Friday, May 27, 2016

A letter for the socially awkward.

Social awkwardness and burlesque

 Photo by Jeff fuller freeman photography

     Being a performer puts a lot of pressure on a person. I have always suffered with some sort of social anxiety, whether it's the feeling I'm going to horribly embarrass myself, or that I just don't fit in. I find myself at after parties watching the clock hoping for the safety of home. I'm constantly feeling that I'm the Debbie downer, the party pooper, the burden. Before I know it I'm angry with everyone but mainly angry with myself for these feelings I cannot control. Most people I know deal with these issues through drinking. I'm not a big drinker so there's very little relief other then the occasional escape of a cigarette. With all this being said I have a letter to you, the girl/guy semi-patiently awkwardly waiting on the sidelines. I also have a letter to the friends of this person.

Dear socially awkward person,
     I know your pain. It's sometimes hard to wrap your head around all the feelings that overwhelm you. Just because you're a perfomer doesn't mean you have to put yourself in that position. It's ok to go home after the show. Listen to your inner voice. It will let you know when you have the ability or not to hang with the after party. When your in a position where you can't leave (there's always the time you carpooled, the time you walked in a not so good neighborhood, the time you have to babysit your drunk friends) seek out the other person in the room sitting awkwardly. They more then likely are in the same boat and would love a little company. Stick with those you know when you can but keep in mind they are also living their lives and no one wants a person sized Fannie pack. Do what you can to find people to have long conversation with to pass the time. That also gives you a chance to build a new relationship. I don't suggest avoiding all after parties, some are chill and some can be the most exciting times of your life. Mainly keep in mind your not alone. When your in a room with one hundred other people there will be at least five with the same issues. Be strong. Try, granted this is one thing I have issues with, but try to keep your attitude in check and don't take it out on your friends for having fun and not worrying about you.  The more you work to brake out of your shell the easier these events will be.

Dear friends of the human Fannie pack,
     I know this is Incredibly annoying. I know you more then likely didn't know your close friend dealt with these issues when your friendship started. Hell, you might not have noticed it ever not even now. It's not personal. We love seeing people enjoy themselves. It just gets hard to not. I know it's not on your mind to check to make sure your crew is all doing well. None of that is honestly your problem. But if you do have one of these friends be aware. Be there. Be supportive. If there's a crew take turns. Make sure everyone feels included. Sometimes all it takes is a little chat to calm us down or help us brake of of our shell a bit. Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement. Granted there are times when you might just have to convince us to leave. Don't just think your friend standing away from the crowd is doing to to be the cool guy or to get More attention. The could be in an all out mental panic.  


Monday, December 21, 2015

Smoke series and shadow portraits

I had such a fun time a few weeks back shooting with my good friend Madison Hurley photography! Here's the amazing set! Hair and make up by me. Dress by pin up girl clothing. 

Smoke series

Shadow portraits

 I hope you enjoyed! 💋💋💋

Monday, December 7, 2015

The burly blues.

     There comes a time in all performers careers when they get what I call "the burly blues". With the amount of performers I keep up with regularly and know personally I've heard some of the hardships that would get anyone down. This is just my story and advice on it.

     The burlesque industry as I know it is rough. As an onlooker it looks as if we are on top of the world, granted while on stage we are, but underneath it all most of us have internal fights that we have to battle regularly. There's many things from self doubt and self confidence issues to quarrels with other performers and shitty audiences that can make you start to wonder whether the whole thing is worth it. I personally have issues daily over one thing or another and have my entire life.

         (Photo by tanner photography) 

• Self doubt  

   There are somethings that help me get through the self doubt, which is my main problem. I always feel I'm not quite good enough. I feel that no matter the progress I've made its still not as perfect as it should be. I'm either too fat or too thin. Then the constant mental beatings. As a teenager I went to tons of therapy over my issues and nothing ever helped and prescriptions just kept me numb and that's not a way to live. 
    I was once asked "if it's a mental disability, then why can't you try to mentally fix it?". This changed my outlook on life. I realized I was the one who was holding me back and making me feel like I wasn't good enough. If I could stop allowing myself to dwell on things I couldn't change. I could use my time more wisely. I could start to heal and feel like I do something with my life. I eventually didn't have to try as hard to stop these thoughts. Now and then they get the best of me but trying to keep positive and productive is an honest cure to self doubt. I know my experience with this is different then others and some can't control the thoughts, these are the strongest people and my heart goes out to them. 

