Hugh Hefner's Future Looks Bright

Hugh Hefner is putting the past year behind him and looking forward to a romantic and successful 2012. Here's what the Playboy icon has to say about his sexy new year.

Cooper Hefner Hugh Hefner

Some 85-year-olds may spend their days playing bridge at the retirement home -- but they aren't Hugh Hefner. The Playboy mogul says that 2012 is shaping up to be one of his most successful in recent memory -- and he is leaving room for romance, too.

"Retirement is unthinkable to me," Hef told the Associated Press. "The future is bright and very exciting and I'm looking forward to playing a part in it."

Hugh Hefner's ex just wants attention >>

Despite the cancellation of both his TV show, The Playboy Club, and his wedding to Crystal Harris, Hef says business and pleasure still have a lead role in his life.

"I don't know that I would be best served at married (life)," he said. "But I do know that I need an ongoing romantic relationship." Hef is currently healing his broken heart with two new 25-year-old girlfriends, Playboy models Shera Bechard and Anna Berglund.

Hugh Hefner blames failed engagement on Holly Madison >>

Hef is getting some help from his son, Cooper Hefner, in breathing new life into the Playboy brand, including reopening branches of The Playboy Club around the world, sponsoring a short film contest and lighting a fire under a previously shelved biopic of his famous dad.

"Most people's lives, if they are successful, have a peak and then it's a bell-shaped curve, or they have wonderful years and then a slow dissipation. The opposite has been the case here," Hefner noted. "I'm the luckiest guy, from my perspective, the luckiest guy on the planet."

"If you can do that and make some real difference in the world, it's too sweet."

Image courtesy Nikki Nelson/WENN.com

Tease-O-Rama Applications due in 8 days!

Mark your calendars for the 2012 Tease-O-Rama April 19th – 22.

Tease-O-Rama is the World’s PREMIERE international weekend-long convention and showcase dedicated to the foxy, fabulous, and over-the-top world of burlesque. Since 2001, Tease-O-Rama set the sequin-spangled standard for presenting the best in eye-popping burlesque entertainment.

Applications are due Sunday January 8th!!

www.teaseorama.com

Hotel, Tickets and Performer line-up announced in January 2012.

Sponsorship info: sponsorship@teaseorama.com


Join the Tease-O-Rama Facebook Group!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/teaseorama/

Holiday News from Skin Two

San Francisco Citadel forced to relocate. Needs help with fundraising effort! San Francisco is not only a beautiful city, it’s the home of BDSM in the USA. The fetish/SM culture in the bay area is something very special and a part of all our heritage. The Citadel is the largest BDSM dungeon/social space in SF, which makes it a vital centre of BDSM culture. The landlords have decided to raise the rent and there’s no way the Citadel can afford to remain – they had to look for a new home. A space has been found, but the club needed to borrow $24,000 - which needs to be paid back very soon... Help is needed. The Citadel is having an auction at their New Year fundraiser. Donate! Make a bid! Businesses and individuals can donate items or gift certificates, clubs can hold fundraisers. (Skin Two is giving a VIP night out in London, with dinner for two and entry to a fetish club.) Join in and help out – it all adds up. Pass the word to everyone you know. Go here to find information on their fund-raising needs, as well as a button to donate - www.sfcitadel.org

Fetish Website Hosting – and Online Payment Set-Up
If you have a fetish/BDSM website, you won’t need me to tell you what a pain it can be to find hosting that’s fetish-friendly. Even worse than that, try getting a shopping cart set up and online credit card payments. I’ve been deleted by PayPal twice, restricted by two major banks – what a hassle it all is.
So I am happy to recommend a firm I’ve recently discovered, run by fetish people with long experience in hosting and payment systems. They already host sites for a number of fetish businesses worldwide, from small to large operations – and they have been really helpful on a new online shopping cart. So, wherever in the world you are located, if you want reliable people to help you through all this, I suggest you go here

Art Erotica Exhibition Opens 19th January
Art Erotica is a major new event in the London art calendar that will present a high-profile opportunity to exhibit for artists producing work in the erotic genre. Most media, including painting, photography, digital art, sculpture, drawing/graphic art, mixed media/construction and original prints are eligible for entry. The 2012 Art Erotica benefits the respected sexual health charity FPA. Read more here

