Blog

Oct 17th

Free The Girls, Literally

Posted by with No Comments

Free The Girls

I started working with Denver based, Free the Girls several months ago. I’m from Colorado and a friend on Facebook posted a link about them that piqued my interest. I had been looking for a new volunteer opportunity that would work with my busy schedule and honor a cause that was important to me.

Free the Girls is a 501 c (3) non profit organization that partners with safe houses and after care facilities to provide work opportunities for survivors of sex slavery and human trafficking selling new and gently used bras. I reached out to the organization and expressed an interest in helping to collect bras by organizing “bra drives”. I gathered a bin, printed some signs, created fliers to help spread the word and started collecting bras at local burlesque shows. I asked if they would accept bras that had been embellished and they encouraged such donations. I find it poetic that, as burlesque performers, we have the freedom to literally take our bras off and give them to another to help her reclaim her freedom.

I had some luck collecting bras at first, but not nearly the bounty for which I was hoping. Then, things became particularly exciting when I was approached to get involved with the Hollywood Burlesque Festival as the Charity Organizer. I knew this would be a great opportunity to promote Free the Girls and collect a significant amount of bras for donation and it was a humble way for me to contribute to the festival. I felt a swelling sense of gratitude to see two of my passions–volunteer work and burlesque–collide. BOOM! BANG! POW! Great things were bound to happen. Between Free the Girls and the HBQF crew we were able to start spreading the word and before long, it became obvious that many performers were delighted to get involved with a cause helping fellow women.

We kicked off our first bra drive at the Hollywood Burlesque Festival Fundraiser–All Star Showcase, presented by Bobbie Burlesque at M Bar. I was blown away by the number of bras we collected. Audience members and performers alike made donations and filled our bin to the brim. Thank you so much to everyone who made a donation.

Bras

A bounty of bras we’ve collected, so far.

So what happens to those bras now?

First they will be shipped back to Free The Girls. A program will then be initiated at a safe house with a donation of bras. It will be set up to be sustainable and women can purchase more bras at a discounted wholesale price. Bras are a highly sought after item in many countries and many of the women were sold at young ages and missed out on the opportunity to attend school. By selling bras they are able to reclaim the opportunities they lost after being sold into slavery by attending school, getting the health care they need and caring for their families, all while earning an income.

In July 2012, 32,000 bras were shipped to Mozambique. The women in the program have been able to sell between 100-500 bras each month and depending on the community, some of the women are able to make 3-5 times the minimum wage selling bras. There are other programs being launched in Kenya, Uganda and El Salvador.

Denver Broncos Bra decorated by Spy Kitten

Denver Broncos Bra decorated by Spy Kitten

Free the Girls recently held their first ever fundraising gala for which I decorated and donated a Denver Broncos inspired bra for auction. Go Broncos! 😉 I have gained immense pleasure from getting involved with this organization. The employees of Free the Girls have been fabulous, fun and friendly and I hope to meet up with some of them on a trip to Denver in the near future. I feel lucky to be able to watch the HBQF and Free the Girls grow during their respective inaugural year. I hope you will join me in supporting both the Hollywood Burlesque Festival and Free the Girls. I have no doubt that we will be sending a large amount of braziers back to Colorado in December.

Check your calendars and make sure to come out to the Hollywood Burlesque Festival fundraising events and get your tickets for the festival happening December 6-9th…and remember to bring a new or gently used bra to any HBQF event, we will gladly accept it on behalf of our sisters.

Thank you,
Spy Kitten
Charity Coordinator, Hollywood Burlesque Festival

Read More
Sep 20th

Performers Announced

Posted by with No Comments

We are delighted to announce our performer line up.

Finalizing the performers for the festival was a long, yet wonderful process for our selection comettie. We were overwhelmed by the amount, and quality, of the performers who submitted to be in the fesival. Congratulations to those who are performing, and huge thank you to everyone who submitted.

