Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Creating Tony: From Tuxedo Mask to James Dean

"Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done." - James Dean

Tuesday Tease: StripToons
By Brandy Lynne Photography
One day, I posted on Facebook about how I probably should be doing drag rather than burlesque, given my penchant for cross-dressing, but then I wouldn't enjoy the fun of striptease.  A couple friends asked why I couldn't do both, and Lillith Grey reminded me that this is why queerlesque exists.  Although Tuxedo Mask was not my first attempt at androgyny, it was the act that got me re-thinkingmy aesthetic.  I never intended the routine to be full-on drag, just convincing enough to portray the character.  Nevertheless, at times, I wish I didn't wear a push-up bra underneath or sparkly ballroom heels so that I could look more like a man in the beginning.  Other times, I wonder how I got to this point when burlesque was supposed to be an expression of my feminine side.

Accepting that goals can change—evident with my shift from wanting to cosplay Sailor Mars to Tuxedo Mask— gave me a new perspective.  Over the summer, I was thinking about a new act and noticed a few shows centered on classic movie stars.  The glamorous screen siren did not interest to me unless it was Anna May Wong, but even then, I didn't feel inspired.  One night, I was listening to the radio and Taylor Swift's "Style" came on.  In the song, she mentioned James Dean, and I got the idea that he would be my Hollywood icon.

All the cards fell into place with the next No Mija Productions/Fuego Danza Company show.  You see, around the time Ricky Martin was huge and everyone wanted to do a Latin-inspired song, the singer/actor Jacob Young had a minor hit with his James Dean tribute, "Life Is Good".  With LilyLeCroix's help, I added some salsa elements into my routine.  I've spent so much time in recent years, focusing on a feminine dance style that trying to salsa like a guy was harder than expected.  I was also able to use the lessons from Miss Indigo Blue's workshop during the San Antonio BurlesqueFestival to better convey angst and anguish.

No Mija Productions:  ¡Ritmo Caliente!
By Mr. Photopix
Despite the simplicity of his Rebel Without a Cause outfit, assembling the costume took some work.  I accidentally bought the wrong size jacket, but with advice from The Companion and my drag king/fashion designer friend Corvin Rose, I altered it as best as I can.  The breakaway jeans were made by Threads by Mayhem, and after searching for the right red bottoms, I happened upon the perfect thong by Calamity Chang.  Everything fell into place…except the actual performance.

No Mija Productions:  ¡Ritmo Caliente!
By Mr. Photopix
One of my greatest fears used to be popping a pastie.  I had prudishly drawn a metaphorical line of what I allowed myself to expose at the nipple.  It's silly, I know.  When it happened, I wound up being more frustrated than mortified because it was a completely preventable accident.  Thankfully I had assels so the audience got more booty than usual.

Oh well, you live and learn.  The important part is that I had fun.  I really enjoyed adopting James Dean's attitude and returning to a more masculine dance style.  The early concepts for the act had been more drag in nature, and I wondered what the experience would have been like had I went that direction.  Thus, a seed was planted in my mind…

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're going with your inner flow and finding what honestly works for you! I hope we can catch Tony's next show. :)