Mar 30, 2010

Beatles Burlesque April 12, 2010

My mind is all about the "Beatles Burlesque" show coming up in a couple of weeks! The band, Ticket to Ride, have been rehearsing and holy crap they sound so rock and so amazing. Honi came by yesterday to rehearse her song too. The gogo dancers are planning the costumes, the flyer is done, the web site done, the line up is settled, press has been contacted. It's all coming together so well.

I'm a happy camper for sho. Happy everyone is having a good time prepping and enthusiastic and if I can buy pizza to keep the boys fueled, I do. Matt had the idea of shooting the band picture in a Chinese take out restaurant being that this is a "Calamity Chang" production and all - I love it. It's kitschy and very much in the spirit of burlesque. The boys look yummy. I would want to sleep with them if I saw them play especially the one on the left. (I wrote that cause I know you are reading this, you know who you are!)


I'm also very happy to report that Honi Harlow has asked me to be a regular at her monthly show "Harlow's Hideaway" at Fontana's on Eldridge Street! This is my first regular gig outside of my own shows and I'm fuckin thrilled!!! You have no idea how nice it feels sometimes to just go and do an act and enjoy a show, and not be the producer, the MC, the one that has to keep time and keep things together. Now the first Mondays of every month will be my un-manic Mondays! I also love this opportunity because Fontana's is walking distance so that saves me cab fare.

Mar 26, 2010

This Sunday's line up at Chow Bar

Check out the line up this Sunday, it's BEYOND!

and check out my new clip from the IVANAHelsinki Art Factory party where I modeled 6 outfits from the designer's new collection and did strip teases using my black fans. Filmed and edited by Dan Kim (aka: Morning Bamboo Wood).


Just got home from the Nurse Bettie show and saw how smeared my lipstick was!!

The show was packed again! We did well and the crowd was really really great! They were so fun and enthusiastic. I opened tonight cuz my costume for Enter Sandman is too elaborate and Brassy wasn't here tonight to intro-me so I just opened. And I think I like it better! For one, I don't have to change. Second, opening with Sandman got the crowd immeadiatedly revved up. Many dudes told me how rad it was and how they didn't expect something like that. One person said they loved it cuz it was so dark. Stephen mentioned the religious iconoclastic imagery in my pieces. All this is Exactly what I wanted for this act. I thbk Sandman and the Nun are perfect for this show.

I'm supposed to get a write up in TimeOut next Thursday in the "free love" issue. Yes, in the print magazine not just digital text! I have permission now to hire more acts and paid gogo dancers! Stephen and I are both so happy and excited to continue building this show out cuz this baby is growing rapidly in a mAjor way evry time I do it. To think just four hours ago I wanted nothing more than to eat chicken nuggets and watch sitcoms in bed! I worked 12 hours yesterday on a pitch for work at an agency I haven't freelanced at in two years because they exhaust me creatively. But I love the people there and the work that come out are really top notch. Stuff you can be proud to put in your book. Anyway I digress. Tomorrow I design the HOT Beatles Burlesque flyer that Michael and I shot so late and spontaneously the other night while drunk. Love it when that happens! A true creative partnership is Thrilling!!!! Oh and tmrw I'm treating myself to Otto Dixs show at Neueu Gallerie and shopping at Mandees with my 20% discount card. Bitches!

Mar 23, 2010

My band!

I'm sitting in the floor of the rivington music rehearsal space watching the band rehearse for the first time all the songs we are doing for Beatles Burlesque and I'm getting chills listening to them. I heard Brassy singing Dear Prudence before I walked in and it was so beautiful to hear her voice try something so gentle yet soulful. Kenball is an amazing bassist. He teaches music during the day and it's absolutely invaluable having him be a part of this show. Our friend Matthew Egan of "Made of Babies" is one spectacular drummer. Hot fucking damn. I'm not going to rave about Michael on guitar cuz obviously I'm going to say he's great - I can say that it's liberating to hear him play loud and aggressive and in a proper music studio.
This show is gonna rock!!!

Mar 21, 2010

Wonton Tacos

  • 11th Avenue
  • $20 cab ride
  • A slippery stage
  • Zipper malfunction
That about sums up the first part of my Saturday night at the Cain Luxe show! The space is beautiful adorned with what I assume to be faux elephant tusks as giant pillars surrounding the room and antelope horns as doorhandles. In the center of the room is a skinny long catwalk flanked by loungey sofas on either side. The lighting technician was great. He was professional and helped me figure out how to find a chair for one act (the club did not have a chair to use as a prop). The bartender...not so great. She ignored me and another girl while she was busy making googly eyes with the manager. We must have asked her for a drink three times before she finally turned around and was like, "Oh, sorry..." Whatever! The only sorry here is your brain, lady! This kind of attitude only further confirms my belief that Meatpacking nightclubs only attracts ugly people and it also further affirms my decision to not venture west of 7th Avenue and north of 14th Street (except when having to work or go to Conway or to fabric stores or see a film or try a new hot restaurant or visit a good friend).

