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In this special, two-part series, James Ulness, Brown Paper Tickets Client Services Representative and an avid, enthusiastic member of the Seattle burlesque community, prepares to make his début as a boylesque performer. James has been a regular presence backstage at local burlesque shows for years but last Saturday was his first foray onto the stage. In the first part of the series, James talked about his decision to perform and his process in preparing for his act. In this, the second part of the series, James shares his thoughts and feelings on the actual night of his boylesque debut and announces his NEXT performance! Enjoy.
My boylesque début has come and gone. Just a short while ago I was surrounded by the chaos of the show. The cold air backstage, thick with glitter and the sounds of performers rushing about. My small corner of the world enveloped in a cloud of noise and excitement. But, now life is still, quiet and average. I can already feel the itch to get back on stage. To dive into another maelstrom and be tossed about like a ship cursed by an angry Poseidon. However, now it’s time to do reflect back onto the past couple of days and review what I did and what I learned.
How did it feel being on stage for the first time?
Amazing! A mix of fear and excitement. I hardly remember the act itself, only that it went off almost exactly the way I rehearsed it and the euphoria of coming off the stage after. It’s hard to come up with specific details, everything is a bit of a blur but, judging from the audience’s applause, I didn’t make a complete fool out of myself. Or maybe I did. Either way, they seemed to enjoy my performance. One thing that surprised me was my lack of nervousness before going on stage. I was not expecting to be relaxed backstage but as I stood in the wings, waiting for the MC to announce me, there wasn’t an ounce of hesitation in my body. I had rehearsed the act until I knew every beat of the song. I new every mark I needed to hit. Nothing was left to chance. I was on auto pilot as soon as I stepped onto the stage and it felt like home.
In this special, two-part series, James Ulness, Brown Paper Tickets Client Services Representative and an avid, enthusiastic member of the Seattle burlesque community, prepares to make his début as a boylesque performer. James has been a regular presence backstage at local burlesque shows for years but this will be his first foray onto the stage.
Over the years I’ve spent quite a bit of time working around the edges of the burlesque world. I’ve written about shows, photographed them, worked backstage, constructed props and have even been a prop myself. But one thing I have never done is perform onstage. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and planned on doing but never quite got around to it. “Someday,” I told myself, “Someday I’ll get up on that stage and I will be amazing.” It took a lot longer than I thought it would but that day has finally come. Or rather, that day is March 22, 2014.
One of the philosophies I try to live my life by is the idea that you should never ask other people to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. And with all the time I’ve spent around burlesque it would be hypocritical of me to not put myself on a stage. But there was a problem. I had absolutely no idea where to start. The logical starting point would be to take a burlesque class, which is what I was planning on doing as soon as my schedule permitted (and I still recommend it for anyone who whats to jump into burlesque). But while I was pondering when and where to go to burlesque school opportunity came knocking at my door. Chameleon Productions, one of the groups I’ve gotten to know in my time hanging around burlesque folks, announced that they were accepting submissions for there new production, Morsels for a Mongrel.
Pop culture is always an odd and fascinating thing to behold. Completely unpredictable fads and fashions slip in and out of the public’s consciousness like a pinball, bouncing rapidly from thing to thing in a tempest of lights and sound until it finally drops between the flippers. But neither the ball nor the fad is truly gone forever. They are just sitting in their hold, waiting for their turn to be shot back out onto the playfield.
The 1990s were an… um…. interesting time for pop culture politics and music. This was a time in history when Pepsi was clear, Beanie Babies were an investment and Tank Girls roamed the earth. And now it looks as if it’s the ’90s turn in the ball shooter of retro-Americana with this weeks featured burlesque events.
When you go to a burlesque show, you never quite know what you are going to get. There are a few guarantees (rhinestones, pasties, music and horrific puns) but beyond that the night is a glitteringly bedazzled mystery for the audience to experience.
For the three shows that we’re featuring this week, it will be a mystery for the performers as well! Burlesque is usually a meticulously choreographed and rehearsed activity, but these brave performers have thrown caution to the wind and will come to the stage armed with nothing but guts and talent to bring you improvised acts to excite and amaze. Think of it as a slightly sexier, live version of the TV show Who’s Line is it Anyway?
Friday, January 30 and Saturday, February 1 | Focus Fox Burlesque presents Whose Pastie Is It Anyway?
Ever hear a song and think to yourself I would really love to see a burlesque routine done to this? Here’s your chance! Focus Fox Burlesque is putting the teasing in your hands. The foxes are coming to the stage with absolutely no preparation. You, the audience, have the opportunity to pick the music and the dancers will have no clue until they walk onstage!Arts >
2013 is coming to a close and 2014 is rapidly approaching. It’s time to start making your New Years’ Resolutions. And, if you’re going to make a resolution, you should make one that you are definitely going to keep. Odds are you aren’t going to finish writing that novel or learn to play the theremin. You may manage to be more organized, but where’s the fun in that?
If you want to make a resolution that you know you are not only going to keep but have fun keeping, resolve to go see more burlesque! To help you out, here are some wonderful shows that are coming up in the very near future.
If there is a proper way to celebrate the new year it’s with music, dancing, costumes, glitter, drinks and fun. And there is one thing that always promises to deliver all those things: burlesque. So this year celebrate the new year right with some of the country’s top burlesque stars!
In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is coming soon and that means that this year’s Christmas specials have arrived! Christmas specials are heralds of the approaching holiday, announcing it’s impending arrival with song and dance. Elves and Grinches blaze a trail into our hearts and minds which Christmas day fallows. In short, Christmas specials are special.
With that in mind, and since this is the Tuesday Tease, here is a light smattering of burlesque Christmas specials that are happening this year!