Submissive Women and Dominant Men in London
Quite a few people have been asking about a club for sub women and dom men in London. A place where women can go confidently. We have volunteered to pass the word and put people together. Genuine enquiries from sane people to tim@skintwo.com

Upcoming Events

Sunday 18th December, New York, USA: Fetish Tribe

Information on Sunday - and on the upcoming events in NYC, is at www.fetishtribe.com

Wednesday 21st December, Richmond BDSM; West London/Middlesex, UK
Richmond BDSM members are invited to a private drinks and dungeon party at Lady Samantha’s house. Numbers are limited, so respond promptly - see details at www.richmondbdsm.org

Friday 23rd December, Atlanta GA, USA: SecretRoom

SecretRoom’s pyjama party is at the Jungle Club, 2115 Faulkner Rd NE, Atlanta 30324. Entry is only $5 in Christmas outfits, red and white, pyjamas and lingerie. ($10 everyone else.) Spanking and shibari in the side lounge. Watch their halloween video at www.secretroom.net

Tuesday 27th December, Derby: Club Dominion End of Year Party

This is Dominion’s annual celebration and usually their busiest party of the year when many people are enjoying extended seasonal breaks. Play kit by Nemesis. Venue: Curzons in Derby. Times: 9.00 pm till 2 am. Admission: £10 including mid evening buffet. Dress is fetish in all its forms with a minimum of all black - seasonal festive themes welcome! www.clubdominion.co.uk

Friday 30th December, London: Club AntiChrist NOT New Year Party
There are ten themed zones at the AntiChrist event at Club Colosseum in Vauxhall. Just ignore the usual NYE bollox and party. Entertainment includes Satan’s Strip Show, the Theatre of Sin, burlesque star Fifi Fatale, Joe Black, Fist Fuck Deluxe, Generation Graveyard and Parish Circus. There are several different zones of music, a dungeon, a couples’ playroom and free tea in the morning. Full info and tickets at www.clubantichrist.com

Saturday December 31st, Fort Lauderdale, USA: XFP New Years Party
Fetish Factory hosts the XFP New Years Party on December 31st at a location only available to XFP Members (Membership is free! Click HERE to Join)
The event will be intimate and exclusive. Maximum capacity 250 members. Please visit the official Alter Ego website for info: www.xtremefetishparty.com

Saturday December 31st, London: Torture Garden New Year’s Eve Ball
TG’s famous NYE Ball is at Mass, St Mathew Peace Garden, London SW2 1JF. Artists include Empress Stah, Des O’Connor, Syban, Marnie Scarlett, Jodie Harsh, Janette Slack, Jimmy Mofo, Rockit Riyad, Joe Black, David TG, The Secretary. There will be a club arena, ballroom, dungeon boudoir crypt and couples’ playroom. Enforced fantasy dress code, of course. Midnight countdowns, balloon drops, confetti cannons and pyros! www.torturegarden.com

Coming up in 2012

Club RUB Events in 2012, London

* January 21st - Animal Menagerie and Beautiful Beasts
* February 18th - Streampunk, Tarts in Tartan and Kinky in Kilts
* March 17th - Gay Icons - from the Village People to showgirls
* April 21st - Circus Extrodinaire and Freakshow - 15th Birthday
* May 19th - Aliens Abduction Aboard the Starship Enterprise
* June 16th - Clowns, Puppets, Dolls, Harajuku and Manga Cuties
www.club-rub.com

Subversion Events in 2012, London

* February 4th - Purple pervery & pink passion
* April 7th - Uniforms
* June 2nd - Silver queens
* August 4th - Hot as hell
* Friday October 5th - Latex Leather & Lace
* December 1st - Corseted Christmas
www.clubsubversion.com

Saturday 21st January, Richmond BDSM, West London, UK

* Join us at Swish, the local fetish party held at the Hellfire Club in Sunbury.
* Then, our regular munch at the White Cross pub is back on the fourth Monday of each month from Monday 23rd January, see www.richmondbdsm.org

Saturday March 24th, New York, USA: Miss Rubber World

The Baroness will be MC at this big New York event, which goes from strength to strength. The affair lasts from the Friday pre-party through a tour of NY fetish shops on Saturday afternoon, to the big party on Saturday night. Host hotel is the Affinia Manhattan Hotel, so you can party with friends in your room all weekend. www.missrubberworld.com

