Dieselpunk: Because Steam Wasn't Dirty Enough!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cabaret and Gay Berlin

2014 saw the return of probably the most famous musical set in the diesel era, Cabaret.  The Broadway revival features the return of Alan Cumming as the emcee and currently stars Emma Stone as Sally Bowles.

Stacey Sipowicz, Alan Cumming, Emma Stone, Benjamin Eakeley,
Andrea Goss, and Kaleigh Cronin of Cabaret.
By Pari Dukovic/ Vanity Fair

Earlier in the year, Mr. Cumming gave an interview with Fresh Air about assuming the role for the third time and the underlying messages of the musical.  Click here to listen.

Also on Fresh Air was author Robert Beachy, who wrote a book about the LGBT scene in Berlin during the 1920s and 1930s.  Gay Berlin recounts the real history behind the decadent Weimar subculture that inspired CabaretYou can listen to the interview here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lab teching my way through striptease school: The Politics of My Body and My Art

As I worked on creating new routines and improving old ones, I had planned to write about some things I had learned on this burlesque journey.  They mostly centered on self-esteem and accepting one's body even if one doesn't always like certain aspects.  However, recent events have pushed those posts aside.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to skip dance class to go downtown and join a protest hosted by Mothers Against Police Brutality in response to the Ferguson grand jury's decision.  I've been keeping my burlesque Facebook page free from most political statements.  It's something beginners are advised to do, particularly when opinions are polarizing.  Not that I haven't touched upon politics— just looks at a couple of my posts in the past.

As I had gotten tired of just sitting around when I saw the invite to the protest, I have decided that I cannot stay silent any longer.  After all, a burlesque classmate was the one who invited me to the protests, and dancers like our illustrious Queen has made a post about Ferguson and the bigger problem at hand.  It made me realize that the burlesque dancer known as Hana Li is part of the same identity that includes the social justice warrior (I wear that label proudly although I consider myself more of a rogue).

The fact that I am a woman is political.  The fact that I'm a woman of color makes it more so.  Being a burlesque dancer means that I take my politics to the stage, and it's something that I have tried to include in all my routines.  Even something seemingly innocent "Black Glasses" has hidden messages addressing certain social issues (in that case, the politics of being a female geek).  I am constantly inspired by dancers who do tackle issues head on in their routines or are willing to openly speak about it, like Tangerine Jones, The Shanghai Pearl, and the ladies of Brown Girls Burlesque.  They push me to try harder to start a dialogue, and as happy as I have been with the local community, I think we should continue to keep the conversation going and let our audiences know that they are part of it.

I know that I have a good deal of privileges too.  It's become particularly evident in the past weeks.  Therefore, while many of my politically-inclined statements involve the racism I've faced as an Asian, I cannot let my darker-skinned sisters and brothers be overshadowed.  Their voices should be heard; their lives matter.

I'm linking "Race and Burlesque" again because if you want to know where to begin as a member of community, this is a start.  Learn the history, read the interviews, and know that we still have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

1920s Nudist

Source: Swann Auction Galleries. According to the site:

Outstanding collection of photographs, albums, letters, and ephemera tracing the lives of a husband and wife who were life-long nudists. Approximately 1,700 photographs, mostly silver prints with some Polaroids and color prints, sizes ranging from 2x3 to 8x10 inches (5.1x7.6 to 20.3x25.4 cm.), depicting Lyman and Affie Barry and friends hiking, tree climbing, playing Scrabble, swimming, camping, eating, relaxing, and taking photographs. Two 4to leatherette albums, 10 binders with photographs in archival sleeves, and various ephemera including address books, Eastern Sunbathing Association newsletters, news clippings, correspondence, and ID cards. 1920s-1990s

Estimate $5,500 - 7,500

Captain Lyman F. Barry and his wife Affie were part of the pioneering generation of nudists in America. Lyman was from New Jersey and fought in WWII; his military diaries are archived at the New Jersey Historical Society.
While many nudist organizations used professional photographers, this is a fine example of amateur photographs taken by someone intimately familiar with the members of the movement. Most of the activities depicted are standard and casual, but some poses give hints that Lyman and Affie were likely bisexual and possibly swingers.

Seeing a person nude at 20 years of age, at 90, and everywhere in between, is quite unusual, and this unique collection captures many of the moments of the Barrys' fascinating lifestyle.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Viva Dallas Burlesque presents DC vs. Marvel

Nerdlesque took off this past year, and now you can ring in the new year with some of that geeky sexy fun.  This is also the last burlesque at the historic Art Deco style Lakewood Theatre.  Click here for tickets.