I couldn’t even love my own body, how could other people? TRUE STORY : I’m a Burlesque Performer. From Yes and Yes.Org
It can be surprisingly tough to get people out to burlesque shows.
I say surprisingly because I think they’re fun, and I didn’t feel weird about attending them before I was a performer. (I still don’t feel weird attending them now that I AM a performer, but for the purpose of this paragraph, let’s stick with my non-performer feels.) But when I asked people to go with me, they were hesitant at best. They’d insist it wasn’t really their thing; they’d mumble that it made them feel uncomfortable; they’d ask me if it would be weird going to watch something like that with me. And I don’t like to make my friends feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t press the issue. I’d look for a friend who didn’t seem uncomfortable watching burlesque, or I’d go with performers who weren’t going to be onstage for that show.
And now that I’m a performer, and more invested in getting people to go out and support shows, it’s even more difficult. In addition to comments like it’s not my thing / it’ll make me uncomfortable / won’t that be weird, I have now heard the following:
“Y’know. . . I’ve got a girlfriend.”
Okay. Swell. Bring her, too!
“I can’t watch you do something like that. I’d lose respect for you as a person.”
Well, then call us even, because I just lost my respect for you.
“I don’t have any friends who’d go with me. . .”
I feel that feel!
“. . .and if I go by myself I’ll feel like a pervert.”
But that? Nope. I don’t feel that feel.
I’ve heard this a number of times now from all kinds of different people, so I feel like it’s time we talked about the sexy elephant in the room: attending a burlesque show does not make you a pervert, no matter how many people you get to go with you.
Side note: There may be a lot of other reasons you don’t come to shows. Maybe you’re really introverted. Maybe you’re fucking broke, or you’re working night-shifts to avoid being fucking broke. If you’re really into your pint of Ben & Jerry’s and the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I get it. You could genuinely be out of town every weekend that I have a show. Hell, you could be avoiding all forms of theatre because of what that fortune teller told you once. And maybe we’ll talk about those reasons later. But if going to a burlesque show makes you feel like a pervert, then I’m genuinely sorry to hear that. It sucks that your experience in life has caused you to form such a narrow view on sexuality and positive physical self-expression. That’s probably going to cause you a whole host of difficulties in your life, and you may want to talk to somebody about it.
Back to the main thrust. (Ha. Thrust. Sorry, sometimes I’m 13.)
It makes sense that so many people I invite to shows have this kind of attitude. After all, I’m from (and perform in) a province that has some pretty archaic vice laws—you can’t even drink at strip clubs here—and those vice laws are informed by and mixed with a lot of firmly held beliefs about modesty and impropriety. So while going to a burlesque show with somebody else feels like an evening out, around here, going to a burlesque show by yourself is tantamount to broadcasting that you are the very worst of sexual deviants. It’s all or nothing: there’s no grey area, no in-between, no room for justification.
I understand wanting to do social things with somebody (see first paragraph). After all, people look at you all funny if you do things solo. Going out to dinner alone? Bring a book, or everybody will think you’ve been stood up. Out to the bar all by your onesie? You’re clearly on the prowl. Nobody to share your popcorn with at the movies? Well. . . honestly you’re living the dream, there. Keep at it.
In that light, it makes sense that going to a burlesque show with another person along for the (incredible, unforgettable, must-see) ride would provide a sense of normalcy. After all, if your friend whom you know to be a decent person is sanctioning this event, then it’s clearly okay to be there! There’s nothing wrong with you! But I’m going to tell you something that may be hard to believe: you’re probably surrounded by decent people at these shows, you just don’t know them yet. I can’t speak for anybody else’s audiences, but the Menagerie Burlesque Company has cultivated a body-positive, gender-inclusive, adventurous audience, and they’re pretty great.
Hand-in-hand with the “will I look like a pervert?” line of thinking is the “what if you pitched it as an artistic experience instead of a sexy show?” idea. And maybe pitching it that way would make it more approachable for some people, but it wouldn’t be a wholly accurate representation of the actual event. In our company, there are some performers who do very artistic pieces. We have comedic performances, thought-provoking numbers, and some truly bizarre acts. But the majority of our numbers will include strip tease, and at the beginning of the show, we’re going to remind you to show your appreciation for sweet moves and great reveals.
