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Archive for October, 2010

Rosie Delight Likes to Art and Fart!

Posted on October 28th, 2010

Photo by Voodoo Bill Kustom Photography

How did you get involved in Burlesque?

I impulsively straightened out Cecilia Bravo’s (Fluffgirl) stocking seam as she was washing her hands in the Brickyard’s bathroom. Ihad never met her. I did not say hi. I just crouched down, said ‘your seam is crooked’ and started straightening it in an OCD moment. I was probably high. Anyway she looked down at me and was like ‘Your cute, Do you wanna do burlesque?’ I said yes. obviously.

Whats your favorite act to perform?

My favorite number right now is my Phoenix number cause its new. I don’t like doing stuff more than a few times really so any new number is my favorite. That and for my own personal pleasure I like doing long slow classic burlettas to music that makes you wanna cry and maybe kill yourself just a little bit. Its kinda like masturbation. Give me five minutes I will take off one glove, grind the soul out of that song and work out a few of my demons. Maybe not so entertaining for short attention span audiences but good for me. I probably just need to get them all stoned first.

Whats your favorite act you’ve seen?

Sex at the Circus. Pretty much the whole thing. And Camaro Luvroc’s picnic number. And your Unicorn number. And Shaboobie’s Barbarella number always. And anything Farrah Moans does with fans.

Highlights thus far?

When Amber Ray loved Rosie Delight Needs a New Brain, called me a force of nature and gave me a flower. My heart just melted. I love her. Oh and when a bar full of dirty gory Victoria punks started chanting ‘Praise be to God!’ at me when my music stalled during my bloody nun number. That was good too. Oh and when the ghost of Madame Lucy Mae Brown pretty much told me she approved of Cinco de Murder, where she was the main character, by haunting my ass right before we started the play.

Performance Art or Performance Fart?

I like both but I need balance. The middle way but done by balancing extremes. For every time I paint myself white and do something arty and a little up my ass, I have to balance it out by biting the head off a chicken or stuffing sausage down my pants.

Photo by Ben Jones Photography

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J’adore Michelle L’amour

Posted on October 26th, 2010

Who is a lucky ducky? Vancouver is a lucky ducky!!! And whhhhyyy you may ask!? Well because this past weekend Diamond Minx and Rosie Bitts co-produced the Midnight Blue Burlesque Show at the Wise Hall featuring none other than the beautiful and talented Michelle L’amour. **insert collective SQUEEE from everyone we know.

Michelle was kept bizee helping Vancouver launch their edition of Naked Girls Reading, teaching workshops and bringing the house down with her amazing solo performances at Midnight Blue. You thought you were tired!!

Just in case you were wondering what is Naked Girls Reading? Its exactly how it sounds. Naked girls…. reading. I didn’t get a chance to make it to the show but I heard it went really well. I mean common! They were naked AND reading!? I can’t really see how that wouldn’t be entertaining!

Because I knew Michelle was coming to Van and that she would be offering workshops here I opted to not take any of her classes at BurlyCon. I had heard through the grapevine that they were really amazing so I was really stoked to take her classes. Lucky us in Vancouver had the option to attend both a Boa and Fan Dancing class this past weekend and I got to take both. They were soooooooo great!!! (Is it just me or do I review like an 11 year old girl… hmmm..) but seriously… sooo great!! I’ve never really tried to deconstruct classic movements like the bump and grind before and I found her class really informative. Michelle is a great teacher; very warm and gracious- funny too!  She was able to walk the hard line with ease and give corrections without making anyone feel uncomfortable. I would recommend for anyone! I had way too much fun playing with the big girl fans. Probably going to have to start selling chocolate covered almonds soon so I can buy a pair.

The show on Saturday was wonderful as well! Really great mix of local performers featuring a varied array of acts. Singing, Dancing, Comedy, Live music and of course Michelle!!!  For me stand out acts included the Brolesque declaration of love for Miss L’amour from Chai Tea, Doc Chocolate, and Blue Morris. Was a really great blending of the musical talents of the boys combined with hysterical lyrics and striptease.  Count Chocula merkin!? Genius. The other number that I was absolutely mesmerized by came from classic songstress Nicky Ninedoors with piano accompaniment by Brother Keys. Although relatively new to the Burlesque Scene, Nicky has proved herself to be quite the powerhouse of talent. There was very little I could critique the number on and I forsee great things for her in the future when she gains abit more experience. This all leads us to Michelle. I can’t even do her performances justice. She was just perfect!  Her first act (which you can watch on Stripcheez of her performance at the TBF ) combined stunning boa work with Michelle’s stunning sensuality climaxing with the ass that goes Pow! Seriously. It went pow. Like 500 times!!! I do not even remotely know how she got it to move like that. DAMN. Its like a wizard ass or something. Her second number was her classic fan dance Sally Rand tribute number and it was so beautiful. Honestly was a living, moving masterpiece. I wanted to cry. There was a sense of absolute reverence in the crowd and I know so many people are so glad they were able to see Miss L’amour in person so will be able to remember when. She is just absolute perfection- A living angel! I am in complete awe of her grace and talent and feel so grateful that I was able to meet her and watch her perform. *swoon* Michelle L’amour+ Vancouver= True Luv 4Eva!!!

