Sunday, 25 March 2018

Burlesque for Beginners

 As the song goes…. ‘Where do you go to my lovely …. ?’

Traditional Burlesque 

So you have a lovey outfit, fab shoes and a fashionable hairdo, the next question is where to go to show them off.
My enjoyment comes from going out to venues and places such as restaurants, night clubs, concerts and dances.

Living in the South West of the UK we have to drive for at least an hour in any direction for a nice venue, so a night out is an important event and quite a commitment.
We often try to tie some shopping in with a visit to the cinema, ballet or theater with a meal to round off the night.

Dawn - enjoying a Burlesque show

Getting dressed up for a lovely night out with friends is a great experience and just having a meal is something just about anyone can do. It just takes a little positive thinking to take the first step and you soon realise that you are just another paying customer and there is no big deal.
I frequently use the Pizza Express chain as they seem to have a very supportive policy towards TG individuals, not that I’ve ever looked up their policy, but from visiting numerous venues all over the country. I have always been treated with respect and exactly like all the other customers. (Which is exactly how it should be!)

Going to the cinema or theater are also great venues to visit as you can spend the night out in a nice outfit whilst enjoying the latest production with minimal interaction with others unless you want to.  
We have been to various venues all over the UK to see shows and ballets and on occasions have struck up conversations with people sitting next to us about a whole range of subjects. Chances are that you’ll never meet them again but have shared the event and connected with them on different levels.

However our favorite event for a fun night out is a ‘Burlesque’ show!
We are very lucky in that there is a high quality Burlesque venue in the South West that holds shows every few weeks, attracting some of the best dancers in the world who perform some wonderful dances that titivate and tantalize, with out being smutty.

The Performance - Its All About Titivation

So, what is Burlesque I hear you ask….
Burlesque has its origins in the music halls and vaudeville theater houses where short sketches were needed to entertain the patrons during the resetting of the stage in between acts, and keep the audience from becoming impatient.

So a saucy, humorous art form developed which has progressed to encompass political satire, acrobatics, classical ballet and a host of other skills whilst seductively removing clothing with out becoming crude. 

The dances are all unique and loosely follow a basic form in how the clothes are removed, then discarded, how each body part is displayed, ending in the grand ‘reveal’.
Its often humorous, and may have some slapstick thrown in for good measure. There is a classical style which employs the use of ostrich feather fans and seductive posing that is enchanting to watch.

Outfits can be outrageous - Violet Chanchki 
The audience that attends these events are often very keen to participate in the event by dressing the part. A mixture of ‘Betty Page’, rock-a-Billy, 1950’s retro styles, coupled with steam punk, top hat and tails or jazz band bowlers tend to reflect the ‘anything goes’ attitude to the events.  Transgender is just part of the flavor of the evening and often well supported by all. The burlesque crowed are generally supportive of anything ‘alterative in nature’, and non-judgmental of others.

Audience Participation is Expected !! 
The idea of Burlesque incorporates something along the lines of the French ‘Mullion Rouge’ night club with corsets, stockings and feathers are seen in abundance both on and off the stage. It’s a place to see and be seen ! Often the audiences’ outfits can outshine the acts!!
The performers work hard to keep their acts fresh so often display new material, with more outrageous and inventive costumes which they find more adventurous ways of removing whilst on stage.
Classical burlesque is very stylish – as an example -

The expectation of a burlesque show requires active participation by the audiences, and include whooping, cheering clapping and stamping of feet when the performers discard an article of apparel or performs a cheeky action that titivates the crowd.

Yes - you get to see a lot of flesh -But its in the best possible taste ! 
There are a few drag performers who perform Burlesque. Often the drag performer is comic in nature, which falls in line with the burlesque scene, however some are more classical.
One is Violet Chanchki, ( who performs a variety of styles, one of which is an aerobatic act involving a hoop, where she removes her costume while swinging high above the stage.

Violet Chanchki 
Vintage female impersonator, Vicki Lynn, performed with the likes of Betty Page and Tempest Strom in the 1950’s setting the standard for others to follow.

The Gorgeous Vick Lynn 

Burlesque is seen as an empowering event, as it is not focused on the ‘perfect body’, as many plus sized, disabled and coloured performers, as well as ‘Boylesque’ dancers take to the stage to give wonderful performances that would knock your socks off!!

Positive role models and empowerment 

For example Jacqueline Boxx performs in her wheel chair and explains how performing makes her feel

There are events going on all over the world and it’s a fab night out – so give it a go and see if you enjoy it as much as I do.

Dawn with the Cafe de Paris Burlesque dancers 

Note - I have linked youtube clips and uploaded some photos of dancers from the internet

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Passing Time

Well that was 2017 … During which I reached the magic age of 60 and still feel I’m in my teens or early 20’s.  
The Trans community has moved on and become more visible, a feeling of more understanding, tolerance and possibly acceptance seems to be in the air.

Flying the Flag for TG

Many people have now met a Transgender person in their daily lives and the world hasn’t stopped revolving.
Over in the US they have had the usual political roller coaster of laws being passed and revoked, of statements and counter statements with transgender people being the aunt sally in the middle. Bathrooms and military service being bound together in broadcasts from the law makers and military chiefs who attempt to deem what is and what is not acceptable in the face of perceived threat from the Transgender population.
Meantime, the regular abuse and murder of the transgender population seems to continue with the international role of the lost becoming longer annually.

