December 1st, 2009

Amsterdam Burlesque Festival - the skinny

Well, here we go! You want to know how it all went? Sit back and enjoy the essay :p

Day 1
After a very long flight over (I had an overnight stop in Tokyo) I finally arrived in the city of hooch and ladies of ill repute late in the afternoon. I made a bee line for my hotel and promptly fell asleep for all eternity. Not very exciting.

Day 2
Today I got to be a tourist of sorts. I wandered around, visited the sex museum, wandered some more, went shopping for last minute supplies, and sought out a manicure. Yes, I visited a coffee shop as well. It would have been pleasant if not for all the young english males stumbling about and staring blankly into space. Nothing like someone greening out to ruin your day. I had intended to go to the evening shows of the burlesque festival, but by the time I got back to my hotel to get changed I was so dead tired I ended up going to sleep at 6:00pm. I woke up at about 2am and couldnt get back to sleep.

Day 3
Showtime! Did some more wandering before heading over to the venue, the delightful Casablanca Circus Tent! A real, permanent, circus tent just a little way from Central station. The changerooms (circus trailers) were cute and I was well into my circus experience.

I didn't see any of the other acts, but from backstage, they all looked gorgeous! On this particular evening I performed my bathtub routine. I don't think the audience quite knew what to do when I came out brushing my teeth and toweled up, but they soon got into it once my ridiculous miming and phone ringing got into full swing. I don't think I gave the best performance. I was tired, and nervous, and I didn't quite connect with the audience like I usually do in this routine. Still, in the end, there was more than just polite applause, so it must have gone well.

After the show, I stayed to watch the 'Sexy Circus Sideshow' - the late show. And it was fantastic! Their MC, Armitage Shanks, has a stunning persona and awesome MC skills. He has that old sleazy carny thing going on. Loved it. We were bombarded with a slew of very talented folks, very high calibre acts. I'll list them all in a different note. Because this one is about me :p

After the late show Miki, Jason and I went to go find some hot chips and mayo, and went for a walk around the red light district. It was hilariously depraved. I was particularly amused by the shame and guilt the people who are visiting the area for more than just tourist reasons show when you make eye contact with them or see them slipping in/out of a young ladies door. Geeze, if you're that embarrassed over people knowing you are sexually active there is an obvious reason as to why you are seeking the service in the first place.

At about 3am our wander ended back at my hotel and I dove into bed for some sleep.

Day 4
Second show! And boy, did the heavens open up right as I was leaving the hotel. It was POURING, and blowing an absolute gail. The tent was shaking and blowing about. There was a while there where we were all looking at each other wondering if we shouldn't call it off - but the show must go on!

The changerooms were flooded (or the path to them anyway) so we had to make do with getting ready backstage. No problems! I'm used to getting changed in dunnies and closets. So it didn't bother me much. Though some of the other folks didn't deal with not having mirrors and lights too well.

Armitage Shanks was our MC for the night, Lady Marmalade having had the honours the night before. After a bit of a shock finding out I was second in the running order (thought I was 3rd!) I walked out and threw everything I had into my peepshow routine. I was a little out of my comfort zone as I'd only half assembled the frame of my box, since there was no room backstage. So I had a metal bar running under my feet, making it a little hard to balance and keep the foot switch for the lamps under control. I got there in the end though, and I got a big round of applause - showing the crowd that a striptease can be slow too, and that burlesque isnt all about smiles and innocent girls.

Again, I didnt feel like it was my best performance due to feeling like I was going to fall over constantly, but I had lots of folks approach me afterwards and tell me what a pleasure it was to see something so different and unique. So that made me feel really good about the act.

All in all I think that everything went really well. I had a great time, met lots of lovely people, and got a chance to see what else is out there in big wide world of burlesque. And I definitely want to go back to Europe/UK and do some more shows. I also have my eye on the US, but I need to develop a style more suited to their market. I have quite got that showgirl undertone that many of their acts have.

Day 5
Slept, slept and slept. Then wandered, then went to the aiport, then flew home. Not very exciting.