Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vinny's Q&A: Intimate Wear and How to Wear it!

Dear Ms. Velour, I’m fairly new to the world of burlesque and I’m unsure about what sort of foundation wear I should start buying, not just for the stage but also for under my new vintage evening wear. Could you please point me in the right direction of some good retailers, and what kind I should invest in? Thanks!

  Sincerely,

Panty-less but not penny-less

 

  Hello there Panty-less,

  First off great question! There are a lot of misguided foundation wear shoppers out there, who are under the impression that anything goes with everything! There are some basic rules that should always be followed when shopping for new undergarments, and you can quote me on this, but the most important investment pieces are your brassieres, knickers, controls, and stockings. 

So let’s start with brassieres, depending on your personal tastes you can choose a very vintage “bullet” or “torpedo” ultimately teardrop shaped bra to accompany your vintage duds or go for a very modern rounder, fuller “balloon” shaped cup. The choice is yours darling. I personally have a variety of both depending on the occasion and my outfit. It’s perfectly fine to switch it up, go with whatever makes you feel comfortable and sexy. Remember this is a personal decision, one that you should really dig on!

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Next we’ll discuss knickers, or panties. You should always maintain three varieties of panties: practical, pretty, and performance.  And yes I came up with that little ditty all on my own. Practical meaning comfortable, and probably cotton, this type is totally acceptable under those hot high-waisted clam diggers, or your favorite pair of Levis, just make sure you don’t have any visible lines, it completely destroys the illusion! The second type, pretty, are the ones you wear out on the town that make you feel all dolled up! These most likely have a ruffle or strategically placed bows, etc.  Pretty undies give you an air of “come hither” and empowerment, which no one can quite place their finger on (wink).  The third and final type is perhaps the most important when it comes to burlesquing, and stage performance.  Performance undies should always result from careful costume coordination. They should always reflect the style, tone, and functionality that your routine requires.  For example if you’re going the route of a faux-merkin you probably don’t want to glue that sucker on a boy short, shoot for a nude g-string.  While boy shorts, thongs, briefs, string-sided bikinis, and g-strings are all very much accepted and widely used; the employment of one of these styles should begin first with your comfort level. No one is going to blame you for going the route of comfort, especially not me.  If you personally don’t feel g-strings are your thing, nix ‘em all together and go with what you want, just make sure to make a routine to match.  Remember, choose what you feel sexiest in, and your confidence will show to the audience.

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Oh the dreaded controls, these would be your girdles, corsets, corselettes, garter belts, and waist cinchers. These things are entirely optional, I cannot stress that enough. There’s a reason we’re in the 21st century…i.e. we don’t have to subscribe to these methods anymore…okay there’s my public announcement, now onto advice should you choose to wear these. I personally go both ways (and yes in that way too). With some garments I feel it necessary to wear my (girdle bound) purple waist to thigh girdle, and with others a good belt goes a long way. I highly recommend fabric waist cinchers as an alternative to girdles if you are wearing control top pantyhose or if you want more mobility.  Corselettes are an all in one shaper. They are like a bra, waist cincher, and girdle garter belt rolled together, this way you only have one additional layer under your ensemble, and you don’t have to worry about it slipping or moving with your other layers. Garter belts are a must if you are wearing thigh highs, first off that peek-a-boo look is to die for, secondly just using garters actually ruins your legs by cutting off circulation and gives you varicose veins earlier. Corsets, the mother of all shape wear, where to begin…unless you’re waist training you probably will want something flashy to just wear around as outerwear or the center piece of your routine’s costume. I highly recommend shelling out the extra dough if you’ve got it to have one custom made for you, this only enhances the fit and overall look you’ll have with it, believe you me it shows.

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Last but certainly not least, stockings. Stockings are essential. Stockings are intrinsic. I cannot say enough positive things about these marvelously crafted little pieces of silk and nylon. However they can be sorely misused.  The most popular styles of stockings used in performance are nude fishnets, and black thigh-highs. There is a reason for this, they look stunning on stage. Nothing is neater than thinking a dancer has no stockings on her legs and then seeing her do a toe-pull with nude fishnets. It’s all about illusion. Never, and I repeat NEVER wear control top pantyhose on a stage, there is absolutely no cause for this. Those are strictly for use under garments, which is why they have unsightly different colored tops and stitching…because no one is meant to see them! Thigh highs or full pantyhose without the top banding are stage worthy. Always coordinate your stockings with your ensemble. Don’t forget sometimes multiple pairs of stockings are needed, although this move is just a preference thing. Some dancers prefer to wear a pair of nude dancing tights underneath their knickers and then the showy pair on top that is to be removed.  Also if you’re planning on wearing your knickers on top of your hose, make sure the tops of both of these garments match up, one should never be above the other!  Remember the illusion bit? If they don’t match your skin tone though, I wouldn’t go the route of multiple layers. Then depending on your skin tone, you should seek out a pair that matches you best, even experiment with hand dying your stockings (because we all know that department stores cater to one skin tone mostly, and sadly it doesn’t represent the rest of the female population). 

