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

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