Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bettie Page Reveals All - Dallas premiere

I'm going to be stage kittening for the burlesque pre-show at the Dallas premiere, featuring Black Mariah, The Dirty Blonde, and Vivienne Vermuth, on January 3 at the Texas Theatre. I've been studying Teaserama so that I can do my best Bettie impersonation. For tickets and more info, please click here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I did it! (blog version)

Over on my Tumblr, I made a post titled "I did it!" when I submitted the video of my routine to the Dallas Burlesque Festival.  A couple days ago, I followed it up with a second "I did it!" post upon receiving news that I was accepted.  Yes, you heard right: I am performing in the Dallas Burlesque Festival!

post-filming shot
On filming day, I was both really nervous and excited.  It wound up being a weird evening as my classmates were absent for various reasons and a fire alarm had gone off in the complex when I arrived.  While we waited for the firefighters to shut it off, I asked The Dirty Blonde about shows that I ought to submit my routine to.  After naming a couple, she brought up the Dallas Burlesque Festival.  I was hesitant because it is such a big event and I have no experience with dancing burlesque solo.  Dirty said that it couldn't hurt to apply.

After waffling on the subject (and actually being so hesitant to see myself on camera that I had to wait until my partner came home to watch the video), I eventually realized what she meant.  Yeah rejection sucks, but I face that as a writer all the time.  I didn't think I would be accepted as a stage kitten with no experience last year, but it happened because I gave it a shot.  Go big or go home, right? 

That mentality has gotten me really far with burlesque, and looking back at the past year, I am impressed with all the chances I've taken, as well as the work I've put in.  Not to say that I've always had it easy, but I do tend to pursue hobbies that I happen to be good at.  I've had to work for this; even if the dance steps were easy to learn, getting them to look effortlessly sensual took effort.  I'm proud of myself, and I've learned to not be afraid to say it.

My resolution to be more naked has been beyond successful.  It's transformed me, and I hope that burlesque continues to have that impact.  I'm super excited to see what 2014 has in store and to be in the Dallas Burlesque Festival!

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Than Just Stripping

Now that I've filmed my routine (it got moved to last Wednesday because of Thanksgiving), I can resume blogging.  How many times have you used the qualifier "more than just stripping" when talking about burlesque?  I know I have, and while I mean no insult to my stripper sisters, burlesque does have a history that involves zero clothes being shed.  Last month I got to be part of a variety show that evoked the old time burlesque performances that had comedy, music, and sideshow acts along with the striptease.

Oops the Clown and The Famous Mr. Cheeze
By Josh B.

Because I work in a lab with early birds, I generally avoid burlesque shows that are on Sundays through Thursdays.  I've come to realized that I'm missing future opportunities and have decided to make exceptions. The first was "Look What I Can Do Variety Hour", which was presented in partnership with Clever Girl Cabaret.  In addition to wanting to stage kitten for the lovely ladies of Clever Girl and to see a different side of burlesque, I saw that the cast included a cute little dog named Mr. Cheeze. How could I resist?

Black Mariah told me to go circus for my outfit. At first I wasn't sure I had anything, but I started throwing together pieces from my closet.  I wound up using the bra i made for the pride parade, these whimsical shorts I bought in Taiwan that have been the subject of many butt shots, striped tights, and a mini top hat. It definitely was not practical for the cold front that had moved in, but stripper life isn't always glamorous. . . or comfortable.

One of the aforementioned butt shots
By Josh B.
The folks from Look What I Can Do were extremely friendly and helpful.  Ooops the Clown and Kitty Kaos actually wrote out a setlist (when we couldn't find a spare copy) and marked when they would need me to pick up. I was also impressed by their ability to adapt to many unexpected variables. When you have a tiny animal and audience volunteers, you need to be able to think quickly on your feet.  It's something I've talked about before, and I discovered that there's definite room for improvement.  Mr. Cheeze was just way too fast.

Ratty Scurvics doing curtain call
Photo by Josh B.
"Look What I Can Do Variety Hour" was a huge hit because everyone was over-the-top and had the crowd enthralled.  Since my classes focus a lot on choreography and technique, I've been trying to approach burlesque from a theatre perspective. Despite doing drama in college, acting is one of my weaker points, and I started to worry about that aspect of my solo routine.

Fortunately the Ruby Room held a workshop by Paco Fish that tackled character development and expressing emotions. It was just what I needed. Even though the exercises seemed simple, they managed to convey all the things I learned in theatre classes and doing plays in a way that made so much more sense to me. I needed something more tangible than thinking sad or happy thoughts for the emotion to come across on my face. Paco gave me a whole new way to view theatre, and it helped me approach my routine in a different light. I'm still working on making my facial expressions and gestures bigger, but I think the emotions translate across my face and body a lot better now. I'm also thinking that his workshop will also be useful in conveying emotions on paper when I get back in the habit of writing fiction again (which I plan on doing as I take a breather).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Going Solo and a Hairy Predicament

Over the summer, I realized that I had to start thinking about whether I wanted to join a troupe or strike out on my own.  Belonging to a troupe provides a lot of resources and opportunities that may be hard to find.  On the other hand, I’ve always been a loner, one with a unique approach that might not fit a group’s aesthetic.  Plus my schedule and lack of car doesn’t always work with rehearsal times.

Then the question became: what would be my debut solo act?  I won’t reveal too much, but one of my favorite J-pop artists has a song that I really identify with.  It has moments perfect for both striptease and poking fun at nerdy tropes.  However, I didn’t want to fall into clichés, and I wasn’t sure my one plan to prevent that would work.

a sneak peek
I decided to sign up for The Dirty Blonde’s “Create Your Own Burlesque Routine” class, and it was the best thing I could’ve done.  Not only did I have another perspective on my vision, the class forced me to actually choreograph a routine and make a costume.  The latter was particularly important because I am a huge procrastinator and this costume wound up being a monster of a project.

My obsessive tendency to never want to waste anything, including a few inches of thread, has made sewing a terrible task to undergo.  In my attempts to avoid it, I wound up making some things more difficult.  Iron-on transfers are not the way to go.  I really have to thank my friend Tina and costuming goddess Black Mariah for all their help.  Also deserving of my gratitude is my partner who has shown me how to sew more than five times now and dealt with a few meltdowns over botched construction.  I did discover a love of rhinestoning.  My technique is messy, but I always feel accomplished after I glue a few stones down.  I also don’t find E6000 noxious at all.  Yay sparklies!

my first rhinestone job
As for choreography, the song’s looseness proved to be a challenge.  I’m so used to eight-counts and marking every single step that I got a little lost at first.  While there are still kinks to work out, I’ve learned that giving myself some leeway is important for when a stocking gets stuck or I forget a step.

