Am I a professional or an amateur? Somebody please shoot me.

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.

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Put This to Music and Call it a Power Ballad

I never give Valentine’s Day much thought.  But this year has me a little more reflective than usual.  And despite my rock hard exterior, I’m really quite the sensitive flower.  And as you would expect for a sensitive flower, relationships are tough.  Ever since I could connect the vagina to the penis, or in some cases the vagina to the vagina, I’ve been practicing love.  I was always in love with love and I loved the beginnings of things.  I loved everyone I ever fucked, even if only for a few minutes.  And if I’m being honest, I wanted them to love me in return.  It was all I ever wanted.  Psychoanalyze if you will, but I craved love, did desperate things, ridiculous things for it.  And some really enjoyable things, too.

Thinking of those I’ve loved and fucked, I decided to up the cheese factor and write them all a love letter.  Here it goes.

To B:  You were my first.  My exploration.  I learned a lot of things from you but the ability to orgasm was not one of them.  When you started your Young Republican phase I knew it was time to go.  Last I heard you were living in Florida.  I’m glad I’m not there with you.

To M:  You were 32 and so handsome and your attention was almost too much for my 19-year-old ego.  I was doomed from that first smarmy smile.  You were a fantastic notch on my bed post and I don’t regret you at all.  Though you weren’t quite as good as you thought.  I was just young and didn’t know any better.

To P:  I loved you.  Really.  No, I didn’t.  Maybe I did.  I was disgusted by you. Really, I was disgusted with myself that I spent a semester writing terrible, angst-ridden poetry about you.  Actually, it wasn’t terrible.  I got an A on that set of poems.  I hate that you read them and knew they were about you.  That was the worst.

To J:  I enjoyed you and your terrible tattoos.  Your dirty boy lust was a thrill and our first kiss is still clear in my mind.  You looked so good after you spent that summer as a roadie for the Lilith Fair.  Apparently others thought so too because you cheated on me with a 14-year-old girl.  I thought I loved you and was devastated after we broke up.  But really it was crushed pride that I was confusing for the sting of lost love.  It’s so easy to do.

To J (#2):  You are a stain on my history.  I regret you utterly and completely.

To J (#3):  You were a sweet and refreshing rebound that lasted for two years.  That you were well stocked in the hardware department may have contributed to the longevity.

To L:  Girls can be the worst.  You are a shining example of that.  And thanks for the minor STD; I really enjoyed that awkward trip to Planned Parenthood.  You suck.  And you’re a terrible cook.

To T:  I always marveled at the size and breadth of your balls, speaking metaphorically.  It would be a pleasure to see you again.  I like you.  But I like your dog more.

To N:  You were a dick. Jesus Christ, you were a dick.  And no one likes being pounded like that.  I hope you don’t pass that on to the next generation.

To J (#4):  The crush I had on you was more than you could possibly have lived up to.  I may have been a little crazy in my pursuit of you, but it was worth it.  That was one of the best nights I’ve ever had.  And the crush is still there a little but mostly it’s respect.  You’re a cool guy and I wish you nothing but the best.
To J (#5):  I have never been with anyone like you.  Your religious code denied me what I wanted, but fuck me if you didn’t deliver in other areas.  We would never have worked in the long run but it was a wonderful way to spend a winter, wasn’t it?  You’re the only one to transition to friend.  Thanks for hanging in there.

To Mike, who I love the best:  You are always there.  You never leave even when I push.  You know me completely and sometimes that scares me, but mostly it just feels like home.   If you want to know the truth, I was so scared in the beginning.  Everything was rushed and I was terrified of making a mistake.  But I didn’t.  Whew.  You are the best.  Just the best.  I love you and I’m smiling as I write this, thinking of you.  See you tonight.

EDITOR’S NOTE (THAT’S ME):  The spacing in the last three entries is not intentional.  Wordpress isn’t so awesome sometimes.  And it’s making me crazy. To J#4 and J#5, you deserve a line space in between you.  I’m so sorry I couldn’t give it to you.