New York, New York
TONIGHT! Tuesday, December 17 | Hotsy Totsy Burlesque’s tribute to the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special One of, if not THE, most infamous holiday specials ever created. The program told the story of Han Solo and Chewbacca racing against time to get to the Wookie home planet, Kashyyyk, in time for Chewy to spend Life Day with his family. The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, pre-empting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said: ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.'”
The folks at Hotsy Totsy Burlesque have made some improvements. Rather than featuring left over cast, props and footage from the original Star Wars, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque’s tribute to the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special will showcase performances by Brief Sweat, Clara Coquette, Hard Corey, Ivory Fox, Jenny C’est Quoi, Rosey La Rouge, gogo by Erika Rodgers and will be hosted by Herry Pitz and Handsome Brad.
New Orleans, Louisiana
TOMORROW! Wednesday, December 18 | Naked Girls Reading Christmas Carol What would Christmas be without Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic A Christmas Carol? The number of adaptions of the story are too numerous to count. Everyone from Patrick Stewart to Mr. Magoo have portrayed the books tight-fisted protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge. However, one aspect of the story is almost always missing from the storytelling. The live reading of the story. Charles Dickens himself had a long tradition of public readings of A Christmas Carol, a tradition that has been almost lost to time and technology. But fortunately Naked Girls Reading has brought this tradition back, with improvements that would have been unheard of in Victorian England.
The day has nearly arrived, Can you feel it in the air? The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is upon us! And all the Whovians around the world are getting ready. And, as with any festivity, burlesque Whovians are in on the merrymaking. Except that once they’ve donned their bow ties, fezzes and giant scarfs, they will be taking them off once again, faster than you can say “allons-y!”
It doesn’t matter if you go by TARDIS, Vortex Manipulator or Void Ship, you don’t want to miss the wibbly wobbly, glittery wittery fun!
Christmas comes to Philadelphia early this year and stays late, thanks to the brilliant folks at Busts & Trunks. From now until January you will be able to treat yourself to three Doctor who themed burlesque shows!
TOMORROW! Wednesday, November 20 | Stars & Garters: A Doctor Who Burlesque — 50th Anniversary Show! Join Busts & Trunks, artists in residence at the Trestle Inn, for their 50th Who-versary Celebration tomorrow at 8 PM for what promises to be the most Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey evening this side of the TARDIS doors. The evening will feature Casanova Chaos, Rita Action, “Ace”merelda Spade, Freyja Kanina, Scarlett Simone, and Eris T. Vayle as the sexy, sultry, sonic members of the Doctor’s enclave throughout the years.
Wednesday, December 11 | Stars & Garters: A Doctor Who Burlesque – The Who-lidays Edition! ‘Tis the Season for some Who-lly Jolly Times! Deck the TARDIS with boughs of Holly, Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la ALLONS-Y!
Wednesday, January 15| Stars & Garters: A Doctor Who Burlesque Stars & Garters’ is designed to be both New-to-Who and Hardcore Whovian friendly, so burlesque enthusiasts, fangirls and boys, cosplayers, LARP-ers, nerds, geeks, freaks, sci-fi aficionados, Timelords and aspiring companions are all welcome. Bring your bawdy friends! Come join Busts & Trunks as they channel the TARDIS, touch the Time Vortex, exit the Pandorica, and confront the Daleks. You might even meet a Doctor or two.Arts >
This week on the Tuesday Tease, we feature a review of Seattle-based Gossamer Wing Productions’ August installment of the monthly show “Sanctuary.” Gossamer Wing Productions was formed by burlesque performer/producer Whisper De Corvo, an up-and-coming face on the Seattle burlesque scene and “Sanctuary,” though relatively new, is already drawing some of Seattle burlesque’s top talent, so Whisper must be doing something right! We love working with inspired producers like Whisper and if you’re in Seattle we highly encourage you to check out her shows.
Our resident burlesque field correspondent James Ulness was on hand to witness the show and here’s what he had to say about it:
My evening started when I arrived at the Unicorn, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. After entering, I made my way downstairs into the sideshow festooned, pinball haven that is the Narwhal. I made a brief detour to the claw machine, ordered my drink and found a seat at a beautiful, skull-painted table. After a short wait the host, Mr. Bawdy, took the stage and began two hours that were filled with every style and variety of act that you could ever hope for, from four absolutely amazing performers!
Sometimes, the only thing you need to do is read the title of an event to know that you are in for an amazing and unforgettable experience. Such is the case with The Sugar Frosted Crunchy Flake Friday Evening Cartoon Hour! happening next Friday, August 2 at the Rendezvous/Jewelbox Theater in Seattle.
The name alone is enough to give you a Saturday morning sugar rush that will last well into Monday afternoon! Producer, Scarlett O’Hairdye, has put together an amazing show fuelled by love, nostalgia, glitter, cartoons and breakfast cereal that is sure to conjure up fond memories of childhood while simultaneously reminding you that there are some things that are better appreciated as a grown-up.
Scarlett, who has produced burlesque shows in Seattle since 2012, drew inspiration for this production from a “love of the cartoons of [her] childhood” and put together a program of “many amazing acts that referenced those cartoons.”
Scarlett says, “I wanted to bring them all together into one show and share that love with the rest of the world in the sparkliest way possible.”
From the sound of it, she accomplished her goal and then some!
The evening’s entertainment will be hosted by Vanadium Silver and feature performances by the “Wild Child of Seattle Burlesque” Evilyn Sin Claire, Randi Rascal, Bolt Action, Scarlett O’Hairdye herself (“The Nearly Naked Nerd”) and, coming all the way up from Portland, Oregon: Kit Katastrophic. All will be presenting acts that pay tribute to and elaborate on memories and iconic imagery of our childhoods! Be ready to have your recollections of cartoons, TV commercials, breakfast cereal and Thundercats changed forever!Arts >