• Fights with other performers

     This is GOING to happen. I don't care how sweet and accommodating you are there will always be someone who doesn't like you. The worse of these instances are the long time loving friendships ending. I've had these experiences.  They can really make you want to hang up the g string for good. My first piece of advice is try to be professional. Many emotions are shared when you perform with someone. You share the good and bad shows, the good and bad reviews, the good and bad outsiders. It's a different kind of friendship. So if it ends badly those emotions can cause people to do and say some terrible things. my final piece of advice is to keep personal feelings out of the public eye. With social media and the amount of people you come in contact with at shows, saying or doing one thing can really impact how someone feels or thinks about you. Plus there is so much bickering in the scene as it is to add to it or be that girl who is always talking smack. You waste time meeting new performers and friends. First impressions still mean a lot. 

• terrible audiences.

     The first few times performing will go by so quickly you won't really recall the audience, or I didn't atleast. But once your performing a while and start to perform at places that have never seen burlesque, you WILL run into a dull audience. I remember being on tour with the Holy Shakes my second year of performing. We had some amazing and some weird shows. We performed in Chicago and the crowd wasn't interested in us at all. But there was one. Then we went to Cleveland where we had an amazing show. To seven people. Sometimes people don't know how to react to what we're doing. Most don't think burlesque is anymore then what they've seen on the damn Cher movie. Don't take it personally!!!  If you do a show where no one shows up use that to your advantage. Get off the stage and interact with the people there. Use the space your given. If there are posts play up against them Jessica rabbit style. If there's and empty seat at the bar take your stocking off there. It's more fun for everyone then next time you perform those people should be there and they would have told their friends about the fun show they saw last time. I've gotten some of my most loyal fans that way. 

   At the same time when you go to perform somewhere think about your target audience. I recently did a show that I just chose the wrong acts for. It happens. Sometimes you just can't predict what people will like. You might be the weak link in a show. But that's not always bad. If you take those experiences and learn from them next time you'll be more prepared. If you try hard enough you'll find a positive if it's just that you made it through it. 

• keep in mind those who really care for you in the community. Those who build you up and don't brake you down. People who you can communicate openly with. Even if your network is small be sure to be open and understanding! Most of the problems I've seen between troupes and performers boil down to miscommunication. There are the bad seeds and the divas but those type of people find themselves alone in the long run. Keep those who you cherish closest. Keep in mind their achievements are also your achievements. Support your fellow performers. 

   We all find ourself down once and awhile. Be sure to be the one who can get up and go again once things get bad. Find your happiness and live it. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A headdress in a week.

     I got married at the beginning of October so the months leading up to the Halloween show we had planned was full of wedding preparations, not show prep. I had a song planned and I had just retired an act that I created a lovely costume for so I decided to buy a cape and some horns from eBay and worry about it once I got home. It took me much longer to get back in the groove then expected and next thing I knew I found myself with some floppy horns, a cape completely different then what I had ordered, and one week till the show! I decided the least I could do was figure out how to make the horns cool. These are the steps I made.

     1- First you have to gather base        supplies.
• A wire head frame- I'm very lucky to have a guy that makes my wire frames so I don't have to worry about that step. They are available from many headdress places and eBay, but you can alway fashion your own with some bailing wire (something thick but not too thick to bend) some soldering and some elbo grease.

• buckram, medium weight- it can be found at most fabric stores or EBay 

• Thick thread or twine and a needle.- it can be found at any craft store *make sure it's thin enough to thread it through a common sized needle head*

• Hot glue gun- can be found at any craft store. *low temp is best since you'll need to fold material with your fingers*

• Scissors- if your reading this you should have these. Don't use fabric scissors on your buckram! It will dull the immediately!

