Saturday, April 9, 2016

Celeb Crush Tease Part 1: Make Me Wanna Dance Sexy

"Never was a girl with a wicked mind
But everything looks better when the sun goes down" - "Make Me Wanna Die" by The Pretty Reckless

Since the Tuesday Tease Team announced the themes for our winter/spring season, the gears in my head started turning.  The Celebrity Crush show jumped out at me because a lot of my crushes stem from a deep admiration.  I love them because I want to be like them, and this was my opportunity to embody the traits I wish to have while simultaneously highlighting the things we have in common.  The question remained: who would I portray?

Initially I thought it would be amusing to be a fictional character, but people would just think I'm the actor.  I could have Tony Fo-Hawk impersonate another action sports athlete, but the winter months made it hard to train and lack of recognition would make the act a harder sell.  Eventually I settled on two musicians: Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.  My Billie Joe act grew into a bigger monster due the influence American Idiot and the corresponding Broadway musical had on my life.  Therefore I'm saving that for another post.

Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
One of the ways I express my crushes is through cosplay.  As a sucker for badass rocker girls, I've been a huge fan of The Pretty Reckless and Taylor Momsen.  For a few years now, I've  wanted to cosplays her as her Gossip Girl character, Jenny Humphrey, from the later seasons.  Since that never happened, I could do a routine to The Pretty Reckless, who have some sexy tunes.  Hell, Taylor herself strips in the video for "Make Me Wanna Die".

Taylor is so brazen with her attitude and sexuality that I knew this tribute act would be a challenge.  At the same time, I was excited to truly get down and dirty.  Even if I'm not very sexual in real life, I can create the illusion.  That's what drew me to burlesque in the first place.

Trying to figure out the costume was simultaneously easy and hard.  Taylor's aesthetic crossed over a little bit with Nana Osaki (a rock 'n' roll manga character I love cosplaying), and I saw many photos of her studded white Sex Trash dress, which I could easily replicate.  However, I needed to amp up the sex appeal and get higher heels.  The latter scared me because I wanted to incorporate more complex dance moves, including a transition to the floor that I learned in a workshop with Red Bone.  Thankfully I found some sturdy heels and broke them in at one of the Dallas Burlesque Festival shows.  I also did a lot of practicing in my tiny kitchen to make sure I wouldn't slip.

Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
Performing as Taylor Momsen gave me a newfound sense of power on-stage.  While The Pretty Reckless' songs always get me amped up, putting on the wig and the make-up was a complete transformation.  The sexy moves I felt awkward when I'm in dance class or practicing on my own doing felt more natural.  I interacted the crowd a lot more (and earned a new fan afterward).  Rock music has always helped me express a side that often gets suppressed, and I'm glad I had the chance to bring that side to the burlesque stage.  I don't have to be an awkward tomboy nerd all the time—I can be bold, naughty, fierce, and wild.  I can be a little bit cool like Taylor.

This new-found attitude will hopefully manifest itself in my next performance.  The Tarantino show is back, which means the return of O-Ren Ishii.  Click here for tickets.

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