Ohio Burlesque Festival: Friday, August 2

Dear Constant Reader,

(If you’re just joining us, the first part is here.)

This is going to be a long missive, as it was one long day… The drive from Rochester to Cleveland was easy, although there was a *spectacular* thunderstorm as we passed through Buffalo. We got to the hotel with enough time to rest up before we had to be at the Beachland Ballroom. We were at the venue promptly and had time to run our number twice on stage, figuring out the proper blocking. I’ll get back to this later.

Since we were in the headliner block at the end of the show, we could relax and enjoy the whole first half of the show. Scratch was one of the MCs and really kept things moving along, as is necessary with a festival show. There were about 25 acts, plus handing out half a dozen Golden Buckeye Awards in each half of the show.

Highlights for me:
*Getting 3 more performers to sign my copy of It’s All The Glitters (only 93 to go!)
*Buying a lovely fascinator from Holly Hock
*Bourbon Rose’s dramatic robe (I think we all coveted it)
*Vikki Fahrenheit’s sultry singing (and stripping)
*Red Velvet’s transitions from sweet to manic and back again
*Dangrrr Doll’s Sonic the Hedgehog act.

Before we knew it, it was intermission and time to get ready.

You know how when you’re close to something, you cease to see it. After working on this act for the past several months, I didn’t really think there was anything special about the costumes at all and I though our big hats were sort of dorky. Then the compliments started rolling in from the other performers and I really saw us in our matching/coordinated dresses. Yeah, they did turn out well. And we looked like a troupe. Two different people used “Dior” to describe us.

And here we are:

(Photo by Eric Paul Owens)

When we were done, we hopped back into our dresses and ran out into the audience to see Bazuka Joe in his Speed Racer act. It was almost as much fun to see the reactions of the Babydolls who hadn’t see him before. Drool City. And then we enjoyed the elegance (and powerful pectorals) of Donna Denise.

All did not go soothly, however, I’m sorry to report. One of the big problems was the lighting. Remember I mentioned we’d rehearsed on the stage to get the proper positioning? With 4 of us, it’s pretty important. As Bella was giving the performers some information for the evening, someone was on stage marking a rectangle with pink duct tape. This was the area the lights would cover. It was a *lot* smaller than the space we’d just taken up. If you left that rectangle, you’d fall into shadow.

The stage only had a few lights and they were all downlights, nothing from the front or the sides. And no follow spot. Downlights were a huge problem for us (and Donna Denise) because we were wearing wide-brimmed hats, so our faces were completely shadowed. It also meant that the hundreds of rhinestones we put on our dresses didn’t pop in the least. Scratch and the sound guy (whose name I’ve forgotten) did they best they could to focus the lights for maximum coverage, but the results were really sub-optimal.

The other problem was the other MC, Gilgamesh Taggert. At first he seemed a fine co-host with Scratch — loud, clear, a bit bombastic. And then the rape jokes started. I’m not sure why he thought that would go over well at a festival with a strong focus on advocacy for women and the GBLT community. Scratch told me that performers were asking if he would please introduce them instead of “the other guy”. The reaction was bad enough that after the festival Bella Sin (the producer) completely cut Gilgamesh loose.

After the show, we ran back to the hotel to change for the after-party. When the Babydolls go out together, we like to coordinate. Friday night’s theme was black & white and I have to say we looked awesome.

The after-party was not really our scene, but we stayed a while, chatted with some of the other performers, got chatted up by some of the other patrons. Then hunger won out.

I had thought maybe we’d get some pizza delivered to the room, but Scratch got a recommendation for a 24-hour deli from a local. My great regret was that we’d all squeezed into one car and so didn’t have room to bring Coco Lectric who was both hungry and rideless.

We got to My Friends around 1:30am and our wonderfully friendly waitress apologized for the limited late-night menu. Limited? I couldn’t make up my mind! After we had ordered, I noticed Bella Sin’s flaming red hair in the other room. Despite the chaos I’m sure it caused, we moved to the table next to her, Bazuka Joe, Donna Denise, and Eric Paul Owens.

That was a lot of fun, but it was very late (or early) by the time we got back to the hotel. And we had to teach the next day!

Tomorrow, The Buckeye Burlesque Academy, sightseeing, and night 2 of the Ohio Burlesque Festival.


Published in: on 7 August 2013 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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