Dieselpunk: Because Steam Wasn't Dirty Enough!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cap'n Tony's After Party #1 - Can Your Poodle Come Out to Play?

Hey, friend!  Glad you made it!  I'm sure you enjoyed tonight's edition of the Cap'n's Cabaret *, but you, my friend, by special invite, get to join the band and crew behind the stage for a little After Party!  Be warned...anything goes here!

Yes, when the Speakeasy closes but the night's still young, we all get together with a few close friends, whip out a bottle or twelve, and play the kind of music that ain't quite fit for Polite Company!  No holds barred, nothing off limits or taboo...we're all friends here, so let's just let it all hang out and celebrate life for a while at a quiet place where the cops and preachers can't hear!

Ladies, even you (especially you!) get to let it all out here!  Throw those old societal modesties to the wind, for if there's one thing we won't tollerate it's tellin' folks to mind their manners or act proper! First Square that tries to tell you to watch your language or cover those knees back up can hit the road!

Tonight, the band is jammin' with Tampa Red, who wants to play with your poodle, ladies.  He means your little french doggie, of course!  Here he is, folks!  Enjoy!

It's all open and free here, folks.  Relax!  Loosen your tie (or corset) and have a blast!

Your friend,

Cap'n Tony...

"Evil to those who think evil of it"

* Cap'n's Cabaret is a regular weekly feature over at dieselpunks.org.  For those not familiar, please visit!  Hot music, cool drinks, and fun for all!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fifi Fatale - 1930s Burlesque "Decades of Decadence"

Performance from Sinners Playground Present the Decades of Decadence Ball on 26 November 2010. http://www.sinnersplayground.co.uk

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lab teching my way through striptease school - Auditions and Anniversary

When I got into extreme sports, I started seeing places all around me that would be a good obstacle to tackle on Rollerblades or a jump for my bicycle.  I never acquired the skill to do most of my imagined stunts, but even now, I still think about how cool it’d be to ride my skateboard off a ledge.  After the Dallas Burlesque Festival, I started to get the same increased level of inspiration with burlesque.  I’d develop the concept for an act during work, or a song would suddenly make me want to bump and grind.  A fire had been lit under me, and I was ready to continue to progress as a burlesque student.

First, I stopped making excuses for not moving up from the beginner’s class.  Yes, the bus schedule was a bit inconvenient, but there was a way for me to get home without having to walk in the dark.  I needed the challenge of combos and choreography– I wanted it.  Next, I decided to be more proactive in continuing my stage kitten career.  I made plans to audition for the Ruby Revue, and once the Clever Girl Cabaret site went live, I asked them whether they needed any for their new show.

By JD Morgan Photography
I was a little confused about what a stage kitten audition would entail.  The call, which was directed at anyone looking to be a part of the Ruby Revue, instructed us to have a piece prepared and come dress up.  After much deliberation, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to come up with a mini routine.  I still wasn’t sure that I needed to do it, but when I saw everyone else performing something at the auditions, I had to give it a go.  I was panicking though because I didn’t have the songs I needed on my iPod and I had forgotten my back-up CD in the rush out of the door (I need to learn that make-up still takes me much longer than expected and to not do shopping the morning of).  Fortunately, Renee Holiday let me borrow her music, which included something I had been practicing to.  I was so nervous that I forgot some of the moves, but the producers, Ginger Valentine and Missy Lisa, seemed pleased by my efforts.  Although I could’ve done better in terms of preparation and execution, I was proud of myself for taking a chance.

Since I knew I would be dressed up for the audition, I scheduled a photoshoot with my friend Jonathan Morgan afterward.  I had these neon pink-and-black socks that were nixed for a potential burlesque/pin-up outfit, but I really liked them with my pink bottoms and black bra.  The whole look embodied my quirkiness, which I would probably play up in a stage persona.  Jon also had me do more delicate, feminine shots to compliment the fascinator I bought from Dallas Pin Up.  Those were less me, but it's good to practice versatility.  The shoot was fun though I learned I still have a long ways to go in being more aware of my face and body.  I’ll get practice in dance class.