HEADLINERS:
Roxi D’Lite, Detroit, MI
Russell Bruner, Portland, OR
Stephanie Blake, Hollywood, CA
Francesca “Kitten” Natividad, Hollywood, CA
Evie Lovelle, Hollywood, CA
Swingtime PDX, Portland, Or
Lux La Croix, Los Angeles, CA
Dizzy Von Damn!, Seattle, WA
Ruby Champagne, Los Angeles, CA

CONTESTANTS:

MISS HOLLYWOOD BURLESQUE
Bobbie Baltimore, Los Angeles, CA.
Cici Stiletto, Los Angeles, CA.
Iza la Vamp, Los Angeles, CA.
Jessabelle Thunder, Long Beach, CA.
Mercury Troy, Los Angeles, CA.
Nikita Bitch Project, Los Angeles, CA.
Pearl Lux, Los Angeles, CA.
Quinn T. Sensual, Los Angeles, CA.
Sheila Starr Siani, Long Beach, CA.
Venus DeMille, Los Angeles, CA.

MISS STARLET BURLESQUE
Aya Fontaine, Las Vegas, NV.
Bethany Summersizzle, Austin, TX.
Cha Cha Velour, Las Vegas, NV.
Martini Bombshell, San Diego, CA.
Maxi Millions, Phoenix, AZ.
Miyuki Divine, Calgary, Alberta.
Poison Ivory, Brooklyn, NY.
Sizzle Dizzle, Brooklyn, NY.

MR HOLLYWOOD BURLESQUE
Bobbie Burlesque, Los Angeles, CA.
Doctor Lust, Los Angeles, CA.
Tito Bonito, Hollywood, CA.

LEADING MAN BURLESQUE
Jay C., Buxerolles, Poitou-Charentes, France.
Matt Finish, Tucson, AZ.
Justin F Credible, Austin, TX.

HOLLYWOOD BURLESQUE CHORUS LINE – DUO
Burgundy Bells – Anna Bells and Vanessa Burgundy, Los Angeles, CA.
Honey Lawless and Gigi d’Flower, San Francisco, CA.
The Pecking Order – Eva Strangelove and Justin F Credible, Austin, TX.

HOLLYWOOD BURLESQUE CHORUS LINE – TROUPE
Chocolate Box Burlesque – Caramel Knowledge, Sheila Starr Siani, and VV Trippple, Los Angeles, CA.
Drop Dead Dames Burlesque Revue – Ginger N. Whiskey, Bibi Bordeaux, Eva Mae Garnet, Valentina On the Rocks, Dottie DeVille, Stella Foxtrot, Donna DeMuerte, San Diego, CA.
Joy Coy & The CoyBots – Joy Coy, Brian Botkiller, Rex Starchild, Albuquerque, NM.
The Dirty Little Secrets Burlesque – Alice Wonder, Harlow Rose and Venus Mantrap, Los Angeles, CA.
Victory Variety Hour – Penny Starr, Jr., Panama Red, Iza La Vamp, Lord Londonbridge, Sioux Du Jour, Vyper SynVille, Greta Grenade, Muffy La Mynx, Los Angeles, CA.

VARIETY
Bizzaro, Las Vegas, NV.
Chad Allen, Los Angeles, CA.
El Ropo, Los Angeles, CA.
Pony Death Ride, San Diego, CA.
Scott Land, Hollywood, CA.
Tuba, Los Angeles, CA.

SHOWCASING:
April Showers, Los Angeles, CA.
Blanche DeBris, Las Vegas, NV.
Bo Toxique, Los Angeles, CA.
Dizzy Swank, Brooklyn, NY.
Lucille Highball, Los Angeles, CA.
Mercy Beaucoup, San Francisco, CA.
Miss May, Los Angeles, CA.
Pandora Von Kit, Raleigh, NC.

Read More
Sep 13th

Gender And Creative Agency In Burlesque

Posted by with No Comments
vv-mom

    Cherry, VV Trippple’s mother in a costume from a show in the 80s.

 
When I was a little girl my mother performed burlesque in vaudeville theater in our tiny Northern Californian town. Every weekend she sang and stripped. Though the shows were scripted, she created her own costumes and choreography for them. My mother’s wit combined with sensuality in her performances was something that I did not quite understand but recognized immediately was powerful. Her ability to capture and hold everyone’s attention with that perfect balance of laugher and lust fascinated me. Burlesque is unique in the sense it is one of the few performance based art forms that allows, in most cases, for full creative control of the product produced. The performer controls all aspects of their art – content, costuming, music, choreography, lighting, etc. I believe that this is the true reason people are drawn to burlesque. While without a doubt it is empowering to captivate an audience with your wit and sensuality, it is so much more so when that piece is of your own making in its entirety. An actor in a full length play, a ballet dancer, or a woman dancing in a strip club can all experience the power to capture and hold an audience’s attention, but a burlesque performer knows that that power is entirely theirs. Perhaps that is why you will find so many of the previous performers mentioned ending up in burlesque. I know that’s why I did.