This act has turned out to be really “cute”, a word I hate being called.  I just associate with bad memories and condescending attitudes of people who think I’m 15.  With this routine, I’ve learned to embrace my inner cuteness, but I’m redefining the adjective to better fit my identity. Nobody is going to confuse my burlesque for being an innocent little girl, and I want to challenge people’s ideas.

That being said, I came across another issue: body hair.  I had assumed I would shave, like I do for cosplay.  However, I really loathe the process and how women are expected to be hair-free.  It’s ridiculous, and if I want my performances to be satirical and provocative, what better way to do this than to defy beauty standards?  I don’t want to be conventionally pretty, and this routine isn’t classic.  At the same time, I know body hair is distracting (which is why I shave when I wear tank tops to dance class).  I don’t want to squash opportunities on such a trivial matter even though my sensitive skin is beginning to make this problem much bigger.  The community overall seems okay, but I don’t know about Dallas specifically.  I’m reminded of a quote from Ender’s Game that really kept me going during my rough adolescent years: “There's only one thing that will make them stop hating you. And that's being so good at what you do that they can't ignore you.”  The question is: as a newbie, am I good enough?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Upcoming shows: Look What I Can Do Variety Hour

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween.  Originally I was going to stay at home and write some more, but I wound up doing a shoot with N Street Photography in my cosplay of Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill Vol. 1.  Here are a couple of photos:
By N Street Photography
By N Street Photography

If you want to see more, check out my facebook page.

This Sunday, I've got a completely different look planned as a stage kitten Clever Girl Cabaret presents Look What I Can Do Variety Hour.  Tickets are only $10 if you get them from Ticketfly.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Toons,Tease, and Childhood Dreams

After the pride parade, Carmen St. Cloud and I decided to ask Black Mariah if we could stage kitten for a cartoon-themed show she was producing.  I had already planned on going to Toons N Tease, but helping out would be a lot of fun.  Mariah not only said "yes", but she also had a spectacular costume idea.

Earlier I had posted on the facebook event page that I wish I had a Sailor Mars costume because Sailor Moon was my favorite Saturday morning cartoon growing up.  In fact, my nine-year-old self had sketched out plans for a Sailor Mars costume that sadly never came to fruition (even after I became a cosplayer).  Carmen had a Sailor Moon wig and a dress similar to the character's so Mariah asked us if we wanted to be Sailor Moon and Mars for her show.  There was no doubt what our answers would be.

The costumes she ordered came with the accessories so that save me from stressing out over how to make a tiara.  I did, however, need red pumps.  I thought they would be easy to find, but having small but wide feet is as inconvenient as the small band size + large cup size combo in bra shopping.  Thankfully Payless had a pair that fit (and were cheap), but since I found them the morning of the show, I forgot that I'm half a size smaller there.  I didn't notice until my foot kept slipping out when I walked off the stage, but they still worked (and I was able to exchange for the correct size later on).

As everyone was getting ready, Carmen and I went over our characters' signature poses.  The dancers advised me to start introducing myself by my stage name.  It seems like common sense, but when a lot of people in the community call you by your real name, making the switch is a bit tricky.  Since we had a bit of downtime, Carmen and I went to go catch up with some old friends and wish Appaloosa Red a happy birthday.

Being a stage kitten has taught me to think on my feet.  I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to clean up quickly and get everything set up perfectly on the first try.  However, as prepared as we try to be, things pop up last minute, and I'm learning that it's okay to get a little help from fellow kitten, the emcee, and the dancers themselves.  When all else fails, shake your butt.  Many thanks to everyone who gave me a hand, a minute, or a thumbs up.  Small gestures help when I get a little insecure.

The crowd in Three Links was fantastic, as were all the routines.  It was a nice mix of old faves and new surprises.  I loved how much nerdiness and nostalgia flowed on-stage and behind the scenes.  Taffeta Darling called me and Carmen and up for curtain call, which made us happy.  We love getting the love.

After the show, we joined the birthday girl, along with the rest of the Fangirls: Dames of the Round Table, and got Fuzzy's Tacos from next door.  It was fun seeing the surprised reactions of restaurant-goers.  Growing up, I thought I was the only kid who knew about Sailor Moon.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear how people were thrilled to see their childhood cartoon characters come to life and to learn that Jerry Fedora came across the series before it crossed over the States.  Giving people joy is the best thing about both cosplay and burlesque, and I'm glad I was able to contribute.  What made it even better was having my childhood cosplay dream finally come true.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Workshops and Pride

When the Dallas School of Burlesque opened in May, I was eager to check out the classes.  I still wanted to study at the Ruby Room, but it was time to expand my repertoire with the different styles DSB offered.  Plus it’s nice to get a different perspective on old bump and grind moves.

Over the summer, DSB offered two workshops: chair dance with Stephan and tassel twirling with Black Mariah.  In my many years of dance classes, I’d never had a male teacher until Stephan, the Southern Fried King of Burlesque.  He had a very free-spirited approach, which was just what I needed.  I’d been spending so much time focusing on being sexy, and I’ve always been a counter.  Both were holding me back, and I was happy to work on improvising and just feeling the music.  I could use some work on strength and flexibility, but I still learned a few chair tricks for a future routine.

my first pair of assels and tassles
made by Black Mariah
Tassel twirling was something I’ve always thought was cool even before I knew that they were part of burlesque.  I went into Black Mariah’s class a little bit cocky.  All that shimmying I did in Ginger Valentine’s classes must account for something, right?  Well, it turned out that my technique could use some work.  I had also placed the tassels too low at first, but I was also trying too hard to make my boobs move.  Ironically I discovered that I was better at shimmying with my arms held straight up, which is a more difficult position than with your arms held out.  As with hula and belly dance, I always seem to master a harder move before getting the basics down.  Black Mariah also taught us how to twirl assels, which was equally challenging and fun.

During the latter half of the summer, I started to wonder if I was rushing into things too quickly.  My double weekend of shows with the Ruby Revue and Lemme Addams’ Stardust Revue wore me out.  I also didn’t want to come on too strongly in my eagerness to stage kitten.  As a result, I decided to take the time to focus on classes and figuring out who Hana Li is.

