Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blast Off Burlesque Stimulus Package featuring Barbalicious!

You could talk of so many qualities that set Blast Off Burlesque T & A above the other burlesque groups. Sure, they are all delightful to look at, so throw into the mix wildly imaginative themes, scripts, humor, fantasy, choreography, great costumes - oh, I could go on. Let's just be entertained by the beautiful Barbilicious. I'm hoping she'll be a guest here soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who Would Like To Be A Guest Blogger?

My pal Brian Bingaman, noted journalist and musician, expressed disappointment that there had been no review or even a mere pastie sized mention of the movie "Burlesque" starring Cher and Cristina Aquilera.

Here's a revelation that some find disturbing - I rarely go to the movies. Maybe once or twice a year. So I haven't seen it. Is there anyone who would like to volunteer to be a guest blogger here on Body By Burlesque and give a review? Maybe even 2 or 3 brief ones, a comment, paragraph, or even the reason you have not seen it. I'm game, and looking forward to what you have to offer.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sadie Hawkins, of Blast-Off Burlesque

I saw the gorgeous Sadie Hawkins last night at Scandals in Asheville, NC. She is a goddess. Look for her to be featured here very soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coco Lectric, The 2010 Reigning Queen of Burlesque!

2010 New Orleans Burlesque Festival  -  Photo: Derek Jackson
 The 2010 New Orleans Burlesque Festival, as described to us in revealing, titillating detail by our pal, the fabulous photographer Derek Jackson, was the burlesque event of the year. The most exciting moment was when the luscious Miss Coco Lectric was crowned the 2010 Queen Of Burlesque. All hail the queen, we say!

Even before the advent of her queenly duties, Coco had quite a full itinerary as a performer. Fortunately she made time to visit Body By Burlesque to talk about her life and career.

Body By Burlesque: Congratulations, Queen Coco Lectric, and welcome to Body By Burlesque. Do you recall the very first time you saw a burlesque performance, and your reaction to it?

Coco Lectric: To be honest I do not remember the very first time I saw a burlesque performance. I’ve always been intrigued by cabaret dancing in old movies. I recall the song and dance numbers in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and the Hot Box Girls in Guys and Dolls very well. That is most likely where I saw my first cabaret style performances. Now that you mention it, I really do wish I knew exactly where I saw my first burlesque performance. I’m sure it shaped me somehow.

Photo: Naked Lens
BBB: When did you know it was your destiny to strut, shimmy, bat those gorgeous eyes and to take it off to music?

Coco: I’ve never had a moment of revelation when it comes to burlesque. I recognize the moment I felt comfortable in my own skin; it was a few shows into performing with the Jigglewatts, a troupe I co-founded with Ruby Joule. When I recognized that costume peels and reveals empowered the women in the audience I felt a strong sense of duty to continue with burlesque. I’ve always been a very sensual person and I find that I can combine my comfort with sensuality with my love of dancing, singing and acting, arts I’ve trained in my whole life.

BBB: Tell us about your dance training and experience, and how they shaped your signature style?

Photo: Ben Britt
Coco: I started out dancing like most little girls do, in ballet, tap and jazz before grade school even started. I progressed to modern dance, pointe, and hip-hop. In my early adulthood, and I finally got some curves, I felt a stronger sense of identity with more colorful styles of dance that accentuated the female form like hula, belly dance and the Latin styles, so I trained in those.

I do feel, however, that my extensive go-go experience in Austin contributed the most to my comfort in burlesque. I go-goed in some of the most well-know dance clubs in Austin and pretty girls were a dime a dozen.

I learned how to excel in statuesque poses by working in the shadow box and how to capture people’s attention from across the room by engaging in eye-contact and really showing my dance skills when appropriate. Go-go was my boot camp into incorporating dance and audience engagement while sharpening my improvisational skills.

BBB: We would love to know about the classes you teach.

Photo: Digicisco Photography
Coco: I teach a variety of classes. I’ve taught dance classes to grown up ladies all manners of feeling good in their own skin. I currently teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced burlesque at Galaxy Dance School in Austin. They are very excited about being the home of the Austin Academy of Burlesque. I teach intensive workshops the first Sunday of every month at Lucila’s World Dance, which is quite an honor for me because she used to teach me belly dance and continues to mentor me in flamenco.

