Spotlight On: Red Velvet!

This is the FIRST in a new segment where I will be interviewing burlesquers and performers of all kinds!

This is not a ploy to get around writers block. Shhhh, no it’s not.

Mama Burlesque literally draws ALL SORTS to her glittery bosom, and I’m fascinated by each and every one, so it seemed like a no-brainer to start with my sparkly Partner In Crime RED VELVET!

Red Velvet is a POWERHOUSE in burlesque and life in general. She is the Co-Artistic Director of DIVA or Die Burlesque, performs ALL OVER the Bay Area and the country, name a burlesque festival and she’s probably performed there and probably won an award. She’s as classically glam as she is FUCKING TWISTED. This is why I love her.

There are things in this interview that even I didn’t know! Read on for a closer look at one of the Bay Areas favorite desserts…..

A little Marie Antoinette action Photo by Freak the Mighty

A little Marie Antoinette action
Photo by Freak the Mighty

How long have you been performing burlesque?
Who is Red Velvet? Where did she come from? Do you have a tagline?

I started performing burlesque in 2008 – I started with Bombshell Betty.  Red Velvet is all the best things about me….  The most extreme components of my personality.  The danciest, the happiest, the creepiest, the goofiest.  Velvet is an eclectic mixture of all the things that make me happy or make me think interesting thoughts.  Velvet is never bored or boring, but she does sleep very very deeply because she is fucking exhausted.    My tagline is “Try a Slice!”

I find performers chosen identities fascinating, what’s the origin of your name?

I played around with a lot of words and a lot of combinations and I wanted something that read classy – not because I always am, but because sometimes I am.  Red, because I have red hair and Velvet because I love Blue Velvet, and Velvet is fuzzy and sensuous and feels really good on your skin.  And then on top of that you have Red Velvet cake and cream cheese frosting to talk about and the possibilities of having fun with the name were just too good to pass up.
 What are your inspirations, outside of burlesque, that influence your burlesque?
    Do you do any other type of performance, besides burlesque?

Inspirations are mostly not burlesque about my burlesque, if that makes any sense at all.  I do other types of performance – Duncan dance, cancan, flamenco, and samba.  In the past I have done a whole lot of different types of dance, plus singing and a bit of acting.  Inspirations come from ideas, books, movies, television – my sick and twisted brain – all over – but MOSTLY my ideas come from music.  That is my most compelling force for creating my acts and drive most of my decisions from the storyline to the specific choreography, to the costuming choices.

She sings too! Photo by Jeff Lapierre

She sings too!
Photo by Jeff Lapierre

Who is your favorite burlesque performer, living or dead?

I love Michelle L’amour  and Dirty Martini who are two of my current favorites.  They both move amazingly and have awesome number ideas – I love watching them both.  I have taken classes from Michelle L’amour (including a workshop where I stayed in her house for a week with ten other burlesque performers) and she is a great teacher and super supportive.  And she and her husband are amazing cooks on top of everything else!    

Sally Rand is probably my favorite deceased just because I love the fans and bubble props, the classical moves, and the smooth flowing movements. 

 
 Performers are drawn to burlesque for a multitude of reasons, what drew you in?

I love to perform and I am an on-stage exhibitionist.  I saw other performers and thought “I can do that.”  And Mr. Velvet says – “Well, then do it.”  And I was – “But how do I get started, I don’t know anyone…”  So, he found me classes and the rest just happened after that.
What’s your guilty pleasure?

Reading MAD magazine.  Although it will never be as good as when I was a child and sneaking into my brother’s bedroom when he wasn’t home to pull out copies of it and read it in his closet – at that time I was too young to understand a lot of the movie and popular culture references, but loving it anyway because I know I wasn’t supposed to… 

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The breathtaking Russian Ballet routine, performed at Red Hots Burlesque Photo by Amber Gregory

 What do you consider to be your trademark? Whether it’s a style, a certain prop, a color etc.

I don’t have a trademark.  Maybe it would be better if I did.  In burlesque, like life, I am a jack of all trades…. 
What does burlesque mean to you?

Doing and being what I want to be on stage and making it fun and sparkly and amazing.  Being who I want to be and letting the audience peek at those little moments and enjoy them with me.
What do you think is your best feature? Physical or otherwise?

I don’t have a best feature.  Overall, I think I am a pretty good package – everything is pretty good but I don’t have one stand-out amazing feature…  Oh, and Mr. Velvet says that I am incorrect – he says my best physical attribute is my ass and my best overall attributes are my versatility and grace.  My nipples are really super hot, but the audience doesn’t get to see those (haha…)
Do you remember your first show? Where was it? How did it go?

