Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hunt for Red November

Before anyone reads this I am going to warn you that it's about lipstick. So, if you don't care about lipstick then move along because that is what this post is exclusively about.

I get more questions about my lipstick from people on the street than anything else- particularly when I have red glitter lips. So I'm doing a blog post about it.

One of the most important accouterments in a Burlesque dancers bag of tricks is a great lipstick! I am partial to red but many dancers use an array of pinks and peaches.

Speaking of red lipstick, I have been in hot pursuit of enriching my red lipstick collection. Originally, I started with a Benefit Red lipstick (which gets EVERYWHERE!). Then I upped the ante with a purchase at MAC of Russian Red. Though I find Russian Red to be a fabulous red I wanted something less drying and a little deeper... Lo and Behold! I found a great one by Makeup Forever... Moulin Rouge. It is the most fabulous red! A little deeper than the Russian Red and a better texture I think.

There is another statement I would like to make- quickly- some of my friends have expressed to me their desire to try a red lipstick, but they don't want to spend a lot of money on a lipstick that they may not like/wear. I have the solution, NYC Color's Retro Red, also an emergency red lipstick that's cheap and found at any Duane Reade, and it's $0.99. Can't beat that! Great texture, very true red (tends a little toward the bright side, but a berry lip-gloss will balance it if you need that), and a great lipstick to use for transfer into a vintage tube for first timers- which I just did and highly recommend. Nothing makes you feel sexier than a beautiful lipstick tube, ha ha ha!

So, now I have six red lipsticks: British Red Coat (which is ugly on my and I don't recommend it), Benefit's Red (they don't even make this anymore, but it got everywhere), NYC Color Ruby (kind of a weird hot pink/red shimmer), NYC Color Retro Red (which I really like!), MAC's Russian Red, and Makeup Forever's Moulin Rouge. But I always have room for one more...

**Please feel free to comment or add your input- I love to hear about other people's makeup collections.

Also a note, if you follow this blog please feel free to friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter @MissDixieRising, and if you are on feel free to contact me there as well. See ya'll around :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Doin' Time

So many people in the performance arena are aware that you have to work your way up from the bottom to enjoy the cream at the top. Burlesque is no different. As a new performer you need to be mindful of other dancers that have been doing this longer than you have. That means being helpful, respectful, and out of the way (i.e. if you aren't performing- don't block the mirror/light/or dancers from changing)... and above all, if you don't know a dancer's name or haven't heard of her, DO NOT point that out to her. Just because you may have no clue who she is doesn't mean the rest of the Burlesque world does not and it may also mean that you don't attend enough shows. If you are working or performing- BE ON TIME. I have learned that this early in the game you have to put a lot of work into networking, listening, watching, and just plain good old fashioned being pleasant. This world is about women supporting each other, which quite frankly, doesn't happen as often as it should.

With that out of the way, let me share an amusing moment from when I was working Honi Harlow's "Harlow's Hide-A-Way", which is currently every Thursday at Fontana's on Eldrdige between Broome and Grand right here in New York City. It's August so audience can be fickle, so I was tickled 12 shades of pink when I walked into Fontana's last Thursday and saw about 60 people in the bar and Chandlelier room. Upon my arrival I also discovered that there were bands performing downstairs. As the people in the bar began to funnel between our show and the bands performing in the basement, I was charged with the task of separating and directing them where they needed to go based on what they were there to see. For about 5 minutes of this, it seemed that everyone was headed to the basement and becoming tired of that (I love music too but stripping women dancing to music vs. bearded sweaty men standing around listening and bobbing their heads... hmmmmm) I decided when a delcious quartet of men walked up to me to try to persuade them to stay upstairs.

So I asked them,

"Are you guys here to see the Burlesque show?," as brightly as I could,
"Or the Bands downstairs?" and I was 50% less bright with that last question.

All four started laughing at me and one cute one (out of the other four devastatingly handsome men) in a plaid shirt looked at me and smiled,

"We are the band."

The hilarity of this was not missed on me so I thought, oh sweet now I can hit on all them! Which I proceeded to do. Some of the banter continued as follows:

Me: "Oh well, you're gonna miss all the gorgeous naked women!"

Band: "How about we play and when we're done we'll come up and see the naked women."

Me: "By the time you're done playing all the naked women will be gone. We are a fleeting thing you know. We don't stay naked forever."

Band: "Are you sure? We love naked women and would love to see them but we have a show."

Me: "Well that's what happens when you put music first. All the naked women dissappear."

The slightly bearded, blue-eyed, dream boat in the plaid shirt threw back his head and laughed. "That's the truth!"

Then the fabulously handsome foursome made their way into the basement and for one brief moment watching sweaty bearded men play instruments was overwhelmingly appealing. Then Honi walked up in her fantastic red dress with a gorgeous rhinestone necklace. The sparkle from it called me back to the land of half naked women and glitter. Whew! That was a close one.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My First Performance

I had my first performance last night at the Delancey. It was at Wham! Slam! Bam! Variety Show! with Juliet Jeske. I had such an amazing time! Coming from a varied background involving many years of dance performance coupled with many years of acting experience I found this to be a new and wildly thrilling adventure. It was so different from either of those experiences:

1. It wasn't choreographed/directed by someone else. It was all done by me, so luckily only I knew that I almost completely forgot every single piece of my choreography and practically fell and was trembling through the whole piece.

