They’re PEOPLE

November 17, 2014

There’s been a TON of talk about harassment for the past few months. And it’s great to talk about it, but honestly I’ve been pretty tired of hearing about it. Not because I’m against talking about, not because I think it’s fine (I don’t, it’s not) but because the loudest people have been taking things to the extreme (in my mind, anyway). BUT recently one of the very talented women I work with has been getting some very threatening e-mails from some creeps and that’s sent me over the edge. It seems she’s also been victim blamed quite a bit. She’s a burlesque dancer, she serves at a strip club, and some people have been saying she puts up provocative pictures on her Facebook.  Here’s my problem with all of that; As I’ve said before, burlesque is art, she’s a server for Pete’s sake, and I’ve seen her pictures, they’re not bad.

What I’ve noticed with all harassment is that whoever is doing the harassing seems to forget that the harrasee is a PERSON. A legitimate human being. Someone with thoughts, feelings and beliefs all of their own. The internet is making it even easier for this to happen because a person sees a picture online and they don’t associate it with that being real. Being on stage doesn’t seem to make it any better, because the audience (who has had their disbelief suspended) forgets that whoever is on stage is a person.

Just because someone is doing something that you don’t seem right, or you see as a reason to give crap to, doesn’t mean that you’re not hurting that person. Because, the person that you’re giving crap to is a HUMAN. Someone who feels everything you say or send to them. It doesn’t matter if you’re female, male, transgender, white, black, Asian, Indian, straight, gay, young or old, you’re still a person. Every person feels things that come to them every day. If you really feel that you have to give crap to someone who is a burlesque dancer, or an actress or just different than you are, look in on yourself. They aren’t the problem, YOU are. Take a good look at who you are as a person. Are you happy with yourself? No? Fine, work on yourself, don’t look down on someone else to make yourself feel better. That’s low.

When you’re out walking around, or browsing the internet, remember this one thing: everyone you see is a human, everything you say has an effect, they are just living life the way they feel is right for them; you don’t know their story and they don’t know yours. Don’t throw stones because you feel that you can. No one is better than the other person. No one.


Maybe Jeff is here

November 10, 2014

Saturday night when I was going through tips at Boobs on Endor, I pulled out one single $20 bill in a sea of $1’s. I pulled it out and said “I’m assuming Jeff is here?” None of the girls said they saw him, but I just assumed he was, because that was something he always did; he would put at least $20 in the tips for us being the generous person that he was. I didn’t know until Sunday after I parked my car in Lakeview that he couldn’t have been there Saturday night. I read that e-mail in shock, and the sunny day seemed a little less sunny.

I didn’t know Jeff as well as the other girls. I knew him as the fan who came to most of the performances, tipped us well, and would stand outside the theater talking to Jeff and Sterling whenever I would pull up. I had thought he must be doing pretty well for himself, because he seemed to almost be single -handedly keeping Gorilla Tango afloat. I felt good when I would peak out of the curtain and see him sitting in the front row, happy as could be. If I didn’t see him, I would know if he was there, specially during Indy because he started bringing a tiny bag filled with either dollar coins or chocolate coins to be a part of the tip break bit. There was one time I stopped to give Josh and Sterling the call, and joked about liking beer, and he offered to buy me one. I was unsure about letting him, because of the amount he already gives us, but broke me down and I ended up getting one. On the night of his 100th performance with us, he brought each of us in each show a cupcake and left us a sweet note about is time with us. Hearing all the other stories of his generosity from the other girls I almost wish I hadn’t eaten the cupcake (but it was delicious!)

For me, the money has little to do with me. I have been having a lot of problems getting anyone to come to any of my shows the past few months. Every time I ask, I get excuses. It’s too far, it’s too late, I’m not sure about the stripping, let me know if this new one is worth seeing, the list goes on. I realized yesterday, though, that it almost doesn’t matter. Jeff was one who wanted to be there; no one asked him he came because he loved the theater. The past 24 hours have been filled with stories of how he could go to many shows a week, and would even go to other performances the girls have been involved with. He supported the art and the people; something I felt my own personal life has been lacking. But it wasn’t, really, as long as there are other people out there like him. To me, he symbolized everything a supporter should be. He was something that I hadn’t realized I had. Sure, it bothers me quite a bit that no one from here wants to come (save one or two), if you’ve worked on a show with me in the past few weeks, you’ve heard me say it, but he was someone who made what I do worth it. I love what I do, but it was nice to have someone know what a good thing it is.

