27 June 2008

Yeah, yeah. It's Friday. So sue me! For this week's "'Artists I Love': Burlesque Edition" we turn to one of my all-time favorite performers, and Miss Viva Las Vegas 2008. It's none other than the very tall, very sassy ...

Dizzy Von Damn!

photo by Laura Creecy, swiped from Dizzy's Myspace site

Yes, the exclamation point is part of her name.

Comedy is a big part of Burlesque. It's right there in the name (the derivation of burlesque is the Latin for "nonsense" or "joke"). With the unshakable logic of a Vulcan, Dizzy takes a concept, finds the comedic germ at the heart of it, and proceeds to rhinestone the hell out of it. Of all the performers I've seen who are based in L.A., Dizzy comes the closest to out-right performance art. This is not to say she doesn't bring the sexiness. Ho-boy does she ever! It just means that when she performs, the genius behind the act is irresistible, so that every hoot is punctuated by a guffaw.

Each reveal seems to have its own punchline. Her "Peek-a-Boo" number is a prime example of this. I don't want to give too much away, but through the course of the act eyeballs keep popping up. And every time an article of clothing comes off (revealing yet another eyeball or two) the response is simply riotous. Her numbers possess a finely focused unity of concept throughout that really set them apart. She speaks a bit about how she comes up with these numbers on a past Burlesque Podcast.

photo by Dan Hendricks, also swiped from Dizzy's Myspace site.

Check out the bra: not just eyes, but they're blinking. So don't get the wrong impression of Dizzy, that she's a coldly calculating comedian. Understand that these numbers work as well as they do because of the personal whimsy she injects. (Does that make her more of a Romulan than a Vulcan?)

Dizzy is drifting in the direction of hosting, which I would love to see. She has an infectious smile and an appealing onstage presence, and I believe she'd excel in the role of emcee. Dizzy can hold an audience in the palm of her hand, as when she takes the stage to deliver her "Off Color Joke" at Victory Variety Hour. And she recently revealed another hidden talent, singing "Somewhere That's Green" at The Monday Night Tease.

Dizzy Von Damn! is a featured regular in Burlesque-a-Go-Go at Mr. T's Bowl in Highland Park, and in Victory Variety Hour at El Cid. She can also be seen frequently at The Monday Night Tease at 3 Clubs in Hollywood. Your best bet is to befriend her on MySpace, and look for performance dates as bulletins.

E2: The Everything Test 2

There are many different types of tests on the internet today. Personality tests, purity tests, stereotype tests, political tests. But now, there is one test to rule them all.Traditionally, online tests would ask certain questions about your musical tastes or clothing for a stereotype, your experiences for a purity test, or deep questions for a personality test.We're turning that upside down - all the questions affect all the results, and we've got some innovative results too!
Version 2 is leaner, meaner, and features a more mature and varied set of questions than the previous test. Enjoy!
Character Traits
Life Experience
PoliticsYour political views would best be described as Libertarian, while philosophically you tend to think like a Conservative. Socioeconomic
Your attitude toward life best associates you with Middle Class. You make more than 69% of those who have taken this test, and 31% less than the U.S. average.
You tend to think more like an artist than an engineer. Location-wise, you would probably be a good fit for the City.
brought to you by thatsurveysite

Bizarre. Pammy did this quiz, and I had to take it myself to really understand ... at times it feels like a covert blackmail operation.

I would like to know how it's possible to both have libertarian political views and be philosophically conservative. Not exactly the same thing. (I highly endorse the World's Smallest Political Quiz as the most accurate and most balanced political quiz of all time. Not bad for something invented forty years ago!)

And what the hell do those percentiles mean, anyhow? How is it I score a 40% on relationships? What the hell metric are they using, anyhow?

0% on driven, independent, optimistic, outgoing and social? What the hell kind of no-life sloth am I supposed to be?

I hate these things.

26 June 2008

This week's Tuesday's Artists I Love -- Burlesque Edition! is running a bit late, again.

