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:
Dear Little Rhinestone,
Our beginnings together started joyously, carefully opening your paper pouch to reveal your shining glory and luminous color. Meticulously I created a pattern bringing to life all my showgirl dreams so that you may forever live under the lights, transporting the audience to decadent dreams. This could have been your destiny. This could have been you, but instead your final days will be lived in lost crevasses and corners until one day you are picked up by my bare feet and placed in the mixed bag with the remaining lost stones. There you will sit until you get to live out your new hopeful destiny as a replacement rhinestone for a mended costume. I’m sorry you fell off my tool while trying to place you. I’m sorry that you were tossed on the carpet when my cat decided to jump onto my lap consequently spilling the entire plate of all of your shining siblings. Until you reach your true destination my costume won’t be complete. Rest easy lost rhinestone, for I will find you. Unless you end up in the vacuum, and in that case, sorry about it.
A Sad Showgirl
Be sure to check out my contribution to “What is Feminist Lingerie?” in Florence Magazine. The complete article can be read here.
Yesterday was one of those days where the world seemed to be closing in with no hope. I woke up in a panic, having physical reactions to anxiety and distress. Somehow, with the help of loved ones, I managed to get out of bed and get a few chores done. By mid afternoon, I had enough. I called my mom and completely broke down. I cried for a good hour rejecting every single thing she suggested and deeming my situation hopeless.
But something happened after I cried that hard. I felt numb still, and yesterday was not the day to attempt to do anything, but I made a mental note at that moment saying that I would allow myself that day to wallow, but tomorrow, tomorrow I create. Today I woke up inspired. I woke up with solutions rather than doom and gloom. The one thing I realized through that mini day of self-doubt and sorrow was that what makes people great and successful is not their inability to avoid hardships and doubt, but their ability to push through it and still continue to create.
I started thinking about people like Madonna and Beyonce, artists who have created so much material that I haven’t even heard or seen half of what they have done. I don’t particularly care for everything they create, and by no means is everything they put out into the world a masterpiece, but what they do is persevere. They continue to create their art, their songs, their videos, and their visions and put them out into the world. Nothing stops them, and that is why they are so respected in their industry. Granted they have a team helping them, but the core concept is still there, and there is nothing stopping you from building your own team of similarly interested individuals.
So today, if you have been struggling to see the brighter side things, I challenge you to create something for no reason at all. Start that project that has been on the back burner for what seems like ages. Try something new with no intentions of perfecting it. Play, create, and put it out there into the world knowing that the act of creation is what is most important. The rest as they say, will follow. We just have to believe in ourselves, our visions, and our own unique capabilities. After all there is no one exactly like you.
Photo by Michael W. Photography
If there is one thing to be said about the legendary Patti Waggin, it’s that her energy was intoxicating. Born in 1926 to vaudevillian parents, Patti, born Patricia Artae Brownwell, grew up with show business running through her veins. After dropping out from Chico State College in California, she began to perform burlesque throughout the country. She was well known throughout her career, and by the time she met her third husband, professional baseball player, Don Rudolph, she was appearing on the top 10 lists of strippers in the country.
Patti Waggin’s burlesque numbers were fun, energetic, and quirky. Her movements were very reminiscent of her times, performing mostly bump and grind burlesque. She was captivating onstage, often giving a smile and a friendly wink, inviting the audience to have fun with her.
Off stage Patti was quite the athlete, having participated and won in various motor cycle races. While she was married to Don, she would often put on a catcher’s mitt and help her beloved husband warm up for the game. Don was incredibly supportive of his wife and her chosen career, often ignoring the field chatter from the opposing team and their thoughts on Patti’s profession. One of his plans for life after baseball was to open a club for his wife and call it Don Rudolph’s Patti Waggin. Sadly, he died in a tragic car accident in 1968 at the age of 37.
Patti was considered one of the friendliest girls on the burlesque circuit and even answered all her own fan mail. She kept these letters and incorporated them into a book called, “Fan Letters To A Stripper: A Patti Waggin Tale.” In 1992, she passed away from an intestinal disorder.