BBB: Who designs your stunning costumes? What do you choose first - the music or the costume - when choreographing a new show?

Coco: I design all of my costumes. Black Mariah of Fastenating Things, Dallas, and Jennifer Gonzales of Jupiter Moon Corsets, San Antonio, have been a great help to me in making my designs become a reality. I usually come up with the concept of a number before I even attempt to search for music or costumes. Occasionally, I’ll hear a great song that just does it for me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always read well on stage…soul music and R&B tends to really get me…it's just not always the best choice for burlesque.
BBB: Coco darling, your fans know you are also a fabulous professional singer. Do you blend your vocal skills with burlesque performances?

Coco: Oh, I do! I don’t generally perform vocally when I do festivals, but I just love combining striptease and serenade. Austinites get to hear me sing quite often in our home shows at the ND, and I recently sang in Minneapolis with Lili’s Burlesque and in Denver with BurlyCute Burlesque. I’d love to do more of it, but I’m not sure about competing with a vocal number, which is where a great many shows gain popularity. I tend to do songs that are more sultry than a representation of my vocal talents. The goal is still to tease, tantalize and inspire.

BBB: Imagine that you could travel back in time to meet one of the original burlesque stars. Who, pray tell, would it be?

Hey Pony! HotRods & Heels
Dallas  -  Photo: Naked Lens

Coco: There are so many I’d love to meet. I’d love to meet Bettie Page of course, her joy and effortlessness has done so much for me and my performances. But I feel so close to her that I have no great desire to meet her. I would really like to meet Lili St. Cyr though. She seems to have a passion for dance and a general intensity that matches my own. We’d either get along great or keep a great distance. Either way, it would be nice to find out.

BBB: It's been wonderful to have you here, please visit again.

Coco: Thanks so much! Any time!

BBB: For Booking and Fan Information, visit the regal website of Coco Lectric, the reigning Queen of Burlesque!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Coco Lectric, Queen of Burlesque 2010 - New Orleans Burlesque Festival

Just a few more days until Body By Burlesque brings our first royal interview with the reigning Queen Of Burlesque, Coco Lectric! As you wait for the thrill you know she delivers, here's a teaser for you. Coco's electrifying performance at the 2010 New Orleans Burlesque Festival shows why it's good to see the Queen!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Derek Jackson, Celebrity Photographer to the Burlesque Stars

Photographer to the burlesque stars, Derek Jackson, spent a weekend at the 2nd Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Body By Burlesque couldn't make the scene, so we asked Derek for the lowdown.

Body By Burlesque: Derek, take it off the, from the top.

Derek Jackson and Jolee Blon'
Derek Jackson:  On Sept. 17th Jennifer Mason & Cougar Cantrell (Tammy Lynn Kanoa, who dances for Salome Cabaret in Knoxville,) and I flew out of Atlanta on the 11am flight on Delta.At the hotel we met up with Katherine Lashe, Ursula Undress, Tupelo Honey, and Chad Sanborn. They headed to rehearsal, and Jennifer, Cougar & I went straight to the ACME Oyster House for some local flavor before the Friday Night Show.

CoCo Lectric
 The best performances were definitely 1, 2, 3 - CoCo Lectric, Lola Van Ella, and Renea' Le Roux. Throw into the mix, Athena (filler singer) and Catherine D'Lish (Friday's House Of Blues headliner.) I always sit transfixed every time that Amber Ray walks on stage. She's amazing. That's just from the Saturday Competition Night. On the Mondo Burlesque Show at Harrah's on Friday, Michelle L'amour and her La Panthere act closed the show, and is always a crowd favorite. Also, Michelle L'amour and the Chicago Starlets act of The Van Gogh-Gogh's is so much fun. My favorite acts from the House of Blues were Charlotte Treuse, Lydia DeCarllo & of course Satan's Angel.

BBB: If I asked for just two of your fave moments. (Two Double D Cup-fulls, if you please.)

DJ: Just two? Being called out by Amber Ray and being a part of Dinah Might's act.

Renea Le Roux
 BBB: Can we hit the rewind button and break it down?