2. It was a completely different style of audience. I was in direct connection with them. In most dance/theatre pieces, you are a different entity from the audience and only on rare occasions do you address them directly but it's even rarer to actually interact with them.

It was almost like a improv/dance/strip/character exercise. It was one of the most challenging things I've done in a long time and I think I did pretty well. I tend to be a perfectionist and want to constantly fix every little tiny detail down to the stitches I use on my costumes. I want all the information and pack my costume bag days in advance (because I, apparently, am crazy.) I cannot wait to get booked again and finally get my website going so people actually KNOW when I'll be performing and I think I should probably get some cards made... hmmmmmmm. I feel a photo session coming on...

Rehearse Rehearse Rehearse

Making time to rehearse is so difficult at times. However, magical things happen in rehearsals. You learn that if you don't stretch you can't move the next day, that sometimes you can really only do a move in your mind and that certain songs seem like a good idea until you begin working with them. That sometimes you have to cut props, stage business, and other non-essential bric a brac when pulling a piece together. That glitter does not always do what you envision and when that happens it's best to sweep it up and try again.

For instance, I wanted to blow glitter out of coffee cup for my "poison", to remind the audience that I did actually poison someone in the beginning of the number in case my breasts made them forget. When I rehearsed it the first time I blew the glitter out of the cup and most of it slid up the side and straight back into my face. Not exactly what I was looking for - me blind in 5" heels is not what I want to happen onstage if it can be avoided. So I had to stuff the cup with foam and create a cardboard "tray" of sorts and put the glitter on it (btw it made the cup look like it was FULL of glitter onstage) this was finally successful.

Creating a story isn't always easy and burlesque is really a way of telling a story through music and disrobing- eloquently. I want to tell my stories with specificity, finesse, and most of all surprise. I want the audience to get as excited about me taking something off as I am about taking it off and as excited as the music is about it as well. I've always viewed dance as a way of losing oneself a way of letting go and letting the music speak through the body. A physical manifestation of music or even just sound. But Burlesque isn't quite like that. It's highly aware, conscious even. A self-aware conduit of music and ideas.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Technological Frustration

So as you can see, it's been months since I've posted. Not that I haven't wanted to, I just relied on my PHONE to actually POST what I've written. Sigh. So to catch everyone up to speed, I've been building numbers. Most recently I was invited to Wham! Slam! Bam! Variety Hour with Juliet Jeske at the Delancey on August 3rd. It is an assassin/spy themed show and I am very excited to whip something up for her. This will be my first performance and I am - quite frankly- terrified. Not of failing so much as of letting down all the women before me who put so much of themselves into this artform. To let down all those that sacrificed and gave so much for so little in return, that would be... very bad. I'm sure I'll do fine and I'm just nervous but I really want to do well and I really want other professional dancers to watch it and say... huh, not bad. I've been working really hard through the whole thing and I really want to not suck so I can pay tribute via my hard work and precision...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To Be A Kitten

Ah yes, the magical art of being a kitten. A "kitten", for those of you who do not know, is the beautiful individual who clears the stage in between numbers for next act. Usually a dancer in waiting... of sorts. So I may get to be a kitten for a very prominent dancer here in New York. I'm so excited my tassels are quivering... yes... I wear them all the time. She runs multiple shows here in the area, however, I simply can't reveal her identity until I'm absolutely certain I've booked it. Through meeting all these women in this field I've realized something, beauty comes in all forms and so does talent, quite frankly I think they are some of the most beautiful creatures on the earth... but that may be mostly due to my glitter obsession! Seriously, I'm obsessed with glitter... I like it... everywhere... and yes, I mean everywhere...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Fan Dance

Today in my New York School of Burlesque Essential Series class, our headmistress, Miss Jo Boobs, showed us the fan dance. Feathers, I have recently discovered, are the most erotic thing I've ever experienced. (Especially when handled properly.) Whether watching someone else use them or using them myself. They are soft and luxurious, they hide and reveal at the same time and they are very flashy. If you are not aware... Miss Dixie LOVES flashy things. Rhinestones, bright feathers, glitter, and sequins are a few of my favorite things. I also LOVE touching things: hard, wet, smooth, warm ... mmmmmmmm I know what you're thinking... I'm thinking it too... I would love a Grey Goose, neat with lime.
I once heard Hugh Hefner say that with birds the males are ornate and the females drab and how he marveled at the fact that human beings are such a striking opposite to this reality of nature. I think that the work I learned today really hammered that home for me. Women are such beautiful creatures, we come in every color, shape, and size. Some of us more ornate than others - but all of us stunning in our own ways. Our bodies were designed to attract attention, our complicated minds developed to baffle, and the force of our presence meant to constantly distract. From our hair, to our delicate hands, to our smooth legs, and our dangerous curves. We are strutting, winking, undulating, preening birds of paradise. We are literally a distraction to go. I, for one, am so enamored with this feminine quality that it makes me wonder... why do men think about sex every 30 seconds? I would think it would be far more often than that... in fact, how does that poor gender even function at all?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Onward Movement

It's been a while since your little Dixie has written to all of you to share her grand adventures. So I have been working on learning some classic moves with Miss Jo Boobs and working on some audience connection work with Miss Darlinda Just Darlinda. This weekend we begin fan work! Ooo la la... I also met some of the most amazing people last night at NUDE. NUDE is a all nude band run by Bunny Love and a host of New York's most famous burlesque dancers. I met Miss Misty Mounds, a very comedian and two wonderful cross-dressers. It was a wonderous evening and there may be upcoming shows in the works so stay tuned ladies and gentlemen... Dixie is on the rise...