Oh, yes. It was at the Uptown in Oakland.  It was the first time in my life I ever performed without doing a run through on stage first – very strange for me at the time.  And afterwards, I felt awful.  There were cords all over the floor and a carpet which was smunched up and I tripped on the carpet during the act and fell against one of the on-stage speakers.  I felt like such a loser, but made it through anyway, and then most people told me they didn’t even notice I tripped.  I don’t know if they were drunk off their ass, or just trying to be nice, but everyone cheered a lot, regardless. 
What’s on your bedside table?

A basket for the various remote controls for electronic devices, a Chinese vase with a very classical obscene sex scene painted on it, a tub of lotion, my retainer container, a black and white Alfred Cheney Johnson photo of a semi-nude woman in a pearl frame, a carved wooden box, and an artistic antique Chinese penis. 
Any fun projects on the horizon?

I am working on a Morticia act and a Death act (Death from the Sandman comics kind of Death.)    “You get what anybody gets…. You get a lifetime. No more. No less.”  ‘Cause that shit makes me happy….

The infamous Crazy Dance (one of my personal favorites), photo by Jeff Lapierre

The infamous Crazy Dance (one of my personal favorites), photo by Jeff Lapierre

And there ya have it, kiddos, a little peek into Red Velvet! Come see her at next months DIVA or Die Burlesque, and get your tickets QUICK ‘cuz we sell out fast! Ticket link below…..

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/302111

See you at the Burly-Q

Whendy

Whendy’s Ten Commandments of Burlesque

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Lagunitas Beer Circus 2014, at the end of the day. The babes pictured here from Left to Right are Me, Dixie DeLish (holding Dually the amazing circus dog), Bombshell Betty and Lala (aka Ophelia Coeur de Noir). And I’m super sorry, but I can’t remember who took this photo! If you do, let me know so I can credit them.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for some time, and I end up talking about this constantly with my sparkly sisters and Event Producer pals. I’m focusing on burlesque performance, but these can really translate to any performer-types. And I fully accept the fact that some folks might disagree with me. Whatever. These are all standards I do my best to hold myself to, and they’re pretty damn reasonable.

Alright cherubs, imagine this nailed (or carpet-taped) to the dressing room door of your heart.

THE TEN BURLESQUE COMMANDMENTS (in no particular order)

I. Thou Shalt BRING IT

What ever your style is, don’t be afraid to get all crazy on that stage. Are you a total freak with fake blood and body parts? BRING IT. Are your more strictly-classic, beauty eleganza? BRING IT, BLIND ME WITH OPULENCE. Are you the only political act in the show, worried it may be to “heavy” for your audience? BRING IT, MAKE ME THINK WITH YOUR SMART SEXY ASS. Do you have a different body type than what is mass marketed by the media? Are you a person of size/disabled/a person of color/older or whatever? BRING THAT SHIT SO HARD, IT HAS SO MUCH POWER.

I’ve done a few acts that weren’t supposed to really be pretty or sexy or funny. Which are kind of the easiest crutches to lean on. What happens when you’re doing something that’s different, or scary for you, pushes boundaries? BRING IT, WE NEED YOU.

II. Thou Shalt REQUEST Feedback

Burlesque is very empowering, that’s why many people get into it. The validation and applause can be like a drug, especially for those that have been marginalized. It’s a very powerful, life changing thing. BUT, just because you have the guts to do it does NOT make you a good performer. If you’re truly a hobbyist and are pursuing burlesque as part of your self-healing/fitness/just plain fun etc. more power to you! I encourage that! But, if you are serious about being a performer, you best be requesting feedback. I know I can always count on Red Velvet, Mr. Velvet and others to give me honest feedback and constructive criticism. Because I want to constantly get better! I want to always be growing and improving as a performer! I have this hope for my entire community. Sure, it’s nice to have friends that think you’re great no matter what, but don’t stop there.

II.a Thou Shalt NOT Give Feedback Unless It Is Requested

Yes, you may have an opinion. Keep it to yourself unless the performer asks you. We put a lot of love and a lot of ourselves into our performances. We are, quite literally, naked in front of our audiences. To have just performed and have all your adrenaline pumping, and then have some person come up to you and tell you “well, I didn’t like that one part.” or “I didn’t like that character” or “I have no idea what that was about'” etc. can be really intense for a performer.

