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.

Wiggled

When I woke up this morning, my hair was a nest of hairspray and cigarette smoke.  The eyeliner that I had lazily left on had migrated south of my cheekbones and there was a patina of glitter on my pillow.  And when I got into the shower I noticed very angry-looking red rings forming little halos around my nipples.

True. This does sound exactly like any given Tuesday morning when I was in college.  But last night I did not revert back to sophomore year (the absence of a waifish girl in a Sleater-Kinney t-shirt next to me being proof.)  Last night, I wiggled.

Oh, I was so looking forward to performing at Wiggle Room.  Don’t know it?  Go here.  Learning the opening trio number was weighing heavily on my sanity and it felt just delicious to finally get out there and perform it.  And Speakeasy performances notwithstanding, I hadn’t performed a solo since December.  I admit that I had lost my sea legs a little (B legs, perhaps?) but last night I saddled up the old g-strings and took ’em for a ride.  It was great, great fun.

I love this show series.  Love it.  I don’t get out to a lot of comedy shows.  Or any, rather.  Watching Louie on FX is about as close as I usually get.  But these guys have made me want to change that situation tout suite.  The host, Adam Burke, is as kind as he is fucking hilarious, and his line-ups have been stellar.  Plus, I’m a sucker for a guy in a suit who knows his way around a dictionary.  The man has some vocabulary.  I’m officially a big fan. (I couldn’t find a website, but here’s his twitter thingy.  That’s a thing, right?)

And speaking of being a fan, I feel the need to slip into a bit of a fawny, gushy, crushy state.  Cameron Esposito.  She’s just super deluxe.  Love her.  I was so pleased that she did a set last night.  If you ever have a chance to see her, jump on it like a beast.  She kills me.  And she’s fucking adorably hot with that trendy side-mullet and all. (Here’s her website.)

Was it a great night?  It was.  Was it worth the pastie tape burn on my nips?  Yep.  And do I deserve the whole week off from posing in front of awkward freshman art students who render my boobs to look like two mismatched tube socks with pacifiers stuck on them?

You bet your sweet twat I do.  It’s vacation time.  Hello, couch and dog and Street Fighter X Tekken.  Let’s do this.

Bits of information that are absolutely necessary to the well-being of your life

a.  May Oui and I have been asked to perform in the St. Louis Show-Me Burlesque Festival

b.  Go to Wiggle Room.  It’s pretty great.

c.  My cat has lupus. (Not Oatmeal.  Another one.)  Lupus.  Like she’s the reincarnation of Flannery O’ Connor or something.  Her hair is falling out all over my apartment and she looks like something from The Dark Crystal.

d.  The wonderful, fantastic Frenchie Kiss and the ridiculously hot Jett Adore are competing at The Burlesque Hall of Fame with their show-stopping duet.  For which I designed Ms. Kiss’s costume.  And I’m getting to work on a gown for her to wear when they win.  Fantastic.

e. Happy Birthday, Ashleigh.

f.  Check out this guy.  My husband is doing his new record cover.  He’s the fucking best and is now living large in LA.  If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area, look him up.  Go get a coffee with him.  Maybe go for a jog around the Silverlake reservoir.

My husband also did this rad poster. He's the best, too.

g.  It’s time for a snack.

Rainbows and Sunshine

Maybe it’s nauseating, but I woke up this morning with the notion to write a post entirely about shit that makes me happy.  It’s a beautiful day in Chicago, I just got paid, I slept until 10, and I haven’t read or listened to the news all day.  I’m practical farting rainbows and sunshine.  And to keep this merriment motorcade movin’ on down the highway, I’m doubling down with a list of things that push my happy button.  Hopefully some of them will push yours, too.

1.  This face.

It's worth it to leave the house just to be able to come home to this happy dog face.

2.  Biscuits and gravy.

3.  Mike 4.0.  He’s been going to the gym and eating right, and it’s really given him a boost in the hard drive.  He’s been seriously double-clicking my mouse.  Downloading my zip files.  #gettingpoundeduntillossofmotorskillsoccurs.  The husband makes me happy anyway, but he’s been a real magic maker, lately.  Yeah, Stairmaster!

4.  Wearing shorts and drinking beer in my backyard, Homer Simpson style.

5.  This scene in my favorite movie:  Puttin’ on the Ritz from Young Frankenstein.  The “Cooper Duper” line gets me every time.  Every time.

6.  Big hair and flashy painted nails.  I’m from the Deep South, y’all.  Trashy is in my DNA.

7.  Rereading a book that you liked and discovering that you actually love it.  Currently, it’s Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

8.  This website.  There’s nothing that can deflate my stress balloon like a baby pig in rain boots.

9.  Getting dirty in the kitchen

10.  Swearing.  Fucking cunty biscuits, I love to swear.

11.  This act with this girl.  I love it and her.

12.  Sweet tea.  Fried things from the sea.  Raw oysters.  Barbecued ribs.  Fried green tomatoes.  My mom’s gumbo.

13.  Speaking of my mom.  She’s the best.  Especially when she laughs.

14.  This song.  And Soul Train.

15.  Ass-friendly jeans and a t-shirt.  Add a pair of sunglasses and sandals, and I couldn’t feel sexier.

16.  Sharing a completely vulgar and offensive joke with the only other person in the world who would think it was funny — my husband.

17.  Dick jokes.  Also, fart jokes.  But not pussy jokes.  I have some class.

18.  This.

19. And this.

20.  Shaking my ass with complete unabashedness.

There’s more and more and more, if I think about it.  But I’ll leave it at the first twenty that popped into my head.  Happy Fucking Friday, y’all!!

Okay, one more of the dog face:

I’m quivering with excitement

This happens once a year. It makes Christmas seem like the first day of school.  Your birthday like a pap smear.  For one evening only, tomorrow night, the planets change course and rotate around the supernova of T&A that is the ‘Superstars of Burlesque.’  Nothing like this happens in Chicago.  Ever.  And if you’re a burlesque geek like me, this is your comic-con. Only instead of Patrick Stewart and Bruce Campbell, you have Indigo Blue and Dirty Martini.  Roxi D’Lite.  Julie Atlas Muz.  Tigger!  Kalani Kokonuts.  Trixie Little and Evil Hate Monkey.  Hot Toddy.  The Stage Door Johnnies.  Murray Hill.  (No, I’m not finished yet…)  The Chicago Starlets.  And Michelle L’amour.  These are the title holders.  The heavy weights.  It will be like seeing Bettie Page, Sophia Loren, Antonio Banderas, and the entire cast of True Blood perform in a Bob Fosse version of 9 1/2 Weeks.  It’s that much fabulous sex appeal.

I would be pumped about this show if I were just an audience member, but I have the added thrill of stage kittening the show.  I’ll be decked out in my kitten gear, running out between acts to scoop up flung corsets, nylons, and whatever else these guys can throw off of their bodies.  It’s a little nerve-racking, but I always love stage kittening.  It’s the bizarro version of being a dresser for theatre, which I did for years.  And as over that as I was when I left it, there remained a good-sized chunk of me that missed the adrenaline injection of live theatre.  And this is way better than working Othello for the 32nd time. (Maybe if Desdemona had taken off her top things would have turned out differently for her.)

And on Saturday, I’m taking workshops with Dirty Martini, Tigger!, and Julie Atlas Muz.  If this can’t help me step up my burlesque game, I don’t know what can.

I believe there are still tickets left and you can get them by clicking on the above image.  I hope to see you there!

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!