As the (Jim) Crow Flies

It seems like my home state keeps popping up these days.  In the news, facebook, party conversation.  Every time I hear the word “Alabama” on TV, I cringe a little and think “Uh-oh.  What sort of backwoods yokelism is on display this time?”  The other night I was watching The Colbert Report and the guest was Scott Douglas, Executive Director of Birmingham Ministries, on to discuss House Bill 56.  (You can watch that clip here.)  If you don’t know anything about HB56, in brief it is an extremely hardlined immingration reform that exceeds even Arizona in drawing the line against immigrants.  Most of the bill was upheld in court while more stringent elements are currently being blocked.  (You can read more about it from the horse’s mouth here.  Or from concerned educators here.  Or hear about it here.)   You may or may not agree with it and I’m not here to persuade you either way.  For the record, I don’t.  I think it dehumanizes the people it targets.  I think the parallels between that and the prologue to the Civil Rights movement are startling.  Alabama seems to have a history of bringing these sorts of issues to a head and, if history is any indicator, something horrific will happen as a result.  I think that immigration is a complex and delicate issue with no easy answer, but laws that promote fear and racial profiling, and that require police, educators, landlords, and employers to act as immigration law enforcement are certainly not helping.

I wish that I could say that I’m proud of where I come from.  But it wouldn’t be totally true.  I’m proud of parts of it.  I’m proud of my upbringing, the strong sense of family, the work ethic, the love of cooking and home that was hammered into me from a very young age.  I love the coast I grew up on, the magnolia tree I would play under, the azaleas that wash the city in a coat of hot pink for a month of the year.  I love thinking about my grandmother’s kitchen table on Sunday afternoon after the dinner plates had been cleared when all of the women would gather round for coffee, cake, and gossip.  I have daydreams about fresh gulf shrimp and crabs caught that morning and delivered to my plate that night.  I sorely miss my family, my mom, and not being a part of their daily lives.

But here’s what I don’t miss:

I don’t miss thinly veiled bigotry.  I don’t miss the undercurrent of misogny.  I don’t look back in fondness to the time that my grandmother told me that she would never forgive me if I dated outside my race.  I don’t miss the disgust and hatred of other human beings that is adopted without question because it’s the norm.  I don’t miss having to fight an uphill battle to get an education.  I don’t miss the confused looks on people’s faces when I tell them that no, I don’t have nor really want to have children.  I don’t miss hearing the n-word over lunch.  I don’t miss the limited perspective and the suspicious view of the world outside of the state. And I definitely don’t miss feeling like an outsider because of it.  I don’t miss being called a misguided, bleeding-heart liberal because I voted for Obama.

I don’t want to be totally unfair here.  I’ve known some pretty cool, progressive people in that state.  I spent my formative teen years in Birmingham, where there was this completely surprising and very forward music scene happening in the 90’s.  It was there that I discovered punk, drugs, and art at a tender age.  In college I worked for a jazz musician who owned an organic burrito lounge and I hung out with literature nerds.  Not everyone is a camouflage sweatpant wearing racist.  But, well, these sterotypes exist for a reason.

The idea of Southern Hospitality is not a myth, but the fact is that my home state is not exactly a warm and welcoming one if you don’t fit into the decades-old mold of the decent, hard-working, conservative good old boy.  (Or girl. They’ve progressed that much.)  I speak from experience, y’all.  There is a very good and valid reason that I live in Chicago, no matter how much I love and miss my family.  But I should give credit where credit is due.  Though they may not understand my liberal, naked ways, the family members who matter don’t give me any guff about it (anymore), and my mother especially has surprised me in her openness to what I think, and do, and enjoy, and fight for.  And, no matter how much I loathe it’s politics, Alabama is my home.  I do like being a Southern Girl.  But I enjoy that title on my own terms.  I am proud to be an open-minded, education-loving, bigger-picture-seeing, curious-about-the-world-around-me, high-heeled-wearing, downward-facing-dogging, happy-and-childless, sympathetic, humanity-loving, tassel-twirling, Daily-show-watching, intellectual Southern Girl.  And that wasn’t an easy thing to become.  It’s not like they breed them like that down there.