I did meet the other performers who were cool, funny women. There was a modern dancer named Jasmin and this girl had the BEST sculpted thighs I've ever seen. You can tell she's been dancing all her life just by her legs. They were like thighs you see in anatomy books where you can see every muscle group. There was a belly dancer named Elektra who I really liked too. The show was billed as "Belly Dance vs. Burlesque" but it wasn't a real competition. At the end of the show the MC decided it was a tie. Scout Durwood was there too but I missed her act because I had to change. My first act was the nun and the only "stage" big enough to fit a fold-up chair was above the speakers which meant there wasn't enough room to walk around the chair, and it was very hard climbing up and down the platform on six inch platform vinyl boots. This is Suck Part Uno.

Suck Part Dos: Second act debut of Enter Sandman. The catwalk is slippery. Too slippery to really be suitable for performing. Elektra and Jasmin both danced barefoot and said it was slippery for them. I slipped a little climbing onto it. (Again, why am I climbing in the first place???) First minute goes well as planned. Prop opens as planned. Gloves come off as planned. Dudes love the song so that's already working in my favor. The costume is elaborate, another plus. When it came time for the zipper, STUCK STUCK STUCK!!! The little motherfucker would NOT budge and if this skirt doesn't come off the rest of the costume wont come off. I finally had to just throw out all choreography or structure and just improvise. Thankfully for the group of enthusiastic Metallica heads on the side, I asked one of the guys to open the zipper and sure enough, he unzipped it lickety split with one swift pull and ended my misery. Oh, sweet death.

After Cain, I headed over to Floating Kabarett at Galapagos dropping another $20 something in cab fare. Too many props and I hate taking public transportation in drag. I was so happy to be there and see Brassy, Michael, Diane, and Rosebud. It was a good night there for most part except sound was off cue most of the night. I did Sandman again at Kabarett and I realized that doing Cain was good because if the zipper fuck up happened here instead of there, there would be NO audience nearby to help unzip me. I would have been FUCKED and probably never get booked there again! The burlesque gods must have been watching out for me. Thank you! The last act was messed up because sound didn't have the overlay track that was supposed to play along with Brassy and Michael. So they stood there for a seemingly infinite amount of time on stage waiting for the track to start, then finally sound just played the original track and I just had to come out and dance. Brassy and Michael had to just step off to the side of the stage. I was pissed about that. Bjorn and Olga covered this slip up so good though. They said, "Wow, that was so postmodern." Haha. I was a total pomo-head in college and I love that kind of theory humour. Bjorn and Olga introduces me as someone who they found in the midwest eating wonton tacos. Then he was telling me that "wonton tacos" really exist at Applebees!
If that's not proof that we have finally made the cross-over, I don't know what would. Wontons at Applebees! It's time to start the Chinese Pride Parade!

After the show I hung out with Rosebud because she's in my Beatles Burlesque show at Public Assembly on April 12. We talked about the acts she is doing for it and I can't wait to see them! The show line-up is intense! Confirmed performers are Gal Friday, Stormy Leather, Honi Harlow, Madame Rosebud, and Broadway Brassy. Then I realized I was STARVING!! The only thing I ate that day was 4 chicken nuggest and some fries at noon. So we called Arecibo and went to the only place open 24/7 in Lower East Side: Remedy Diner. I had a turkey sandwich and Michael had a burger. I thought it was really good! The lettuce was crisp and clean, the bread was good, and I loved sitting at the counter overhearing drunk people's phone conversations with other drunk people on the other line.

Mar 17, 2010

A whole lotta stuff

Tomorrow night at Nurse Bettie is going to be crazy! I can see the show becoming popular on a week to week basis. Last week, it was so packed I couldn't even move around the bar during intermission. Tomorrow night I have booked Akynos, Lil Miss Lixx, Tansy, and Brassy. I also know that my friend Kelli is having her birthday drinks there so you know it's gonna be a mad house! Maybe I should take Friday off from work? I love going out to grab a bite to eat and a few drinks to wind down after a show. Ummm tempting tempting.

