Monday, March 30, 2009

Out the Nose

I've paid for most of my Boston trip. Here's the tally to date so fills know burlesque ain't cheap, and so my gal pals know what this sort of thing costs.

$490 airfare
$100 discount Expo admission as a performer
$50 master class with a burlesque legend
$260 room at hotel for two nights

That's $900 right there. I'm sleeping on the flight there and staying with a friend the last night do that saves a little money. He's also my airport ride both ways. Still have to come up with money for food and souvenirs.

There's also the stuff I paid for before I got in to perform at the festival.

$200 feather fans
$200 costume
$60 additional rhinestones
$60 jewelry for this act
$30 rhinestones for the pasties

That's $550. It isn't cheap to travel and perform, kids. But it's going to be fun.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Panties!


That's right, folks. I have panties. Red Snapper panties. I want people to be able to show their Snapper pride without breaking the bank or overfilling the t-shirt drawer. (As a John Mayer fan, I have no room left in my t-shirt drawer for other shirts. I know artists make more money off merchandise than ticket sales so I try to support the artists I love by buying their merch.)

The panties are simple cotton panties with this image and "Red Snapper" on the front. (Image by my friend and incredible artist Sebastian Kadlecik.) I'm selling them for $7 a pair. I also have boxer briefs with the same image for $8. I'll have them available locally from time to time. If you want a pair by mail, send me your size and payment via Paypal.

(I know the item says "Send Snappy to Boston." Just go with it. Put something in the notes for your underwear size and I'll know what that means.)





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Another A for the Overachiever!

That's right, folks. I got an A on my Pilates paper. Of course, everyone who turned in a paper that was the appropriate length and had sources got an A. But I'm not going to let that take the wind out of my sails because I learned something while I was working on the paper.

I wrote about Pilates and modeling because, well, I've done a chunk of modeling over the past couple months and, to be totally frank, that shit can hurt. You have to twist to the right position to make the body look as flawless as possible, then hold it for a while once you get there. I found that by stretching and warming up before the photo shoot, I don't hurt as much. I also take stretch breaks where I can between shots. And the Pilates techniques for strengthening and supporting the core make better photos. I recommend models and dancers get into a Pilates class, and I recommend non-performers get into a class so they can strengthen and lengthen their muscles, increase flexibility and improve posture.

Of course, I had to stretch that little paragraph to a couple pages and cite references, but the intent is still the same. Now, go try a Pilates class!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Word Is Out!

I just found out that I am Miss December in the 2010 L.A. Burlesque calendar. Did you pre-order your copy? (State Farm folks, I'm lookin' at you!)

And here is the front of my new business card. Photo by CWL Photography.

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When I Grow Up

When we're kids, people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. It's more of a question of who we want to be than what we want to be; a who would be something like "a doctor" where a what would be "happy" or "wealthy." So as children, we look around for some identity we like or to which we can relate. When I was a kid I wanted to be an actress, specifically Jodie Foster. Of course, there was already a Jodie Foster but try telling a kid that.

I'm studying film history right now, and I'm finally realizing that people become who they with great influence by the conditions present in their lives and their time of success. For example, if Charlie Chaplin made his film shorts today, they might not fly off the shelves like the latest Jonas Brothers video. It's sad but it's true. The conditions present as Chaplin made his films were completely different from the conditions today. The Beatles sprung up from different conditions. If they arrived on the music scene today, they wouldn't have the same opportunities for greatness because the musical climate is different. The creative genius is still there, but the chance to demonstrate and nurture that genius would be totally different today.

If I had arrived in Hollywood in the 1910s, my career would be totally different. Of course, I wouldn't be able to vote but I might have my name in history books. Or if I started dancing in the 1940s or 1950s, I might have made enough to just do that and cover all my bills. But I live in the now so I have to make the most of it and not hold myself to unreasonable standards based on the successes of those who came before me. It's a bit liberating.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Photo Shoot


For my birthday last month, the L.A. burlesque producers and a couple close friends pooled their funds to get me a photo shoot with a former model and current photographer. Part of the intention behind the photos was to give me some pretty girl images I could use for anything. Another part was so I'd have photos that producers could use to promote me for corporate events.

I've had three shoots in the past month: one with L.A. Burlesque, one with my pal Chris Beyond for the magazine, and this one with Crazy White Lady Photography. Everyone has their own style and every shoot produced lovely and different photos. It would be cool to look at the photos side by side.

I had fun shooting with CWL. We shot at a house that's used as a studio by other photographers and filmmakers. There were costumes and shoes of all sizes and styles there. Of course, I wore my own clothes but I did take advantage of the shoes. All the rooms were set up for shooting. Shannan was very personable and very professional. With the combination of the natural light and the pro lights, my hair photographed closer to its natural color. I had a blast.

So thanks to those of you who read my blog. The snoozy photo above is for you.

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The Grade

I got my first film history test back today. Actually, it was just the answer sheet. Nonetheless, I got an A.