June 2nd - 5th, New York, USA: New York Fetish Marathon

New York’s famous fetish fest is back,with four days of parties, including SMack!, Paddles and The Baroness’ Royal Amusements. See the cream of NYC’s fetish clubbing all at one four-day marathon! www.NYFetishMarathon.com

Frocks Tranny Parties for 2012
Frocks is a series of parties for t-girls and their admirers, held at the excellent Vanilla Alternative venue on the A1 near Sandy, Bedfordshire. Frocks is organised by Michelle Rust of Honest. Here is the Frocks diary of bi-monthly parties on the third Thursday of the month…
* February 16th - Valentines
* April 19th - Easter Parade
* June 21st - Summer Ball
* August 16th - Prom Queens
* October 18th - Anniversary Kiss
* December 20th - Christmas Bling
Honest is at www.honest-advice.co.uk
The Vanilla Alternative is at www.thevanillaalternative.co.uk

September 29, Lyons, France

Bal des Supplices www.baldessupplices.com

Other Fetish News

Do you run a Fetish Business? Want to get your Flyers Distributed?
We use and recommend HandJobsMedia to distribute flyers to fetish events across the UK - www.handjobsmedia.com

Skin Two Halloween Ball - the Photos!

Thanks to everyone who came to the Skin Two Halloween Ball Weekend. We’ve had a lot of positive comments and it seems you all loved the venue. Thanks to everyone who appeared; Alix Fox, our lovely MC – cabaret performers Lottie Kixx and Paisley X, Boudicca Blue Bodyart, Ropeslut and his Muse, Master Cosmic, Lady K’s Burlesque Show, Sidonia, Nina and the Bondage Dolly, photographer Helena Eloise and of course the UKs top dominatrixes; Mistress Rebekka Raynor, Domina Liza, Lady Bellatrix, Nina Birch, Lady Samantha, Miz Behave and Sidonia von Bork. Check out the photos here

Thursday Nights in West London - Promoter Needed

The excellent Hellfire Club in Sunbury, on the West side of London, not far from Heathrow, is easy to reach from London and the Thames Valley area. They have a Thursday slot available for an experienced and capable fetish club promoter. Their dungeon is large and well equipped and the dance and bar area very comfortable. The building is in a business park, so evening parking is easy. If you are a reliable promoter (no fruitcakes, druggies or dreamers please!), check it out - www.theold-hellfireclub.co.uk

Any Questions?

Get back to me at tim@skintwo.com

Tim

Story Behind Fastball - The Way


Disappearance

The couple left their home on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1997. They were headed to the Pioneer Days Festival, a festival honoring longtime residents, in nearby Temple, a fifteen mile trip. They stopped at the neighborhood Wal-Mart for coffee, something they often did during the week.

About twelve hours after they initially left home, they were stopped in northern Arkansas near the town of Subiaco by Logan County sheriff's deputy Harold Cole because they were driving with no headlights. Cole radioed Lela's information in, but, unaware that the couple was lost or missing and having no reason to detain them, let them go.

Looking back on the incident, officer Cole later stated that there were warning signs that something might have been wrong. It took several miles of flashing his lights before Lela pulled over, she was fumbling a little when Cole instructed her to turn on her headlights, and though she said she was going to Texas, she was headed the wrong way. However this was not enough to warrant holding them.

"I feel terrible about it. I just wished I'd known more that night to give me a little suspicion. There was just nothing there out of the ordinary... I was impressed by the lady... She was polite. She was kind. She was gentle… I had no probable cause to detain them any longer. And I certainly had no probable cause to think they were wanted," Cole said.

Forty-five minutes later they were stopped again near the town of Plainview by a Yell County sheriff's deputy for driving with their high-beams on. Although by this time the couple had been reported as missing, unfortunately no computer checks were run, and again they were let go. This was the last time they were seen alive.

When the couple did not return home by 4 p.m. that day, Lela's son Hal Copeland called the Bell County sheriff's office to report them missing.[4]

Several relatives of the Howards spent the July fourth weekend searching for them. They distributed fliers, drove back roads, and questioned law enforcement officials and storekeepers. The Howards' grandson James Stewart offered a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the couple.