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I tried to be explicit as possible, and hopefully you will find this all helpful and useful. Below I will include some of my favorite sites to purchase intimate wear, and most of all good luck doll!

 

http://girdlebound.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=GVG&Category_Code=AIOAC

 http://www.cameo-intimates.com/

http://www.dollhousebettie.com/

 And don’t forget Ebay.com and Etsy.com and your local vintage/antique stores!

 

xoxo

Vinny

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Halloween Show - THE WAKE in Deep Ellum!

So, yours truly absolutely LOVES Halloween - when else can you dress up crazy and become someone totally different, and be given CANDY for it??? Awesome! So, here's my Halloween candy treat for you -

The Wake, hosted by Nomad Arts, will be a night of infinite fun, fright, mayhem and adventure!

Live music from 6 of Dallas' hottest bands with 7 drop dead gorgeous burlesque performers!
DJs and video projections on 3 separate floors.

Massive 15,000 sq.ft. 3 story event complex.
Including lounge areas and rooftop patio facing downtown.

Costume contest with $1,000 in cash and prizes!

I'm even featured on the website, along with my fellow lovely friends performing that evening! Check us out!

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See you there??

Vivienne

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is a Christmas show you won't forget!

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www.myspace.com/giftsandgarters

Now, I'm among the throngs of folks who HATE seeing Christmas stuff crammed down our throats before Halloween.... but... it's NEVER too early for burlesque, even a Christmas burlesque revue! Add the above page and keep watch for new and exciting news! I will be a featured performer at this show, debuting my biggest, most sparkliest (is that a word? Can I make it a word?) routine YET. Don't miss this! Also - add thier sister show -

www.myspace.com/hotrodsandheels

It was an AMAZING show last May, and it proves to be great again this next year!

Cheers!

Vivienne

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hey all you hip cats and cool chicks, ready for some real interaction with yours truly?

...Sorry boys and girls, not that kind of interaction...

What I'm talking about is the brand spankin' new Q & A portion of this blog! That's right you will be able to submit all of your atomic age, pin up, burlesque lifestyle questions and you'll leave the answering to me! Have a question about vintage hair products? Or maybe what foundation wear is best worn under satin? Want some good literature on this swinging performance art? How about what drink to order that pretty thing at the end of the bar? Ask away, the topics are limitless! Please do keep topics as specific as possible though so I can help you out as best I can dolls! Questions should be answered within two weeks of submission!

Please submit all questions to vinnyvelour@gmail.com 

xoxo
Vinny

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Herstory of a Tempest

What’s 44DD-25-35, red all over and has a wicked sense of humor? Well if my title didn’t give it away, you’ve been living under that proverbial rock. Still need a hint?  She’s one of the most beloved Ecdysiasts of all time! Okay now everyone together say, “ Tempest Storm”…see dolls, you’re catching on.  Her name wasn’t always so provocative though, like many of our other well-known femme fatales of Burlesque, she too had a humble and obstacle-ridden beginning.

Tempest was actually born Annie Blanche Banks, in the very small town of Eastman, Georgia to sharecropping parents.  A place she fled as soon as she could. She led a very tumultuous life up until her mid 20s; surviving constant sexual abuse at the hand of her father as well as being raped by a local gang. An event that was not easily overcome for Annie. Despite the violence around her, Annie eventually married and divorced twice and ended up leaving that town, to put the past behind her and she moved on to start a new life. One she decidedly would not live in fear of.  Annie was a survivor.

In the 1950s she legally adopted her stage name, Tempest Storm. She landed gigs right away due to her winning personality; her sharp mind…and her “money makers” (as she affectionately referred to her own breasts). She got her start as a chorus girl before establishing herself in some memorable “c” films and on stage. She was most notable for the exquisite control she had over her body, and her natural flaming red hair. She called the Oakland Theatre home for a number of years. She also graced many stages in Las Vegas, and around the world for that matter performing her exceptional burlesque routines. She has adorned the covers of countless magazines for both women and men, and has become a cult icon due to her performances in films like Irving Klaw’s Teaserama (also featuring our beloved Bettie Page).  Tempest is said to have had the longest burlesque performance career, spanning over an astounding 40 years! Tempest made it her mission to break down social taboos, and continued to disrobe into her 60s, embracing her figure and flaunting it with pride (Muller/Faris, Grindhouse). Even though she officially retired at the age of 60, she continues to make special appearances and one-time-only performances.

