There are those in our sparkle filled lives we don’t always publicly thank. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about all the wonderful burlesque partners that we have in this community, and to them I want to say an often overlooked thank you!
If you’re a performer or have ever thought of becoming a performer, then the thought of stage fright/axiety/or pre-show nerves have crossed your mind. Entertainers are remarkable people in the sense that every performer I know, be it new or seasoned, has experienced or still experiences pre-show jitters. And who wouldn’t! You’re about to get in front of an audience, bare your heart and soul, hope to goodness that everything goes as rehearsed, all the while still being compelling, thought provoking, and entertaining. That’s a lot of pressure!
So what do you do? Do you give into the pressure, run away screaming, and spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have done it? Or do you try to find your zen while your heart races? Personally I think knowing is a lot less intimidating, so let’s try and find some zen before you hit the stage.
Understand that Stage Fright Is NORMAL
Everyone gets nervous before a show, and if you meet someone who says they don’t, then I would assume that they are either lying or they are just a rare unicorn. Nerves are good. It shows that you are excited and that you care! If you accept the fact that you get nervous instead of spending time fighting it, then it’s much easier to handle.
Change Your Lingo
|Physically speaking, our body reacts very similarly to being extremely excited and frightened. In both states you can experience an elevated heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, and bizarre energy that comes and goes. The difference is the mindset. Try this, instead of reinforcing a frightened mindset, just keep reminding yourself about how excited you are! It might help take the edge off, and you will spend your time thinking about everything that could go right, instead of dreading what may go wrong.
This one I stole from Madeline Sinclaire who taught me this when I competed with her at the Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition. Right before you perform, go somewhere, whether it’s a bathroom, a car, a corner outside, and scream at the top of your lungs. It can be just a scream, or a proclamation like, “I’m going to slay this F***ing act!”
Side note- This also helps while driving in traffic. You might look a little crazy, but it helps.
Whatever it is you are doing, if you give it your all before the show and you KNOW that you practiced as much as you could, and rehearsed to the best of your ability, then remind yourself backstage that you have already done your best, and everything after you hit the stage is a reward and fun.
Have FUN with your audience
Instead of thinking about a performance as an opportunity for others to judge, think about it as a chance to have a conversation. Be there with your audience, have fun with your audience, connect with them. Have a little flexibility within your performance to do things based off your audience’s reactions for that night. After all each performance and audience is different.
Take a Moment for Self-Love
Getting the courage to perform on stage is something that very few people can do. The fact that you are even about to get onstage is remarkable! The fact that you put in the work and effort to learn your performance piece is an accomplished feat! Take a moment to close your eyes, listen to some music that prepares you for your act, and think of everything you have done leading up to that moment that you are in fact proud of. I bet it’s more than you realize once you start thinking about it.
Performing is one of my favorite things to do. If I weren’t onstage, I’m not sure what I would do, and even with traveling, competing, and performing with some of my favorite burlesque dancers world-wide, I still get nervous and have to remind myself of these notes. But I would have it any other way. Go out there and slay, but make sure that you remember to have fun.
Glamour isn’t about how much money you spend, or having all the latest trends. Glamour is about creating a polished look with self confidence to back it up. Creating a well-curated and glamorous look may seem like a big undertaking, so to get you started, I’ve highlighted three of my favorite ways to spruce up a look into a glorious affair. Hope you enjoy, and have fun experimenting with your own personalized style.
I have spent the last several months talking, thinking, and “wanting” to write. I have written down several goals, many of which included writing, but do you know the one thing I haven’t been doing? Writing. Seems a bit counter productive right? Well duh.
Writing is a skill. Burlesque is a skill. Costume making is a skill. And what all three of these things have in common, is that if you don’t practice, you will never excel at whatever skill you are setting out to achieve. I talk about this ALL THE TIME, but for the past few months, I found excuse after excuse to not do the things that I love so much.
But why? Well, its the reasons that all of us give ourselves: “I’m tired”, “I have other commitments”, “I am not feeling inspired”, “I don’t feel good at what I do”, “so and so does this way better than I do so why should I try?” For months I’ve been settling for these excuses as truths all the while finding time to scroll through social media for HOURS, only to compare myself to these idealized images of others that we create online.
This was counterproductive and ultimately landed me in a depression of woe is me, that one mindset that is comfortable and familiar, but absolutely SUCKS! So here I am now, still feeling many of the above sentiments, wondering why anyone would be interested in what I write and who really cares about the opinion of an outspoken performer, but knowing that if I don’t get in the habit of practicing writing, yes even bad writing, then I can never succeed at my goals.
