Toronto, prepare for the Halifax Invasion!

I am super, SUPER excited to announce that I was invited to perform at the Toronto Burlesque Festival 2011!  We’ve got a whole glittery army of Halifax fabulousness set to descend on Toronto, with Miss C, Kay Licious, Lou Lou Lashes, Kitty Le Coq & Rouge Fatale (all of Pink Velvet Burlesque), plus Miss Magenta (of Tainted Temple Burlesque) and photographer Stoo Metz (aka Buster Price of The Velvet Rope Boylesque) all getting ready to show ‘em how we shake it out here on the East Coast.

We’re going to be doing some individual and group fundraising to help cover the travel expenses – stay tuned for upcoming fun events.  In the meantime, check out my new merch store over at Zazzle.ca!

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Less Busy, More Productive

My good friend Karen of FIZZ Bath Products recently reminded me how I vowed to make 2011 the Year of Awesome by being “less busy, more productive” – and I realized that the year is damn near halfway through, but I’ve spent most of it frantically spinning my wheels, feeling overwhelmed… and not feeling like I have much to show for it.  Any extra money I made was funneled into to-go meals and consolation chocolate, my apartment was a disaster, and I was tired and sick all the time, so what was the point?

But no more!  I’ve been slowly paring back on my regular commitments to make time for the Summer of Awesome.  I’m going to spend more time with nourishing creative projects and appreciating the few sunny days we’re likely to have this season.  Life is just too short to keep saying “yes” to things I don’t want to do.

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Election Night

Whew… I’m completely wiped out from an amazing two-night Pink Velvet Burlesque anniversary extravaganza (not to mention the preceding weeks of meetings, costuming and rehearsals!) and I’m relaxing in front of the election results.

Well, maybe “relaxing” isn’t the right word; I’m really on the edge of my seat. As the night goes on, I’ve become increasingly nervous, dismayed and amazed at the results. I don’t think I will ever cease to be surprised – and annoyed – by the way the first-past-the-post electoral process grossly misrepresents the popular vote percentages.

There’s not much to say except: fuck. This one’s a shocker.

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Time Flies

…when you’re incredibly overwhelmed with life. My head’s been too full to blog; I’m sorry.

In recent news:

- Pink Velvet Burlesque’s FIFTH ANNIVERSARY SHOW is rapidly approaching! Celebrate with us at Menz Bar April 30th & May 1 for spectacular new acts, some old favorites, and some very special guests. Advance tickets are available at Pretty Things Boutique – we expect both nights to sell out quickly, and door tickets will be very limited, so get your tickets soon to avoid disappointment!

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Stripping Gypsy: a review (sort of)

I have this bad habit of borrowing armloads of materials – whatever catches my eye – from my municipal library and not getting through them before their due date. I used to be a voracious reader, but a few changes to my lifestyle over the last few years (including no longer spending nearly two hours each day on the subway), have left me with bigger eyes than my literary stomach, and as I get older I seem to have less ability to focus my mind on a book (though apparently I have endless concentration when it comes to, say, maniacally refreshing my Twitter feed). It takes a pretty riveting book to pin me down, these days.

Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee by Noralee Frankel was not that book.

This was not one of my wander-around-and-see-what-looks-interesting impulse-borrows; I don’t feel too awful if I don’t get absorbed by those ones and have to Lemon Law them, or if I never get around to cracking them open in the first place. No, I put this book on hold and was really looking forward to reading it. I excitedly dove into the preface…

Determinedly slogged through the first chapter…

Resignedly pecked at a few more pages…

…and suddenly the three-week lending period was up. I think I’d worked my way through maybe the first third of the book, but probably less than that. I stubbornly held onto the book, racking up the maximum per-item fine, convinced that I could will myself to finish it, but I simply did not feel compelled to find out what happened next.

Now, understand: Gypsy Rose Lee led a fascinating life. Her biography should be abso-fucking-lutely compelling, but I just wasn’t feeling it. From what I managed to read and by all other accounts, Noralee Frankel did a bang-up job researching this book and clarifying mysterious and conflicting aspects of previous accounts of Gypsy’s life; however, I did not find her presentation of these facts cohesive or, as I said above, compelling: the narrative structure seemed thematic rather than chronological/episodic, so that by the end of a chapter we’d done a lap of much of Gypsy’s story with respect to one facet of her life, and then we’d backtrack to an early point to pick up the next chapter for another theme. I never felt like I needed to turn the page to find out what happened next, because she’d already told me.

One customer review on the book’s Amazon page complained that the author, while clearly zealous about historical accuracy, seemed to have no passion for show business. I have to agree that a biography of a legendary entertainment icon should convey a sense of, well, entertainment. I wasn’t expecting a breathless, fluffy glitz-and-glamour romp, but what I read lacked the drive and emotion of a well-told story.

Maybe one day I will find myself with the time and improved attention span – maybe on a sunny beach somewhere – to finish Stripping Gypsy and properly review the book in its entirety. For now, though, it will have to suffice for me to say that it didn’t make me want to finish it.

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Hurry up and wait…

I’m blogging to you live from the green room of The Candy Show! It’s been quite a while since I was on a film/TV set, and I forgot how much I enjoy the energy of it. It’s a different energy than being backstage for a live show – there’s a lot more rushing to be ready and then hanging about, for one – but I love both kinds.

Tonight’s band is off in the corner playing Asshole with one of the other guests, PAs are floating in and out with great purposefulness, and the murmur of the live studio audience is wafting in. I’m obsessively tweaking my glitter makeup, and Safety Sweetie is mildly freaking out over the possibility of appearing – maybe even speaking! they’ve threatened him with a mic pack – on camera.