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This dame knew what life was about, and chose to embrace it and live it to its fullest! She has inspired and empowered throngs of women ever since she began performing, and say what you will, she is still shakin’ it in her 80s! This is one icon of a woman, who did the unpopular thing by divorcing herself of not just her husbands but of her prescribed societal gender role too! Be sure to check out the many films featuring our lovely Tempest, and pick up her biography (Tempest Storm: The Lady Is a Vamp) while you’re at it!

tempest

xoxo

Vinny

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's Denton, featuring Kali Ann!

I am so happy to announce that we are bringing Dallas model Kali Ann to our Dr. Sketchy's session on Oct. 11th! It will be at Banter cafe, and it will be amazing! Halloween themed, so bring your spooky sketchpads and be prepared to sketch the AMAZING TATTOOED LADY, watch performances from Jade Pearl and Bridgette Noir, and see Zamra eat FIRE! DAMN!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

The Flaming Dames bite into the Windy City

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Chicago IL- On September 25th, The Flaming Dames, Chicago’s premier concept burlesque troupe, are back to drain audiences dry and leave them screaming for more in their highly anticipated annual Halloween offering, and this time it’s a sequel: Vamp II. The wickedly sexy Veruca Venom, Scarlett Night, Fiona Fang, Missy Massacre, and Stella Strange return to sink their teeth into the night and become vicious blood sucking vampires hell bent on teasing and titillating rabid fans through the witching hour. And back in the fold to help lighten the mood are the Masters of Ceremony Mr. Vampire and Ms. Zombie bringing their signature comedy ‘stylings’ incorporating some of the scariest things since Joan Rivers. Halloween season’s getting started in Chicago, and The Flaming Dames in Vamp II will remind those who come out, just why you should be afraid of the dark.

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The Flaming Dames in Vamp II marks the 13th production since 2003 for the venerable Chicago troupe and their fourth with a horror theme. In recent years the Dames have wowed audiences with the enormously successful Bump & Grindhouse, Hell’s Belles, and Vamp revues. "The concentration in Vamp II has definitely been on the choreography,” says Music Manager and contributing Choreographer Meagan Piccochi. “We’ve assembled some incredible talent that will be showcased.”

“Since the first Vamp in 2005, we’ve been taking it to the next level each year, pushing the envelope as far as possible,” explains Writer, Director, and Flaming Dames creator Leslie Kerrigan. Describing the attraction to horror-themed revues, Kerrigan adds, “there is something extremely compelling about the energy and chemistry generated by horror-themed burlesque that we’ve been able to harness.”

"I have a massive vampire obsession, so I am ecstatic to share that dark, sensual character with our fantastic audiences,” describes Ellen Domonkos, who plays a dual role as both choreographer and cast member.

The Flaming Dames in Vamp II is just one half of New Millennium Theatre Company's seasonal fun with the world premiere of Plans 1 Through 8 From Outer Space opening concurrently down the street at National Pastime Theater. NMTC have become the go-to ghouls for raising Halloween spirits on Chicago’s north side in recent years with the Flaming Dames’ continued success and stage productions including The Texas Chainsaw Musical, Manos: Rock Opera of Fate, Hack Slash: Stage Fright, and Evil Dead: The Musical.

The Flaming Dames in Vamp II runs Friday nights at 10:15 pm, September 25 through October 30 at The Spot, 4437 N. Broadway in Chicago. There will be no performance on Friday October 9. Special Halloween performances on Saturday, October 31st at 7:45 pm and 10:15 pm. Advance tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.nmtchicago.org or reserved by calling 312-458-9083. Half price tickets available at www.goldstar.com while supplies last. Limited tickets are available at the door.

I had the opportunity to speak with this EXTREMELY talented bunch... and wow! I love thier passion, energy and drive to do what they do! Stay tuned for the follow up interview to come! If you are in the Chicago area, you NEED to stay up with this group and see this show!

Cheers!

Vivienne

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Michelle L'Amour

Michelle L'Amour, Miss Exotic World 2005, is an international burlesque sensation. She has performed for millions of people both in person and on TV, with her appearance on the 1st season of America's Got Talent. She resides in Chicago where she owes Studio L'amour, Chicago's only burlesque dance school. Michelle also runs the Chicago Starlets and produces shows with Franky Vivid. L'amour's newest project is Naked Girls Reading. It began in Chicago and has since opened in Denver and Dallas, and is soon coming to New York, New Orleans, and Key West.

