Posts tagged burlesque
Posts tagged burlesque
I came across this little clip on YouTube featuring Dita Von Teese and Mr Pearl talking about his corsetry.
I have reposted the following in its entirety from http://revolvahoopdance.wordpress.com/. It is so nice to have someone put this in to words and is a must read for anyone curious about what professional performers actually “DO” all day when we are not performing.
I recently had a discussion about how what the audience sees when we perform burlesque is only 1% of the actual job. Actually it is probably far less than that, especially when you take into consideration travel time to and from gigs.
Anyway, pleasant reading!
During a recent night out in San Francisco, another performer and I struck up a conversation with a fellow bar patron. Life details emerged, and it wasn’t long before the question arose. The one all performers must navigate. The one that caused my friend to look at me, eyebrows raised, suppressing a laugh (or possibly a horror-movie-style scream).
“So do you two just perform – or do you also have jobs?”
It doesn’t matter how many contracts pass through our hands, how many emails are sent, how much time is dedicated toward editing video and answering phone calls. It doesn’t matter how many hours of our lives are spent not “just performing,” not even “just rehearsing,” but also doing the administrative, marketing and promotional work that would be done by countless people and departments within a typical company. The question still lingers:
“Do you have a job?”
To be honest, there are two answers to that question. The first one involves falling to the floor, clutching one’s belly and rolling around, laughing so hard that it’s nearly impossible to discern your words, which are: “A job? A JOB! Ahh haaaaa haaaaaaaa!”
The second answer calls to mind an old sketch from the show “In Living Color,” in which a West Indian family gets through life with by piecing together so many odd jobs that one job just winds up sounding lazy.
Q: “Are you just a performer, or do you also have a job?”
A: “I’m a performer. So I have eighteen jobs. Thanks for asking.”
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that people are focused on the end product of performance, the time spent on stage. They may understand that involves some rehearsal. They probably haven’t spent too long considering any other work involved. They also view performance as fun (which the end product often is). In their own lives, they may have been conditioned to think of a “job” as work and “fun” as not-work.
Ergo, performance is not a job.
“Do you have a job?” can be taken as a compliment, mixed with a bit of longing. What they’re really asking is: “Have you been able to support yourself by performing, or do you also have to deliver pizzas?” In my own life, the answer to that question is: I HAVE been able to support myself entirely by performing. I have also mixed that performance career with freelance writing.
Sometimes, I don’t have any writing clients, and I’m just performing, for long stretches of time. Sometimes, I have a writing client that requires a lot of focus, and I downgrade the amount of gigs I can do. This is my own personal path, forged because I love to perform and I love to write, and I have noticed through direct feedback that I’m able to touch more lives when I create than I can when I work a 40-plus-hour-a-week corporate job (I tried).
But I can honestly say that one of the most challenging, edgy, time-consuming, risk-taking, educational, work-intensive endeavors of my entire life has been building my performance career. When people ask me (either out of disdain or wonder), “Do you just perform, or do you also have a job?” – and I reply that I perform, and I also work as a writer, I don’t think they understand I am NOT saying, “I have a fun activity and a job that you might consider real!” Instead, I’m saying, “I have a job that’s eighteen jobs in one – and another job. So I havenineteen jobs. Thanks for asking.”
In solidarity with other professional performers, I wanted to zoom in on the performance part of my life and break down what we actually do for a living. As we grow, it’s possible to pay for assistance, and some of us do have help/ management. But I’m going to state all of the following tasks because before, and even after, we form a reputation, making sure they are accomplished (even if that means by hiring one or more people to help) is on no one’s shoulders but our own:
I’m not complaining about life as a performer. I’m only pointing out, for people who don’t know, that it’s less a selfish life led by lazy, lucky people – than it is a selfless one led by people who often spend every waking moment dealing with (or even thinking about) some aspect of how to raise our art into the world, the way a mother raises a child.
So the next time you’re tempted to ask a performer whether she “also has a job,” why don’t you instead ask her obscure questions about i-movie, about bus routes between Bristol and London or about what to bid on a two-hour walk around gig? If she knows the answers, give her a hug.
Revolva is a hula hoop performer and writer, based in Oakland, CA. Check out her work at www.revolvahoopdance.com
Fellow burlesque performer Adora Derriere sent me this link to this website that makes the most amazing masks!
I decided I wanted an organza boa to go with my green costume but the ones in Taurus have raw edges and are a bit scratchy. I saw another performer’s boa the other week that was made from tubes so it was all soft and bunchy (is that even a word?) and thought that was a better way to make it and that I could just do it myself. I couldn’t find any decent how-to tutorials on the web so here is the way I went about it!