Saturday night I'm doing two shows back to back. First is Alter Ego at Cain in Chelsea then right over to Floating Kabarett. I am doing Enter Sandman at both plus 2 other numbers. The act has finally come together and I am very pleased with it.

Sunday night at Dim Sum Burlesque I am having Jezebel Express, Honi Harlow, and Minnie Tonka, all new to the show at Chow. I am SO excited about this powerhouse combo and can't wait to see what they'll come up with. Honi is also in my Beatles Burlesque show at Public Assembly on April 12 - I love her! She's so great.

Mar 15, 2010

Victorian Studies

I am working on a new number to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" that will be debuting this Saturday at Galapagos' Floating Kabarett. There is still quite a lot to be done but if things go well, I may debut it at Nurse Bettie on Thursday and do it at the Alter Ego party on Saturday before I do Floating Kabarett. This number is the culmination of years of reading about the Victorian era. Specifically death, mourning, and the nascent of visual culture studies through the mediums of photography, the printing press, and mechanical reproduction of art works (Walter Benjamin is a huge influence in my academic interests). The act is about death and mourning, and it touches on the tradition of death portraits. The Victorians took portraits of loved ones who have died, and the setting of these death portraits are usually done in the parlor where the corpse is still dressed as if living and propped up on chairs and positioned as if they were still living. There are a lot of things out there about this practice and in the last few years there has been more interests in popular culture. For instance, in the film The Others (starring Nicole Kidman) her character finds photos of her servants in death portraits but she doesn't realize they are death pictures and just thought they were terribly... strange. Here's an example of what they look like:

Working on this number has allowed me to dig out and indulge in all my Victorian books from photography as medium (Met exhibition from years ago) to graphic design costume books to old factoid books about life and times of Victorians. I get to make a giant size memento mori locket as a prop AND I get to design my costume ALL in black. Dame Cuchifrita has helped me tremendously in developing this character and act. We had a couple of glasses of wine one night, she did some sketching, and we hashed it out. I realized that maybe I'm a closeted steampunker. That's more really frightening to me than these death portraits.

Mar 9, 2010

Last Night's Show @ Public Assembly

Was tremendous!!! I was nervous because it was a new venue and a MUCH larger venue with a real stage waaaay up there. Although I've performed many times here on my own and knew the space, it was a whole other monster hosting the entire show and running 12 acts. I really felt grateful having Brassy there because our bantering on stage took some of the pressure off of me during the first set. The lights are quite bright at PA and I couldn't see anyone in the audience. I feed off primarily from the audience, on their body language, their response, and I was thrown off a bit because it was just a dark mass out there except for the table of girls in the front from Georgia who were boisterous and burlesque virgins. Having a real sound booth and Jesus working the sound booth was SUCH a luxury and being able to hear the guitar the way it's SUPPOSED to sound like during Michael's duets with Brassy (House of the Rising Sun, Magic Man) made me so happy. I ran the show in 2 big sets of 6 acts plus a drinking game and a mini-gogo song dance where I poured Bud Light all over myself. I got positive feedback and I can't wait for next month when I do "Beatles Burlesque" with a live band! I am casting and finalizing the songs. I'm happy to announce that so far the line-up includes Honi Harlow, Madame Rosebud, and Broadway Brassy.

Mar 8, 2010


The other day I googled an ex-boyfriend from college. I was with him for 4 years, when really it should have just been 2 years. But I was young and didn't know any better and it was college so it dragged on much longer than it should have. I blame my own cowardice for not breaking up sooner and dragging him on. Anyway, so I googled him because boredom at work leads to googling ex-boyfriends. Just kidding. I am generally not curious about exes. I have no interest in the past and what they are up to now. I have self-imposed amnesia.

There wasn't too much about him online. But the one thing that showed up is his very recent wedding registry. And his bride-to-be is a friend of mine from college! I was surprised that they ended up together, but also not surprised. I always thought he liked her or at least thought she was "cute" - believe me, women know these things even if we act like we don't care or know. It all made sense now. Why her Facebook page had so limited information and pictures. Why she un-Facebook friended me. It wasn't like we were best friends or anything, we were closer in college, but I didn't really stay in touch with her so it's not like I'm devastated or anything. It's barely a blip on my radar, perhaps a good story to blog about. Like what I'm doing now.

It did make me feel better that he found someone else. The breakup was a big snotty-covered mess. On his part. Emotionally I had fallen out of love with him years ago but never did anything about it. He thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. etc etc. I find it curious that she has cut off connections from me, and didn't tell me that she and him found each other when we first re-connected via Facebook a couple years ago. Did she think I would care or think it was a betrayal of a friendship that was threadbare to begin with? Maybe she felt like she was living under my shadow and rather just ignore the past? (She is also Chinese). Maybe he put a kibosh on any connection or knowledge of my existence which is most likely the case.