And the legacy continues.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Food

I love food. I hate having to get convenience food, but I do it when we've been too busy to make dinner, there's nothing in the refrigerator, and we're on the verge of passing out. It's hard to find something good and healthy that delivers in our neighborhood. Here's some advice if you find yourself in the same situation.

Try the natural pizza from Pizza Hut. It has organic ingredients. Even though the crust is wheat and a bit sweeter than the regular dough, it's not bad. It's less greasy than many of their other pizzas. Andrew hates the crust, but you can't get the organic ingredients without the wheat crust.

Do not try the lasagna from Pizza Hut. We ordered some last night thinking it looked good on the flier. We sat on the couch eating it and Andrew commented that it tasted like "someone else's mom's lasagna." I couldn't put it better myself. You go to a friend's house, the mom is making lasagna, you say "I love lasagna" and stay for dinner. Then you eat it and it doesn't taste at all like the lasagna you love. The lasagna I make takes about four hours. We've also eaten Marie Callender's lasagna (okay) and Trader Joe's lasagna (better than Marie Callender's). We wouldn't describe the ones from the stores this way. And Andrew, after an evening of cigar fun in the yard, threw up his lasagna. Hence, my recommendation not to eat it.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Making Me Nuts

I consume dance videos in an effort to learn. After watching as many as I have, I recognize that there isn't always the budget (including location and music rights) for a super-polished work. I've still gotten things out of ultra low-budget dance instruction videos. Some are produced independently, some are produced by a studio. There are two things in a video I'm watching that are making me absolutely nuts to the point that they're actually impairing my ability to learn.
  1. Instructor not properly wired for sound. I don't care if I see the wires or the microphone. I just want to hear the person teach. I have a beta version of a pole video as part of the infomercial I did a few years ago. The instructor shouted above the music to make sure the viewer got the moves and the cues. It's the beta version and I could still hear her. Last spring and last fall I shot a series of choreography videos in my living room. These were just to overcome the obstacle of not being able to meet with my dancers to rehearse them as often as I would have liked. It allowed them to learn the choreography in front of their computers, then come in and have it corrected and fine tuned. You can hear me in those videos, and they were shot in my living room. I can't hear the damn instructor in this video over the post-production music.
  2. Instructor not moving to the rhythm of the music on the DVD. I get that music rights are tricky and you may not be able to get the rights to sell your DVD with that tune you always play in class. If rights are in question, dance to something with a pretty standard beat playing in the background and then add tunes post-production that match that beat. I'm getting frustrated because the moves aren't matching up with the music as well as they should for an instructional video.
This is a video people have purchased (self not included), and the viewers aren't getting as much from the video as they could if these two things were remedied.

Rant over.

Some Promotion

Since December 2007, I've been actively working to get my burlesque brand out into the world. I'd like to take a moment to help a couple other brands. If you can lend your support to these, it will help them both (and help my brand in the process).

First, we have Bachelor Pad Magazine. This is the one magazine that I actually read. It's a great quarterly retro mag with "booze, babes & burly-q." I appear as accompaniment to an article this month in a photo by my pal Chris Beyond. I'll make another appearance later in the year as a pin-up. I love this magazine. There are two ways you can help BPM, and both are easy and take very little time.
  1. Go vote for Bachelor Pad Magazine as your favorite pin-up mag: http://www.pinupparkinglot.com/polls. You don't have to register any email or get on some mailing list to vote. Just go vote now.
  2. Subscribe to Bachelor Pad Magazine. One year (four magazines) is only $16. It isn't filled with stupid perfume samples or 45 pages of ads before you get to the articles like most magazines you find in line at the grocer. You won't regret subscribing.
Second, we have L.A. Burlesque. They release a calendar of Los Angeles burlesque performers (some of which have transplanted to other parts of the world but carry the L.A. legacy with them) as a fundraiser for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The 2010 calendars will be released in April, allowing plenty of time to collect autographs before Christmas and before putting them on your walls in the new year. I did a photo shoot for the 2010 calendar, so you just might see my little face in there. They are available for pre-purchase, so order your copy now.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Becoming a Better Dancer #3

I had friends who started their formal dance training when we were all in elementary school together. For a multitude of reasons, I was unable to join them. Of course, starting my training as an adult has kept me from getting sick of dancing before I could go pro.

This is the final dance in Center Stage. I really like this film. What's wonderful is the storytelling in the piece. I think it's a nice blend of classical dance and modern sensibilities.


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This Is Just a Test

I have my first film history test today.

I hate tests. I'm usually great at them, but I hate them nonetheless. I spent most of my weekend catching up on my class reading. I've been up all morning studying after five hours of sleep (show last night).

There are 50 questions on the test -- all multiple choice or true/false. And I sit with my notes trying to ingest every crazy little detail from the class lectures. I've been studying notes from the first class for over an hour. I have to speed this up if I'm going to leave for class in an hour and a quarter.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Let's Put on a Play

When I was a kid, I'd decide on a whim to put on a show with my brothers or with the neighbor kids. We also do this sort of thing in Girl Scouts. We'd make our parents sit through these creative yet often poorly executed shows. I'm sure my mother was ready to get back to washing dishes more than once.