*** Please note that I had previously used the term Drag Queen erroneously, I was with two cross-dressers. I apologize for my mistake- I have since discovered the difference. ~ Dixie 8/15/10***

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What truly matters

So far throughout my process I have been so blessed to be supported by so many of my friends and family. It isn't easy to choose this path. There is NO MONEY in this line of work and no real firm career but it is such a draw to me as an art form. It isn't easy to bare yourself in front of others, to bare yourself not just to them but for them. To peel off the layers of the self and reveal what is underneath in all its flaws and perfections.

It is a medium which I feel I can perfect and excel in with so much support from those around me and with the opportunities that have sprung up before me from luck as much as focus. I'm really lucky and I want to say thank you to everyone who is helping me in this endeavor. Teachers, other dancers, friends, mentors, parents, and other performers in other genres who are as thrilled and titillated by my adventure as I am. I applaud you all and am thrilled to have such an awesome crew at my back in this.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Lil' Dixie Rising is on the rise... moving onward and upward. It occurred to me in the last community class I took, that I am very VERY serious about this jazz. I have the capacity to be quite a good performer and the dedication as well. So when Jo "Boobs" Weldon's email came round from the New York School of Burlesque I knew it was time. I applied and made it in to the March Essentials Series of which there are only 10 slots. I was so excited I nearly burst! I've got a name and a mission and now guides to get me there. So watch out because the last weekend in March/First Weekend in April, Miss Dixie Rising will be making her debut. Sometimes all it takes is elbow grease and commitment. Let the work begin...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thoughts on the art form

I have come up with some concepts for numbers. I'm getting mixed reviews upon sharing them BUT most of the thoughts are positive. I have learned that the word "Burlesque" actually means "an artistic composition, esp. literary or dramatic, that, for the sake of laughter, vulgarizes lofty material or treats ordinary material with mock dignity."

I really want to use this medium to express how different people or situations are from what one would assume upon first look. I want to stretch the audiences' mind and maybe bend it a little so that next time they look at the receptionist at the dentist office they say, "hmmmm, I wonder... could she be a freak?"

I think people get hindered by the boxes that others put them in. Whether it's a significant, or a parent, or a friend, or a boss. People make assumptions everyday about what they think is the norm for the people in their lives and in their surrounding environment. We constantly judge those around us, but what if... what if we got to see what was underneath. What if their deepest, darkest truths could be revealed. What if they are a thief, a liar, homeless, depraved, sadistic, an alcoholic, a sex addict, or any other number of strange combinations. What if the mean woman at the DMV likes to be tickeled with feathers? What if that power-crazed policewoman really wears pink satin under her kevlar? What if that pre-school teacher paints herself in black liquid latex at night...

What if I could show you these things in myself and in the people who surround you everyday? Would you mind if I took off this sweater? It's getting a little hot in here...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dixie is Born

For several months I have been toying with an idea derived from a long standing desire, to become a burlesque dancer. I have always wanted to be one, though I wasn't ever really aware that that was what it was I truly wanted. I've been an actress for over 10 years and a dancer for most of my life. Pursuing acting has been a downhill spiral with very stressful results... especially here in New York City, but the one thing I am a virtuoso at is reinventing myself. So, a few months ago, it happened. I went to a burlesque variety show at Fontana's here in NYC, a show called Honi Harlow's Hideaway, and as I sat there I realized, this was what I had wanted, this was what I was equipped for. Dancing, comedy, and acting all in one, expressed through the body to music for the benefit of the audience. To tantalize and delight. To bring joy. I went to several more shows. Blown away each time, noticing the styles of the different performers, the nuances that made them who they were and the subtleties in their performances.

My appetite was now engulfing my entire life, everywhere I looked were girls dancing and expressing all sorts of things! Now, my mind made up, I went trolling the Internet to stumble across the New York School of Burlesque. There were two prerequisites: 1. pay $15.00 and 2. Come up with a name no one else in the performance industry had. I enrolled. That following Thursday I found myself in a studio with a red headed bombshell named Gal Friday in leopard print pants. Feeling a little conscientious I decided that my new dancing identity would not be able to feel this unless it was part of the act so I walked to front of the room and put on the brightest, reddest lipstick I owned. My Southern roots reached deep into the earth while I steadied my hand tracing my lips with the angled tip of my Benefit "Frenched" red. I heard her name rise up into my mind. Dixie Rising was born.