Thankfully I am immensely talented in using MS Paint, so have drawn some highly accurate, to-scale drawings to help you understand what I am describing and what is shown in the photos. The red lines are the stitching lines.
Step 1: I bought 6m of 150cm wide organza and tore it into 4 long strips - 2x 50cm wide and 2x 25cm wide. NB if you want a fuller boa these strips need to be wider, so you will need double the length of fabric unless you magically come across fabric significantly wider than 150cm.
Step 2: Fold one of the thinner pieces in half and pin it inside the folded wider piece (you will do this step twice). Sew up the entire length of both halves. Turn inside out once sewn.
Step 3: Pin the two halves together with the thinner section sticking out the middle on both sides. Fold these thinner sections over to one side and sew up the entire length through both halves. The organza will bunch up in places and you will get folds that you will stitch through - this doesn’t matter at all cos the whole thing will be gathered so these imperfections won’t show at all.
Step 4. Flip the thinner sections over to the side you just stitched and then sew up the other side, leaving a gap around 1-2cm in the centre for your gathering ribbon to go up.
Step 5. Now you should have a 6m length of 6 tubes all sewn together in the centre. Get a thin ribbon (I used a 1cm black ribbon I had lying around) and put a safety pin on the end. Feed this up the entire length of the centre of the boa (where the blue bit is) and stitch in place at the very end. Now gather the hell out of the boa until you get the desired length, then stich the other end in place. Mine is about 2.5m long. You can adjust the gathers and tubes so they puff out a bit nicer.
Check out this brilliant photo essay of classic burlesque performers from the first half of the 20th century. Such beautiful women we are all following on from!
This is well worth a read if you are involved in the burlesque scene, no matter which country.
“In the beginning, Facebook acted as a fabulous tool for Burlesque performers. A great way to bridge the gap between various scenes, nations and styles. A way to reach your audience, interact with them, share your photos / videos and stories.
Have a look on your News Feed. Just how many people are bitching about each other, their colleagues or the scene.
A few of us, who have been around for a while, usually refer to this stage as the “Monster” stage. The performer feels like the are god’s gift, they have nothing to learn, and they enjoy putting each other down.
As a result of the past 1-2 years, it seems there is an influx of performers in this stage, and they really need to drop their egos, and focus on doing GOOD burlesque and being GOOD to their scene.” Continue Reading…
I had the pleasure meeting Peekaboo Pointe in Perth when she was on tour with the Australian Burlesque Festival last year. Here is a video showing off her tassel twirling skills. I love the massive backbend she does - I need to work on my flexibility in that area!
Check out this video of Captain Kidd’s winning performance a the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend this year!
He is performing in the Sugar Blue Burlesque show tonight in Perth, Australia. I wish I could be back there to see him live!
The one and only Jonny Porkpie, Burlesque Mayor of New York, recently visited London to promote his book The Corpse Wore Pasties, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy. His novella is published by Hard Case Crime who specialise in crime fiction in the style of the 40s and 50s (think Raymond Chandler).
The Corpse Wore Pasties is a light, entertaining journey through the NYC burlesque scene after someone brazenly murders a burlesque performer during her act.
After finding himself the prime suspect in the crime, Jonny Porkpie, as the book’s protagonist, has no choice but to go rogue and try to track down the killer himself, coming up against crazed heavy-metalers, pull-no-punches New York cops and quite possibly a deranged murderer with a penchant for rhinestones. Not to mention the boobs. He comes up against quite a lot of ample bosoms on his investigative foray.
Sexy, genuinely funny, and with a great twist at the end, this is the perfect book for anyone with an interest in the burlesque scene and the PI stories of yore.
I am a big fan of wearing sheer to waist tights on stage to make my legs look better, but it can be a royal pain in the butt trying to find a genuine sheer to waist that doesn’t have a giant gusset or anything else which would look unsightly when one is wearing naught but a g-string!
However, tonight I found what I think are the perfect pair of performance tights!
John Lewis Barely There Tights are beautifully sheer, have a very slight sheen but not enough to look like you are necessarily wearing anything, are a genuine sheer to waist and have a simple crotch seam with absolutely no reinforcing around the hips or the seam. They have a tiny cotton gusset but it is smaller than most other gussets, and you can always sew it up if it still shows. They have a nice thick waist band that I cut down by half so they don’t cut in around my hips.
They also do the same tights with an open toe.
And they’re only £5!