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West Coast Tour Complete!

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

 

Upcoming Performances

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

Feisty Thoughts: Showgirl Mama

Some of you may already know this, but beyond being a performer, a producer, and a traveling showgirl, I am also a mother to a very feisty little girl who will be three this April. From the moment that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, literally the next day, I was onstage and determined to not let this pregnancy trample my dreams of being a traveling burlesque performer. I worked diligently throughout my pregnancy, altering costumes and acts, to better support my growing belly and growing ambition. I performed up until a month before she was born. When she was only two months old, I traveled with her across the country for my first burlesque competition in Charleston, South Carolina.

As she got older, I continued to travel and perform whenever I was given the opportunity. She came with me to Charlotte when she was young and still breast-feeding. Later I went to Seattle, Texas, Toronto, New York, London, and so many other places on my own. Sometimes I would opt for a quick trip, landing the day of the show and leaving directly after the conclusion of the event, which could be either a night or a weekend. Sometimes my husband would care for her like when I took off for nine days to go to New Orleans and Albuquerque. But one thing was for sure, the older she became, the more difficult it was to leave her.

Every trip I cry. Not just a few tears streaming down my face, I mean ugly cry. I text my girlfriend, Sassy Stiletto, to remind myself why I do what I do, and if I am making the right decision as a parent. Each time I read her response through my tears telling me that if I don’t take care of myself, of my own dreams and aspirations, then I will have nothing to give my daughter. And although that makes me feel better, as I tuck her into bed, or kiss her goodbye at the airport repeating the one phrase that I have told her since she was an infant in my arms, “Mommy always comes back to you,” it doesn’t make it any easier. But still, I get on that plane, and I give the audience every ounce of me that I possibly have to give.

Once I get to my destination it’s usually easier. I see my friends who I don’t always see and performances that inspire me to continue bettering my craft, but every now and then you just have to have a moment to yourself. I remember when I was competing in London, about an hour before I was supposed to hit the stage with my stage make-up in tact and nervous energy flowing rampantly, I heard this family from the other table call to their little girl, about three years older than my daughter, “Brody”. Now Brody is not a very common name for little girls, and I had yet to meet another one until this moment, but I looked to the family and clarified whether or not their daughter’s name was Brody. Of course when they responded yes, I sat there, attempting to continue a polite conversation while fighting back tears. Finally, as my voice started to crack and I could no longer hid the tears running down my face as I was forcing myself to smile, I excused myself directly to the bathroom where I broke down in a crying hysteria all the while trying to save most of my stage make-up.

At the moment, I have cut back my travel significantly. This decision wasn’t made directly because of my daughter, other goals and aspirations definitely weighed in, but at this very, very, very, VERY difficult stage (yes moms to older children, I know it only gets worse – I mean new “challenges” later on present themselves) I thought it would be best to spend more time with her until we get past this phase. But if you do find yourself traveling with little ones, I have a few tips to help you survive.

  1. Remember the reasons why you do this. Being a mother means giving so much of yourself to someone else. It’s easy to lose your own identity in this mix and will continue to be a juggling act as they get older. Remember to take care of yourself and remember your dreams pre-baby.
  2. Facetime/Skype often. Technology is remarkable, and calling and seeing my baby girl, even before she talked, really helped to alleviate the guilt and longing… a bit.
  3. Have a support system back home you can trust. Having people who know your child, and who you trust with your baby’s life is imperative. Whether it’s mom/dad, grandparents, relatives, or just a very good family friend to take care of your little ones, make the decision that you will be most relieved with.
  4. Give all the information you can before you leave. Make all the lists you need to feel like if something happens to your child, they know where to call. It’s okay to have plans A through Z mapped out if it’s going to make you feel better. Whether or not they will follow it to a T is another story, but if it will help you sleep at night, then do what you have to do.
  5. Have a special phrase for you and your little one. I was terrified that Brody was going to think I left her for good, so I always reiterate to her that no matter what, I will come back. Every time I get off Facetime or when I leave, I repeat this to her, and after a while, she just knows. It’s almost like a mantra for just you two, even if they can’t repeat it yet.
  6. Allow yourself moments to disconnect. Don’t forget to make friends. Have fun. Do all the things that non-parents do when you are gone. Don’t feel guilty about having fun. If you spent all your time doing that, then what’s the point of leaving in the first place.

