Sunday, November 9, 2014

Queen of the Crime Council

A little over two years ago, a burlesque fan boarded the light rail in her cosplay, prop meteor hammer and camera in tow.  I was determined to check out the Quentin Tarantino-themed burlesque show in my Gogo Yubari costume.  Little did I know that it would play a huge part in getting me into the Dallas burlesque scene and set me on the road to competing for a crown.

Villains and Villainesses
By Mr. Photopix
When Appaloosa Red announced that there would be a sequel to the Tarantino tribute, Pulp Friction, I knew I had to submit an act.  I chose O-Ren Ishii instead of Gogo because I'm not a fan of the Asian school girl stereotype (even if Gogo is a subversion) and I wanted a challenge.  I decided to play upon her mixed heritage since I could relate.  As an American-born Taiwanese with Chinese ancestry and a love of Japanese culture that people mistake for being my ethnicity, I wanted explore the layers of identity and show that there's more than what meets the eye.  To make the concept more O-Ren, I decided to represent the cultural identities as personas she adopted for assassinations.  It helped tie all the looks together because regardless of what she's wearing, she's still a badass.

Of course, this complex idea meant another complicated costume—or rather, three costumes.  To my great fortune, Black Mariah had an old kimono and I was able to use the ties from my yukata.  I decided to get a real obi, which led to me having to learn how to tie it and figure out of it without being a tangled mess.  Equally questionable was my choice to use a G-string that I happened to have (yay lingerie sets).  It saved me from buying another costume piece, but I had my apprehensions about baring that much.  I reminded myself of the insecurities I had already overcome and went into Pulp Friction with the "Go big or go home" mindset that had gotten me this far.

Pulp Friction
By DV8Photo
I really have to thank Appaloosa Red for having this high maintenance routine in her show and the stage kittens for lending a hand.  Despite a little mishap, I had a successful performance and probably the best obi removal I could ever wish for.  I was happy to have been able to show a different side to Hana Li, and I was inspired by all these different interpretations of Tarantino films and characters.

The PistolettesA Go-Go were in Pulp Fiction as the Crazy 88s, and they wound up talking me into auditioning for the Texas Burlesque Peepshow's Villains and Villainesses show, which was also a competition for Evil Queen of Burlesque.  They had the idea of having me enter with them like in the movie and then do my solo after their routine.  I hadn't planned to audition due to a friend's wedding being the same day.  It was an afternoon wedding so with some help, I worked out a schedule that allowed me to do both if I was cast.  It sounded good in theory and The Pistolettes and I were selected.  Then I had a week of the worst luck ever— which included my bus to the Texas Theatre not showing up.
Villains and Villainesses,
with the Pistolettes A Go-Go
By Samuel Hsu
The Companion, who already skipped some of the reception by waiting out in the cold with me, came to the rescue.  The Pistolettes were also extremely helpful in getting me ready to go, especially Coco Dependent who worked magic on my wig.  Things seemed to be looking up, but the bad luck reared its ugly head again.  There was a technical error (it's theatre; it happens), but we made it work.  And I really do mean we since the stage kittens and The Pistolettes played big roles.  This was a test of my capabilities as a dancer, which could use some improvement yet I should not doubt.

Villains and Villainesses
By Mr. Photopix
I hadn't really thought much about the competition aspect until I saw photos of the crown.  Then the reality of being a contender for Queen sunk in.  In a way, all the unrelated stresses I had to deal with kept me from becoming too competitive.  Being among such talented dancers was enough of an honor for me—a big congratulations to Blaze for becoming our first-ever Evil Queen of Burlesque.  I did my best with what is only my second solo act, and even if I'm not Evil Queen, I still got to be the Queen of the Crime Council.

More photos can be found in my "Performances" album.