Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Naked Snake Revealed

Sigint: "Snake, what's up? Why are you naked? I know there's a 'NAKED' option under 'UNIFORM' that lets you take off the upper part of your uniform. But without a shirt on, your camouflage sucks, and your stamina goes down faster. You don't get any advantages whatsoever."
Naked Snake
: "Sure there are."
: "Like what?"
Naked Snake
: "It feels good."
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Back in August, I finally got to perform an act that has been brewing in my head since 2013.  Yes, it existed before "Black Glasses", which I chose to focus on because I wanted my solo debut to be more representative of me.  I even blogged about working on it.

When I became familiar with nerdlesque, Metal Gear Solid popped into my mind.  I had seen my brother and one of my friends in college play through Snake Eater, and the theme song was on Karaoke Revolution (a game I did play a lot).  It was sultry and dramatic, which just screamed "burlesque" to me.  The game was full of femme fatales, but I thought it would be more interesting and entertaining to portray the uber-masculine protagonist, Solid Snake.  Or since I'd be referencing Snake Eater, which was a prequel, his predecessor Naked Snake—yes, that is his codename.

AnimeFest 2015
Photo by Julio M. Photography
Since I approached the costume from a cosplay, rather than a striptease, perspective, I wound up getting real BDUs with the exact same camo that Naked Snake used.  They were not easy to work with, and I have to thank my friends Ramon and Radha, as well as The Companion, for helping with the construction.  I had more costume pieces and gags in the initial concept, but they just distracted from the performance.  Plus the most recent Metal Gear Solid heroine's lack of clothing gave me inspiration—and motivation to give Snake the same treatment.  I did keep the cardboard box though.

The act kept getting put on the backburner, but I never stopped thinking about how I could make it better because the opportunity would come one day.  And it did—with Tuesday Tease.  We decided upon a Super Smash Brothers video game theme.  Vivienne Vermuth helped me co-produce so that I could perform as well.  One thing you have to know, however, is that The Companion is a competitive Smash Brothers player so I did have to put a lot of work into the rest of the show.  It made me glad that I had most of my Snake act ready to go.  The Companion took time off to go to the show and invited his friends.  I was happy to get the support since Snake is not the most popular of characters.  I loved the reactions I got when I came out with the box and then revealed myself from underneath.
Tuesday Tease: Super Smash Tease
Photo by KWN Design
This act was made for a geeky audience, but I still wanted to reference classic burlesque in my choreography.  I'm constantly finding this balance in many of my acts.  It's tricky, and doing this a couple months later at Oni-con made me realize that I need to be flexible with my numbers.  In any case, I am really grateful for the opportunity to make Naked Snake a reality and show it off to two different audiences in two cities.  Hopefully those weren't the last missions for Naked Snake.

I've got a completely different mission this week: help produce the last Tuesday Tease of the year.  It's also our farewell show for Alissa, who has managed the bar and been our liaison with the higher ups.  So come join us for this special evening!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Upcoming Tuesday Tease appearances

Not too long ago, I reached my anniversary with the Tuesday Tease Team.  I've learned a lot working behind the scenes and gained more responsibilities.  The experience has introduced me to many wonderful people who inspire me to come up with new acts (and get Tony Fo-Hawk to do the same).  I never thought I would be where I am at, but I'm thankful for it.
The Tease Team
Photo by KWN Design

Basically you'll be able to see me at every Tuesday Tease in the coming weeks.  I may not be performing, but I want you to support all the shows we do because it is a group effort.  However, here's my schedule if you wanna say "hi".

12/20/16 - Drag Me to the Future - performing
Drag Me to the Future line-up

12/27/16 - 2016 Best of Tease - co-producing with Tasseled Squirrel

1/3/17 - Tease of Color - Tony Fo-Hawk performing

1/10/17 - PokGAYmon (Redux) - producing

Remember, Tuesday Tease starts at 10 PM.  The venue is Sue Ellen's on 3014 Throckmorton St., Dallas, TX.  There's no cover for 21+, $5 for 18-20, but bring some dollars to tip the performers.  Hope to see you around!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Upcoming shows: Tuesday Tease and Nerds in Technicolor

I was planning on making an actual blog post today, but I became preoccupied with the next show I'm producing, Tuesday Tease: Dungeons and Drag.  I got a little over enthusiastic and wanted tell a story with the line-up.  (This is what happens when you give me control over a show.)  You can see the final result tomorrow, and we've added a special guest, Roxxy Reckless.

