Rethinking the “Walk of Shame”….

Being a burlesque performer, I am lucky enough to spend my time surrounded by confident, liberated, sexy women of all shapes, sizes, creeds and colors. That’s not to say that we don’t have off-days, because we are in fact human. Just a little more sparkly than your average Homo Sapiens.

Mmmmm….back rolls are delicious 🙂 taken at a Sci-Fi show years ago, too bad I don’t have a picture of the AWESOME R2D2 pasties I was wearing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All that being said, most of the performers I know actively battle misogyny, sexism, and promote a body-positive outlook. Skinny, round, tall, short, able-bodied, disabled….it’s all HOT and their fearlessness is contagious. And we often battle hurtful ideas through burlesque. It may be as simple as a bodacious and curvy woman of size owning her beauty and sexuality, (look up Alotta Boutte, Dirty Martini, Violet Streak….the list goes on), or it may be the story line of her routine. I see us as Ambassadors for Female Bad-Assery and Self-Love. And sometimes our effect on our audience can be profound. I’ve had numerous women approach me after a show and THANK me. Because we have similar body types, it’s like my performance and act of self-love and acceptance gives them permission to love themselves and their bodies. It’s a powerful, heart-warming thing.

Two fans wanted a picture with me at Bombshell Betty’s Pajama Party Show, 2010

With the state of women’s lives today, and the very real battles we are facing, I would love to turn a few things a full 180 degrees. Eradicate a few notions and replace them with something positive, up-lifting. All this rape talk and slut-shaming…is just really wearisome. It’s not that it doesn’t matter to me, if you’ve read my blog you know it does. But the talking about it and blah blah blah…I just want to start doing something, spread this shit like wild-fire or a Venereal Disease. Except, you know, way more fun….

I take my title as The Queen Of Goofy-Ass Faces very seriously.
Photo by Julia O’Test at the Lagunitas Beer Circus

A week or two ago I had slept over at a friends house and didn’t have a change of clothes. I really didn’t want to go back to my apartment and then head to work. But I also didn’t really fancy the idea of going to work in the same clothes. The phrase “Walk of Shame” was jokingly said….and this made my brain perk up.
Walk of Shame. This is such an old phrase and is simple, non-subtle Slut-Shaming. The Walk of Shame is ONLY committed by women who have had sex and are now wandering home or wherever, often in last nights outfit. Shame for what? Getting some? A one-night stand? Just more ways to keep women shameful of being sexual creatures and not demure dolls in bonnets that say shit like “Heaven’s to Betsey” or whatever. Well, I got two words for you and they are FUCK THAT.

And folks, if you do have shame do yourself a favor and dig deep, find out why. Do you feel shame because it’s an emotion pushed on you by the Patriarchy? Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel.

Do you feel shame because you have another notch on your bedpost? Don’t be ashamed girl, but if you want to change shit or your patterns of behavior then go for it. But don’t be ashamed.

If you feel shame because you didn’t want to have sex and did anyway….well….take charge and say NO in the future. If you feel like you need to have sex with a dude for him to like you or get some sort of validation then your immediate response should be to kick that dude in the shins. Or, you know, walk away or something. You and your body are too precious to give it up to people who suck.

And if you had sex and didn’t want to because you were forced, drugged, drunk etc. Then you were RAPED, baby girl, and now is the time to call my ass up so we can go to the hospital, call the cops and start some shit. I got your back, dude.

But if you went home with a dude, or took a dude home…Wait, what am I talking about? Fuck this Hetero-Normative talk. Let me rephrase that: If you took a Human home, had some consensual sex with that Human and you have no plans to seriously date, marry or reproduce with said Human you need to know that there is no shame in that. This is your body, your life, and your sexy-funtime. Don’t let any tools tell you how to live or how to feel.

So, here is my suggestion folks. Let’s get rid of this bullshit phrase “Walk of Shame” and replace it with a little phrase that Whendy here thought up: Stride of Pride.

Much better, no?

I dig that. Here’s how to use it in a sentence,”So, I woke up in this dude’s bed this morning after a wild night. He was passed out still and I wanted to bounce so I grabbed my heels and took my Stride of Pride home.” Yeah!