Bellilona Fatin, me, Carmen St. Cloud, and Raven
By Lecroix Photography

That didn’t mean I wasn’t involved in other community activities.  When I learned that the Dallas School of Burlesque was invited to march in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, I knew had to participate.  I’d never been to a pride parade, and I really wanted to show my. . . well, pride in being queer and my support.  What better way than to march with friends in fabulous showgirl costumes?  The Dirty Blonde made costuming really easy for those of us who were busy.  We just had to pick a color of a rainbow, get a swimsuit (or in my case, a bra) the color of the rainbow, and embellish.  I picked red because I already had bottoms of that color from my Wonder Girl costume (and because it’s a common bra color).  However, I wanted to wear my socks that are the colors of the asexual pride flag: black, grey, white, and purple.  With some advice from Lily Lecroix and fringe from Black Mariah, I was able to add a bit of purple to my bra.  I also learned how to rhinestone.

Through both the costuming sessions and the parade itself, I got to know more members of the burlesque community.  It was hot and a long walk, but the energy and enthusiasm was unbelievable.  My only regret came from my feet, which did not like the long walk in my gold wedge sneakers.  Still, that was nothing compared to Jade Vivian and MayMay walking in real heels.  They definitely get my admiration.  Pride was a nice way to end the summer, and I even got a stage kittening gig out of it.  That’s a story for another post.  In the meantime, you can check out more photos over on my facebook page.
By Susan Migdol, EDGE Dallas

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Upcoming shows: Toons N Tease

My next burlesque endeavor is stage kittening at Toons & Tease on September 28 at 9PM.  The show will be hosted by Taffeta Darling and is in celebration of Appaloosa Red's birthday.  It's going to be fun, and I'll be wearing one of my long-time dream costumes.  Audience members are encouraged to show up in cosplay or their Saturday morning PJs.  Get your tickets early at

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Spectacular Spectacular Birthday Show for Lemme Addams

The day after performing at the Ruby Revue show, I had another gig on the other side of the Metroplex: stage kittening at Lemme Addams Stardust Revue.  Lemme, who also produces Whiskey Tongue Burlesque, is a good burlesque buddy so when she was casting for her birthday show, I jumped at the opportunity to pick up panties.  The theme, “A Night at the Moulin Rouge”, made me even more excited.  I love the music, and there was a ton of costuming potential.  I had something in mind that I hoped would work.

My neo-Victorian burlesque
costume, taken at All-con
by David Scott

Lily LeCroix, the stage manager, liked my neo-Victorian burlesque costume, which I originally wore at All-con.  Because of the time crunch (it was a busy weekend), I planned to show up already dressed.  I had spent the day with my family so I was trying to find a way to explain to my mother, who doesn’t know about my burlesque endeavors and is the more vocal parent, what kind of birthday celebration this was.  She was okay with the costume though so that bullet was dodged.  In fact, she had more to say about my show make-up because she’s a fan of the more natural look.

I’ve learned that each production operates differently, just as each venue has its own stage set-up.  Slowly I’m cultivating my ability to adapt and think on my feet.  However, at the show, I found out that some venues might not be for me.  Although Lemme had said that the venue allowed smoking, I assumed that I would be far enough away from the audience to be able to handle it.  Unfortunately, it was almost showtime when I discovered that my lungs are not as strong as I thought.

To make things worse, I learned that you shouldn’t eat a big meal the day of a show, especially if you’re going to squeeze into a corset.  My brother was in town so my parents took us out for a gigantic brunch.  I guess I was still full from the strippers’ breaksfast ten hours earlier, but I wasn’t going to pass up on good (and free) food.  On top of that, because I’m a creature of habit and didn’t want to be hungry in the middle of the show, I ate a small dinner before I left my parents’ house.  After being okay for an hour, stomach pains hit.  I thought I could power through it all, but I should’ve remember that Satine didn’t fare so well (sorry if I spoiled Moulin Rouge for anyone).  Thankfully there were two other kittens, but it was stupid of me to not let someone know where I was disappearing off to before the show began and to just communicate more.  Lesson learned, and I'm going to try to work on my bad habit of not telling people when I need help.

me and the birthday girl,
who made the lovely fascinator
Despite being ill, the show was really fun.  I got to see so many interesting interpretations of songs I loved, and I got an up-close view of how much work goes into burlesque costumes– and getting into them.  I was in awe of the creativity in the show and thrilled to have been able to celebrate Lemme’s birthday.  The atmosphere was wonderful.  Burlesque dancers sure do know how to throw a birthday party.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ruby Revue Pink Panthers Invade the House of Blues

Still catching up on entries here, but I got this one done just in time for the next Ruby Revue shows– tonight at 8:30 PM and 11 PM.  I won’t be at the shows, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. ^_~  Last month, I had the chance to perform with them as a member of Ginger Valentine’s Advanced Burlesque Tease class.  Now I admit that I partly elected to that this upper-level class for the chance to perform in their July show.  The limelight is addicting, especially when you are doing something you seriously love.  I did want a more challenging class though, and that’s what I got.

By Burles Co. Photography
Our routine was set to a jazzy version of the Pink Panther theme.  The choreography wasn’t too difficult, but we only had a month to learn it and there were some quick glove peels.  I was so worried that I wasn’t going to master one of them that I must have practiced 50 times.  Getting better gloves that didn’t threaten to rip (and then actually do so) when I tugged on the fingers helped immensely.  Because I focused on the moves, I didn’t really have much time to work on facial expressions.  In my head, sexy equals not smiling or half smiling because a big grin makes my eyes small and overall look too cute (and I hate being called “cute”).

With my costume, I truly lucked out minus the realization that Electrique Boutique was closed on Sundays and having to use my lunch break to get the gloves .  The Burlesque Experience held a garage sale a week before the show, and I wound up getting a faux leather corseted top.  At first I was afraid it wouldn’t go with the classic burlesque look that Ruby Revue is generally known for, but I discovered that a leather-and-lace theme with pin-up style hair and make-up worked very well.  Furthermore, Carmen St. Cloud loaned me some leopard print accessories to add color (and a surprise) to my outfit.  If there was one thing I could change, it would be my robe, which I won from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Giveaway earlier in the year.  Luckily we didn’t keep the robes on for long so the logo wasn’t in everyone’s faces.  Plus it provided even more color and sparkle.

By Karlo X. Ramos
Although I was getting better at doing my make-up, my rigid gas permeable contacts decided to hurt really badly and ruin what I had done half an hour before call time.  This always seems to happen before a show, which makes me run late.  Maybe next time I should double the amount of time I set aside for getting ready.  Renee Holiday had recommended getting a false eyelash set that included an applicator.  That definitely helped as I was practicing, but in the end, I still needed to adjust the lashes by hand.  I was happy that I got them on by myself for the first time.

