News 0 comments on Trixie Little on The State of Burlesque

Trixie Little on The State of Burlesque

If you wanted a fun carefree post, please skip this one. The subject matter is a little more heady than usual. It’s about to get meta.

Still with us? OK then…

Earlier this month, Trixie Little posted a video with her take on The State of Burlesque on youtube:

Trixie Little: The State of Burlesque

In this video, Trixie goes into what happened after a situation in the New York Burlesque scene in 2017. Since I’ve really only heard second hand information on what happened from a few performers, I’m going to stay away from commenting on what happened because I don’t have any of the facts.

Trixie’s video leaves me feeling conflicted.

First of all, let me state the obvious – Trixie is an amazing Burlesque performer, consistently bringing humor, creativity, athletic ability and innovation, pushing the envelope of what people think Burlesque is.

It’s frustrating not to know the facts of what actually happened. On the one hand, it sounds like Trixie went through hell as a result of defending people that others think have behaved questionably. From what little I know, I agree that those people behaved questionably. But I also agree with her that defending questionable deeds is different from actually doing the questionable deeds. It feels like Trixie was ostracized disproportionately. I agree with her – as I think most people would – that we should be forgiving, and that all humans make mistakes, and that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge the mistakes of others.

On the other hand though, not seeing Trixie address what actually happened in the first place makes it difficult to take some statements at face value. I read a lot of these statements coming from a place of good intent, but not understanding the potential bad impact.

As a first example: “I believe capitalist patriarchy has hurt men as much as women.”

As a man, I don’t believe that men were hurt in equal amounts by patriarchy. I think it’s clear that women suffered more. I’m not saying men were always better off thanks to patriarchy – certainly patriarchy hurt some of them. But claiming that both genders were hurt equally is minimizing how women were hurt disproportionally.

I truly believe this statement is well-intentioned. I don’t believe Trixie is in red pill territory, although the same argument is used there. But this statement feels very similar to questionable ideas in other discussions: it’s similar to believing that meritocracy is how the world should work, thinking that it is enough to live “colorblind” and pretend to not see race, or saying “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter”.

Now, I don’t believe that Trixie would actually *say* “all lives matter” – in fact, I really hope and think she wouldn’t. I”m just not sure whether she’d recognize the parallel. In a desire to pursue “why can’t we all get along as equally oppressed people”, the end result is that the oppressed are even more unseen and oppressed as a consequence.

Another statement that irked me: “Sometimes a catcall is a compliment.”

First of all, most catcalling is not even intended as a compliment. It’s just simply sexist and intended to be intimidating.

*Some* catcalling might be intended as a compliment. But intent matters less than impact. You can be well-intended but still do bad things. And what matters is how recipients feel, not how well-meaning the catcallers are.

Just because it’s probably ok to catcall from the audience at a burlesque show, doesn’t mean that all catcalling is ok. And insisting to point out that there are good examples of catcalling while not mentioning how most times catcalling is not ok, is enabling catcalling. Again, it’s equivalent to saying “all lives matter.”

Trixie traces the issue she sees back to when the term “safe space” was introduced into the public vernacular.

But I’m seeing three kinds of safe/unsafe spaces in Trixie’s story.

One is when she talks about the front row and the assumption of implicit consent. I agree that Burlesque should push boundaries, and if you’re sitting in the front row you’re likely to get splashed, worked into the performance, or see things that push your boundaries. (There are ways to make that consent more explicit though, and that would certainly be thoughtful) Trixie is arguing that the front row shouldn’t be a safe space – but I don’t think that’s what people are arguing for to begin with.

A second kind of safe space touched on in the story is the one for performers (and to some extent, the complete audience). And I do think that is valuable to have, and I don’t think that it makes burlesque any less vital or transgressive. Blackface performance destroys a safe space for performers of color as well as audience members. The idea of safe spaces have made things better for minority performers, not worse.

A third kind of safe space is one that Trixie doesn’t label as such, but ends up asking for herself towards the end – the safe space in the community and the conversation: “I’m asking for balance, for forgiveness, and for respectful conversations that can happen without fear of punishment.”

The video leaves me wondering whether she sees the parallels between these kinds of spaces that can be safe or unsafe. To me, it is strange to cast burlesque as an inherently unsafe space, to be against the idea of a safe space, to not realize the value of it for people who are not like her, but then effectively ask for one in the community.

This video raises more questions than it answers. The comments aren’t helpful either, because they are as polarized as the unexplained original problem seems to be.