Michelle and April Get Their Mime On

The Cast of Midnight Blue with Mega Star Michelle L'amour

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Posted on October 22nd, 2010

Wow-wa-wee-Wah!!! Ohm my gad! This was the funnest thing ever! It was my first year to ever attend Seattle’s annual Burlesque convention and I am a changed woman!! If you have the opportunity next year, GO! I am seriously endorsing this to every performer and to every person even remotely interested in Burlesque-just fucking GO! The bang for your buck is unbelievable! Where else can you feed your soul like this? Being able to take 4 days worth of workshops with unbelievable BQ Mega-Stars like Dee Milo, Indigo Blue, Jo Boobs, Tigger, World Famous BOB, Darlinda Just Darlinda, and Trixie and the Evil Hate Monkey- and thats just to mention a few?? No big deal. Ummm.. actually- BIG DEAL! Everyone had an absolute blast and left renewed, inspired, and grateful.

Now there were basically a bajillion classes one could take on subjects as diverse as the teachers themselves. Make-up, Hair, Clowning, Performance Art, Costuming, Comedy, Striptease Skills of every stripe. Check out www.burlyconseattle.com for a full schedule. There were also panels, a flash mob, performer feedback sessions, brunch and a pink party. Life was good this weekend my friends… very very good.

Now I can only really testify for the classes that I took and I can only speak as to how they inspired me and ultimately I want to pay tribute to the teachers themselves. This is just a small review of my favs.

Now my favorite class was Tigger’s Personna and Performance. His class should be mandatory for everyone twirling a pastie out there. I cannot stress how inspiring he is. And what an amazing teacher!!! I think the true strength of this class is that it not only addresses the how to of Burlesque but also the why. Tigger is a true artist. You can feel and see his passion in his lecture and see that his presence in the Burly world has deeper motivations than just having fun (although it definitely is fun). Tigger wants to change the world! And the greatest lesson I took from this class was that you cannot help but respect an intention that has greater meaning. That Burlesque can and does change the world. That the Why is just as important as the How, and lucky for us, both were covered! Awesome! Honestly, any chance you have to take this class, DO! Tigger is absolutely mesmerizing and just magic to listen to.

Another of my favorite classes was Performance Art with Darlinda Just Darlinda. Again, another really great teacher! She was informed, encouraging and very engaging. I appreciate that she asked questions and encouraged her students to the same; taking into account their opinions and experiences. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and I found the entire class very informative and pretty hilarious. We also learned a specific performance art skill that also ended up being very hilarious. Ask around as to what that skill was. Hilarious.

I also took the self confidence workshop with World Famous BOB and it was really great. This class was honestly sacred. I don’t want to divulge any details but like BOB, it was a really, really beautiful experience. I have read soooooo many self help books. I am honestly a self help book guru. I just love ‘em and I can honestly say I am a self development connoisseur. So take it from me, this class is worth your time whether you think you have self confidence or not. BOB gives you tools that will actually work and honestly, were ones I have never heard or tried before. This is also not to mention that you get to see BOB up close and personal and in action. Someone who is just beautiful inside and out and is willing to share herself in order to help you. Fucking beautiful. I also would love to testify that she is a great teacher- very fun, very warm, very approachable. You feel like in another land, you would probably end up being best friends forever. I will send you your half of the heart shaped necklace soon BB. Great, great, teacher- Great, great class.

I also took a few classes with Ol’Scratch from Boston. Commedia Dell Arte and Publicity. This guy really knows what he is talking about. I was just epically impressed with his knowledge. Its like hanging out with a book. But still very personable- very impressed. This dude is a serious wealth of information. Befriend him.