I wound up doing double duty as performer and stage kitten.  My experience with being involved in an act at Clever Girl Cabaret while stage kittening gave me the confidence to figure in a costume change between picking up.  When we rehearsed on the stage, I realized that I had to be super cognizant of space and where I tossed my costume pieces.  Everything went smoothly, but I was still intimidated by all the lights and the audience being so close.  It was really thrilling, and I guess I got caught in the moment because suddenly we finished the routine.

Normally I’m too much of an awkward turtle to stay at the after-party for very long, but I figured it was appropriate to engage in the tradition of a stripper’s breakfast with my teachers, classmates, and senpai (I can’t think of a better English word that “seniors” which sounds a little odd).  We went to Pop Diner, a quirky restaurant/bar with 80s pop culture references everywhere and free arcade games.  I wish I had talked more, but I was tired and had exhausted all my anti-shyness fuel.  Nevertheless, it was a wonderful way cap off a successful (and sold-out!) show, plus a great learning experience.

By Marleana Mahoozi

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clever Girl, Wonder Girl, and Vampire Girl

I finally have a break from shows, lab work, and geek stuff to catch up on blog entries so we’re winding the clock back to the end of June, when Clever Girl Cabaret had their Drawn This Way comic- and animation-themed show.  Nerdlesque is right up my alley.  I’m a cosplayer, and I love the idea of both paying homage and satirizing the things I’m a fan of.  When I got the chance to stage kitten for Clever Girl Cabaret, my brain ran wild with cosplays I could adapt for the burlesque stage.  It went a little too crazy, as the common sense to ask Angi B. Lovely and Black Mariah, the producers, what they wanted didn’t kick in until two weeks before the show.  Whoops.

“Superhero” was the key word.  Despite being a comic book fan, I suddenly became stumped.  I wanted the perfect costume, but I knew my limitations.  Thankfully my partner suggested that I go with Wonder Girl since Black Mariah was known for her Wonder Woman routine.  The man is brilliant!  Before I knew about cosplay, I wanted to dress up as Wonder Girl, a.k.a. Cassie Sandsmark, from Young Justice.  Back then, she wore a black wig that resembled my hair and had goggles, which I thought was cool.  That version of Wonder Girl became my inspiration for the costume design though I did draw from her later costumes to make the outfit sexier.

Wonder Girl
(left picture from
Here’s where I make my big confession: I don’t know how to do sew.  On top of that, I hate making mistakes so my cosplays were mostly put together by sheer luck and parents.  Again I thank my partner for helping me out so much because he came up with the ideas and sewed most of the costume.  He also kept me sane when I was ready to cry because the outfit was still not complete hours before the show and things were not coming out right on the first try.  Somehow we finished in time for me to pack up the costume and take it with me on the rail trip to The Quixotic World.

My favorite part is the shoes.
A couple of days before the show, Black Mariah asked me if I wanted to participate in Coco Lectric’s Vampirella act.  Hell yeah!  If there’s vampires involved, I’m definitely in.  I didn’t know what the role would entail besides being “bitten” and covered in some blood so I just grabbed bra and panties that I wouldn’t mind getting soiled.  When Coco was explaining the act, which involved me and a fellow kitten trying to capture her only to have the tables turned on me, my contact decided to remind me that it’s there in my eyeball.  I wear rigid gas permeable lenses, and while I’ve gotten used to them after years of wear, sometimes it feels like I have an eyelash in my eye (and sometimes that turns into a more painful sensation).  I felt bad about appearing like I wasn’t paying attention.  Luckily, I got to run through it with her during tech rehearsals so I had a better idea of what to do.

Seeing the dancers tech not only gave me an idea of what to expect in terms of set-up and pick-up, but it also made me even more excited for the show.  There was just so much talent and creativity being showcased.  With the way The Quixotic World’s backstage was set up, my fellow Renee Holiday and I wound up stepping out of the curtained area in order of watch all the routines (it also helped us track down items).

Vampirella closed the show, and I had to rush to change into what I dubbed my vampire hunter outfit.  It’s a little embarrassing to see how mismatched the bra and panties were, but hey, practicality sometimes trumps glamour.  I’ve had to be a corpse before for theatre and have wound up twitching so avoiding that was what I was thinking about.  I can be extremely single-minded so I had no idea why all the dancers were extremely stunned and Coco was apologizing for being rough.  I thought the blood was what made people speechless, but after curtain call, Mariah and my partner explained what had transpired on-stage.  I still think it was business as usual.

Photo by J. Bouton

Photo by J. Bouton
For the first time, I put extra thought into what I would wear after a show.  I decided to pay homage to Neil Gaiman, who was in town earlier in the week, with an ensemble inspired by Death from Sandman.  My top was low-cut, and I proudly displayed the fake blood left on me.  I’m surprised I didn’t get more stares when a few of us went to Velvet Taco.  This was the first time I had gone out with burlesque dancers so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  When the stage names were dropped, I was a bit caught off-guard.  Even now I’m not sure what I should call the performers with whom I’ve become friends.  I enjoyed getting to know the ladies behind the persona though.  There was a nice balance of geekiness and wild antics that would be expected from nerdlesque dancers going to a late-night taco joint.

post-show pic with Coco Lectric
Stage kittening for Clever Girl Cabaret was a wonderful experience, and I had fun being Coco Lectric’s vampire convert too.  There's definitely a rush that comes with performing, and it's making me excited to continue to work towards my own solo act.  While I might not have conquered my arch nemesis of sewing, I’m encouraged by my costume to try it again.  In the meantime, I can't wait to be a wonder kitten again for the next Clever Girl show.

For more photos, check out my facebook page and my Tumblr (click here and here). 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Upcoming shows: Spectacular, Spectacular! A Night at the Moulin Rouge

If you can't make it to my class performance at the Ruby Revue on July 26 (click here for more info), come see my stage kitten at Lemme Addams' Moulin Rouge-themed birthday show out in Denton.  I rarely make it to that area of the Metroplex so here's your chance to see me there.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Merchandise Sales and Multiple Identities

My burlesque experience has seen me donning many hats: fan, photographer, student, (candy) cigarette girl, stage kitten, and even performer.  Therefore, I shouldn’t have been surprised that my first gig with the Ruby Revue (remember my audition post?) gave me a new role– merchandise girl.  I’m always willing to lend a hand, but I felt hesitant.  I was afraid I’d be a lousy salesperson.  Even though I had helped out at the table during the Dallas Burlesque Festival, I would be doing it on my own for the entire show.  Memories of my fourth grade class’ school supply shop came rushing back, and the thought of giving back the wrong amount of change was scaring than the thought of a bunch of people seeing me in my underwear.