VV Tripple  ©S.H.Photo

VV Trippple
©S.H.Photo

 
Fast forward many years from my mother’s performances and I am now a performer myself as well as an academic at UCLA studying Anthropology and I was given the opportunity this year to conduct research on burlesque. In my paper, “Burlesque: The Creative Journey to Agency though Gender Expression & Exploration” I show how performers are using the creative space that burlesque allows to explore and express issues of gender. Over the course of the last year, I have interned at Monday Night Tease! produced by Lili VonSchtupp and done performance analysis of dozens and dozens of shows. I conducted informal interviews with many performers, and collected a survey of twenty questions from 46 performers who responded internationally, including new performers, seasoned performers, professional performers, performers/producers, and even a few Legends.

Of the 46 respondents, 35 identified as female, five as male, and six as genderqueer or some other more neutral or ambiguous gender identity. Initially I had been interested in what drew performers from the variety of backgrounds they seem to come from, often risking more conservative professional careers in order to perform. Some even changed their lives dramatically to be present in the burlesque space full time. For years I have heard performers site how “empowering” burlesque is as the draw and the reason they risk so much personally and at times professionally. In the social sciences we often use “agency” in place of “empower”. In several discourses in academia “agency” means being ones own agent, to be able to act in the world with intent. In particular there is a lot of talk about political agency – how one goes from being a passive watcher to active participant in the political arena. I am very interested in this sort of agency, political but also creative. I wanted to see how performers used gender in a creative space, and how it engaged agency, and the results were more than I could have ever hoped for.

The female, male, and genderqueer performers were all using the creative space of burlesque to explore gender – they were just all doing it in different ways and for different reasons. Women really own this space, and it is one of the few spaces they do feel they own, in many cases unapologetically and for some territorially. It seemed for women that almost nothing was taboo in terms of gender. The only consistently reported taboo among performers was issues of cultural appropriation in acts, but never how gender was portrayed (by women). Women could portray any aspect if gender, be hyper feminine, gender bend between male and female, or portray men, all in a very fluid way and without any concerns. There was critique and concern of male performers potentially invading what some felt has become a sacred female space. Others were very inclusive of other genders and even celebrated the moniker “boylesque” as a legitimization of male performers having their own space within burlesque. However, some preferred the term not to be inclusive, but because they felt it should be separate from female owned space of burlesque. Because it seemed females had an “anything goes” as far as their own gender exploration, they were often less concerned or aware of gender bending and gender play in acts. Their concern was more on appropriate execution of a concept and including and exploring other issues such as body image, aging, concepts of beauty, sexual orientation, intelligence, etc. into their acts.
Meanwhile, the male performers were hyper aware they were entering into a female owned space but very much wanted to be there, respect it, and not to invade, but to explore issues of masculinity and male identity in the same creative ways the women had already mastered. Genderqueer performers were also very aware of their gender performance and used the space as a creative and safe space to explore and express identity. The burlesque space did not create their gender identity, but it was a safe space for them to explore and share what it meant. “Safe space” was a term that was often repeated by all three genders. How interesting that the act of striptease is not only reported as being empowering by its participants, but also safe. Imagine, peeling off layers of clothing hoping to illicit laughter and or desire as a form of safety. Based on all my data, I believe it is this idea of creative agency that feels safe to these performers. They have complete control of the product they produce, so they also control its outcome. In other words, they feel safe or empowered because they have agency.

VV Trippple is a Los Angeles based performer and academic at UCLA. She will be presenting her research on burlesque and gender at BurlyCon 2013 this November.

Read More
Sep 5th

INTERVIEW WITH BURLESQUE LEGEND STEPHANIE BLAKE

Posted by with No Comments
Stephanie Blake, two time Miss Exotic World and second generation exotic dancer.

Stephanie Blake, two time Miss Exotic World and second generation exotic dancer.