My year has been one of fun and enjoyment, with some great times out and about, some lovely trips away and some great times with friends.
We have been to several burlesque events in the southwest, danced our heels off to some fabulous bands and singers, seen some great films and met some lovely people.
I’ve enlarged my shoe collection with more Irregular Choice heels and had to say good-by to a pair of my favorite ones that sadly died in service when we were in London.

My Departed Flick-Flack's

Work has been steady with my offshore rotation flights generally being on time until the last trip of the year!! My part time consultancy work has found me with some lovely new friends in Abingdon and Didcot, where I learned all about the super scientific work going on in the field of neutron energy whilst assessing the various individuals working there with the various dangerous substances – who says nursing can’t be interesting !! 

Nursing can be all the Fun of the Fair! 

So what of 2018 ….. what will the year bring?
Obviously work will be taking up a lot of time both offshore and onshore.
We’ve got some trips overseas again as usual – Iceland for a couple of weeks, a trip to Germany again to have some more work on the Landover and possibly a trip to somewhere warm in the Landover later in the year.
I’ve seen my rota for the year and it looks promising for attending Sparkle but not too good for Goodwood. There are a few burlesques to attend in the SW, and in London there is a burlesque festive that runs most of the year that looks fun.
I’m sure we will add a few more fun things to do to fill up the calendar by the time the year gets underway.

Green and Smiling

What ever you are doing and have planed, I hope that you have a happy, healthy and beneficial 2018. 


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Fashionable Sole Trader

Like many, I have developed an individual dress sense and enjoy to dress in my own style.

I am now 60 years of age (it’s a shock that I’ve made it this far !!) and have not only matured in my age, but also in my style.
Lindy Bop with Faith Shoes
Style is not static, it’s a dynamic process that grows as you absorbed ideas and fashion trends. What looked good on you when you were in your 20’s may not look good on you in your 50’s, so one has to adapt.

There are exceptions, such as fetish fashions and cos-play, but the general rule of thumb is to pass you need to dress your age in a style that suits you.

The areas that I receive my influence from are not from the fashion magazines or the television, but from the real world, sitting in a tea shop watching the world go by; observing women of my age and build; noticing what they are wearing and how; what accessories, shoes, scarfs, coats & colours; and then analyzing why it looks good.
Goodwood Revival Vintage Style 

I have a passion for 1950’s fashion and find that the elegance and grace of the era carries on into modern times as a timeless style that fit into just about any occasion. Styles from Lindy-Bop are among my favorite.
 ‘Hobble dresses and ‘A’ line flared dresses have never really gone out of style and mid calf fitted dresses portray a semi-formal appearance that is chic and classy, whilst maintaining practicality and elegance.

Ok. They are a bit formal to wear shopping for food, but fine for other social situations.
Irregular Choice with a Taylor Made Dress - (a gift from my sister)

I also understand, from my observations whilst sitting in the high street watching the population wander by, the majority of women don’t wear skirts or dresses nowadays. Jeans, leggings and comfortable trousers are the norm for most. So I follow the trend and match the styles and have jeans leggings and trousers too, and to go with these the shoes are generally less dressy and more comfortable. Low heels and boots are most popular in the autumn, winter and spring, with open sandals reserved for the ‘warmer, drier’ days of the short British summer.

Summer Day Wear 

However for the night time – all is not lost!
Depending on the venue and occasion, the choice of outfits and styles are more variable, with colours, length and material being matched to your own imagination.

Out in London for a Show - Phase 8 dress 

As I said at the beginning, what suits you when you are younger may not suit you as you mature and your style should match that. This is very important in evening wear as presenting as mutton dressed up as lamb is not a good look for many occasions.
I had some lovely short floatey dresses that I used to wear out to the clubs in London in the 80’s which still fit me, however I would look rather silly in them nowadays.
I love the phase 8 styles and have several of their dresses that I wear often

My weakness however is for shoes, and I know that I’m not alone in this !!
I have a lovely selction of heels and boots and comfortable shoes to fit just about every occasion .. and fill a wardrobe from floor to celling as well.

A Few of My Irregular Choice Shoes 
My favorite shoes are from the ‘irregular choice’ range, whose designs are wacky yet practical and are not shrinking violets or boring black.

However I also have a problem in that I had a motorcycle accident in my younger years that has left me with a tendency to walk on the outside of my foot, so tend to ruin the heels very quickly by wearing them down on one side which quickly becomes very un-elegant when walking.
I have to have my favorite shoes re-heeled regularly to keep my feet flat and heels in line with my legs otherwise they can quickly start to lean.

Wedges and wider heels tend to reduce this affect, I still have a large section of narrow heels that I love and wear often. Shoe makers like ‘Hush-Puppies’ are great for the wider heels and so are ‘Ruby Shoo’.
When I was at school, Hush-Puppies were the dreaded shoes that your mother bought you to wear. They were practical and hard wearing, not stylish in any way. Now all that has changed. They provide a range that is comfortable and stylish in a range of modern colours, whilst still being practical shoes for every occasion. 

Shopping for Irregular Choice 

So the quest for the right combination of shoes and outfit with the right accessories is an ongoing venture that all must undertake to be classy, stylish and fashionable with out becoming frumpy or bazaar. 

My Dresses Being Worn - With  Nicky Stevens 

Practice and confidence are important, but understanding your own body shape and dressing to your age are necessary too, balanced with individuality and panache. Then you can truly develop your own style.  
(.........And we haven’t even touched on hair and makeup!) 

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