Like Rebecca, I linger like a scent. "And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like having the moment all over again."

Mwa Ha ha!!!

Tonight, Dim Sum Burlesque is going to Public Assembly!! I am SO excited to work a bigger room on a real proper stage! I have 13 acts that's a hella lot with Gigi Lafemme, Lil Steph, Dame Cuchifrita, Broadway Brassy will do songs with Michael on guitar, and myself. Chow Bar is also selling spicy korean noodles for $5-7. Booze, boobs, and food - how can tonight be the opposite of fun??? Doors at 9 pm, show at 10 pm. $10 cover!

Mar 5, 2010

there was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more than to feel you deep in my heart

Fuck tonight was a great show and a great time at Nurse Bettie. Ed Barnas came by, and I recognized another couple (John and Diane) from Dim Sum came to see this show. They really liked my black fan dance and wanted to see what else I can do. Luckily, I didn't do the fan dance at NB and did Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" act, but I forgot my kneepads so I banged up my knees really bad. The crowd was really, really wet tonight.

I'm listening to The Cure right now cause Craig played it at the bar after the show and it made me all nostalgic and I'm too revved up to go to bed. It's the Disintegration album which always reminds me of high school when I was all into New Wave, wore black all the time (as if that has changed), thought Robert Smith was just the coolest shit ever, and I thought cutting myself was cool too. I didn't have any family problems or academic problems. I was stellar through high school. Graduated second in my class of 350 something. Editor of the newspaper. Nominated for prom queen. Super supportive and responsible Chinese parents. Blah blah blah. I was really a rebel without a cause just desperate to be different and stand out. How lame was that? I guess in retrospect suburbia does breeds complacency (at least where I grew up in Dallas/Fort Worth), and I did not want to be yet another over-achieving Asian person. Why was that so bad being successful and making it in America to me? I'm not sure. I just knew I didn't want success to be defined in the traditional Chinese way - ie: becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer. Well, look at me now. Stripping.

Anyway, I didn't enjoy cutting the way real cutters did. I remember carving a few different initials in different parts of my leg and by my wrists. My mom saw one one day and freaked the fuck out. I think that was when she realized putting me in a Christian school was making me mental or something. Strangely, once I was in the Texas public school system in the poor ass neighborhood where we lived ($300/month apartment rental all utilities included was all we could afford - holla!), all the cutting and various, er, habits went away.

Mar 4, 2010

Boredom at Work Leads to Buying New Shoes

That's whats been going on today. My co-worker went to the gym and I was tempted to go by H&M, Forever 21, and Sephora. But instead I just went downstairs and "took a look" at the random nameless store next door. Twenty minutes later, I emerged with 2 pairs of new shoes. I justified the purchase by saying to myself that these can be worn with "normal" clothes and not just for burlesque. It's true! I can replace the old silver shoes that I wear with the black fan dance with these new taller ones. The crimson ones I can wear either with the red fan dance or with the new number I'm working on or MC-ing - or I'll just wear those around the house making pasta!

We are finally back at Nurse Bettie. The damn snow has cancelled the show twice! I'm excited about tonight because Hazel Honeysuckle is going to do her 5th Element Lilo number (I saw some photos of this number and goddamn she looks hot in bandages!), my friend Ginger Brown is going to do a pretty nasty number based on the song choice I heard, Runaround Sue is coming as well but I have no idea what act she's doing although I love the song (no spoilers here), I'm going to do my Brett Michaels tribute, and Brassy is going to provide us with some classic rock! I would totally go on Rock of Love if he wasn't looking so plastic-y and I was desperate with children out of wedlock and didn't have a job or a marketable skill - okay basically I would never go on the show is essentially what I'm saying.

Show is at 10 PM at Nurse Bettie, now 3 blocks even closer to my house! No cover. Gonna be so fun!!

Mar 2, 2010

Many Thingingmabobs!

Finally I am plugged back in the matrix-net. Jesus! A hundred emails not downloaded from the server. Moving in the snowstorm weekend. Dealing with strict move-in hours. The last few days have been the worst ever! But now it's over and I'm relishing in living in this fanfuckintastic apartment!

