Sunday, August 31, 2008
I have a lot of shows coming up in the next month or so. I wanted to highlight a few that are more in the special events category as opposed to the usual weeklies.
So without further ado...
I'm very proud to once again be part of Low Life at the Howl Festival! Sunday September 7th from 5-7pm in Tompkins square park
LOW LIFE CITY was inspired by the seminal LUC SANTE book "LOW LIFE: The Lures and Snares of Old New York." It continues a body of work born at JACKIE 60 a decade ago, with past editions in London, Minneapolis and of course, last year's HOWL! For the show's producers, East Village residents for over two decades, this annual show is a Valentine to the neighborhood's past, present and future stars.
This year's superb cast is now complete - MCs PAUL ALEXANDER (of "The Ones") and HATTIE HATHAWAY, Bowery Belle DEBBIE HARRY, icon JOEY ARIAS with master puppeteer BASIL TWIST, burlesque supernovas DIRTY MARTINI, MISS DELIRIUM TREMENS and JONNY PORKPIE and NASTY CANASTA of PINCHBOTTOM BURLESQUE, GOON SQUAD featuring MISS GUY, drag divinity SWEETIE, butoh ensemble VANGELINE THEATER, WORLD FAMOUS *BOB*, LOGO song star ADAM JOSEPH as The Irish Tenor, slapstick drag duo DUELLING BANKHEADS, sister act ACID BETTY and EPIPHANY, sensationalist AMBER RAY, members of THE PIXIE HARLOTS, Bay Area artiste FAUXNIQUE, BLACKLIPS eminence POISON EVE and New Bowery treasures TRINA ROSE, HEATHER LITTEER aka JESSICA RABBIT DOMINATION and TIGGER!
I was part of this last year, and it was a blast. I've been involved with Chi Chi since back when Mother still existed, and am proud to still be working with her a decade or so later.
On September 11th Starshine Burlesque will be doing a special show titled "I Pastie NY"--a night filled with love letters to our wonderful city.
http://www.starshineburlesque.com/ for information and tickets!
I will be debuting a brand new act, and its a killer lineup, so don't miss this show!
I'm very excited to be making my debut at Kitty Nights! at BaronA the following sunday (September 14th). It should be a great cast and a fun time. It is also an important day for me, personally, as it was my father's birthday and he would have been 90 that day.
So if you love me, do come, I think I might need a bit of extra love that evening!
http://www.kittynights.com/ for information.
As an added bonus, the host that night is Schaffer the Darklord, and I think he's fantastic!
My other major upcoming events are the 5th Annual New York Burlesque festival--september 18th-21st http://www.thenewyorkburlesquefestival.com/
and Tease-O-Rama in San Francisco in October:
However, those will keep for another post... And of course I will blog about each of those events after the fact as well.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Sometimes I am compelled to apologize to others for things, when really, the person who deserves the apology is myself.
I was sitting here, staring at this window on my computer and trying to think of what I wanted to write. The first thing that came to mind, and which I initially typed, was an apology for being such a bad blogger this week, complete with excuse (too busy with real non-burlesque work!) for why I hadn't been posting. But why? I don't write this blog for the readers (I don't even know if it has any), but for myself. So why do I need to apologize--I know my reasons for not writing.
When I was a child I often tried to keep a diary. I was never very good at being diligent about it, so often, days, weeks, even months would go by with no writing. Entry after entry begins with some variant of "Dear diary, I am so sorry I haven't written in so long...!" and clearly there was no entity out there reading it. It too was an apology, a plea for forgiveness, from me to me.
I have never really thought about why I ask others to forgive me for things when the person who needs to forgive me is me. I'm not saying that I've never owed anyone an apology, I have, have given it, and meant it. But it is much harder for me to forgive myself for my failings, despite knowing I have many.
So, if you hear me apologizing to you over and over for something, after you have said it is ok, that there is nothing to forgive even, understand that while you may have forgiven me or not seen it as something bad, I'm still struggling to forgive myself for it. Because ultimately, most of the things I apologize for have hurt me far worse than anyone out there. You may forgive me for acting like an ass, but it is very hard for me to do so.
I believe in taking responsibility for one's actions. I am responsible for the things I have done. But I need to learn to stop resenting myself for my failings, let go, move on, and not repeat the same mistakes.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
More pondering on honesty and certainty
I'm still not sure that I think honesty always works, or is always possible. But sometimes, even (especially?) when you think it might hurt, it feels incredibly wonderful. It is liberating, freeing you from stupid fears and suppositions.
The reality of something is rarely as bad as we anticipate. This is why people prefer the reality of a bad test result to the uncertainty of one that is inconclusive. I am much happier when I know something for certain, as opposed to not understanding a situation. Certainty allows you to plan a course forward, even if it is not in the direction you anticipated or would have preferred.
Accepting ambiguity is much harder. I've gotten better at it in the last year, but it is more difficult to be at peace with it. Of course things never stand still, and they will always become muddled and ambiguous again with time. And that is fine. Too much certainty might be easy, but life wouldn't be nearly as exciting without change and development.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Peace and Calm
I've had a very turbulent year.
