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.