 

Stephanie Blake is an inspiring, delightful, and congenial performer. Her numbers are sensual and incredibly flexible. Stephanie shares a little insight on her burlesque journey from Midwestern cutie to Hollywood legend.

RED SNAPPER: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN BURLESQUE?

STEPHANIE BLAKE: My mother did it. When she was 20 she was a cocktail waitress in a nightclub. The club owner told her she could make a lot more money by getting on stage. He also helped her with wardrobe and gave her the stage name of BeBe Love.

In Kansas City, Missouri, there was a club called King Arthur’s. The owner kept hiring professional exotic dancers for “amateur night” and audiences were very upset. My mom suggested he use me, a real amateur. That is how I ended up on stage. My girlfriend had to drive me to work because I was too young to get a driver’s license. I really don’t know how I would have gotten into burlesque if my mother hadn’t done it.

RED: AS A SECOND GENERATION STRIPPER, DID YOU LEARN TIPS AND TRICKS FROM YOUR MOTHER? WHAT WAS THE BEST BIT OF ADVICE SHE GAVE YOU FOR THIS LINE OF WORK?

STEPHANIE: My mother helped me with some costumes and she made great pasties. The only advice she ever gave me was “don’t give money to men” and “If you ignore a man he will chase you around and give you the world.” It was the best advice I ever got and it really works!

RED: YOU GREW UP IN THE MIDWEST. TELL US A LITTLE OF YOUR “HEADING TO HOLLYWOOD” STORY.

STEPHANIE: I was born in Texas and raised mostly in Kansas City. Due to a bad choice in husbands (at 19), I wanted change. After getting a divorce I moved to Vegas where I worked in a revue called Rare ‘n Bare at the Royal Casino. I enrolled at UNLV and went to college during the day. Then I got a job writing for a tabloid and got to interview fabulous people like George Carlin, Robert Goulet, etc. I had balls of steel at the time because I would just call the stars who were working in Vegas and ask them if I could interview them. No one ever said no!!!

I was also taking acting classes from a teacher named Joseph Bernard. He told me if I wanted to act I had to go to L.A. I believed him and moved.

As soon as I got to L.A. I started getting TV work (because of my stripping ability)! I did HBO shows with Phyllis Diller, Julie Newmar, Jack Carter, Sid Caeser, Imogene Cocoa, and lots of other great people. Then Rob Reiner hired me for the film The Sure Thing. Next was Ferris. Then more! Without my burlesque background I wouldn’t have gotten most of these jobs!

RED: YOU’VE BEEN A BURLESQUE FESTIVAL JUDGE BEFORE. WHAT TIP DO YOU THINK WOULD BEST HELP COMPETITORS?

STEPHANIE: Personally, I think performers should know what they will be judged on. Usually it will be costume, originality, audience response, and creativity. The judges never know who will actually win until it is announced. I think the ballot should include sensuality, too. Ginger Valentine is one example of someone who is definitely a winner. She has everything anyone could want. I would say study her technique and make sure all areas of your performance measure up. She also teaches classes on how to win!!!

RED: YOU ARE INCREDIBLY FLEXIBLE AND FIT. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE BODY WE FIRST SAW IN FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF?

STEPHANIE: OH GEE…Thank you! Right now I try to stretch every day to get back the flexibility that I have lost by not stretching! And I get to the gym whenever I get a chance. This week for my prep for New Orleans, I will be doing yoga every day plus going over the routine I’m doing with Russell Bruner.

RED: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE CURVE BALLS YOU MAY GET THROWN IN LIVE PERFORMANCE?

STEPHANIE: I have never let anything throw me. There are no mistakes on stage, as long as you don’t tell the audience you can change anything and everything.

RED: ANY OTHER ADVICE FOR PERFORMERS?

STEPHANIE: Have fun when you perform! If you have fun the audience will too! Be glamorous and beautiful and give the crowd more than they ever imagined they would get. KNOCK ‘EM DEAD!!!

Stephanie Blake is performing at New Orleans Burlesque Festival again this fall, and she is one of our headliners for Hollywood Burlesque Festival. You can keep up with her at http://stephanieblake.bizz

Read More
Aug 29th

Photo Tips for the Burlesque Performer

Posted by with No Comments
Gypsy Rose Lee, pictured here in a press photo by Fred Palumbo, knew how to market herself and her brand. She was famous for a striptease act accompanied her witty wordplay.

