Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So Good

I wear very little jewelry in my daily life. I just wear what's practical. I run around so much that I don't want to snag anything or break anything. Of course, I have to wear some bling for shows. I want bling that doesn't break the bank and wouldn't be so valuable that if I lost it or it was stolen then my world would end.

My belly dance teacher first told me about So Good jewelry on Melrose in West Hollywood. We had to get silver bling as part of our troupe (even though I look better in gold). I picked up my first rhinestone gator necklace (known as the little snapper) in late 2006. I wore it from time to time when I'd perform. Then one day, I misplaced it. It's probably lost in my glovebox or something stupid like that. I found myself missing my favorite cheap bling.

I found time over the weekend to restock. Andrew went on the hunt for little snappers as I surveyed the other cheap jewelry. I got the flower earrings above (pear shaped leaves in case it's hard to see in the photo) for $6.99. They're very shiny. I also picked up three snappers for $9.99 each. If I lose one, I have a backup. That was Andrew's idea. I got some other earrings that aren't as blingy as well. They have rhinestoned hairclips, pony tail holders, toe rings, body jewelry and oodles of earrings, necklaces and bracelets. It's inexpensive enough that you can bling yourself out without breaking the bank.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Uncool

I danced a gig last night at a pretty venue last night that's been having some problems. I have one friend who refuses to return to that venue because they turned away her husband and a guest for wearing shorts when there is no dress code (amongst other things). I have another friend who has been very successful with shows at this venue who is calling it quits there in October. The owners want the shows at their venue to go past midnight so they can make more money at the bar, and that doesn't help make producers, talent and patrons happy.

Last night's gig was five dancers who were to be sandwiched by two sets from a popular rockabilly band. The attendance was very light, mostly burlesque show regulars with a couple faces I didn't recognize. Of course, these things happen from time to time so I still danced my butt off during my number. I think the producer knows that we need more promotion for the next gig because our combined efforts didn't bring in the crowd she anticipated.

But that wasn't the uncool part. No, we had patrons who paid to get in and a musical guest who was going to join the band in the second set while we dancers shook it on the dance floor. The uncool part was when they told the producer that the band couldn't take the stage again because they weren't making enough bar sales. They didn't wait until the gig was over to tell her to beef up the promotion or to not come back or whatever. They decided to do it while the other dancers were performing so that there was the awkward announcement of the band's next set and the correction that there would be no next set. We were going to be there for perhaps another hour, and they canceled the gig. I didn't mind getting to bed before 1 AM, but what they did to the producer was incredibly tacky.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Postcard!

This is the image from the front of our postcard.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fool Me Twice ...

I am totally into food. I love eating so much that I'm going on a diet again. (Ben & Jerry's and an injury don't give one a food-rationed 1940's figure.) When Andrew wants to get me to go to some strange event, he knows to present me with a menu of what they have to offer. If I watch something on PBS about a local eatery and the food interests me, I find an excuse to go there to sample their wares.

Earlier this year, a new sandwich place opened up across the street from my office. My co-worker and I watched with great anticipation as they made daily progress on their renovations, waiting for the "open" sign. I've given them several chances to be as awesome as I had hoped.

My first trip was a take-out call for a grilled cheese sandwich. They said it would be 20 minutes. I crossed the street after 20 minutes, and I waited around an extra 25 minutes for the food to be ready. It's grilled cheese, people. The cheese wasn't totally melted after all that. Oh, and they put mayonnaise on it. I'm offended by mayonnaise. In fact, I don't understand why it's supposed to be the most amazing sandwich spread ever. But I digress.

My second trip was a take-out call for a pastrami sandwich and an Italian cold cut sandwich. The paper take-out menu I got from them weeks before mentioned that they put mustard on the pastrami sandwich. Andrew doesn't like dripping mustard on his clothes when he eats and drives. They told me 15 minutes, Andrew showed up to get the food 30 minutes after I placed the order and wound up standing around for 15 minutes. I asked them to hold the mustard. Instead, they put mustard on the insides of both pieces of bread.

Two months passed and I thought I'd give them another shot. I checked their updated online menu to be sure I knew what the hell was going to be on my sandwich. I ordered a grilled cheese again. I added five minutes to the wait time they gave me, then headed across the street to find my sandwich hot and ready. Good on them. Of course, they slathered it with mayonnaise. Maybe they should've listed that on their online menu.

