Monday, July 23, 2012

2012-07-12/15 Colorado Burlesque Fest

So at 2am on July 4th I decided I needed to go to the Colorado Burlesque Fest because I have missed so many festivals this year due to being too busy to apply and I really missed my burlesque family.  It was one of those random occasions as I had just gotten back in touch with an old friend I hadn't seen in 10 years who also happened to live in Denver, Kisa von Teasa had done the "hey, you REALLY need to come to this" as had a few others and there were some personal things that came up so the universe was telling me to get out of town and get my ass to Denver.  So I found a cheap ticket, got a room with Amber Ray and made it happen.  

Thursday I was doing my oh crap packing as that's how I roll while I was waiting on Burnadette Cinders to come by to take me to the airport in exchange for two jars of Jalapeno Pickled Okra and lunch at Our Way Cafe.  I considered it to be a fair trade.  I got to the airport to take off at 2:30pm, hopped the plane and landed in Denver at 4:10pm, you have to love loosing two hours for the time change.  Miss Ida Claire was kind enough to come by to pick me up and take me to the hotel since she was already in town.  I got to the hotel and tracked down Amber and my other roomies Sirena Maria and StrOker Ace.  I had just enough time to get in the room and get ready for the Opening Night Gala at the Summit Music Hall!  I met up with Kisa von Teasa and Celtic Smith and got some amazing 3rd row seats for the show.  It was hosted by the awesomeness that is Cora Vette, I always love watching her MC.  She has such an amazing voice and stage presence that even with all of the horrible and tasteless things that come out of her mouth, you still love her...actually that's why you love her, but still.  The Thursday night show seemed to be more of a local showcase with a few other performers thrown in, seemingly most of Albuquerque.  The show over all was amazing and a lot of fun.  A few highlights included Sofia Soubrette and Naked Vegas with their fruit stand routine, Cherry Glitter Bomb and Shayne McMunchin with their Tarzan routine, Vivian MirAnn with her Minnie the Moocher routine and Perle Noire celebrating her birthday with an improvised routine with Cora Vette singing.  During the curtain call everyone sang happy birthday to Perle and then Lola van Ella distracted her while Sammich the Tramp snuck up behind Perle to hit her on the ass with a Shaving Creme Pie.  It was rather epic!

from Perle Noire's Facebook Page
After the show we all went back to the hotel for the after party in the hotel bar.  It was a lot of very silly and tired drunkenness as many of the attendees had just gotten in that day from many different time zones.  It was like a very rowdy family reunion where you actually like everyone that you're getting to see and is full of genre (and larger) celebrities like Roxi D'Lite, The Bishop of Burlesque and many others. After some time in the fray a splinter group of us were starving and ran off to the Denver Diner.  First, it was an adventure of trying to find where the diner was, which considering it was approximately three blocks away and the people walking got there the same time we did...there are a ridiculous amount of one way streets in a city we didn't know in our defense.  I ended up seated between Ida Claire and Vivian MirAnn so there was much hilarity in our little corner.  I think it was mostly the discussion of assorted bacon and other meats, but I truly feel even closer to Vivian than I did before that meal.  The food was eh, the service was pretty horrid, but hey, it's a 24 hour dinner where you can watch people bring in their tranny hookers they've bought roses for, which was kind of sweet. Would have only been better if the creepy frat boys at the table next to us had quite sending over their obnoxious emissary to bug the crap out of Vivian.  I think he was trying to hit on her but it was so odd and uncomfortable it mostly just made us want to leave and immediately take a shower.  So we left to go back to the hotel and get some rest before we kept the amazing weekend going.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012-07-10 Chair Work with Katherine Lashe

So tonight was both my chair work class and the half way point of the classes.  I was really excited that we had three new students sign up which would have made the class completely full, however the rain and thunder caused some accidents so one called in and the other went MIA, so we had a class of 8 and that proved to be plenty.  Everyone did a great job!  We went over the visual lines of the chair, tracing the chair and the body for emphasis, back bends, crickets, floor lifts and some body rolls from seated and using the chair as a base.  We had a few limitations do to a couple of injuries, but everyone quickly learned the rule of if you feel a little awkward it probably looks great from the audience, lol.  It was a lot of fun and everyone was working up a sweat.