DJ: So it’s after the Friday night shows and I’m hanging out outside the House of Blues with Jennifer Mason and Tupelo Honey when I hear my name, couldn’t believe it was Amber Ray strolling down the street arm in arm with a beautiful dame. She called out my name to say hello. I must have had a stunned look on my face, as she just giggled as she walked by. I turned around and told the girls, “ Damn, I just got called out by Amber Ray!”

BBB:  And the the other bit of story?

DJ:  While checking in at the hotel, I got a call from the producer, Rick Delaup, saying Dinah Might wanted to know who was on the front row. Rick called me and handed the phone to Dinah Might. She told me when she was on stage during her act, doing her fan dance, she would pause, beckon me to the edge of the stage with a "come here" finger wave. I was to get up, take a step to the stage, and she would slap me with her fans - left-right-left.* I was to do a head-snap in sequence. She really tagged me good, mind you. I got a lot of compliments from people in the crowd saying how good it looked.
*Click for video.

BBB: Ooh la la!

DJ: Aside from the fact that we had the best seats in the house, that I had face time with Kitten De Ville, Jo Weldon, Kitten Onthekeys, Michelle L'amour , and Jolee Blon', who is just creamy. Seeing Amber Ray & Jolee Blon' in the elevator between stops where they both said hello, smiled and waved, but it was a full elevator. Being on stage after the Saturday competion shooting press photos was cool, too.

Lydia DeCarllo
Oh, and one thing I'll never forget is that we went to the House of Blues after the post awards show photos and we got there late and the place was packed. I looked at one of the local photographers and said, how are we going to get to the front? He said, come on, follow me. We're heading downstairs and  through the loading dock getting stopped at every turn; thwarted by roadies and security guards because the B-52's were playing a private party at the main show room. We protested that our path was up to the front row of the 2nd showroom. No dice. Ten more attempts before getting a female security escort us to an elevator in the kitchen, putting us behind the stage so when we walked out - front row! The other photographer scooted across the floor in front of the stage, and I looked down and there was one seat on the corner of the front row and I took it. A few minutes later, the producer of the show stuck his head though a side curtain, saw me and said, "how did you get that seat!? I just flashed a smug smile and grinned.

BBB: Smooth, you must have felt like the 007 of burlesque photographers. 

 DJ: I have to say that seeing my good friend Jennifer Mason and Tupelo Honey enjoy their first festival was great, plus hanging out with Cougar Cantrell. Introducing Jennifer to Satan's Angel was something I'll never forget. To watch Jennifer go crazy when Angel was onstage doing her fire tassels act and introducing them afterwards, unforgettable.

BBB:  Tell me Derek, have you ever gotten so caught up in watching a show that you forgot to take pictures?
Catherine D'Lish

Satan's Angel
Hot Hot Hot!
DJ: Never. I always try to get a front row seat for the best show photos. There's nothing worse than having someone's head in your shot to ruin the image. I have gotten caught up in the pre/after party/chatting with friends and forgotten to take candids. I've always liked to have a mix of photos of before, during & after, to help show the mood of the night. I guess that if an act is so jaw-dropping steamy, I feel I have to "try" and capture that mood, to show what the dancer is trying to convey. It's almost part of my job to do so. There are times where I've attended two shows and shot one and sat one out. I always hated that I didn't shoot, as I probably missed "that one shot" ... There's just something about a burlesque dancer in a beautiful dress that makes me want to photographer her. I do shoot too many photos, but I always seem to get that "one shot" that makes the night.

BBB: Last minute twirl, I mean, mention?

DJ: Oh, and was very happy that my friend Renea Le Roux got Runner-Up. She was thrilled. After the show, I escorted her to the House of Blues, sorta doing body-guard detail, but it was great to catch-up with her, since she moved to Vegas.

BBB: Thanks, Derek. I think Body By Burlesque should go on the next trip and photograph the photographer. Your pictures are stunning, beautiful works of art. So glad you visited here. I could only post a teasingly few photos, for the full reveal get an eye-full at Derek Jackson Photgraphy's flickr site.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Glove Removal Technique by Bunny Stripperson & Son.