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Photos by Pez, NakedLens.Org and Sopheava


1.) You have a degree in accounting, correct? How did you get into burlesque from there?

Yes, I have a degree in finance. Bleh. I suppose it's helping me now in my career because I own a production company and a dance school, but I much prefer the burlesque. I got into burlesque after college. I was approached by Franky Vivid to choreograph and dance in a burlesque show. I said, 'sure', not really knowing what it was all about. But, once I heard the music, I was hooked and knew exactly what to do. I have a background in classical dance, but they don't teach you this is those classes! I had been training for this my whole life before I even knew what it was.

2.) What performance/venue/location have/do you love to perform at? Why?

I love to perform at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. It's a gorgeous 750 seat, 80 yr. old movie house. It has a great red curtain and so much character. I love it!

3.) Tell us a little about a challenge you've faced this year, and about a great achievement!

I think one of my proudest moments was selling out the Music Box Theater this year. That audience was great and it felt awesome performing for them. The challenges I've had have been many. It's difficult to balance running a dance school, running a company, and traveling to pursue my own career. I think all is working out nicely now that I'm in a groove.

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Photo by Sopheava


4.) Where do you get the inspiration for the creative ideas and events you come up with (ie Naked Girls Reading) ?

Well, I was reading naked at home and Franky found me and he realized he always had a thing for that image. Then we started joking about an event called Naked Girls Reading and we bought a website. We thought we would just do this on the internet and we sat on it for about 2 years. Then when I opened the studio, I thought it might be cool to do it as a live event. So, here we are! We started it at the studio in March of 2009. We thought we couldn't just keep this event to ourselves so we opened it up to other cities.

5.) I have the pleasure of meeting both you and Frankie back in March, and he's a doll! Tell us a little about your onstage wedding at MEW this year!

I was super nervous! I performed right before the wedding and I don't even know what happened in the performance, because I knew what was about to happen. The piece I did was on a giant heart and it ends with me getting all oiled up. In order to get married, I had to wipe the oil off me before I put on the wedding address. I made it a spectacle and had the Chicago Starlets wipe off my oil and dress me for the wedding while I was on stage. Then, I went to Franky and Miss Astrid married us in an eye patch. I was very happy for the comic relief because I'm super sappy and didn't want to cry the entire time. I cried a lot anyway because I can't help myself.

6.) Any goals for this year?

I would like to open more Naked Girls Reading in other cities. I would like to take a honeymoon. I would like to take over the world. :-)

7.) Make up and answer your own question

Would the world be a better place if people just agreed with me?
Yes, yes it would.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Michelle perform many times and she just gets better every time! I saw the full "Most Naked Woman" routine in New Orleans at the Fest and MAN! The heart shaped bed is just the TOPPING on the cake! Word is that she may be coming a comeback to Dallas next spring... keep tuned to my blog and I will let you know ALL the details as they arise!

Cheers!

Vivienne

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reclaiming the Burly-Q: Appropriating it as a Feminist Performance Art

In the activist world of reclamation, who decides what should be fought for and what gets left on the wayside? One thing that third wave feminists can agree on is that we don’t always agree. Whoa, that’s right you’ve seen that dirty word feminism twice now! Let’s define it shall we dears, just to clear up any misconceptions. When you read that go ahead and substitute it for the struggle for social, political and economic equality between men and women. There we go, moving on! Now, being a sex-positive feminist (go look it up baby doll it’s some good sexy reading) I feel very passionate about reclaiming specific creative outlets such as the performance art of Burlesque. I myself have participated in burlesque shows and am fully active in the burgeoning Pin Up culture in DFW, and cannot adequately describe the empowerment I feel when I get on stage or sell some pasties to another broad at a show! 

This isn’t just striptease…far from it. This is about expression and entertainment, about gorgeous rockabilly/pyschobilly/goth/rock/glam/ what-have-you ladies of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities getting on stage and knockin’ everyone dead by how in control they are. It’s mesmerizing when done right, and boy do those women know how to do it right! This is a harkening back to a classier standard of performance, one in which pride can be taken. This is about women deciding when, where, and how they will shake it! When these ladies demonstrate the love of their bodies and the satisfaction they feel from a cheering audience, it is always sexy. I’ve had the sincere pleasure of working and interacting with quite a few of the up and comings in the North Texas and DFW burly-q circuit…and frankly I’m hooked! It never fails that in every troupe there are beautiful, unconventional, empowered, and bold women who are just plain obsessed with Pin up culture and they have their bright eyes set on takin’ back the golden era of burlesque! 