I feel like I’m being overly critical by focusing on a few of these points, and I feel that is because I don’t have the facts of what actually happened, so I only get to comment on what I see in this video. I am a fan of Trixie’s work, of her risk-taking, of her cleverness, and of her art. That doesn’t automatically make me support everything she says, even though there is plenty in this video to agree with that I’m not quoting.

Ultimately though, I would like to see the same thing happen that she wants to see – some balance, forgiveness, and respectful conversations. I would like to see Trixie discuss what happened with someone she trusts but is also able to respectfully challenge some of the notions that I have trouble with, but that I as a man have already gone too far in sharing my opinion about. I want to see whether Trixie can see at least partly where the people she disagrees with are coming from.

Without either side trying to understand the other side, it’s going to be hard to heal any rift.

I am sad that whatever happened, happened, and affected amazing performers on both sides to the point where it stifles them and causes them to share less of their art. I am sad that it ultimately drove Trixie away from New York. She is one of my favorite performers.

As an audience, we all are worse off for this situation to persist.

I welcome criticism on this post – as I said, I am badly informed, not part of the community, and not in any way oppressed or part of a minority.

(Two side notes: 1) I liked hearing the lines that Trixie attributed to Hedy Lamarr, but I had heard them attributed to other people, and looking it up it turns out that we’re both wrong:
https://medium.com/@rloldershaw/great-quotation-at-the-end-of-bombshell-hedy-lamarr-19be9833fa42

The quote was read by Hedy at the end of Bombshell, which I still have yet to see.

2) to get a suggestion of what originally happened, here are some links to something that happened in 2014. I’m still unclear as to whether that story is part of the situation, followed by the use of the N-word in 2017 on stage at the Slipper Room, or if it is separate but similar. Make of it what you will: https://amusingthezillion.com/2014/03/03/brooklyn-rubber-skin-man-sparks-furor-with-blackface-act/ and https://jezebel.com/man-says-its-okay-to-do-blackface-if-you-sleep-with-bl-1534651074)

News 0 comments on May 2018 Show Picks

May 2018 Show Picks

This year is The 6th Annual NYC Asian Burlesque Extravaganza at The Highline Ballroom, happening this Saturday, May 12, 2018!

This annual event aims to bring visibility and exposure to performers of color who have traditionally been marginalized and erased in the history of theater, entertainment & burlesque. They focus on POC of Asian heritage to broaden the racial spectrum in modern burlesque.

For tickets, see https://www.asianburlesquefest.com/

This event is produced by NYC’s one and only Calamity Chang and Thirsty Girl Productions.

This year’s event is hosted by Taiwanese-American sensation Wang Newton, and features an amazing line up including: Miss Exotic World’s Queen of Burlesque 2014, Midnite Martini (Denver), Calamity Chang (NYC), Marianne Cheesecake (UK), Silly Thanh (Switzerland), Crocodile Lightning (Chicago), Coco Ono (LA), Kitana Louise (Nashville), Viva Lamore (NYC/Berlin), and many more!

News 0 comments on Tickets to the NY Burlesque Festival are on sale!

Tickets to the NY Burlesque Festival are on sale!

From the announcement:

We can’t believe it, but we are warming up our pasties and getting ready to celebrate 16 years of the New York Burlesque Festival September 27th – 30th. Tickets are on-sale and we have some amazing things happening this year, including new venues and delicious new perks in our VIP levels! So don’t delay, grab your weekend pass today, quantities are limited.

Want to perform? Our deadline for applications is June 18th, apply HERE

And be sure to keep up with us at thenewyorkburlesquefestival.com for cast announcements and more!

xoxo,
Team NYBF

News 0 comments on Boss Ass Bitch Podcast: Season 2

Boss Ass Bitch Podcast: Season 2

Boss Ass Bitch is back with a second season! I missed this when it happened, as for some reason my podcast feed didn’t get the new episodes, but now I’m playing catchup.

The first episode in season 2, or just plainly episode 13 is with Poison Ivory, and it’s a great listen thanks to Poison Ivory candidly and openly speaking about her experiences as the Reigning Queen of Burlesque and as a performer of color.

I left links, quotes and show notes as a comment to the episode. Enjoy!

News 0 comments on Shimmer: a short documentary about Nina La Voix by Georgia Krause

Shimmer: a short documentary about Nina La Voix by Georgia Krause

Image Credits: Georgia Krause.

In 2017, Georgia Krause, a NYC based documentarian filmmaker, made a short documentary in the Slipper Room about performer Nina La Voix.