The exquisite art of glove removal as demonstrated by Bunny Stripperson and ...son?
Short, sweet and will make you laugh.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Talloolah Love - Windy City Burlesque Fest 2010

Talloolah Love is Red Hot, people! This is just a preview, BBB hopes to have more Talloolah very soon. BTW She IS even more gorgeous in person!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Va Va Vunderbust!

She's got style, moves and plenty of attitude. Watch how she plays the Congas!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exotic Aussie A'dora Derriere Gives Us A Peek At Sugar Blue Burlesque

Lovers of exotic dance, to bring you evidence that the burlesque revival is a worldwide phenomenon, Body By Burlesque introduces you to the sexy wonders from down under - Sugar Blue Burlesque. These ladies aren't playing dress-up in the garage with great aunt Mabel's party gowns. Professional, crowd pleasing theatricality, elaborate vintage costumes, and a fusion of classic burlesque and retro dance styles combine to create a dazzling production transporting the audience into a higher dimension of sensations.

When the luscious A'dora Derriere says 'walk this way' the earth's axis spins! She cooled her tailfeathers just long enough for a short, yet very revealing interview.

Tell me a bit about the origin of Sugar Blue Burlesque.
Sugar Blue Burlesque has been operating for 4 years. We began as a trio. Miss Bonnie Fox, myself, (A'dora Derriere,) and Scarlet O'Harlot. We now have about 15 performers in the troupe. So, we have grown a lot! The three of us were all from a Swing Dancing (Lindy Hop) background and I am also a trained costume designer, so when we started the troupe in 2007, we based ourselves a vintage dance troupe. We performed 1900s style Burlesque, 1920s Charleston, Lindy Hop, 1960s GoGo and Vintage Chorusline performances.

Adora, I see you are also a costume designer, do you make your own? Have you made anyone else's? how did you come to meet your design idol - Catherine D'Lish?

I make almost all of my own solo costumes and I also make all the troupe costumes when we need multiple costumes for group performances. We have an amazing performer, Sapphire Demure, who is also a fashion designer who also makes solo costumes for many of the girls in the troupe.

I got the opportunity to meet my Catherine D'Lish at the London Burlesque Festival. I was one of the last performers on the night of the closing show and she was sharing a dressing room with me and was performing straight after me. I think she is amazing. Her costumes and wearable art has inspired me even when I was a costume student 10 years ago! 

Tell us about the Burlesque Academy and Vintage Glamour Workshops.

These days we have our own studio in the middle of Perth City called the Burlesque Lounge. We have our graduation shows and run our burlesque academy from there. We run a variety of different classes including Burlesque Bump and Grind casual classes, Burlesque Beginner's Dance, 1920's Charleston, Dance Like a Showgirl Course, Chair Fever, Latin Dancing for Burlesque, 1960's Go-Go Dance and Hoola Hooping. We even made some instructional dvds - Burlesque 1,2 & 3, 1920's Charleston and 1960's Go-Go.

At the Burlesque Lounge, we share the space with a photographer, David Woolley , who has done most of our photography. David is very talented and passionate about his work and vintage style! We are lucky enough to offer a workshop called Vintage Glamour Workshops for students with him. It is a one day workshop, where the students are taught and then assisted to transform themselves into a vintage pin-up, and then photographed by David Woolley. It is so much fun! 

The readers of Body By Burlesque are definitely interested in learning about the Hen Parties offered. What is involved? Are they as popular as I imagine they would be, and have you recruited any new dancers from them? Or do they mainly want to learn for fun and 'private, home shows?"

The Sugar Blue Burlesque Hen's Parties are very popular. They are a two hour session where the guests and the hen learn the art of tease and some burlesque dance moves as well as doing some games. We dont recruit the dancers from the hens party, the lesson is a fun girls night in. The girls that we have recruited along the way have mainly been from our burlesque academy courses.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Clara Cupcakes - What she can do with Hula Hoops!