The nice thing about being incredibly single-minded at times, however, is the fact that I can push aside those worries.  When doors opened, I entered “work mode” and tried my best to persuade patrons to buy a boa or a T-shirt.  Sales were slow at first, but as more people filed in, more items started to leave the table.  By the end of the show, I was so swamped by customers that my partner jumped in to help me keep track of what I sold.  He also probably attracted more people because he’s charming (and loud).  It turned out to be a pretty fun experience.

Wearing my Jet Girl cosplay
at the Clever Girl Cabaret:
Flirty Nerd show

There was one point when I felt so overwhelmed that I wound up giving out my real name.  Luckily the gentleman was familiar with many local dancers and asked how he could distinguish me from another dancer whose stage name was similar to my real name.  That gave me the opportunity to re-introduce myself.  The whole thing, combined with my experiences the previous night at The Midnight Ramble (another burlesque event), made me realize that my multiple roles in the community has created somewhat of an identity crisis.

You see, at The Midnight Ramble, I was just taking photos, which I post under my real name  Normally I keep to myself when shooting, but I had some people talk to me and I guess they deduced that I was connected with the dancers.  I started to wonder if I should’ve introduced myself as Hana since I don’t have business cards for my photography.  I have no intentions of making any money from my pictures, but it’s still nice to have everything together as a portfolio, especially since I do a little bit of journalism.  Things get even more iffy when you have burlesque crossing over with another of my hobbies, like cosplay or steampunk.  How do I introduce myself then?

A funny idea of using my glasses to distinguish between my two main identities (we’re not going to go into my steampunk and cosplay alias) occurred to me.  I’ve been told I look drastically different without my glasses, and I always wear contacts as Hana Li.  My glasses could be a Clark Kent sort of disguise for my burlesque self.  There are two problems to this plan though.  The first is that I can only wear rigid gas permeable lenses, and they’re not very comfortable.  One speck of dust and I’m tearing up like crazy because my eye hurts.  There’s a possibility that I would have to switch to glasses immediately after curtain call.  The other issue is that sometimes I do wear contacts when I’m photographing, and while I can always attend shows as Hana, people are not stupid enough to be unable to put two-and-two together.  Plus I’ve already uploaded photos of me with glasses on my facebook page.  Oh well, it’s still fun to think of myself as being a burlesque version of Clark Kent/Superman.

The next time you can see me with the Ruby Revue is on July 26.  I'll be on-stage for the Advanced Burlesque Tease class performance.  Hope to see you in the crowd!
Photo by Karlo X. Ramos

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy International Read Naked Day!

It's International Read Naked Day!  I have work today and then I'm off to Viva Dallas Burlesque's Salute the Troops show so I had to celebrate a day early.  Plus I had to brush up on my genetics for a presentation.  Anyway, grab a book, strip down, and join in on the celebrations!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Student Stage Debut at Panty Raid

Never did I expect to be performing burlesque this past May, just a little over a year after I started taking classes.  Then again, I hadn’t expected to stage kitten at the Dallas Burlesque Festival a month after I decided to get more involved with the scene.  However, I couldn’t pass up the Academy of Queerlesque’s Burlesque Group class– not after Lillith Grey included asexuality in her definition of queer (something that doesn’t always happen).  Although performing at Panty Raid was optional, the instructor, Lily Lovely, was so encouraging that I couldn’t pass this chance up. The show, which was less than two weeks after class, coincided with Butchfest.  If that wasn’t a sign that this was my golden opportunity, I didn’t know when I would be ready.

The class consisted of five individuals with different experience levels and performance backgrounds.  We began with talking about stage names and personas, which helped me finally settle on a name (I'll elaborate more in future post).  Lily then had us channel our personalities through our walks.  Although burlesque walks were nothing new for me, I’d been focusing so much technique that I wasn’t sure what to do at first.  When it was my turn, I reminded myself of the dancer I wanted to be–someone tough and punk rock yet still graceful and flirty– and I let that be my guide. 

pre-show shot
Choreography came easily for me; the improvised moments required more thought and practice.  I had to figure out how to convey my personality in a way that would fit the song, “‘Cause I’m a Blond”.  How could I keep the rocker persona in my head while conveying the dumb blond stereotype depicted through the lyrics?  Eventually I decided that I wanted to be the tomboyish surfer chick version of Regina George from Mean Girls.  I tape myself so that I could work on facial expressions.

My other challenge came in costuming.  The outfit was pretty basic: bikini top, skateboard shorts, and heels.  I lucked into being given a swimsuit with ties (something I’d never buy for myself).  I would've liked it to be less frilly, but it matched my shorts really well.  The one thing I had to make was the wig from the yarn that Lily gave us.  Despite being a cosplayer, I'm not really crafty.  Fortunately my partner had some suggestions, and I had planned on wearing a bandana.

There wasn’t any requirements on how much we had to take off.  I wasn't sure I wanted to go down to pasties and panties (my substitute bikini bottoms since the ones that came in the top were too big).  Burlesque has helped me combat years of self-image issues resulting from bullying and two cultures’ standards of beauty, but I still had the irrational fear that people would be disgusted by my naked body.  I kept wavering on my decision until I came home from rehearsal and watched the X Games.  The “go big or go home” spirit of the athletes inspired me to take it all off.  I had to commit 100%.

Photo from Panty Raid's facebook page
Once I had that mentality, all reservations went away.  I even had a last minute idea of using a beach ball to tease the audience.  I arrived at Sue Ellen’s with a lot of confidence though I still felt awkward in the dressing room full of people I didn’t know.  There was a slight freak-out moment when I discovered that fabric tape doesn’t adhere to my skin as well as the glitter on the pasties to my bikini.  Thankfully, one of my classmates, Coraline Mae, let me use her Top Stick.  We ran through our routine one last time, and after enjoying the other performances, we were up next.  The crowd’s energy was infectious, and while I didn’t get the chance to grab a beach ball to hide behind, I was still enough of a tease for someone to shout, “We want to see your boobs!”  Little did they know that it would only make me wait a little more before the final reveal.  Lillith, who was emceeing, gave each of us a smack on the butt as we exited the stage.  She and Lily were beaming with pride, and I felt like I had done something great.  It was just over so soon that I wanted more.

