Oct 18, 2014

Photos by Angela McConnell from The 12th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

Check out more of Angela's work at her portfolio site - here

Sep 29, 2014

Hotel Series #5 - Hotel Pierre Du Calvet in Old Montreal Quebec

Here is a sample photo from HOTEL SERIES #5 from my latest travels to Montreal.

One of the loveliest cities in my opinion for the poor New Yorker's "Paris". I couldn't afford another Paris trip this year so I opted for the next best thing, Montreal. Only a 1.5 flight or a 6 hour scenic drive away. I love Old Montreal even though our Québécois friends think it's totally touristy. It's like me saying "I love Times Square!" But the architecture, the old cobble stoned streets (a la Crosby Street), the history and the charm win me over every time! I did stay in Hotel Zero 1 for a couple nights before Hotel Pierre Du Calvet just to get a democratic sense of Montreal. Hotel Zero 1 is a boutique designer hotel right across the street from the Chinatown gate. Ironically every time I've stayed in a hotel in Canada, it has always been right by the Chinatown there! Hotel Zero 1 is beautiful, modern, chic, and conveniently located right by all the prostitutes, pimps, dingy strip clubs and some unsavory characters mixed in with hipsters and young people. It is also on the same block as the famous Cafe Cleopatra! I love myself a modern hotel but I love myself an old historic landmark hotel even more. Hotel Pierre du Calvet apparently is also haunted according to several internet accounts. Room 3 is where most of the sightings have occurred such as a woman or a man sitting by the foot of your bed in the middle of the night, or sensing a malevolent presence in the room. We were in Room 6 so luckily nothing strange occurred... at least not when my eyes were closed. This hotel is just absolutely to die for. Simply out of time, extravagant, old world, and romantic. I highly recommend going with someone you love (or lust).
Photo by Mike Webb Photography. Click here to see more of Hotel Series #5 >

Photo by Mike Webb Photography. Click here to see more of Hotel Series #5 >

Sep 9, 2014

A Corset Story Love Story!

I recently received a gorgeous corset from Corset Story, and I am thrilled with how it fits, its quality, and the price point. They sell corsets in burlesque-inspired styles, steampunk styles, and a smaller section on Rockabilly clothing. I've been getting a lot of compliments about mine since I've been wearing it at my shows so I am sharing about them! There are more than one place to get a decent, well made, strong corset online than What Katie Did (overpriced IMHO), and more variety/colors than Orchard Corsets.

The corset I got is the Lavinia: Purple Halterneck Corset, an overbust-style in deep purple with black lace embroidery. I cut out the halterneck since I am not blessed with a swan-like neck. This halter would be more flattering on someone with a willowy 18th century neck!

Without the halterneck, the corset's sweetheart bustline is enhanced and for girls without bigger busts, it is absolutely devastating in a Jessica Rabbit-like way. Two different people complimented me that this corset's silhouette reminded them of Jessica Rabbit.

One of my off-the-rack corset pet peeves is the quality of the ribbon/lacing in the back. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not need to replace it. The black ribbon was sturdy and long enough  that it was instant fit and go! AND the corset came properly laced. SO crucial especially if you are new to corsets and not sure how to put it on. The Lavinia that I got is long but surprisingly it fit well on me and I was pleased with how it looks. Since I'm only 5'1" without heels my torso length isn't super long so often off-the-rack corsets are too long on me.

And at the current on sale price of $26 (!), this is the most cost-efficient, high quality corset that I've encountered in my 8 years burlesqui-ng. When I first started performing my knowledge about these things were naturally more limited. I had many corset "fails" by buying them on cheap lingerie sites such as Lingerie Diva, Love Honey, or ABCUnderwear. These sites are fine for buying basic undergarments to embellish and use as a base to build your costume from, but to get a good corset? FAIL. Even their more expensive ones (around $80 - rip off) is not steel but soft pliable plastic boning which will crumble and create unflattering creases around your waist. The lesson of the story? Invest in a good corset, practice opening and unlacing in your routine, and it'll last you forever.

Here is the Lavinia corset, and me wearing it at one of my recent shows. 

The one I got my eyes on is the Juliet Red Couture Corset. Isn't it just delish?