Clara Cupcakes is one of the delicious treats from Perth, Australia's Sugar Blue Burlesque. I'll have more on them later this week. For now, life is short, have your dessert first!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Some of you know I have four blogs that are all very different. Whether you read, follow, or comment on one or all, I assure you I am very grateful for the time and thoughts you share with me and I hope that I give you entertainment and some information that you may find useful. Body By Burlesque, about a middle aged gal's search for fitness through exotic dance, was first. Then came Bark Of Love for dog lovers. Madame Perry's Salon is intended to be a cyberworld version of salons that were popular in Asia, Europe and the United Kingdom a few centuries back where artists, writers and thought leaders gathered. And finally there is Memoirs Of A Misanthrope, essays from my forthcoming book of the same title about how my life resembles a David Lynch film.

In my last post here I introduced you to the stunning and vivacious Mon Cherie, who along with her burlesque gals and Rod Hamdallah and his smokin' rockabilly band, were raising money at their latest show to send a specific class of autistic children to camp. I found some more gorgeous gals who use their beauty and brains for a very worth cause. The following was posted on my Bark Of Love block this week, and I think it's worth sharing here as well. Besides, everyone needs a calendar, right?
This Bark Of Love post is authored by Parker (Aussie Cattle/Cardigan Corgi/?) and Bennie (Pembroke Welsh Corgi/Who could resist all this!) because they are both rescued dogs.

Hey everybody! Got anything to eat? Want to scratch us?
(Mistress of Corgi Manor to boys – Hey, you're on the gig now, writing a blog, treats and scratches later! Get to work and mind your manners – ahora mismo!)

Okay, keep your wig on. Where were we? Anyone out there who is a rescue dog, or lives with one, knows that no matter how cute, fun, smart and lovable we are, well, sometimes things arent' all that good. Sometimes we start life with people who don't deserve us, or we get lost, or whatever.

Then the smart, good people find us and life is what it ought to be. That's why we're waggin' slap to death to tell you about some really fine ladies we just found out about who live in Oregon. You two leggers call them pin-ups, or calendar girls. We call them beautiful and very clever because they created the Pin-ups Love Pound Pups calendar. It raises money to help dogs who need homes. We talked to the wonderful Angel Maree to learn more about how she got such a brilliant idea.

"I had the idea to create Pin-ups Love Pound Pups after searching online for pin-up girl art to decorate with. I saw these amazingly beautiful pictures of pin-up girls and dogs and it combined my love of both. I also saw that calendars were produced in the same fashion," said Angel. "I knew that I had great friends that would help me. So Pin-ups Love Pound Pups is a group of friends that created a calendar to raise money for their favorite non-profit, PAWSitive Changes, Inc."
Okay, then we asked about that; and believe us – you're gonna want to give them a biscuit and buy a calendar!

"PAWSitive Changes, Inc, is a 501c3 non-profit organization which exists to promote the human-animal bond with shelter dogs and incarcerated youth, she explained. "These young people care for, train, and help the dogs with social skills so they can be ready to be adopted into their forever homes."

That's so nice, Angel. You're a goooood lady, yes, you are, you're a goooood lady! We'll just snuggle up with you while you tell the readers more about the calendars.

"Sure, and you're both goood boys! Well, many of the girls also volunteer with the youth/dog program and also at the animal shelter. They are in the trenches getting their hands dirty and that is what makes us different. Our purpose is to catch the attention of society and urge responsible pet ownership, shelter animal rescue, and female empowerment. All of the girls are beautiful inside and out, and the common bond is that they want to help animals and youth, while engaging in a project that allows them to be creative and socially responsible. We have found the beauty in combining all worlds.

"2010 is our first calendar and 2011 is already proving to be an exciting venture. We are representing girls and dogs, all still friends, up and down the West Coast. This year, we have doubled the amount of girls and dogs in photo. We are working with numerous photographers that have volunteered their talents for our cause.

"Our 2011 calendar is planned for release in October and we couldn't be more excited. We have done social events to raise money for the non-profit from art gallery exhibits and photo shoots, to calendar signings, and martini parties. This year, we have been invited to more art gallery socials and even car shows. Basically, we make friends wherever we go and doors just seem to open because people see that the girls are all very kind, and down-to-earth, real people. The most exciting part is that 100% of the calendar profits go to the animal rescue non-profit. The calendar was hugely popular this year. We sold online to all over the US, and even the UK. People also purchased calendars from us for the troops and we sent a huge box to our friends serving in Afghanistan. Overall, we feel loved, supported, and energized by the progress we made in one year and plan for bigger and better things in the year to come."

