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Welcome to: Sandra O'Connell's Blog

Four Months OUT of the Desert: Thanksgiving

Posted on October 9th, 2012

The Glitter Gang

When I returned from the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend earlier this year, I wrote about four days in the desert with the most amazing group of people I’d ever met. I was amazed by the inclusion I felt on that trip and my heart warmed as the moniker, “just a photographer,” began to fade away. Since then, the phrase, “One of Us” is thrown at me with disturbing regularity and, on some nights, almost sounds like a veiled threat. I jest.

Violet Femme at work

Since returning from Vegas, I have shared more and more of my time with Vancouver’s burlesque performers and they have reciprocated in kind. I had a handful of scheduled photo shoots away from the stage, some impromptu shoots wherever we happened to find ourselves, and a series of  birthdays, chance meetings, outings and adventures that had nothing to do with either performing or my camera. In short, I was making friends.

When I received an invite to the Vancouver Burlesque Family Picnic from Connie Cahoots and Blue Morris, I was touched (I’m still trying to discern if it was a picnic for the Vancouver Burlesque family or a kid-friendly picnic for Vancouver Burlesque performers. I think it was both with heavy emphasis on the former.). I showed up late for the event having spent the day at Wreck Beach burning my ass and shoulder with one of The Glitter Gang. When I arrived I was drunk, sunburned, and wearing a panda hat; it was BHoF all over again.

Melody Mangler: The Bubble Princess

When the invitation to the reception for Nicky Ninedoors and John Bews’ wedding arrived, I was again warmed by the gesture. My attendance was not reliant upon a picture taken or a review written; Nicky and John were inviting a friend to share a special night with them. I probably can’t explain how much this meant to me.

I always joke about professional detachment. The “Don’t Hit on the Girls or You’re Finished” mantra still stands, though it’s bent into a pretzel (that still hasn’t broken). But it is impossible to not be drawn to these performers on a multitude of levels. Miss Ruthe Ordare and I constantly joust over who my new “crush” is. Here’s a hint: In any given week, it’ll be the brunette whose performance I’ve never seen before. I explained to Miss Ordare that all the “crushes” are placed into one of four categories: Can’t, Won’t, Shouldn’t, and Maybe. Maybe, of course, is just a subsection of Shouldn’t.

I am well aware that a burlesque performer that doesn’t flirt is a rara avis in terris and I am a notorious flirt and flatterer of women. But what it comes down to, and I think this is what I was trying to say while rambling on here, is that when I am at their shows, in their homes, at their parties, I’m not hanging out with beautiful women and men. I am spending time with my friends.

I am very glad, I am thankful, to have the privilege to say so.

As I write this, I find myself preparing to play a part (albeit a very small one) in an upcoming show. I suppose we all knew this had to happen eventually.

I hope they know, “One of Us” is probably the kindest and greatest thing a group of people could ever say to an individual in their midst.

Miss Lola Frost, Baron S. Cameron, Sandra O'Connell, and Miss Ruthe Ordare

 

Category: Baron S Cameron

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Words with… Dustin Wax

Posted on August 22nd, 2012

Dustin Wax in the BHoF Museum

 

Great interview with Dustin Wax, Executive Director of the Burlesque Hall of Fame, as he discusses the new archival and restoration processes currently happening at the Museum as well as many of their other projects.

Please help support their funding drive on IndieGoGo to raise the necessary funds to ensure their move from the old space to the new one and the proper care of all the items being moved will be taken care of. This a great part of our cultural history.

Category: Uncategorized

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Words with… Russell Bruner

Posted on August 8th, 2012

 

 

Russell Bruner, the 2012 Burlesque Hall of Fame “Best of Boylesque”chats with us about his rise to Kingship, the Burlesque scene in Portland and his upcoming plans for awesomeness and general mischief.

Cover image by Derek Jackson

Insert Image by Karina Dale Pin-Ups

Category: Words With...

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Words with… Chicava HoneyChild and Essence Revealed

Posted on July 2nd, 2012

Chicava and Essence, of Brown Girls Burlesque in New York chat about the genesis and evolution of their troupe, their current projects and Chicava’s beautiful performance at the 2012 Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend.

 

Watch the Interview

Watch Brown Girls Burlesque

Category: Words With...

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Words with… Jeez Loueez

Posted on June 19th, 2012

 

Jeez Loueez, the beautiful powerhouse-in-dance-shoes from Chicago talks about winning the 2012 Viva Las Vegas title, her Burlesque life in the Windy City and experiencing the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend for the first time.

Category: Words With...

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Four Days in the Desert

Posted on June 12th, 2012

By Baron S. Cameron

I guess I could begin by saying I’ve never had any desire to go to Las Vegas. I didn’t think it was my kind of place. What I saw there when I first arrived did little to assuage my feelings about it, the city. The locals, as it turns out, I quite liked. But, suffice it to say, I’m glad the International Burlesque Hall of Fame imported glitz and glam to add to their own.

