This month marks the one year anniversary of when I decided to stick all of my head (and all my bountiful hair) into the world of burlesque. I mark the date as the day I started kittening and the day I debuted at The Slipper Room in Jo's Beginning burlesque student showcase show. That was April 25th, 2009 - I believe. I had a three-way party after the debut and remember trekking over to Williamsburg immediately afterwards.
I have not stopped to do all that reflection bullshit on how much I've accomplished. I feel that is way too self-congratulatory right now to do. If I want to feel self-congratulatory, I'll just do a heap of cocaine on a night off. But - having said that - I will take this moment to self congratulate myself on the badass awesomeness that was Beatles Burlesque on Monday night!
To date, this was my best. I mean as a creator, producer, and hostess. I did not perform in the inaugural show because I had my hands and head full of a million other details of getting the band rehearsal time, coordinating who is doing what number, promotion, and running two other shows and a bunch of other secret pursuits I'm on. And of course, the night of the show I had to start a new day time job at a new agency which in hindsight was a blessing in disguise cause I was forced to think about something else all day instead of micromanaging and obsessing. I was really tired having to go straight from work to Public Assembly for sound check, but nothing a shot of whiskey can't fix.
The energy was tremendous from the minute I got there. Honi was setting up her elaborate setup for Blackbird, the boys in the band looked so great in their first set outfits: black suit jacket, white shirt, and skinny black tie. The gogo dancers looked fantastic in their fringey outfits. I love it when the visuals come together and its one big spectacle. My MC outfit was a big fro with a little silver thing with lots of silver fringe and white gogo knee boots with my old raver days white fur bootie covers. Yes, I used to go to raves... glow sticks and mini backpacks and all... sad days.
We started on time and opened the show with 2 songs by Ticket to Ride. I was also really excited for Brassy cause this is the first show I've done with her where she is providing the lead vocals on all the songs. I kept asking her if the sets were too long but she rocked it out. It was fucking amazing to hear her with a live band doing rock versions of Beatles. The performers really brought it - there's something about a live band that changes the experience of burlesque. I booked these girls specifically because they all have had lots of experience working with a live band. They can roll with it, improv, and don't need to adhere to a strict sound cue system. The band improvised on many songs and some songs were shortened and extended or had solo drums for instance. The band, the singer, and the performer - they are an organism on stage all working off of each other. As much as I would love to book new performers, this show is not a beginner showcase. I am consideromg adding one sacrificial lamb to be in the show. (Applications and concept proposals welcome! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
A live band really adds to a show, I have to say. But it can be a delicate balance cause you don't want to feel like the band is competing with the dancers and vice versa. I think this time the format was successful because the band played some songs solo without dancers. Stormy Leather did a reverse strip to Sexy Sadie and she did a pretty fucking awesome piece to Revolution complete with a gas mask and a smoke bomb that was *this close* to lighting the curtain on fire. Gal Friday was absolutely gorgeous and delicate and sublime in this pink gown (that she made herself might I add) to Dear Prudence and then she was a black clad, flame haired VAMP for Helter Skelter. Honi's Drive My Car was so hilarious and the audience loved her stage set ups. Madame Rosebud did two crazy acts both of which ended with her doing something nasty to Brassy. I told her (Rosebud) backstage that her performances always veer on the edge of complete abandonment which is transfixing and why she has a signature mark and is so in demand. We talked some more about performativity as I counted out the tip hat. In the end, Brassy closed with "Let It Be" - so beautiful the way they played it and the way she sang it. Oh yes and I flashed my vag at curtain call. I felt like I teased and provoked all night and didn't perform so that was the least I could contribute to humanity - my vag show. The audience was amazing. The energy was so high. I think we all felt high the next day too. Luma Rouge attended and illustrated the show, prints available for purchase. Juliet Jeske blogged about the show. Stay tuned for Burlesque Magazine's review of the show, and Melody Mudd's slideshow for Cultural Capital!
For next month's show on May 10, I will be doing a "Yoko" spoken word performance piece and close with an act. Plus a projected slideshow! woo! The band and Brassy stays. The performer line up may vary and the song list will vary. But here's the set list from Monday for those who are curious:
Ticket to Ride
I Saw Her Standing There
Happiness is a Warm Gun
Mean Mr. Muster
Drive My Car
I Me Mine
Why Don't We Do It in the Road
Let It Be