And two more months have passed. Since I'm dieting soon, I thought I'd get in a sandwich with rich cured meats. The online menu was updated so I read the entry carefully. Hmmm. The sandwich I wanted listed three kinds of cured meat, two kinds of cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and red pepper pesto. That sounded perfect. I ordered, gave them a couple extra minutes, crossed the street and picked up my sandwich. It was hot and ready. It wasn't slathered in mayonnaise. Instead, there was a black olive paste slathered all over the inside of the sandwich. I eat olive oil but I don't eat olives. Who thought this was a good substitution? If this is the way they now make the sandwich, maybe they should put that on the website. I had to scrape the olive stuff off my warm cheese so I could eat this $9 ridiculousness.

I may have to drown my sorrows in gelato.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Placard


There are burlesque shows that I've been to (most shows I've seen) that give me that "I want to do this show" feeling. Shimmy & Shake was one of these shows. The producer books so far in advance that it was several months before she had room on the ticket to book me. I did the show last week on Sunday as a replacement because someone was unable to dance.

It's a silly thing, but one of the things that I love about this show is the placards that are put up for each performer before the performance (just like in Teaseorama and Striporama). There are matching placards posted on the columns in the venue. Vintage pin-up images are selected and tweaked to better match the look of the performers. My poster has this lovely Elvgren pin-up. (Note the big butt.) I was so excited about my placard that I took it home at the end of the night and posted it on my wall above my computer.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Booking Work


There have been some revealing (and perhaps a bit too personal) posts on public forums by fellow members of the burlesque community about getting booked and not getting booked. I thought I'd share why I think producers like me. (I keep getting booked, sometimes last minute, so I figure I'm doing something right.)

* I promote my shows. I make a pin-up/postcard every month or two that lists out all the shows I had booked at the time I printed the card. I hand out cards at every show so people know where to find me. I also promote my shows on myspace and my theatre's message board.

* I support shows I'm not in. I try to attend as many shows as possible. Not only do I get to see what other people are doing, but I also remain an active participant in the community. We performers support each other. I'll promote shows I'm not in to my friends and on myspace.

* I rehearse my numbers beforehand and continually work on becoming a better dancer. I've studied with a lot of incredible performers. I've even taken a workshop with burlesque legend Wild Cherry. I read books, watch videos, take classes. I try out new moves in my living room to see if they work before I get on stage. I watch the videos of my shows when I get a chance to see what works and what doesn't work. I love it when my numbers improve with every performance. I also research and practice nuances for specialty roles like Alex for Kubrilesque, Orion Slave Snapper for Supernova a-Go-Go, Mia Wallace and Mr. Orange for the Tarantino Tribute. I'm working on nuances for Marnie for a Hitchcock show tomorrow night.

* I show up on-time. I try to show up early. I'm hair and makeup ready, so all I have to do is put on my costume. If I think there's any possibility that I'll be late, even by five minutes, I call or text the producer so they know I'm on my way. I've done a few shows where someone just doesn't show up or shows up 30 minutes late and it pisses off the people who booked them. If I'm there early, I offer my help in getting ready for the house to open. I also offer up Andrew's help.

* I don't take drama backstage with me. I've seen folks show up after having a bad day or not feeling great about their performance and infecting the backstage area with their issues. When you have folks new to performing backstage, it makes them more nervous. I try to keep my drama onstage where it's interesting and people pay to see it.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not perfect. I strive to do my best and present a product that people want. These are the things I think I'm doing right that lead to more work.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Miss You, Too!


I've been busy rehearsing Andrew's show most nights and performing when I'm not rehearsing. With a day job and producer functions for the play, I haven't really had much time to jot down anything.

I've been working harder and smarter on this show than I have on any other show prior (as an actor). I'm doing my research, pondering the circumstances that created my character's personality, spending hours on lines while I hot glue other projects. I'm also working harder in rehearsals. I want the show to be incredible. We have a fantastic cast, so I'm doing everything I can to make sure our ensemble shines. Of course, I'm a bit more tired at the end of a day than usual.