If the “Weekend” had been held in Toledo, I’d have been there. Cleveland? Sure. But Vegas it was. And holy crap, what a “was” it was.

As familiar faces started to arrive from Vancouver, I felt more at ease. And even though I felt pretty much an outsider, there’s still that “secret handshake”: Tattoos, high hair, and a massive suitcase are a pretty good indication you’re now among likeminded people, no matter where they were from. They poured in from all over the globe. As they gathered, the constant, mind-numbing din of one-armed bandits screaming through my head was subdued by expectation… the show was coming. It couldn’t arrive soon enough.

My first cloudy memory as the weekend told hold was a group picture that wouldn’t stop growing. After leaving a party in one of the upper floor suites, I was walking backwards down a beautifully creepy hallway, snapping pics of four wonderful faces. We stopped for a posed pic. Four became six. Six became eight… The final pic of our impromptu photo shoot ended up looking like a burlesque Sgt. Peppers. At that moment I knew. I knew, even as the infidel in their midst, that this was a group, a community, that had come from far and wide to celebrate not only a common purpose, but a way of life.

It was seven words that brought me to Vegas. “You really should come to Las Vegas” in fact. Lola Frost, of Vancouver’s Sweet Soul Burlesque, had opened a door to me nearly two years ago. She was my letter of introduction into a world where guys such as me rarely stray, and never walked uninvited. I’d seen the pictures and heard the stories. I knew to even begin to understand why these performers work as hard as they do, I would have to go to Vegas, straight into the heart of it. Immerse myself in four days of their lives of burlesque

Unfortunately, I can’t write anything about the stage performances themselves that wouldn’t be equally as inadequate as the photos I took at trying to explain the skill, glamour, and soft-hearted intensity that poured from the stage with every number. The performances were a roller coaster of the senses. One moment I found myself in sheer awe, laughing the next, a tear slowly rolling down my cheek soon thereafter.

I was hoarse from cheering before the curtain fell on the first evening’s show.

After the show, the showroom emptied into the casino, a glittering, chattering, display of confidence, style, community, and pride, slowing making its way to the after party. But I found myself slipping to the sidelines again, watching the parade from the curb and not feeling I had earned the privilege to walk amongst them.

The next day something changed. I gave the security guard at the elevators a high-five as he welcomed me on my way to the pool with, “Mornin’ chief!” Once at the pool, I saw an array of familiar faces from the night before. The mutual recognition gave us something in common.

I set about trying to meet and converse with everyone. Differences became stories; similarities became promises of future shared adventure. As it turned out, if I was just myself, that was all that was required.

The rest of the weekend followed in a similar style. The performances onstage continued to capture and enthrall. The living mood in the crowd beyond the stage titillated and taunted every sense. I chatted and joked with the newcomers, tipped glasses with the leaders and innovators of the art, and sat listening with reverence to the legends who regaled me, first hand, with stories I thought I’d only ever read in books.

When it came time to leave, I found myself dragging my heels. But as I walked through the hotel, saying goodbyes and swapping info, I could not help but smile to see that every square foot of carpet had either a feather, a sequin, or a splash of glitter making a spot for itself. It was a fitting metaphor for the weekend I’d just experienced. You can’t be part of something like this and not be touched by it. It leaves you with something.

Boarding the plane back home, I smiled at how lucky I was. Unlike many people who come to gather in Vegas, I came and saw and left a devoted fan and booster of burlesque. A dentist, who comes to Vegas to party with other dentists, leaves the party behind when the plane takes off. But I can go out on almost any night in Vancouver and watch a performance, relive what brought me to Vegas, and it’s much more enjoyable than performing root canal. That weekend in Vegas may be the biggest and loudest, but only because of the people, talent, and love that gathered there to make it so.

It made me want to be more involved.

It is my hope that by the time I land at the airport next year, I’ll step off the plane having spent a year in my hometown helping make the community here that much stronger. I have not yet found a home in burlesque, but it is a beautiful neighbourhood and I’m starting to look for a place to settle down. I am not so naive to think that it is always like the fun to be had in Vegas. These things are built. And that takes serious commitment and dedicated hard work. Meeting these wonderful people from around the globe was what I needed to get to it, to do my part to start paying for the entire amazing spectacle their world has given to me.

“You really should come to Las Vegas.”

I did. I will again.

Thanks for the invite.

Category: Baron S Cameron

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Tiffany Carter is Fierce!

Posted on June 9th, 2012

 

 

Tiffany Carter was in Vancouver (aka “VanGroovy”) for the 2012 Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, where she was one of the Headlining Performers in the gorgeous – and very large – Vogue Theatre.

Tink and Tiffany were able to chat about her performance, and those of others at the festival, plus her excitement to see everyone in her hometown of Las Vegas for the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend in the beginning of June.

 

Watch the interview:     Words with… Tiffany Carter

 

We adore Tiffany and if you do as well, send some comments ‘o Looove her way!

Category: Words With...

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