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.

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:

My nemesis

I’m at home sick today.  Normally, art models don’t get sick days.  Once a painting is started, you’re kind of in it for the long haul.  But apparently exceptions are made for snotty, fevered messes.  Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror when you’re sneezing or coughing?  Yes?  Now go try it again, except this time take off all of your clothes, sit perfectly still, then start coughing for a minute and half straight.  See if you can get your nose to run a little.  If you can get a dozen strangers to intently watch you do this, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of why I was sent home from work.  Not pretty.

Sick time at home gives you time to think about things.  To even become preoccupied. And as a result, I have something that I need to get off my chest.  Something about her.

When I started writing this blog, I made a little promise to myself to not use it as a platform for shit-talking and gossip.  But.  BUT, there is this certain creature in my life and I swear she was put on Earth to make my life a little more unpleasant than it should be.  I go out of my way to be nice to her but still she gives me nothing but grief.  I’m at my wit’s end.  Maybe it’s the fever talking, but I have just had enough.  Enough of this bitch.  I know using the word nemesis may be overly dramatic, but I can think of no other fitting description.  She seems to take pleasure in my unhappiness and if that’s not adversarial I don’t know what is.  And because I would like someday for my writing to reach a broader audience, I decided to change the names of those I might paint in an unflattering light.  But you know what?  Fuck it, that’s what.

Her name is Oatmeal.

Oatmeal is the apartment walrus who lives with me.  She is not my cat.  She is no one’s cat, but she most closely associates with my husband and it was he who brought her into my life.  The marriage vows did not cover Oatmeal.  I consider this a mild form of fraud.

Oatmeal is fat.  She is angry all of the time.  Maybe she’s angry because she’s fat or maybe she’s fat because she’s angry.  I don’t know.  I do know that she’s a twat.  She hangs out behind the dog while she’s eating, waiting for some seemingly strategized moment when she will bite the dog’s ass and send her running off, giving her the opportunity to pile dog food into her face like a chipmunk, which she will then spit out onto the carpet to enjoy at her own pace.  She once chewed through an aluminum pan to get at some pumpkin bread.  Oatmeal is passionate about food.  She will drink my orange juice if I leave it unattended.  And if she’s not in the mood for juice, she will just stick her paw in it and stare at me.

Frequently when having sex, I will open my eyes to see Oatmeal glaring at me from the nightstand.  She will then growl very softly.  She does not approve.

Lately, Oatmeal has elected herself Mayor of the Hallway.  She will sit in the middle of it like a bridge troll refusing to let anyone pass.  She does not offer riddles, only bites.  The dog is afraid of her when she’s like this.  I am too, a little.

Do you know how most cats ask questions?  “Mrow? Mow?” when they want something.  Oatmeal asks no questions.  Her meows are demands and her voice is almost always raised.  It sounds like she’s saying “Mnow. Now. NOW!!!” It is almost always food that she wants now.  She once said this to me before slapping me squarely in the face.  We were having a disagreement over a Haribo fruit gummy.  She wanted it.

Oatmeal, like all cats, does purr.  But she’s never purring out of contentment, always resignation.  She growls while kneading blankets to make herself comfortable; Oatmeal makes anger biscuits.  She will sometimes sit on laps, usually Mike’s, but sometimes mine. But if you disturb her rest in any way she will scratch you.  Oatmeal never just scratches and leaves.  She can’t seem to retract her claws so they just get stuck in the couch, your pants, your silk nightie, your leg.  This never ends well.

Oatmeal takes horrible, horrible dumps.  Usually while I’m eating breakfast.  The smell always finds me no matter what room I’m in.  When she’s finished, she will take several victory laps around the apartment, usually knocking something over in the process.  You would think that this would help her lose weight but it doesn’t.  Her fat belly swings back and forth as she runs.  This is actually my favorite thing about Oatmeal.  I could watch it all day.

She also runs around me in the mornings when I’m still in bed.  Part of her course passes over my bladder and, if she’s lucky, over my chest.  She seems to try to step right on my nipples.  Breasts are tender things and she knows this.  She uses her weight to its most advantage when stepping on tender regions of my body.  If this does not get me up to feed her, she will poke my eyelids with her claw.  She will always sit on my pillows.  I hate it when she puts her cat anus on my pillows.  If I do not get up to feed her in a timely fashion, she will eat something in the room.  My iPhone.  Pages from a book.  A plastic bag if she can find one.  The plastic bags upset me the most since I think it could probably kill her.  I think she knows this.  It’s all very dramatic, threatening suicide just to get a can of Friskies seafood delights.

Should I close this with some redeeming qualities of Oatmeal’s?  Mike will argue, but I say she has none.  She is a thing of evil.  I admire him for loving her, but it’s a very sick relationship if you ask me.  She uses and abuses those around her with no fear of retribution.  She knows that we will feed her and give her soft places to sleep until she becomes an incontinent old crone of a cat.  And she knows that we will then clean up her gross cat pee from our sofa and shoes.  Like slaves.  Isn’t there supposed to be a third anti-Christ already among us?  If she ever grows opposable thumbs, we’re all fucked.

There.  I feel much better now.

Dear Dirty Diary,

I have burlesque class today.  I looked at my calendar last night and had a little jolt as I noticed that there’s only 3 months left until the show.  And then my husband pointed that I have 3 months until the show.  It’s nice to have someone to throw a bucket of cold water on my neurosis.  We had idea day last week and my pitch went well, although it did get a “Really? Can you pull this off?” response.  Which I totally expected.  Because I asked myself that, too.  I know I have a bit of a Minnie Mouse thing happening.  And the number is a little bit more…ahem…overt than my last one.  But let me tell you, I am totally rocking it when I’m alone in my kitchen doing the dishes.  Those saucers are scandalized, I tell you.  I put the tap on cold and the water is heated up by the pure incendiary qualities of my shimmy.  The dog has to leave the room because I’m so sexy.  If I can figure out a way to work the dishes into my number, I’m all set.

In other news, Mike and I had an argument this morning because I woke up and our obese cat, Oatmeal, was sitting on my pillow.  I hate when she puts her cat anus where I put my face, so of course I grumpily booted her fat ass off of it.  He said that she was happy and purry on my pillow and I should let her be comfortable.  I said that he should use the cat butt pillow, then.  He saw my point.

Also, I was watching the Nate Berkus show while I was eating my lunch today and I started to tear up a little over a living room makeover.  What is wrong with me?

That’s all for now.  It feels surprisingly nice to write a diary entry, by the way.   I feel like I need to go call a boy I know, giggle, and then hang up.