Police were flooded with tips about the couple nationwide after a segment was aired on CBS's This Morning, however none of them led anywhere according to officer Wayne Jordan of the Arkansas State Police.[5]

Death and discovery

Exactly two weeks after they disappeared, two teenagers on a hike through the Ouachita Mountains found the Howards' maroon Oldsmobile Delta 88 and the bodies of Lela and Raymond at the bottom of a 25-foot cliff. The highway they were driving on before the crash was known for being a treacherous, curvy road.[6]

Although it was initially reported that Raymond was driving the car, when the full investigation's details were released, they showed that Lela had in fact been behind the wheel. Police estimated that Lela was driving about 50 miles per hour when she ran a stop sign and drove off the road and over the cliff, most likely due to a combination of the dark, winding road and mental fatigue. There were no skid marks, indicating Lela was unaware she had run the sign. The report stated that after the crash, Lela put the car in parking gear and removed the keys. She walked around to the passenger side door which she apparently opened, then walked about 20 feet away from the car before collapsing. Raymond never left the passenger seat.[7] She was 83 years old. He was 88.

Aftermath

Because the disappearance of Lela and Raymond made national headlines, their eventual discovery raised concerns on whether or not the elderly need to undergo driver testing. Texas State Representative Tony Goolsby introduced a bill that would order the Department of Transportation to come up with some way to ensure that drivers 75 years of age and older could "exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motor vehicle."

This fueled a national debate on whether or not such a bill would infringe on the rights of senior citizens. The American Association of Retired Persons strongly disapproved of any such legislation stating, "It is discriminatory in all senses of the word."

However others such as Homer Lear of the Silver-Haired Legislature disagreed and said the idea did have merit.[8]

The Baroness' Annual Holiday Cocktail Party and Lubricated Shopping!

The Barones holiday latexHappy HOlidays!

'Tis the season and at the boutique my elves are bustling as we prepare for a very shiny, slippery holiday month. It starts with our traditional trip to Macy's Santa Land, where we sit on his lap, tell him our wish list, and entertain the crowd, all decked out in our red and green latex holiday ensembles.

The Baroness Fetish latex ChristmasAfter that...Link

Thursday, December 15th, from 7-10pm, join us at the boutique for our annual lubricated shopping holiday cocktail party and sale!
Drink champagne, nibble on snacks, socialize, and—to make it easy to shop for yourself and those on your Christmas list—receive 20% off all in-stock latex, and up to 50% off already-discounted sale items, as my gift to you! A perfect latex stocking stuffer is our holiday aprons in red & green with snow flake and Christmas tree appliqu├ęs, or our marabou trimmed red latex Mrs. Clause dress! The boutique is located at 530 B East 13th Street between Avenues A & B, New York City.

Saturday, December 17th, NYC, I and my band of latex elves and naughty Santas will be at Stimulate where we will decorate the human Christmas Tree!

December 25th until January 2nd we will be open by appointment only and infrequently checking emails to recover from all the holiday parties and gather strength for more of them!

An upcoming event that you will need to prepare for outfit-wise, be you contestant or attendee, is Miss Rubber World 2012, on Saturday, March 24th, in New York City. Once again I will be the emcee for the evening and will also show a small collection of Baroness latex fashions. This event gets better each year and if you are thinking of entering the prizes are incredible, however the competition is fierce and you will need to dress to really impress in more than one outfit! Remember, custom creations take time, so contact me soon so we can create something astonishing! (Seems like a great time to take advantage of our lubricated shopping cocktail party and sale).

I Remain,

The Baroness
Baroness@Baroness.com
www.Baroness.com
Facebook.Baroness.com
Flickr.Baroness.com
Twitter.Baroness.com
www.myspace.com/TheLatexBaroness
530 B East 13th Street
New York City, NY 10009
Monday-Saturday 2-7 Thursday 2-9

Lindsay Lohan's Nude Playboy Cover Has Leaked

Lindsay Lohan's Nude Playboy Cover Has Leaked

Lindsay Lohan's nude Playboy cover, which she was paid $1 million to pose for, made its way onto the internet today.

It's too bad, because she was supposed to unveil the cover on "The Ellen DeGeneres show" on December 15th, in her first televised interview since she violated probation. The issue goes on sale in late December.

Some of her body is noticeably covered up by the Playboy bunny sign, but she's definitely naked. When will the rest of the images leak? That's the question.