Ultimately, that is a fact that we have to overcome, knowing that everything we do will no have the Midas touch. If you are an artist, you will at some point and time in your life create crappy art, no matter what the medium. You have to set your ego aside and allow for the process to work without a set destination. You have to love the act of creating so much, that you just stop caring if the end product ends up shyt, or at least know that if your first attempt didn’t succeed, you can always go back and adjust. That’s what art is, it’s evolutionary. We are (or can be) evolutionary.
So if there is a goal you want to reach, you have to just go out and make the time to practice. Even if it is only 10-20 minutes a day. Set up a schedule on your phone, and block out periods of time that is meant just for you. If we can spend an hour or more on social media mindlessly scrolling wondering why we even care in the first place, then we can afford to take a few moments out of your day to work towards a bigger picture. I promise you will feel better and more accomplished. And if you start feeling bad about your starting point, take time to track your progress. Take a picture or video each time your practice then look back at your work to see how far you’ve grown when you start to have moments of self doubt. You will be surprised with the results. So go out, fucking practice, and as I constantly tell myself, Do Better.
Dear woman on the street,
You are not my competition.
Dear talented sisters working behind the scenes,
You are not who I strive to be.
Dear gorgeous beauties who time and time again I have been
assured of your jealousy towards me to validate my ego,
You are not my end goal.
Hello familiar face,
Restless eyes who has seen what I’ve seen,
Hands who have touched what I’ve felt,
And heart who knows my deepest yearnings,
You are my only competition.
My daily task list consists of goals and aspirations that are set
day after day so that the only person I am better than,
The only person who I want to rise above,
Is the girl who stared back at me yesterday.
The girl shedding her skin,
To become a better woman tomorrow.
Photo by Manny Man Photography
Welcome back to the April edition of Burlesque Boogie Nights, aka #Gingersshitshow2017! We will be celebrating Ginger N. Whiskey’s birthday with two fabulous performers, Stella Foxtrot and Dee V. Ous. Are you ready for this? Because its going to be a night full of burlesque, craft cocktails, whiskey, and whatever Eva Mae Garnet can think of to get Ginger back from #Evasshitshow2017.
No cover for the night. Tips appreciated!
Sycamore Den | 3391 Adams Ave, San Diego, California 92116
First set at 9:15 pm and second set starts at 10:15 pm.
Come out and stay for a drink or two.
I’ve been thinking a few feisty thoughts about feminine power and societies response to it. Throughout history there are examples of societies taking steps to lessen a woman’s power, both physically and through weakening her spirit. We see this in the battle for women’s rights to choose what happens to their bodies, we see this through laws that create women as second class citizens, and we see this through the social normative behaviors that constantly belittle women till they themselves believe their power is less than. Lately, I have been thinking about these behaviors in relationship to a woman’s ability to give birth and her relationship with that birthing experience.
Almost four years ago I gave birth to my daughter. It was an experience I would never forget and that I was fortunate enough to have. When I found out I was pregnant, I chose to go through a midwife and to have my baby naturally and out of a hospital. For living in the states, going through a midwife is incredibly taboo. Besides the point that we live in a healthcare based society, the idea of having a child naturally, especially to American women, is a nightmare. We are led to believe that the pain is so great we could not stand it. We are told that if there are drugs to numb the pain, why even endure the efforts? American women are so used to being told that we are weak that many no longer believe they are capable of giving birth, one of the most natural experiences there is.
Now before you start believing that I am so naive and in my own perfect world bubble, I get it. I understand why we would believe that. I battled with the same thought process every time someone questioned my logic and capabilities to go through with a natural birth. And the fact that I was planning on a having a baby outside of the hospital, LORD, I have never received so many concerned inquiries/prayers/wtf and I doings in my life. The fact of the matter was, I was tired of being told that I wasn’t as strong as I know I am. Ladies, we are fierce, amazing, fabulous life-giving beings, and even if you never decide to have children, just knowing AND believing that fact is empowering.
Child-bearing is a power that we should take strength in and know that we can do, and we can do without the assistance of what is considered normal American health care procedures. We are not fragile. If you have a low-risk healthy pregnancy and labor past 37 weeks, you are physically capable of surviving the pains of normal birth. That’s not to say that no women needs modern medicine. There are various reasons why a doctor would become necessary; high-risk birth, multiples, pre-term labor, extensive labor, or sometimes the baby is literally just too big. These are a few of the times when it makes sense to seek a doctor. But what I am referring to specifically is that we grow up believing that the normal procedure for giving birth is being drugged up with pain killing and labor inducing medications in a hospital bed before ever giving any indication of physically needing them. The first thought of going into labor should not be a reach for unnecessary medication.
It used to be that many women would deliver at home, and even now in many European countries it is normal practice to only go to a midwife unless something is going wrong in your pregnancy. This shift has happened for multiple reasons, commercialization of the health care industry, a shift from midwifery to the hospital system, and social practices of over medicating to name a few, but there is one more that we don’t talk about too often. The continually exaggeration of women as weak and incapable creatures who can’t bear pain, despite our bodies being designed to overcome.