Woof Woof! Baaaarrrk! We think that you and all the pin-up girls are our dream girls, Angel, and you really are an angel. Anything else you want to tell us while you're here, and still scratching us?

"We, myself and friends, started PAWSitive Changes to support the prison dog program and to pay the dog vet bills, etc. A small goal that is developing into bigger things. We want to help elderly, military, incarcerated, basically anyone in need with their animals in the future."

Bennie and Parker stop here to show Angel Maree their tricks, and give her a little doggie kiss. You can order the Pin-Ups Love Pound Pups calendars now, and they would like to be friends on FaceBook. Angel Maree is the pin-up for June!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mon Cherie's Rockabilly Lounge At The Masquerade for Autism Awareness Benefit This Friday.

Maybe you think that burlesque girls are 'all about me,' but think again. Folks around Atlanta, Georgia are cruising into The Masquerade this Friday, May 21st, when Mon Cherie's Rockabilly Lounge holds a benefit for Autism Awareness. These burlesque queens and rockabilly musicians may appear as unlikely angels to some, but spin again, baby – they truly have hearts of gold. Mon Cherie's plan is to raise enough dough to send the students on Ms. Thomas' class for autistic children with special needs to Autism Summer Camps where they can enjoy themselves and get quality time with counselors focused on their specific challenges.

What can you expect? You'll get Rod Hamdallah (formerly of Rod & The Rusty Rebels) rockin' the stage and steamy performances by Big City Burlesque! Body By Burlesque got a sneak peek at the tentative line-up for the burlesque!
King Rouge & Lilly Anne in " Big Coty Tease "
Tiffany Minx in " Old Fashioned Girl "
Johnny Drape & Dahlia Danger in " Flesh Cafe "
( guest spot Renea La roux )
Cha Cha Soliegh sings " Love Potion # 9 "

What can you win at the Rockabilly Raffle? Prizes include items from Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lux deVille Handbags, Sacred Heart Tattoos, Lucky Starr Vintage Clothing, Loysville, Derek Jackson Pin-Up Photo Shoot, Throne Jewelry, Las Margaritas Latin Restaurant, Masquerade concert tix, Hollyweird Tattooz, and much much more.

FREE JELLO SHOTS!  The Masquerade is located at 695 North Avenue, NE, Atlanta. Doors @ 9PM – Cover $10 - Ages 18+ Welcome.  Live broadcast Garage71 Radio (

More about Ms. Thomas: Her class is a special needs class for Autistic Children. The school added an additional student who not only has autism - but other issues as well. This student has a violent tendency and has been harming the other children. Recently, he tore apart the classroom and attacked the teacher, putting her in the hospital. Autism is a specific disorder and the children are special and sweet in nature. The children witnessed the incident and it appears that it was just too much for them to handle. Many are currently traumatized by this and have been having nightmares and other coping issues. Ms Thomas is writing a book, “Leaving Autism Road” about her experience in dealing with Autism and will be reading excerpts during the night.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vagina Jenkins performs New Orleans Burlesque Fest 2009

Do you consider yourself a Friendly Fluffer, Vaginal Support, or a full-fledged, card carrying member of Team Va Jay Jay?

Show of hands, folks, can you remember a time when we needed some good, clean, old-fashioned, entertainment to shake off the blues as badly as we need it now?  Hope doesn't float, people, it shimmies and shakes, teases and twirls, and then breaks it down into love you can feel deep inside.

We can only be speaking of that Southern goddess, known as The Queen of Queer Burlesque, the incomparable Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins! And she's ready to take her intoxicatingly luscious self and her show on the road so she can strip away the gloom wrought by economic setbacks, peel away your blues, and let her expertly swinging tassels brush away the sadness. She has a style as unique as her name, and this makes her sensuous charm all the more seductive.

But she needs our help. Specifically, she needs an RV and she needs some mo' Benjamins. Seductively batting her eyelashes, she describes the special gifts she has for all who support the cause of the Vagina Jenkins Roadshow. 
"As a burlesque performer, my mission is to reclaim visual and erotic space for all the marginalized communities I represent" she says. "Which is an overly academic way of saying that as queer woman of size and color I want to be a huge, big , bright, feathered beacon of awesome-ness."