I also want to give you a sneak preview of what's going down in 2017.  One of the shows I'll be doing is Nerds in Technical, a POC nerdlesque show, on February 18.  There are a lot of out-of-town guests so there's a fundraiser to help out with funds and to ensure that there will be more like it in the future.  Check out the link below to donate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fo-Hawk Rising: From Beach Bum to Headliner

"I've always had a mental wish list of tricks, such as the 900, varial 720, kickflip 540, ollie 540, and slowly over the years I checked them off one by one until the 9 was the only one left.  Everything else now is purely for fun." - Tony Hawk, Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder

I'm finally getting back to my recap of various shows and experiences.  Tony Fo-Hawk is on break to enjoy some snowboarding so this is a good time to discuss the hell of a summer he had (fall was good as well, but I'll cover that later).  I had already talked about the creation of his Airship Pirate number.  Before that, he was working on another new act for the Wet 'n' Wild Tuesday Tease.

Photo by KWN Design
The arrival of summer meant surfing for Tony.  I had planned a surfer act of my own, but this seemed more like his thing (although I reserve the right to return to the idea).  The Companion's favorite song is "Surf Wax America" by Weezer so I really wanted to use it.  However, the song is actually sarcastic, which made me take pause.  Could Tony lip synch these words when they're supposed to mock? The tune was catchy though; I couldn't get it out of my head.  Thankfully there was a solution: Jack Johnson.

Before he became known as a musician, Jack Johnson was a pro surfer—the youngest to make finals at Pipeline Masters.  His songs are a bit too mellow to do an act to on their own, but I found a song he wrote about the waves and mashed it up with "Surf Wax America".

My breasts are too sensitive and large for me to be comfortable with duct tape binding.  Therefore, I knew the illusion was going to be compromised because who surfs with their shirt on?  I thought about buying a wetsuit, but they weren't in my budget and my binder would still show through.  I decided that the audience could suspend their disbelief, especially if I went even sillier with the "nudity" down below.
See what I mean?
Photo by KWN Design
"Going Surfing" provided a much needed lightness since I had been working on two ambitious numbers for the SteamTease.  In August, Tony and I teamed up to do our "Jesus of Suburbia" act for a Broadway-themed Tuesday Tease.  I'll never get tired performing because it's so cathartic.  That same week, Tony continued with the musical-inspired acts and did Hamilton for Mustache Envy.

Not throwing away his shot
Photo by Cher Musico
Since seeing them at my bust-out, I've admired Mustache Envy.  I've performed in their Panty Raid shows a couple of times, but I didn't think Tony would be in a Mustache show.  Nevertheless, I submitted his two most ambitious—and uncharacteristic—acts: the Airship Pirate and Hamilton.  I was so honored to find that not only was Tony hired on to do Hamilton, but was named a headliner alongside the amazing Patrick Mikyles!

Because it was my most PG of acts, I took the opportunity to invite my co-workers along to experience a drag show.  Some of them may have been in for a culture shock, but I think—I hope—they had a good time.  I sure did.  It's always great to see fans of the musical rap along.  There were these two girls who knew every lyric, and they approached me with excitement afterwards, telling me that they were blasting the soundtrack earlier in the day. 

One of the reasons I love doing nerdlesque so much is because I can reach those people who may have obscure interests.  Tony isn't really a nerd (unless you count his action sports obsession), but I'm glad he can reach out to people too.  I’ll cover some of his more recent shows, but I’m really proud of how far he has come in less than a year.

As I said, he's currently on a break, but you can catch me in a brand-new nerdy act tomorrow at Tuesday Tease!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Show Must Rage On

I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance. - bell hooks
I have a lot of nightmare burlesque scenarios, being the anxious person that I am.  However, none of my worrying could prepare me to last Tuesday night.  I had joked that the second worst thing about the end of election season was that I could no longer enjoy my current favorite podcast, Politically Reactive—the worst being that we'd have to deal with the reality of Donald Trump being elected President.

As far-fetched as the idea seemed to me and many others, the possibility lingered in the backs of our minds.  That was how my cast, my crew, and I came to Sue Ellen's for the PokGAYmon show.  We wanted to provide a temporary escape, as well as an opportunity for celebration.  We teased the idea of drinking our sorrows away in case Hillary Clinton lost.  The atmosphere was somber upon arrival, and the Tease Team quickly formed a game plan for various scenarios.

In the end, we could not have the show.  Too many people in the crowd were on edge from the news.  This impacted all of us, as members of the queer community.  There were a lot of tears, a lot of questions, a lot of rage.  Although I knew canceling the show was the only option, I was upset at not being able to provide people hope and solace.  I had already gone home by the time Hillary officially conceded, and I could hardly sleep with the gears that were turning in my head.  Anger has always been a source of motivation.

It was hard to focus on my upcoming performances at Steampunk November and the next Tuesday Tease.  I went to a protest (not my first) to show that I am more than just angry social media posts and to show those of my friends who are too scared by the hate that has been riled up.  It required a lot of physical and mental strength, especially since we had eggs, barbecue sauce, and wine thrown at us (not me but I heard the aftermath).  As a result, I haven't been as on top of things as I should be.  It's been hard to just go on, but sometimes that is the best way to take a stand.