Patti’s style of burlesque is one of my favorites. The athleticism she incorporated into her routines, her delightful smile, and her bumps that won’t stop are reasons why she is one of my favorite burlesque legends. You can read more about here on her official website here.
Inspired by the many film noir movies I’ve been watching, I teamed up with A.L. Squared Productions to make this sexy noir inspired video. Be sure to check it out!
When I first started burlesque, I thought each act debut had to be perfect. It had to be the pinnacle of burlesque and the most BHoF worthy act ever created. Obviously, when first starting you don’t have the skill set to present the act you envision, but in my perfectionist mind, this was the only way to debut an act.
The longer I perform though, the more I realize that a debut is like a working rough draft. You get your basic ideas on the stage, tailor them to the best of your time and ability, and expect to redo, scratch, and recreate the more you perform it. No mater what you do, there will be mistakes and parts that don’t work, and sometimes, the only way to discover that, is by getting it onstage. Just like proof reading, sometimes you need multiple eyes, and multiple drafts before you get it right. Many of my favorite acts have been workshopped with top performers and I constantly send videos out for feedback. Something to keep in mind is that many top performers’ acts have been performed for years and years, with many iterations.
So the next time you create an act, leave some room to play. Leave a few eight counts of improv to see what your audience likes. Remember it takes years of refinement to get it right.
It has become a yearly tradition with the troupe I co-produce, the Drop Dead Dames, to shoot a calendar with Vixen Photography. This year, we came up with a cohesive idea that turned out beautiful. We decided to use the theme, the Wild Women of Burlesque, and show off our primitive sides. As always Scott at Vixen Photography took our theme and made it a gorgeous reality. There really isn’t anything that he can’t do. Many of you don’t know this, but I’m also a graphic designer. It was my job to do the final layout of the calendar, and I really went all out this year with specialized cheetah print laid out in a grid to prove it. To say that I’m proud of this year’s calendar is a bit of an understatement.
So without further ado, if you are interested in looking at gorgeous dames all year long, then pick up our calendar which is now released on our online store. Get yours before they are all gone!
This past week I have traveled from San Diego to New York City to Toronto performing and competing. It was a rewarding and exhausting week. I have to admit that I was apprehensive about the act I competed with last night.
I have traveled, performed, and competed with Soul of a Man. What I have realized was that when it wasn’t accepted or judged how I would have hoped, then the love that I had while originally creating the act started to diminish. I would doubt myself before ever hitting the stage. I would harshly compare my slow sultry number against a high energy crowd pleaser that was more audibly enjoyed. Little by little, my confidence in whether or not I should even perform my act started to fade.
But call it the energy of the city, or a new attitude in performing and loving what I do, or even a little more time spent getting grounded for the show so I could be present with the audience, last night I stepped up on that stage and felt fabulous while performing that number. It was electric, and although not a loud crowd pleaser (slower acts that focus on glamour rarely are) I loved every second of it. I realized that I wasn’t watching the show backstage and judging my act against the others. I wasn’t trying to figure out if my technique would come off more polished or graceful. Instead, before I hit the stage, I set an intention directed for the audience. I wanted to transport them away from their troubles and everyday life, even if only for 4 minutes. I wanted to entertain them and show them a little extra love that they may have not gotten that day. And just like that, doing my act was no longer about me.
When I stepped off the stage, I was overflowing with love for an act that just days before I considered changing entirely to better suit what I thought would be more expected. I no longer cared about expectations or judging criteria. I realized, after walking through the crowd and being stopped several times by audience members who enjoyed my act, that the reason I perform isn’t for the titles or the competitions, but because I want to entertain a crowd and share my vision of beauty and glamour. I want to create a special moment that they can take away with them, and if that is my focus, then the other noise won’t matter when it comes to how you perceive your own art.
There are various factors that go into award winning acts and even acceptance letters from festivals. Don’t let others’ judgements diminish your love for your art form. Continue to polish your own work, and try not to judge yourself against other performers. There are performers who I adore that I will never be able to do what they do. Be true to yourself onstage and remember, we wouldn’t be anything without our audience. Show them some love.