A few days after the auditions, I found out that I got the part of a stage kitten.  To add a cherry on top, the Ruby Room studio also deemed me their Student of the Month.  While I’ve been trying to not let compliments build my self-esteem, the recognition only fueled my desire to keep working on my nascent burlesque career.

As a side project, I had volunteered to do a panel on the History of Burlesque at All-con.  I’d done a similar presentation for a dieselpunk meeting, but this time I would only have an hour.  I also asked Black Mariah to join me.  Despite the late start and some stalling for time, the presentation went really well.  There were many attendees, and Black Mariah complimented my “straight man”, Power Point approach to presenting with wild stories of burlesque legends and humorous commentary.  We both got positive feedback the days following the convention, and I would love to work with her again so look out for the panel again at All-con 2014.

By JD Morgan Photography
As for the Clever Girl Cabaret stage kitten roles, they were already filled.  I was perfectly fine with that since a part of me missed photographing performances.  It’s another way I feel I can contribute.  My involvement in the community had given me the courage to network, something I still loathed to do in other aspects of my life.  All the friendly people I’ve encountered have really helped me come out of my shell even if I still feel shy at times.

Yesterday was my one year anniversary with the Ruby Room.  I’m amazed at how far I’ve progressed as a burlesque student and as a person who is working to be more confident and independent.  I’m trying not to rush myself or get caught up in the idealism of a new world.  There will be rejection, critics, and other unpleasant things.  For now, I’ll continue to work on self-improvement outside of burlesque and do more research on issues within the community.  Just as I didn’t exactly know where signing up for burlesque classes would take me, I remain open to many possibilities for the future.  Doors have been opened, and I’m becoming more confident about marching straight through them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Congratulations Hana Li!

We are proud to announce that our web site’s very own Hana Li has been declared Student of the Month at the Ruby Room burlesque studio! Check out her interview from their Facebook Page!

Ruby Room: How did you hear about the Ruby Room?
Hana Li: I took a class with Ginger [Valentine] at another studio, and she mentioned that she would be moving to the Ruby Room.

RR: How long have you been a student?
HL: Almost a year. I started at the end of March [2012].

RR: What is your favorite class and why?
HL: Bumps & Grinds - I like learning choreography because it gives you something to build on and then you can show it off to your friends at the end!

RR: What you you like best about classes at the Ruby Room?
HL: They work out your entire body, but they're fun so it makes you want to keep going.

RR: How has learning Burlesque impacted your life?
HL: It's helped me learn that my body is nothing to be ashamed of and that I'm not compromising anything by showing off how good I look. You have brains, beauty, and personality. On top of that, I've found a great community that is accepting of everyone and encourages all its members to grow and find new ways to express themselves.

You're a great student and wonderful person Hana! We're proud to have you as part of our Ruby Room family! Thanks for helping us Keep Dallas Sexy!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lab teching my way through striptease school - Stage Kitten Initiation at DBF

Before I embarked on my mission to be naked more, I thought being a stage kitten was a possibility for me.  The outfits would be as revealing as some of the skimpy cosplays I wanted to do, and in college, I helped our theatre group keep track of where props went.  My lack of experience with heels, make-up, and generally being sexy would make the role challenging.  However, with my new resolution to get more involved in burlesque, I decided to answer the call for stage kitten applicants for the Dallas Burlesque Festival.