On the train ride to the protest, I realized that the act Tony Fo-Hawk had booked would not be suitable for the current mood.  Immediately, Tony came up with a new number, inspired by American Idiot.  It encompasses all the rage at the bigotry that we have let slide through the years and is now in the open, the problems of the electoral college system, the attempts at politicians for trying to control the bodies and lives of marginalized individuals, and the idea that I, a queer Asian burlesque dancer, ought to shut my mouth and look pretty.

Tomorrow (or technically today), you can join Tony in expressing your anger at Tuesday Tease.  I will still be doing the same act I had planned, which I think is pretty relevant to.  It was inspired by a personal battle against misogynistic views about feminine beauty.  I still need to write about when I debuted it at Glitterbomb, and I'm excited for Tease to experience it to.  People might think that I'm out of fucks to give, but I have all the fucks to give.  Because I will not let my friends' struggles be ignored and I will not be silenced.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Upcoming shows: Tuesday Tease and Steampunk November

If you're looking for a election night party, whether to get away or to have a safe space to follow the news, Tuesday Tease has the event for you.  We're doing a Pokemon-themed, but the TVs will be airing the results and there are plans to celebrate (or drink our sorrows).

I'm super excited to be producing this show.  All the performers have inspired me to put together a "professor" cosplay since they're all Pokemon, trainers, and team leaders while Kylee, our host, is calling herself a "gym leader".  If my plan doesn't work, I'll have my Flannery cosplay to fall back on.

 All-con 2016
Flareon: The Companion
photography: Neither Noir

As for performing, I will be joining Broads and Panties at Steampunk November in Venus.  We will be hitting the stage Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 PM.  Expect a mix of classic and nerdlesque.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Interview with Burlesque Stripped Down

It's just what the image says: I revealed some facts and stories you may not have known on the podcast, Burlesque Stripped Down.  I want to thank Velvet O'Claire for the opportunity and for taking an interest in asexual awareness.  You can check out my interview here: http://www.burlesquestrippeddown.com/hana/

I also highly encourage you to peruse the site since it has many interviews with fabulous dancers and segments featuring helpful tips for performers of all types and levels.

Finally one of the subjects that I mentioned is my upcoming show at Oni-con at the Galveston Island Convention Center.  I'll be doing two super nerdy routines with Kiki Maroon's Comic Strip.  The show is on October 29 at 9 PM in Grand Ballroom C.

A Loss in the Community

I hate that I have to write a completely different post than the one planned with the news that the Dallas burlesque community received yesterday.  2016 has already seen us lose legends, and I've had to deal with some other deaths that affected me personally.  However, one of our own has departed much too soon.

Dr. Q was a long-time performer in Denton and Dallas, having been with the Vixens of Vaudeville and more recently the Lowbrow Lullabies.  I got to work with him and his dance partner Femme Vivre LaRouge when they were in the latter in one of my first stage kittening gigs with Clever Girl Cabaret.  They had such two delightful acts that brought the whimsy of Tex Avery to life.  They had such a great partnership and brought smiles to everyone who saw them.

Photo by The Companion

Our paths would cross again, as I kittened for them a couple more times.  Dr. Q and Femme Vivre La Rouge would go out of our way to make my job a little easier, and they were so kind to newbie like me.  I saw Dr. Q at other shows throughout the years, and both The Companion and I enjoyed his company.  One thing you have to know about The Companion is that he doesn't really think of burlesque as his world so he generally stays quiet.  However, he got along so well with Dr. Q.

We didn't know Dr. Q very well and had not seen him lately.  In fact, a couple days ago, I was wondering when the Lowbrow Lullabies would be reappearing and whether I could cast them in a future show.  Now I think about Femme Vivre LaRouge, Divertida Devotchka, Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx, other dancers who were close to him, and the people in his Muggle life.  It'll be some time before I overcome the shock, but the show must go on.  Rest in peace, Dr. Q; we will miss you.

Photo by The Companion

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pride at the 2016 Texas Queerlesque Festival

"Moon Pride
I want to be your power

Tears flow down a cheek, eyes burn red
Someone cries of love violently, like a flash of lightning
Even if you're in pitch black darkness, you're not alone, you know?
The Moonlight illuminates us" - "Moon Pride" by Momoiro Clover Z

I meant to make this post a couple weeks earlier, but lab life got really hectic.  On top of that, I've been working on shows.  In fact, my next one is tonight!

I also got interviewed by Asexual Artists.  It fills me with pride to have been able to represent both the burlesque and ace communities.  Click here to read the interview.

