Re-emerging……

Oh gracious, It’s good to be back! Did you miss me kittens? Aw, I missed you too!

It was the infamous Tallulah Bankhead that once said, “Only the good girls keep diaries, the bad girls don’t have the time”. Which is basically what’s been going on, except maybe not so much “bad” as “busy”.

For those of you that don’t know or those that weren’t lucky enough to see, this busy business was attributed to Red Velvet and I creating…a different kind of burlesque show.

“Different? How so?”, you may find yourself asking. Well get ready, cuz here we go….

Back in November we started having meetings with the founder of EXIT theater, Christina Augello, and the Production Manager Amanda Ortmayer (who became our Director, THANK GOD). We knew we wanted to bring a bigger show to this years DIVAfest Festival, but we weren’t quite sure what/who/how. Everyone at the EXIT has been a major support for DIVA or Die Burlesque, and we were all so excited to do something new. We just wanted to give our audience……more.

Velvet and I met at Borderlands, (which is an awesome horror/sci-fi/fantasy bookstore and adjoining cafe in the Mission, if you weren’t aware. Also, they have hairless cats. Yeah), and started spitballing ideas. Thus, Rebel Without A Bra was born!

cover

flier art by Star St. Germain

If a play and a burlesque show got together and made sweet, glittery love and had a baby….our show was that baby.

Like pretty much all burlesque performers, we are completely obsessed with our own history, and with so many legends still alive and shakin’ it we are a very lucky community. So, we decided we wanted to take our audience on a journey through burlesque history as told by the women who made it what it is today. We wanted to do something bigger and more theatrical than the standard MC-Performer-MC-Performer-MC-Performer format. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, that’s how our monthly show (and pretty much every other show) runs.

Pictures after curtain call. Someone yelled, "Everyone fight!!" Look how happy Josie Starre is....

Pictures after curtain call. Someone yelled, “Everyone fight!!” Look how happy Josie Starre is….

But, if we’re never going to take risks and try something new…what are we doing here?

Auditions were scheduled, which is also something that….pretty much never happens in our scene. We were so excited to see who came out, and we were not disappointed! We started out the rehearsal process with a few workshops; we did dance/character exercises, discussed questions about ourselves and opinions. It seemed unanimous that we found the greatest rebellion for us was to get onstage…and be exactly ourselves.

Our Incredible Cast: Red Velvet, Myself, Sean Owens (our fantastic Drag Mother/MC/Narratrix character), Laika Fox, Josie Starre, Bunny Von Tail, Dee Os’Mio, Shimmies Galore and our quick learnin’, fast-steppin’ understudies Tornado Supertrouble and Pink Flamingo. These folks rocked it out. I’m not kidding. You’re sad you missed it.

Mae West tribute

Mae West tribute…just barely fitting into Bunny Von Tails dress. I think Mae would have approved

Every era we stopped in was inspired by a bonafide moment in history. From a shout out to the All World’s Fair of the late 1800’s and Little Egypt the belly dancer, who’s old Nickelodeon reels were censored though she was fully clothed; to the decline of burlesque in the 1960’s, as it was slowly killed by Porn Houses and the birth of what I call the “Mainstream Stripper”. Well, “Mainstream” these days. We were lucky enough to have Red Velvet interview living legend Holiday O’Hara on this particular moment in history and what it was like to be part of that shift. We visit the Ziefield Follies and Billy Minsky’s girls, the Tableau Vivant where performers enacted paintings or moments in history but it was only considered art and not smut as long as  no one jiggled 😉

Every era was glued together by Sean Owens, playing different female characters throughout time. A concerned housewife of the 1960’s, a female film director from the Silent Film era, an aged burlesque starlet, a strict French cancan teacher…this show would not nearly have been the same without Sean! His work made all the difference.

1930’s Moulin Rouge, Can-Can, 1950’s Fetish….I don’t want to give too much away as we may bring this show back later in the year, due to high demand!

Red Velvet and I, and our whole cast, are so proud of this show and the work and love everyone put into it. It was amazingly rewarding to do something new and different in our community, someone who saw the show said they were touched by what a love letter we had written to our art form. I’ve never received so much amazing and consistent feedback after a show. I had people tell me they cried a little. I had people say that “this is what they always knew a burlesque show could be”. We poured so much sweat, glitter and tears into this project, the rave reviews we got meant the world to us.

Huge thank you to the EXIT for supporting/housing/loving us, even huge-er thanks to the partners/spouses/significant others/friends that we incredibly supportive and understanding with our busy schedule, and deep gratitude to all the members of the burlesque community who came out to support. It really meant a lot.

Finale!

A shot of the finale in dress rehearsal

From me personally, huge thanks to Scott Levkoff for being a consistent support and inspiration for me on this journey. And gratitude and much love to Amanda Ortmayer for such great feedback and support, I honestly grew so much as a performer because of you! And to Red Velvet, thanks I cannot express for being such a power house of creation and creativity, you truly got this show off the ground and looking fantastic!

Our opening night was SF Weekly's Pick of the Week for Saturday!

Our opening night was SF Weekly’s Pick of the Week for Saturday!

What’s next, you say?! Well, in the very immediate future we have the return of our monthly show DIVA or Die! This month we are featuring Ophelia Coeur de Noir, Belle Phenomene, Mistress Marla Spanks, Cinnamon Stick, Ginger Snapped and of course Red Velvet and myself! Our Stage Kitten this month is the purr-worthy Penny Chianti, and I think I speak for everyone when I say…I’m looking forward to being bossed around by our MC, Odessa Lil again 🙂

Saturday, June 22, 2013
Doors 8PM, show 8:30PM
The Exit Theatre
156 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA
Near the Powell Street BART station

get tickets here if you haven’t already, we may already be sold out! http://www.theexit.org/divafest/happening/performances/burlesque/

I solemnly swear that I will be better at updating, for I am frequently up to no good and I know folks love knowing where I’ll be next!

Shimmie Hard and Sparkle On!

Whendy

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 🙂

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