Clang clang clang went the trolley, ding ding ding went the Elvis Clown

My apartment looks like shit right now.

It looks like a glitter-crusted monster came stomping through it with the sole intention of throwing clothing and shoes everywhere in a state of iced coffee-induced ecstasy and once exhausted from the havoc wreaking, barfed up sewing supplies, laundry, and dust bunnies across three rooms.

My mother would be tsk-tsking and shaking her head at the state of my home is what I’m saying.  It’s gross.  My house is so covered in fabric remnants and bits of burlesque shit that my poor lupus-afflicted, roided-out geriatric cat, Moki, had this situation happening last night:

I swear, SWEAR, that we didn’t put that bit of feather there. It got stuck under her nose and then she ate it right after this picture was taken.

But who has time to not be a secret slob?  Not me.  Not me.  (And go ahead and judge me, by the way.  The fact that I’m sitting here writing this and not dealing with the pile of unfolded laundry that’s been sitting on my couch for three days is not lost on me.  I don’t wanna.  I just don’t wanna.  So fuck that laundry.  We’ll wear through the pile eventually.)  Normally, when my life gets this hectic it’s due to a barrage of costume work that has me taking anger breaks to morosely stare at evidence of other people’s fun on Facebook before I go back to hunching over my sewing machine and cursing.  (I love what I do, but there’s a certain amount of pissed-offedness that’s essential to the work.  Ask any designer, seamstress, draper, pattern maker.  They’re a grumpy bunch.  And a vindictive bunch.  Be nice to the people who make you look good, people.  Years in the theatre have provided me with stories that will make you clench your ass cheeks in discomfort.)  There’s been a fair share of that lately — but hey! life improvement!– I’ve actually been doing some fun stuff, too.

Like taking a road trip to St. Louis with my gal pal, May Oui, to perform at the Show-Me Burlesque Festival.  We were only there for one night because May has a real job, but it was super duper fun.  Especially the part where we got 4 hours of sleep before getting up at 5:30 AM to drive back to Chicago in time for May to get to work.  But really, we had so much fun we hardly noticed.  The five hour drive there went by in a flash (funny, how that can work out when you’re in a car with people you really like.)  The bulk of the time was spent in swerve-inducing giggle fits thanks to this internet meme.  (My husband does the the Derp voice the best.  He had practice, though.  Apparently drinking and looking at shit on the internet was all he did at Playboy.  God rest it’s Chicago-based soul.) A reference, out of nowhere, to Kenny Rodgers prompted the creation of this variation when we got back home.  (We’re dorks, ok?  Not even nerds.  Dorks.  It’s best you realize that now.)

And you know you have a real friend when they’re willing to feed you cheetoes while you drive.  We made it there with just enough time to throw our shit into the hotel room, sigh over the pool we didn’t have time to swim in, throw some gyros into our faces, and get to the venue to find a corner to get ready in.  This great shot was the result, though:

Taken by Virginia Harold at The Coliseum

Everyone in the St. Louis burlesque scene was SO friendly and awesome.  I wanted to just lay them all out on my bed and make a big comfort, love, cuddle, awesome, sexy blanket out of them to sleep in.  (What?  Is that weird, or something?)  Here’s a few of them awesome folks:  Nadine Du Bois.  Damn, that lady is fab.  Mister Junior.  Check this guy out, please.  His number was so killer that May was compelled to actually run back stage immediately after he finished to high five him.  Whiskey Kiss.  Awesome number.  Fantastic, friendly lady.  Dewey De Cimalle had me slapping May on the arm in delight.  Kind of hard.  Queenie Von Curves, Victoria Deville … oh, there’s too many.  Too many.  See?

That’s a fuck ton of sexy, right there.

It was a great array of talent with inspiring approaches to the art form.  I loved it.  Lola van Ella and Sammich the Tramp, producers of the festival, were warm and welcoming, and super fun and sexy on stage.  I can’t wait to get back to see more of them.  And they ran a brilliant show with a Johnny-on-the-spot stage crew.  I can not say enough good things about Blue Barber, the stage manager.  Solid.  That’s just a smidgy little bit.  We only saw one night.  I can only imagine how fantastic the rest of the festival was.

And our performance was pretty good, too.

Oh!  And Clownvis.  Clownvis!!  CLOWNVIS!!!!!!  Holy fuck balls.  I love him.  I want to have his sneering clown babies.

And, apparently, so does May.

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Couch Potato

At long last, I see the light at the end of this freaky, sexy, snapped and zippered tunnel. Tonight I spent the whole evening on the couch with a grilled cheese, a glass of wine, a dog, a husband, and ‘Breaking Bad.’ And you know what? I earned it. I didn’t bite off more costume work than I could chew, but it’s definitely a mouthful. I was up until 4 A.M. again last night putting the finishing touches on a stupefyingly sexy and tiny ensemble for Mimi First. Luckily for me, my day job just requires that I sit there and stare off into the distance (those sculptures are going to have a dash of zombie to them this week,) which was about all I was capable of doing. And now it’s on to the next. I have costumes for Nora Gretz, Jett Adore, and Frenchie Kiss all due by the end of the month. I’ll think about that tomorrow. For now, I’m finishing this last mouthful of the vino before I flop face-first into my pillow and dream of Bryan Cranston.

If it weren’t for the last minute…

Shit biscuits, this has been a busy week.