By N Street Photography. 
MUAH: Bella Eden
Bill of N Street Photography had kindly offered his services to provide photos for would-be kittens to submit, and Bella Eden helped organize the schedule and did our hair and make-up.  The majority of my experiences with modeling and acting sexy involve playing a character so I learned several things about pin-up modeling and my own sexy side:

1. Less is more in terms of wardrobe.  I was glad to have brought many outfits, including lingerie (that didn’t really match but looked okay together).
2. More is better in terms of make-up.  It’s especially true with eyeliner on single eyelids.
3. Being cheap doesn’t work for false eyelashes.
4. You don’t need a fancy hairstyle.  Just a flower will suffice.
5. A headshot and a full body shot don’t have to be boring.  Yes, they want to see your face and body, but you also have to let your personality shine through.

Despite loving the great photos, I didn’t have much confidence in getting the part.  The Dallas Burlesque Festival brings in a large amount of talent, and I had no experience.  You can bet that I was extremely surprised and thrilled to have been chosen.  Lesson #6: don’t doubt yourself.

That wasn’t the end of my obstacles though.  Being without a car, I didn’t have much choice but to put off shopping for the right kind of heels until the morning of my first kitten gig.  I was kicking myself for not being more of a girly girl.  We got everything in the nick of time, and there I was in the House of Blues dressing room.  I was changing next to Bettina May, talking cosplay with Black Mariah, and devouring cheese with a bunch of the girls.  Before the show began, Missy Lisa grabbed a few of us kittens to help sell merchandise.  My job had me behind the merchandise table, which was a good starting place given my anxiety with approaching people.  It was nerve-wracking to be the first person seen by incoming audience members, but I was able to switch into business mode.  The fact that I was in my underwear with fishnets and a corset barely registered in my mind.  Just as things were getting busy, Jes, the usual merch guy, appeared, and I moved onto (candy) cigarette girl duties.  I was still apprehensive about approaching people, but I was able to sell a few things and I even got my picture taken.

Lesson #7 came after the show: bring something nice to change into.  Since kittens were supposed to arrive with hair and make-up done, I came in clothes I could easily slip out of.  Needless to say, they weren’t very glamorous or even cute, but at least I had a DBF tank top, which, according to Tana the Tattooed Lady, made my boobs look great.  Lesson #8: compliments on your body can be a good thing.  When I came home, I discovered glitter on the top of my breasts.  I had no idea where it came from, but I considered it a sign that I was officially part of the burlesque world.

Sunday I felt less shy backstage.  A part of me still fangirled inside with being in the presence of Di’Lovely (the little girl in me always gets excited for Asians doing burlesque because it makes me feel like what I’m working towards is more achievable).  There was another exciting moment when legend Tammi True walked in.  While determining how much time she had to get ready, she revealed that dancers back in the golden age of burlesque would perform 15-20 minute sets.

Dani, Lyric Laveau, and Carmen St. Cloud backstage
I was so nervous about missing an article of clothing or tripping on-stage, but we worked out a plan for pick up and set-up before each act to make things go smoothly.  Lesson #9: don’t panic if you stumble or can’t find something (or the stairs feel wobbly), your fellow kittens and the other dancers will help out.  Seeing performances from a kitten’s point of view was very interesting, and I’m not just talking about the side view.  Because you’re focused on what gets tossed where, you start noticing little details of the dancer’s costume and movements.

After the show, StrOker Ace gave us copies of The Berlesker, a literary journal featuring work by members of the community.  It was a reminder of how many intelligent, multi-talented individuals are involved with burlesque.  I decided that I would try to come up with something to submit for the next issue. 

me with Angi B. Lovely
My attempt to be dressier with a button-up and nice jeans still fell short of the dress code of red carpet glam.  Lesson #10: “Awards Dinner” means super fancy. . . but when you’re a chronic underdresser, a cool shirt will do.  The most important lesson perhaps is to be yourself, and that’s what burlesque celebrates in an exaggerated, sexy, glitter-filled way.  Once I stopped worrying about looking silly, I felt more comfortable chatting and snapping a few photos.  In addition to all the lessons I took home with me on the road to being a Dallas Burlesque Festival stage kitten, I now have a lot of great memories and new friends, and now more than ever, I want to increase my involvement in this wonderful community.