III. Thou Shalt Honor Thy Bookings Unless Absolutely Necessary

I, like many of my co-glitterers, have performed while sick/injured/about to rush off to another show/last minute when someone cancelled. I get it. Life happens. But, what I’ve found in my experience, is that if I think I can’t make a booking (for whatever reason) I pretty much always know with a day or more notice. If you’re a professional, you will take it upon yourself to make sure you can get your music to me and in the right format. If you’re a professional, you will figure out a way to get to the show. If you’re a professional, you will let me know RIGHT AWAY if any of these becomes an issue. If you flake or just don’t show entirely with no word or explanation after the fact (SERIOUSLY?), don’t be surprised if I never book you again.

On this subject, Producers talk to each other. You know that, right? If another Producer came up to me and asked, “Have you worked with so-and-so? What are they like?” I’m sure as hell not lying on your behalf. I will keep it professional and not personal, I will not gossip. But if you were late, non-communicative, flaked entirely, was a jerk backstage, got sloppy drunk etc. I will share this information if asked. If you want to be treated as a professional, you have to act like one.

IV. Thou Shalt Respect Thy Crew/Bar Staff/Stage Kittens ALWAYS 

My background is that of a Stage Tech. I was a Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, Set Dresser, Props Designer, Set Designer, Light/Sound Board Operator etc. before I ever became a Sparkly Naked Lady. Nothing is worse than a rude performer that treats you like the help. One thing you should know: Your show would pretty much SUCK without your crew. No lights, no sound, no set-up, no booze, no security…Think about it and act accordingly. These folks are not backup for your lead vocals, they are not “less than” because they have no desire to be in the spotlight. THEY RUN YOUR SHIT AND MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD. Respect!

On that note, if there’s an issue with any of the crew. I dunno, say someone backstage was really inappropriate to you or something, tell your Producer. Let them deal with their crew, it’s not your job to reprimand.

V. Thou Shalt Not Knowingly Plagiarize EVER

Burlesque is an old art form, and a lot of us are inspired by the same things. There will be some cross-over with songs, themes, archetypes etc. Be mindful of this. I’ve refrained from creating a routine to a song I love because the fierce-as-fuck Sgt. Die Weiss has a routine to that song. Some time ago, Dangerous Delilah was going to do a Poison Ivy themed act for a Villains show, but decided not to when she remembered my Temptation act where my costume is vines and leaves. But, instead, she did an adorable and morbid Cruella DeVille act which was fantastic! No one OWNS certain themes or archetypes but you should really educate yourself and make sure you’re not stepping on any toes. If you’re not sure, reach out to that performer and talk about it. Use your Adult Words for fucks sake.

Also, on this note, I think it’s very important to keep an eye on this is your immediate community. I don’t expect anyone to know what every performer on earth is doing and not do anything remotely similar. (But, if your plan is to do a routine in which you bathe in a giant Martini glass….you better do something CRAZY different with it or don’t do it at all). The internet is a BIG place, BUT if you decide to plagiarize someones blog, or the like, PEOPLE WILL FIND OUT. This happened to a dear friend of mine, where some burlesque performer from another state literally cut/pasted a several blog entries and didn’t use any quotations, give any credit or anything. She sold it as her own. That shit is TACKY AND RUDE. She was confronted and she took it down. Please don’t do this, ok?

VI. Thou Shalt Not Use Leg Avenue (or similar) Bagged Costumes

As someone who isn’t a super seamstress, I understand that it’s easier to take a garment and build off it. Go to town! But, please, modify the shit out of it. When I MC, I love pointing out that these performers created everything you’re seeing! She rhinestoned those shoes herself, fools, and you should be applauding for that alone! We’re giving a people a fantasy, a walk on the wild side, a break from their everyday. We’re not showing them what they too can own if they shop at the Halloween store, ya dig?

If such a bagged, pre-made costume really works for your act for some ironic reason or whatever, go for it. Or when having a troupe of Go-gos or something, it makes sense. As a solo performer? I dunno…But, it’s like I always say kittens, DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT.

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Masquerotica 2013, roving fabulous characters, myself and Barron Scott Levkoff mugging for Adam Parmalee’s camera

VII. If Thou Borrowest, Thou Better Fuckin’ Give It Backeth!!

I can’t tell you how many pairs of scissors/rolls of pastie tape/tubes of lipstick etc I have lent out over the years and never gotten back. And I know those are my scissors and tape, bitches, because I write my name on everything!