[NY Post]

AVN Awards 2012: The Nominees

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—AVN is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2012 AVN Awards Show, taking place Saturday, January 21 at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The complete list of nominees can be found at AVNAwards.com or downloaded as a pdf file by clicking here.

The 2012 AVN Awards will be co-hosted by adult luminaries Bree Olson and Sunny Leone—both up for Crossover Star of the Year—with comedian Dave Attell taking his second turn as the evening's funnyman.

A committee of 10 AVN critics spent close to a month and a half compiling nominations in over 130 categories recognizing companies, talent, technicians and creative professionals across the spectrum of the adult entertainment industry. Several new categories were created to reflect the ever-evolving market trends of the business; these include Best Studio Website, Best Solo Girl Website, Best All-Sex Release - Mixed Format, Best Director - Parody and Best Celebrity Sex Tape.

Vivid Entertainment dominated the latter with six contenders from its Vivid Celeb line, but Dream Zone Entertainment and new imprint Exquisite Celebrity scored nods as well. Vivid founder Steven Hirsch also received special recognition of his own in another brand-new category, the AVN Visionary Award, honoring him for his singular achievement in bringing adult into the mainstream sphere.

Leading the pack for overall nominations, as it frequently does, was distributor Evil Angel, with its stable of directors collectively earning 114 mentions. The newest member of the Evil Angel team, performer/director Bobbi Starr, made a particularly impressive showing, earning a total of 16 noms for her work in front of and behind the camera, including Best Actress (for New Sensations Romance's A Little Part of Me), Best Anal Sex Scene (in her own Shut Up and Fuck), Best Director - Non-Feature (for Shut Up and Fuck), Best Girl/Girl Sex Scene (in Elegant Angel Productions' Prison Girls), Best Oral Sex Scene (in Jessica Drake's Guide to Wicked Sex: Fellatio from Wicked Pictures), Best Supporting Actress (in New Sensations' Scooby-Doo: A XXX Parody) and Female Performer of the Year.

Starr's male counterpart would seem to be comback sensation and her Shut Up and Fuck scene partner Nacho Vidal, who picked up 12 noms encompassing the all-Nacho debauchery fests Nacho Invades America (Jules Jordan Video) and Nacho Vidal vs. Live Gonzo (Cruel Media/Evil Angel), as well as a Male Performer of the Year notice and induction into the AVN Hall of Fame.

Very close on Evil Angel's heels for overall mentions was Jules Jordan Video, with 112 total, including a nomination for Jules Jordan himself as Director of the Year (Body of Work). The reigning victor in that category, parody king Axel Braun, had arguably an even better year this time around, with his Vivid release Spider-Man XXX: A Porn Parody racking up 16 nominations, the Axel Braun Productions title Elvis XXX: A Porn Parody (distributed by Vivid) scoring nine, and his Hustler Video effort This Ain't Ghostbusters XXX 3D landing eight, just to name a few.

Fellow parody-smith Will Ryder didn't do too badly, either, earning 12 nominations for his New Sensations release The Flintstones: A XXX Parody, and another 12 between his X-Play/Adam & Eve Pictures projects Beverly Hillbillies: A XXX Parody and Rocky XXX: A Parody Thriller!.

The most nods for a single title went to Wicked Pictures' The Rocki Whore Picture Show: A Hardcore Parody, earning 18 total, including Best Actor (newcomer Mac Turner), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography (Jake Jacobs), Best Director - Parody (Brad Armstrong), Best Editing (Scott Allen) and two mentions in Best Original Song (for the ditties "Fuck-a-Fuck-a" and "Oversexed Porn Star").

"I am extremely pleased with the nominations list our committee produced this year," AVN senior editor Peter Warren said. "I've been a part of this process for nine years now, and I can honestly say I think this is the most thorough and rock-solid job we've ever done. I look forward to hearing everybody's response to the nominations, and on behalf of the entire committee, I extend our warmest congratulations to everyone recognized."

For information about tickets to the 2012 AVN Awards, go to AVNAwards.com or contact Bonnie LeBlanc at bonnie.leblanc@avn.com or (818) 718-5788 ext. 101.