Photo by The Naked Lens
The Asexual Artists feature provides a good segue into the topic of my next post, the inaugural Texas Queerlesque Festival.  It was place where I could show off my pride as a genderqueer, grey-asexual burlesque dancer (who also does drag but Tony was absent).  Being cognizant of my straight-passing, cisgender privilege, I initially hesitated.  I didn't want to take another, more deserving person's spot.  Then I remembered that I belonged as much as anyone else because my identity is my own and my art clearly reflects the queerness that makes up who I am.  I submitted "Moonlight Serenade" since it had queer inspirations and got in! 

"Moonlight Serenade" had been previously rejected from other festivals so I thought about what needed improvement: less focus on doing actual tango steps, more face, more sparkles!  This all sounded good, but then I changed my anxiety medication right around the festival.  I went from one set of side effects to another.  At the same time, I can't completely blame my meds for the lack of preparation.  Even with a day off from work, I was behind on costuming and incredibly scattered-brained.  You could probably tell at the shots taken during the performer portrait session.

What made me even more agitated was that I was the second performer in the line-up.  However, once The Companion delivered my forgotten items (to which I owe him greatly), I buckled down and got in the zone.  I steamed my cape, fixed my false eyelashes, put on Glam Jam (which feels good even on sunburned skin) and slipped on my ace pride socks (a special addition to my costume, inspired by the desire to show that asexuals do belong in the community) with enough down time to chat with fellow performers to wind down from all the anxiety.  Then it was showtime.
Photo by The Naked Lens

I don't know if it was the magic of my ace pride socks or the sound of fellow Sailor Moon fans screaming over the rest of the audience, but I felt a great adrenaline rush that matched my solo debut.  It was my best performance of "Moonlight Serenade" to date.  Even with a few rushed spots, I was very happy.  The cherry on top was Lady Lola LeStrange's utter excitement over the fact that I was portraying Tuxedo Mask.  Moonies unite!

The upside to being second on the first night of the festival was that I could now chill and enjoy everyone else's performances.  And boy were there a lot of awesome ones!  It made me proud to be a part of the queerlesque community and inspired to work even harder for next year.  On top of that, the people were so friendly that hands down, this is a festival I will recommend over and over again.

I was on such a high that I actually drove to Sue Ellen's by myself for Jeez Loueez's Twerk and Jerk workshop.  Driving is a great source of anxiety so this is a big deal.  It was a scary experience, but the workshop and wind-down party made me forget about it until I had to go home.  I have to mention how cool it is for Jeez to include the history of twerking in her class.  It's both necessary and fascinating.

Sunday Wind Down Party
The inaugural Texas Queerlesque Festival was amazing, and so many people worked hard to make that happen.  I thank each of them for their efforts, and I'm proud that despite its conservative image, Texas is able to have a space where queer performers from all around the country can show their art.  I came away knowing where I need to improve as both a performer and an individual, and hopefully I can come up with something worthy to be in the next show or at least find more ways to be involvedbe it socializing, attending more workshops, or volunteering.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Upcoming shows: Glitterbomb and Tuesday Tease

As you can guess, I've been busy as a bee.  Tomorrow (or I guess technically tonight), I am debuting a very special and personal number about hair and my contentious relationship with it.  So please come out to Glitterbomb.  It won't be all tears though as Tony Fo-Hawk is bringing back his fun tribute to our Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist with fabulous hair, Sage Kotsenburg. It'll be an unforgettable night so please come out to Mable Peabody's!

For Tuesday Tease, I will be stage managing/kittening for the next show on September 27.  Then I'm producing the October 11 show.  The flyers haven't been released yet, but mark those dates down!

I promise I'll get back to blogging.  The next post is about the Texas Queerlesque Festival, and there's a lot.  In fact, I don't think I can fit all the pictures in so here's one of them.

TXQF16: Sequins and Sass cast and crew
Photo by The Naked Lens

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Upcoming shows: Tuesday Tease and Rockers for Knockers

I meant to work on more blog posts, but just as I was done with Super Smash Tease, I had another show to produce.  That's what I get with the "promotion" (not that we actually have a hierarchy in Tuesday Tease, just responsibilities).  In any case, you'll be seeing more shows produced by yours truly, and I won't be in them with the exception of special occasions.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't come because we always have stellar performers, and this week, we've got some pretty special guests.  Hope to see you at Sue's!

One show you can catch me in is Rockers for Knockers on October 1.  It's a charity show with a live band.  I've got another show lined up this month, but I wanted to share this one because it is for a good cause, My Hope Chest, so mark your calendars!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Becoming a Sophisticated A.I. (and Airship Pirate)

"DIGITIZE THE WORLD. (A new life awaits you)." - Cyberpunk Dada Manifesto
When Tuesday Tease decided on a retrofuturistic theme, I knew I had to get in on the action.  After all, I love cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, all the past-meets-future mash-ups.  We had originally called the show "Robo Renaissance", and I took things literally.   The Renaissance version of steampunk is called "clockpunk".  My friends do a really great interpretation of that sub-genre's aesthetic.  However, that wasn't what I was looking for.