When I was a teenager, I started doing community theatre. The first shows I did were directed by a stage manager out of New York. He ran a tight ship, so it was a very stable, well organized and predictable environment.

My college professors also ran tight ships. Even if we didn't always get along, their shows were very professional and I was glad to take part. They were also very respectful of people's time.

Since moving to Los Angeles, I've experienced both end of the spectrum. Most burlesque producers I've worked with are very on-the-ball and run a professional show. Some theatre directors have been well organized and professional. I like working with these folks.

Then there are the others. These are the people you audition for and can tell from the way you're handled in the audition that you want to stop right there. You don't want the part. You can sense they maybe don't have the same definition of "good" or "ready for an audience" as you. Or they're so desperate for participants that you wonder what's chased people off. Or maybe you finally get to see the script or find out exactly what the project is and it sucks balls. I know I don't want to be associated with something that isn't good.

This is part of the reason we started Theatre Unleashed last year. We're not putting on shows in our front yard on a whim. We're making quality entertainment. I just wish everyone in Los Angeles had the same drive.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Another Teaser


This is another shot from my L.A. Burlesque calendar photo shoot. I do hope you get a copy when they come out. This was taken by Sam, and you can see me with Anthony of BravoFoto.

First off, let me reiterate how fun the day was. We shot this as the sun was setting on one of the few cloudy days we had in Southern California. By this point, it was getting pretty cold and a little windy. Of course, I didn't feel it when we were actually shooting. The calendar is put together by a great group of people. I felt a little bit like a princess. Tee hee hee.

There's a trick to modeling that I've learned. Stretch first. Seriously. When I did Dr. Sketchy's last year, I didn't stretch first and I was a little sore after. I was sore after my photo shoot for the dinner show in January. Holding a pose for some period of time can really stretch and stiffen muscles. I need to make a point of stretching every time I model.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Video Endorsement!


I like to endorse things I believe in. Today I'd like to acquaint you with an instructional burlesque video by one of my earliest burlesque teachers, Jo "Boobs" Weldon. If you ever have the opportunity to study with Jo in person, I highly recommend it. She's well-researched, well-educated, very experienced and an all-around great resource.

Her new video is called Honey & Spice: Sensual & Fierce Burlesque. I bought my copy in a presale about a month ago and got it in in the past week. In the video, Jo discusses costumes, takes you through a warm-up, talks technique and tassel twirling, and teaches two different routines. The "Honey" routine is all about the tease and incorporates a boa. The "Spice" routine covers bump and grind. Both routines are the perfect gradient for those new to the art form. Anyone can watch the video and walk away with a new weapon in the arsenal. Jo is quite an amazing teacher.

I was so excited about the release of the video that I bought three copies. My small sister, budding burlesque performer, is going to studiously watch her copy as soon as I ship it. I think my older sister will enjoy it as well, particularly since she has a family and doesn't have the luxury of skipping off to dance classes.

So go buy a copy!


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Monday, March 02, 2009

Becoming a Better Dancer #2

I love the choreography of Bob Fosse. The man is a genius. I watched Pajama Game this weekend, and this was the best thing about it. Andrew pointed out how cool their legs look when they turn in their feet. I like the slow rise from the floor. Check it out.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Becoming a Better Dancer #1

I've decided to undertake steps to become a better dancer. I've been in classes pretty consistently for the past three years. Of course, there's free education available on the internet to be had. I'm going to use this to supplement my classes. My goal is to watch at least one dance performance a week and take something from it that I can incorporate into my own performance. This might be a cleverly placed wink, a dance step or a brilliant freeze. I'm not stealing choreography outright, just getting some inspirado.

The first video I'd like to share with you is "If" by Janet Jackson. I love this song. It's a lot dirtier when you actually listen to the words. I could watch this video every day for a year and pull something new from it.


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Birthday Celebration: Day Seven


As I've said before, performing is a gift. I'm very fortunate to make money doing something I love. For the last official day of my birthday celebration, I had two different dance shows. The photo represents them both.

The first was the wonderfully classic Burlesque After Dark. I'm well-trained in classic burlesque if I do say so myself. I've studied with some incredible people who taught me the fundamentals. I've done lots of research. I've been in a position lately where I've done more classic performances than modern stuff. Heck, it's the classic stuff that got me into Boston Burlesque Expo. For this dinner show, I did two numbers, both from High Jinks Burlesque. The fan number is going to Boston, so it's nice to perform that as much as possible. This was a new space for me, carpeted and L-shaped with mirrors on the walls. I really enjoyed performing there.

I restyled my hair and changed before hopping into the car for my second show. I was glad that I was doing something completely different at the second show because it was more of a challenge. It was Friday the 13th, so I retooled a number in my repertoire to fit the theme. I spent a total of $6 on the costume since I had almost everything already in my wardrobe. It was a venue I knew, but I don't remember it being so poorly lit backstage. I almost fell down some steps because I couldn't see them. It was also very cold, probably the coldest night we've had in L.A. this year. But I was very pleased to get three numbers under my belt in an evening. It was a great way to end my birthday week.

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