Finding Your Zen Before a Big Performance

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.

 

Scream
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.

 

Practice
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.

Vintage Fetish

So I’ve been thinking about taking my site in a new direction. I will be doing more photoshoots, videos, and more this upcoming year, including, some fetish work. In my recent research, I have come across some new favorite images and I thought that you would enjoy them as well. Keep an ear out for new content and be sure to sign up for my email list here: Email Sign Up

In the meantime, enjoy!

Preventing Burn Out

My co-producer, Ginger N. Whiskey, and I just came out of a recent string of productions including the San Diego Fringe Festival. To say we are exhausted is a bit of an understatement. Between setting up the behind the scenes production, keeping schedules of multiple performers, and actively marketing both digitally and physically, we are feeling a bit drained. This is the feeling that many producers, performers, and artists feel after major achievements. It’s completely normal and can sometimes feel like a depression pit while you decompress.

I recently had a conversation with my friend and fellow performer, Di’Lovely, on this same subject matter. Traveling, scheduling, reaching out to producers, and all the while creating innovative and polished acts is a lot of work. The underlying sentiment that was settled on after a serious of back and forth banter was that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. This could mean anything from producers being able to take care of their performers they hire, to performers having to take care of their own personal life as well as their career.

84827-80759

There are a few things I try to keep in mind while going through these transitional moments.

  1. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself a day off. We don’t have to be inspired 24/7 just because we are artists. Sometimes there are gigs that you have to do a repeated easy act just so you can rest. Always do your best, but don’t force yourself to always go beyond your capabilities.
  2. Growth is just as much reflection as it is pushing yourself. If you never took time to reflect on everything you learn, all the workshops you take, or all the amazing performances you watch, how can you expect to process them into something consumable that you can later utilize?
  3. Cultivate your non-burlesque related skills. We are all multifaceted individuals. I have never met a more diverse group than I have in my burlesque community, and each and every one of you has multiple skill sets that you can and should cultivate. Being a well rounded person reflects not only in life, but on the stage as well.
  4. Spend time with loved ones. If you never take time to improve on your personal relationships, then who will be there when you accomplish your goals? Who will be there clapping proudly as you perfect that routine you’ve been working on for so long. Who will be there when you have a bad day? Burlesque is a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be your everything. Keep your friends and family close.
  5. Allow yourself a vacation. Take a real vacation. No burlesque involved. Breath and have an adventure. You never no what you will experience. After all life is nothing more than a series of adventures right?
  6. Take care of your body. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating when you are hungry, and drinking enough water. It sounds very simple, but it can make the world of difference.
  7. Take care of your mind. Read a book. Meditate. Watch a series of Ted Talks or that documentary that you’ve been meaning to get to sans the E6000 and rhinestones.
  8. Commit to one task at hand. We all multitask, but often what happens is you have multiple half done projects, rather than one completed project. There have been multiple studies that show that multitasking isn’t always the most productive method, so go ahead and schedule time for one thing. You will be surprised at how much you get done.
  9. Finally, take time to celebrate everything you have accomplished. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and forget to celebrate all the wonderful accomplishments we already made. Did you finish that costume? That is awesome! Give yourself a hug. Did you do a high kick without looking like you are having a seizure? Open a bottle of something yummy and toast to yourself. Did you sew a straight line? Look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a high five. I’m serious do it! The point is celebrate all your accomplishments rather than thinking of everything you have yet to get to. Art is all about the process.

Try a few of these tactics to help prevent artistic burn out. It’s an on going process, and you are never quite done, but that’s okay. Do you have a few more pointers that you use to help prevent burn out and exhaustion? Send them my way. I would love to read them. Till next time!

xoxo

Eva Mae Garnet

San Diego Fringe Festival Starts This Week!

