Oh boy - this number. This number is not actually about being pretty - for the record I find myself to be pretty average - all my parts in the right spot and I am mostly proportional. Do I wish I could change things about my appearance? Of course - there is only a small percentage of the world who are absolutely content & confident in their appearance - I applaud them - but I am not one of them. This number is more like, fuck being pretty, let me make myself as messy as possible all the while silently telling the audience that its not about their boner really, its about mine. It is also a call back to Girls Girls Girls - same musician, similar aesthetic.
I swear, not all my numbers are super crazy dramatic or dark - I figure maybe after I write out my current ideas I can do some write up of past performance pieces I have put together that are a range of fun or dark versus this current very specific strain I am working on.
This piece is a solo and has a very specific scene I want to evoke when it starts. The lights go up and you see a vanity table, covered in makeup and a large (empty) gilt frame center stage. I start on stage, hopefully framed (ha) by this fake mirror, but holding a smaller hand mirror with my back present to the audience. The goal is to keep me face affixed to the mirror, confused and enchanted with my own visage for as long as possible. It will be mostly ballet oriented in movement - chasses, balances, turns and bourres.
Eventually I will catch myself in the “mirror” and finally go center stage to show the audience all of me through the frame. I will slowly remove all my costume pieces (that I legally can). It will be almost painfully slow, like each time I discover a new body part that is revealed I will be interested in a detached manner.
Once I am in just stockings and shoes (and hopefully giant wig) - I will finally look at the audience/myself and do a slow grin. I will start picking up makeup off the vanity and smearing it on my face, neck, chest etc. White cream makeup, red and pink lipsticks, powder (with a giant pouf of course!), black liquid eyeliners, pink blush. Just basically turning myself into a bit of an abstract piece of art with makeup.
Once I have the base set on my hope is that I can then walk into the audience (through the frame - as if I am shattering the thing keeping me from them) to revel in my new found beauty. I am hoping - if I have some people who are planted in the audience and know roughly what will happen, they will let me sit on them and smear a lipstick on them that I brought with me from the stage.
Soon - bored with these people and infatuated with myself, I will return to the stage and pick up my hand mirror again, striking a final pose of adoration & resembling the Birth of Venus pose.
This - is not a sexy number. Its not a real strip tease because there is no tease about the fact that I take off my clothes. The peeling will be slow yes, but not knowing or sexualized. The audience is there - but not really until I break through the mirror will I even acknowledge them. Burlesque - does not always have to be sexy in my opinion - it can be funny, cute, political, irreverent, dark, angry, and more. I have done plenty of numbers that combine different emotions and elements but I really wanted to make a piece that makes at least one person in the audience question their attraction. The goal is “I have the weirdest boner right now” which there are numbers out there that achieve that goal more so than this one will - but I tend to play it somewhat safe with my burlesque - but pushing my boundaries and the boundaries of an audience are important.
The song is another Emile Autumn song - Thank God I’m Pretty. It is a slow song and the lyrics go well with the message I wanted to promote. In her case it is about her saying yes I am pretty, but with that comes its own range of difficulties and concerns. I thought about making the number closer to the lyrics but I realized I enjoyed my story better of a woman existing for the audience to objectify, make herself into an object they may no longer want. There is also a small petty angle to this personally - art is always personal.
The costuming will be very Rococo as well - just like Girls Girls Girls. But instead of dirtied up lingerie demonstrating a deranged person, my costume will be pristine (almost like its pre-asylum!). Lots of pastels, lace and jewels with white stockings and white heels. I think since my Girls are going to be in Pink, Green, & Blue, I will probably do Lavender or a creamsicle orange for my signature color in this piece just to keep myself slightly apart from the group number. I also want to construct some Marie Antoinette style panniers and a large wig (that may or may not be taken off to reveal what ever hair style I am sporting by then).
I don’t know if I am going to be able to pull this particular number together in time for the show - it is in September/October & I have a bunch of other commitments going on (like that giant group number I mentioned). This may be a piece for another show or another venue. But I have the concept in my back pocket and if I need to adjust costuming ($$$$) to make that happen I definitely know I can pull it together since the music and choreography are already set!
Thanks for reading! Next time - CUPCAKES.
Also! If you are in the NorCal Area - I am performing with Hubba Hubba in SF on August 12th - its a post apocalyptic show and it should be a blast!!!