• Fabric for covering- I used some scraps from other costumes I had made. Very little is needed, maybe half a yard at most. Stretchy fabric is easier to work with and you have less chance of wrinkles also.

• A sharpie or marker of some sort.

     2- Now the very first thing I do (which is very unconventional) is take the buckram and fold it into the frame and trace around it by section. That gives me basic shapes to work with. Then cut the shapes out on the outside of the marker lines. That will help give you a bit more material to work with just incase your tracings aren't perfect. I'm not very technical or mathematical with any of this.

     3- Take those shapes of buckram and place them on the under side of the section you traced it from and sew it to the wire with your twine or thread. This does not at all need to be a neat job just make sure it's solid when you finish (aka you can't put your fingers in any holes) Repeat until the entire thing is covered in buckram. This will give you space to build off of and will add some stability to the over all headdress. Large feather headdress frames end up with a vertical wire to help with stability of the feathers. This particular one I won't be using a lot of feathers. 

     4- Next heat up your glue gun and get your fabric out, it's time to cover it! Since buckram is a pain to hand sew I prefer to glue all of my fabric down. I start this process by laying the fabric over the wire and cutting a large square around it, I'm sure there are easier more efficient ways but this works for me. I start normally in front (the important part) and work my way back by gluing the fabric to the underside while making sure there aren't any wrinkles. I pull the fabric tight and fold the fabric over the edge and glue. I smooth out the edges by pressing the hot glue flat with the fabric. You will have some lumps on the corners from over lapping the fabric and hot glue. Make sure you bend your wires to compensate before adding your decorations on top. 

On mine I did a double layer. The bottom layer being red sequins (non stretch) and the top layer being black lace (all way stretch). 

I also don't line my headdresses. I have them custom made to fit very snug.

     5- gather decoration supplies! This can be whatever your heart desires. For this particular headdress I got foam horns  from eBay (easier to work with and lightweight) and flowers and feathers from hobby lobby (we only have commercial craft stores in town) and I had some leftover rhinestones from a older project to jazz up the horns a bit and give the flowers a bit of sparkle. 

     6- Before I get all happy with the glue I need to figure out what my overall look is going to be by laying out all of my decorations in different ways. That way I don't get half way in and realize I don't have enough supplies or I don't care for the layout. This was my final decision.
Now. This is just a guideline. I ended up taking out one tall feather and moving two to the inside of the horns to fill up some space. 

      7- I started with gluing the horns, my main focal point. I needed them to be as similar as possible In placement. Then I added the flowers. I switched the big open flowers to the center and the smaller to the outsides so it would frame my face better. I wanted this headdress to look as flush to my skin as possible.

      8- then comes the feathers. I placed the side feathers with ease but with no wire support I needed to find a way to give the middle feathers enough support to stand on their own. So, I took a piece of buckram that fit the area between the horns on the back of the front flowers and layered the feathers from tallest on bottom to shortest on top. Once they were all glued very securely on the buckram I took my glue gun and saturated the bottom of the feathers and pressed them onto the back of the flowers. I then individually pressed the petals into the glue to make sure it's nice and secured. Once it was dry I double checked my feathers to make sure they weren't going anywhere. By using the buckram I ended up with a big white square on the back of my headdress, and I can't go for that. So I took a piece of a marabou boa I had laying about and glued it to the back hiding the white.

     9- jeweling and beading. I just used leftover rhinestones so it wasn't as encrusted as my normal costume pieces are but still had enough sparkle for stage. Once I was done with that I added some bead strands so cover my ears and to finish off framing my face. It is now show ready!! 

Terrible home shot of the finished piece. 
A stage shot from a friend with full make up. 
      (Photo by Visible sin photography)

Thank you all for all the compliments and questions about this! I really pushed my time limits with this one and I couldn't be happier with the results! Until next time!!

💙💙💙💙 Doris Night

Saturday, September 5, 2015

What is pin up?