Gypsy Rose Lee, pictured here in a press photo by Fred Palumbo, knew how to market herself and her brand. She was famous for a striptease act accompanied her witty wordplay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
For the newcomer and seasoned veteran alike, the prospect of assembling a portfolio of photos for use in promoting yourself to audiences and producers can seem a little daunting. What type of photos do you need? How should you prepare for a photoshoot? How the heck do you find a photographer?

Two of L.A.’s best burlesque professional photographers are on hand to help you out.

Sam Hernandez has shot everything from the Emmys and pro sports to corporate events, commercial catalogs and the Burlesque Hall of Fame. He’s currently getting back to his roots, documenting MacArthur Park on 35mm film.

Brian C. Janes is a new media producer and published photographer. His hardcover coffee table book, It’s All That Glitters: Portraits of Burlesque Performers in Their Homes was published by Schiffer Books in April 2012 and is available through major retail outlets.

We talked to Brian and Sam about what the burlesque performer needs to know about photography. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Artistic Photos vs. Marketing Your Brand

Some pretty pictures may not be the best way to sell yourself. “Artistic photos are more about the lighting and the photographer’s art than about the performance and performer,” said Sam.

Posing nude, draped over a gargoyle in deep shadows may make for an incredible piece of art, but it doesn’t sell you to a burlesque producer or an audience. “The performer is the brand,” said Brian. “You want people to come to see you. Not a lot of dancers think this way, and it’s sometimes reflected in the poor quality photos people use to promote themselves.”

Press Photos

The point here is promotion. Press photos are used by a producer to promote their show or festival. There are two types of photos you need in your arsenal: a headshot and a body shot. A headshot will show your shoulders and head, and a body shot will show you from your head to your feet. These are usually more “posed” than live photos, but shouldn’t be so posed you look like a Varga girl.

These are photos that sell YOU; your personality and your look. But they should be neutral enough to work for a variety of shows. Neutral but not generic.

In fact, Brian advises that performers strive to capture their “gimmick” in these types of photos: “Are you known for your balloon dancing? Your fan dancing? Your hula? Your press photos are your opportunity to sell yourself on first impression. Everyone has a feather boa, but how does your picture with your feather boa set you apart from the next performer with that same boa?”

“I tend to go more with a classic look,” said Sam. “I try to recreate the old Hollywood glamour look with the images. It’s a bit of a challenge to replicate the lighting they had. Once you get it, it’s really rewarding. The images look great. I’m a bit of a lighting geek, so I take pride in my lighting.”

“The Len Rothe books are a great reference for that classic burlesque glamour,” said Brian. The books are The Queens of Burlesque and The Bare Truth: Stars of Burlesque from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Another great resource we’ve found is the photo blog Vintage Burlesque Photos.

Submission Photos

When applying to a festival (such as the Hollywood Burlesque Festival!) or submitting yourself to a producer, you need a photo that captures the essence of the act you are submitting. Try for a live shot that captures your energy onstage.

“Anything from a full body shot to a mid-range shot,” said Sam. “You really have to go through the live photos you have. Some of the shots will reveal more of the act than others. You need to make sure you’re well lit, and well represented,” adds Sam.

“When possible, submission photos should include both studio shots as well as stage shots.” adds Brian. “But I think it’s really important to know not to use live photos for press photos. In all cases, make sure you have the photographer’s permission to submit their photos of you. Just because you are in the photo does not give you the right to use the photo.”

How to Find a Photographer

There is no shortage of photographers in the burlesque scene, and they range in skill from the greenest of amateurs to professional photographers who have seen print in large publications or have their work hanging in art galleries. Finding the right photographer for you may seem a daunting task. Thankfully, you don’t have to break new ground.

The best thing to do is ask for a referral from a dancer who already has great photos. Not only can you narrow in on a photographer who does good work, you can get the inside skinny on what its like to work with that photographer.

Brian and Sam both take a dim view towards finding a photographer online. Said Brian, “Be cautious with any ‘modeling’ sites online. They are full of shady characters who are just looking to get a naked girl in front of their camera.”

Sam agrees, saying, “The burlesque crowd is mostly word-of-mouth. And if you can’t find a referral, track down whoever takes live photos at the shows.”