See, women got shafted in the 1940s and 1950s…and well, this unfortunately carries on presently. But no more, we want this time back, and in full glory! Burlesque that is for women by women, and pro-woman is thankfully not at all hard to find anymore. There is a new breed of burlesque taking over; one where tattoos and body modifications are welcomed, and where the "any figured" woman can feel at home on stage! With each performance these classy dames are re-writing the standard of beauty, which has been bias and unnatural for far too long. So the next time you feel like participating in a little activism, go to a burly-q and support your local Pin ups and Burly-q Queens and prepare to be seduced and shimmied into satisfaction! 

xoxo

Vinny

Lady Divina

Unless you have been living under a rock, chances are you know about the fabulous woman who I will be interviewing this week. She personifies elegance, grace, and timeless beauty (you'd swear she was born in the wrong time period.) She is Lady Divina, the raven haired entertainer who has been a beacon in the DFW burlesque scene. She, along with Diamond Jim, have brought many famous burlesque entertainers to DFW, including Michelle L'Amour, Kitten DeVille, and soon Kalani Kokonuts and Rene L'Roux! Her penchant for classic burlesque keeps her legion of fans begging for more, and her attention to detail (right down to the rhinestoned stilettos) make women everywhere drool (including me, she got me hooked on Swarovski's!) Read on to discover more about your beloved Divina!


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1.) How did you get into burlesque?

I have always been in love with the 30’s and 40’s era. I’ve seen Dita von Teese three times in Dallas and I fell in love with the art of the tease. I’ve always talked about dabbling in burlesque and pin-up modeling. I finally got into pin-up modeling a few years ago and Jill Rasco, one of my favorite photographers asked me to do a burlesque number in her website launch party at the Church. Well, the rest is history!


2.) Who are your main influences?

I would have to say, even though I have the upmost respect for Dita von Teese, it is her contemporary, Catherine D’Lish who has inspired me the most. She is the reason I wanted to give burlesque a try. I am also influenced by the sirens and femme fatales of the silver screen, Mae West (we are born on the same day), Ava Gardener, Heddy Lamarr, and Elizabeth Taylor.


3.) You are known for your beautiful routines decked out in Swarovski crystals... how long does it take you to finish a costume generally?

Some of my costumes can take a few weeks, but most of them take a few months. Hand-placing Swarovskis on costumes can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Most of my corsets are custom made from a corset maker from California. I currently have a costume that is being custom made by my costume consultant friend, which may take over a month for the gown alone, not including the thousands of Swarovskis rhinestones that will be hand placed on the lace.






4.) What has been a challenge for you this year, and what has been your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest challenge is this year is keeping up with the high standards, as the Dallas burlesque community keeps raising the bar with each and every performance. There are some fabulous and creative talent that is wowing the audiences with over the top numbers and routines. I’m trying my very best to keep up with dazzling costumes and bigger routine ideas.
My biggest accomplishment is that our show is constantly booking national talent & the brightest local performers. WE have one of the best stages in town to call home to our productions (see Lakewood Theater).


5.) Having accomplished so much this year, and so many more things in the works, how do you blow off steam and keep sane?

I do a lot of bicycling, it’s great exercise and very therapeutic. Pasty making is also therapeutic for me; there is a method and process to it, which I enjoy.


6.) What is in store for La Divina and La Divina Productions in the future?

I got some great shows coming up in the very near future. We just finished our Dallas debut of Naked Girls Reading, created by our favourite Chicago performer, Michelle L’amour. The show was a huge hit and we are currently working on the next show for mid November. This month we have the Nouvelle Burlesque at the Lakewood Theater, which the winner of the burlesque competition will get a spot in our Burlesque Nocturne Revue in October. The Burlesque Nocturne will arguable be our most extravagant show, featuring the current Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Kalani Kokonuts. Visit www.ladivinaburlesque.com for more details.
And by no means are we slowing down from there! We have two shows that are in the works, including one with a huge burlesque celebrity, Catherine D'Lish! So, keep tuned to the Dallas website, www.dallasburlesque.com.

If Divina says it is exciting, then you better believe I'll be on board! I went to the Naked Girls reading with my friend Cayla of Decadent Dame Designs, and let me tell you, do not miss the next one! It is a fun event that you will never forget!

Keep on the lookout in the next week, I have brought on Ms. Vinny Velour, a newcomer to the burlesque scene, to be a guest writer for the Daily Shot! Give her a shoout out when she makes her debut post, let her know how much you love her!

Cheers!

Vivienne