Some of my favorite ladies, 1 which also happens to be burlesque performer, create awesome, body-positive and sex-positive writings as well. Check them out for some hilarious and up-lifting goodness:

-Violet Streak writes a blog called Burlesque Mama, and I have rarely seen a better dressed feminist. Check her out at burlesquemama.com

-Vanessa Chan writes for Untapped Cities about being a double-minority: an Asian curvy bombshell. She is also one snazzy dresser and has been featured in Plus-Size blogs for being damn awesome. Check out her awesome blogness at vanessa-chan.weebly.com

-For some hilarious, positive and super informative sex-talk you NEED to go listen to Love and Sex with Lex. The link to this podcast is on the right of the screen you’re looking at right now! You can also find her on iTunes.

So, how ’bout it folks? Can we take this ridiculous and hurtful phrase out of our lexicon? I want my little phrase to take it out completely!

Striding with Pride,

Whendy
P.S. I’ll be sitting in the audience tonight at Club Deluxe on Haight Street for Little Minsky’s, come say hi! Also go-going my tush off at the DNA Lounge tomorrow night for Hubba Hubba Revues 6th Anniversary, and you should totally go 🙂

A Fall(ing) Update…

YES. My favorite time of year. And it’s named after something I do a lot-FALL.

And here in San Francisco we usually have Indian Summers, so there’s some really great weather to be enjoyed along with the leaves changing color and SPOOKY STUFF. Like many others, Halloween is my JAM. And it never really ends if you’re me. I use my Trick-Or-Treat pumpkin as a purse whenever the Muse descends, and the coffins/bats/skulls never come down in my apartment.
Some people blather on about the “Spirit of Christmas” being spread year round and blah blah blah.

I’m like that, but with Halloween. Because life’s no fun without a good scare.

This past Saturday was Little J’s birthday. We got all zombied-out and went to Swing Night at the Verdi Club. Some of the serious retro kids looked at us like we were totally batshit insane, but who wouldn’t want a horde of zombies to come dancing? Especially when it’s a pack of 10 chicks and 2 guys? We had a blast and my neighbors were perplexed and horrified by the fake blood all over the front step for days. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Doing makeup for Creepy B. Dude, I give GREAT black eyes.

My neighbors have thought that I’m crazy for years. Probably because things like this keep happening to reinforce that…..

The roommates. Lil’ J and Dan the Wolf Man. I love these little freaks 🙂

Then Sunday was a Secret Garden Tea Party in the Pagan Dell of GG Park. There was poetry recited, instruments played, tarot read, good company, good food and offerings for the faeries. And a lot of confused tourists. Again, YOU’RE WELCOME.

I had a blast climbing barefoot in that tree to tie those ribbons. Getting them down, after some Absinthe and Elder Wine, was another story….

Whendy’s Calendar for the Very Near Future…..

Next Friday (September 14th) is Hubba Hubba Revue’s 6th Anniversary at the DNA Lounge! Promises to be a good time and a “who’s who” of the SF Burlesque scene. I’ll be shakin’ it on the Go-go boxes. I freakin’ love go-go dancing at the DNA, it’s like “burlesque vacation”. Go, rock out in costume and get the party going, get drinks and a +1. All without the serious performing pressure. And for once, get to watch a whole show! Which happens rarely when you’re performing.

Saturday the 15th I will be dancing at Kinky Salon for Pussyfest! It’s the Cat-Themed party, get your minds out of the gutter! On second thought,no….keep them there. Kinky Salon is a playground for a creative and sex-positive community, and let me just say…these cats throw some wicked parties. BUT, it’s also a Members-Only kinda deal. Go to http://www.missioncontrolsf.org for events and details on becoming a member. I’ll be dancing alongside the wonderful Belle Phenomene, which means super-awesome-funtime 🙂

Sunday, September 23rd is the Fulsom Street Fair! I will be part of a fantastically costumed roving ensemble there to be fabulous and promote Masquerotica (head to http://www.masquerotica.com to get your tickets!). Ah, Fulsom Fair. Always interesting, always fun, always eyebrow-raising.

Friday, September 28th is another rousing rendition of DIVA or Die Burlesque! We keep having sold-out show after sold-out show, and I am SO excited for this line-up! We’ve got some me and Red Velvet of course, Erzulie Rose, Bunny Von Tail, Pretty Pretty Please and (I am just giddy for this) some delicious boylesque fellas of Bohemian Brethren! This promises to be BAD ASS. Tickets sell out SUPER quickly and I can never guarantee that any will be sold at the door, so go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com to get yours STAT.