Girl, you are, you are!

"Sure, I'm also an attention whore, but I also believe strongly that every woman deserves to take up space and be beautiful on her own terms, defying, queering and otherwise redefining what it means to be femme in the world.

"So I'm trying to get the word out there. But in order to take up visual space and show the people far and wide what I'm all about and what SEXY freed from class/gender/orientation/race boundaries looks like--- I'm gonna have to get out there."

So Body By Burlesque is providing the link for everyone to pledge at whatever level they can - from the Buck Tuck to Patron of the Vagina and higher. I asked this exquisite lady if she had any advice to help us through 2010 and beyond. She did.

"Eat more, fuck often, and buy those heels no matter how uncomfortable. If youre wearin' em right u wont hafta walk very far anyway!"

BBB couldn't have said it better.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Exotic Dance 101

Back to the exotic dance class. This time I wanted to talk with the class instructor, Althea Lawton-Thompson, owner of Aerobics, Yoga & More Fitness & Dance Studios in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

After decades of glum, repetitive, force-myself-to-go workouts, I deserved this shot of exuberance that restored my faith in the power of a good workout class. Here was one that combined the beauty of dance with a playful naughtiness to chase my cares, woes and cellulite into someone else’s backyard. And unlike my actual childhood, I’m not relegated to the bench, but in the game with a delightful gang of playmates dancing and bumping to the big bass thumping.

So how did Althea become the captain of my favorite team on the playground?

“We decided to put Exotic Dance on AYM’s schedule because we wanted to do something fun, liberating and effective for strength and agility” says Althea. “We wanted AYM to be different than all of the other gyms and studios around us. Our Exotic Dance class is classy, tasteful, and incorporates all styles of sexy movement - Latin, Caribbean, Belly Dance, and Hip Hop/Video.”

Well, you said it sister – fun, liberating, and effective. The high heels do make some of the moves easier, but are they helping? And how does it affect, you know, my bottom line?

“This workout incorporates all of the core muscles in the abdomen and back as well as the large muscles of the thighs and legs” explains the leader we follow gladly and devotedly. “The Belly Dancing and some of the Video Dance routines also include major arm movements to tone the shoulders and upper arms. By wearing high heels, the calves, thighs and gluteal muscles are toned through squatting, bending and slow walking.”

Maybe now you’re interested, curious, and willing, but have yet to put your pumps, workout gear and chutzpah in the car and head for the party, or workout (call it what you will,) because you need that extra tug. Allow me to fling my feather boa around your waist and pull you in so you can get your backfield in motion with the rest of us. Or better yet, I’ll ask Althea to describe what you’re missing.

“What's so amazing is that every kind of woman you can imagine participates,” Althea assures me. “Our classes typically have women as young as 22 and as mature as 73. All ethnicities and races and religions are prancing around a chair in 2-4 inch heels together as one... and having a great time doing it! Tall, short, thick, thin, rhythmic and uncoordinated - we're all there together gettin' our groove on.”

Thank you, Althea. I’ll see you soon. Oh, are the rest of you still here? You better get going and get a good spot. I’ll be in front working out my booty deluxe – ‘the whole club is lookin’ at her!’ Yeah!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, Sure It Looks Easy

So I gather the necessities: workout clothes that I can move in, stilletos, and courage. Imagining self as a character in Oz 'the clothes, the heels, the nerve.' About half a dozen women, culturally diverse, but all in or not too far from my age range are in the studio ready to begin. We begin the warm-up seated in our chairs, facing the mirrored wall, first with slow head and shoulder rolls, graceful arm movements, the inevitable opening and closing of legs and, of course, raising each leg as we caress it from thigh to ankle with our hands and then support it with palm under the heel. The music is 'Between The Sheets' by The Isley Brothers. Nice, lush, Isley grooves. I'm feeling exotic already.

Oh, what? Now the chairs go away as we remain facing the mirrors and learn moves from belly dance and those sensuous Latin dances. This is fun. I can truly dig this. Yeah, what's next? The instructor is a tall, elegant, gorgeous woman who radiates the most positive exciting energy. If I can get these moves and take a fraction of her energy field with me, I can rule, baby!

