oly cow. It's kind of hard to believe that Adventures in Oz is over again! This was our second year doing the show and we were able to do two performances this year, one in Tacoma, one in Olympia, which was really fun! After working for months on costuming and choreography, it was a little sad to only get to perform the show once last year, so it was awesome to be able to have two performances this time. Last year I performed as one of the Poppy Girls, lulling Dorothy and her Oz friends into a sultry slumber through the power of seductive dance. This year I decided to take the leap and do a full strip burlesque act, all the way down to pasties (ah!). In last year's show we were supposed to have an Emerald City act, but the performer who was the Emerald City ended up dropping out a couple weeks before the show. As we were gearing up for this year's show last fall I got super inspired by my green hair and thought I'd throw my hat in the ring to be the Emerald City this year. I found two of my good friends to replace the Poppy roles that were vacated by myself and another gal who wasn't able to come back as a Poppy, and the show producers approved my act pitch! Commence months of choreography, hours of costuming, and thousands of green rhinestones.
Since I would be playing the role of an entire city, I wanted my act to be huge and over the top, and when I thought of those things, my mind immediately went to Rococo/Marie Antoinette style. Giant dresses, huge hair, over the top gestures, and royalty. What better song to do the act to than "Royals" by Lorde? My friend Ricky, a costume genius, helped by making my hip panniers which would go under my huge skirt to hold it up. And I found an amazing wig maker on Etsy who crafted the most perfect Emerald City Rococo wig. The rest of the costume was made by myself, and I felt a little bit like I was on a crazy episode of Project Runway, especially hand sewing that giant skirt out of an old 80's wedding dress I thrifted and dyed green, green satin sheets I thrifted, and green organza I bought on a 30 minute trip to Mood fabrics (okay, it wasn't Mood, it was Fabrics For Less in Renton... go with me here).
Rosie Cheex as Glenda The Good Witch
Last year's introduction to the burlesque scene as a Poppy in a non-stripping act was the perfect way to get into it without jumping straight into the deep end, though when I auditioned I was open to it. This year, I felt like Adventures in Oz was the perfect place to do my debut burlesque act. I knew everyone in the cast, and I felt the support of a show that I knew was amazing (though I also felt a ton of pressure to create an incredible act to live up to the show's standards!). Truth be told, I had way more anxiety about remembering my choreography and having all my big costume pieces strip without snagging or getting stuck than the idea of being nearly naked on stage (isn't that supposed to be a nightmare?). The funny part of it all is that I actually never felt naked or vulnerable on that stage, on the contrary, I felt powerful and clothed in strength. I felt super proud of doing something that I'd dreamed of doing for years. And even funnier: my mom and husband were in the audience sitting next to eachother! They both loved the show and it was so amazing to have them both watch it again!
Ava D'Jor as the Cowardly Lion
Kitty Kisses as the Scare Crow, and our crew of Flying Monkeys
Beyond putting on a kickass show, I'm so happy to have gained a whole new group of friends who are badass and talented. The past two year of doing Adventures in Oz has been so much fun and I can't wait to do more with this crazy group of performers. Tacoma's burlesque scene is growing little by little and I'm so proud of the Gritty City Sirens for putting in crazy amounts of work to bring a show of this caliber to our city.
I'm not sure what Bettie Klondike's next act will be, but I can't wait to dive headfirst into more glitter and rhinestones with this crazy crew of performers!
Mae Zing in her Tornado Act
top 11 photos by me, other photos by Eric Vaughn, Cheri Rae, and Brenda Barnum