Dieselpunk: Because Steam Wasn't Dirty Enough!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

12 Reasons To Attend a Burlesque Show in 2014

Never been to a burlesque show? Here's a web site that gives 12 reasons why you should make this part of your New Year's resolutions for 2014. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lab teching my way through striptease school: I did it! (blog version)

Over on my Tumblr, I made a post titled "I did it!" when I submitted the video of my routine to the Dallas Burlesque Festival.  A couple days ago, I followed it up with a second "I did it!" post upon receiving news that I was accepted.  Yes, you heard right: I am performing in the Dallas Burlesque Festival!

post-filming shot
On filming day, I was both really nervous and excited.  It wound up being a weird evening as my classmates were absent for various reasons and a fire alarm had gone off in the complex when I arrived.  While we waited for the firefighters to shut it off, I asked The Dirty Blonde about shows that I ought to submit my routine to.  After naming a couple, she brought up the Dallas Burlesque Festival.  I was hesitant because it is such a big event and I have no experience with dancing burlesque solo.  Dirty said that it couldn't hurt to apply.

After waffling on the subject (and actually being so hesitant to see myself on camera that I had to wait until my partner came home to watch the video), I eventually realized what she meant.  Yeah rejection sucks, but I face that as a writer all the time.  I didn't think I would be accepted as a stage kitten with no experience last year, but it happened because I gave it a shot.  Go big or go home, right? 

That mentality has gotten me really far with burlesque, and looking back at the past year, I am impressed with all the chances I've taken, as well as the work I've put in.  Not to say that I've always had it easy, but I do tend to pursue hobbies that I happen to be good at.  I've had to work for this; even if the dance steps were easy to learn, getting them to look effortlessly sensual took effort.  I'm proud of myself, and I've learned to not be afraid to say it.

My resolution to be more naked has been beyond successful.  It's transformed me, and I hope that burlesque continues to have that impact.  I'm super excited to see what 2014 has in store and to be in the Dallas Burlesque Festival!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lab teching my way through striptease school: More Than Just Stripping

Now that I've filmed my routine (it got moved to last Wednesday because of Thanksgiving), I can resume blogging.  How many times have you used the qualifier "more than just stripping" when talking about burlesque?  I know I have, and while I mean no insult to my stripper sisters, burlesque does have a history that involves zero clothes being shed.  Last month I got to be part of a variety show that evoked the old time burlesque performances that had comedy, music, and sideshow acts along with the striptease.

Oops the Clown and The Famous Mr. Cheeze
By Josh B.

Because I work in a lab with early birds, I generally avoid burlesque shows that are on Sundays through Thursdays.  I've come to realized that I'm missing future opportunities and have decided to make exceptions. The first was Look What I Can Do Variety Hour, which was presented in partnership with Clever Girl Cabaret.  In addition to wanting to stage kitten for the lovely ladies of Clever Girl and to see a different side of burlesque, I saw that the cast included a cute little dog named Mr. Cheeze. How could I resist?

Black Mariah told me to go circus for my outfit. At first I wasn't sure I had anything, but I started throwing together pieces from my closet.  I wound up using the bra i made for the pride parade, these whimsical shorts I bought in Taiwan that have been the subject of many butt shots, striped tights, and a mini top hat. It definitely was not practical for the cold front that had moved in, but stripper life isn't always glamorous. . . or comfortable.

One of the aforementioned butt shots
By Josh B.
The folks from Look What I Can Do were extremely friendly and helpful.  Oops the Clown and Kitty Kaos actually wrote out a setlist (when we couldn't find a spare copy) and marked when they would need me to pick up. I was also impressed by their ability to adapt to many unexpected variables. When you have a tiny animal and audience volunteers, you need to be able to think quickly on your feet.  It's something I've talked about before, and I discovered that there's definite room for improvement.  Mr. Cheeze was just way too fast.

Ratty Scurvics doing curtain call
Photo by Josh B.
Look What I Can Do Variety Hour was a huge hit because everyone was over-the-top and had the crowd enthralled.  Since my classes focus a lot on choreography and technique, I've been trying to approach burlesque from a theatre perspective. Despite doing drama in college, acting is one of my weaker points, and I started to worry about that aspect of my solo routine.

Fortunately the Ruby Room held a workshop by Paco Fish that tackled character development and expressing emotions. It was just what I needed. Even though the exercises seemed simple, they managed to convey all the things I learned in theatre classes and doing plays in a way that made so much more sense to me. I needed something more tangible than thinking sad or happy thoughts for the emotion to come across on my face. Paco gave me a whole new way to view theatre, and it helped me approach my routine in a different light. I'm still working on making my facial expressions and gestures bigger, but I think the emotions translate across my face and body a lot better now. I'm also thinking that his workshop will also be useful in conveying emotions on paper when I get back in the habit of writing fiction again (which I plan on doing as I take a breather).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Zaza: as scanned from the May 1942 issue of It magazine. 

Zaza hailed from Dunkirk, New York and was a talented dancer in revue style shows of the 1940s. She specialized in what was then termed ‘Oriental’, hula, jive and acrobatic dancing. (Source: Vintage Burlesque Photos)