Aug 18, 2014

Latex Shoot with Lucy La Riot Photography

Last week I did the long-awaited photo shoot of my latex acts-Fetish Nun and the newest Fetish Snow White- with Lucy La Riot in Williamsburg! Her studio is on Lorimer Street and is SO cute. Painted pink with black accents and an original black metal tin ceiling, filled with all kind of props and wardrobe to choose from. I met Anna (the person behind LLR) at the Burlesque Idol show a couple months ago when I was one of the guest judges. I was already familiar with her name, because I saw the online photos of a few other performers and thought they were really good. But beyond being good LLR's pin-up style has a modern, contemporary quality to it that is refreshing to my eyes and sensibility. Many of them look like they could be a part of a print ad campaign. Lighting, in particular, is a major thing for me since Asian features are flatter than Western features so we require a bit more "light sculpting" than another face that has more geographic hills and valleys. We used real flames from my Bible prop, and real baby oil, also a real element of the Snow White act when I perform it. So that ain't no Photoshop!

I loved the way she lit these two shots that we did and how it all turned out. I'll be posting a few more as they trickle in. You can find LUCY LA RIOT on Facebook - totally check out her work if you are looking for a great photographer to give you a naughty or nice pin-up boudoir shoot or yourself or a bachelorette party.

If you love these images, please share and credit the photographer and myself. Artists work for peanuts in NYC-getting a credit for our work is usually our payment.

All latex clothing seen here were made by KLAWTEX. Shoes by Melissa. Cervin hosiery. 


I don't have a video of my Snow White act yet, but the Nun act is pretty old. I have a clip of it from 2013 at Red Herring's show REVEAL in Toronto, ON.

Jun 1, 2014

My Obsession with Northfork Wine Trail

Since I took over producing Elle Dorado's monthly show Soirée Noir at George Martin Strip Steak Restaurant in Long Island (Great River), I've been going out to this stretch of land only two hours out of NYC to explore and absorb the environs. I can't believe it's taken me 13 years of living in rat cage NYC to discover the wonders and charm of bucolic farm land, the easy seaside of Greenport, lots of farm to table restaurants (amazing oysters), and the wonderful Northfork Wine Trail!

I've taken my parents there for a day trip recently and just this weekend I brought two of my girl friends out to experience this part of New York.

Of the many many vineyards in Northfork I had to bring everyone to McCall Vineyard which is the family business of fellow performer Brewster McCall! The wines there are delicious and it's on acres and acres of land you can take a stroll through to look at the cows and calfs. McCall also supplies organic grass fed beef to the prestigious Northfork Table & Inn. Brewster is so knowledgeable about wine making and answered many of our questions about wine and history of the town.
L to R: Michael, Minx, Brewster McCall, Dakota, Toni

We had so much fun there and I guess our conversation was so lively and so intrigued the table of 3 gents near us that they sent us a bottle of wine! They said they were thoroughly entertained by our conversations that they couldn't help sending us a bottle to share. I think they had their eyes on my friends Dakota & Toni!

After our wine tasting and the bottle sent over we walked out to the field to look at the livestock but we never made it that far cause we ended up doing this:

The Vineyard Coven

Then this:

And this:

We also went to Macari Wines which was very nice as well with the same quiet nice vibe. Some of the vineyards out there are bit douchey in the frat sense. Like a Murray Hill bar but outdoors with benches. I took my parents to one a few weeks ago and the tasting room was a huge high ceilinged room cacophonous and impersonal. The outside space was even more impersonal. The first thing I heard was a guy pumping his fists in the air yelling, "Rangers! Rangers!" Lots of backwards baseball caps. I said hell no I didn't leave midtown to be around midtown. I turned my parents right back around and went elsewhere. So be careful which place you pick. It makes a world of difference in your experience. The places that say "Limos and buses welcome!" Are probably not the best in terms of having a refined intimidate experience. Another one of my favorites is Croteaux where they only make rosé wines. A must go for the rosé lover, the Parisienne or the romantic!

We also went to Jamesport Vineyard on Friday. That was very nice with a beautiful garden and a good selection of reds and whites. They only had one risé and it wasn't available for two more weeks. I would go back again when they have food. One thing I've noticed is that all the vineyards I've gone to have lush, thick green lawn that feel SO good on your feet. After a couple of glasses and the sun warming your skin there's nothing like the feel of cool fresh scented grass to wiggle your toes into. Croteaux doesn't have lawn tho since they have more of a pebbled patio.

May 4, 2014

Interview with Calamity Chang, NYSB Instructor and Co-Producer of The Asian Burlesque Spectacle



NYSB: How did the Asian Burlesque Spectacular start? What’s it all about?