One of our new drops ins did an amazing job with the chair so I got to teach her a chair roll spin which she was picking up super fast, the chair may end up being her thing.  Everyone was eventually able to do the kick spin into the chair and over the back as well which usually takes the longest unless you have some flexibility already, which luckily everyone had.

Hope to see everyone again next week! I'll be teaching my costuming class and bringing in a bunch of my costumes for people to play with and try out the different ways they come apart on July 17th from 6:30-8:30pm at Spinarella Pole/Dance/Fitness.  If you'd like to sign up for this class please go to and reserve your spot!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012-07-05 Burlesque and Cabaret Club New Format

On Thursday, July 5, the Atlanta Burlesque and Cabaret Society moved to it's new home to settle into it's new format!  Still from 8-10pm and the first week each month, the only changes are that the club has moved from Mondays at Manny's to Thursdays at Elliot St Deli and Pub.  The meeting has gone from an informal gathering of minds to a more structured format.  The time from 8-8:30pm allows everyone to settle in, order food and say hello.  The sandwiches at Elliot St are amazing and they have a decent alcohol selection if you'd like to kick back with a drink.  From 8:30-9pm is announcements by the club leader Talloolah Love and then the floor is opened to anyone else who may have announcements for upcoming shows, classes, etc....  At 9pm the time is allotted for anyone who would like to do a teaser for any up coming events, or rehearse a piece for feed back or to get video at no cost to the performer.  I think this is a good idea, unfortunately no one signed up to perform for this event so mostly we ended up having free time where we could chat, I took Lola LeSoleil's measurements for an up coming costume and there was some general silliness.

This is not the first time that Talloolah has tried to liven up the event with a bit of structure.  A couple of years ago she tried to have presentations about burlesque done by members of the group.  I can remember two that actually took place (there may have been others I missed) and at least twice that many that ended up being cancelled due to no shows.  I commend her for her efforts, but many of the members are not only performers, but have day jobs as well, they are very pressed for time.  I think her ideas are wonderful and would definitely help kick the events up a notch, but perhaps she should have performed at the first event to give a taste to those she was trying to convince as an act of faith rather then leave the slot empty.  I am sure it was due to a need to moderate the group, but perhaps one of the other leaders could have taken over so she could lead by example.  

As the group does not charge for admission those who choose to perform will not be paid and that may be a deterrent as well with the current push for performers wishing to be paid what they are worth instead of performing for free or close to it.  I don't think it's out of line for her to offer a free place to receive critiques or videos as that's actually extremely helpful for performers and it costs them nothing to get a video which is payment in it's own right, but the timing of this may work against her goals for the club.  I do think that the Burlesque and Cabaret Society is a very important part of the Atlanta Burlesque scene and I do hope that the new direction takes off and does well for everyone.

Monday, July 9, 2012

2012-07-04 4th of July Parade and Concert

So after a week being up all night multiple days to finish to the float it was finally THE BIG DAY!  AECAFI, who puts on the Art-B-Que each year, has been putting a float in the annual Avondale Estates 4th of July Parade the last few years under Bart Webb's direction.  This year Bart chose the Avondale Avengers as the theme.  The AECAFI float featured a bald eagle's head at the front with a large beak that opened and closed (I actually upholstered the beak) with a front chrome grill underneath and patriotic Cadillac fins at the back.  It was covered in many of the AECAFI board members and their families.  There was the Dumpster Diva, the Sweeper, and many more original characters on the float in crazy costumes having a great time.  They were off to go throw candy to the crowds lining the parade route and show everyone the super hero team!

After the parade, everyone headed over to Bart Webb Studios for live music, bar-b-que, and swimming pool fun!  The first show went from 1-7pm with six amazing local bands.  Master Chef, formerly of the James Joyce (RIP), had spent all night doing prep for the potato salad, baked beans, chicken kabobs, and home pressed hamburgers!  She then spent the day manning the grill and serving the masses while they enjoyed all of the amazing music.  As this was a children friendly event, the Avondale Estates Beach (a giant sand box with 3 foot deep 12 foot wide inflatable pool) was full of splishing, splashing and laughter by many of the local kids.  There was even a smaller kiddie pool for the babies!  After the bands played everyone went over to the Avondale Lake to catch the fireworks.  The fireworks were amazing and huge and looked beautiful over the lake.  The only down fall was that Sam (Bart's dog) was very unhappy with the fireworks and kept switching forth between barking and trying to hide in my skirt which was adorable but rather awkward.  Once the fireworks were over everyone came back over to Bart Webb Studios for the laid back after party.  The grill was fired up, The Good Golly Svengalis (the Imperial OPA Circus house band) played two sets.  Lively circus and eastern music with a flare of samba and soul.  There was some night swimming and additional fireworks to be seen from the pool.  Over all it was a pretty amazing day and I hope that all of you had an amazing 4th of July as well!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012-07-07 RIP Ernest Borgnine

