several of her videos and have taken some of her workshops.) Wow!

I'm still hungover from all that excitement.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Double Life

I live a double life. Actually, I just have two jobs (that pay regularly). A few nights a month, I earn my money as burlesque dancer. I cover myself in body glitter, put spirit gum on my tender parts and slather on the eyelash glue to keep on the false lashes. I wind up with tangled hair from whatever style I don. I get a good shower in before I dance, but I get really sweaty (and sometimes sugar-coated) when I perform.

After a performance, I spend a good chunk of time visiting with people. That puts me home really late. I peel off the lashes and wash my face, leaving accidental traces of eyeliner mixed with glue around my eyes. I take a washcloth to any sweetened parts. I take down my hairdo and run a brush through my hair before rubbing lavender oil into my spirit gummed areas and hitting the sack. Last night I was lucky to get five and a half hours sleep before having to get up for the day job.

My day job is in an office. I'm supposed to look professional. The day after a show, I come in unshowered with my hair in the simplest hairdo I can muster. I have remains of body glitter that rub off onto my work clothes and sometimes shine through. I still have the remains of eyeliner and glue that have been touched up with a little more mascara. My tender parts are a bit itchy from the spirit gum remains but at least they aren't crusty. I have bags under my eyes that have been cleverly covered by concealer. I operate like a zombie all day, working without thinking, being sure not to do any tasks that require thought. What's scary is that I'm actually getting good at it.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

We Done Good

Our Theatre Unleashed fundraiser was rather successful. We surpassed our expected return, got back our entire deposit and packed the venue to capacity. It was incredible.

I remember all of our rumblings and plans to create a theatre company that worked the way we wanted. I remember all the hours we spent in long meetings making sure the structure was right and we avoided the pitfalls of past projects and groups. It was nice to have that pay off.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Long, Beautiful Hair

In the photo below, you'll notice how wonderful my hair looks in what I now call my Stepford wife number. Penny Starr, Jr., one of my instructors in my continuing education, recommended I make my hair a little bigger. The opportunity presented itself so I could do just that.

Last weekend when I spent my day being a puppet groupie, I noticed a little kiosk in the mall that had wigs and hair pieces. The gal offered to help me but I told her I wanted to see if they had something that interested me before I got help. I found these clips with beautiful fake hair extensions. One of my other instructors swears by extensions like these so much so that you don't know the real length of her hair. Anyway, I told the girl I liked the length but she'd have to match my color for me to buy it. (My hair is strawberry blonde with random streaks of platinum, dirty blonde, copper and light brown. It's almost impossible to match. My grandmother can attest to that since she's been trying to dye her hair my color for about 15 years.)

The girl disappeared for a minute and came back with a perfect match. I couldn't believe how perfect the match was. I've performed in the hair twice since and people think it's real. Amazing!

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Boobs Kill AIDS!

Wouldn't it be fantastic if that were true? I danced at a private fundraiser for AIDS Project Los Angeles on Sunday night. I shared the stage with Polly Peabody, Isabella Starr and Fever Blister (in photo) to help raise money for this charity.

It was fun dancing at a private party. I ran out of promo before I got there, but it would've been a great opportunity to promote myself. The people were very nice and we had a cute stage in the backyard complete with a backstage/dressing room area. I was glad to lend my talents to such a cause.

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