“It comes down to doing your research,” said Brian. “And remember, free is too good to be true. Cheap is often too good to be true.”

Finally, and most importantly, make sure you are comfortable working with the photographer you find. A photographer who puts you at ease, who creates a safe, welcoming environment for you is worth something.

Sam told us, “It’s really important that you trust the photographer and have a good working relationship, because the photos will show it.”

It’s just business. If you don’t know if you can afford to work with a certain photographer, ask!

“I’ve had a number of people approach me and say ‘I’d love to shoot with you, but I can’t afford you.’” relates Brian. “First, when have you ever asked me how much I charge and second, when have you ever come up to me and said, ‘Here’s my budget, can you work with me?’ It can be a negotiation.”

Sam concurs. “When I’m working with people for the first time, especially people I don’t know, I always quote the rate for the shots and let them know what I‘m providing: a cd of the photos, retouch or no retouch, how many photos, etc.”

The Photo Shoot

“You should definitely meet with the photographer once or twice to go over wardrobe or ideas,” said Sam. “Or maybe email back and forth and meet face to face at least once beforehand, especially if you haven’t worked with them before.”

Take the time to really prepare for a photo shoot. If you can book a professional make-up and hair person to work with you, do it. You’ll be much happier with the outcome. At the very least, schedule yourself enough time to get your face on.

If you have bruises, touch them up. “Touching up bruises and blemishes will save Photoshopping time on the photographer’s end,” said Sam. “You may not fully cover it up, but it will make it easier to touch up. A few seconds can save five to ten minutes later.”

“Don’t have a BDSM session the night or even a week before a shoot,” Brian agrees. “And shave, shave, shave!”

Make sure your costume pieces are wrinkle-free and in good repair. Check the individual pieces over well in advance of the photo shoot for any loose threads, missing rhinestones, broken beads, etc.

If you are stripping down to the skimpiest of garments, you may consider wearing loose undergarments or going “commando” that day, so as to avoid the marks and creases underwear and bra elastic can leave. Sam has another approach to this problem: “We often work in reverse. Starting with pasties and high heels. The final shot will be you in your full costume. That way you won’t have lines across your stomach or chest.”

Make sure you look your best! Get a good night’s rest, and be sure to stay hydrated. Says Brian, “Don’t stay up late the night before and don’t go out drinking with your friends!”

FINAL THOUGHTS

When you get the proofs back from the photographer, get another person’s opinion on them. “Pass the proofs around to some friends and say, ‘What do you think of these, yay or nay?’” Brian says. “And hopefully they’ll be honest, not just pat you and the back and say, “These look great!’”

Always credit the photographer. Many professionals will watermark their photos, making this much easier for you, but it is your responsibility to make sure that watermark doesn’t get removed or obscured.

Make sure you understand exactly how you may use the photos. If you don’t know, ask the photographer. Brian has advice for the performer who wants carte blanche to use photos of herself. “If you the performer want to be able to use the photos to your heart’s content without having an angry photographer tell you to pull them down, be prepared to compensate the photographer. You must come to a business agreement, and a business agreement usually include some kind of cash transaction.”

You want your promotional photos to look as good as possible, representing you at 110% on your best day. A good promotional photo can help you get bookings, and can win over audiences before they even see you perform. Take your time and prepare. Keep in mind that you are freezing a moment in time. Make it a moment to remember.

About The Author:
Mr. Snapper is a Los Angeles-based bro-lesque performer and one half of the comedy variety duo Mr. Snapper & Mr. Buddy. You may read his thoughts on live entertainment in general at Mad Theatrics, where he blogs under his given name.

Read More
Aug 22nd

COSTUME CARE & TRAVELING TIPS – AN INTERVIEW WITH INTERNTIONAL SHOWGIRL EVIE LOVELLE

Posted by with 1 Comment
Evie Lovelle by Neil Kendall of Chester

Evie Lovelle by Neil Kendall of Chester

 

Taking your show on the road is challenging. You have to be able to predict what could possibly go wrong and plan for it, and you have to keep your costumes in top shape while living out of a suitcase.  The ever glamorous yet down-to-earth Evie Lovelle shares her experiences so you can make your travels simpler and successful.

