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).