I've always said that I was more "punk" than "steam" since I like the tech and the sci-fi more than the retro aspect of steampunk.  So I decided to Google "cyberpunk Renaissance" in hopes of finding some works that were less gears and more robotics but still had Renaissance fashion.  Miraculously, I found Deus Ex:Human Revolution.  I played a little bit of the original Deus Ex (for a college class actually) and enjoyed the themes of the game.  As I did more research on the characters, I became very inspired by the symbolism of the Renaissance fashion.  Eliza Cassan, in particular, jumped out at me.  I like wearing black, and the many layers of her identity as a celebrity and an artificial construct provided a wonderful narrative.
from Eidos Montreal Community post
by Valerie Bourdeau
Eliza's jacket was going to be the centerpiece.  I couldn't make it on my own so I wound up commissioning it from Dahl Parts Designs.  Although I thought the dress she wore underneath would be simple enough to alter from existing lingerie pieces, I hit a roadblock with the stretchy material and the zipper.  However, it's the first zipper I've installed on my own (and by hand too!) so I think I'm slowly making progress as a costumer.  The boots provided a different challenge.  They were a lucky acquisition from Missy Lisa of the Ruby Revue and the highest heels I have ever worn.  After some practice, I was able to walk confidently (or at least fake it) in them for the amount of time needed in my act.

Captain Tony Fo-Hawk
The possibilities of the theme made me unable to settle with just one act, even if it was an ambitious one.  In the beginning of my steampunk days, I befriended the vocalist of Marquis of Vaudeville, and they're one of my favorite bands.  I've always wanted to pay tribute to them before I even started burlesque.  Levi des Peu-Chapeaux has an act to the song of theirs I used to belly dance to, "Ordinary Day", so I chose another track, "Dear Isabella".  It's their tribute to Airship Isabella, a highly influential group in the Texas steampunk scene.  That made it perfect because I could pay homage to the entire community who have helped me grow as an individual and fall in love with living in Dallas.  Plus I never got to be an airship pirate (my "steam-sona" was a dancer and scientist) so this was my chance.  I gave the song to Tony Fo-Hawk because I could see him take the skies and not be limited by the rules of society.

Both acts were hits even though Eliza could still use some work.  The show, Steam-Tease, was a lot of fun to be a part of because everyone in the cast was geeky and the producer really encouraged many different interpretations of the retrofuturistic theme.  It was heavily steampunk, but as I've learned, there are a myriad of ways to interpret that sub-genre.  I also finally got to meet fellow Loki/Bucky/vampire-loving nerdlesquer Vita DeVoid in person.  I have to thank Tasseled Squirrel for believing in my two visions, Jessica Dahl for her impeccable work on the jacket, and Oliver Clothesoff for videoing my routines.  Several people complimented me on the jacket, and I want to do the act a hundred times so that I can strut around in it some more (cosplay may be a more feasible alternative).  This was a good start for Eliza; I'm excited to keep tuning her up so that I can bring her back to the stage.

In the meantime, I get to debut another video game act at one of my own shows.  With the help of Vivienne Vermuth, I'm bringing a Smash Brothers-themed Tuesday Tease to Sue Ellen's this week! A lot of extra care has been put into this show because The Companion is one of the long-time members of the competitive Smash scene in Dallas.  So please come and nerd out with us!

Upcoming shows: Tuesday Tease and Mustache Envy

Tony Fo-Hawk has a busy week ahead.  You have two chances to see him at Sue Ellen's: first at a musical-theme Tuesday Tease and then at Mustache Envy's drag show on Friday.  Although he'll never admit to being overwhelmed, I might just have to give the guy a hand on Tuesday.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Queerlesque, the Movement

"This show is proof that history remembers.
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.
We rise and fall in light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer." - Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2016 Tony Awards acceptance sonnet

"How does a skater, a failed cloning project, and a/ Drag king, dropped in the middle of a/ Chainsaw repair and beauty shop in Denton for Glitterbomb/ A queer variety show/ Give a history lesson some rhyme and flow?"  My rap composition skills are a bit rusty, but get the reference?

To fully understand the story, let's go back to 2008.  I was in New York City, watching the Tony Awards (on TV) pay tribute to RENT after having seen the show live.  A young man named Lin-Manuel Miranda won Best Original Score and freestyled his acceptance speech.  I was in awe.  The particular run of RENT I saw featured Renee Elise Goldsberry who would go on to star in Lin's next musical.  I like to think that I was destined to be a Hamilton fan before Lin even started writing, but I'm just a fan of unconventional musicals.