Much of the magic of strip tease is in making you anticipate what’s going to be under the top layer of the costume. The thrill is in making sure you see only what I want you to see when I want you to see it. When I draw my fingers over my collarbone, I want you to lean forward to watch their progression. More than that, I want your breath to catch when you feel their progression over your own collarbone. So while we could position our shows as entirely artistic, it would be dishonest. It would rob the performers of the positive power that we hold when we’re on stage eliciting a specific reaction from our audience, and it would be less truly artistic in the attempt to ease our audience’s unnecessary shame. We are voluntarily, happily, enthusiastically sharing this performance with you: there’s nothing illicit about it.
So once more for the people in the back: I draw no conclusions about you or your sexual predilections based on the size of the group you’re attending with. The rest of the audience aren’t sitting there clutching their pearls or judging your lack of purity because the seat next to you is empty. Take a drink, a deep breath, and a chance and let yourself experience something really cool. We’re going to get up there and share an intimate facet of our humanity with you, and that’s not perverse: it’s powerful.
As your cruise director, it is my responsibility to ensure you have a wonderful time aboard the S.S. Menagerie. This is not going to be a boring, quiet 2-hour harbour tour! Each of our two sailings includes some of the more amazing entertainers this side of the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Menagerie Burlesque Company’s usual roster of outrageous performers will be bringing you a most ‘naughty-cal’ evening of entertainment. Our classic beauty, Eva De La Manzana will be bringing to life another classic beauty. Sadie Sugarbottom, or perhaps Stripperbottom, will have some truly adult entertainment to share. Brigadier General Cornelius D. Longfellow, the 69th Earl of Coxford will be on hand (so to speak) in tribute to the storied military history of the S.S. Menagerie. She is a decommissioned frigate after all. Our very own sea siren, Foxxi Fuse, will be singing her heart out for you. We’ve got a great new dancer, Neil Ingman, gracing our stage. Vitamin D has an amazing new piece prepared … and it’s just too juicy to give away! Now, it wouldn’t be a cruise without onboard activities! We’ll have synchronized swimming and aerobics taught by the lovely ladies of the Menagerie! There will be a game with fabulous prizes, a poolside treat, a sea shanty sing-a-long and a photo booth to capture your trip for posterity. Your captain, Peter MorningWood, and I, Lola D’Moan, have an uncouth, uninhibited and unapologetic cruise planned for you! As soon as Captain MorningWood finds the keys to the ship we’ll set sail for fun, adventure and sexy times!
We sail from Village Guitar & Amp on Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 at 8:00 pm. Have your tickets an hour before sailing! $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
Bring your rubbers it’s going to be a wet ride!
Love, Magic & Seamen,
Lola D’Moan – Cruise Director – S.S. Menagerie
In anticipation of Sausage Fest 2: The Remounting, we cornered one of our Men of Burlesque to answer a couple of questions. Here’s the goods from Peter MorningWood
“It wasn’t my idea,” he said, before I could ask the first question. Fair enough. . .
Q: Sausage Fest 2 the Remounting is, obviously, a remount. Of all the shows The Menagerie have done, why do this one again?
Peter: We thought redoing the show would give Saskatoon audiences a better chance to go to a more frequented location. The people who will go see a show at Diva’s aren’t necessarily the same people who attended at the last venue.
It’s not a standard or classic burlesque show. The show itself is a celebration of diverse masculinity. People who would normally go see our shows will be surprised. They’ll see numbers that they wouldn’t normally see.
Q: Can you give us a sneak peek, as it were?
Peter: We’ve got the Dirtiest Barber Shop Quartet that you’ll see. You’ll never look at The Muppets again the same way. A nod to Victor/Victoria. And a lot of other surprises and some by-demand repeat performances. Because Freedom Pie!
Q: And what about the people who’ve seen it before?
Peter: There are a couple of numbers that weren’t in the November production that were requested.
Q: Are you looking forward to bringing back those popular pieces?
Peter: Yes! Each performance is a little different from night to night. We get the crowd involved. The crowd is the most important part of the performance, because there is no fourth wall. Period.
Q: Are you looking forward to doing more of a bar show? Do they offer a different kind of energy from theatre shows?
Peter: Yes and yes. You get a different type of upward energy as opposed to a theatre. Our theatre crowds can be very loud. Very fun. Very rowdy. In a bar show, you get to be loud, and fun, and rowdy back at them. The way you interact is different when you’re playing to a bar audience. We love our crowds, wherever they are.
Q: What would you say to burlesque show virgins to convince them to give it a try?
Peter: We start off with fun and awesome, and we take it to ridiculous. What you think might happen may not happen at all. You’ll be amazed. And. . . . you’ll be amazed. Take a chance on something that isn’t another mediocre movie. Because our main goal is that you have fun. We are here to entertain you.