Being a mama and a traveling showgirl is a difficult challenge. But I promise you, you can do it. <3

Traveling Showgirl Tips

The last couple of years I have been on the road and in the air quite a bit. I have traveled both nationally and internationally, and along the way I have come up with a few traveling showgirl tips. Are you an experienced traveller or maybe a novice who doesn’t know where to begin? Then check out my ten tips for a successful showgirl tour!

  1. Water – You may think that drinking water is only important when you are flying, but throughout your trip, drink as much water as you possibly can. I can’t tell you how many times my mood and energy levels were affected because I was unknowingly dehydrated. When I was traveling in the UK, I didn’t pay attention to my own advice, and with all those tea breaks and no water in between, I was an absolute mess by the time I got home.
  2. Sleep – For me, when I travel sleep is nearly impossible. I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep on a plane, time difference is always a factor, and with burlesque performers performing at night, our hours are already all over the place. I’m not a big fan of sleeping pills because of the hangover effect, but I have had a lot of success using melatonin, which is a natural, over-the-counter sleep aid. You can find this at any drug store, Whole Foods, or even online.
  3. Vitamin C – Traveling is often being in confined spaces with random strangers. Glamorous, I know. Be sure to up your Vitamin C intake to help combat any traveling colds that are floating around.
  4. Research the area you will be staying at. – Research for more than just restaurants that you want to eat at, or shops you want to see. Google search time, distance, travel, and price points for the best methods to get around. Can you walk from your hotel to the venue? What time is call time? When would you have to leave to get to where you are going? Do you have a point of contact in case you get lost? How much are cab rides? Will you have WiFi to use GPS? Many times I will make print outs of directions in case my phone decides to fail me. Make sure you are thoroughly prepared for the worst.
  5. Have a good traveling bag. – I’m not talking about something cute for the plane. Have a show bag that you can easily take around town. Often I take public transportation when I travel, and going back to whatever your home base is may not always be an option, unless you have a car at your disposal or the extra income to request Ubers. Many times I will go explore the city with all my showgirl necessities for that night. Always be prepared. You never know what kind of time set backs you may encounter.
  6. Bring acts that you can travel with. – When you are performing and traveling, it’s much easier to bring acts that are easily transportable. Unless the production you are performing in has paid for you to bring out that giant pain-in-the-ass prop that looks gorgeous on stage, but your stage hands hate, leave it at home. In fact, if you are traveling, keep set-ups minimal. Sometimes it’s best to only have to worry about whether you start on or off stage.
  7. Music – Always have a back up of your music. If you will be on the road, and are performing in a weekly production, chances are they won’t request your music till the week before your performance. I like to use Google Drive and have the downloaded app on my phone. Also keeping a USB back up of all the acts you will be performing while touring is incredibly helpful.
  8. Make-Up – As a performer rule, I always show up to the venue with my make-up already done. You never know what the lighting situation will be, and really it makes you look more professional when you show up to the venue ready to go.
  9. Be Gracious – Producing is hard. Having performers in a production who the producers don’t know is something you should be gracious about. I have performed with producers who I’ve met before, and I’ve also performed in productions where I’ve never formally met the producer. Be kind. Don’t be a diva, and make sure you roll with the punches. I know producers who above everything else, want to make sure that their backstage is a safe zone. Be kind and respectful of everyone involved. You represent yourself, your affiliations, and your community.
  10. Get to know the community. – If you have a few days off to catch another local show, go show some support if it’s in your time and budget. Go meet and talk with the other performers. Make some new friends. You never know where your paths will cross again.

So these are just a few of my traveling show girl tips. Do you have a specific question or maybe a really good point to add? Comment below! Thanks for reading. xoxo

A Showgirl’s Prayer

As I step onto this stage, let my light shine through.

Let me connect with all in the audience, and leave each person feeling special and desired.

Let each glance, wink, and smile translate into love and appreciation.

If I fall, let me think quickly to turn my stumble into a graceful transition.

Let me dance in the moment, and seize the opportunity to give my all onstage.

Let my music start and finish correctly, and my lighting look most flattering.

Let me make a moment to remember, a story to later tell friends.

And if I mess up beyond repair, let this act turn into a comedy that will be forgiven with a smile!

Falling in Love With Your Act

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. 

  

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.