RED SNAPPER: YOU TRAVEL OVERSEAS FREQUENTLY AND HAVE LUGGAGE LIMITATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL. WHAT TRICKS DO YOU USE TO FIT ALL OF YOUR GOWNS, FEATHER FANS, AND MERCH? HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO STAY UNDER THE WEIGHT LIMIT FOR YOUR BAGS?

EVIE LOVELLE: When you’re packing for being on the road for a month or more, your biggest weight obstacles are going to be liquids and shoes. Yes, it would be nice to not have to trek to the market on your day off and hope you can decipher the shampoo bottles or to be able to wear that one pair of red shoes that go so well with that one cocktail dress that you may have the opportunity to wear once, but wouldn’t it be nicer to not pay that extra $200 for 5lbs, stand in another line and then worry after submitting that receipt [that you’ll be reimbursed by the production company]?  I always travel with a manual luggage scale because digital things let you down. This is not to say that I don’t run into the humiliating and frantic baggage scale shuffle at the airport. Every airline is different and the same airline can have different weight regulations between international and domestic flights (so watch those connections!). Be polite, smile and be sympathetic to the person helping you with your luggage.

RED: DO YOU HAVE LUGGAGE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TOURING PERFORMERS?

EVIE: For years I used cheap, enormous bags and I struggled with my luggage.  I was so jealous when people would pass me with these nice bags that just seemed to sail along.  I invested in some medium cost models with the 360 wheel feature and my travels have been much easier.

RED: HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR GARMENTS STAGE READY WHEN YOU’RE LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE?

EVIE: It is a blessing when I land at a venue with a house costumer.  This lovely person takes your acres of yardage that have been wadded up, and irons them for show time.  Hug this person.  When I don’t have access to a house costumer, I arrive at the venue early, put on a Parasitism podcast and iron everything myself.  It’s a nice meditation. When pressing is not possible at the venue, I’ll iron in my hotel room, pack neatly and hang the garments as soon as I check in. I used to travel with a steamer but with the voltage change country to country…let’s just say I was spattered with boiling water one too many times, and it quit me, abruptly leaving me wrinkly for a television performance. I also learned a trick from a wardrobe friend, most stains and dirt smudges will come out with a standard hand wipe. A “handy wipe,” a low lint towel and some friction can help your costumes look clean when you’re touring, and only you need know the truth of your grubbiness.

RED: WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST COSTUME DISASTER WHILE TRAVELING?

EVIE: The tour manager brought a large garbage bag of ice backstage for an injured performer.  The bag leaked and the stage kitten put my light blue taffeta costume right in the big puddle.  The carpet was filthy so the fabric soaked up not only the water but the dirt as well instantly leaving my gown hideously watermarked.

RED: YOU HAD MULTIPLE STOPS ON THAT TOUR.  HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH IT BEFORE THE NEXT PERFORMANCE?

EVIE: Since we were packing up and moving to the next gig that night, it had to be packed wet. There was no cleaner to be found in the next town, the damage ended up being permanent and I had to RESEW every bit of the gown. Thank goodness the corset was unharmed!  And thank goodness I had packed an extra costume!

RED: WHAT’S IN THE SEWING KIT YOU TAKE WITH YOU FOR REPAIRS ON THE ROAD?

EVIE: I pack my sewing kit for the specific costumes I’m taking on the road.  I’ll pack loaded bobbins rather than spools of thread to save space, a tiny tube of E6000, safety pins, sewing needles, stick pins and oodles of fasteners.  A pair of all-purpose shears is in there too. I would recommend you take a look at everything and just anticipating it giving you trouble at the worst moment, imagine how you’re going to fix it, and pack what you’ll need to make that happen.

RED: MEALS CAN BE TRICKY WHEN TRAVELING, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS. HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THAT?

EVIE: I would like to say that you’d inform the person you’re paying to be your manager to inform the venue ahead of time and this will not be an issue; however, when third parties are involved, they may not get the message. I have a bit of paranoia when it comes to foods with meat, dairy and egg products. I love parasitology, especially the life cycles of infectious organisms, so, there you go. I started packing a 2lb container of “Tru-Food Vegan” by the company NOW when I travel. It’s economical, very healthy and almost makes up for the missing daily 1lb of broccoli in my life. I’ve also traveled with a bulk of Heart Thrive Sun Cakes in the past. Always be prepared to take care of yourself.