Tony Fo-Hawk's Hamilton number came out of a fantasy and a joke.  Alexander Hamilton was on my list of dream theatrical roles, and I wondered if I could do a Schuyler Sisters act with my friends.  Nothing substantial came into mind until one day when Lillith Grey mentioned that Glitterbomb was still looking for performers for their "History Lessons" show.  I make a slightly snarky comment about how I'm surprised she's not getting a million Hamilton auditions.  She wasn't.  I could hear voice of Alexander, "I am not throwing away my shot."  This was mine. 

Although Tony is far from a history buff, he's "young, scrappy, and hungry".  "My Shot" is all about seizing the moment—a message that would be more important as we got closer to the show, which was the Thursday after the Tony Awards.  That meant it was right after the Orlando shootings.  As everyone tried to process the tragedy, the cast decided to change the theme to Pride.  I scrapped my steampunk act for "Jesus of Suburbia", my queerest number.  The angry tone made me apprehensive, but we needed to express a range of emotions.  "My Shot" was uplifting, and with every word I memorized, I realized its application to our community.  Another line rang out in my mind, "This is not a moment, it's the movement."  We were going to rise up.

And that's what we did that night.  I wished I could have seen everyone's performance, but I had to keep a level head to deliver a solid performance.  Lip syncing a rap is like doing three songs in one (and I don't blame Milo Cox for not rapping my intro).  The large crowd also made me nervous.  Due to an earlier event at Mable Peabody's, our audience was huge.  It was great to get the support, and a couple people approached me after my performance to express interest in future shows.  That made me happy because there are styles of drag and burlesque that people don't think about and sometimes they just need to see the right act to be pulled in.  Also it sounded like they had found another safe space.
Photo by Madelyn Waltz
I will forever sing praises for the queerlesque community.  Some stages might not appreciate our aesthetic and some people might not accept our identities, but places like Glitterbomb and Tuesday Tease give us opportunities to let us be heard.  I didn't throw away my shot.

Special thanks to Oliver Clothesoff for taking video and being my ride!

On the subject of opportunities, the movement has grown to where we now have the inaugural Texas Queerlesque Festival.  It's this weekend, and check out this amazing line-up. You can still get tickets to both shows and the workshops so go visit texasqueerlesquefestival.com 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Statement from Tuesday Tease Team

The Tuesday Tease Team would like to make a statement with regards to tragedy that fell upon our city. We have all been impacted by the senseless violence. This is while we still heal from Orlando and process the injustices that were the reason for the protest.

Social justice has always been a key aspect of our production. Therefore, whether in spirit or in person, we joined the rally downtown. It was a peaceful gathering against police brutality, not the police. We know officers who were there that night, surrounded by fear like everyone else. What we were protesting was the corrupt system that perpetuates senseless acts of violence particularly towards people of color, who have been disproportionately affected.

Although we wish for peace, we also know that “tolerance” is not enough. That is why you will continue to see us voice our opinions on social justice. We remain firm in our position as curators of a safe space of people regardless of race, gender, orientation, or ability and a platform for marginalized voices. There have and will continue to be those who object to what they deem as our “political correctness” or even “intolerance”, but we must work to dismantle the status quo that gives some more privilege and power than others even in artistic spaces.

Entertainment has the power to bring joy to distract from stressful events or to release the sadness and anger that has been building up inside. We found comfort in the stage after Orlando and will do so again this time. Our upcoming Tease is a fun, sci-fi collision of the past and present. Alternative histories like steampunk beckon an idealistic vision of the past for us to escape into.

They can also provide an opportunity to learn about wrongs committed by the past leaders of this country, to understand why there is a need for “Black Lives Matter” and for greater representation of minority groups in entertainment, and to see the privileges some of us are unconsciously benefiting from. At the same time, they give us inspiring individuals who were able to initiate change, and it is with both tools that we can build a brighter future. Thus, as entertainers, we are working to heal, to educate, and to inspire. That is what we hope to provide in this Tuesday and all the ones to come. The show WILL go on.

 <3 Lillith, Vivienne, Friskey, Squirrel, and Hana

Monday, June 27, 2016

Love Triumphs Over All, Including Storms and Forgetfulness

"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot." - Morpheus, Sandman
I saved the freaking out for the stage.
Photo by KWN Design
The beginning of April was uneventful, which gave me to time to focus on producing my next Tuesday Tease and get a handle on the effects of my medication.  I've struggled with anxiety for a while but only started pharmacological treatment recently.  The meds caused drowsiness and disrupted my sleep patterns, making me sluggish and scatterbrained.  I had one of those weeks where I just kept forgetting things, and unfortunately that happened with the week of my two shows at Tuesday Tease and Glitterbomb.

I'm sure stress was a factor, particularly with Tuesday Tease.  Lillith was more hands-off this time, but I knew that going in.  The theme was comic books, and everything ready to go a week ahead.  Then scheduling conflicts popped up.  I learned my lesson with Dawn of the Nerd and immediately started contacting back-ups.  I also ran through "Black Glasses" in case I needed to step in last minute.  It turned out I did.