Calamity Chang: ABC started with a conversation with Sukki Singapora who is a co-producer of this event. Sukki, from Singapore, is very active in women’s rights in conservative Singapore so our conversation started on that thread, and a few Skype meetings later, the “Asian Burlesque Spectacular” was born. Sukki had always wanted to hold a giant burlesque show specifically for Asian or Asian origin performers, as a continuation from her society, The Singapore Burlesque Club (to promote and nurture Asian performers in environments where sometimes burlesque is a difficult choice, or perhaps not celebrated enough). We enlisted Thirsty Girl Productions (Jen Gapay) right away. With her acclaimed experience and finesse in producing, she was the obvious choice to help realize the dream.

NYSB: The Asian Burlesque Spectacular is in its second year now. What will differentiate the show from last year’s premiere? 

Calamity Chang: We have an entirely new cast and we are at DROM in the East Village this year. We have an incredible line-up featuring some heavy hitters like The Shanghai Pearl (Seattle), Cherry Typhoon (Montreal) and Orchid Mei (Denver) , as well as international performers like Violet Eva (Japan) and Miyuki Divine (Calgary, Canada). Our host this year is NYC drag extraordinaire Yuhua Hamasaki (Miss Asia NYC 2014 and Miss Fire Island 2012), and we have added a boylesque performer, Wrong Note Rusty (Toronto) this year for the first time as well.Lastly, we are proud to be officially sponsored by ByeJoe: Spirit of China. We are very excited about this particular sponsorship, because “baijiu” has been a traditional Chinese spirit but as “ByeJoe” the liquor is expanding to a more Western palate to appeal to a young, modern Asian audience.


(Above, Calamity Chang. Photo Photo by Michael Webb)

NYSB: While show is all current performers, there is a strong element of homage to burlesque legends performers as Barbara Yung and Mei Ling. How important was that in so far as a production decision? 

Calamity Chang: Tributes are important to us, because Asian burlesque legends were less well known and less celebrated than their Western counterparts. Last year Sukki and I did our tribute acts to Yung and Ling. Other performers did their own interpretation of what constitutes their “Asian-ness” or whether that is relevant to them as a performer. Having that variety added an interesting layer of texture to the show. That’s the key for us. We are not going around forcing people to do Asian acts or collecting acts to create some kind of hyper-sensitive, somber event. Some of the acts addressed current topics with a comedic twist. For example, last year Fancy Chance’s act was about a hungry Korean student and Stella Chuuu’s act was to Monty Python’s “I Love Chinese Food”. We also had Dame Cuchifrita’s beautiful and haunting piece which addressed the colonialization of Southeast Asian women and sexuality. Show us how your ethnicity has influenced you as a performer and the acts you create, or how it hasn’t. We also are in agreement that one does not have to be Asian to do an act that is Asian-inspired. It is important this year to not only grow the show, but also to celebrate Asian culture without making it inaccessible to any other cultural group. To quote The Shanghai Pearl, there is a difference between “appropriating” and “appreciating.” I don’t think people know the difference so ABS is trying to be part of the answer to that question.


(Above, Calamity Chang. Photo by Michael Webb)

NYSB: Asian women have always had to deal with a very specific Western stereotype and fetishization of their bodies. Do you feel like the platform of the Asian Burlesque Spectacular is able to comment or take away from some of that?

Calamity Chang: I will posit that Asian men are also grossly sexualized and diminutized by Western stereotypes quite possibly even worse. Asian men are constantly portrayed as nerds, under sexed, or gay in popular television whereas Asian women are oversexed, “sluts”, and sexual objects (i.e.: the Tila Tequilas). ABS gives us a platform in which we present ourselves, our bodies, and our own sexual projection on our own terms whether through allure, comedy or confrontation through the art form of burlesque and live performance theater. The blessing of working in a niche art form (versus Hollywood) is that we have control over how we are presented to the public.

NYSB: What are your hopes for for the future of The Asian Burlesque Spectacular?

Calamity Chang: We are working on taking it to the West Coast (San Francisco) and to the UK. We aim to turn this into a 2-3 day festival! The possibilities are endless. We’ve received so many inquiries since last year from interested Asian performers all over. ABS stands as a strong beacon of hope for many Asian women (and men) interested in burlesque but who may be afraid to pursue it because of cultural taboos. We are here to challenge those ideas and also to create new images of Asian sexuality.

To find out more on The Asian Burlesque Spectacular visit The event page

Doors Open: 7:00 PM. Show Time: 8:00 PM