Alright, alright. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
Enough with the professional stripper vs. amateur stripper debate. You’ve all heard it, right? Well, you’ve heard it if you’re involved in burlesque in any way. That State of the Union Address of Miss Astrid’s sparked a lot of conversations. Too much if you ask me, and it seems like everyone with access to a computer screen and a keyboard is weighing in. And I reckon that since I myself have access to a computer and a keyboard, I should pay up with my two cents.
And I say enough, already.
Maybe sitting down to add commentary to anything right now is a bad idea, given that two days ago I had my wisdom teeth barbarically ripped from my head and am now enjoying the wonders of vicadin. But no, actually. I feel like that gives me every right. Because when I’m stuck at home and all I want out of Facebook is gossip and fucking singing puppy videos, it’s demoralizing to see post after post about this professional vs. amateur thing. It’s bad for the recovery, I tell you.
So keep that in mind as I proceed. I’ll try to be as non-Lewis Carroll as I can. Here’s why I’m tired of this debate: who cares what the peanut gallery has to say?
Miss Astrid made some great points and it was an insightful speech from a respected burlesque professional. But do we really need Excel spread sheets and categorical breakdowns of what makes a burlesque performer professional? Do we really need to hear performer after performer complaining on the internet about how sub-par shows are calling into question the legitimacy of professional burlesque performers? It’s kind of whiney, you know? It’s like the Burlesque websites have become that coffee shop down the street from me filled with kids in skinny pants talking about David Foster Wallace.
This is an art form. You do it because it’s in you to do it. Not because you like telling your friends about it or because someone once called you chunky butt in 7th grade. You do it because you’re a performer and you love it. And if you’re talented, dedicated, smart, and a little lucky maybe you’ll make some money at it. You’re an amateur until you achieve something remarkable and people take notice. That’s art. There’s no concrete divide between amateur and professional.
If you need that, then you’re not doing it right.