Friday’s Essay – RePost – O Burly Q, How I Love You!

Hey!  I am at BurlyCon in Seattle from November 1 to November 4, so I am having super awesome fun times with awesome burlesque people as you read this from your boring life somewhere (just kidding! I’m sure you have awesome things to do as well).  Anyway, I figured I’d just repost this little piece about burlesque since I am enjoying a wonderful burlesque convention right now!


Betty 'Ball of Fire' Rowland

Betty ‘Ball of Fire’ Rowland

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.