RED: YOU’VE PERFORMED IN A FEW FESTIVALS. ANY RECOMMENDATIONS TO MAKE THE BACKSTAGE EXPERIENCE BETTER WHEN YOU’RE MEETING SO MANY PEOPLE IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME?

EVIE: I am a total dork at festivals backstage (in life too, but especially backstage).  I get really excited and happy which then makes me want to be super helpful.  I’m paranoid about not being ready, so I’m dressed early and usually stitching someone into their costume or safety pinning something to some hard to reach place for someone I’ve just met.  Try to take up as little space as possible, be mindful of the limited outlets/mirrors and keeping the floor free of dangerous obstacles (that Altoid you dropped could cost a girl her ankle, I’ve seen it happen). There are so many beautiful and interesting people and things all in one room, why not let the compliments fly? Again, be nice!

RED: WHAT FIVE THINGS SHOULD EVERY PERFORMER HAVE WHEN THEY TRAVEL?

EVIE: 1) A coat. DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT IT.

2) A compact umbrella. Too much sunshine? Surprise rain? It happens every time.

3) Earphones.  Sometimes, burlesque touring is a lot like zip lining (yes, that’s a South Park reference).

4)Jelly flats. Don’t hate. When you want to walk a new town for 12 hours straight, they’re pretty much your only option for keeping your feet happy enough to slip into stage heels later.

5) A full container of your favorite sunblock and a kick ass medicine kit. Sunblock is not seasonal! Anticipate any sort of sick you may become and pack for it. Wandering around to pharmacies and trying to explain what’s going on with you in another language while you’re dead ill is not fun, trust me.

RED: ANY OTHER TIPS FOR TRAVELING PERFORMERS?

EVIE: Meeting sweet, wonderful, lifelong pals is one of the rare perks of this job.  Mind your manners. Be kind to the people working at the venues. Be kind to the people who are taking the time out of their lives to see your show. Be gracious, be prompt and do not forget those earphones.

Evie Lovelle was named Most Classic at Burlesque Hall of Fame in 2008. You can catch Evie in the film Tournée, and as one of our headliners at the First Hollywood Burlesque Festival.  She splits her time between European tours and creating costume masterpieces in her Los Angeles home with her husband, Mike, and her kitties, Vincent and Stewart.http://www.facebook.com/TheEvieLovelle

Read More
Aug 1st

A Letter From The Producer

Posted by with No Comments

Dear Friends,

I’ve been a collector of Burlesque memorabilia since I was a child. My collection began by swiping my dad’s Playboys and my uncle’s girlie cards. As I grew older I began scouring estate sales for 8x10s and knick knacks from the burlesque houses. However it wasn’t until I took my first steps onto a burlesque stage in September of 2004 that that a lifelong pursuit of a fantasy became a reality. Those few minutes in front of an audience at the World Famous Derby in Hollywood gave me the most amazingly liberating feeling I’ve ever had in my life. Sharing your art, your soul, your body, and your story is what entertainment is all about. At 37 years old and in a town that fetishizes young thin women with fake boobs, it was amazing to see real burlesque alive and working its way to the mainstream again.

In 2007, I began producing Monday Night Tease, the continuation of the Derby Show that launched my career in burlesque. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of working with over 500 local and international performers – strong women and men with whom I now share an unbreakable bond.

Six years later, we have over 40 shows a month throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Our scene is about art, all shapes sizes, colors, and sexual preferences. We applaud the new and revere the past. We celebrate sexy and funny, we parody politics and social norms. We revel in Nerdlesque and pop culture and have original shows with live bands. We have productions that range from free shows to high end experiences. We keep the art form alive in striptease and baggy pants comedy. Above all else, we entertain. We are Hollywood after all.

When I attended my first Tease-o-Rama in 2003, I became addicted to burlesque festivals. The performances, the sharing of knowledge, spending time with legends, and making friends… there is nothing else like it. So it is with much pride, and plenty of support from the entire Los Angeles burlesque community that I am happy to announce the first annual Hollywood Burlesque Festival, Dec 6-9, 2013 here in Hollywood!

We hope you’ll come spend a few sunny days in December celebrating the best of burlesque with us.

Thank you,
Lili

Read More