In one month I'll be performing in my first burlesque production! Back in November I was sitting at a bar chatting with one of Dan's coworkers when it came up that she did burlesque with a local troupe. I got super excited and we started talking about burlesque which is when she mentioned that they were having auditions in a few days for their biggest production yet, a sexy adaptation of The Wizard of Oz! I decided then and there that I was going to audition, and was so excited about it that I had some serious insomnia that night brainstorming ideas for my audition act. I hadn't done any kind of dance performance since college, but I was bursting with ideas and thrilled at the opportunity to break into something that I had dreamed about for years. I was obsessed with pinup and hot rod/muscle car culture throughout high school and into college, but never had the confidence during those years to do anything about it but paint flames, traditional tattoos, and pinstripe designs on everything I owned. While my style has gone through some major transitions since college, I still love rocking a pin-up inspired look, and my confidence is probably at the highest point it's been in 27 years. It was the perfect storm and I auditioned four days after I heard about the show. I came up with my routine practiced my audition for hours and it gave me the perfect excuse to go out and buy some sequined, fringe panties to put the cherry on top of my striptease.
I got a part in the show as a poppy girl! There are four of us poppies and we do the bidding of the wicked witch, seducing Dorothy and her friends into a deep sleep to keep them from reaching the emerald city. We're one of the only non-striptease acts in the show, which I actually kind of like. Maybe someday I'll do a routine going all the way down to pasties, but for my first foray into burlesque I'm happy to do a sultry little dance without the stress of taking off my clothes. The top and bottom photos in this post are sort of what we'll be wearing but we're in the process of customizing our tops to be ridiculously fabulous with rhinestones, flowers, and petals. It's been so much fun getting to dance again, do fabulous craft projects, and make tons of new friends I never would have met if it weren't for this show.
We're in the final month of rehearsals and, you guys, it's going to be off the hook amazing. There are so many incredible acts. I'm actually really disappointed we only get one show, but maybe someone will want to bring the show to a venue in Seattle or Olympia after they see how mind blowing all the acts are. It's been such a treat getting to see the progress on everyone's acts and costumes every week. If you're local to the area, there are still some tickets left, but get on it because I have a feeling it's going to sell out! You can also follow the Gritty City Sirens on facebook for little updates.
One of the fun things about burlesque is having a kicky little stage name! I'll be performing as Bettie Klondike. Bettie obviously has ties to Bettie Page, but Bettie is also a nickname for Elizabeth. Klondike is drawn from Klondike Kate, a famous performer who became famous for performing in Alaska and the Yukon and actually ended up down here in the PNW after she married a man who stole her fortune and used it to open a theater here in Tacoma! Bettie Klondike it is!
One of my favorite things about burlesque is the incredible variety in bodies. Every single woman (and man! ooh la la!) in the show has a completely unique body, from slender fit bodies, to big and bodacious, from itty bitty, to tall and statuesque. And everyone's act is sexy as hell. I love how burlesque fights our cultures assertion that sexiness and sexuality are only accessible by those who have Victoria's Secret bodies and porn star grooming. I also love that burlesque invites a humor into sexuality, which is void in so much of the sexuality that we experience in culture, movies, and tv where sex is serious business. But sexuality is so much more than serious and passionate, and it's so much more than pleasing someone else. Burlesque gives women permission to be sexy in any way they want, and to do it for no one else but themselves. Even though it is a performance, and in that way it's for others, there's an ownership over sexuality that the performer has. She gets to choose how she wants to be and feel sexy, and it's a totally solo endeavor. I think a lot of women experience their sexuality differently when it's with another person vs. how they feel sexy when they are alone. Burlesque gives women permission to feel sexy in anyway they want, at any size they want, to any music they want, with any outfit they want. You can take off all your clothes, you can take off a few clothes, you can do whatever you feel comfortable doing. Burlesque gives women permission to own their own sexuality and the more women are owning their sexuality the harder it will be for rape culture and sexism to continue.
Okay that got real serious there for a sec, but burlesque! It's awesome! If you're local you should come to the show! You can see the event page on facebook here, or buy tickets here. Another cool thing about the show? Proceeds will benefit the Carol Milgard Breast Center! A sexy night that benefits a great cause, what more could you want?
Photos of me by Willow's Photography. Hair by Paige Pettibon. Makeup by Athena Renee Artistry