     Tomorrow I'm heading out with my girls to do a little act for a fundraiser that is also holding a pin up contest. That got me thinking... What exactly is pin up? 
     I'm really picky when it comes to pin up. I know there are some really particular things that can really make or brake the look. Now since pin up has been around forever and has taken many forms I know anything from a girl on the side of an air plane to the centerfold in the newest playboy can be considered pin up. The definition is:
   •a poster showing a famous person or sex symbol, designed to be displayed on a wall. a person shown in a pinup 
     So I need to explain. I'm talking the 40's 50's woman. The housewife to the sex kitten. Victory roll, cat eye, red lipped pin up. Artists like Vargas and elvgren really took the women of their day and gave us ladies something to strive towards! The hair, the make up, the stockings!! 
          (Painting by Gil elvgren)

    I was one of the girls that finally took the pin up plunge during the last resurgence of the retro look. I, like most ladies, have always loved that classic look. I waited so long because I thought it would be impossible. I didn't have the classic face and I couldn't do my hair or make up to save my life. Even the simple cat eye eluded me.  When I got the courage to start buying cherry and leopard print things I also started attempting hair and make up. It took years and I still feel there's more I could do to actually look pin up. But enough of my rambling! Here's a few tips I hold dear when It comes to being a pin up. 

    •You must find YOUR kind of cat eye!! 
Each person has a different shaped eye. Some have more lid some have none. Some eyes are closer together and others are farther apart. Some are bigger some are smaller! All of this comes in play when it comes to finding your cat eye. Now I'm not a make up artist so j cannot tell you what would be best for you but for me (when I do my make up) I don't go to the very inside I start mid lid and normally I use a thicker line. I also don't put too much dark under my eyes because I have small eyes and it tends to make them smaller. 

     •Figure out what hairstyles work for you and your face shape. I know victory rolls look so lovely on some ladies but if you have a larger forehead it can result in making your face even longer. Also there are certain styles you need a certain hair length to do. I'm a huge fan of sponge rollers (wet to dry set overnight) then brushed and shaped to my preferred style. I also like to do some type to victory roll or front roll and then clip In some kind of ponytail. Both of these styles are easy for me. Also you shouldn't be able to see through your victory rolls.... It's a big pet peeve of mine since I have thinner hair so sometimes I can't help it. 

 These three things are very important. VERY important. There is nothing worse then seeing a lady with no color in her cheeks, and lady with no eyebrows or makeup covered eyebrows. Or someone with a lovely makeup job but their lipstick is bleeding into their face. Take time on these things. Pink blush, thicker brow, red liner. *tip!- when lining your lips don't just line them. Fill in the entire lip. That way when your lipstick wears off (which it will) you won't be left with a ring of red on your lips and nothing else!

Shapers rule. I'm not one of those ladies with a perfect figure but with the Correct shapers anyone can have a curvy vintage style shape. One of the good things about them is you can pick them up at your local Walmart for fairly cheap. I live in a small town without any of the nice boutiques but all most shapers are already set to squeeze most at your natural wiast which is a big big part of the pin up look. No matter your size you still have a waist and show it! Also don't be ashamed to wear things to make you feel better about your body! 

There's tons of ways to pull off a pin up look! Just do your research and practice practice practice!! I still have problems with my hair, make up, and what to wear. You will eventually find what looks best on you and make you feel on top of the world! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

"My rates are...."

     There has been a little thread on Facebook about photographers and models and rates. I have been modeling for almost a decade. I've spent hours learning how to perfect my make up, my hair, and to tone up my body. (I'm a thin girl so tone is my option, nothing against a curvy lady! I sadly have few curves unless I make them) I've spent way too much money on clothing and shoes. I've spent hours in front of the mirror learning what looks good on me and how to hold my body to get the best possible pose. I've spent hours scouting locations and trying to find the best spot for a shoot. Does that not equal into it when it comes to shooting with me?
             Ernst rice photography 

     Sometimes experience is worth something. I do understand that most photographers do this for a living and every shoot could be their dinner for a week. But I also have bills to pay and there are times I have to take off work because it's the best time for the photographer. I don't get paid hourly so if I'm not there that's a huge zero in my pocket book. I understand the hours that go into editing  and setting up/braking down. But I've noticed that most  photographers don't think about the four hours we spent on our make up or that I slept in my rollers last night to get the hair I have today. 