The problem, in part, is deciding who to write about! There is so much talent in the burlesque scene, it can be a bit overwhelming. And not just the girls, mind you ... there are great hosts like Gary Shapiro and Chris Beyond, sideshow artists like Rev. Tommy Gunn, and musicians like Creekbird. Not to mention the photogs and videographers who are doing the hard work of documenting this moment in time for the ages!

Last night Red and I went to Lucha Va Voom! for the first time, so I have plenty to talk about. Oh heck, I haven't posted anything here about my big Weezer Hootenanny experience! So I have a ton of blogging to do.

20 June 2008

An Anthology of One Acts for L.A.
My new theatre company is currently presenting an evening of one acts, and I'm involved in two of the plays:

* At the Threshold, which I directed, is an incredible short work by Phillip Kelly. It deals with something I'm all too familiar with, the unstoppable crash of adulthood into an otherwise happy-go-lucky, young adult life. It's a quarter-life-crisis story that's not soppy or self-indulgent. Nor is it too heavy. I'm a big fan of this play, and I literally jumped at the chance to direct it. My cast is just incredible. Jacob Smith, Darci Dixon, Gregory Crafts, Lisa K. Wyatt, Katie Sikema, and Jenn Scuderi bring this work to the stage.

* Three Small People in Very Big Shoes, which I wrote, is a satirical look at backstage life at Disneyland. It's a sex farce expertly helmed by director Jim Blanchette and brought to life by Jacob Smith, Vanessa Hurd and Ana Therese Lopez.

And here's a deal readers of this blog just can't beat: Mention my name at the box office (or when reserving your tickets on our reservation line) and you'll get half off the price of admission this Saturday and Sunday! Holy smokes, that's a good deal!

I'm really proud of the work we've done, and I want to share it with as many people as possible. Because what's the point of doing this stuff if I don't get to share it?

Details: June 12 - 29 , Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm At THE COMPLEX in Hollywood, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd. Tickets: Normally $20, half price this Saturday and Sunday if you mention my name (Andrew) To reserve your seats: (818) 849-4039

And after you see the show, come back here and tell me what you thought!

Here's what Pat Taylor at The Tolucan Times and Canyon Crier thought:
"A 'cutting edge' fearless and talented bunch who 'tell it like it is,' just opened this series of gritty, thought-provoking scenes, exploring the complexities of desire, ambitions, regrets, self-identity, love lost, and the delicately diverse art of communication."

"This is an e-ticket ride into the dark and vulnerable psyche of human nature ..."

17 June 2008

(I wanted to post this last week, but life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Or so I hear. Anyway, I'm going to try to make this a weekly thing, and spotlight a new burlesque performer each week for the rest of the year.)

The Irrepressable
Lili VonSchtupp

photo (by Chris Beyond) swiped from Lili's MySpace page.

Lili is my kind of woman. I likes 'em brassy, and I likes 'em ballsy. And Lili is both, in spades! She's outspoken, confident, and passionate. What's not to love?

There is nothing halfway about this lady. Not only does she perform (bringing to the stage some of the most daring comedic material around ... did you see her in "The Wrong Show" earlier this year?) she also co-produces the longest running weekly burlesque show in Los Angeles, The Monday Night Tease; she co-hosts the Burlesque Podcast; and she manages burlesque411.com, THE online guide to burlesque performances around the world. Oh yeah, she's also a member of the local burlesque photo corps, goes to all the major burlesque events around the country (covering them with the podcast) and she teaches. She's a "Jane-of-all-Trades" and as such a woman after my own heart.

One of the things I admire most is her role as producer. In a past Burlesque Podcast, she gives "a behind the scene look at how the big show happens." This really gives a window into the tight ship she runs along with Scarlet Letter, her co-producer. The Monday Night Tease is seamlessly run, and believe me, I've been to quite a few of them. I think I could count the production "hiccups" on one hand, and attribute all of them to unforeseen emergencies or acts of god.

What's neat is watching her transform from producer to performer.

