Panty Raid will always hold a special place in my heart, and not just because it was the setting for my bust-out. The producers/Academy of Queerlesque teachers created an atmosphere that made me feel as though burlesque really did have a place for me as a performer. Therefore, when Lily Lovely offered the opportunity to perform my comic book girl number in their "Crimson and Clothesless" show, my answer was a resounding "Hell yes!". Actually I had a more subdued response, but I was stoked at another chance to do my routine.
|Johnny Genevive and Ashley Boucher|
On the bright side, The Companion and two of our friends were going to be there. Going out to dinner helped to clear my mind a bit. Unfortunately that also led to me being late due to underestimating driving time. I got to Sue Ellen's with enough time to get ready and check in on my friends. Despite the welcoming environment, I still worried that they, three straight guys (two of whom aren't involved with burlesque in any way), would feel out of place. It turned out that my worries were all for naught because Johnny Genevieve, who was also performing in the show, took the time to chat with them.
I didn't want to spoil the key part of my costume, but I also wanted to see the other acts, particularly Jerry Fedora's infamous Darth Gaga number so I wound up hiding in the corner by Luscious Peach Boutique's stall. I enjoyed being among familiar faces and seeing performers—some burlesque, some not— I didn't know. Pretty soon, it was my turn.
"Crimson and Clothesless" was a super fun show. I really appreciate the fact that Lily wanted me to be a part of it and that my friends came out of their element to show their support. Doing Panty Raid again felt like a homecoming. Even though I didn't know many fellow performers this time and the first time, I always got the sense that anybody who is part of the queer community or an ally can belong (which is ironic considering that I used to fear not being queer enough to participate in such events). Upon leaving Sue Ellen's, I reminded myself that I needed to visit more because it's a great place and I want to be part of the support network that helped me get off my feet.