One of my favorite shows is Supernatural. Their idea of heaven is the perpetual best day of a person’s life. I’d like to think that is true; and I hope Jeff’s heaven is filled with awesome performances and people who he likes to talk with about them.

In a way, I still think that $20 was from him. If his spirit was to go anywhere, I know it would have come right back to us.


It’s not what you Think

October 21, 2014

When I tell people I work with a burlesque company, I get a few reactions. There’s the long stare down, in which I tell them I don’t dance, I stage manage. There’s the, “Oh, cool!” and of course the “I have no idea what that is” Every once in a while I get the “isn’t that immoral?” from some of the more conservative people.

Honestly, when I signed on to work with Gorilla Tango, I had very little idea what I was getting myself into. I had seen a production of Boobs and Goombas a few years before, but that was it. I knew the company did nerdy themed all girl shows that involved stripping, but that was it. I walked into the Skokie Theater for my first Holy Bouncing Boobies performance almost completely blind about two years ago. I had no idea how much I was going to learn in the past two years.

Sure, burlesque is stripping, but it’s so much more than that. It’s comedy, it’s confidence, it’s talent, and most of all, it’s focused on the female body as something beautiful no matter what size, shape, or color you are. All women have body image issues, if you say you don’t, you’re lying. These woman though know they’re more than their bodies. These women that I’ve worked with over the years are some of the most confident people I know. Their confidence to show who they are, ALL of who they are, has rubbed off on me. Personality and confidence is so much more sexy and attractive than anything else. If you’re proud of yourself, that’s all that matters.

Sure, all I do is help with their quick changes and make sure props are where they’re supposed to be, but I feel I’ve grown so much as a person because of the wonderful ladies I work with. I’ve become more Ok with my weird personality (because I realized I’m not that weird after all) and I’m more ok with how I look. Now, if only I could move like them! (When I say I’m clumsy, I mean it, how do I have all my digits and limbs???)

Don’t think of burlesque as a strip club. Don’t think of it as some terrible immoral thing that will damn you to hell. Think of it as art, just like any other theater performance, because that’s what it is. It’s a beautiful art that focuses on beauty, confidence and humor. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, you don’t know what’s behind it, you may be surprised what you find.


Best Thing I Could Do

October 10, 2014

13 years ago, back in 2001, I started dating my very first boyfriend, Chris. He had been doing a lot of different things and I wanted to be around him a lot, as you do. He was in band, which is where we met, and working backstage at the theatre. I decided to join the theatre for him. He ended up slowly fazing himself out, but I fell in love with the whole rush of working backstage.

I graduated and went to Ball State, thinking I was going to be a high school band director. The entire time, the only thing I could think of was being backstage. I started working for Sursa Hall, but that wasn’t enough. I picked up my first opera as an ASM my sophomore year. We did Madame Butterfly in Emens and that rush came back. After another year in the music education program, I knew I needed to get back into stage managing. I changed my major from music education to B.S of General Studies, music performance and technical theatre. Five years later, I still know I made the best decision I could have. Am I going to make a ton of money? No, probably not. Am I happy? Oh yes. Do I work way to much? Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve never really been able to sit still for very long. My brain always has to be working and I really need to be moving. When I was in school, my leg would be shaking if I was sitting down. Being a stage manager keeps my brain thinking about a million different things and it’s nearly impossible to be seated for an entire show, even if I’m in the booth calling cues. There is a rush knowing that I’m helping create the magic that is happening on stage; every quick change, every hard sequence of cues, every emergency that I have to solve makes me feel amazing.

Life is never really what you plan it to be; I got a lot of resistance when I made the decision to change my major. But the future is not something you can plan out. Ten years ago I didn’t think that I’d be living in Valpo, tending bar to pay the bills while I stage manage nerdy parody burlesque in Chicago. It doesn’t matter though, the path that I’ve been following has led me towards some amazing people and experiences. If I hadn’t followed Chris all the way back in high school, who knows where I would be. I probably would be here in Valpo with a group of amazing friends, and I know I wouldn’t be working with Gorilla Tango with some of the most amazing women I could ever hope to know.

My life isn’t conventional, but I don’t think I’m a conventional person. I can’t see myself being more happy with my life than I am right now. I feel like I am the best person I could be, doing the best thing that I can be with my life. Screw conventions, my life is fantastic.