Stripper Talk: Burlesque Advice for Newbies


So you want to join the burlesque ranks of the best and the brightest? Sounds groovy, but you need to work to get some work! Working hard at this art form is what you need to stick out in the community- a community saturated with fledgling as well as established performers all over the world.

In my almost 7 years of experience, this is what I can tell you:

1. Decide if you want to be a “hobbyist” or a “professional”.

I asked Miss Astrid (a pioneer in the “Neo-burlesque”movement. See: Velvet Hammer Burlesque) to help me tell the difference between the two:

“I would say that there are many ways to be a hobbyist, but only one way to be a professional. It has nothing to do with how much money one earns because many excellent and dedicated artists don’t survive off their art. I would define a professional as someone who has trained in their artform and are passionate about entertaining. They posess skills which make them both desirable to work with and a pleasure to watch on stage.”

And I’ll elaborate in my way:

Many of us aspire to be a “professional”, but you really need to ask yourself if you’re willing to do the work, hours upon hours of work rehearsing, taking classes, getting mentorship, researching, costuming, networking, writing emails, applying to festivals, contributing to community, attending shows, etc. This is also a big investment of money. If you don’t invest the funds and/or the investment of time-it is a hard reality that you will most likely stay at the “hobbyist” level. For many professionals, this is a challenging, yet rewarding life. We aren’t doing it for the money, since over-saturation has made it progressively harder and harder to fill our local and international schedule. We do it because there’s no other option for us. This is what we do. We’re entertainers to the core. This is a full-time job for many of us (and some even working more than one job), making ends meet by teaching, costuming, hustling, modeling, performing-because this is all we know how to do.

Hobbyists are a bit different. You might do many of the things above, but you have a full-time job, and it’s easy for you to put performing on the backburner. Perhaps this is something that simply keeps you entertained, and you’re not interested in performing on giant stages for 1,200 people-knowing that every second its up to you to keep a person entertained. Maybe you just like dressing up and going to shows and occasionally performing for your friends in shows that you all produce together-that’s great! There’s space for both of these sides of the community, sides of the same coin.

Also note that just because you want to be a successful pro doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen for you. Every artist isn’t successful-but they still do it because they love it, just at a different level.

2. Go to a class.
In this day and age, resources abound! Go to dance classes that have nothing to do with burlesque. Go to burlesque classes if they’re in your area and taught by seasoned professionals. If you’re really serious, make a pilgrimage. I highly recommend Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque, academyofburlesque.com, Jo Boob’s New York School of Burlesque, schoolofburlesque.com, and Michelle L’amour’s school, studiolamour.com.

Start doing research to see who the best and the brightest are in your community
(maybe check out http://www.21stcenturyburlesque.com)
for leads and then go “down the rabbit hole” of research. Go to shows. Watch YouTube videos. Email people in your community (hello FaceBook) to see if they have suggestions. If there’s no school in your area that you’re interested in, or group classes aren’t your thing (however- dancing around others is valuable), contact a seasoned professional for a private session.

Your learning shouldn’t stop here. One class does not a “burlesque star” make. Keep going to classes, taking private sessions, check out some burlesque DVD’s both new (Jo Boobs and Michelle L’amour have some) and old (try Something Weird Video and dive in!). No matter how long you’ve been performing, the learning and aspiring to be a better stripper shouldn’t stop. If it does, become a hobbyist, and be a supporter of your local community and the Burlesque Hall of Fame in it’s preservation of our history!

3. Research
Learn who the legends of burlesque are. There are a ton of books out there, but the history is still incomplete, especially when it comes to performers of color. And yes, there were a TON of burlesque performers of color, and there are a lot today. Go online, Google names, go to your library, use the bibliography in a burlesque book you just got. Study everything, every style. A lot of performer’s websites have links to books and other performers and resources. Read blogs. For starters, check out the Burlesque Hall of Fame (burlesquehall.com)- they have a lot of links to legends both new and old. My personal library of links, burlesque books and old videos grows all the time. And no, I’m not going to share my list. This is your incentive to go and search!

Research should never stop with reading. Go to shows in your area, and then make special pilgrimages to festivals and conventions. There is one convention that is hosted here in Seattle called BurlyCon- http://burlycon.org/ that has experienced teachers and professional performers from all over. Please see my previous blog post about the convention here: http://www.21stcenturyburlesque.com/burlycon-2008-to-2010-a-retrospective/
For an ultimate burlesque showdown, go to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas. It’s epic, inspiring, exhausting, and lovely. It’s one of the few festivals where you will get to meet those legends that paved the way before us.

