Feb 24, 2011

The Black Lodge

The Black Lodge costume for "Twin Peaks Burlesque"
Last night's "The Pink Room" show was truly something special. Like I told Franny the day she invited me to be a part of the show, it'll sell out. Sure enough, the line was out through the front room at Parkside Lounge at 9pm and Tina Tassels had to turn away several people. It was also not the typical burlesque audience. I think the eccentricity and quirkiness of the TP-theme pulled in a majority of people who are fans of the show but not necessarily "burlesque supporters". I love this kind of audience!

So this is the dress I made as "The Black Lodge." Finding that zigzag fabric was really difficult cause apparently it's a 70's-inspired pattern that no one sells anymore other than upholstery shops. I do not have the time to hit the pavement during the day to comb through the garment district looking for something this specific so I found it online at DenverFabrics.com - except they had to order it from the manufacture which took two weeks and STILL no fabric. I cancelled that order and luckily found it on Etsy at Hodi and Poppi Fabrics (she caters to vintage style designs). And only one yard left!

There is a big zipper down the back. The big bulky kind so it doesn't get stuck. The halter straps are removable so is the belt, all by big snap buttons. The rest was just black and red tulle and the mask is a crow mask with lots of rhinestones. The dress took about 5 hours one Sunday. I had amazing sex right after I finished making that dress so I knew it was going to be a successful act when it's broken in that way! Unlike my blue Vegas-sparklers act... working with fire is so temperamental and really feels like working with some unknown entity and power.

My music is "Dance of the Dream Man" from the actual first scene of the Black Lodge (aka The Red Room) where Agent Cooper has his first vision. You can see it on YouTube here.

I will do this act again on Friday night 2/25 at "Room 69: The Hotel Chantelle Way"!

Feb 22, 2011

"The Pink Room: Twin Peaks Burlesque" Tomorrow Night!

I am SO excited about tomorrow night's "The Pink Room" the Twin Peaks Burlesque show that Franny Fluffer is producing! It's her first show and it's going to be awesome! I can't wait to debut my dress for her show cause I made it in one day while juggling a crazy 15 hour blow-my-brains-out design deadline for my day time job. I am forcing myself not to post pictures of it cause I want you to come to the show tomorrow night to see the amazing line-up! It's at Parkside Lounge at 9:30pm and it's hosted by the one-and-only Bastard Keith as "Agent Keith". I can't think of anyone else more appropriate to host the show other than maybe Abe dressed up as Log Lady. LOL. I WILL post pictures after tomorrow's show, I promise.

Here are some racier pictures from the final "Spreading the Curtains" show at Coco de Mer this last Saturday. I did not post these on Facebook cause they deleted the ones of me and Gal Friday with hats within 24 hours. The show photos were taken by Paul Ferris who was a pleasure to work with and super fast about uploading the images!
I don't know who she was but she is so pretty!
Me and Katie who will be gogo-ing at the Beatles 1 Year Anniversary show on March 14!

The "burlesque baker" The Naughty Housewife and Broadway Brassy. I met them both when I kittened for Brassy at "Last Call at the Starliner Lounge" at Corio way back when. They are both now two of my closest friends.

Feb 20, 2011

A few pictures from this whirlwind weekend

Saturday "Spreading the Curtains" last show at Coco de Mer: This is the view from the surveillance camera from behind the stage so we know when to cue the music. For the group finale, Pandora's idea of "Pandora's Box" had us blindfolding the audience so we could set up the box where Maine and I were hiding inside. I just LOVE how the audience were so great and sweet, did as they were instructed. So awesome!! Below is a backstage photo of the costume we wore for "Pandora's Box".
Blindfolding the audience at Coco de Mer NYC

Backstage/office at Coco de Mer NYC
 Friday night, Gal Friday and I did a private party in the Upper East Side. She did her famous classic beatgirl tassel twirling and I did the fetish nun act at the request of the organizers. We showed them a really good representation of 2 burlesque styles. Gal really knocked them out. The women were SO into it. It was a great gig! The organizer introduced us, and there was a proper DJ, and a chair. I DID NOT fall over like at the last private gig - because these guys were pros!

Me with hat
Gal with hat

Waiting around

Another Beatles Clip "Helter Skelter"

Monday, March 14, 2011 is our ONE year anniversary show! I am so excited about the line-up and I'll announce it now on my blog for my readers - EKATERINA, BETTINA MAY, myself with Gogo Dancing by SYDNEY SUNRISE (you can see her in the video above) and a fresh new hottie whose name is TBA!

This anniversary show will have an open bar by my favorite down under sponsor 42Below Vodka from 9-10pm AND treats by "the burlesque baker" herself The Naughty Housewife! Guest musicians and singers are in the works so make sure you check our website for latest updates!

Feb 16, 2011

Beatles Burlesque Número Once!

This past Monday night marked the 11th Beatles Burlesque show, and we packed the house! It was amazing! Many young couples were out to celebrate Valentine's Day as well as groups of guys and gals hanging out. I had to get out more chairs and ushered some of the people coming in to find a table to sit. I love that people were ordering food too from next door Cubana Social - I'm familiar and at home with the show + food format cause it's like Dim Sum Burlesque all over again.