Yee fucking haw, y’all.

Just because there’re boobies doesn’t mean it’s sexy

So.  After a year in burlesque, several performances, and a fuck ton of hours spent in tiny outfits and high heels, my question is this:

Why is it so hard to be sexy?

I’m proud of my body.  I’m proud of the way I look.  I’m almost 33 and I’m in better shape than I was at 23.  I make my living posing nude for artists.  And I’ve been living in a sex positive environment for years now, surrounding myself with like-minded people.  I’m very sexually open and adventurous and have been my entire life.  Why, then, do I find it to be such a challenge to showcase that sexuality in an art form of which the very foundation is built on the display of sexuality?

It seems to me that there are three basic genres of burlesque performance.  Comedic/Controversial.  Cute/Pretty.  Sexy/Aggressive.  And they’re not mutually exclusive.  The three can occasionally create this Venn diagram of awesomeness that taps into so many basic human urges at once that it makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time all while cumming in your pants.  But that’s rare.  Mostly, performers tend to ground themselves in one while injecting elements of the others here and there.  As a new performer who’s trying to find her voice in all this, I’ve been trying on all three.  And the one that is the most difficult to fit, even though it’s the one that feels most natural, is the Sexy/Aggressive shoe.  And surely it’s not a minority who find this a troublesome shoe to wear.  If it were, there would be more performers like the Burlesque Top 5.   And my mentor is one of that top 5 and no one can say that she doesn’t wear it on her (nonexistent) sleeve when she’s onstage.  Her teachings are infused with overt sexuality.  But when putting together an act of my own or even channeling it in class, it’s like swimming upstream.  It’s SO much easier to just be funny.

I’m not saying — at all — that comedy isn’t sexy.  Some of my role models are female comedians.  And half of my laminated ‘would totally fuck’ list is comprised of people with the funny gene.  (Woody Allen is #4.  Explain that.)  I consider making someone genuinely laugh the highest compliment possible.  Most of my sexual relationships have begun with that person making me laugh.  Funny is sexy and approachable.  Funny makes traditionally unsexy people sexy.  But sex is biology.  We, all of us humans, fuck.  We’re all sexy at some time.  We’ve all, or at least I dearly hope so, made the “Oh!” face and abandoned ourselves to crazy, sweaty acts that would make our mothers blush.  It’s in each and every one of us.  I get that your average, say, accounts receivable clerk wouldn’t be strutting through her office licking her fingers and grinding on the copy machine.  But women who willingly and enthusiastically sign up to strip their clothes off in front of an audience of strangers for little to no money?  What the fuck, I say?

Is it because it’s difficult to be sexy in real life?  We’re surrounded by sex all of the time.  It’s a constant bombardment and has been for as long as I remember.  But putting on a tight dress that shows off your bodacious ta-tas and strutting into a room full of low-slung skinny jeans, flats, and hand-knit scarves?  That’s some tough shit to pull off.  You know why?  Because it’s not the Male Gaze that’s sizing you up and oppressing you. The Male Gaze loves that shit on some level.  I don’t care how serious he is about his fixie bike.  It’s the FEMALE GAZE that’s got the problem with it.

I would love to believe that all women are my loving and supportive sisters, but you and I both know that that’s some seriously deep bullshit.  Women can be bitches, man.  Bitches.  The fact that some women are indeed my loving and supportive sisters is an aspect of burlesque that I adore.  It’s a supportive environment that I’ve never seen the like of, and I’ve made some solid and real friendships though it.  But all you have to do is go to a show to see the flip side.  There’s always that girl with the bitch face giving the woman onstage the stink eye.  Always.  Just like there’s always that face in the corner of your hipster coffee shop giving it to the girl in the shiny leggings.  You’ve all seen her.  Or even been her.  I know I’ve been guilty once or twice.  That bitch face haunts us.  It permeates the most supportive and body-positive of environments.  In order to be sexy in front of it, must you challenge it?  Flip it the finger with your tits?  All but slap it with your ass cheeks?  How do you ignore it?