I don’t mind lending stuff out ever, but it really sucks when people aren’t considerate in getting your stuff back to you. I’m made of Glitter and Swear Words y’all, not money. Come prepared, babies! And be good borrowers so when you need something people won’t hesitate to help you.  On the other side of this, some of my favorite moments backstage are when something has gone wrong and everyone bands together to help fix it. Like, that time at the Glas Kat when I read the set list wrong and put on the wrong costume when both costumes were complex, had layers, and required different pasties. A few helpful pairs of hands had me ready to go!

Also, please be mindful and respectful of other people’s belongings back stage. I haven’t had any issues with this in ages, which is great. But GOD HELP YOU IF YOU TOUCH MY FEATHER FANS I WILL DESTROY YOUR WHOLE FAMILY

In life, to me,  Rule #1 is Don’t Be An Asshole. Basic, but extremely affective. You know when you’re doing it…stoppit.

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Proof I’m not a total asshole, here I am helping Cookie Crumbles with her false lashes. Bombshell Betty’s Too Many F@%#ing Bunnies show at the Elbo Room 2011

VIII. Thou Shalt Promote Your Shows!

This drives me totally crazy. Especially when it takes about 4 seconds to share an event on Facebook and invite your friends. It is unacceptable to me for a performer to be booked in a show and to not promote that show in any way. It makes me think twice about booking you, frankly. It makes me wonder if you are so self-serving that you can’t be bothered. Plus, don’t you want the shows you’re in to thrive? Don’t you want your friends and fans to know where to see you? To have a supportive community, we need to actually SUPPORT each other. Don’t be “takers” darlings, you need to give a little too. Extra points for supporting and promoting shows that you’re not in.

IX. Thou Shalt Respect Thy Producers Process and Ask Them to Respect Yours

So. I’ve seen this become a touchy subject lately. All Producers have their own process when it comes to booking and running shows. If I’ve never seen you perform before, I’m going to want to see you or a video. Is that really too much to ask? I’d like to know if you’re going to come out in a KKK robe and tell rape jokes or something, ya get me? If I request a video, respond like a normal human adult please. If you don’t have one, we can talk. If you start lashing out and becoming abusive? Sorry, no.  When all other performers, because the majority are great, have complied to our process at DIVA or Die or talked to us about it, do you really want to be the toddler throwing a tantrum? On the other side, stand up for yourself. Get all the info on a show, dressing room/time/expectations etc. If something isn’t ok by you (like, I dunno, there’s no dressing room so they want you to change in the back alley) SAY SOMETHING. If a venue or Producer is being shiesty with paying you, don’t let that shit fly! As always, be a respectful adult until it seems the big guns are needed.

X. Thou Shalt Check Thy Ego At The Door

Yeah, you may be great at what you do and that’s awesome! As always, Rule 1 is Don’t be an Asshole, watch any egotistical/self-involved/condescending behaviors. I’ll guarantee you one thing: there are a million other performers out there that are great at what they do AND they have a great attitude. I’m not saying anyone is replaceable or expendable, everyone has their own thing to offer. BUT, if you’re difficult to work with, that may be the first nail in the coffin. I find the people that toot their own horn the most….are often the ones that have the least to be proud of and/or just total pains in the ass to deal with. When you start bragging about how great you are and have a shitty Diva attitude, that’s when I stop wanting to book you. You may be awesome, but I honestly don’t want that attitude in my green room. Don’t be toxic. Instead of spending your time demanding star treatment and bragging about your amazingness, spend it actually getting better and improving. We all have space to grow so sit down with that shit.

So, that’s my 2 cents. And a lot of this comes from performing for 5 years, observing and fucking up. Seriously. What do you think? Any special Do’s/Dont’s? Mantras? Mandates? I’d love to hear them!

With Sparkly Love and Sass-Mouth,

Whendy

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Photo by Serena Morelli taken at the EXIT theater after a DIVA or Die show. Left to Right: Josie Starre, Red Velvet, Tasty Temptress, Myself, Bunny Von Tail, Lula Applebruise and Tornado Supertrouble

Such a naughty Whendy……

Holy hell, does life ever have me by the balls lately!

Yes, balls! I said it and I meant it, I’m not sugar-coatin’ nuthin’! My life has just been bananas these past few weeks, but in just as many good ways as tough ways. But, in either case, ways that keep me from writing.

I started a new job with a big, shmancy company, which has pretty much taken over my life. But everything is evening out and I’m adjusting. Like a BOSS.

It’s been a total struggle and I’ve had to learn so much crazy, computer-y, tech-y nonsense. Which is SO not my forte. But whatever, I’m plugging away and totally makin’ it happen.