Here''s a clip of one of the performers. I am trying to find time at night when I don't have shows to edit the rest of them. More to come...

Feb 12, 2011

Shake & Bake This!

Yellow trash comfort food
When I was growing up, we made a lot of Shake & Bake and other fine American classics like Hamburger Helper. This was when we first came to the US via Bolivia. I lived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia from 8 to 11 years old then we immigrated to the US to the glamorous and completely white with no diversity city of Tampa, Florida. I was SO pissed. Not because we suddenly found ourselves dirt poor. I was too young to understand the financial pressure on my parents nor the stress of learning a new language, finding a job - ANY job - when you can't speak the language fluently. All I knew was that I had to learn English and I was NOT happy about that. I remember saying, "I'm never going to learn English! I'm only going to speak Spanish and Chinese!" Well, look at me now, BA in English and a blog later, writing and writing away.

We went grocery shopping at Sam's Warehouse in Tampa, and the only food we could afford was stuff like Hamburger Helper, Shake & Bake, ramen noodles, and somehow my mom made that money stretch to feed the four of us. I was never allowed to get cheese puffs even though for a huge bag it was only 99cents. I made a big fuss about it and finally one day standing in the Chips aisle, my mom yelled at me and said, "I can buy ground turkey for 99cents and make dinner for everyone!" That kind of made me realize then how poor we were, that and not being able to afford turning on the AC in damp, humid, sticky Tampa summers. I hate Tampa to this day... That day in the Chips aisle marked my lifelong obsession with cheese puffs. I fucking LOVE cheese puffs. It's my guilty pleasure. Unfortunately for my Mom she developed an acute nauseous reaction whenever she smells cheese puffs. Every immigrant has some kind of story of this form. The "poor immigrant food" story. My friend Camilo who is from Colombia and I compared to see who had the better "poor immigrant food" story. His parents used to steal McDonald's coupons from neighbors' newspaper on the lawn. I shared the roadkill story. There were a lot of wild geese in Clearwater, Tampa and we were driving around in our white Dodge station wagon (with wood paneling...ah, that car so many memories with that old thing) and the car in front of us hit a white goose and drove off. It was a healthy-plump white goose and it was dead. So we took it home, de-feathered that bitch, and had a delicious goose dinner that night! I won the competition.

Lately I've been too busy to go grocery shopping so I dug around the cupboard and found a box of Shake & Bake, and making it reminded me of the old days. I made it today and it tasted pretty good. Considering that you bake the chicken and not deep frying it, it's actually pretty low cal and healthy. In the time it took me to walk Chewie, when I came back, it was done!

I had "Room 69" again at Hotel Chantelle last night and it was very fun. I did the champagne act - the same one I did at Macao on Monday night, but my corset got stuck and Stormy even tried to undo it for me with no luck. So I kept going but then the music stopped! This hasn't happened to me before and I actually just had a conversation with Michael about it. I asked him what he would do if his music stopped in the middle of a routine. He said he would stop the act, fix the music, and start over. Which is strange to me because whenever I've seen that happen to performers, everyone just keeps going and make it into an interactive, audience participation thing. Which is what ended up happening. Stormy, Brassy, GoGo, Sapphire, and Charlie Gunn hummed my song acoustically and the audience got into it too. Then the music started back up AND my corset suddenly came off too! All in all, it was a fun night that ended with me at the Hotel Mondrian soft-launch party with Honi and Nasty. We were supposed to gogo dance from 12-3am but due to some whatever corporate issue with their lack of a cabaret license, we actually never danced but just hung out in our room drinking champagne and gabbing! We went down towards the end of the night to check out the lounge/bar. It's called Mister Hung and lo and behold, it's all Chinese-themed. There were all these antique bird cages like what my grandfather used to have but he had them not to create a "chinoiserie chic" look but because he raised song birds. Lots of palm trees. A big neon sign that said in Chinese words "Love Liquor Hotel" or something to that effect. In one of the rooms behind a shimmery beaded curtain, there was a giant red neon sign that said, "There are no prostitutes in this room." A bit heavy-handed but seeing the word "prostitute" emblazoned on the wall of a bar does have a subliminal effect on people under the influence. It kind of plants the thought and mood in your mind and kinda makes you feel all sexual suddenly. Also helped that the waitresses were mostly Asian and, of course, "HAWT" as people like to say nowadays about Asian women. But the male bartenders were equally attractive but surprise! Not Asian. The  crowd was all fashion week people so lots of tall models and bearded hipster guys. I find all this social brouhahas surrounding Fashion Week terribly boring, but then again, I suppose to fashion people all the happenings around the NY Burlesque Festival is probably just as boring.
I call this, "Portrait of Two Unhappy Fashion/Hipster People at a Burlesque Show"
And this, "Portrait of Drunk, Happy People at a Burlesque Show"
Lastly, this is "Burlesque Person Imprisoned at a Fashion Party"
 Mr. Hung's reminded me of a blend of Indochine and Macao's downstairs where I do my "Drunken Dragon Night" show. Seems like everything Chinese is sooo chic and hot right now. Well, damn it, its' about freaking time cause that was NOT my impression growing up in middle of Texas that being different or having different eyes were desirable at all! But that's another story for another day. :)


Standing next to the most intriguing and ugliest fuzzy lamp ever...
Giant mirror!