Whenever you can, go to shows, talk with your peers, read books and watch videos!

4. Mentorship
When learning a craft- there are always people out there who came before you and are most likely doing it better than you. This means that if you get the chance to have a mentor that you connect with, you should jump at the chance. Here’s my article on mentorship:

http://thegoldenglamazon.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/get-thee-to-a-mentor/

To me, mentorship is more than a dance class. You can work on acts, have interesting conversations, learn skills while helping them out with their projects, watch burlesque videos together, get advice-you’re there to soak it all in. Mentorship is hard to find. It should never be forced-this is a relationship that you hope will be rewarding to both parties in some way. Often you get to learn how to be a better performer, it humbles you, and your mentor often gets help and support in their projects and life. Often you might find yourself assisting them at shows, setting up props, in general being helpful because you want to. Working with a mentor is your anti-diva moment. It’s absolutely wonderful. And I wish you all success in finding that person to you, in burlesque life, or in whatever career you have chosen.

5. Rehearse
For me, rehearsing isn’t just going through my act, but it’s the minutiae of the act. For examples: fan work, body positioning, where my wrists are, facial expressions, floor work, arm placement, removing one particular piece of clothing, rhythm….it goes on and on. There’s always something to work on. Even if you have a stupid busy day, set aside some time to rehearse. Consistently. That way you can feel good knowing that what you just put on stage was rehearsed and that you worked hard. Rehearsing builds confidence. When I don’t get all the time I need to rehearse before a show I don’t feel as happy with my performance as I know I could. And I want to be the best that I can be.

6. Listen to music
There’s a TON of music out there. More than you can ever listen to. Yes, there are burlesque standards out there and yes, they are fun to dance to. You don’t have to stick just to these- check out other genres. Music is such a personal thing, the thing that is the glue for your act. My best advice is to make sure that the piece of music that you are dancing to is interesting, fun and dynamic enough for an audience to hear. You won’t please everyone, but make sure it fits with the act, your mannerisms, and your movement!

Please note that there’s a LOT of overlap of songs and trends in the burlesque community. There are a ton of acts to “Night Train” (for example)- just make sure that you check with the show you’re in to see if someone else is already dancing with the music you’ve picked, and never steal another person’s act. Also, don’t be surprised if someone else is using a song that you use- it happens. Just be you, be unique, make your mark with your personality in your acts, not just your song choice.

7. Get healthy
Yes, get healthy. Drink water. Hit the gym, dance, yoga, whatever. Get stronger. I know I’m not alone in saying that the healthier you are, the better you feel and the more confidence you have. Don’t mistake me, this doesn’t mean losing weight, unless that’s your desire SEPARATE from your burlesque aspirations. Sleep enough, eat good food, maybe even drink a little less. Figure out what is helping you, and what is hurting your path to greatness. And then get to it. It’s exhausting energetically and physically to be entertaining on stage. Take care of your sweet little body and mind. Give them all the love they need.

8. Get over your “issues”- if you have them
The stage is not your therapy session. Therapy is your therapy session. Talking with supportive friends is therapy. The stage is for entertainment. Entertainment is many things, including social and political discussions. But NOT battling your demons. Heal yourself, and then create an act about it, if you like-that can be cathartic and uplifting. We all know what it’s like to see a performer terrified and uncomfortable with being on stage, and only those into train wrecks really want to see it. Find your joy and love of being on stage, being mostly naked and having everyone looking at you. Because they are-they really are looking at you. Yes, all of you. Leave all your issues back stage, and get the job done onstage.

9. Help out
When I was just a fledgling performer, I got into the community the old fashioned way-I asked to help out. I stage kittened, stage managed, sold raffle tickets, etc. Just being around a show, being helpful is some of the best school you can get. Often times, you get to watch the acts and see the process of the performers on the stage. You get to see acts evolve, and performers too. In most of your towns there are shows to help with. Sell tickets at the door, help with seating, dress performers, be a go-go girl, be humble, be helpful. After go-go dancing for a while I was asked to create an act. And I did-but I still helped out at shows for a few years after.

