|Doing atmosphere work at French Tuesdays|
|Fun party, great people, and international|
At a private party there is typically no tipping so whatever the organizer agreed to that's what you'll get at the end of the night. This is an advantage over performing at a show where you (generally) don't get a guarantee and have to wait til the end of the night after the house sorts out the cover and count all the money then you get your share. You never know if you'll be going home with $30 or $80 or $12...
|Veronica doing a fan dance number|
The host also should set up the performers to build anticipation and also to start reining in the focal point in the room. Albert Cadabra and Bastard Keith are really great and masters at making every performer sound like a fucking nuclear A-BOMB of hotness! It doesn't matter if you believe it or not, but the words make a difference to the audience. These are all advantages of working a well-produced show. There are many out there but there are also many lackluster sloppy shows.
Also at private events, there is often no host or MC to intro or out-tro you. You are lucky if there's a microphone. If someone does intro you count your lucky stars. In the worst case scenario someone with a meek voice will attempt to call attention to the ground-level circular space where you are standing in costume waiting to do your thing - awkwardly. No one cheers. They just stare because no one told them they can clap and cheer during a burlesque tease. When you are finished, no one out-tros you so you smile and do a showboat stance and um... bend down to pick up your own clothes like an out-of-style stripper working a cheap strip joint in buttfuck nowhere, USA. In another scenario as recently experienced by yours truly, you come out to do your act but there is no stage so you start to dance in the middle of the dance floor and a drunk douche bag siddles up to you in the straight-guy-thrusting-his-groin-with-legs-spread-open-hey-this-is-me-dancing move and tries to dance WITH you WHILE you are doing your act! Or, drunk partiers who obviously resent the music being stopped and having to watch some stupid burlesque act and push you to get around the dancefloor WHILE you are doing your act. Or, photographers who stand in front of you to take photos of someone else WHILE you are doing your act. Or, hey one more, the chair you asked for a million times isn't there so you improvise and stand with one leg on a soft cushy couch and then end up falling down while pulling out the rosary beads out of your vajay with a cloth gag in your mouth! I've never felt more DUMB. Lack of a stage is the primary disadvantage in my mind for working private events. I don't like being close to people this is why I don't attend concerts. And as the previous example demonstrates lack of spatial separation between performer and audience can lead to unhappy calamities.
New Year's Eve at Macao Trading Company!
One last thing to beware of about private parties. Expectations. Some generally have never seen burlesque and have no idea what we are, what we do or don't do. Again, this is the host's job to set the proper tone and mood. Many, I swear to beelzebub, think we are escorts, call girls, or strippers. They will make suggestions about taking drugs together, sharing a cab, sit on their laps, or as Sapphire Jones recently told me about her experience (with her permission to retell this), directly asked her if she is still "escorting" after she spent 15 minutes conversing about her career in acting, her boyfriend, her dog...My advice? If you feel uncomfortable, say so nicely. Your integrity is more important than whatever the pay is. And you have to protect that.
Not every private party is like this. Not every show is "amazing great fun" either. I'm only listing general advantages and disadvantages. Most of the time the downside of private parties have nothing to do with the people who actually booked the event. They are often nice professional people who really want to create a kickass event but are just new to having burlesque at their events. The organizers often don't have a good grasp of what kind of acts will go over well at private events. Understandly they want to create a "WOW" moment for their attendees but due to all the aforementioned limitations with space, lighting, setup, I would say, PLAY IT SAFE and do classic, glamorous straight-up strip tease with room for improving and moving around. Nothing with a heavy narrative or proprs or that requires paying attention throughout to "get it".