This has been an incredibly busy summer, and we are proud to announce our next production, The Golden Age of Burlesque, starts this Friday! Make sure to get tickets to this event and support all the artists participating in this year’s San Diego International Fringe Festival. There are five showings at the Lyceum Theatre downtown, so don’t miss your opportunity to see us!

Show Dates & Times:
Friday, July 24th 9:00PM- 10:00PM
Sunday, July 26th 10:30PM – 11:30PM
Thursday, July 30th 7:30PM -8:30PM
Saturday, August 1st 10:30PM -11:30PM
Sunday, August 2nd 7:30PM -8:30PM
The Lyceum Space Theater
79 Horton Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
Tickets are ONLY $10 and are already on sale! Get yours now before it sells out! http://sdfringe.ticketleap.com/drop-dead-dames-burlesque-revue/
You must purchase a Tag for the Fringe Festival, it gets you into all of the Fringe Festival shows for a one-time $5 fee: http://sdfringe.ticketleap.com/fringetag
Press-Drop-Dead-Dames-Golden-Age-Of-Burlesque-1333x2000
tumblr_nn85pre2NF1qgo6jro1_1280 unnamed 1008909_171524216355890_911328549_o 10301060_312986852190396_4482131575221402578_n 11261936_10155728976395291_6298591628717554728_n

Wild Women of Burlesque

My next event is coming up Friday at the Hideout here in San Diego. There will be burlesque by my troupe Drop Dead Dames, music from the subtropics and DJ Sean Smith, and of course cocktails! Doors open at 9 and the tickets are $10 at the door.

If you can’t make it to this show, don’t forget you can always book me or my troupe for private events! Contact me at evamaegarnet@gmail.com.

IMG_6463-1.JPG

The Great Burlesque Exposition Festival Diary

When I found out I was going to perform at The Great Burlesque Exposition, I was boarding a plane leaving Charlotte from my weekend performance at the Great Southern Exposure. The email came in notifying performers to check the website, and in the last few moments of being able to use my phone before they sealed the doors for our 4 hour flight, I rushed to look up whether or not my act was accepted. I actually swore I misread it and would not celebrate what I was hoping was a performance slot until I received a conformation letter or saw my picture on the website. Luckily, I did not misunderstand the site and I was set to make my Boston debut.

Fast forward to February 7th, I’m ready to board the plane, nervous about the fact that I live in Southern California and have never seen more than about an inch of snow. I’m layered beyond belief, and carrying my boyfriends giant military puffy jacket. Glamourous I know. Luckily, I get to Boston without any hiccups and set out to meet my roommates at the hotel.

I get there early. All my roommates were coming in around the same time, and a few delays already held them up, so I hung around the lobby until I could check in. At first I began to second guess if I was in the right hotel, until I saw the array of costumes and fellow performers emerge from rooms and elevators. I decide to head to the hotel bar and have my first cocktail while waiting. Finally, Bella La Blanc calls to say she just landed and would be at the hotel soon. Bella and I had met at the Great Southern Exposure the night I performed. She was set to perform the act I saw her perform in Charlotte for the competition in Boston. I closed out my tab, and headed to the front searching for familiar faces.

I sat for a few minutes and soon saw the lovely Bethany Summersizzle. Luckily Bianca Boom Boom messaged her moments before that we now had the room and we went in search of a bed to rest for a few moments before tech rehearsal. After hellos were exchanged and beds were claimed, Bethany and I headed downstairs for the Friday Night Bordello Tech. I’ve been making the festival circuit for about two years now with a nine month break in between, and I was excited that each trip I go on, I see more and more familiar faces. Di’Lovely, a fellow San Diego burlesque performer, was there as well as Lili VonSchtupp from LA, Matt Finish who I met at the Hollywood Burlesque Festival and Vicki Fahrenheit, who I met while performing in Vegas. We finish tech, then Bethany and I head off with Bella to get some food before transforming from frequent flyers to burlesque vixens.