            Paul tanner photography 

     I don't charge to shoot with me. I work off a tfp (trade for print) situation. I think my experience should equal out for the rates the photographer would have charged for a lady with no experience. There are exceptions. If your providing hair mark up and wardrobe you should absolutely have rates and get paid. If I plan to work with those people I do plan to pay because they are doing almost all the work, and it's a lot of work! Plus those photographers who get published almost every photo like Shannon broke imaginary and Michelle x star, publication puts your face into the world and can get you (as a model) actual paying gigs with clothing companies, make up companies, ect. 

         Madison Hurley photography 

    My whole point is this, if you are a new model, you will probably need to pay. If your a new photographer and get an experienced model you may need to pay. But if the right communication goes down you can both walk away with beautiful photos that you can both be proud of. Take the models experience into consideration before you just throw rates at her/him.
    Xoxox ~Doris Night

All opinions are doris' only and do not reflect back on any of the other members of the Foul Play Cabaret. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You don't "look" classic.

       In the time I've spent in the burlesque industry I've found out one very disturbing thing. When you're  tattooed you are discriminated against. Especially if your a classic performer. 
          (Me- by tanner photography)

     It's a sad fact that most performers get booked due to appearance. As much as we stand for body appreciation and the arts, it still baffles me that wonderful performers don't get booked due to someone else's opinions. I've read many articals about ladies not being booked due to size but there are others who are feeling some of the darkness of the business. 

     My grievance is with those who think tattooed women are a novelty, or people who think there has to be a "certain" show for those individuals. Ladies have been getting tattooed for centuries and I'm sure at least one or two legends had tattoos. Granted, due to the same reasons we have today, probably had to cover them. 

       (Unknown tattooed lady 1900s)

     Now I understand the whole "classic look" and that tattoos aren't something the general public will relate to when thinking of vintage ladies. But just like today there were several. Being judged by your tattoos, to me, is no different then any other discrimination. It offends me greatly to hear "yeah he won't book me, he's not a fan of tattoos". 

       (Photo above- Lou Lou D'Vil- photo by Harmon house productions)

      In 2013 the burlesque hall of fame crowned Lou Lou D'Vil as the reigning queen of burlesque. I was ecstatic! I thought, "finally people will see that no matter the amount of tattoos you have you can still do classic burlesque, and be queen". That year seemed to open up some opportunities to me that I hadn't previously had. Chances to perform in higher end burlesque shows with some of the top performers in my area. I even got the chance to share the stage with Lou Lou.

    The love didn't last long. I found myself feeling as rejected as I had previously. From not being excepted into shows I felt I would be perfect for to being turned down for publications. Everywhere there seems to be a person with a lot of power in the industry saying "you don't look the part". 

(Ruby Lead- foul play cabaret hot springs AR- photo by Devin castle designs) 

    After tattooing and talking with some other tattooed ladies in the industry I found that it doesn't matter how amazing of a performer you might be, there's people who won't like you just because you decided to get tattooed. This will be battle for my entire career. I know this, but im prepared. My love of classic burlesque won't be swayed by someone else's thoughts. I won't decide to start doing neo burlesque to be booked more. I won't cover my tattoos for your magazines or shows. The amount of time, pain, and money I've put into my skin is something I am proud of. It's my own way to display art that I love, which is something that shouldn't have anything to do with my performance. 

        (Me by Devin castle designs) 

     My advice to young burlesquers is to think about everything you do to your body. A small tattoo on your foot can cause you shows, publication, and sometimes awards. But if you are already tattooed don't let anyone stand in your way. When one door closes others do open. Don't dwell on those producers who judge people on petty things like that. Once your amazing they will regret not booking you before. If you want to do classic. Do it. If you want to do pin up. Do it. Don't let them label you as alternative. Alternative to what? Be yourself, be proud, be tattooed. 


(All opinions are mine and mine only)