Friday, August 29, 2014

The Third Annual San Antonio Burlesque Festival

The trip to San Antonio began with a rocky start.  Running short on sleep, the Companion and I were tired and cranky.  He was probably more so than I since I had been the one pushing to leave early, only to be the one to run late.  As he was doing last minute errands, I thought I could do some last minute rehearsing…and finish packing.  On top of that, I had one more costume repair left to do.  Thankfully I could do that in the car, but it was a stressful morning.

By Raven Red Photography
Things didn't improve as we got closer because we hit rush-hour Austin traffic.  I messaged Pelvis Costello, one of the producers, about not being able to make tech, and he assured me that a lot of people were delayed.  When we finally reached San Antonio, I rushed to check in and get my contacts in.  At this point, I was glad I opted for a cheap motel that was on the way to the Josephine Theatre though later I would regret this decision.

I made it in time to tech but did only do a minute of my song to keep things moving along.  Suddenly I found myself with some extra time, not wanting to get into that fleece onesie just yet.  I felt a little out of place since I didn't know that many people.  However, everyone was nice, and I found out that there were a lot of geeks backstage.  Later in the evening, I completely flipped out when I realized that Caramel Knowledge was a Rule 63 Nick Fury.  Pelvis and I also had a conversation about how non-burlesquers should be known as Mundies after he spotted Fables as one of the comic books in my act.

There were a lot of geeks in the crowd too.  The audience response was amazing!  It's funny that while I was anxious in the days leading up to the festival, I acted like I did this on a daily basis once the show began.  I think reminding myself that I'm just going to have fun helped.  My routine went by in a blur, and the adrenaline was still pumping after I exited.  I had to sit in just my pasties and panties before putting on some clothes to settle down... although backstage shenanigans made that a little bit harder to do.
I got to enjoy a lot of stellar performances before curtain call and the award for Future Legend, presented by Shannon Doah.  Big congrats to Tifa Tittlywinks!  There wasn't an after-party or even a group outing for food, but The Companion and I did run into Pystol Whips at the taco stand.  She was the one who brought up tacos backstage, and it was nice to wind down the night with yummy food and talk of random things with a fellow performer.

After waking up much earlier than desired, the Companion and I began our Saturday with brunch at a diner.  Since I had two workshops, I opted for a salad, but that turned out to be chicken with cheese all over and some lettuce and tomatoes.  I was very worried that I would not survive Michelle L'amour's "Booty Lab".  It was intense, but according to Black Mariah (who had the best spot in the house being behind everyone), I fared pretty well.  I used muscles that I didn't know existed.  Next was "Dynamic Staging Techniques with Waxie Moon".  His enthusiasm made me forget about my shyness or my exhaustion.  I came away with a better idea of how to choreograph routines.

Showgirl pose in front of the Alamo
The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to a bit of sightseeing.  Then it was dinner with a couple old friends I knew since college.  The heat must have gotten to me because I felt totally drained by the time Saturday's show began and actually took off my button-up shirt to cool off (thank you burlesque for making a vest and push-up bra totally appropriate to wear).  Nevertheless, the performances were great, and I was super stoked to see two friends take home sparkly taco awards, Blaze for Most Classic and Mary Lynn Mayhem for Best Solo.  The Companion decided that he owed the producers drinks for putting on two fantastic shows and just being awesome overall.  

We were sad we couldn't stick around for the Sunday brunch, but it was nice getting to chat with Jasper St. James and Shelby Mine (yay for Tumblr friends meeting in person!) and Eaton Johnson of Queertini Time.  I much prefer the chill atmosphere of a brunch versus an after-party, and Foxxy Blue Orchid was such lovely host.  I hope next time I can hang around San Antonio long; you can bet that I'll be applying for next year's festival.

More photos of my performance can be found on my facebook page.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Letdowns and Ladies of Power

Upon returning from BHoF, I had zero time to recover.  As I mentioned in my previous post, an audition deadline wound up being a month earlier than expected, and while I didn't have to have a completed routine, I had to get my point across.  I could have waited for another audition, but video game-themed shows don't crop up very often and I had an idea for a Metal Gear Solid act brewing in my head for a year.

The other surprisingly difficult part was finding a box
that I could fit under. 
Sorry, you only get a peek of the costume.
Prior to leaving for Las Vegas, I ordered my main costume pieces.  When they arrived, I realized my error: I was thinking more like a cosplayer rather than a burlesquer.  Authentic BDUs make very awful tear-away pants due to all the layers and the cargo pockets.  Fortunately, my friends Radha and Ramon offered their sewing expertise and equipment to come up with something that could work.

I stressed like crazy for about two weeks, and when I filmed the routine, I felt like a badass.  Thus I couldn't help but be extremely bummed to find out that I didn't get in the show.  I tried to remind myself that competition was tough and that I still had made it into the San Antonio Burlesque Festival.  After a week of moping, I started to see where I could improve.  Just like the routine I submitted for the Moulin Rouge show, I rushed into this.  Even though the idea may have been in my head for a while, I needed to take time to let it develop.  Rejection is tough, but I have to move forward... and quit jeopardizing my day job to meet a deadline.

If the stress of putting together a new routine wasn't enough, I also signed onto do a photoshoot for Ladies of Power.  The wonderful Callie Calypso decided to create a cosplay calendar to benefit a local women's shelter while simultaneously promoting feminism in all its different forms.  To learn more about the project and help us meet printing costs, please visit our Indiegogo.  Fundraising ends in a couple of weeks!

If I hadn't made it clear in my previous posts, I hate sewing.  I wound up putting the task of finishing my Wonder Girl cosplay off until the night before, which led to panic and my poor partner having to save my butt.  The Companion had already spent his precious time working on my Snake costume for the aforementioned act, and now he was drawing out the "W" for me.  It hit me that I don't actually enjoy making costumes, making me question my involvement with cosplay.  That night, I decided that with the exception of a couple of dream costumes, I was going to stop all my future cosplay plans.  I'd still do cons in my complete outfits (because I do like wearing cosplay), but I was going to spend the time and money elsewhere (i.e. burlesque).

By HendrixHunter Photography
Make-up by Meghan Palla

In spite of that revelation and the additional horrible time I had trying to get a specific haircut for the shoot, I had a blast at the Ladies of Power shoot.  I had brought together different friends, and it felt good to be a part of something that was going to help others.  My fellow Ladies of Power started talking about group cosplays, and I desperately wanted to join.  However, I reminded myself about how unfairly I had been treating The Companion in making him be my tailor for both burlesque outfits and cosplays.  I needed to reprioritize and refrain from rushing into new cosplays (are you sensing a theme too?).

Ironically I've decided to work on one of the exceptions to my "No New Cosplays" rule because my hair is the perfect length after having had most of it chopped off to fix the botched cut.  I will also be performing in the Latin Burlesque Festival with Fuego de Samba (more on that in a future post) and at a Quentin Tarantino-themed show.  The later has me working on a new act.  You can bet that I'll be taking my time on this.

You can also catch me stage kittening at Nerdvana, a celebration of Taffeta Darling's birthday and the anniversary of Fangirls: Dames of the Round Table.

By the way, if you like my seeing my cosplays, check out my posts to Tumblr.  I've shared my favorite costumes of all time: #1-5 and #6-10.