And the gigs just keep on rollin’! But I need to not get ahead of myself here…..

I’ma go get me a “Pumpkin flavored” something…..

See you at the Burly-Q, ghoulies!

XOX,

Whendy

I’ve been told I give good microphone……

Oh my goodness! It’s been weeks since I’ve seen you! How have you been, love? Oh I’m so glad to hear it 🙂

Me? Well, let’s have a little up-date about Whendy-land…..

-After that Los Shimmy Shakers show at Lucky 13 in Alameda (which was so awesome!!) I was struck down for 3 damn weeks with the plague. I swear to god, if I was alive in 1800 I wouldn’t have been alive for long. My ass would’ve totally been taken out by Tuberculosis.

-Remember my post “Standing Out on a Limb”? You didn’t read it? For shame, poppet! Well, go back and read it right quick. Don’t worry, I’ll wait………………………………………………………………

Good, now you’re all caught up. So, I was worried about doing a more “theatrical” burlesque routine for the July show that may not be exactly “sexy”. I was curious and a little scared to see what my audience would think. I was thrashing about the stage, shredding my clothes, knocking over tables, ripping off table-cloths and wringing the head off a Ken doll and THEY LOVED IT. Aaaaaahhhh. That felt good. I’ll give you a heads up on whenever I bring that act back to the stage. My beloved Mickey (of Gone Boating Brewery) and her lady Laine, a dear highschool friend and some of her NASA engineer buddies (huzzah!), and a few of my precious Screwheads (Tara and Suzanne) were in the audience that night. I love when folks surprise me like that!
DIVA or Die had another sold out show on August 10th and our ladies were STELLAR. We featured myself and Red Velvet (because duh), Cherry Chapstick, Laika Fox, Vadge O’Fonnor, Ada Lavendar and Pretty Pretty Please (Red Velvet, Tornado Supertrouble and Cheeky Sweets). We simply had a blast and we’re looking forward to our next show on September 28th. As always, GET YOUR DAMN TICKETS EARLY! http://www.brownpapertickets.com will do you right.

Also, we’re going to have Boylesque at our September and October shows!! Oh, boys and girls, I am just happy as a clam in seaweed to have these fellas on our stage! They are simply to die for!

Look, all the info you need!

This past Sunday the Mystic Midway Pop-Up Carnival was asked to appear at Pedal Fest in Jack London Square, and boy did we ever! We painted faces, played mini-golf, did side-walk art, goofed with the public and generally paraded the crap out of it! It’s so rewarding when children or parents approach us to ask, “How much?” Because playing and creating with the Carnival is free! But we certainly won’t turn down your donations 🙂 The toughest part was adapting my costumes to “family friendly” mode…..

Go to http://www.mysticmidway.com to see where we will be next and more pictures of our adventures!

Costume sketch for Mystic Midway, Family Friendly style!

Anyway…..something else I’m terribly excited about: For DIVA or Die’s October 19th show we will be missing our favorite MC Odessa Lil 😦 She’s in a production of Halloween: The Musical and will be busy acting up a storm that month. So, ol’ Whendy here will be MCing that show! I MC’ed a show ages and ages ago at Brief Space in the Metreon, I had a blast and got great feed-back so I figured why not? Come out for another awesome line-up and to hear my dulcet tones…..

In other news, Miss Red Velvet and I will be teaching a Burlesque Basics class the following day (October 20th) at the EXIT Theatre! From 2-5pm, $55 with proceeds going to DIVAfest which supports female-driven creativity and theatre, and if you come to the show on the 19th you can sign up for only $50! Send us an e-mail at redvelvetburlesque@gmail.com to reserve your spot as space is limited!

And later that evening I will be doing make-up and helping out at Masquerotica! Which you should grab tickets for soon! Head over to http://www.masquerotica.com for tickets and details. There will be Hubba Hubba folks there, Kinky Salon folks, Hard French, Kink.com folks and just general costumed saucy fun and frolic. What a full, sexy day!
See you at the Burly-Q!….or perhaps the Midway 🙂

Whendy

All in a weeks work…..

What a week, cherubs! And the excitement hasn’t even started yet!
Here’s ol’ Whendys’ schedule for the week:

Thursday I will be dancing at Mission Control for a fundraiser benefitting Professor Violet’s Mystic Midway Pop-Up Carnival!