So the next time you may or may not hear a friend, family member, or even some random Facebook friend (the one you aren’t quite sure where you met them, but you feel it may be too rude to delete them JUST in case), talk about natural childbirth, don’t let the first thing you think or say be, “Oh I could NEVER do that!” You can. You have that strength. You have that power. You have that capability, and your body is fucking magnificent! Now if you choose not to because you just don’t want to go through that pain, fine, to each their own. But you are much stronger than you ever thought.
I’ve taken a lot of time for reflection in the beginning of this year. December was a busy month, with social obligations every other day, so by the time the New Year came I was ready to disengage and just spend some time at home to get grounded. In my reclusive state, I spent a good amount of time thinking about what my goals were for this year, and although I have a bevy of surface level goals, I wanted to take this year to closely pay attention to how I take up space in this world.
As many women have experienced, there is a timidness of how we were raised. To this day I catch myself shutting down if I’m challenged by a male or a person in charge, even when I know I am in the right. There have been multiple times when I have consciously made myself physically as small as possible so that the person sitting next to me can continue to spread there body and take up as much space as they wish, just so I didn’t have to confront the situation. There are numerous times when walking down the sidewalk I’ve had to pull some Tetris maneuvers just so someone else could continue taking more space walking down the side walk. I have learned to ebb and flow in between others perceived self-assertive natures.
But there comes a time, when looking at photos and wondering why I didn’t stand up as straight as possible even if I would have been towering over others in my 6 foot stance in heels, that you start to question why shouldn’t I take up the natural space I have been given? Why should I make myself smaller so that others notice me less? Why shouldn’t I walk down the streets, claiming a reasonable amount of area for myself with pride and confidence? Why should I let others, who either have the courage or arrogance make me feel less than I should with just body language?
So I have decided that this is the year I stand tall and hold my ground. When I’m at the gym, in the perceived boys lifting area doing squats, I refuse to look down timidly almost asking forgiveness for being in that area. When I’m walking down the street, I refuse to pull some back bending motion just because a group of rude people decide to walk three across with no consideration for traffic moving in the opposite direction. And when I’m taking photos, I will stand tall, no matter what the height of those in the photo with me. Unless we’re all sitting down or doing some cute pose. Because who wants to be that asshole?
So here is my challenge to you. Take up your space. Even if you are in a demographic that society has continuously tried to deem lesser than. No, ESPECIALLY if you are in a demographic that society is trying to keep down. Hold your head high, and know that you are 1 in 4 billion. Occupy the space that you have been given.
*Photo by Vixen Photography*
January 7th at 12:30 PM
3052 Clairemont Dr, Ste 9
San Diego, California 92117
Panel skirts are a constant favorite in burlesque. Their feminine draping adds an element of tease with just their silhouette onstage. In this workshop Eva Mae Garnet will go over the basics of panel skirt construction. From various technique like adjusting patterns for use, to quick tricks from the legends, come learn how to add this burlesque costume staple to your showgirl closet.
Eva Mae Garnet is a performer, producer, and costumer from San Diego. Making all her own costumes and studying under a handful designers and pattern makers, she has earned notoriety for her custom corsets, headdresses, and panel skirts. Be sure to check out her work at evamaegarnet.com.
For this class, please bring a notebook, pen, fabric shears, pins, and a measuring tape if you will be working on your skirts in this workshop.
Please reserve your spot online:
This past Sunday I came home after a 10 day tour traveling all the way from San Diego to Seattle and back again, stopping in at Oakland, Portland, and San Francisco. Ginger and I had been planning this tour for months, and to see everything come to fruition, and to share the stage with so many talented and welcoming performers was a dream come true. We even got a chance to perform in one of the longest running weekly neo-burlesque shows, Behind the Pink Door in Seattle. Even though it was freezing, literally there was one point where we were driving through snow, Ginger and I definitely brought the heat to each stage we hit, repping our amazing San Diego burlesque community the best we could.
While in Oakland we even had a chance to team up with Rubberlesque to create a fun video shoot that definitely challenged a few fears of heights that both of us had. Her lingerie is so much fun and is made out of recycled bicycle tubing. Environmentally friendly and sexy, that’s a win win for sure.
But now we are home and getting ready for our last 2016 San Diego appearances while preparing for our next monthly show at the Sycamore Den on the 29th, you will be there right? So take a look at my upcoming dates and be sure to catch a performance before the holidays! <3
December 18th– Burlesque Brunch at the Lafayette
December 21st– Eva Mae Garnet at Boobie Trap at Gossip Grill
December 29th– Burlesque Boogie Nights featuring Sheila Starr Siani at the Sycamore Den