I’m not meaning to wax all feminist here and cry out for us all to love each other because we’re all beautiful and wonderful females.  Because we create life, my mother goddesses.  Ugh. No. I’m just wondering why it’s so hard to be sexy, just sexy, smoldering, in love with your body, fucking va-va-voom in front of other women.  Why does being that automatically alienate you from a large portion of the female population?  Why does being funny or cute make it easier to strip?  Why do some performers seem to have the market cornered on in-you-face-sexiness?  It’s not a supermodel body or classic good looks.  This art form embraces all types of bodies and unusual beauty seems to be prized.  So why, then, the divide between nudity and sex?

Seriously.  I’m asking.  I don’t know the answer.  Do you, my sisters?

My first batch of brownies

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about cooking.  Every New Year’s Day, I cook this specific meal — pork roast, collard greens, black-eyed peas, corn bread.  It’s a Southern thing.  And I have friends over to enjoy it.  I love it.  Few things make me happier than cooking for people.  I come from a long line of women in the kitchen, and it’s how I was taught to show love.

So, anyway.  It’s been on my mind.  And it got me thinking of the first time I baked for someone.  Here’s the story.  Enjoy.

My first boyfriend was ridiculous, but I adored him.  Let’s call him Trevor.  Trevor had long, dyed black hair and a long goatee like that guy from Alice in Chains.  He painted his nails and played the bass.  Not for a band or anything.  He just played it.  Oh, I just liked him so much.  Trevor’s birthday came around and I decided to bake him something.  Even at 16 I knew that two sure-fire ways to make a guy happy were baking and tiny panties.  I’m still not proven wrong.  My mom had these turtle brownies she would make for parties that people would shit their pants over.  It’s one of those shortcut, Betty Crocker, 50’s drunk housewife kind of recipes.  This was what I would make, he would love them, and I would thus be worshipped as a nourishment giving sex goddess.  So I talked my mom out of the recipe and I baked away.  To my surprise, they turned out pretty perfect and I bounced along to Trevor’s house (his dad was out of town, yippee!) to present the brownies and receive my due praise.  Poorly executed head.  We were teenagers, remember? These things take time and practice.

I revealed the brownies, yanking the aluminum foil away with a flourish.  He was impressed, let me tell you.  Caramel and little brownie crumbs got stuck in his goatee.  Soon, my Bikini Kill t-shirt and Doc Martins were in a bundle on the floor and we were getting down to some business.

Trevor looked at a lot of porn.  And he had some ideas.  So it didn’t surprise me when, as we’re making out and dry humping on his dad’s water bed (which had a mirror on the ceiling above it– ew,) he told me that he wanted to play around with some chocolate and he had gotten something special for us.  Alright, I thought, envisioning some sort of swirly Hershey’s syrup licking thing happening.  This is hot, right?  Sexy people do this.  Eat food off of each other’s bodies.  “Ok, sure, I guess.  Giggle. Giggle,” I say as we rip the sheets off the water bed.  Off he went to the kitchen, while I attempted to arrange my body in an attractive Victoria’s Secret catalog kind of way.  I saw him silhouetted in the doorway, something in his hand.  “Close your eyes,” he said.  I did, and a few moments later I felt something hard, long, and really fucking freezing enter my pussy.

“Yahhh!  What the fuck is that?”

“What?  It’s a Snickers bar.  I froze it so it would be hard.  Maybe I should microwave it a little,”

“Yeah, ok.  Maybe that would be better.”

No one can accuse me of not being accommodating.

“Don’t microwave it too long,” I called as he took the Snickers bar back to the kitchen.  I heard the hum and ding! of the microwave and he returned with the Snickers on a plate.  He knelt over me, sexy intense look on his face, and proceeded to smear hot chocolate on my labia.  Really hot chocolate.  I yelled at him to fuck off with that Snickers bar, and flew off the bed to run to the bathroom and pour cold water over my snatch.