Body painting by the fantastic Jeanne LeDeaux, she’ll be adding some artwork to my body as well….

I am SO excited about this project! Stay tuned, if you see a herd of bicycle-powered circus wagons creating magic and invoking the Midway in back alleys around the city, you’ve found us! I’ll be dancing to the gritty, sultry tune of Mr. Wesley Morgan. I can’t waitfor his album to come out! It’s sexy-raw “Swamp Noir” and I am ALL OVER that. Check him out and listen at http://www.thewesleymorgan.com

Costume sketch for the routine I’ll be bustin’ for the Mystic Midway, bringing back my second-ever solo: The Trash-Fan Dance

Friday is another SOLD OUT round of DIVA or Die Burlesque, the show I co-produce with the silky Red Velvet! Our tickets sold out last night, sorry to all you cherubs that can’t get in 😦 Mark your calendars for August 10th, September 28th and October 19th to come out and see us! Our tickets will be on sale at brownpapertickets.com

Lucky for you, we’re in a gritty little cabaret so we can get all up in your biz-nass.

This month we’re featuring myself and Red Velvet (of course), Tasty Temptress (and she’s tasty in more ways than one ya’ll. This gals carrot cake like changed my life.), Laura Borealis, Lezzie McFaggerson and our most adored *thwack!* Mistress of Ceremonies Odessa Lil! Each of these broads is bringing some of our favorite acts, hand-picked by Miss Velvet and I, for your libidinous pleasure. This promises to be a wicked good time!
Saturday I will be shakin’ it with my all-time favorite lounge lizards: Los Shimmy Shakers! This past April we rocked the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, if you happened to be there and happened to buy the commemorative VLV 2012 CD, they are the last track! Come say hi and buy a CD! Always a pleasure to share the stage with these cats 🙂 Also, it’s FREE

Our awesome poster for Saturday! Featuring some dazzling ladies and my favorite side-show stud: Molotov!

By Sunday I am going to be one tired kitten! You’ll probably find me somewhere in the city, still covered in glitter with massive sunglasses, downing Mimosas with my favorite mustaschioed man. Aah, the life of a sparkly naked lady…..

Ok, gents, listen up: A note on verbal Harassment…..

Ok, we all know I am prone to ranting. We all need a good rant from time to time, don’t pretend like you don’t.

Calm down, it’s makeup! I was practicing for an act to a song called “Catfight”

After a particularly annoying walk from the train to my office, I posted one such “Mini-rant”, (because, believe me, I could go on forever). I was getting “likes” and comments all over the place, because EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IN THE WORLD has had to deal with this at one point or another and there are plenty of sensitive, non douche-tastic men out there who get it and don’t conduct themselves that way.

And then I get one douchey comment from one guy I know to be a sexist douche. Shit….why is he my Facebook friend? Need to correct that….

As I expected, he totally missed the point. Which led me to count the “likes” and comments from other men I know, which led me to make a very off-the-cuff hypothesis based on those numbers: 1 out of 7 men is a douche-nozzle.

A Note on the word “Douche”- I don’t think many people are offended by this word, at least not that I’ve noticed. I know some that think it’s overused and whatnot. I have put ample thought into my usage of this word. As the owner of a vagina, I know that “douching” is one of the dumbest, most unnecessary things to do to your Vajay. Ladies, listen up: Your basement is like a self-cleaning oven, it doesn’t need any shit that smells like “Spring Rain” to improve it. Don’t squirt weird shit up there. Take a shower, practice good hygiene, that’s all. To my mind, Douching is a stupid, misguided, potentially hazardous, totally useless thing. When I call someone a “douche”, that’s what I mean. I don’t use that word with no thought behind it.

Photo by Jeff Sawyer
Those tears are totally real, getting cigarette smoke right in the eye totally blows

Here’s the rant that I posted. Because, to me, that’s what Facebook is really for: getting stuff off my chest that 302 people may possibly read or at least notice. Yeah…I’m here for education….and shit. That and posting pictures of my cats.

ANYWAY…..the rant:

Ok, “Gentlemen” of Market and Drumm Streets, (and pretty much this whole city and the world over.)

1. Yes, my boobs are wicked awesome. I don’t need you to tell me that. Good job digging on some curvy chicks.

2. Believe it or not, I could GIVE A FUCK about what you think about my body/outfit/smile or lack thereof. I didn’t wake up this morning and get ready hoping to meet your skeazy approval. This shit isn’t for you. Cry about it.