Feb 8, 2011

What You Missed at Drunken Dragon Nights at Macao Trading Company

Drunken Dragon Nights at Macao Trading Company, 311 Church Street, Tribeca
This was my closing act last night at Macao. It's my "champagne" act, a long 6 minute slow strip to two songs by Henri Mancini. I always do some kind of bar crawl choreography in the end at "Drunken Dragon Nights".

The event was sponsored by Courvoisier and one of the photographers, Peter Woloszyn, took this photo. I love it! It's notoriously dark in the lounge and no one has been able to take clear photos of the show thus far. So I am even more impressed that he was able to capture so much detail - without retouching! He promised me another set of more of last night so I will post them soon!

Mark Mann just tweeted me this polaroid he took from a shoot a few months ago. I love it! It's a GOOD day when you get amazing pictures like these two in one day!

Photo by Mark Mann. http://markmannphoto.com

Feb 4, 2011

One Year at Nurse Bettie

Last night marked my ONE FULL year at Nurse Bettie. Can you believe that? This is my first show to reach the full year mark. Dim Sum Burlesque lasted 7 months and I often don't feel like I can make it to the one year term. The next shows in-line for the one year mark is "Beatles Burlesque" (March), "Drunken Dragon Night" at Macao Trading Company (April), and "Spreading the Curtains" at Coco de Mer (June). When all these shows hit one-year, I am goin to treat myself to that expensive dress I've been thinking about forever and maybe the new tattoo I've been researching!

The new renovations at NB has greatly improved the general ambiance and work environment for me. The tin-ceiling is shiny. The amber and red chandeliers bulbs cast a very pretty and glossy sheen over the ceiling which makes the space look larger. There are also red velvety curtains over the two front windows and for our "dressing" area. There are also lights under the bar so we can see where all our shit is instead of groping around in the dark. Many, many items have been lost back there in the "dressing hole" like my tip bucket that I handmade, a black fascinator with veil, and numerous other performer's stuff. The chandelier above the stage is now higher so no more broken bulbs when we swing our bras or feather fans. The taller performers will still have to watch out for that. There's a new toilet seat. I don't know why I noticed that, but I did. Overall, I'm pleased.

Tonight is the second installment of "Room 69: The Hotel Chantelle Way" and I am REALLY happy with this show which is lean, mean, and super-polished.

(Big sidenote: one thing I do want to mention is that often when you produce a show with a guarantee pay that is NOT at a performance or theater space but at a venue such as a upscale bar or restaurant, who you book is often not up to you to decide. This is why I can't book just anyone at many of my shows. I am essentially helping the venues expand their brand and image via entertainment - so believe you me, they do their research online and in magazines to see who the performers are and what they look like, and they ask me about them. When a venue asks if you know of "so and so", it's not fireside chit chat. They are in a way seeing how well integrated you are in the business and whether you can book that performer. I prefer this method because it continues the venue's tradition of style and the image they want to maintain.)

The venue is AMAZING and has such an elegant, sophisticated vibe. Everyone is SO accommodating and the crowd is always sitting down in their posh leather booths, and not screaming or trying to jump on the stage. There's no gogo-ing pre-show or during the short break, and I don't have to play any drinking or dance-off games to stretch the show. Chantelle has private parties usually on Friday nights starting at 10pm so we have to be outta there and done so the crew can disassemble the stage. Plus the cocktails are SO delicious!!!! I generally NEVER drink cocktails or champagne (too many calories) and 90% of the time I drink vodka soda at shows. If I'm out socializing with friends I drink wine. I used to like champagne but then I had the unfortunate experience of drinking Crystal at a private party once, and since then, I don't want to drink any other inferior champagnes. Unfortunate, indeed...

David Monroe took this photo of me from last week's Room69 - I am using this as my Facebook Profile picture but in that version I photoshopped out the "Exit" signs. That is one of my biggest photo pet peeves - the exit signs, the no smoking signs, all restroom signs. I hate them and will eradicate them!!
At Room69: The Hotel Chantelle Way

Feb 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

I totally forgot it was Chinese New Year today until someone came up to me at work and said, "Happy New Year!" I was like, wtf??! Then I realized I was supposed to know it's CNY. Duh. It's the Year of the Rabbit which is ME.

According to this article about Rabbits, some of my characteristics are, "keen, wise, fashionable, kind, mysterious, affectionate and cuddly. You enjoy being the center of attention but only on occasion." 

On occasion?! What! Just kidding. If you don't know what animal you are, here's a handy chart to solve the oriental mystery of animal zodiacs. Oooooooo.
I think it's quite fortuitous that Nurse Bettie Thursday Nights are back tonight - ON Chinese New Year! Some of the things I grew up believing about today is that you are supposed to wear red to bring luck or whatever good things to you, get your hair cut to start afresh, and eat noodles cause noodles symbolize long life. But I eat noodles almost every other day anyway so I must live forever!