Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dallas Burlesque Festival '14 Night 1

In the days leading up to the Dallas Burlesque Festival, people would ask, "Are you excited/nervous/ready?"  I was all three at various points and sometimes all at once.  As the big day grew near, I stopped freaking out and fussing over little things (the Olympics were a nice distraction).  I realized that no matter what happened, my solo debut was something I put my heart and soul into and I would be happy with that.
By Karlo X. Ramos

When I set out to create my first routine, I wanted it to completely represent me while appealing to a broad audience.  I can get pretty niche with my interests, and I don't want to be just a nerdlesque dancer.  I knew that I wanted to use "Black Glasses" by Angela Aki because I could relate to the lyrics and there was some wordplay I could incorporate.  Also, it would be nice to introduce people to a singer they probably had never heard for (she's a bilingual J-pop musician).  Another goal of mine was to incorporate some satire or social commentary because I've always enjoyed that aspect of burlesque and it's important for me as an artist.  The song provided the opportunity to poke fun at a movie trope.  After much contemplation on the type of nerd girl to portray, I chose a comic book fan in order to fire back at people who have railed against "fake geek girls" while simultaneously conquering my fear of being perceived as one.  In short, this routine was me: Asian, nerdy, feminist, silly, and fun.  And yes, I've learned to embrace the cute too.

By Karlo X. Ramos

Thursday's show, which was made possible by both DBF and the Dallas Burlesque Alliance, comprised of all local performers with the exception of Ooops the Clown, Ratty Scurvics, and Mr. Cheeze (but Dallas embraces them as our own).  I was happy to be among many familiar faces, as well as fellow DBF newbies.  It made me feel less out of place.

My nerves returned during tech rehearsal.  Even though I had danced on the House of Blues Cambridge Room stage before, I was still overwhelmed by the bright lights and loud music.  I wound up rushing through my routine, and in my desire to not take up other people's precious rehearsal time, I skipped the series of reveals that had me concerned.  However, there wasn't much else I could do besides pay attention to mental notes and get my make-up done.

Renee Holiday gave me an applicator for my false eyelashes, and it helped me win the long, tough battle…sort of.  I didn't have time to trim my new pair so I used the crummy old ones that sit funny.  I fussed with them so much that one fell off right when Lyric Laveau and the Jazz Quartet finished.  The end of the music signaled the beginning of the dancing; fortunately I was in the middle of the setlist.

The eyelashes and my contacts behaved for the rest of the night, and watching the other performers helped me get into the zone.  Playing with Mr. Cheeze also calmed me down.  I still obsessed over details and tried to make sure the very busy kittens new where my stuff was.  I realized that I needed a way to get on-stage without ruining my first "reveal", but thankfully I was able to solve that problem.  Then Pixie O'Kneel had finished her act, and it was my turn.
Isn't Mr. Cheeze adorable?
When I got on-stage, everything became automatic.  I don't really remember much besides the bright lights and glancing down at audience members even though I told myself to look up.  I fed off their energy so the more responsive they were, the more I gave back.  It was an adrenaline rush.

The perfectionist in me would normally pick apart my performance, but I felt so amazing afterward.  I could be critical another night.  Everybody had such great things to say to me— Mary Lynn Mayhem told me to get used the compliments.  I'm definitely proud of myself, but it's hard to not say "Aw shucks" (not that I would say that, but it's that feeling).

After the show, The Companion and I wound up hanging out with my Dallas School of Burlesque classmates MayMay, Jay Scarlet, and Rowdy Rory.  We invaded the Stone Sour auction in our search for a quieter place to chat and met up with The Dirty Blonde and Dapper John.  Since everyone was hungry, we decided to go to Café Brazil— only to be reminded that it was Thursday and they were open late.  Buzzbrews, however, was open so we went there and enjoyed yummy food and hot chocolate.  It was nice way to cap off one of the best nights of my life.  
By Karlo X. Ramos

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