3. Sorry to bust your bubble when I let you know that just by owning a penis and thinking you’re “complimenting” me, that doesn’t mean that you’ve earned any of my time. I don’t owe you shit. I’m a salty bitch, and again, could give a fuck. Don’t need your validation, man.

If I stopped for every tool on the sidewalk that thought he had shit to say to me, I WOULD NEVER GET ANYWHERE. I have places to be and shit to do, fellas. You are not on my agenda.

Leave a girl alone or get some manners, then go apologize to your mom for being a total fucking disappointment.

So, that was the post. Then, the comment that was made that annoyed me, (and maybe I read it wrong, but I don’t think so), was “sounds like your life is pretty tough”.

Ummm…..I think that’s what we call “missing the point”. I’m not sitting here complaining,”Forget AIDS in Africa and kids starving in America, because *boohoo* men say stupid shit to me because they find me appealing in someway! Waaahhh!”

No, dumbass. And you’re showing me that you may be part of the problem. The basis of my annoyance is this: The fact that some men think we automatically give a shit about what they think about how we look. That I should be appreciative and just because they are male that they have a right to my time and attention. Plus, let’s not be rude and crass, shall we?

Photo by Jeff Spirer
Think I’m sexy now? I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL.
Taken during a performance of ShEvil Dead

The fact that you need to harass/insult/shock/humiliate women on the street doesn’t prove anything “manly” about you. It just makes me chuckle to myself and feel bad for you. You have no idea how to talk to women and get their attention without being a total ape, huh? The best is when you rebuff them and then they call you “bitch” or “ugly”. Ha! Well, maybe you should work on having better taste then, champ, and leave all us “ugly bitches” alone.

The moral is this: I don’t mind being sexually appreciated. Hello? BURLESQUE PERFORMER. That’s totally how I get my jollies, especially because I control the response (mostly) and the audience is actually learning a little bit about me and my personality through my performance. I am a powerful, feminine, sexual being. And you should totally appreciate that.

Holy crap, I have the power to create freakin’ life and decide whether or not I want to. (Well, sort of, thanks America).

Consider this: There is a right and wrong way to do it.

A good way to look at it, fellas: Would you want someone talking to you this way? No? Then KNOCK IT OFF. And much love goes out to all the amazing men I know that remind me that not nearly all of them act like this.

As always, dear ones, be kind to each other

XOX,

Whendy

“A rose, by any other name…..”

“would smell as sweet; So, Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title….”

Yeah, that just happened. I just got all Iambic Pentameter on your asses!

I’m sure all Theatre students, performance and tech alike, have at least one Shakespeare monologue memorized and glued in their brains for the rest of their lives. I will never NOT know Juliet’s lament. That and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Curse you, Robert!

Anyway, to the point!

I’ve recently been dealing with the problem of names. In burlesque, your name is your calling card and identifier. The pressure to pick a good one is high! And, yeah, maybe if Romeo wasn’t named “Romeo” but instead….Bueford Bumfinger or something, Juliet still would have loved him….but would have come up with a clever nick-name as well.

I’m working on a super-secret burlesque project that only 5 or so people know about. My partner in crime is an old-school DJ, and when I say “old-school” I mean 1970’s. I’ve seen pictures of the powerful mustache and big collars to prove it. And while burlesque might not be his forte, his enthusiasm is awesome. And, when shooting ideas my way, he has no problem with me saying,”No, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Try again.” My kind of man.

A few things to consider in naming your burlesque persona/troupe:

1. I’m sorry, if you’re using a “Burlesque Name Generator” online then YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. It can be a nice way to get cookin’ and get ideas flowing, but I think to take a name from one of those things is discrediting yourself. You’re name should be uniquely “you”, not some word-salad pooped out by an app. I give your imaginations and creativity more credit than that 🙂

2. Just like naming a child, “overly-creative” spellings are really just going to bite you in the ass and have you correcting people for ever.

2a. Ask yourself: “Is this easy to pronounce and/or read? If I was an MC or an audience member, would I get it?” Example: A dancer I met years ago and who has left the scene went by the name “Dia Bolique”. Phonetically “Dee-ya Bo-leek”. I’m a word nerd, so I get it! Dia Bolique! Diabolic! Haha, you so clever! Except that more often than not, the MC would stumble over it. You have to decide whether that will drive you crazy or not. Even Dita Von Teese started as “Dita Von Tease” and an MC botched it somewhere down the line and it just stuck.