Since I had made Plans B, C, and D, I wasn't too worried the day of the show.  However, a severe thunderstorm that could potentially develop into a tornado decided to hit.  I kept my eyes on the weather report, and the cast decided that the show must go on.  Every member of the cast and crew (including our photographers) deserve so much props for making it out.  I also have to commend the small but dedicated crowd of Tease fans and comic book geeks (as well as some newbies).  It was fun to meet people who hadn't seen "Black Glasses", and I don't think anybody cared that I forgot my Hulk shorts.

Cast and crew of Tuesday Tease: Queer-oes!
Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
The same week, I was to perform at a special Glitterbomb show that also doubled as the wedding ceremony for my Academy of Queerlesque classmate Cheyenne and her partner Nephenee.  Our mutual friend Melanie was kind enough to give me a ride, allowing me to do the show and attend the wedding.  However, I managed to forget part of my costume again.  I felt really bad for missing part of the ceremony to search.  At the same time, I wanted to pull off a good performance, and I needed to be ready.  It turned out that I had forgotten to transfer the things to another bag because they were in a separate bag (I put shoes in a plastic bag so they don't get my luggage and clothes dirty).

Despite that stressful moment, I was very moved by the words exchanged between the brides, and that helped clear my mind.  I improvised the missing bits and used this as an opportunity to see how I could work the crowd without relying on anything but my body.  The Glitterbomb audience loved my "Ring Ring Ring" act, and I was honored to be a part of this special show, especially after learning that Cheyenne had introduced her wife to this blog.  It's great to have people champion your work because while I've learned at a young age to rely on myself, supporters give you that extra push to try even harder and go that extra mile.  I hope Nephenee and Cheyenne are doing well in Canada!

I'm happy to say I haven't been as forgetful as I was that week… at least with burlesque (I still sometimes have to go back to lab to put something up).  Both shows reminded me that even if I primarily dance for myself, I do have an audience to entertain.  On the flipside, that also means I have supporters.  They may not come to every one of my performances or be very vocal on-line, but they are there.  So thank you all for taking the time to watch me, follow me, and read my writing!

For those of you who are available, Tony Fo-Hawk is performing at tomorrow's Tuesday Tease.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Upcoming shows: Glitterbomb and Texas Queerlesque Festival

I was going to make a post about Orlando, but like many in the LGBTQIAP community, I'm struggling to find the right words.  Glitterbomb had a different theme this week, but we decided it would be best to celebrate us and our pride.  Therefore instead of just having Tony Fo-Hawk do two numbers, he and I are going to share the act that got us through some tough times.  Because sometimes we need a little rage.

The other act is still a solo from him.  If you're a fan of Hamilton, you don't want to miss it.  The show is tonight at Mable Peabody's.

I suppose now is a good time as any to announce that I have been accepted into the first-ever Texas Queerlesque Festival.  I'm performing in the Friday night Sequins and Sass Showcase.  It's going to be an amazing weekend, and if you want to volunteer, vend, or sit on the producers panel, please click on the link above for more info.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Familiar Stomping Grounds: All-con and the Tarantino Show

"Audiences know what to expect, and that is all they are prepared to believe in." - Player King, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
As you've noticed, I have been quiet lately, both here and on the stage.  I really burned myself out in March but couldn't stop going until the end of April.  Add in some changes to my health, and I've had to readjust my overall lifestyle.  It's a work in progress.  Oh and my photo editing program died on me (which is pertinent as you will find out later).

Inspired by one of my favorite BMX riders Scotty Cranmer, I attempted to start making video for Youtube.  However, my daily life isn't that exciting, and both lab and backstage have aspects that are off limits.  So it's back to writing, which better fits my skill set and technological resources.

By Neither Noir
I did seven panels at All-con this year.  Although I enjoy talking about all of the topics, that's a lot to handle.  Thankfully, and unfortunately, Vylette La'Pairadoux and I decided to put Ladies of Power on indefinite hiatus.  There are other cosplay charity groups and panels about social issues, and both of us are more focused on burlesque anyway.  I do have a new panel idea that I would like to submit next year, but I have to make sure I don't overdue.

Despite my exhaustion, I had a great time.  Ben Dover joined Black Mariah and me for the nerdlesque panel; it was cool getting a drag perspective.  As you may have seen with an earlier post, I got lots of wonderful photos by Neither Noir, including some of my new Flannery cosplay with The Companion as Flareon (both from Pokemon).  I even got to talk skateboarding with the guys!  Unfortunately I forgot to lint roll my shirt so I have to do some editing to get rid of Flareon's tail fluff. 

