Hello from NYC, where we kicked off our 2009 Pinup Workshop International Tour with our first public Pinup Workshop of 2009 in Manhattan. It is freezing here compared to San Francisco, of course, but I just love NY so much it is really great to be here anyway. We’re heading out to see Kitty Nights, a local burlesque show, before heading back home tomorrow.
Category Archives: Travel and Adventure
I just got home from Florida last night, where I was in Orlando to teach a Burlesquercise Intensive and a Pinup Workshop. During the burlesque intensive, some of the ladies told me that they really want to get out and perform burlesque and get a burlesque scene going in their area, but because all the tourism in the area is based on Disney World attractions, there are no adult-only venues. Apparently all the 21 and up bars quickly start serving food so that they can be all-ages venues, because everyone brings their kids to Orlando.
I was incredulous. “You mean there are NO small bars or theaters that you could use for shows? Nothing???” Apparently so. Well, we can’t let Disney keep us down! So I decided to focus on this issue for this blog entry:
“G-Rated Burlesque” may seem like an oxymoron to some people, but I actually recommend that all burlesquers, in any area, create a wide variety of acts ranging from G-Rated to PG-13 and even up to Rated-R material if they feel like getting racy (or even X-rated if they live in NYC). This is an important thing to do so that you will be ready to accept bookings in a wide variety of venues and situations, including those top-dollar corporate events.
So how can you keep it fun and sexy while not offending Mickey Mouse and the Disney gang? Here are a few ideas:
Strip without getting naked. Take your time sensually removing your jacket, your gloves, a hat… Take off one dress to reveal another (full coverage) dress beneath or double up on gloves, bras, stockings, and remove one layer of each… Take off your clothes behind or inside of a large prop, without ever actually revealing your scandlous flesh… I perform a version of my X-mas Stocking act (video below) this way, without ever showing pasties! Now that’s leaving them wanting more!
These are a few ways that you can allude to striptease without actually crossing the line into adult material. For inspiration, watch old song and dance videos! They were masters of this technique. Here are a few of my favorite all-ages-appropriate stripteases:
- “Take Back Your Mink” from Guys and Dolls. Striptease with a story line. I love this act.
- Cyd Charisse in Party Girl: Note the skirt removal and how she removes the scarf over her bodice! Striptease, but still acceptable for all-ages. Also note the bumps and grinds! Burlesque “bump and grind” moves were very popular in dance movies from the 1940′s and 1950′s.
Draw on Classic Burlesque Gimmicks. One great technique is to make reference to classic burlesque through its most iconic techniques and images, while avoiding the striptease. You can perform a fan dance, a shadow dance, and tassel twirling without actually getting naked or even taking off any clothing! Wear a nude leotard embellished with rhinestones or a sexy dress for your fan dance. Do a real or suggested striptease or a naughty pantomime behind a backlit screen for a shadow dance, and no one sees any skin at all! Put tassels on the outside of your gown or on top of your leotard and you can twirl to your hearts content without actually going down to pasties.
- Here is Sally Rand performing a fan dance. She often wore nude body stockings behind her fans. Note how she pulls the fans away while behind a screen.
- Here’s another example with Cyd Charisse. I don’t actually like the look of this nude outfit with tassels, but it demonstrates how it can be done.
Use innuendos. Another great way to keep it clean is to skip striptease altogether, but lay the innuendos on thick. This was a common way to make G-Rated material fun for adults in the 1920′s through 1950′s and can add to the “classic” feel of your performance. Here’s a great example, also from Guys and Dolls:
These are all great ways to keep it sassy and risque without crossing the line into depraved displays of nudity that will shock our good American parents. So long as there is no nudity, what can they say? I mean, if Britney Spears could grind and spin on a stripper pole in front of her concert audiences that included 8 year old girls, what’s wrong with a bit of saucy glove removal?
Wow, I haven’t written in so long and there is so much to write about. I’ve just been working, working, working my sparkly butt off (more than usual) the last few months and have not updated here at all. In addition to “Plain Jane to Pinup Queen: Pinup Workshop in a Book” that is officially available on September 30 (presales are available now!) I am working on two other book projects, one of which I expect to have available in late October or early November. No, I’m not telling you what it is yet, you’ll just have to wait for the announcement, but I am very excited about it. Aren’t I just a tease?