As I've mentioned earlier, I have been trying to figure out what I want and who I truly am. Not that I was oblivious to these things, but I'd been floating through life rather than living it to the full.
I want to experience life at a deeper level, but to accomplish this, I first had to be more introspective than I'd been in years. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that to truly experience life out there, one must first understand the internal depths, but if you don't know yourself there is no way to fully interact with anyone or anything.
What one needs to achieve is sort of like the medieval notion of the vita mixta
. In medieval understanding there were three modes of life--the contemplative life, the active life, and the mixed life.
There are advantages to all--contemplation certainly can bring rewards, as does living life in an active way. But the vita mixta
advocates a combination of active--going out and doing, and contemplative. To me at least this is the best path. Activity loses all meaning without contemplation, and contemplation without activity is, excuse the expression, purely masturbatory.
Sidebar on medieval theology aside, I finally am reaping some results for my efforts. I do not mean I have the answers, for myself or for anyone else, but I've reached a place, at least for now, where I feel incredibly calm and peaceful and happy. And the happiness isn't because of any one thing, I just think life is rather beautiful and that no matter what comes, I can deal with it. That I can feel this way when I have so many things I could worry about, and normally would
worry about, is an amazing gift, and I gave it to myself. It is easy to be happy based on the actions of others or based on events, but happiness that is internal and manifesting itself outwardly is a rare thing in my experience. And it makes me feel that life is good.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Golden Pastie Awards
A more burlesque-related post! As I've now added this blog onto my website, I will try to get some sort of balance between more introspective posts and more directly burlesque-related ones.
Every year the New York Burlesque Festival gives out awards. They range from flattering to downright silly. I would love it if you would nominate me for some (preferably the nice ones!). Please take a few minutes out of your day and nominate all your favorite burlesque performers!
To nominate your favorite performers for select categories below, copy and paste the categories in to an email, fill in your nominees for individual categories and then email it to firstname.lastname@example.org - PLEASE ONLY NOMINATE ONE PERFORMER PER CATEGORY
Biggest Media Whore
Best Booty Shaker
Most likely to win on Survivor
Most likely to go Gay in 2009
Most likely to turn their name into a unpronounceable symbol
Labels: Burlesque, golden pasties, New York Burlesque Festival
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I have been thinking a lot about the concept of honesty. How it is linked to the concept of truth--and how these things, which seem so absolute, mean different things to different people. They are slippery, altering as our consciousness does. We can convince ourselves of various truths. We convince ourselves that we are honest, but what does that mean? As a character in Star Trek once said, "Nefarious characters never think of themselves as nefarious."
Someone once told me that if everyone is open and honest no one gets hurt. But that is simply not true, at least not in the world I inhabit. It is naive and beautiful as an idea. But honesty often IS painful. And what one person sees as honesty may be total obliqueness and vagueness to another.
Not discussing things is not honest. Not letting someone know the score is not honest.
Honesty is not easy. And sometimes I am not even sure it is always advisable.
People cause their own destinies but not alone. We all get trapped in never-ending circles of action and reaction. If we refuse to own our own part in things, we not only are not being honest with others, we are not even being honest with ourselves
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
This summer I made the effort to get back to dance class.
I know I "dance" all the time--I perform burlesque frequently and go-go periodically--and I believe I'm considered one of the more dancy, and trained burlesque performers.
Still I consider myself a burlesque performer, not a dancer, in the sense of other dance disciplines. For years however, I was a dancer. That was probably my most clear sense of self-identity from age 14 to 20. By 18, when I went to college, I knew I would not be a professional dancer, but I still danced regularly and with intensity. And then I gave it up. I couldn't take enough classes to improve, and watching myself get worse in something I loved so incredibly much was just too painful. Class became something not joyful. To be honest it became that even when I was in High School, because I wanted to be so much more than I was capable of, and the disconnect between my dreams and my physically capabilities was heartbreaking. I wanted to be a professional dancer more than I think I have ever wanted anything. And it was not possible. After I quit I didn't dance at all for several years, and even stopped going to the ballet for a while because watching it caused me so much pain.
As time went by I found other identities for myself, identities that I am proud of, and reflect who and what I am now. But part of me always feels like a dancer, except that my body doesn't. It remembers. I still have muscle memory of various steps, but I don't feel like a dancer inside my skin. When people compliment my dancing in burlesque numbers I am proud, and pleased, but I also feel like a bit of a fraud. Bodies are capable of so much more than mine, and mine could be capable of much more than it is.
This summer I have been working on self-improvement. Not in a cheesy "self-help" sort of way, but trying to act in ways to increase my happiness. It isn't an easy process. I've had to think hard about what I need, what I want, what makes me who I am, what upsets me and causes me more harm than good. It isn't a straight path forward. Trying to make myself happier means I have to face the things that make me feel worse, and that isn't something I *want* to do, but I have to do it or there is no way forward. This blog is a part of that. I want to express who I am, even if no one reads it. Writing makes things clear, concrete. It helps me to realize things about myself and understand what must change, and what must be enhanced.