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.56.26 PM

Although I technically gained hours flying to the East Coast, I found that performing the night you fly in on is draining. The Friday Night Bordello was after the Rhinestone Review and was more of a relaxed intimate setting than how the Rhinestone Review was set up. There were three sets each with a 15 minute break in between. I was in the second set, right after Di’Lovely. I finally get up on stage, give them my best vixen and twirled my tassels so much that I popped a pastie! Luckily I’m so pale that it took a moment for anyone to notice! With performances done, Bethany and I finally wander upstairs, take off our eyelashes, wipe off our make up, and jump into bed.

Saturday morning, Bella was busy vending downstairs and Bianca was resting up after a strenuous bus ride down to Boston, so Bethany and I decided to take Perle Noire’s the Business of Burlesque class. I’ve had a love affair with this woman since the first time I saw her perform in Dita Von Teese’s show, Strip Strip Hooray in Los Angeles. When I went to Burlycon in November, I made sure to take every class she had to offer, so when I found out that she was teaching again in Boston, I was really excited. The one thing that stuck with me from that class, above all of her great notes, was one statement that she made. We were talking about media packages and what we should be including in them if we have yet to bring home any titles or even press, and she said that before she had anything, she only had passion. That one sentence made me believe that I am on the right path to where I want to be in my performance career as well as my life.

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.56.50 PM

After class, Bethany and I headed into town with Brandy Wine to have some fantastic vegan food at a restaurant in which I don’t remember their name, yet remember how much I loved their company branding. After that we went thrifting and found this one shop where you literally dive into a huge pile of clothes and pick out whatever you want for 1.99/lb. After our in town adventures, we have to get back to the hotel to help Bella vend while she was doing tech. I took this opportunity to meet the legendary April March and talk about which photos were her favorites. Obviously I bought the one that she described to be her favorite, which happened to be a gorgeous portrait style photo of a young Miss March. I headed upstairs to go get ready with Bethany and we are off to the Main Event.

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.56.40 PM

There were many talented acts. A few stuck out to me most though. Kelli LiMone was gorgeous and moved perfectly with the music. She did one hell of a job opening up the competition. Iris Ex Plosion did this amazing act where she recited Shakespeare and did a striptease without missing a beat. Sailor St Claire was absolutely gorgeous onstage bringing so much glamour to her classic striptease. And Üla Überbusen gave me goosebumps as she performed. It was a beautiful act and even more beautiful message. After a long show the winners were announced. Nina La Voix took home the title for best Soloist for her super high energy number, Blaze, the Red Rose of Texas, took home Most Classic, Whisper de Corvo took home Most Beautiful, Red Velvet took home Most Humorous, and Scarlet Starlet took home Best Hybrid. Other noted performers were Judge’s Choice — Ula Uberbusen, April March’s Choice — Sailor St. Claire, Angie Pontani’s Choice — Francine the Lucid Dream, and Perle Noire’s Choice — Ula Uberbusen.

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.57.02 PM

With the show over and drinks consumed, we headed off to bed, after of course, a call to the pizza delivery. The next morning, Bianca Boom Boom had already left for her next appearance, Bethany was packing to get on her plane, and I was getting ready to take Angie Pontani’s Bump and Grind class. I was not expecting that much of a work out, but boy did I love it. Angie was such a sweet person and an excellent teacher.

After my thighs were burning, I left to meet up with a high school friend that I hadn’t seen in eight years. I packed my bags so I could head straight to the airport and meet up with my friend, Elizabeth. Since I have been on a Cheers binge for the last 6 months, I was dead set on finding the bar. Elizabeth obliged me and I was able to be a ridiculous tourist in Boston. After a few beers, I headed to the airport and my Boston adventure was over. I had a lot of fun, and I hope that next year I will get the chance to compete!

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.57.14 PM

A New Year {A Time to Reflect}

Image

This year has seen many personal and performance ups and downs. It was a year of change and rebirth in both a literal and figurative way. I am grateful for every experience that came my way, giving me a chance to grow and excel. 