In the piece Nina talks about women’s right to express their sexuality on their own terms, without being labeled as a slut by men who wrongly expect them to be sexually available.

We also learn that Nina used to be an investment banker!

In Georgia’s words, “I believe the piece has a positive message to send about burlesque and the community surrounding it.” We agree, and it’s a beautiful short documentary.

See it for yourself!

News 0 comments on April 2018 Show Picks

April 2018 Show Picks

While there are good Burlesque shows every day of the week in Manhattan, sometimes a show is special, unique, or simply doesn’t happen often. We want to highlight those events to make sure you don’t miss out! If you only go to one show this month, this is our recommendation.

Our pick for April 2018 is The Chicago Party on April 19th at the Slipper Room.

Featuring contortion by Topher Bousquet, burlesque circus puppetry by Juanita Cardenas & Cheeky Lane, dance by Brigitte Madera, Jonathan McDonald, Kyla Ernst-Alper, Sylvana Tapia, and The Unknown Dancers, aerial by RAVEN, burlesque by Emily Shepard, acrobatics by Team Circus Duo, plus surprise guests!

If one show is not enough, the third version of is happening the day before at the same Slipper Room.

And this week, Friday, Wasabassco hosts Wasapalooza, a tribute to 90’s grunge!

News 0 comments on 2017 Regretted Departures

2017 Regretted Departures

2017 wasn’t all happy news and fun for the whole family.

In no particular order, here are three regretted departures from Burlesque in New York City.

Trixie Little is one of the most versatile burlesque performers around – incorporating circus, burlesque, theatre and humor in her acts, both alone and with her previous partner Evil Hate Monkey (as chronicled in the documentary Us, Naked). She was one of the first performers we saw in New York, and remained a favorite ever since. Their Total Eclipse of the Heart number is a real highlight in duo performances. Trixie has given us so many wonderful acts, as well as extras like her amazing Queen of Everything show, which included the now infamous box of dicks. For what seem to be personal reasons, Trixie has moved to the next chapter in her life, to Los Angeles. Hopefully she will visit New York again at some point to give us her wonderful brand of weirdness!

Stella Chuu said goodbye to Burlesque altogether, performing her final two acts during NYC ComicCon last year at Comic Con Vixens IV. While we didn’t get the chance to see much of her in the last few years as she was already performing less, she certainly did go out with a bang during her last show!

Hazel Honeysuckle has relocated to Las Vegas to take part in the Absinthe Vegas show. Hazel can sing, dance, make costumes, and get nerdy with the best of them, and sometimes all at once (her “You gotta have boobs” song with scrolling LED marquee is great). New York sent her off at Hazel’s Farewell Show, featuring a rare tribute from her husband Scott Hazelton doing one of Hazel’s best acts: cookie monster, including audience-tossed Oreo cookies! I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Hazel back in New York.

News 0 comments on 2018 Showgirl Calendar

2018 Showgirl Calendar

The official Naughty Noir 2018 Showgirl Calendar is here! Featuring Naughty Noir’s most notorious babes; Calamity Chang, Logan Laveau, Amuse Bouche, Qualms Galore, Penny Wren, Trinity Starlight, Gemini Blitz, Broadway Brassy, Cassandra Rosebeetle, Le Grand Chaton, Wendy Blades, Betsy Propane, Peekaboo Pointe and your hosts Puss N Boots and Mistress Ginger! Limited quantities available, order your signed copy today!

 

Order it now from Puss N Boots’ website!

News 0 comments on Get a burlesque lesson from Perle Noire!

Get a burlesque lesson from Perle Noire!

Want to get an insider’s view of Burlesque with a lesson by Perle Noire and a dinner with stories afterwards at Chez Josephine?

Now you can, through an AirBNB experience! $69 for a 3 hour experience with 8 people, and several upcoming Saturday afternoons are available!

In Maryann’s, the host’s, words:
“Experience a day dedicated to your inner goddess in the spirit of a 1920s icon- Josephine Baker. You will start with a short meet & greet before letting your feathers fly in a pleasurable, fun burlesque dance lesson. You’ll learn seductive moves you can use anywhere! The class is taught by Perle Noire, an inspiring black woman and founder of the legendary burlesque company House of Noire. After we’re done (and you’ve worked up an appetite!), we’ll close the day at Chez Josephine with a nourishing dinner and rich conversation about our figure’s glamorous life, and how she can be an everyday inspiration. You will learn the power of pleasure to heal, connect, and transform almost anyone.”