Deep Breath

February 10, 2013

I went to my parents’ for lunch today, and afterwards my mom asked if I wanted to go see my brother. I hadn’t been back since the day we buried him; I had been avoiding it. Even though I still get weepy every once in a while, I had been doing really well. We weren’t there for long; mom put more skittles out for him (skittles were his favorite) and I just stared at the stone. I didn’t actually tear up until I got on the road up to Skokie and heard a song by the Lumminers, I can’t remember the name, but the words brought tears to my eyes. The song talks about when they were young, and I’m pretty sure that’s what got me. I love music, but I hate sometimes that it brings out more emotions in me than anything else.

Today, Matt gave me my Valentine’s present, mainly because he got his early. He got me a lot of Spongebob candy, a DVD, but most importantly, a necklace with a little black cat on it, for Batman. Even though Matt didn’t say much when my brother died, everything he did showed me he loved me and was there for me. The biggest thing being bringing me Batman. I remember thinking that day that I had wanted a kitten pile, and he brought me the closest thing possible. These past few months would have been much worse if I didn’t have that snuggely, furry cat near me. Even though life isn’t perfect, the little things Matt has done for me has made it livable.


Radio Silence? Woops

January 31, 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, I know. I’ve been mostly writing in my food blog and haven’t really felt the need to emote on here, I suppose. I was going to write the normal New Years post, but never got around to it. The past year was crazy and then really awful, and then got a little better.

I’ve been feeling a little out of shape and unhealthy lately, and I keep on wanting to go to the gym, but I can’t ever get myself to do it, for some reason; which is awful because I live so close to my gym. I’ve been thinking a lot of about doing yoga again. My last semester in college I took a yoga class twice a week, walked everywhere and took the stairs on campus. I was in the best shape of my life, and I want that feeling again. I’ve already tried eating healthier, I basically eat unhealthy when I’m with Matt, and the past two days not even. I had Italian Beef yesterday (and late night Mcdonald’s, that was the really bad thing) and today I had a salad and one of Fazoli’s “healthy” options, not sure if the under 390 calories was correct, but it was a smaller portion and WOULD have been fine if I hadn’t eaten 5 of those bread sticks. Anyway, on my days without Matt I’ve been eating a lot of whole grains, beans and I bought some quiona to try out. I’ve been drinking a lot more water than I normally do, also.

Well, after sitting on the couch for about a half hour thinking about yoga, I just decided to do it. If that’s what started me on the health kick before, it will jump start my going to the gym again. I only practiced it for about a half hour but I already feel better. I had a headache before I started, but I don’t anymore. I forgot the great feeling I get when I stretch like that. My goal is to start doing it a few times a week.

Everyday I ‘m reminded how much Matt loves me, he’ll bring me things from work just because he knows I’ll like them. He makes me so happy and I’m glad we’re together. I couldn’t imagine my life with any one else.


Crazy Fingers!

November 16, 2012

It’s been a while, I know, but life has been kinda weird in the past few months. Matt’s been working midnights and even though I still get to see him, I feel like I don’t get to see him as much as I used to and I miss him. I’ve been working quite a bit myself, and I picked up a burlesque show that I’m having so much fun with. (Mom hates it, but I don’t want to get into, I’m tired of fighting about it with her.) Over all though, I’m actually really happy. Every once in a while I think about Johnny, and I start tearing up, and it always just happens to be at work (Of course, right?)

For the past few weeks I’ve been participating in NaNoWoMo, which is National Novel Writing Month. Basically, you try to write at least 50,000 words in one month, which is about 1,600 words a day, give or take. I’ve been going crazy on my days off and I’m almost at 30,000 words. If I finish this book, I may try to self publish for e-book. Parts of it are really good, but I feel like some of the parts are just crap. Who knows though, when it’s done I’ll have friends read it and help me edit before I try and go any further. I’m not expecting much if I do publish, but it will be exciting to publish.

Every day I’m more in love with Matt. There haven’t been many people in my life that I can be myself around and tell everything to. He’s one that I can, and I’m glad for it. He actually listens to me when I talk to him, but yet he still has a backbone. He doesn’t just do everything I ask him to right away, I hate that in a person. If you don’t want to do something, tell me, and he does. But he loves me so much, and that’s what is important to me. I can’t imagine my life without him and I can’t wait for the rest of my life.