On Being Better

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s been turbulent times. I had tears of joy and hope in my eyes last Tuesday as I cast my ballot for a woman for president. And I spent most of Wednesday in tears, weeping for what we had lost and all that we might lose.

On Thursday I got on a plane and went to BurlyCon. Being insulated from the outside world for four days with some of my favorite strippers gave me a chance to revitalize and reflect. I’ll write up my adventures, but not just yet.

In the days following the election I’ve seen some people take small actions toward making change and be scorned by some who say it’s not enough, they’re not really committed. Because of that, the former feel like they might as well not do anything.

No matter how we strive for perfection, we shall never attain it. That’s just the nature of perfection. That’s not a reason to stop striving, but be realistic. Scratch reminded me of this verse from Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

If we waited to be perfect, nothing would happen. What we can do is try to be better. At BurlyCon I did a book signing (which was wonderful — my first author event!) and I inscribed the books “Keep being better!” “Being better” is part of my personal philosophy and I hope you consider incorporating it into yours. Just be a little better, a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, learn something new, move out of your comfort zone a little, challenge yourself, let in the light.

M2

Published in: on 17 November 2016 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Not Unexpected

Dear Constant Reader,

The notifications for performing at the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend* (aka BHoF) went out yesterday. I applied this year because Legs Malone, a performer I like and respect a lot, saw my act at the New York Burlesque Festival and challenged me to submit it.

I was not accepted.

I’m in excellent company. A lot of performers who I think are amazing also didn’t make it in this year.

Am I disappointed? Well, a little. Rejections always suck. However, I knew it was a long shot — there were something like 500 applications this year. And I knew it would be a challenge to get that act to Las Vegas — I can’t exactly put Super Screen in my suitcase — so I’m a tiny bit relieved too.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll try again next year. Or maybe I won’t. There are always possibilities.

M2*It used to be known as the Miss Exotic World pageant and is basically the World Series of Burlesque. Some of the finest performers in burlesque have taken home the crown. On the other hand, some of the finest performers in burlesque have never performed there.

Published in: on 30 March 2015 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Continuous Improvement

Dear Constant Reader,

The other day, Scratch wrote the following on Facebook, and I just had to share with you. I think it’s thought provoking and hope it might start a little conversation. Obviously he’s writing about burlesque, but you can apply this to any performing art.

***
I read yet another performer gushing “Burlesque is great! Anyone can do it!”. Well, that’s true — anyone can write a poem, play the guitar, throw a baseball, or draw a flower. The question is, do you want to be good at it?

Being good at burlesque is constantly learning and training — sometimes burlesque classes, but many times learning other skills that you bring back to burlesque. Being good at burlesque is not taking an introductory class or two, doing your first (or even second) performance, and thinking you know it all.

It’s learning all the time from everything and at every opportunity. It’s watching video clips and movies of modern and classic performers… and yourself — to see what you can glean from that. It’s heading to museums to pull inspiration for costumes and acts. It’s getting outside of your comfort zone and outside your city to see how you stack up against performers in other parts of the world. It’s honestly assessing both your strengths and weaknesses… and working on those weaknesses, even when you’d much rather be playing to your strengths.

It’s not listening to your friends when they tell you you’re great — and, instead, trying to actually be great. You probably won’t achieve greatness, so few people do, but if you live your life as a performer in the middle of a mutual congratulations society, you’ll never get anywhere significant… and worse, you’ll think you have.
***

What do you think? How do you improve your art?

M2

Published in: on 9 March 2015 at 2:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Another Friday, another tip!

Learn the rules first, then break them.

M2

Published in: on 14 December 2012 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

You can’t please everyone.

Don’t even try. You’ll lose your mind, and maybe your soul. One of the wonderful things about human beings is that we have diverse tastes and opinions. Therefore, the same act is going to evoke a different response in different members of your audience. Unfortunately, people who don’t like something are generally more vocal (and more negative) than the ones who were happy with it.

Just concentrate on being polished, professional, and poised. Give the best performance possible. And make sure you’re pleasing yourself.

Published in: on 12 October 2012 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Before your weekly tip, I just wanted to let you know the latest news:

Devora’s surgery went well and she’s recuperating at her grandmother’s. Rehearsals aren’t the same without her.

After emergency auditions and a *long* deliberation, we have a new Lost Girl.

And now for your tip… This is something Scratch posted on Twitter yesterday and I think it’s advice we all could take.

There are mean people and jerks in the world. Try not to be one of them, OK? Create don’t destroy. Positive not negative.

P.S. Please nominate me for The MacGyver Award (for the performer who can fix any costume malfunction anytime, anywhere, and with anything) at the Golden Pastie Awards! Nominations close today!

Published in: on 7 September 2012 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Sometimes you get lucky.

Don’t count on it, but if it happens, enjoy every minute.

P.S. Please nominate me for The MacGyver Award (for the performer who can fix any costume malfunction anytime, anywhere, and with anything) at the Golden Pastie Awards! Nominations close September 7th.

Published in: on 31 August 2012 at 12:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Today is the first day of The Great Burlesque Exposition of 2012! I’ll be spending all weekend in a fog of glitter, taking classes, watching shows, teaching & learning, and coming back with more tips for you!

You are never as good as you could be. Never stop striving to improve.

Published in: on 6 April 2012 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Today’s tip comes from legendary coach, Vince Lombardi.

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Now, Coach Lombardi was talking about football, but it certainly applies to burlesque (and lots of other stuff too). As you practice your routines, you’re building muscle memory. If you’re distracted or sloppy you’re going to be building bad habits too. Don’t just go through the motions when you’re rehearsing; really focus. Check your form, consider your facial expressions, wear the right shoes, &c.

Conversely, if you’re having a really bad day and nothing is working, recognize that and give it a rest for a little bit. You’re better off just dancing for fun for a while than beating your head against a proverbial wall. When you feel relaxed and focused, come on back and have a perfect practice.

Published in: on 18 November 2011 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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