Another highlight was Jo Boobs’ “How to be a Teacher” class, which really was more of a discussion. It was just nice to know that we all have our insecurities about what and how we are doing, even someone as informed and awesome as Jo! There was some really nice dialogue. An important part of what was discussed definitely involved class content. Although we may be teaching similar things, like in a routine, its important to come at them with your special flavoring. Be unique!! Do not teach someone else’s class!! Or Jo will murder you. That is all.

One of my favorite moments was listening to the keynote address from Dee Milo. She was absolute love. When someone asked what would you like to see done differently from the performers of today she said nothing. Absolutely nothing, that we were all beautiful just the way we were. I wept.

I only have 2 complaints

1.) The music at the Pink Party was TERRIBLE!!! I know there is no accounting for taste (especially mine) but it would’ve been nice to see some old school 45s that everyone would’ve liked. Some feel good oldies or at least a mix of all sorts of music. That noise made me want a glow stick. And drugs. Because drugs are the only way I would’ve enjoyed that. BLAH!

2.) BE FRIENDLIER YOU ASSHOLES! Oh my god! All I am asking is for a goddamn smile!!! I know who you are. And I know that you know who I am. I smiled at you. I am not a hobo asking you for change!? The whole spirit of the thing was soposed to be about community! I found some people came across as very unfriendly and down right snot-tay!! It felt like I was in some sort of high school flashback. Even if I know you or if I don’t know you- Trust me, you aren’t that cool and I am your future fan or friend. We don’t have to talk. Just smile… please… just smile back at me. Nod, wave, make eye contact. It obviously wasn’t everyone. Some people were absolutely lovely. And it wasn’t the teachers!!! They were all so approachable and warm and personable!! But I just think its worth mentioning that one of the best things about our community is the community.. isn’t it??

That being said, those are minor minor MINOR complaints compared to the amazing. I am a changed person! That is such an amazing thing to be able to say! And I doubt you’d find even one person who attended that couldn’t say the same thing. Thank you so much!!!! To Indigo Blue and the rest of the BlueBurlyCon committee- You have created something absolutely amazing and we are all so indebted to you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Miss Fitt likes it Downward Doggy Style

Posted on October 18th, 2010

Photo Credit: Pin Up Perfection

How did you get involved in Burlesque?

I owe it to Burgundy Brixx! We met doing a gig as singers/dancers & co-choreographers for a tribute show. She told me about her other gig and I was intrigued. I got my foot into the door Go-Go dancing at Kitty Nights. I took Burgundy’s ‘Elements of Tease’ workshop series to learn the basics. I consider her a mentor and feel grateful to know such a lovely person. I did my first Burletta at Kitty Nights and the rest is history! I fell in love with the art form as well as the community supporting it.

Whats your favorite act to perform?

Above all I love to Go-Go dance. Over the years I have learned the classic 60′s Go-Go style and enjoy incorporating this into improvised performance. When I’m up there I feel present, connected with the audience and in my element.

Whats your favorite act that you’ve seen?

Well, this is always changing so I will let you know my favorite act of the week – Delilah Dare and her ‘Toxic’ number. It is so captivating and powerful. She blends her extensive training in tribal fusion belly dance with strip-tease in a creative and emotive way while incorporating the use of beautiful fans. It blew me away when I saw it last night in rehearsal.

Highlights thus far?

I am tremendously excited about a new project called Pandora and The Locksmiths with fellow performers/friends Nicky NineDoors, Carole Brunette & Delilah Dare. As a collective, we put on a burlesque/cabaret show accompanied by a live jazz band that is very classic in style. It is a source of inspiration for me and a chance to work with incredible people. Another highlight would definitely be performing in a show (Kitty Nights) with Dirty Martini. She is a powerful, beautiful and talented woman. I felt fortunate for the experience. Finally, I was proud to have co-produced my first show for the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival this year called ‘Paris à Minuit’ and look forward to future projects.

What is your favorite way to work on your Fitness?

I try to eat lots of healthy organic food, do Yoga and can often be found rehearsing dance numbers, no matter what the setting!

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Moving Forward

Posted on October 14th, 2010

Everyone is Beauuutiful! In their own wayyy... photo credit: Frankie Panky

I had a girl ask me at a party if she was too skinny to do Burlesque. I, of course, told her definitely not! In my opinion anyways and at least in Vancouver, Burlesque celebrates everyone!! We’ve got it all!! However, she thought that it seemed like it was only for the super voluptuous. I told her that its probably because this is one of the few places that honor the chubsters but it brought up some interesting thought for me on ye olde fat vs skinny burlesque debate! Yayy!! Can you hardly wait!?