We've been in rehearsal for nearly three weeks but our weeks aren't full weeks since I have shows some nights. The show is shaping up. I can't wait to get the script out of my hands so I have the freedom to do my work. It's a bit of a pain being tied to the page (which is tied to a big binder). There's so much business to do in this show -- makeup, getting dressed, getting undressed, knitting. Maybe I can ditch the script after this weekend.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

L.A. Greek Fest


We've passed St. Sophia Cathedral many times during our tenure in Los Angeles. We often get food from Papa Cristo's across the street. We discovered in the past few weeks that the 10th Annual Los Angeles Greek Fest would occur last weekend. Somehow we didn't notice the festival over the past few years. We made a point to hit it this year.

Admission was $5, so the price was really right for our budget. They had plenty of vendors and lots of food. We pigged out on some roasted chicken, dolmathes (rice stuffed grape leaves that I always thought looked weird but tasted pretty good), kourambiethes (butter cookies in powdered sugar), kourlourakia (crispy butter cookies) and coffee. There was also a booth with kettle corn, the snack that became dinner. We saw a silly Greek skit, some authentic Greek dancing and we toured St. Sophia. There was even the weird-looking stilt walker pictured here.

We only spent a couple hours there but had plenty of fun. I recommend it as cheap entertainment, especially if you like Greek food.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wardrobe: John Mayer Shirt #6


Would you believe I had to make a list to make sure I didn't miss a shirt? Would you also believe that Andrew and I wore the same number of John Mayer shirts since the last time we did laundry?

There's a bit of a story behind this shirt. My pay cycle is strange at work, and part of it is commission based. The day before I flew back to Arkansas, I was expecting a very nice commission. That commission didn't arrive until I hit the icy roads for the Fayetteville show. I was fairly broke when I hit the concert with my small sister so I didn't get myself anything. I got her a scarf. The next day my boss deposited my commission into my bank account so I went hog wild. Of course, I shopped at the Fayetteville show for the exact shirt I wanted and what I would get for Andrew so my stop at the merch booth in Memphis would be fast and efficient.

I took my dad to the Memphis show. I went to my first concert with my dad (and mom and siblings) when I was four. My dad is sixty-something, so I thought this would be a great way to celebrate his birthday that fell a little more than a week after the show. As we waited in the frosty wind outside the venue, I handed my dad my digital recorder to stash and asked him what kind of shirt he wanted. We marched inside, I got my shirt and two long sleeve shirts like my shirt #5 but in blue -- one for Dad and one for Andrew. My dad wears his shirt all the time, using it as a pick-up line for potentially single chicks. In fact, Dad was reading the back of his tour shirt the next morning looking for John Mayer's next stop, wondering if we could make that show.

This is the first shirt I got that had no tag. Instead, it had a printed label marking it as official tour merchandise. It felt so soft and comfy, even before I wore it 100 times.

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Je parle en peu le francais.

I hope I spelled everything correctly. I've always been very interested in French. I studied a little French as a seven year old, but we weren't given anything written to study in the advanced learning summer program I did. Also, it was only three weeks long and French only took up about one hour a day. I went to a language camp when I was 13 to make another attempt at learning French. I learned some, but camp only lasted three weeks. I went to a small high school in the South, so our only language class option was Spanish. I passed with flying colors but retained little since I never thought I'd use Spanish. (Of course, I always planned on moving to Southern California, so I don't know what I was thinking.)

When I got to college, I got my language requirement out of the way with Spanish. It was offered my first two semesters of school, and they didn't have French at community college. When I went to college proper, I enrolled in French and did very well the first semester. Sure, I was in a play and started taking literature classes and working and designing, but I got an A. I also missed a few classes and was way too competitive when we'd do oral quizzes in class. Second semester I had far too much going on so I had to drop the class. I couldn't keep up with the work. It was really sad for me because I really wanted to be fluent in French. Not that two semesters of French in college will make one fluent. Anyway, I knew enough to not be totally screwed on a college-related trip to France. Of course, French has always felt like the one that got away.

I'm back on the ol' French horse again. I can't manage the daily classes at my local community college, and the weekend community service section interferes with my dance class. Instead, I now subscribe to a French podcast. Lessons are about 12 minutes long. Right now I'm spending most of my time reviewing things I learned years ago -- letters, numbers, days of the week. But it's nice. And it's free.

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