Now - the routine. In heels, getting the steps, I'm allright, yeah, I'm hot, don't know what this song is but I like the strong bottom (that's musician talk for the bass line.) Something about a girl in the club, boots with the fur, the whole club is lookin' at her. I'm that girl! They're looking at me. Yeah! Wait, what? Sunny got what? Low, low, low, low, ... who me? Oh, no. I'm at that age. That age. You know, when we least expect it we can sneeze, cough, laugh too hard, hit a fixed object while riding a bicycle, stuff like that - and that unfortunate bit of leakage occurs. Damn perimenopause. No way I'm going to be embarrased in hoochie class. I gotta sit this move out.

But I'm caught up, trapped even, the class filled with latecomers, I'm being pushed back and forth, side to side, bass is thumpin', teacher's calling out directions, left on one, to the back, keep going, now turn around and give that big booty a smack, now down! And I go down. Hey. What's this? I got back up. I went down and right back up! I can't remember the last time I squatted and got right back up. And no leak! Plus, it really is easier in the high heels. I can do this. I can low-low - in hoochie class - and stay dry. This must surely be my destiny. Okay, in the mirror, I might look like I've just finished a two mile hike, but that's the sign of a good rehearsal, right? It must be.

Now it's time to lie on our mats and cool down with a bit of Pilates and yoga. Now I'm dying. Well, not really dying, but we're working on our core. Good abs are essential for exotic dance. And this is more of a workout than I expected. Now the lights are low, the music is mellow, we're meditating and in a happy place. This is an excellent workout, and if I can get off the mat and drive home, I know I'll return.

Before I do that, my next plan of action is to visit a professional dancer gal pal who performs in a burlesque troupe. Come back and I'll show and tell you all about it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Once I Was A Schleppa...

"Wow! Look at you with the curly hair, and those legs working that mini-skirt! That was you?" Yeah, that was me. And my pal Kinia was going through a scrapbook from the days when I produced and hosted an entertainment show on cable television. Don't think I started out that way. There was never a later bloomer than I, very shy and raised in a home with
strict religious rules for young ladies. But the worst part of Kinia going through the photos was that although I did take great care then of how I ate and kept fit, I didn't realize what good shape I was in. Neither could I remember consciously going straight to those tiny sizes on the racks of any department store or trendy boutique. Wait. Was that a see through top? On me? Dear Goddess, where did I go wrong?
While I don't qualify for The Biggest Loser and I'm not ready to swap clothes with Kirstie Alley, I'm just plain embarrased at how much I've gained and how out of shape I am. When you look at a photo and say "That sweater makes me look fat," you know it ain't the sweater. It's the fat. I'm not a cold weather girl, but I dread warmer weather because I can't hide in a long jacket.
Okay, so I need to find a workable food plan, and start an exercise program. Ugh. Aerobics? I hit that a few times, but can't stomach the blaring top 40 music and way-too-happy instructor. Same with joining a gym. The pounding drums and bass and yelling intructors. Just not me. Walking? Like the idea in a group. But I was bitten by Rottweilers on a neighborhood walk, and far too many women on jogging trails and bike paths make the crime news.
Okay, so I've got the weight packing on in the middle plus the curmudgeonly attitude specific to my, well, near middle age. And that's when I check out the locals yoga and fitness studio to find listed, seriously, Exotic Dance! Now they've got my attention.
I call. I ask the questions. And I am comforted as well as I am intrigued. The helpful, assuring voice on the phone tells me to come in comfortable clothes that I can move in, and that high heels are optional, but I might like to bring them.
Exotic dance! Burlesque is certainly having a revival with the Gen Y kids - in their own way. Who among us has not seen the three strippers "Gotta Get A Gimmick" in Gypsy without wanting to play that one in the privacy of our own homes for laughs? I'm getting visions of The Pussycat Dolls, Gypsy Rose Lee, and of course, those sensous dames Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
My fantasies are running away with me. Can I pull this off? Or will it be just another dead end, not finished, make a bunch of excuses failure? I start class tomorrow night. And hopefully this blog will keep me accountable.