Venus Zinepublished a writeup about my Pinup Workshop in their fall issue. Venus Zine is absolutely my favorite alternative magazine, with lots of great writeups about the alternative music and arts scenes plus great DIY instructions and coverage. Pick up their fall issue now! You can read Joelle Caputa’s writeup of the pinup workshop here!
The Pinup Workshop Tour has also been keeping me super busy. I’ve done a ton of traveling this year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down going into next year either. Woo! I adore traveling, and not just the part where you’re hanging out in new and exciting places. I actually love the traveling part, the getting from Point A to Point B, on the train, the plane, and walking. It’s that in-between, on-the-way-somewhere-but-not-quite-there-yet limbo place that I like. It’s very relaxing. There’s nothing to do but sit there, read, and daydream. I get a lot of great ideas on planes, trains, walking, or even a few times on the back of a motor cycle. I get a lot of ideas in the shower or doing dishes too, but that’s a different story.
Of course, this is not as relaxing when taken to extremes. My Boston/New Haven trip turned into the Murphy’s Law trip from hell, and would have been miserable if the people in the workshops hadn’t been such dears. In particular, the ladies in New Haven were total dolls. That story is so great, I will write a seperate entry about it.
Right now, I am in New York, staying in Brooklyn with my friend Legs Malone, who is an absolute sweet heart – and an amazing burlesque performer! She is brilliant and beautiful and a wonderful hostess. She has had a few days off and a childhood friend in town as well, and it has been very cozy and wonderful hanging out. Other than the Pinup Workshop on Saturday, Randy and I didn’t schedule any work for this trip, and I am glad. It is so nice to be able to just relax and hang out with wonderful friends.
It has been so good, in fact, that I think it fulfilled my horoscope for me! From Free Will Astrology, which is absolutely the most delicious and witty horoscope anywhere:
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My friend Joan was experiencing a cascade of
annoying physical symptoms — mediocre digestion, mild headaches,
chronic congestion in her ear, itchy skin. None was terrible, but together
they were a big distraction. After two trips to her regular acupuncturist,
there was little improvement. The acupuncturist decided it was time for
more drastic measures: He was going to try a dramatic treatment that
was akin to pushing a reset button on a machine. Success! Joan was freed
from the nagging ailments and experienced a thorough rejuvenation. I
suggest you seek out the equivalent treatment, Libra: Push the reset
(BTW: I always read Libra and Scorpio because I am a Libra born on the Libra/Scorpio cusp with a Scorpio rising. However, I am only referring to the Libra horoscope in this instance. In case you wanted to know.)
I definitely feel like this trip has hit my reset button. I am more relaxed and invigorated than I have felt in a long time. Who says taking some time off right before big deadlines is a bad idea? It is sure working for me! I will write more later, after I have finished lounging for a bit…
I’m hanging out in my hotel room in Boston right now. I am here for a Pinup Workshop tomorrow in Boston and another one on Sunday in New Haven, CT. One of the Boston Babydolls will be attending the workshop tomorrow and portions will be filmed for the Babydolls’ upcoming reality TV show! How exciting!
My hotel is in the South Side area of Boston. My cabbie from the airport explained to me that this is the gay neighborhood. Lots of yuppies now, he said, but it’s still very gay. I told him that I’m from San Francisco and that I’d be very comfortable here. From what he was saying, I expected that I’d landed in Boston’s version of the Castro, but not so. I went wandering the neighborhood today, and it’s a very nice neighborhood. Lots of brownstones, cute restaurants, parks… very residential really. Other than the gay bar next door to the hotel, I didn’t see anything that put me in mind of the Castro. Oh well. He also told me it was a dangerous neighborhood, but I think he’s wrong on that score as well.
Next week I’ll be in San Diego for yet another workshop and to perform in the second Fishnet Follies produced by my friends Mynx d’Meanor and the Reverend Dick! I will be performing a number that I have been wanting to do for oh… about 3 years! Finally! I have some special shoe shopping to do when I get back to San Francisco!