Over the last 9 days, I’ve:

  • Stage kittened two back to back Superstars of Burlesque shows.  They were amazing.  My shoes, on the other hand, were not.  My feet were bleeding at the end of the night.  Burlesque ain’t always pretty, y’all.
  • Taken workshops with Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, and Tigger.  Just being able to spend an hour with these people and listen to what they have to say is worth their weight in gold g-strings.  More on that later.
  • Started a new, fancy on-staff art modeling job at a fine art school.  I then proceeded to log 40 hours in 4 days.  That’s a whole lot of not moving.  My back was a wreck at the end of it.  One of the students asked me if I played a lot of freeze tag when I was little.
  • Delivered my first 30 seconds-ish of my new student show number to Professor L’amour.  She turned on the light bulb in my brain for something that wasn’t feeling right.  She’s awesome.
  • Purchased materials for, designed, patterned, and constructed my outfit for tonight’s Speakeasy (my first one!)  Remember that sketch I posted?  Well, the design took itself in another direction.  These things happen.  But I’m pretty happy with the outcome.  Check it:

I lost the ruffle idea and the top wasn’t working out with the gathers.  I’ll try it again for a future piece.  I’m pleased as punch with how the skirt came out, though.  I built this strappy g-string contraption that goes underneath for extra wham factor.  I’ve had these ideas floating around in my head for ages and I feel better to have them worked out.  And the whole outfit cost me less than $30.  If you want to see the full ensemble then get your asses to this tonight:

http://everleighsocialclub.com/speakeasy/

I have to be there in three and a half hours.  That’s just enough time to eat a sandwich, squeeze in some special Mike time, shower, shave, and glamorize.  Then dance and come home, shove some food in my face, maybe more special Mike time, then hit the hay.  I have to be up at 6 a.m. for another 10 hour day.  I am a busy stripper.

Panty Lust: my favorite lingerie sites

It must seem obvious at this point that I derive a great deal of enjoyment from lingerie.  If I could spend the rest of my life in — and all of my budget on — my underwear, I would be a happy camper.  I’m sheepish to admit that a good chunk of my day is spent in front of my computer, coffee at hand and cat in lap, lustily scrolling through lingerie sites and blogs.  My credit card all but tap dancing in my wallet, eager to be used to satiate my lacy cravings.  Sadly though, reason (usually) wins out and I resign myself to my Target thongs and Filene’s Basement bargains.  But it’s a wonderful hour spent in online knicker stimulation.  If you would like to join me, here are a few of my favorite sites.  Grab your beverage, sit back, stroke your cat (that was a cheap pun, I know — irresistable) and enjoy!

Online Boutiques

What Katie Did

I love this designer.  Beautifully fashioned lingerie for the lingerie lover.  The Harlow group really floats my boat.

Agent Provocateur

As a design student, this label was a huge influence.  And it’s no wonder.  Co-founder Joseph Corres is the son of Vivienne Westwood, one of my all-time favorite designers.  They consistently produce pieces that are just dead sexy without the saccharine frothiness that usually comes with the territory. If I could only wear lingerie from one designer for the rest of my life, this would be the one.

Lucy B

My advisor at FIDM told me about this label when I was looking for design work.  I didn’t get a job with them, but I’m pretty content being a customer!  Lucy B’s collections are light and fun with just the right amount of nostalgia.  And tons of retailers carry them, so you can frequently find pieces in local lingerie boutiques.

StockinGirl

I really, really have a thing for hosiery.  Stockings, tights, socks — all of it.  And if you have as strong of a fetish for leg lingerie as I do, then this site will be a favorite bookmark.

Secrets in Lace

A fantastic source for traditional and retro-inspired lingerie at great prices, especially if you have some rocking curves.  And they have a fabulous collection of hosiery!

Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss Me Deadly seems to be the bridge between vintage and modern sex appeal.  Not only is every piece surprising and devastatingly sexy, but their styling is positively delightful. Plus, I have a serious girl crush on their model, Morgana.

And my favorite lingerie blog…

The Lingerie Addict

I feel like Treacle is a trusted friend with some really savvy opinions on lingerie.  Once I discovered it, this blog quickly made itself at home in my online ritual.  It’s the most comprehensive source for advice, style, and lingerie worship that I’ve found.  If I have a question about lingerie, I look here first.

This would be a very long article if I listed all of my favorites, but I hope you found some inspiration in these few.  Happy lusting!

Mission Impossible?

If you don’t already know about it, every Sunday at the Everleigh Social Club there’s an event called Speakeasy.  It’s indulgent, voyeuristic, and easy on the wallet.  Great fun.  The entire event is centered around live jazz and improvised burlesque performances.  And as a student learning to spread my dirty wings, I have the chance to perform at one.  Now, improvisation — especially with musical timing — is something that riles up the butterflies that seem to constantly live in my stomach, but we all need a challenge, right?  (And judging from last night’s improvised dance party in class, it’s quite the challenge. Remember Eugene Levy’s character in “Best in Show?” I was the inspiration for that.)  But left feet notwithstanding, I need something to strip out of, so I decided to give myself a little design challenge.  The aesthetic of burlesque is glamorous and dramatic.  My closet doesn’t include anything even remotely approaching glamorous and dramatic.  It’s where American Apparel dresses go to die.  So, I’ve decided to make something.  Here’s my sketch:

I’m dancing on the 25th.  That gives me a little over two weeks to get it done.  My funds are just a bit on the strapped side, so my budget is almost non-existent.  But let’s just say… $35.  I’ll post my progress so you can hold me accountable.

Shit.  This means I have to pull it off, now.  No thrift store shopping for me.