I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given and for the kind individuals who were with me on this journey: Lillith; Lily; Effy; my classmates Cheyenne, Coraline, Nella, and Vita; and my friends who came out to support me.  The Panty Raid crowd was so welcoming and enthusiastic; it would be awesome to perform in another one.  I know I have a ways to go before I can do my first solo or be more than a student performer, but I took a giant leap with my debut, conquering a long-time phobia and learning to seize the day.  Life’s too short not to give things like this a shot.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Upcoming shows: Drawn This Way

Hi there, sorry for disappearing! I was busy with the Panty Raid performance and then helping out with the Ruby Revue, both of which I will write about. Then I went on vacation and got swamped by work (from my day job and from my other job, a writing gig) when I came back. Now that I have a little time to breath, I'll try updating, but I'm also getting ready to kitten for another show, Clever Girl Cabaret presents: Drawn This Way.  This is the first time I'm making an outfit for burlesque so I might have to put off writing some more.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Identity in Burlesque

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while because I wouldn’t be here if others didn’t talk about race, gender, and sexuality in burlesque.  In fact, the stereotypes I knew would have to deal with probably kept me more from pursuing the art than my insecurities about my body (though the two are related).  After I learned about queerlesque and found burlesque dancers who directly addressed the issue of race, I decided that I could use what I learned to break stereotypes.  To put it simply, burlesque needs more Asian, genderqueer, grey-asexual dancers, dammit!

If you find yourself asking why is this important, let me introduce you to two wonderfully written articles about identity.  The first, “Race and Burlesque: The curious case of the performer of colour”, addresses the stereotypes and discrimination that minorities still face today.  The interviews that follow the article are also worth checking out.  The second article, “Queerlesque, WTF?”, explains what queer is and why a safe space for those who identify as such is needed in the world of burlesque.  Reading both articles made me decide to write about how identity has played a role in shaping how I approach burlesque.

Let’s start with the most outwardly apparent aspect of my identity: race.  I’m Taiwanese-American, and it’s not really influenced how I’ve been treated in the burlesque community so far.  It’s a breath of fresh air since I deal with microaggressions and really bad Asian jokes all the damn time– from my own friends too!  Despite not having to deal with that in burlesque, there’s the phantom of the Dragon Lady and naughty Asian school girl stereotypes looming over my head.  These fantasies lead to a dehumanization of Asian women.  When guys (and sometimes girls) hit on me for being a “hot Asian (with boobs)”, they’re not interested in who I really am– they’re interested in a particular set of traits that I happen to embody.  Because of this, I did not want to sexualize myself in any manner for a very long time, but a part of me still wanted to be sexy.  The non-sexual Model Minority stereotype was just as hurtful.  I started to come across Asian burlesque dancers of all styles: Noel Toy, Tura Satana, Calamity Chang, Shanghai Pearl, Stella Chuu, Di'Lovely to name a few.  I realized that they were subverting the fantasy by simply being themselves.  Sometimes they fit the nerdy image, and sometimes they look like they could be a Dragon Lady.  However, they write their own narratives; they make the fantasy their own.

That’s what I’ve been trying to do in crafting my stage persona.  Defying expectations is no problem since I want my punk rock side to come out.  The bigger challenge is navigating how to honor my heritage without falling back into the stereotypes (i.e. how do I strip out of a qipao without feeling like I’m insulting my culture?).  There will be a lot of thinking and learning before I completely figure things out, but I’m thankful to have some good role models.

To clarify, my attempts to desexualize myself have nothing to do with my grey-asexuality.  It’s hard to explain why I identify as grey-a without getting into the dirty details, but basically I don’t experience sexual attraction save for a couple of exceptions.  My curiosity about sex stems from not really understanding why people desire it so much, and I think that’s why burlesque intrigued me in the first place.  I never thought I would be “good” at it because I have zero understanding of seduction.  I also felt like I was betraying my orientation by pretending I was a "regular" sexual being.

Then I realized that sexy does not equal sexual.  If anything, being uninterested in sex while doing suggestive moves made me the ultimate tease.  Overcoming that mental hurdle has helped me become a bit more comfortable with the moves and with revealing my body.  I still have trouble getting the seductive facial expressions right, but I’m learning how to reinterpreting the intent to something I understand better (even if I have to end up pretending to mind control someone).

Lastly, gender is a complicated topic because I was being caught up in seeing it as a binary for so long.  While I’m okay with being referred to as a girl, it’s not completely me and that’s where the genderqueer comes in.  I often compare myself to a prepubescent boy who has discovered drag.  I like the glitter and femininity, but once I get home, I want to slip back into my baggy jeans and T-shirts from the boys’ section and not shave for the rest of the week.  My intense hatred for shaving was actually a specific deterrent for getting naked because I couldn’t understand why girls had to be hairless and was shamed for my choice many times.  I know of one dancer who doesn’t shave, and I hope I can one day have the same courage to rock my all-natural look.

When Lillith Grey started the Academy of Queerlesque, I immediately wanted to sign up.  A tiny part of me did wonder if I wasn’t queer enough because I do appear to be a cisgendered, heterosexual female.  However, there’s more than what meets the eye though, and burlesque for me personally is about stripping away those façades and presumptions.  On top of that, the Academy’s site included asexuality in the acronym (LGBTQIA).  That was the reassurance I needed since the inclusion of asexuality in the queer community has met some opposition.  The safe space created in the classes gave me the confidence to sign up for the Burlesque Group class, which would be performing at the Panty Raid queer variety show.  I’m very excited to make my stage debut this Friday; it’s a lot sooner than expected, but I was made to feel comfortable enough to take the plunge.

This is only a glimpse of how my identity has shaped my burlesque journey and ultimately my stage persona.  I feel like my struggles with the issues of race, sexuality, and gender have been both an internal one and a much larger battle.  I hope that the conversations continue and that there are more individuals, troupes, and productions that challenge the norms.  Whenever I come across a dancer I can relate to, whether it’s because they’re Asian or they challenge traditional gender expressions, I get really excited.  I’m hoping that I could do that for someone in the future.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Auditions and Anniversary

Originally published March 22, 2013 on Dieselpunks After Dark

When I got into extreme sports, I started seeing places all around me that would be a good obstacle to tackle on Rollerblades or a jump for my bicycle.  I never acquired the skill to do most of my imagined stunts, but even now, I still think about how cool it’d be to ride my skateboard off a ledge.  After the Dallas Burlesque Festival, I started to get the same increased level of inspiration with burlesque.  I’d develop the concept for an act during work, or a song would suddenly make me want to bump and grind.  A fire had been lit under me, and I was ready to continue to progress as a burlesque student.