It was not sexy and the next day I had developed a pretty intense yeast infection.  I swore revenge. The next time I went over to his house, I purred in his ear that I’d like to try the body dessert thing again, but this time I would do the drizzling and licking.  He hopped right to the bed, pants around his ankles, eager as all 17-year-old boys are for any reason to get a mouth around his penis.  “Close your eyes,” I cooed as I pulled out of my purse some little packets of honey.  I had asked for extra with my Chicken McNuggets earlier that day.  I popped them open and emptied them all over his chest, cock, and balls.  And Trevor had a lot of body hair.  It was awesome.  He was in the shower for an hour while I smoked his pot and watched My So Called Life.

So that was my first baking experience.  Want to reenact it?  Here’s the brownie recipe to get you started.  Just remember to put the Snickers in for no more that 15 seconds.

PECAN TURTLE BROWNIES

1 14 oz bag of  caramels, unwrapped

1 5 oz can of evaporated milk, divided

1 stick of unsalted butter, very softened

1 cup of chopped raw pecans

1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips

1 box of Devil’s Food cake mix

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt caramels with half of the evaporated milk in a double boiler over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth (slutty version: use the microwave. Put the caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl and zap for two minutes at a time, stirring between zaps.) Meanwhile, dump the cake mix into a large bowl.  Mix in the rest of the milk and the softened butter, and stir until the cake mix is all moist.  Mix in the pecans and chocolate chips.  Spread the mixture into the bottom of a buttered 9.5 x 11 inch cake pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Pull it out of the oven and immediately pour over the caramel sauce.  Blob the remaining cake mix over the caramel.  Put it back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes clean.

Cool and cut into squares.  Use them to entice your friends into some food play.  They work every time.

A little new year retrospective

Have you ever been so excited about going to a fancy, artisinal cuisine kind of restaurant that it feels like this huge, momentous event?  You carefully plan what to wear, fantasize about what you’re going to eat the whole week leading up to it, and then you get there and it’s more wonderful than you imagined and you pile all of that buerre blanc and truffle emulsion into your mouth like it’s the first dick you’ve seen in years, adding on wine and dessert and more wine, until your tight belly is straining at the waistband of your skirt as the Jeeves-like waiter caresses the bill onto the table, and as reality begins to edge it’s toe into your fantasy world you muffle a whimper as you put your card down, praying that you have enough in your checking account to cover it, and as you rise from the still immaculate table, you feel a painful and immediate rumble and are forced to flee, with sweat dripping down your face, to the polished marble bathroom where that buerre blanc will reap it’s swift and cruel revenge, leaving you pale and sweaty, trying to project a modicum of dignity as you teeter on your high heels through the lobby and out the door feeling like you’ve left the scene of a crime?

No one?  Just me?  Several years ago, my husband and I went to this super high brow restaurant called Tru.  I had never been to a place like that before.  It was SO fancy.  I was nervously excited at the table, sat up rigidly straight and responded to the waiter in monosyllables like I didn’t speak english.  I went for Chef Rick Tramonto’s tasting menu and it was goddamn splendid.  There was risotto with fucking truffles as an appetizer.  And this lobster tasted like the poor creature had been given a IV butter drip before it was dropped into the pot.  The dessert was dense chocolate something with one of those crazy ice creams that you would never think could be an ice cream.  Curry, maybe?  Anyway, all I remember is that is was like magic and I ate every single bite and when a ridiculously beautiful woman came to our table and offered us a tray of Gale Gand’s handmade candies and coffee, I said “yes, please!” and topped it all off with that before finishing what was left of the wine.  The bill was just as grand as the meal, leaving our checking account devastated, and my poor Alabama girl intestinal system did not react well to the crash course in fine dining.  In addition to committing a crime against humanity in the ladies room, I had to stop at a McDonald’s to use the bathroom on the way home.  It was too much.  Just too much fanciness too fast.