Went and saw Bunny Pistol’s Barbary Coast Burlesque last night with Red Velvet and Mr. Velvet and had a sweet old time! The MC was my darling Barron Scott Levkoff, wearing the most bad-ass jacket (embellished by yours truly!) They were accompanied by a band, King City, who was AWESOME. Velvet and I are after one of their CD’s to work with……

Oh, and Coco Lectric was INCREDIBLE. You can always tell when I think a performer is great because I seem to turn into an obnoxious dude on the street….”Daaaamn, girl!” They know how to grow em’ in Texas 😉

Gracious kittens, so much fun stuff has happened lately! I was interviewed on Odessa Lil’s show Speakeasily, which you can watch at TradioV. It was a blast, but I confess it was SO damn hot that day and the studio was burning!! I’m wicked Irish, man, we don’t do that. You can tell it was roasting in there, all the ladies brought fan dances!  Anyway, I was there alongside Barron Scott Levkoff, Red Velvet and Trixie Fou Laurant and we had a blast. You can check out this on-line, weekly show and tune in with the Bay Area’s Burlesque and Cabaret movers and shakers, check out Speakeasily with Odessa Lil at TradioV. Aw yeah.

I MC’d the October DIVA or Die show and not to be arrogant, but I totally KILLED it. Except for not announcing myself…..whatever, if that’s the only name I forgot then that’s fine with me! It felt good, because I was SO nervous. It’s funny how taking off your clothes in front of strangers is way easier than having to talk to them…..But it worked out great because I live to talk smack, I was made to MC! It was a ferocious Halloween show, people. The Bohemian Brethren freakin’ blew me away, as usual, you always get extra points with me if you wear sock-garters and can tie a bow tie……Elyse Elaine knocked my damn stockings off, (we’ll have her back in our December 21st show, don’t worry 🙂 and Vaudie Va Boom is truly the Queen of CanCan! Oh, so proud of all my little sparklies…..photos of that night by Mr. Thad Gann will be posted, stay tuned!

I Stage-Managed the VIP Room performers and ran The Bubble at Masquerotica, unfortunately I was running around herding cannibals and zombies all night and didn’t really get to enjoy the show but I can say everyone looked absolutely incredible. If you saw a gal in a black, bobbed wig, a black and white striped corset, red bowler hat running around with a clipboard and cocktail then ya saw me! And I totally shook my ass in the giant, snow-globe go-go bubble for awhile. What? I had the keys to it! You know I’m gettin’ in there…..

Oh, and I was hired to scare the crap out of some squares at a big Halloween party. Ugh, ate so much human flesh that night I’m STILL full……Partied at the DNA on Halloween, being a pesky female Beetlejuice. Just say my name three times and I’ll totally help you get those humans out of your house…..

Whendy Bedtime Zombie Doll! Comes complete with Hello Kitty slippers!

I haven’t written everything, and I already feel like I need a nap!

Saturday night was spent in guerilla/flash-mob awesomeness at the SF Night Market. The location was secret, hidden away so as to not get in trouble too early. A caravan of box trucks, all with a different theme, could be found under a freeway bridge that night. Like The Night Circus meets…..San Francisco.

I was lucky enough to be part of Professor Violet’s truck, “Mr. Nobody’s Swamp Shack”. You enter the truck and are transported into a voodoo filled swamp inhabited by black-light illuminated dancing skeletons. People came in and offered one of their fears to Mr. Nobody, who gobbled them up! Word got around apparently, I peeked out the back of our truck and saw a line of 75 people waiting to see us! The cops eventually broke it up, but were very cool about it. They were hanging out, chatting with folks, and gave us over a half hour to play and perform instead of just making us all pack up and move out.

Inside Mr. Nobody’s Swamp Shack! I’m the skeleton on the left !

Well, this Friday (11/16) we have another SOLD OUT show for DIVA or Die, and we have our cherished regular MC back! Yay for Odessa Lil! So, that means I’ll be performing that night, aren’t you excited? Yes, I know you are. I’m bringing back my Dresden Dolls act, which has only been seen once before, so I felt this was a perfect time for a descent into madness …..

Get your tickets for our insane Holiday Show on December 21st, the night the Mayan Calendar ends. And, I don’t know about you but if there’s an Apocalypse I’ll be completely happy dying at a burlesque show…..

And then Saturday? Oh, on Saturday I’ll be on my way to Vegas with my epically mustachioed paramour for a few days of earnest trouble making…..

More events and and nonsense coming your way, loves 🙂

Love and Sparkles,

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 🙂

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

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