Eva Mae Garnet, burlesque, burlesque in San diego

Feisty Thoughts: Feminine Power and Childbirth

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.

 

Lola Demure, burlesque, panel skirt, costume design, headdress, showgirl, showgirl headdress, whiskey and fuego

Panel Skirt Workshop

January 7th at 12:30 PM

Glittertribe Studios
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.

Cost: $20
Please reserve your spot online:
https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/ws?studioid=291245&stype=-7&sTG=24&sVT=11&sView=day&sLoc=0&sTrn=20&date=01%2F07%2F17

Mornings on the Beach

There’s nothing like being on the beach early in the morning while most people are just starting to wake up. Luckily, I teamed up with Rebekka Payne photography for some fun fashion shoots off the shores of La Jolla. Wardrobe was provided by the ever talented NinkoTea Designs.

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Recycled Fashion Lingerie – An Interview with Franzesca Mayer

This past January I had the pleasure of working with designer Franzesca Mayer for a photo shoot and runway show. Right away I fell in love with her designs which incorporated recycled bicycle tubing and sexy lingerie. Wearing her garments I felt empowered and ready to take on the world. Walking in the show at House of Blues San Diego I felt like I was part of a sexy Mad Max girl gang. I wanted to catch up with Franzesca and see what she was up to after her recent move up north.

Photo by Alina Mendoza

How did you get into fashion design?
My mother taught me to sew when I was eight years old. When my body started changing, the store bought patterns weren’t fitting me properly so I started teaching myself how to alter the patterns and start draping my own garments. I graduated high school and simultaneously I lost a dear friend of mine. I turned to sewing and designing to as a means of working through my grief. I realized that sewing and designing lit a fire in me and that I wanted to keep honing my skills. At Knox College, I was lucky enough to find my mentor, Margo Shively, who taught me the ways of theatrical costume design and construction. Since graduating, I have worked at various regional theatre companies on the west coast and freelanced in the fashion world.

How did you begin using recycled inner tubing?
I met the incredible womenswear draper Kitty Muntzel during my fellowship at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2013. She had been exploring unconventional recycled materials for several years and was making inner tube costumes for a belly dancing troupe when I met her. I was so excited by what she was doing, she decided to teach me how to make my own. When she saw how much I loved creating these pieces, she gave me her stock of bicycle tubes and her blessing and I’ve been continuing my material exploration ever since. You can find Kitty’s designs at her website, http://www.backpedalcorsetry.com/

What is your biggest inspiration when it comes to your designs?
I draw a lot of my inspiration from the material itself. It tells me how it can be shaped and molded and I piece it all together. I am also very inspired by fashion history; I like to rethink historical silhouettes and line qualities in this unconventional material. I also draw inspiration from the beauty and shape of all women’s bodies and therefore I appreciate pin up and burlesque artistry as inspirational material as well. But in the end, inspiration can come from anywhere so I keep myself creatively open at all times.

What kind of modifications did you have to make because of using such a unique material?
I have mentioned that the material is already shaped so I have to be very flexible when designing. I can cut the material in different sizes but it is going to move the way it wants to move so I need to compliment that, rather than try to make it something that it doesn’t want to be.

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What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to being a freelance designer?
When I’m working by myself it can be hard to keep the motivation. I make costumes for a very niche demographic so I have to explore every nook and cranny of the fashion world and interwebs to find my people.

What is your vision for your brand?
I am hoping to expand my market a bit in the realm of menswear and accessories. Overall, I want to find a balance between wearable art and everyday clothing using earth-friendly materials.

What is your definition of success?
Seeing someone shine in my garments. I want my pieces to make the wearer feel confident and sexy. There is a glow you can see when someone really feels comfortable in something you’ve made and that’s a feeling of success that can’t be duplicated.

What is your next goal for your designs?
I am about to get my first magazine spread in a new magazine called Moi Magazine, based out of New Orleans. I am hoping to continue that trend, sending out photos for publication and sending outfits out for photoshoots. A dream would be to see one of my garments on stage.

Alina Mendoza Photography

Where can my readers find more information about you? 
I try to update my social media as much as possible.

Instagram: @franzescadesigner
Tumblr: wearmorerubber
Twitter: @franzescadesign
Facebook: Franzesca Mayer
Website: www.franzesca.com
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/franzesca

 

Thank you Franzesca for taking the time to interview with me, and I hope everyone checks out her amazing work. Check out her site, and keep up with me as I might be wearing one of her costumes in a brand new act very soon. 😉 Stay feisty loves!

 

Photos by Alina Mendoza Photography

Burlesque Legend, Patti Waggin

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.

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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.

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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.

Feisty Thoughts: The Evolution of an Act

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.

Dreaming of London

In November I am making my way to London to perform and compete in the International World Burlesque Games! I have never been to the UK and I am overwhelmed with joy about getting to spend some time there. So as I prepare for my departure, I will leave you with a few beautiful images that have been pacing my mind for the last two weeks. I hope ya’ll are ready for me out there! xoxo

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Feisty Thoughts: Audience Consent

Last night I had the opportunity to perform at a wonderful show with a live jazz band in which the burlesque performers danced throughout the room and sometimes had interactions with the audience. Being a floor level show, I would consider this a more intimate experience and for a crowd who not only knows burlesque, and the rules behind it. And what are the rules you ask? Well it’s simple, from the time we enter the dance floor till the time we leave, we are in control. Period. 

So let’s talk about what that control means. Simply put, it means I can come up and lead an interaction with you. That could mean getting your help removing a glove, or it could mean me taking that glove and playfully smacking you with it. Whatever I want, I’m in control. Of course these interactions will be respectful and playful because that’s my performance style, if you are going to see a performer who is more known for shock performance, you may want to do your research. But regardless, by you sitting in your seat, and watching the show, you are willingly agreeing to these terms of interaction, especially if you’ve already seen multiple performers that night. 

So why the hell am I even writing this? Because last night as I go to lead an interaction with an audience member, another audience member, who my attention was not even directed to, pushes me aside and exclaims “Oh hell no.” From that particular moment, it was my intention to put all my attention to her, from afar. At that point every bump and grind, every finger lick, and every ass smack was directed directly at her. You mam, do not get to push aside a performer, especially a performer in heels. You do not get to sit through till the second half of the show, and decide at my act that you are now offended by the show that you were willingly watching. You do not get to touch a performer, especially when I wasn’t even directing my attention to you. 

She did end up removing herself from the show by the next two acts, which is the correct thing to do. Had I warranted the interaction something that needed to be taken care of, the staff and show would have IMMEDIATELY taken care of it, but I felt my direct attention embarrassed her enough to remove herself from the show so I didn’t make it a big deal. 

Regardless, the point I’m trying to make in this post is that audience members, if you are going to see a live show, you are consenting to the performance and interaction styles of that artist. I don’t go to see GWAR without expecting to be sprayed with fake blood. I don’t go to see jazz entertainment without expecting the possibility of the singer talking  to the audience during their act. I don’t go to see burlesque with expecting some sort of interaction depending on the venue. Know what you are consenting to and be honest with yourself. If you can’t handle it, then there is no shame in that. Just don’t go, we won’t be mad.