So last Sunday after moving and unpacking all day, I get to Chow for the show feeling a combination of exhaustion and excitement. I didn't want to leave the house because I had just finished re-categorizing my clothes (per Michael's example) and we were just about to start on the awesome bathroom. But I knew also that taking a few hours to put on makeup, glitter, and be pretty instead of feeling grungy and dirty wearing the same pair of leggings, t-shirt, and crusty old socks for 3 days would energize me. Even though ticket sales were not where I would have liked, I was in such a motherfucking great mood I wouldn't have cared if there were only five people in the room. I haven't seen Dame's new act, Amber Ray was coming to do her lotus blossom act, Rita Menweep was doing 2 numbers, and I wanted to play with Brassy! There was a table of three cute blonde girls in the front, another table of three, a table of three Euro-looking guys in the corner who I noticed. You know how it is. You feel the crowd and you know where the warm and cold spots are. We go through the first set and everything is great. Lots of cheering and hollering with minimal burl-etiquette coaching. I'm throwing back prossecco like there's no Monday, and I'm particularly talkative on the stage ranting about "oriental revivalism" and white guys with Asian girlfriends (I, myself, am guilty as a cohort). Second set comes along and I play one of the crowd favorite games, "Put a Ring on It". For this game I pick out a couple that seem to have good body language. I have the girl come up on stage and sit in a chair. I'll skip the details but the goal is for her boyfriend to put a cock ring on the banana that is nudged between her thighs while blindfolded. I picked out this particular couple only because one of the waitstaff said to me during intermission, "If you're going to pick on anyone, pick on my friends who are sitting over there!" When her boyfriend came up and was told to put the cock ring on the banana he yanked off the flimsy ribbon blindfold, angrily repeated, "I am NOT doing this!" several times, stormed off the stage, grabbed his jacket, and walked out much to everyone's chagrin and even more so for his girlfriend who sat there flabbergasted with a banana between her legs.

I felt so bad for her. She was obviously trying to keep the peace with this man so she understandably refused to play the rest of the game and went chasing after him. It was the chasing after that resonated with me. I've been in her position before in a not-healthy relationship where the guy controlled the entire dynamic of the relationship and you never knew if you or some situation would "offend" his ego. So you end up changing who you are from how you talk to your friends, the kind of jokes that you make or make you laugh, and you slowly become what you think he wants you to be because you love him (you think you love him) and you want to do everything you can to make it work so what's a little compromise in becoming a vegetarian or not hanging out with your friends because he doesn't like them - oh no, I'm not channeling any residual resentment at all! Instead you should just say, you don't get me so take your hypocrisy and go fuck yourself . The clincher however was when he stormed out, another female audience member yelled, "Dump him!" That was priceless.

Anyway, I'm a little drunk on red wine now. Here's a picture of Dame backstage in her "Farewell My Concubine" costume. I wish I had my phone to take a picture of Ambery's outfit too. I learn so much by just watching her performe, her gestures, movements, and facial expressions. She actually kind of looks like one of those Japanese girls in Harajuku when she's all done up. Quite fascinating!

Then on Monday, I still had the day off from work (domesticity and nesting is FUN!) to help Michael put the apartment together but at night I performed in Harlow's Hideaway at Fontana's. It's a monthly variety show in the basement of the bar on Eldridge Street, and I think she is my favorite show producer. Her show packs in SO much and it's not just burlesque. There is a stand up comedian named Claudia Cogan and she is hilarious. Then there's Maddy Man & Lexi who do modern interpretations of Bible stories. They did a re-telling of Lot's Wife to Bright Eye's "Turn Around". There was Bella daBalls who sings and strips along with Honi's own singing and stripping. Amber did a bunny number to Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet" which I would love her to do at Dim Sum and she did this trick with her boobs and tassels that I have never seen anyone do before. Minnie Tonka (I'm wearing a pair now!) and Bunny Love both did acts that were brilliant. Tigger closed the show with his magnificent self and hopped off the stage and kissed a girl, then Michael, then me. I was able to hang out for a bit after the show and talked to everyone about various difficulties of producing a show... especially the financial stress and strain. I felt much much better after that - because I wasn't sure if I'm doing something wrong or not doing something that I should be, trying various combination of how to generate more money so I can pay everyone an amount that make everyone feel happy about coming out at night and performing. In the end, I realized it's just the way it is producing shows unless you have a HUGE marketing firm behind you or a big ass funding or a rich ass patron to give you a budget to do a show weekly.

Oh, and I have cable TV now! This is the first time I've had a TV in six years. When it's on, I find it hard to motivate to do things like write, design, read, or anything at all. It's like a big bland vortex that sucks you in by its sheer blandness. Unless I'm purposely sitting down to watch something - but I don't even know what's on and when it's on. So even though I'm now living in a real adult apartment, I still spend most of the time in the studio room.