As a performer, she's all play. I've been struggling with how best to describe her, and what I've come up with is this: Lili is a classic comedienne, like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett, posessing a "Rat Pack" showmanship that is sorely lacking in the entertainment world at large. If this were the 1950s or early 60s, she would no doubt have her own variety hour on television, (cue announcer's voice:) brought to you by Dewar's finest blended Scotch whisky! She's a class act, even when pouring Dewar's from her bra. She also brings a confident sexiness, an appeal borne of bold self-assurance. And, although she'll tell me to fuck off after she reads this, she's very pretty as well.

If you haven't seen her perform, you have no idea what you're missing. She brings a curious combination of innocence and naughtiness to the stage. Her famed pink poodle number is a perfect example of this. As she chases these little battery-powered pink poodles around the stage (in a perfect interpretation of a circus dog act) her costume seems to fall off on it's own, getting snagged here, torn there. She smiles through each reveal, refocusing the audience's attention on the ridiculous little dogs who fill up the stage. At the end of the routine ... well, I don't want to give anything away. Let's just say she has two final poodles to bring out!

Here's a number I haven't seen live (yet), Lili as "Dead Marilyn Monroe":

She never disappoints, and she always puts on one hell of a show! You can check her out on MySpace or at the Burlesque Podcast.

12 June 2008

Innappropriate Banner Ad:

Seen on Hotmail.

"We're not asking for much ... just an arm and a leg!"

This has got to be a joke.

10 June 2008

... will be posted later this week. Hopefully tomorrow!

In the meantime, huge congrats and much love to Lux LaCroix, who got First Runner-up and "Most Dazzling Performer" at Miss Exotic World this past weekend!

(It's a burlesque tribute to Prince!) You can read about Lux in last week's "Tuesday's 'Artists I Love'".

02 June 2008

The Fierce Lux LaCroix

I'm listening to the Dresden Dolls' "Coin Operated Boy" as I write this. In fact, it was this particular song popping up on my iPod that inspired these words. I can't hear this song without thinking about Lux. She's an incredible dancer and burlesque performer, and I figure since I haven't done one of these "Artists I Love" posts in a while, I would inaugurate a new, burlesque-oriented direction by highlighting this incredible artist.

photo of Lux swiped from her MySpace profile

There is a reason why, when being introduced by emcees all across the burlesque scene, she is called "The Fierce Lux LaCroix." She is a dynamo, both on stage and in person, who can disarm and confound an audience with her energetic stage presence. She has a lithe sexiness, which she displays through her athletic and high-energy choreography. If Lux were merely a great dancer, that would be enough reason to enjoy her as a performer. Combining her prowess as a dancer with a wicked sense of humor and keen aesthetic judgment, Lux never fails to bring down the house.

"Coin-Operated Boy" is my favorite of her numbers. She only performs it in February, just in time for Valentine's Day. Lux takes the stage as a ballerina, dancing with large coin cut-outs. She perfectly captures the wistful whimsy of the Dresden Dolls song, coyly flitting about the stage. At the song's bridge, she begins turning, releasing her large tu-tu-like skirt as she does. The effect is very beautiful and breath-taking; it is both a blossoming and an emergence, and Lux is both flower and butterfly.

This weekend Lux will be competing for the title of Miss Exotic World 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unfortunately, I can't be there to cheer her on, but I'm certain there will be no shortage of cheers, no lack of applause when she takes the stage. She's an incredible artist and I wish her the best of luck!

* * *

Visit Lux LaCroix's MySpace profile for her latest performance calendar, or check out Burlesque411.com.

You can hear an interview with Lux from the Burlesque Podcast (note: NSFW), hosted by Lili VonSchtupp and Chris Beyond. A couple of updates: Burlesque a Go-Go is currently produced and hosted by Lux and Vixen Violette, and can be found the third Thursday of the month at Mr. T's Bowl in Highland Park.

Here's an all-too-brief clip of Lux performing at Bordello in Downtown LA: