Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show
Earlier this year I was awarded a scholarship from the BurlyCon Committee to attend the 2013 BurlyCon conference in Seattle, Washington. Tuesday asked if I would keep a diary of my experiences for CoochieCrunch – here it is!
To get to BurlyCon I had to travel twenty-four hours non-stop, there’s burly dedication for you! Needless to say, I arrived at Seatac Airport Wednesday evening feeling very jet-lagged, as well as a little floored by some lurgy I had contracted on the plane somewhere over the Atlantic. When I finally arrived at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel where the conference was being held, and after meeting two of my roomies, Vayda Rhinestone and Bella Le Blanc, it was straight to bed!
Despite being ill and jet-lagged, I immediately threw myself into a day of full-on dance classes…of course. First up was ‘Floorwork’ with Peekaboo Pointe, followed by ‘Bump & Grind’ with Kitten de Ville. We had a good overview of the basics and some hard-core squatting! A good piece of advice gained, ‘Your body should move like water, let the body move how it wants to’. Oh yah, here’s a photo of Kitten and me:
I’m amazed we managed to fit in the same frame, seeing as she is such an Amazonian goddess and I am a hobbit.
Here’s Kitten doing her thing:
After that it was back to Peekaboo Pointe for Burlesque Booty, where I finally learnt what twerking was (I don’t watch much TV). I discovered it was what I had been doing for years, prancing around to dancehall music with my mates.
After classes had finished for the day, we had dinner and then we were off to the Vintage Meet & Greet, where I felt quite tipsy on one glass of champagne (I am blaming the jet-lag). My look for the evening was Russian heiress meets snow queen:
Friday started with a very welcome morning yoga session (as a yoga teacher I always appreciate the opportunity to just go to a class and be told what to do for once!). Then to breakfast, which was biscuits and gravy – an interesting new experience. It was…alright actually.
But no time to sit around having dinner for breakfast! My first workshop of the day was Amber Ray‘s ‘Costume Courting’. This was just – amazing. I picked up so many costuming secrets which I am never going to divulge to any of you – mwah ha ha! Plus we got to have a look at her fabulous costumes close-up:
After lunch were the keynote speeches, including one from Wild Cherry, who was this year’s ‘Living Legend’ special guest, and a feisty lady by all accounts.
Next up was a workshop on ‘Entrances and Exits’ with Sydni Deveraux, a very amusing burlesqueteer! She is also another Amazonian goddess (rest assured, I was still a hobbit). This was again a workshop full of great hints and tips.
After taking a boa workshop with Coco Lectric and a ‘Connecting with your Audience’ workshop with Darlinda Just Darlinda, the jet-lag (did I mention that?) and my cold/flu started to catch up with me, and I bowed out of the last class. I managed to watch a couple of peer reviews (these happened every night and I saw some awesomely inventive and inspiring acts) before going for a ‘quick nap’. I woke up at midnight having missed the main social event of the weekend – Burlyprom. Shit.
A new day! I’d finally had some sleep and was raring to go. So where better else to start than a full-on go-go class with Burgundy Brixx? Once I was suitably knackered again, I refuelled at breakfast and followed this with a fan workshop with Michelle L’Amour. A good tip from Michelle which I shall pass on – don’t wear lipgloss with feather fans or boas!
Next was ‘Acrobatic Floorwork’ with Miranda Tempest, followed by ‘Tango Cabaret Chair Dance’ with Ruby Joule. Then the much anticipated-by-me workshop with Jo Weldon on ‘Assels and Tassels’. This was just brill, and that Ms Weldon is a mighty fine lookin’ lady.
To finish the day, I went to a lecture on ‘Illuminating Costumes’. Some of you may know that I already have an illuminated costume for my ‘Aurora’ act, and after returning to the UK, using the knowledge I gained from this workshop, I managed to successfully re-wire part of it all by myself. Score!
First up was ‘Gloves, Arms and Hands’ with Joe Williams. This man is just a genius – that’s all I can say. If you haven’t heard of him look him and his work up at the ‘The Delsarte Project‘. People left this workshop actually stunned into silence, and it made me wish I had attended his earlier class on using props.
So before I run through the last of the workshops I attended I must say that, by this last day, I was starting to panic. So many great opportunities and it was nearly all over! I felt an irrational need to do so much more in these last few hours than was humanly possible, and as a result I probably did less than I could have done, as I was too busy impersonating a headless chicken. I’d previously carefully planned out my schedule, but this all was now thrown to the wind and I found myself in unexpected places I never intended to be.
One of these was Legs Malone‘s workshop on ‘Healing your Relationship with your Body‘. I have always been pretty body-confident but of course I have little niggles about certain parts of me, like most people do. And when they locked the doors and I realised I was surrounded by open-and-comfortable-with-discussing-their-issues American types, my British reserve went into overdrive. I was filled with impending doom at the thought that I would be required to ‘share’. However, I DID share (a bit), and it wasn’t so bad. I even discovered a like-minded soul who turned out to be a ‘scar-sister’, and between us we managed to vocalise exactly what it was that bugged us about these scars so much. A great day for personal development. Nevertheless they finally unlocked those doors and I was out like a shot, and randomly headed to ‘Comedy and Burlesque’ and ‘Why are you Naked?’ workshops.
Then it was over.
On our last evening a group of us headed downtown for food and gay bar visiting.
And found a photobooth.
For every workshop I attended, there were about two or three more which I would have liked to have gone to. Although I learnt so much and came away with my brain working overtime, processing new ideas and avenues of investigation, I felt I had missed out on so much more. Those who live closer and are able to attend every year are very lucky, they have such a valuable resource to hand. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go and I learnt so much. Whether you are a newcomer or a seasoned professional, if you get the chance to go to BurlyCon, DO IT!
After BurlyCon I took a few days to visit friends in Oregon before heading back to Seattle for my flight. I got straight off the train and met up with my BurlyCon roomie Vince V. Vice at the Atomic Bombshell‘s show ‘Lost in Space!’
Here we are, next to an empty fish tank:
This show was the perfect end to my Seattle trip; it was a high production-value, full-on Burlesque extravaganza featuring amongst others, Indigo Blue, Inga Ingenue, Waxie Moon, Paris and Trojan Original and Lily Verlaine. The whole show was stunning and captured the 1950s/60s space exploration era perfectly. I have to say though that Paris Original’s dancing was exquisite, and every time he was on stage my attention was drawn to him.
And afterwards we chatted to the cast. Oh yah, here’s a photo of Indigo Blue and me:
The next morning it was time to go home. Exhausted and happy, I endured once more the twenty-four hours of travel time followed by jet-lagged near-coma (did I mention the jet-lag at all?) I’d do it all again in a heartbeat though.