O Burly Q, how I love you! I stumbled upon you nearly by accident. A few years ago I was feeling like I needed to give my self-esteem a bit of a shot in the arm. And, like some kind of wicked street drug you delivered! I am now addicted to tassels, satin gloves, garter belts, feathers, wigs, rhinestone encrusted brassieres and high-heeled shoes that could give a girl a nosebleed. And, yet, it’s more than the glamour and fancy costumes. It is truly about empowerment and art and creativity and self-esteem. I love that when I hear a song on the radio I might imagine a crazy striptease routine to go with it. I love watching a fellow burlesque performer find a new way to remove a glove or a stocking. Anyone can take their clothes off. People do it every day. But making it fresh, sassy, raunchy, gross, political or glorious? – that’s art!
I am a Rosebud – official member of the Rosebud Burlesque Club and graduate of Ms. Cheripop Purr’s Burlesque Academy for Wayward Girls. I have made great friends and have had great fun. I have grown as an artist – I have created a stage persona who is very cool, I can sew my own costumes, choreograph my own pieces, and perform half-naked in front of nearly 400 people. I have grown as a person – I have more self-confidence, more friends, a deeper appreciation for art, and a desire to create more art. When I consider it deeply, becoming a burlesque performer is bringing me back to the person I wanted to be twenty years ago. I wanted to be a performer, an artist, but I chickened out or I forgot about it or ‘life’ got in the way. Through burlesque I can be a dancer, a choreographer, a clown, an actor, a stripper, a singer … all the things (and a few more) I wanted to be when I was a kid.
It is unlikely that I will make a living – or want to make a living – as a burlesque performer. And, that’s just fine, because for me this artform isn’t about making a living. For me this artform is about living a fabulous and fulfilling life. I need art in my life. I need to create and perform and deepen my character. I don’t need to pay the bills with this art – that would probably make it less enjoyable, actually. I just need this art to feed my soul.