Today I was really sad to hear of Ernest Borgnine's passing at age 95 yesterday.  He apparently died of renal failure in the hospital surrounded by his family.  I am not often moved by the passing of celebrities, however, thanks to years of working as Security/Guest Escort at DragonCon I have gotten to know a few as more then a face on the screen.  This past September I was lucky enough to be assigned to Mr. Borgnine, though he insisted we call him Ernie.  He was wonderfully nice to everyone, even the hotel staff that was just working in the kitchens we were walking through from panel to panel.  He shook everyone's hand, asked them how they were doing and genuinely meant every word of it.  I spent three days taking him to and from panels and even at his age he never complained about anything and was just happy to be there.  

Two of my favorite moments with him happened during his last panel that weekend.  He had been very reserved and had made a point not to curse or accidentally say anything inappropriate for days, but as the weekend progressed he realized that people weren't there to judge him, but to be in awe off him and get to know him.  So at the Sponge Bob panel, which was supposed to be for the children's track but the adult fans had muscled most of them out, a fan waited patiently in line to ask his question. "How do you get such an amazing smile in pictures?" he asked rather nervously.  Ernie laughed and said, "Well, if you say 'shit' it forces your mouth to go in the biggest smile possible" and then he flashed the crowd his famous toothy grin.  More questions were asked and then a young lady came up and asked how he's managed to live for so long.  Ernie's giggling could not be contained, as he had apparently sworn he wasn't going to tell this story anymore.  Years before he had been on set and someone had asked him the same question, his response was, "Well, I masturbate a lot!" and the crowd went wild.  His ability to be so frank and friendly with the crowd made every person in that room feel like they were his best friend by the end, myself included.

He had just completed a new film called The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez and he was so excited about it.   It's supposed to be released later this year so everyone will get one more chance to see a new work by this amazing actor.  I know I'm going to miss him at DragonCon, but I am so grateful I had the opportunity to spend some time with him and get to know him a little bit.  He was the cool grandfather type that everyone wishes they had.

Friday, July 6, 2012

2012-07-02 Naked City Inaugural Show: Politics

On Monday, July 2nd, Push Push Theater was host to the inaugural showing of Naked City.  What is Naked City?  Well it has a very interesting description on their Facebook page that incites many visions of what it could be, but to put it simply, Naked City is a once a month spoken word evening that gives writers a topic to write a five minute piece about then a luck of the draw opportunity to read the piece in front of an audience.  Yup, you heard me, luck of the draw. When the writers sign up to read and are given a poker chip, there are 9 slots available so only the 9 people who's numbers are draw will get to read.  However, this is not your regular open mic night.  In addition to having some amazing writers show up, there are also two amazing hosts, Gina Rickicki and Bernard Clark.  They acted as MCs, stand-up comedy between the writers and came up with some amazing bits and prizes for those writers who went over their 5 minute.  Yes, there are consequences!  If you go over your time you must spin the wheel to find out what you have won!  Prizes include 60 seconds of booing, prize packages and some amazing drawings done by theater camp students were handed out to all the writers.

The first show was politics and the stories included everything from violin advertising, how He-Man underoos could have changed the Star Wars program, why being a High School Treasurer in France can teach you everything you need to know about politics and how political addiction can be treated with care and perseverance.  Some were funny, some were poignant, and some were a call to arms of what the world could be if everyone used their voice.  It was an amazing evening and I can't wait for next month.  The theme is death and regardless of whether or not you want to put your name in the hat to do a reading it's well worth showing up just to watch.  The cover is only $10 for 2.5 hours of entertainment, cheaper and better then a movie!