10. Create
Create acts! You don’t need 10 acts to run out of the gates with, just 2 solid, well put together acts to start. Take your time and don’t be impatient! Work on your costume, movement, invest money, and time. Research the best stockings for your reveal, trial and error, etc. Have someone watch your act (a teacher? A mentor?) to give you constructive criticism. Be willing to go back to the drawing board. Be willing to say no to a gig if it’s not ready, or you’re not ready. If you’re not sure if you’re ready-ask a teacher or a mentor. Experiment in workshops held by peers and teachers. Maybe get in on some newbie shows in your area!

11. Be unique
Have a personality. Be different. Learn what your strengths are as a performer (are you a great at emoting? Ballet? Are you funny? Athletic? Flexible? Acrobatic?) and use them. These things become your gimmick; the thing that people can know you by. If you’re gimmick is a physical asset, that’s great too-but remember to round out your show with all of the hard work mentioned above. Copying other people’s ideas and acts isn’t only wrong, it’s bad for business- your business! Why make it harder for people to recognize you? Sell your personality on stage-after all, there can only be one you!

12. Get a bio
A bio is a useful tool to peak a person’s interest to book you. If you are new, never fear- a bio is often a living breathing thing that evolves as you evolve. The more cool stuff you get to do in your career, the more cool stuff you can add. As a producer, I’d recommend that for a newbie you keep your bio short and sweet. What’s your name? Where are you from? Mention if you’re specially trained in anything, or have ongoing stage experience. When did you begin your career?

There’s a lot of fudging the facts in bios these days, people giving themselves queen titles and the “best of” titles. I highly encourage you to wait until something like that is given to you by someone you respect, like a legend, a respectable festival, a high level magazine, etc. Also, don’t forget to quote where it comes from. As a producer, I check. A bio should back you up, not over burden people with grand ideas about who you are.

For a legendary bio example, try my mentor,

Catherine D’Lish:
http://www.catherinedlish.com/about/

You can check out mine:
http://glitterwonderland.com/index.html

Check out Michelle L’amour’s:
http://michellelamour.com/about/

13. Keep a performance resume
Keep track somewhere, on your computer, on a piece of paper, a napkin, whatever. Know what major shows you’ve been in, and be able to reference them. Because I use Google calendars, I also have other shows and appearances documented as well. There’s lot’s of ways to make a performance resume, from a complete list, to only major appearances and something in between. Just make sure to spell check and have pertinent information like venue, producer, if there were any bigger named performers, when it was and the name of it. References are good too! Just like when your searching for any kind of job-ask your references if it’s ok to give out their names and information.

14. Get humble.
You’re trying to make your mark in a community that is already established. Think of it like workplace dynamics. Be kind, ask questions, be honest and come ready to work. There are enough queens in this community, and they were already crowned. So drop any cocky b.s. you might have and show them the real you. People like working with people that are easy to be around, passionate, and work hard.

15. Support
Yes, we all are looking out for ourselves and to get gigs-but you know what? You should supportive too. Refer talented performers to gigs if you’re in the position to. Share knowledge. Be aware of what’s undercutting another performer at your level. You’re never going to get all of the gigs or all of the accolades. Ever. But there’s a lot out there to go around and help create beautiful relations within community. Success is so much more fun if those around you are doing great as well. Also- the backstage is way more fun too!

15. Deal with rejection.
Not everyone is going to book you. Not every gig is for you. Look at auditions you’ve done as learning experiences. If you didn’t win that competition or big gig, just work on your act. Transfer any frustration into better work. Be a friendly competitor.

16. Film yourself
Yes! watch yourself on film, recognizing things that are compelling and things that you want to work on, and then work on them. Who doesn’t want the option of instant re-call? You don’t have to put it on YouTube-it’s not a reliable source of constructive criticism. Show it to a teacher, a peer whose opinion you trust.

17. Have fun!
If it’s not fun-ask “why?”, and then change it. This may mean that you need to stop performing for a while. Maybe you’re not performing with the right people or putting yourself in the right situations. Take a break, take a new class…find the lovely thing that motivates you. Good luck!

*Questions? Or interested in having me dance and or teach at your next event? Email me at GlitterWonderland@gmail.com

WWW.GLITTERWONDERLAND.COM
Follow me: Twitter.com/SydniDeveraux