Shortly after All-con was the third Quentin Tarantino tribute: Burlesque Is a Basterd.  I debuted my O-Ren Ishii act at the last tribute so I was excited to show off the revamped version.  However, I initially did not feel as well-rehearsed, but I hustled during the days leading up to the show and focused on the areas that needed work.  Then my sword broke the night before the show.  The Companion was kind enough to make a late night run for glue and my dad has since then helped me reinforce the blade, but I'm thinking I need to scrap a particular move that I don't always execute successfully anyway.

By Firebird Images
Regardless of that and my panic about being late as a result of my late work schedule (I should take show days off but it disrupts the lab a lot), this was probably my best performance as O-Ren.  I may not have gotten all the moves, but I really felt in character.  Practicing only the facial expressions has helped a lot.  I also added fishnets to the costume and realized how much they flatter my butt.  It makes a huge difference when you don't have much junk in the trunk!
By Firebird Images

The cast and crew consisted of people I'd met from different shows, which was cool.  The crowd was awesome; one guy even recognized me from All-con!  I've been thinking about what I would do if I decided to bring a new routine to the next Tarantino tribute.  Honestly I haven't seen too many his films so I don't know.  I know Gogo Yubari is the obvious answer, but I'd have to learn how to spin poi (and make a less spiky weapon) to do her properly.  It's too early, and I'm only just feeling good about O-Ren.  Perhaps it's better to focus on continuing to improve the act.  It's sort of like my History of Burlesque panel at All-con.  Every year it's always popular (okay, not so much this year due to the timing and location), and it's got good content so I keep doing it.  Old and familiar isn't necessarily bad because they might not be so for others.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Celebrity Crush Tease Part 2: Son of Rage and Love

"I don't feel any shame, I won't apologize
When there ain't nowhere you can go" - "Jesus of Suburbia" by Green Day

As I mentioned in Part 1, Tony Fo-Hawk's Billie Joe Armstrong act for Tuesday Tease's Celebrity Crush show morphed into something else entirely.  Green Day's American Idiot is one of those albums that has changed my life forever.  It continued to do so through the years as I saw the "Jesus of Suburbia" music video and the Broadway musical.  I connected with the Jesus of Suburbia character (Johnny in the musical) so much that he partly inspired a short story of mine.  

Although my college theatre days were behind me by the time the stage production debuted, I still fantasized about playing Johnny or his alter-ego St. Jimmy, who has been portrayed by women.  I'd been thinking about whether I could do an American Idiot act for one of the Broadway-themed shows that occasionally pop up or even a punk rock show.  Then I found my opportunity with Celebrity Crush.

Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
Because the Jesus of Suburbia had an alter-ego, I decided that this would be the one time that the Tony and Hana would share the stage in the same number.  While choreographing the routine, I realized that it could not only be about the dissatisfaction I felt with my current identity (outside the glitter world), but it could also explore my complicated relationship with gender.  You see, the musical version of "Jesus of Suburbia" features many cast members, including some of the women.  I decided to work the female vocals in to represent the transition from Tony to Hana.  I drew upon some classic burlesque moves to highlight my attempt to force femininity upon myself, which was what led me to burlesque in the first place.

The transition also reflection my constant questioning of whether my genderqueerness is a result of internalized misogyny or an actual reflection of who I am.  I don't think I'll ever have a definite answer, but I know that I am okay with people seeing me as female as long as they acknowledge that I do have a masculine side and do things that code as "male".  The ending of my act is supposed to reflect that.  As the Jesus of Suburbia leaves town in hopes of finding a better future, I go forward hoping to find acceptance, both from the people around me and myself.

Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
Once I realized that this routine would represent my truest self, I really threw myself in the rehearsal process (I had the bruises to show for it).  This was also when I was struggling a lot with my new day job so it was nice to have an outlet for the frustration and self-loathing.  Once again, American Idiot has provided some solace for when things just seem to unbearable.  If I ever meet Green Day, I will have to give them so many thanks for giving me so much.

Speaking of giving, I'm making a rare appearance in Denton tomorrow to give Cheyenne and Nephenee a proper send-off to the North in marital bliss.  Cheyenne was one of my Academy of Queerlesque classmates and has always been supportive of my career.  So if you're in the neighborhood, please come celebrate with us at Glitterbomb!

Monday, April 25, 2016

All-con 2016 photos and upcoming show

I've been busy working on a bunch of things lately, but I'll resume blogging in May.  In the meantime I'd like to share some of my cosplay photos from All-con by Neither Noir.

Lois Lane (DC Bombshells)

Flannery (Pokemon anime)

Tuxedo Mask (Sailor Moon)

One of the things I've been working on is producing a new Tuesday Tease.  The show is this Tuesday and is comic book-themed.  Please come by if you're in the area.  We're having a costume contest too!

Flyer by Lisa Brank