I freakin’ love this poster and it looks great on my wall! Alas, 3 out 4 dancers names are spelled wrong. Happens to the best of us!

My stage name is in that same group. I’m a total bibliophile geek, it’s a play on words that makes more sense when you see it written out. “If-N’-Whendy”. Get it? And it’s always been true of Whendy….never a matter of “If”, simply a matter of “When”.  I get “Effin’ Wendy” a lot. Which I don’t really mind and it kind of works. I have the mouth of a trucker and I’m sure my mother feels ashamed somewhere and isn’t sure why….I always thought it was cute, clever and definitely different. Google “If-N’-Whendy” and I’m the first thing that comes up! POW!

3. There are about 1 trillion Kittens, Kitties, Cats, Devilles, Lulus, Lolas, Pistols, Switchblades, Jezebels and cocktail-themed namesakes. I’m not saying NEVER, EVER use these. But tread lightly. And do it differently. Some of your personality should really shine through your name.

3a. Also, ALWAYS GOOGLE THE NAME YOU WANT. It’s a big world, odds are someone, somewhere either has that name or something like it. Be respectful and do your homework. If you become really serious, you can copyright your name and register on burlesque sites.

For instance, the first name I ever wanted to use was “Hellena Handbasket”. I googled it and there’s some lady back East by that name who literally weaves baskets. And one Hellena Handbasket who teaches tassel-twirling or something in Boston. Boo, no-go for Hellena.

After that, I toyed with “Lucky DeVille”. Lucky Devil, get it?  I am a lucky, devilish little kitten, and I liked the way it sounded. Well, consider this: burlesque has been around for a long time, and there are a lot of established performers out there. You don’t want to piggy-back on them or seem like you’re lumping yourself in with them. Kitten Deville is a former Miss Viva Las Vegas and has won awards all over and is internationally famed. She is the damn “Queen of the Quake”, cherubs. So, I wasn’t going near that with a 10-foot pole.

4. Topical concepts. My business partner was trying to get the hang of naming and naming groups. He threw “Can You See Me Now?” in my direction. NO. When you align yourself with a topical reference, you’re kind of branding and dating yourself. You might be “so 5 years ago” a few months from now. Are you planning on performing for the forseeable future? A few years from now, when you gain some younger audience members, will they get the reference? And, in my particular case, we’re a kind of underground, guerilla venture. I don’t want to reference some stupid corporate phone commercial. That’s not who we are.

Some of my favorite names in Burlesque, in no particular order:

(and these are all taken kids, so you can’t have ’em!)

Alotta Boutte

Charley Gauxdown (of the New York Gauxdowns’, I presume?)

Legs Malone

Gal Friday

Your Little Chernobyl

The Wam Bam Troupe

The Swedish Housewife

La Chica Boom

Note: I pulled all these names from memory, and didn’t spell check anything. So, before you correct ol’ Whendy here, that’s called making a point my friends! Easy to remember? Easy to spell? Easy to read? Consider all these things….

What is your persona? What is he/she like? Glamorous? Dangerous? Silly? Raunchy? I literally scribbled names down on paper for weeks, trying to find the right one until Bombshell Betty named me. It just sort of came out and that’s been me ever since 🙂

Having an alter-ego or persona is a powerful thing. I remember being backstage at a show, when someone addressed me as “Whendy” for the first time.  I felt like a super hero! Whendy had permission to be all the things my real-life persona hadn’t wrangled yet.

Names are a powerful thing, poppets, choose wisely 🙂

XOX,

Effin’ Whendy

Standing out on a limb…..

Feeling a little intimidated and nervous…..which can only mean that I’m doing this right.

As many of you may know, the delightful Red Velvet and I have been booked for our own monthly show, DIVA or Die Burlesque at the EXIT Theater. This is exciting on so many levels! We sold out both of our shows in May and all of our dancers seriously kicked some major glitter.