And on that Nirvana note. . .
Sausage Fest 2: The Remounting is Friday, April 28 at Diva’s in downtown Saskatoon. Doors at 9:00, Show at 10:00.
$20 at the door.
Bring a friend. Bring two!
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Come see us at Dirty Birds, Dirty Words: Volume 2
The countdown is ON! There’s less than two weeks until our next show, and we’re getting positively hot under the collar about it. We can’t wait to show you our enormous. . . talent.
March 10 & 11 at the Remai Arts Centre. Call 1-306-384-7727 or contact your (very) friendly neighbourhood Menagerie Burlesque Company members for ticket information.
Dirty Birds, Dirty Words 2 features some of your favourite Menagerie Burlesque Company performers and several very special guests.
We will shock, delight, and amaze you with talented tongues, big reveals, and, (of course) sparkly boobs. So how could it possibly get any better?
Well. . . you could get to go for free. Click the link to see enter.
We’ll pick our lucky winner on Friday!
So recently we announced that we’re giving away a free Menagerie Burlesque T-shirt, and we know you’re all very excited about that.
BUT! What if you want to guarantee that the empty spot in your closet would soon be filled with a Menagerie Burlesque T-shirt? Well, worry not: you can order one, or three, or 17. If you really want to, you can order enough that you replace all other t-shirts in your closet with identical Menagerie Burlesque T-shirts. Getting dressed in the morning will be easier than ever!
Intrigued? Good. Take a look through the options below, decide what fits you best, then leave a comment here or contact us via Facebook to order yours for only $25 each. We’re accepting orders until December 7 for this inaugural run of awesome Sparkly Boobs wear, and don’t forget: your purchase supports local boobs and local art!
Curvy (“Women’s”) Fit: Sizes XS-4XL
• Black with White Logo (Round-Neck only)
• Charcoal with White Logo (Round-Neck or V-Neck)
• White with Black Logo (Round-Neck or V-Neck)
Straight (“Men’s”) Fit: Sizes XS-4XL
• Black with White Logo (Round-Neck or V-Neck)
• Charcoal with White Logo (Round-Neck or V-Neck)
• White with Black Logo (Round-Neck or V-Neck)
Hey, you. Yeah, that’s right. You, with the face.
We saw you checking out those tantalizing t-shirts. And let me tell you something: they’re every bit as great as you’re imagining. They fit all your bits in all the right ways. They’re comfy, the way only 100% cotton is comfy. They’re eye-catching, the way sparkly boobs are eye-catching. They’re generally awesome—just like the Menagerie Burlesque Company is! And if you’re lucky, you can have your very own FREE Menagerie Burlesque T-Shirt.
Oh, you read that right. But in case you didn’t believe it the first time, allow me to say it again: you can get an incredibly comfy, sexy, stylish Menagerie Burlesque Company T-Shirt for free. Click the link, tell us a little about, well. . .us, and ta-da! You’re entered to win.
Do it—you know you want to.
And do it right now—the contest will end on December 5th!
Big news. Big. HUGE.
Almost as big as the hair.
Oh, you KNOW it! Kiki Roquette is coming to Sausage Fest!
Kiki Roquette is known as “Saskatoon herself” when it comes to drag. After being the most visible drag queen in Saskatoon over the last 5 years, her reputation enters the room before she does. Good thing? Bad thing? You decide…
She’s done every gig a drag queen can do, from countless fundraisers and charitable events to weddings and bachelorette parties—and of course her sold our shows at Divas. Now that she’s semi-retired, you won’t see her nearly as much. But she’s shaving the beard and coming out for this sausage party. She’s always been a big fan of sausage.
We have a sneaking suspicion some of you are big fans of sausage, too. If we’re right, then we’ll see you (and you’ll see an awful lot of us) at the show.
We’re proud to present Marcel Petit’s short film Tomahawk Fever as part of our Sausage Fest celebration of masculinity.
Saskatchewan artist Marcel Petit has considerable experience in the arts. He is an independent producer, filmmaker, actor, photographer and playwright from Saskatoon where he runs his independent production company m.pet productions.
Marcel has several film and video works to his name including short dramatic pieces to several short videos to feature documentaries. He is a community activist and strong believer in hope and change.
He also loves Star Wars and is a Metis Jedi.
Intrigued? Good. We can’t wait to satisfy your curiosity.
Sausage Fest! A Burlesque Show
November 18 & 19 at the Nutana Legion in Saskatoon
Tickets $20 • Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:00 • 19+ Event