Now for whatever reason, being fat is the most threatening thing to people. I’m not sure why but people are allowed to openly hate, mock, and despise people who are overweight. I completely understand that there are health benefits but I can also think that if it were that easy to be thin we’d all already be there. We don’t yell slurs at other unhealthy lifestyle choices. Its not an insult to call someone a smoker. Seriously imagine it- “You fucking smoking piece of shit!!!” That is serious comedy. Replace smoking with fat and…… you get what I’m saying. It is pure venom and hatred when someone is attacking someone’s weight. And it happens everyday to lots of really amazing people who are made to feel like they like they aren’t valuable and that their worth is only equal to how thin they are. Shit-tay.

So something that is cool about BurlyQ is that we can all play . Chubsters too! YAY!
But there is something interesting going on in terms of reverse fatism. People are getting all haterade on the skinny girls. A literal example is a review about Dinah Might’s performance at the Burlesque Hall of Fame from culturalcapitol.com (disclaimer: Dear Mr. Oxblood. I love you and your reviews. I actually really want to work for you. I’m sorry for calling you on your shit. Call me? xx)

“all I can say about Dinah Might is that I hate her perfect body and her stupid face—sorry, my thirteen year-old girl coming out.  Seriously, isn’t burlesque for ALL body types and can’t someone whose face is jammin’, body hecka slammin’, go pose for FHM or something?  Cash it in, hon.”

Umm. It IS for all body types! Even the “perfect” ones. Ok so maybe my thirteen year old girl is slightly jealous too but she is GOOD! No hatey hate!! Thats the easy thing to do. Whats hard is moving forward- its hard to see that being equal doesn’t mean being just as big of an asshole- it means behaving how you wanted to be treated. I think the biggest issue that holds women back in general is our perceptions and attitudes towards each other. I don’t know how much of it is evolution or genetics or something- but for women? Jealousy, labeling and not supporting one another is the main problem in the first place. Its really easy to want to say HA HA now you know how I feel but that isn’t helping! Its hurting.

There is some debate around “Curvy” shows or troupes that feature bigger gals exclusively and I get it. There is some exclusion here and now I might be backpedalling on my last point but I think that they are necessary at the same time. We don’t have shows that celebrate how thin someone is because it’d kinda be like giving yourself an academy award with your Mom in the audience. Its the same reason as to why we don’t have White People Appreciation month. Every day is White People Day. Its important for women to have pride in their bodies and honestly its alot harder when you are bigger. Plus it means so much to people to be able to see something that they can relate to. So so so much. HOWEVER- I also don’t think it means we can get all bitchy with our skinny sisters or treat them poorly.

I really think that Burlesque is going to play a really pivotal role for society and how it defines beauty. The message we are creating is that ALL women are beautiful; Chubsters, Stickbugs and everyone in between. There is nothing wrong with creating a future that truly believes in that and is one where we are supporting and helping and celebrating each other as we are.

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Maggie Pie Wants Your Buttons

Posted on October 12th, 2010

How did you get involved in Burlesque?

I have a performance background in theatre, musical theatre, dance, and drag, plus a BFA in Theatre(Design) from UVic, so I had a natural inclination toward burlesque. While living in Japan in 2007, I was listening to Tom Waits’ “Big in Japan” and was suddenly inspired with a GREAT idea for a burlesque number. When I came back to Canada, I was encouraged by friends (particularly local performer Diamond Minx) to take up burlesque and return to the stage. In January 2009 I found Girls On Top, a not-for-profit burlesque troupe which raised money and awareness for survival sex-trade workers. I was so excited to use my skills in design and performance to help a cause i truly believe in but I was scared to come back to the stage after such a long absence. I hadn’t danced seriously in 14 years, but when I auditioned with them, and 3 weeks later when I debuted my first burlesque number, it all just clicked.

Whats your favorite act to perform?

I LOVE performing “The Sweater” by Canadian spoken-word artist Miram Cadell, which was gifted to me by my Fairy Dragmother. It’s a lipsynch number with intense lyrics and requires a huge amount of acting. Also, for my generation, it’s a brilliant reminder of a time when music had wit and personality.

Whats your favorite act you’ve seen?

That’s a ridiculously hard question. Vancouver alone is filed with so much wit and talent, let alone international acts, so it’s really tough to pick just one. I would have to give you my top three:

1: Nicky Ninedoors performing “Closer” as a live-vocal jazz number with striptease (excuse me, I need to change my panties now)

2: Lola Frost performing damn near anything, particularly her number with the champagne bottle.