Forty minutes to go, if the call sheet is to be trusted. Wish me merde!

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I’ve been sort of neglecting this blog lately.  Sorry.  I try to post interesting, fleshed-out pieces at least a couple of times a week, but I’ve been DistractoGirl lately with all the work on the go.  I have no fewer than four lonely, abandoned, half-formed drafts (on really meaty topics, too!) sitting in my queue, but I can’t seem to find the focus to complete them in the midst of all the activity.  Soon, kittens.  Soon.

In the meantime, check out this video for Dashboard Confessional’s “Thick As Thieves”.  The original video was – as far as I can Google – a fan-made submission to a video contest put on by the band, then it would seem they re-shot the whole sequence for the “official” version.  It came to my attention when @isaiditnowdeal linked to it on Twitter, and it completely blew my mind: I mean, I had to do one card trick – ONE – for my magic striptease (NSFW) and I practiced for ages to get it right; the amount of skill that goes into that kind of sleight of hand just… kills me.  In a good way.

PS. If you like clever-ass magic stuff like that, you should check out Christopher Brookmyre’s The Sacred Art of Stealing and A Snowball in Hell.

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Very, very sleepy.

I am tired. I may be too tired to write a coherent blog post, but since it’s the good kind of tired – the kind that comes from having lots of mind-blowingly excellent experiences – I’m going to try to write something about it all.

I’ve been totally swamped with work and interesting projects lately: I’ve got custom costume commissions on the go, looking forward to taking over recreation centre dance classes in the Spring term, prepping for my upcoming appearance on The Candy Show, and of course my regular ongoing personal and professional commitments… This weekend I really raised the stakes with a new act debut at the Tanya Cheex show presented by Pink Velvet Burlesque and Rouge Fatale & Friends – preceded by a too-late but much-needed night of amazing conversations with great friends, and followed by a night of guest-teaching bellydance classes for the injured Uberwench (after a full day of day-job work).

The Burlesque/Drag show was SO AMAZING.  We had a wonderfully enthusiastic and packed house at Menz Bar, and everyone put on stunning performances.  I had a blast working with Atlantic Canada’s finest drag entertainers, and meeting the lovely Tanya Cheex was truly a privilege.  Somehow we raced through all the acts with a half-hour to spare and ended up doing a sort of kamikaze improv show for the last 30 minutes.  I volunteered to do a stand-up striptease monologue, the drag ladies pulled out some impromptu song and dance numbers, Miss C magically produced an extra costume for a classic bump-n-grind to – what else? – “The Stripper” and luckily Monique Ryan just happened to have her hand-balancing acrobatics partner, Cait Anthony, in the audience and they put on an adorable improvised circus routine.  I felt so lucky to be involved with a group of performers who could happily pull basically a whole other show out of thin air and make it feel like an adventure rather than a disaster to have extra time to fill.

I was completely wiped out in the afterglow of such a great show, but you know what they say: no rest for the wicked! I’ll admit that I was nervous to jump into teaching tonight’s classes, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to pick up the same curriculum the students have had thus far on such short notice.  I needn’t have been anxious, though, because Uberwench has a very fine group of students who are keen to learn whatever is thrown at them.  They very graciously took the “and now for something completely different” spirit of things and rolled with it, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer introduction to teaching at the rec centre, or a better way to wrap up an amazing weekend.  Now I’m extra excited to take on the Spring classes!

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FIZZ!

I just feel the need to shout this out: check out my friend Karen’s beautiful new site for her luxurious, hand-made FIZZ bath products! Do it! Go!

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Upcoming events and news!

I have a few announcements I’m very excited to make:

  • This Sunday, March 6, I’ll be joining Rouge Fatale & Friends and Pink Velvet Burlesque to welcome special guest Tanya Cheex (of Toronto’s Skin Tight Outta Sight Rebel Burlesque) in a very sexy show at Menz Bar. Get your tickets in advance for $8 at Pretty Things Boutique, or – if you like to live on the edge – hope for one of our limited at-the-door tickets for $10. I’ve got a very fun brand new striptease planned, so don’t miss it!
  • I’ve been tapped to be part of The Candy Show‘s season 2 lineup of performers! The season will be taping in front of a live crowd over three days (Mar 10-12) and will feature an amazing roundup of performers and guests, not to mention the always fantastic Candy herself; you can find out more and get tickets (free admission with a donation of a non-perishable food item for the food bank) by contacting info@thecandyshow.com.
  • I’m very excited to be taking over Thursday night bellydance instruction at St. Andrew’s Recreation Centre; departing longtime-instructor Elinor Crosby (aka, The Uberwench) leaves me some big shoes to fill, but I hope to do her proud and I am looking forward to sharing my love and knowledge of dance with my future students. A beginner class is offered from 6-7pm, followed by an intermediate/ongoing class (for those who have completed the beginner class or equivalent experience) from 7-8pm, starting April 7. Registration is through HRM Recreation and opens March 1 (note that Monday night classes will be taught by another instructor, the very lovely Terri Roberts). Beginner classes, especially, often fill up quickly, so booking early is a good idea! Both classes will focus on fundamental skills essential to all styles of bellydance, especially posture and isolations, and will include a choreography to showcase the skills and movements learned; the beginner class is appropriate for those with little or no prior experience or who would like to focus on the basics, while the intermediate class will build on the basics and feature more advanced combinations of movements.
  • If you haven’t already done so, wander over to the Video Gallery and check out my new promo video! (It’s suitable for most workplaces, but use your discretion.)
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