And that’s what kind of happened with burlesque.

Yeah, maybe comparing my Chicago Starlet apprenticeship with getting the shits from too much epicurean indulgence isn’t so flattering for the art form but I say the analogy stands.  I got excited about all the possibilities laid in front of me and I grabbed at all of it with no thought to whether or not I could handle it.  I couldn’t.  I mean, I did.  I handled it.  But fuck.  It was no party.  I look back on the last six months and I want to slap myself in the face.  There was no way I could possibly have taken on all of that work and had things end up any different.  And if you’re wondering how they ended up, here’s the deal.  I wanted to be a member of this Burlesque troop, The Chicago Starlets, right?  So I took classes, learned all I could about the art of burlesque, and apparently did something right because I earned an apprenticeship with them.  And, typically, the deal is that you apprentice for six months and then you’re starleted.  Not so for me.  I dropped the burly ball.  Missed a rehearsal, fell behind, lost focus, lost confidence in my ability to perform.  And this is not easy shit here.  Especially for someone for whom the concept of getting ones body to move in a predetermined way to the beat of music is completely foreign.  (That was nerdspeak for dancing.)  So, I started sucking a little.  Then I got discouraged, beat myself up a little, then I started sucking a lot.  And that little asshole voice in the back of my head started whispering “fuuuuck it.”

Why did this happen?  Do I suck?  No.  I don’t.  No one in the world could possibly be harder on me than me, but I’m going to give myself a little bit of a break here.  And it gets back to that taking on too much thing.  I stretched myself too thin.  I don’t like making excuses for falling short of my goals, but Christ on a Biscuit.  Over the last six months I designed and constructed six complex custom costumes, each consisting of multiple pieces, designed a tee shirt line for Studio L’amour and handled the production of those, I started this blog, I worked a full-time job, I stage-kittened every show, I went to class, rehearsals, I put together a solo number, a duet, and performed two group numbers.  What I did not do much of was sleep, or clean my house, or eat well, or make time for my husband or myself, even.  And with all of that going on at once, when it came to rehearsals and learning group choreography, I just had nothing left in me.  No brain space left for it.  I was an empty well.  A limp rag.  A flaccid penis.  And flaccid penises don’t look good in pasties.

And so here I am.  With a second chance to make this shit happen (I’m not out of the running yet, ) and you mark my fucking words.  I will do it.  But, did I make the right choices leading to here?  No.  Yes.  I don’t know.  I’m proud of the work I did.  And that high-stress situation taught me a lot about what I want out of my career and how I will and won’t do business.  I never know my limitations until I hit them.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  I do know that I adore these women in this troop and I was looking forward to my apprenticeship with them.  It should have been fun and it wasn’t.  That’s on me.  I was stressed and grumpy the whole time.  And it’s time to lighten up a little.  My name is Ray Ray Sunshine, for fuck’s sake.  Not Work Work Sucktime.  And I think I’m going to start by going to get a pedicure.  My pigs are ugly.

Spookeasy!

To say that October wasn’t the easiest month I’ve ever had is a gross understatement, but man, is it gratifying to see the results of all those long nights on a stage.  And to listen to an audience go wild over a performance I helped create.  Mimi First and Nora Gretz are amazing and beautiful performers.  It was a pleasure to costume them.  And if I allow myself to toot my own horn, their costumes were pretty fucking fantastic looking.  Selfishly, part of me wanted to keep them for myself but like any good surrogate, I needed to send them off to live with their new hot mamas and then go off and have several beers.

Check them out here:

That’s Mimi First in her new “Zip Tease” number.  Holy Guacamole, right?  Nora Gretz’s scandalously hot Square Dance photos immediately follow Mimi’s set.  After working on the sex zipper costume for a week, I can’t tell you how fun it was to switch gears into Holly Hobby land.  Maybe it’s the girly girl in me, but I just lurve big circle skirts with ruffles and lace.  Big thanks to both of these super awesome ladies for trusting me with their new numbers!!