First, I stopped making excuses for not moving up from the beginner’s class.  Yes, the bus schedule was a bit inconvenient, but there was a way for me to get home without having to walk in the dark.  I needed the challenge of combos and choreography– I wanted it.  Next, I decided to be more proactive in continuing my stage kitten career.  I made plans to audition for the Ruby Revue, and once the Clever Girl Cabaret site went live, I asked them whether they needed any for their new show.

By JD Morgan Photography
I was a little confused about what a stage kitten audition would entail.  The call, which was directed at anyone looking to be a part of the Ruby Revue, instructed us to have a piece prepared and come dress up.  After much deliberation, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to come up with a mini routine.  I still wasn’t sure that I needed to do it, but when I saw everyone else performing something at the auditions, I had to give it a go.  I was panicking though because I didn’t have the songs I needed on my iPod and I had forgotten my back-up CD in the rush out of the door (I need to learn that make-up still takes me much longer than expected and to not do shopping the morning of).  Fortunately, Renee Holiday let me borrow her music, which included something I had been practicing to.  I was so nervous that I forgot some of the moves, but the producers, Ginger Valentine and Missy Lisa, seemed pleased by my efforts.  Although I could’ve done better in terms of preparation and execution, I was proud of myself for taking a chance.

Since I knew I would be dressed up for the audition, I scheduled a photoshoot with my friend Jonathan Morgan afterward.  I had these neon pink-and-black socks that were nixed for a potential burlesque/pin-up outfit, but I really liked them with my pink bottoms and black bra.  The whole look embodied my quirkiness, which I would probably play up in a stage persona.  Jon also had me do more delicate, feminine shots to compliment the fascinator I bought from Dallas Pin Up.  Those were less me, but it's good to practice versatility.  The shoot was fun though I learned I still have a long ways to go in being more aware of my face and body.  I’ll get practice in dance class.

A few days after the auditions, I found out that I got the part of a stage kitten.  To add a cherry on top, the Ruby Room studio also deemed me their Student of the Month.  While I’ve been trying to not let compliments build my self-esteem, the recognition only fueled my desire to keep working on my nascent burlesque career.

As a side project, I had volunteered to do a panel on the History of Burlesque at All-con.  I’d done a similar presentation for a dieselpunk meeting, but this time I would only have an hour.  I also asked Black Mariah to join me.  Despite the late start and some stalling for time, the presentation went really well.  There were many attendees, and Black Mariah complimented my “straight man”, Power Point approach to presenting with wild stories of burlesque legends and humorous commentary.  We both got positive feedback the days following the convention, and I would love to work with her again so look out for the panel again at All-con 2014.

By JD Morgan Photography
As for the Clever Girl Cabaret stage kitten roles, they were already filled.  I was perfectly fine with that since a part of me missed photographing performances.  It’s another way I feel I can contribute.  My involvement in the community had given me the courage to network, something I still loathed to do in other aspects of my life.  All the friendly people I’ve encountered have really helped me come out of my shell even if I still feel shy at times.

Yesterday was my one year anniversary with the Ruby Room.  I’m amazed at how far I’ve progressed as a burlesque student and as a person who is working to be more confident and independent.  I’m trying not to rush myself or get caught up in the idealism of a new world.  There will be rejection, critics, and other unpleasant things.  For now, I’ll continue to work on self-improvement outside of burlesque and do more research on issues within the community.  Just as I didn’t exactly know where signing up for burlesque classes would take me, I remain open to many possibilities for the future.  Doors have been opened, and I’m becoming more confident about marching straight through them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Stage Kitten Initiation at the Dallas Burlesque Festival

Originally published  March 6, 2013 on Dieselpunks After Dark

Before I embarked on my mission to be naked more, I thought being a stage kitten was a possibility for me.  The outfits would be as revealing as some of the skimpy cosplays I wanted to do, and in college, I helped our theatre group keep track of where props went.  My lack of experience with heels, make-up, and generally being sexy would make the role challenging.  However, with my new resolution to get more involved in burlesque, I decided to answer the call for stage kitten applicants for the Dallas Burlesque Festival.

Bill of N Street Photography had kindly offered his services to provide photos for would-be kittens to submit, and Bella Eden helped organize the schedule and did our hair and make-up.  The majority of my experiences with modeling and acting sexy involve playing a character so I learned several things about pin-up modeling and my own sexy side:

By N Street Photography. 
MUAH: Bella Eden
1. Less is more in terms of wardrobe.  I was glad to have brought many outfits, including lingerie (that didn’t really match but looked okay together).
2. More is better in terms of make-up.  It’s especially true with eyeliner on single eyelids.
3. Being cheap doesn’t work for false eyelashes.
4. You don’t need a fancy hairstyle.  Just a flower will suffice.
5. A headshot and a full body shot don’t have to be boring.  Yes, they want to see your face and body, but you also have to let your personality shine through.

Despite loving the great photos, I didn’t have much confidence in getting the part.  The Dallas Burlesque Festival brings in a large amount of talent, and I had no experience.  You can bet that I was extremely surprised and thrilled to have been chosen.  Lesson #6: don’t doubt yourself.

That wasn’t the end of my obstacles though.  Being without a car, I didn’t have much choice but to put off shopping for the right kind of heels until the morning of my first kitten gig.  I was kicking myself for not being more of a girly girl.  We got everything in the nick of time, and there I was in the House of Blues dressing room.  I was changing next to Bettina May, talking cosplay with Black Mariah, and devouring cheese with a bunch of the girls.  Before the show began, Missy Lisa grabbed a few of us kittens to help sell merchandise.  My job had me behind the merchandise table, which was a good starting place given my anxiety with approaching people.  It was nerve-wracking to be the first person seen by incoming audience members, but I was able to switch into business mode.  The fact that I was in my underwear with fishnets and a corset barely registered in my mind.  Just as things were getting busy, Jes, the usual merch guy, appeared, and I moved onto (candy) cigarette girl duties.  I was still apprehensive about approaching people, but I was able to sell a few things and I even got my picture taken.

