I took a year off from producing my monthly Burlesque show and I missed it! Storytelling is certainly one of my favorite things but I also really love performing naked (or in g-string and tassels)
If You were at the last And I Am Not Lying Live, my story was about that and also about the difference between exploitation and fun in sexy art-forms. This month my Hosty Totsy show makes fun of that same struggle.
Hotsy Totsy is an ongoing burlesque soap opera. Each epsisode takes place during the “monthly fundraiser at The Home For Wayward Girls and Fallen Women” and in each show there is some back stage drama that plays out between the burlesque acts. This month gangster Nickles Lugo (Played by Nelson Lugo) attempts to take over the Home and to turn it into a money making venture (AKA a strip-club and brothel.) The girls fight back wanting to keep things playful and sweet the way we like it!
When asked to describe my burlesque show HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE, I tell people it is like the Muppet show if you substituted puppets with naked girls. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the latest viral videos is of happy gorillas in the jungles of Uganda taking in a tourist as one of their own. Now this is an amazing video, so sweet, so heart-warming, and it got me cruising YouTube for gorilla videos – and there are plenty. That being said, I am personally not going to be hanging with the Wild Mountain Gorillas.
I am not saying you shouldn’t hang with wild gorillas – if you want to. Go ahead, it looks like fun.
It is just that they are both intelligent and they are wild animals, plus they have ideas on how things should go.
*Note to self – do not take your pet baby orphan gorilla into the jungle.
Personally I think I understand gorilla culture and etiquette, as it looks a bit like the culture and etiquette in my family. But as my husband knows, I avoid hanging with my family because they behave like mountain gorillas. They are cute and cuddly until you challenge them. You never quite know what you said that got them all riled up, all you know is that they are suddenly screaming and somehow its your fault …
I know that someone reading this might be thinking, “but - but – but….have you seen Koko the talking Gorilla who speaks sign language? Bill Shatner has!”
And I say to the imaginary Koko loving person in my head, “Oh yeah but what about the story of the Petronella Yvonne de Horde, she loved gorillas! She was convinced that the Gorilla named Bokito, who lived at the local zoo in Rotterdam was her friend…and so she went to visit him almost every day. She would make kissy faces at him and he would make what she thought was kissy faces back….
I performed at the awesome new Paris Burlesque Club in Red Hook and NBC was there, doing a story about the venue! So my burlesque alter ego, Cherry Pitz is going be featured in the story airing tonight!
The show is called LX.TV 1stLook NY. To be specific, I’ll be on WNBC, channel 4 (channel 704 in HD) on Time Warner Cable, Saturday Oct 1 at 7:30pm and rerun on Sunday at 1AM after SNL. Catch it on TV if you can, or find the piece on their site http://lxtv.com/1stlookny/.
The segment covers the show Moonlight Rendezvous, produced by the gorgeous Lana Firebird. It will feature David Slone, Cherry Pitz, Ivory Fox and The Lady Aye, all at Paris Cabaret Club! Many thanks to LX.TV.
Jen Lee is a friend of mine from The Moth, and I just love her stuff because she pours it out straight from the heart. She’s not trying to be liked, she’s just trying to be true to the story itself. She’ll talk about some difficult stuff, and the way she handles it is masterful. She’s not an emotional exhibitionist and she’s not trying to launch her comedy career by making light of dark stuff. She’s a writer who happens to publish with her mouth, and every time she tells a story it’s different and better than the last time.
This is a video of Jen Lee from a Moth slam a few months ago. The theme was “Good Intentions.” Jen grew up as a fundamentalist Christian, and here she explains the hilarious, embarrassing reality behind swallowing fundamentalist doctrine and saving it for marriage — and makes it sound like it’s not necessarily so bad. She’s so funny and awkward and sweet here, and I just had to give her a huge hug when she was done.
Brad and Cyndi run Hotsy Totsy Burlesque on the third Tuesday of every month at the Delancey, right there at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge in the Lower East Side. Cherry Pop Burlesque happens at the same place, the fourth Tuesday of every month, and I can’t recommend either show enough.