3: April O’Peel performing the Mime.

Highlights thus far?

My highlights include performing at the BHOF weekend in Las Vegas (dancing at the pool-party in 44-degree weather on burning hot cement), Girls On Top’s final show the Glass Slipper at The Cultch, designing and creating costumes for GOT, performing at fundraisers around town especially the TCRG Shimmy Shake Showdown, meeting incredibly talented and gracious burlesque superstars from all over the world who get excited about shiny things the same way I do.

What Sparkly Thing are you most attracted to?

Vintage Buttons!! It’s actually how I got my stage name. Starting with my mother’s button box when I was about 3 years old, I have always been attracted to sparkly or shiny things (which is often called Magpie Syndrome). My mom used to call me her little magpie, so I’m Maggie Pie.

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Creating a Culture

Posted on October 4th, 2010

A Variety of Talents and Bodies Performing at their Becoming Burlesque Recital

In my last post, I talked about valuing ourselves as “real” and “legitimate” dancers. This is obviously important so that as we enter the consciousness of the mainstream we are treated with the respect we want and deserve. This brought up alot of thought for me about the culture of dance in Western society and what Burlesque can bring to the table.

I have also previously discussed how I felt some of the true beauty in Burly Q lies in its imperfections and in its humanity. That there are no restrictions based on age, weight, sex, race, or ability. Because this is such a self directed art, the worth and value of a performer can be expressed in so many different ways that look past the boundaries we usually hold ourselves up against. I can’t because I’m not good enough at whatever because of whatever doesn’t really exist here. And that is amazing. What we have created is accessibility.

I had a friend recently come back from a trip to Tahiti. She has been a few times now and is just absolutely in love with the culture and I can see why. From our talks about it, what I understand is this:

So like most early cultures, Dance played a giant role in the lives of the Tahitians. They danced to greet visitors, to pray, to challenge a rival or to seduce a potential mate (meow!). This brings us to the part of the story that sucks. And like most early cultures, mother fucking white people showed up and ruined the party. When the first British colonists and missionaries came to Tahiti they believed the dances to be provocative and offensive and in 1820 abolished most forms of dance. BOOO! And again, like most early cultures, the assimilation almost destroyed them. However, in the 1950s a full on renaissance occurred and dance was back! Now they have a month long festival yearly that everyone prepares for year round. And I mean EVERYONE! The whole island dances. Everyone. Entire villages meet to rehearse for the festival. I was absolutely amazed by this!! How was possible that everyone was ABLE to participate? My friend told me that its not uncommon to see villages gathering in a field to learn and practice. Wowwww!!! Dancing has once again become a giant part of the culture, legacy and healing of these people.

I told this story because I am so inspired by it. I want dance to be accessible for everyone in our culture. And right now, Burlesque is I think, one of the most accessible of dance forms. And I think the healthiest because there are no restrictions about who can or can’t participate. Obviously the cream of the crop will rise to the top but there are opportunities everywhere for the newest of the new to try it out. I know there are alot of boo being said about if people use it as feel good tool are going to ruin it because they simply aren’t good enough. But like I said, the cream of the crop will rise to the top!!! And I think that everyone in this art (exception being those with previous nude dancing experience) had to come to terms with ideas about their body and it being naked and what their ideas about naked bodies in general should look like before that first performance. The diversity in the bodies of the performers because we aren’t telling anyone you need to be this or that also teaches us that same idea. And I think that is a beautiful thing. Because it challenges you. It changes your ideas about what that naked body needs to be. And yes. I think that is a healthy thing for our culture to come to terms with as a whole because currently the standard isn’t based on anything other than making you feel bad so you buy something to try and fix it.

And I think about how happy I am when I am able to dance- and how good it feels to dance with others and I wish everyone could and would have the opportunities I had that lead me here. I love that there are people in our troupe that now have a chance to enjoy what I have for so many years. And I can see how happy it makes them. How Burlesque has changed their lives for the better because they are able to express themselves through dance! And how being part of group dancing together creates a feelings of unity and positivity. There is so much to be said about being a part of something bigger than yourself.

And this is why I am here. I have a performing background and if this wasn’t available, I am sure I would still be performing. And I would be trying to develop myself in other modalities. I could be doing that right now instead. But I don’t want to be a musical theatre actor or a modern dancer. I want to be a Burlesque Dancer. For a variety of reasons- but they also include the positivity and community that come with it. I love that Burlesque is accessible. I think its important. And I want it to stay that way.

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