Lesson #7 came after the show: bring something nice to change into.  Since kittens were supposed to arrive with hair and make-up done, I came in clothes I could easily slip out of.  Needless to say, they weren’t very glamorous or even cute, but at least I had a DBF tank top, which, according to Tana the Tattooed Lady, made my boobs look great.  Lesson #8: compliments on your body can be a good thing.  When I came home, I discovered glitter on the top of my breasts.  I had no idea where it came from, but I considered it a sign that I was officially part of the burlesque world.

Sunday I felt less shy backstage.  A part of me still fangirled inside with being in the presence of Di’Lovely (the little girl in me always gets excited for Asians doing burlesque because it makes me feel like what I’m working towards is more achievable).  There was another exciting moment when legend Tammi True walked in.  While determining how much time she had to get ready, she revealed that dancers back in the golden age of burlesque would perform 15-20 minute sets.

Janie Slash, Lyric Laveau, and Carmen St. Cloud backstage
I was so nervous about missing an article of clothing or tripping on-stage, but we worked out a plan for pick up and set-up before each act to make things go smoothly.  Lesson #9: don’t panic if you stumble or can’t find something (or the stairs feel wobbly), your fellow kittens and the other dancers will help out.  Seeing performances from a kitten’s point of view was very interesting, and I’m not just talking about the side view.  Because you’re focused on what gets tossed where, you start noticing little details of the dancer’s costume and movements.

After the show, StrOker Ace gave us copies of The Berlesker, a literary journal featuring work by members of the community.  It was a reminder of how many intelligent, multi-talented individuals are involved with burlesque.  I decided that I would try to come up with something to submit for the next issue. 

me with Angi B. Lovely
My attempt to be dressier with a button-up and nice jeans still fell short of the dress code of red carpet glam.  Lesson #10: “Awards Dinner” means super fancy. . . but when you’re a chronic underdresser, a cool shirt will do.  The most important lesson perhaps is to be yourself, and that’s what burlesque celebrates in an exaggerated, sexy, glitter-filled way.  Once I stopped worrying about looking silly, I felt more comfortable chatting and snapping a few photos.  In addition to all the lessons I took home with me on the road to being a Dallas Burlesque Festival stage kitten, I now have a lot of great memories and new friends, and now more than ever, I want to increase my involvement in this wonderful community.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Ecdysiastic Enterprise

Originally published January 14, 2013 on Dieselpunks After Dark

My resolution for this year is to be naked more.  While much of that relates to self-confidence and body image, it also has to do with burlesque.  I started out as a fan, but now I want to give back to the community and also inspire others the way the dancers have inspired me to be bold and sassy.  I don’t expect to be a performer by the end of the year, but I am interested to see where this journey takes me and I welcome you along for the ride.

The first time I saw burlesque, I was vacationing in Seattle.  A friend invited me to a goth club, which was having a fetish night featuring The Gorlesque Girls.  I remember watching a curvaceous and elegant dancer do a routine to “Little Drop of Poison” by Tom Waits and wanting to be able to shed a corset and twirl tassels like her.  I wanted her confidence– to be able to strut in heels like I owned the room and bare my body despite not fitting mainstream media’s standards of beauty.

My first burlesque class happened on a whim.  I had been taking belly dance at Move Studio, and their newsletter mentioned that Ginger Valentine would be teaching her last bumps and grinds workout class at the studio, I decided to not let this opportunity slide.  It was a hell of a workout and the perfect segue to All-con the following week, where I got a taste of more classical burlesque and subsequently wanted more.

Then, I found that Ginger had relocated to the Ruby Room, which had a Groupon for classes.  Buying the Groupon eliminated any excuse I made up for not trying out burlesque again: too far away, too much of physical challenge, too sexual for me.  I’m glad I made myself go.  Burlesque classes didn’t just help me get in shape; they made me more confident.  Yeah, that’s a total cliché, but it’s true.

While the Ruby Room’s burlesque classes focus on the dancing, the studio decided to try something a little different for the holidays: Ginger Valentine’s Naughty and Nice Workshop.  In the span of two hours, Ginger and fellow Ruby Revue member Renee Holiday taught a handful of us a striptease routine to Joe Bonamassa’s “Santa Claus Is Back in Town”. 

It was the first time I had done any striptease or danced with a boa so I didn’t know what to expect.  The routine wasn’t too complicated, and I found that taking off clothing for a certain number of counts while making it look pretty was the biggest challenge.  Ginger and Renee created a fun atmosphere that we were all wanting more at the end of the workshop.  I was no exception.

Ginger had encouraged us to perform the routine for that special someone, and I jumped on that opportunity.  For the next couple weeks, I rehearsed and improvised when I couldn’t remember a move.  I haphazardly gathered up a costume and even bought pasties from Lemme Addams of Whiskey Tongue Burlesque.  The pasties were the final step.

After a couple run-throughs to make sure I didn’t forget anything over Christmas, I made my debut for my one-person audience.  I’ve danced for him before, but I’ve always felt awkward.  This time, despite the parts that could use improvement, I didn’t.  He loved the routine, and I was happy to have put my all into it.  That was when I realized burlesque is something I truly love studying and doing. 

Even if I end up not having more than one person in my audience, I’m still going to continue dancing, and I want to at least try to work up the courage to perform in front of more people.  In the meantime, I will just continue to be part of the community through this blog and my attendance at shows.  However, those pasties are begging to be worn again.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Welcome to my world of science and striptease

Greetings!  My name is Hana Li (rhymes with "wanna be").  I'm a newcomer in the Dallas burlesque scene, but some of you might have seen me around at shows with my D-SLR or selling merchandise or picking up panties at the Dallas Burlesque Festival.  I was also one of the presenters at All-con's History of Burlesque panel.  For the past year, I've been taking classes at the Ruby Room, and I recently joined the Academy of Queerlesque's burlesque performance group.  I'll be making my stage debut on May 3 at the Panty Raid show, Beauty and the Butch.

The title of this blog comes from a joke a friend made in college about how instead of stripping his way through medical/graduate school, he was going to lab tech his way through stripper school.  One day, it occurred to me that his statement has become the truth for me (I do neuroscience research on fruit flies in the daytime).  Funny how life works sometimes.

Most of the entries here are cross-posted on Dieselpunks After Dark, which is where I began documenting my journey to becoming more than just a student.  Since I've only gotten started (and will be busy with non-burlesque things the next few months), I'll be reposting my old entries from Dieselpunks After Dark and share a few more photos from past shoots until I'm all caught up.

I won't be sharing much about my day job, but I'll find a way to work science in.  I always do.