I’m also giddy with the fact that 1) Since this is half my show, I can pretty much do all the weird/random things I’ve always wanted to do and 2) Since this is in a theater, we’re also drawing a different crowd. There’s a bar in the back of the Cafe, so the booze floweth, but everyone is seated and giving us their rapt and wide-eyed attention. And, when you have a crowd that is maybe 50% theater-goers, you’re a little more free to be…..theatrical. And while I myself obviously adore and participate in more of the standard burlesque happening in San Francisco, I’m finding myself a little tired of the pose-strip-pose format.

Disclaimer: Notice how I didn’t use the words “good” or “bad”? I’m not saying any of these are better or worse than the other, this is merely what I want to see as a burlesque audience member. So, I won’t tolerate any belly-achin’.

There are MANY incredible and inspiring dancers in this city. But, from what I’ve seen, there’s also a lot of dancers that seem to have gotten…..comfortable. And maybe it’s not “comfortable” I’m seeing, maybe it’s a difference of style. I’m sincerely not trying to be a critical bitch but I just want to see more burlesque that truly excites me! I want to push that envelope right down all of your throats!

This is really the next step in me challenging myself as a performer. I know how to get applause, that’s easy. I don’t want “easy”. I don’t feel I can be proud to say that I’m a performer if I never push myself to things that are different, new and a little bit scary.

Lil’ J and I Halloweening it up. Damn, kinda missing the red hair….
Photo by Green La Fleur

And, I’m not talking crazy performance art stuff. My roots are in traditional burlesque and I love it with all my sparkly soul, but I’m also inspired by oodles of other weird/sexy/silly/psychotic. And that’s what makes Whendy who she is.

I am the monster hiding under Red Velvets’ bed. And after some rough-housing and bitch-slapping we make friends and spoon.

If you’ve seen me perform more than once, you will know that my style is all over the damn place. I can be classical, punk rock, silly, glam, morbid, etc. And, if I’m doing a duet with Red Velvet, then there’s probably some fighting and strangling going on. I’ve always been fascinated with the morbid and macabre, ever since my father (RIP) took me to see Phantom of the Opera when I was 7. I was completely transfixed. I think it was also one of the first things that influenced me to be a theater tech. Give me a dark, dusty theater any day. The one thing I couldn’t understand was why Christine Daae went with boring old Square Raoul and not the incredibly talented ex-side show freak Phantom? WTF? Yeah, so he was deformed and a little crazy….that’s practically a metaphor for every man I’ve ever dated. Anyway, I digress…..

One of the new acts I’m putting together for DIVA or Die on July 20th is one that’s been cooking in my nefarious little brain for years. And I’m fully expecting a quiet audience. I’m expecting that *crickets* sound effect when I’m done. I want the looks on their faces to say, “Holy Shit.”

I’ll give you a hint, the song is “Missed Me” by the Dresden Dolls. It is by turn unhinged, loving, sexy, crazed, tender and psychotic. There may be a bit of Bump and Grind in there, but there will be more…..Shred and Scream. More acting, and a bit more focus on dancing than I usually do. And….well, it’s easy to get applause for a strip tease, we all know that. But hootin’ and hollerin’ does not a good routine make.

Photo by RJ Johnson
“Cat Fight” at DIVA or Die in May

What happens when you can’t lean on the crutch of applause?

Whenever I’ve seen burlesque that has lit a fire under my ass, the nudity was secondary. Sure, it was sexual and titillating, but what the dancer was putting out was more than T&A. There are ACRES of dancers in this city that have achieved this.

The telling of a story in the most personal and vulnerable way. That’s the beauty of what we do.

I’m not changing my whole style or anything, I’m just feeling free to do things that I never thought would go over well being performed in a bar. For example, the other act I’m putting together for July is to a Beastie Boys song and is going to be funky/silly/sexy.

I had to ask myself: If, hypothetically, I have a new audience every month that are not regular burlesque-goers, and the audience isn’t made up of 60% my friends, what is the response I want andwhat would I want them to take away as their Burlesque Experience?

And I guess these two routines I’m putting together sum up exactly that: touching, unnerving, sexy, funny, brave, clever, emotional, sensual, and raw. I hope I can always bring something to the table that is worthy of the meal.

I hope you can always find challenges and passion in your endeavors, poppets 🙂

XOX,

Whendy

Want to come see me step off the deep end? Want to come see Red Velvet, Odessa Lil, Laura Borealis, Tasty Temptress and a few other ladies on July 20th? Well, get your tickets early ‘cuz this shit sells out fast! http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/241441