It was in a chat with a friend that I started to realize what dance means to me, not because he knows anything about dance, but because I finally put pen to paper (so to speak) and began to think about how I feel about dance, and how important it is to me still, at a not inconsiderable distance from when I was dancing seriously.
I have started taking classes again: Ballet, tango and belly dance. The latter two both new disciplines for me. And I love it. I've periodically taken ballet classes over the last few years, but I now have a teacher who understands me and encourages me and, most of all, inspires me to improve. This makes me want to take classes, and I can feel my body responding. It is still hard work, ballet always is. But I'm starting to get to a place where I can feel joy in the movement again. I feel proud of what I am accomplishing. And belly dance has opened up a whole new world. I'm not very good, I'm still a beginner. But I look forward to class, and want to take more and more. And I have been.
I am starting to feel like a dancer again, physically as well as mentally. And reintegrating those aspects has made me feel more myself. Classes may be hard, but they inspire me to be more, to do more. I don't know if it will help my burlesque, though I can't see how it could hurt. But ultimately that is besides the point. The dancing itself is its own reward; a striving for self improvement where I can see and feel the results of my action. And that is a beautiful thing.
Labels: ballet, bellydance, dance, tango
Actually my trip was relaxing--once I got there, which was stressful to say the least!
Our flight was cancelled thanks to JetBlue's inability to deal with rain. Initially they said we couldn't get on a flight till sat night (we were meant to be leaving thurs night), however after much annoyance and a flurry of phone calls, we were able to get on a flight friday morning, via long beach, which was not our original plan (we had a direct flight). And both our flights were delayed. Of course. I managed to mostly flow with the punches however, and didn't get too worked up. I still resent the shortening of our vacation, but ultimately there was nothing to do.
The trip itself was near perfect, we had a great time with good friends, met a knew friend and started a gang (the lost souls)! Saying goodbye to Quark's was horribly sad, and going back to vegas will always be bittersweet, but I'm very glad we went.
I meant this blog to be less event-driven, and more about how I feel, but this follows closely upon my previous post, and the events are so much in my mind that I don't know how i can omit them here...
The final nail in the coffin of my vacation was a lovely migraine en route home, and a case of the chicken pox. So lovely to be home again. Real life is much messier than the lovely fantasy of Vegas.
Labels: Quark's, vacation, vegas
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I'm going on vacation.
Now its true that I was in Italy just recently in May, for 3 weeks. But while that was fun, it wasn't a true vacation. I was doing work for my other life.
And I'm traveling a bit in the fall--to new orleans and San Francisco--but neither of those are vacations either, though I thoroughly expect them to be a blast.
This trip however, to Vegas, is purely for fun. No performing, no work.
I'm going to spend time with the love of my life and 2 of my best friends, one of whom I haven't seen in nearly two years.
I am really too busy to take this vacation, but when we heard Star Trek the Experience was closing, it became imperative to go (we're nerds)!
In some ways the timing is good though. Just this week I had a discussion about needing to learn to relax, to let go of stress. A vacation when I shouldn't be taking one is the perfect test of this. My only aims are to hit 2 stores that I love and drink at Quark's Bar as much as possible (perhaps I mean as frequently as possible, but either works). All I need to do is breathe and enjoy it. And I mean to.
Learning to relax and enjoy life, with all of its incredible twists and turns, is my biggest aim right now, and I'm going to start it off with a bang! Wish me luck.
Labels: relaxing, stress, vacation
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
blogging and revelation
I am intensively ambivalent about blogging. But based on the example of a few good friends, I am thinking of giving it another go...
I like to be naked (to an extent) on the stage, but I'm not sure I want audience members to know who I am or what I feel. Burlesque is an odd art form, both intensely revealing, and totally artificial.
Most of my acts come from who I am. After all, I've created them all. They must relate to how I see myself as a person, what my interests are, musical taste, etc. And yet when compared to other art forms, I'm not sure they say much about who I am as a person. They do not have the self-revelatory impact of say, song writing. It is your body and talent and creativity that are stripped bare, but not your emotions.
In some ways I like that, to a certain degree there is a mask, a persona, that takes over. And yet, while some performers differentiate strongly between who they are as a "normal person"--ie their muggle name-- and their performance persona, I don't. Delirium is me, I am her. I think of myself equally as Delirium and my "real name."
And what I don't like about burlesque is, that for me, it is not a place for intense personal expression. I know for some people it is, but while I enjoy acts that are self revelatory, they are not for me to do.
I want to do an act that shows my heartbreak over the death of my father. But how can I do that in an art form that is essentially about strip tease? It strikes me as horribly inappropriate, though I may eventually do it.
Perhaps it isn't burlesque, but me, who I am as a person, that is at the heart of my ambivalence. I talk a lot, I tell people a great amount about me, but i carefully control the things I reveal (a born burlesque performer!). For me blogging is a great leap of faith, and that is not something I am very comfortable with. I don't trust people, I trust that they will ultimately disappoint.
I have too many disparate ideas running around in my head right now. But this is a start. We'll see where it leads.