You can pay as much as you want in this city any night of the week for entertainment, but for eight bucks you can get right into something wild and weird that you won’t find anywhere else in the country for ten times as much cash.
The storytelling and burlesque scene have a fair bit of overlap in New York. Emotional nakedness and physical nudity are close relatives, and folks like Brad and Cyndi (our new bloggers) work hard at both. Ultimately, both communities are powered by passion and a love for the art form. Lord knows we’re not in it for the money.
That’s why I came to this town and it’s why I’ll either die here or leave a piece of my soul behind when I have to leave this magical, filthy island.
The ladies at Cherry Pop Burlesque were kind enough to let me photograph a show a few months back. What follows here is a loose collection of observations and photos from that night. You can see an expanded photo show here, too.
Seeing burlesque shows at the Delancey feels like something from the bad old days of New York that made me want to move here in the first place. It’s seedy enough to make any loving mother uncomfortable, but not so seedy that I wouldn’t take my girlfriend.
Even the sign for the basement gets me all excited. It’s at the end of a long, red hallway glowing like the understated gateway to hell. Or at least the world of sin that tent revival preachers used to warn against/advertise. This photo reminds me of the Pink Room with maybe a little less overt menace.
My wife, Cyndi (who all of you got very acquainted with yesterday) and I live at the corner of three neighborhoods. To the Northwest is the Mexican neighborhood, Southeast is Chinese, and Southwest is Turkish. The restaurants have Cumbia Karaoke, the grocery stores have water chestnuts in a can and wasabi paste in a tube, and the coffee shops have hookahs and they’re for men only.
So, it’s always an education. But some things are not spelled out and it is up to you to figure out what it all means. And so, I give you Defa Lucy and her packaging. There are an infinite number of ways Lucy’s cryptic copy can be interpreted. The simplistic view is “Oh, those crazy foreigners who can’t speak English.” But I tend to think there is more going on here. You have to think of the demographic.
These dolls are being sold to the children of people who have left their homes to come to a place that is (no matter how many planes land at JFK in a day) far away from everything, because they have some idea of what the place offers them in the way of a future. There is something in this broken English that speaks to me of what these folks want and what they expect and what they think is expected of them in their new home.
Wait a second. You know this is going to be good, when it starts with “My friend’s cousin.”
My friend’s cousin is a teacher at a charter school in Washington, D.C. She found this on the floor of a 3rd grade classroom and recognized it for the gold mine that it is — scanned it into a fax-to-PDF scanner immediately.
I talked to a bunch of folks about it ahead of time, none of whom could make it out. Fair enough. Zach’s a nice young man, and was kind enough/self-promotional enough to post the video on Vimeo. Here it is, see for yourselves:
Have you ever noticed how some people put a pair of headphones in, and it’s like it’s the performance version of Thor’s hammer? Like by putting those buds into their ears, they are suddenly blessed with an incredible singing voice, perfect pitch and total invisibility? Put on some sunglasses and an iPod and all of a sudden nobody is on the train except Simon Cowell and Dr. Dre, and both of them are hiring. It’s kind of like having a low-budget version of Rock Band that only plays R&B.
You never hear anyone singing Coldplay or Dave Matthews, is all I’m saying. I prefer it that way.
And don’t get me wrong here — sure, sometimes the phenomenon is a little annoying. But other times it is completely the most awesome thing that can happen to your whole week, a beautiful, off-kilter accident.
Like this guy that sat across from me on the J Train last weekend singing Chris Brown’s “Winner.” Check this thing out, it’s beautiful. I love how he doesn’t let his performance stop him from pouring himself a little sip of something from his thermos, then gets his soul stole by the music before the cup hits his lips … and caps it all off with a shameless crotch scratch. Also of note is how quickly the guy next to him stops giggling and starts ignoring the whole thing.
Don’t let me spoil it for you, though – check this out for yourself. It’s stuff like this that reminds me that the world is alive and beautiful and full of strange surprises …