I am still recovering from sleep deprivation after a three-week whirlwind trip to LA, San Diego and Las Vegas! Whew! What a trip!
Randy and I started out in Hollywood for our first Southern California Pinup Modeling Workshop and Photoshoot, and later ran another workshop in San Diego. Both of them went very well! We have scheduled another trip to Southern California at the end of July. For our LA workshop, we found a gorgeous studio with leopard print and bamboo walls, so we will be shooting with both of these backdrops at the workshop. It will be so lovely, I am very excited!
Mynx d’Meanor and Reverend Dick very graciously invited us to stay with them in San Diego. I am in love with these two! They produced a landmark burlesque show in San Diego while we were there, The Fishnet Follies, bringing together all of the San Diego burlesque troupes in one show as well as showcasing out-of-town soloists (Flame Cynders from LA, Randy Johnson and me from San Francisco). The show was amazing! Here are a few photos from my acts.
Then it was off to Las Vegas for the Exotic World Weekend! My favorite thing about this event is getting to meet and talk with so many of the Living Legends of Burlesque. It is a special treat and an honor to learn their stories and their secrets. I had a very touching talk with Sheila Rae, who grew up in Oxnard, near my original hometown Santa Barbara. I bought a great piece of vintage jewelry from Holiday O’Hara (aka Cybelle Holiday) who is an SF local and one of my heroes.
You can find more photos from the Fishnet Follies show in San Diego from Mynx d’Meanor here.
Here are Exotic World Weekender photos by various photographers:
Just flew back from NYC today after a (mostly) wonderful weekend! We ran our first out-of-town Pinup Workshop, and it went really well! We had so much fun, we are going to offer another one in NYC in June, hopefully coinciding with the Coney Island Mermaid Parade so that we can go to that as well. I have decided to buy a pocket-sized camera to take on the road with me, since all I have right now is my big Canon that I use for the pinup shoots. I wish I had photos from the trip to post here! And I say it was a (mostly) wonderful weekend because we were out of it with food poisoning for a day. Luckily I recovered in time to perform on Friday and teach on Saturday!
I performed in my first “real” NYC burlesque show at the Slipper Room on Friday night. It was a blast, and the people were wonderful – the audience, the management and the other performers were all super sweet. I say this is my first “real” show in NY because on my first trip for New Year’s Eve last year I performed at a party, but since almost all of the other performers were from San Francisco, I don’t think that counts as a NY show. It was also kind of strange, because I didn’t know any of the other performers, even though they were from my town. The scene here really is getting bigger and bigger.
The show was much edgier than most San Francisco shows. There was a lot more nudity, and it was a lot more modern. I didn’t see any acts that I would say were in the “classic burlesque” style like you see a lot of here and at the big burlesque shows (Tease-o-rama, Exotic World, etc.). I loved it. I felt right at home performing my cornball “Pastie Tricks” routine, which is my new favorite act. Julie Atlas Muz was MCing the first part of the show, and when I got off stage she said something about my act proving that San Francisco burlesque could be funny. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I take it as a compliment.
Anyway, I spent the morning and afternoon on a plane and then taught a Burlesquercise class this evening, so I’m gonna get off of this computer now and get some rest.
Welcome to the new blog at WordPress! I have moved my old Blogger blog to Word Press, because they have so many more features here, and I have big plans to start blogging regularly again! Starting right away, I will be posting photos and videos from shows, travels and other fun things, posting burlesque and pinup related articles, as well as posting up to the minute news about upcoming classes, special workshops, and shows.
As always, we have loads of projects in the works. One that I am very excited about is the upcoming “Pin-Up Workshop Tour”!
I just got back from a crazy 5 day adventure in Vegas with Sweet Cheeks and her Mike Guy, Lily le Rouge and her lovely lady Leeza, Isis Starr and Rose Pistola. It was Exotic World Pageant weekend, and Vegas has never been so fabulously fashionable! Burlesque people sure are well dressed!