{Drop Dead Dames} It’s never easy starting something new, especially when it involves a group of girls with really big dreams. This last year, we left our former troupe with just a vision, and with the help of each other and a whole lot of love for burlesque, we have made quite an impact on the burlesque scene in San Diego in a very short amount of time. I am proud to be a Dame and even prouder of all of our accomplishments as a troupe. 

{Festivals} I’ve really put myself out there this year, applying to several different shows and festivals while working personally to grow as a performer. I’ve heard many Nos, but have also been given several opportunities to perform abroad. I’ve performed at the Carolina Burlesque Festival, The Great Southern Exposure, Tiki Oasis and the Hollywood Burlesque Festival. Not bad for only giving birth in April. 

{Burlycon} Up until recently, I’ve mostly been a self taught performer. Prior to I was focusing so much on college, that burlesque was only getting about 30% of my effort. Since graduating in March, I’ve dived head first into every learning opportunity that I’ve had to further my burlesque career. Burlycon was an amazing experience and I got the chance to learn and meet many of my burlesque idols. You will definitely see me back in 2014! 

{Brody Vega} I try and keep my stage life separate from my home life, but certain events tend to bleed into each other. Having my daughter was one, especially when I performed onstage 8 months pregnant! The birth of my daughter has taught me to keep myself grounded (which can be an ever fighting battle), enjoy the small things, and be the woman and role model that I hope she will look up to. 

As we close out this year, hopefully with champagne in our hands, let’s open our arms to this coming year and embrace the many adventures it has waiting for us. Thank you for supporting me thus far, and I hope we will continue on this journey together!

Anticipation

So as Burlycon draws closer and closer, I am excited about the seemingly endless possibilities that can happen while there. I have my itinerary made, my hotel and tickets booked, time requested off work and now… I just want to get there! Classes from Perle Noire, Coco Letric, Jeez Loueez, and Jo Boobs JUST to name a few! I have been working my ass off to develop as a performer, so this fountain of knowledge that I’m about to dive into just makes me so insanely excited! For now I will simply have to sit back and go over what I learned in Kitten De Ville’s last workshop down here in San Diego. 1380678_758887827461319_213565153_n

YeeHaw

This past Tiki Oasis was one of the best times I have had this year! I met so many people, tried different things, and performed with some fabulous performers. It all started with the Miss Tiki Oasis pageant though. I’ve always wanted to be in a pageant, not as something that I would actively seek, but just to say I’ve done it. I’m really grateful that I knew many of the girls participating and the majority of the ones I had yet to officially meet were sassy burlesque dancers as well, so no one was taking themselves too seriously. The most nerve wracking part was when we had to go onstage and answer why we wanted to be Miss Tiki Oasis, or a question that was in that ballpark. Public speaking is not my forte, and when the video guy asked to do a sound bite asking me a question that was ALMOST the same exact thing I was asked on stage, I turned into a Miss South Carolina breeds with Rainman chick and ended whatever came out of my mouth with a confident, I don’t know. *facepalm* I’m actually happy they did that first, because it seemed to get most of my jitters out. When I got onstage, I just acted like Eva Mae knew no fear and don’t you know it, they gave me third runner up! Not too shabby for a chick who put her foot in her mouth moments before stepping onstage. 

Then Friday Night Burlesque came around. I was ecstatic to be on the main stage for this event! Ever since I first started dancing I have focused on making each performance better than the one before it. I feel like especially in this last year, I have grown so much as not only a performer, but a person as well. It’s funny, the older I get, and the more I settle into my life and become more comfortable with who I am, the better I see my performances becoming. 

Then Saturday I did the pin up safari. One of my favorite highlights was when Nikki Napalm said I killed it while watching me model. Made the fan girl in me a tad bit giddy. 

Tiki Oasis is officially my new stay-cation. Can’t wait till next year! ImageImage