Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Business of Queening

Makeup & Hair by Miss Mary Jane Green

In December I won the title of the Last Queen of the Great Southern Exposure in Charlotte, North Carolina. I never thought I'd win a crown, especially for comedy. I have a crown and three trophies from the event. (There was some confusion around my crowning moment so this photo by Madison Hurley Photography will have to do.)

I'm now 42 and may never win another crown. It took over ten years of burlesque performance to land me this monster. I am absolutely milking this for all it's worth.

Here's what I know about the business of queening.

Get a damn sash
Not every title comes with a sash. If you win a title that gives you bragging rights and you don't have a sash, get a damn sash. I ordered mine from LadyBug Designers. The stones in my crown are red, clear and blue, leading me to get a blue sash. (To spend a little less, check out this vendor.)

I wear the sash in appropriate shows (not competitions) when I perform the award-winning act, usually for curtain call and mingling after the show. I don't eat in the sash. It cost to much to trash with a spilled drink.

Figure out how to get the crown to stay on your head
This crown is huge.  If you won a crown that has little combs already, lucky you. Big hair can keep a crown like this in place. I needed to be able to actually wear it for an event and photoshoots, and I don't always have someone on hand to tease my hair to high heaven. Bobby pins and crown clips with pipe cleaners were useless for me with this crown.

I found a solution and ordered some CrownStays in Monster size. The system is pretty simple but I'm glad I bought a set so I wouldn't have to figure out the rigging on my own. I had to crunch the adjustable slide on the crown and add another anchor point, but Mr. Snapper can mount the crown on my head and I can function without a rat's nest of hair.

To mount the crown, one comb is stuffed into the hair on one side of the head. Pull the comb out a bit on the opposite side, stretching the clear elastic woven through the inside of the crown. Stuff that into the hair. Shazam. Do the opposite to take it back off.

I got my mother a tiara so she could experience the joy and nonsense of being the Queen Mum. I'm maybe a bit ridiculous.

Get a fancy robe
I see people backstage all the time with their fancy robes. I'd been meaning to get one with my name embroidered on it for a while. I now had something interesting to get on the front.

I chose Snapper colors for the robe instead of the black robes I see my friends wearing.

This is where I got my robe. Lots of options for colors and embroidery. I mean, feel free to get one if you aren't a queen. I got mine within a week of ordering because they weren't busy with all the bridal robes at that moment.

Get a case for the crown
I have little trophy shelves with my burlesque trophies at the bottom of our stairs. I have a shadowbox display for our Burlypicks medal. There are photos of each win under the respective award.

This crown is too big for the shelves. It's too big for most crown cases. I had hoped to get an acrylic case from Michaels with a coupon, but the crown is too big. (If I only win one crown, I'm glad it's absurdly large.)

I had to order a display case for the crown. Of course.

Put it on a pedestal
Gee, my gigantic crown case is too large for a shelf. I had to buy a pedestal to put it on display. The case is a bit bigger than the pedestal. Yep, that's about right.

I can't put the case on the pedestal at the bottom of the stairs because it would impede traffic going up and down the stairs. I can't have the dogs running into it. I had to put it in my studio. My life is hard.

Photoshoot time!

I have to have a photo to go with the crown, and I can't display the crown with the other awards. Gee. Heck. Guess I have to just put a giant photo of the crown with the other trophies down the stairs and put another photo in my studio above the crown.

We bought backdrops so we could have Madison shoot in our apartment.

Oh yeah, I also made a jumpsuit and bought a simple dress for the shoot.

I did a second photoshoot in the crown with Dallas Pinup because I needed pinup photos in a crown. Obviously.

Then, I had to buy picture frames and order special prints of the photos to post on my walls because I am ridiculous.

Good deeds
What's the point of queening if I don't use my powers for good? I decided to do good deeds by holding online fundraisers for Southern charities, since I am the Last Queen of the Great Southern Exposure. I raised a little money for North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, ALS in Wonderland Foundation, and the Humboldt Broncos of Saskatchewan (because I love hockey). I've joined the Bad Girls Club to continue fundraising. I'll share more charities who could use some scrilla on my Facebook profile.

Who knows if I'll ever win another pageant like this. That's why I'm making the most of the nonsense now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NOPE! My Favorite Self-Created Award

I came home from the Texas Burlesque Festival Saturday afternoon. Competition for audience choice was tough. Performances on Friday and Saturday nights were fierce. The chance of not winning is far greater than the chance of winning.

I learned long ago that festivals and competitions may have little prizes, but the more important takeaway is friendships. Meeting people, reconnecting with folks, making friends holds far greater value than a statue, sash or prize to me. I saw so many friends that I haven't seen in years. I had an absolute blast. I have only positive things to say about this festival.

I wanted to commemorate the experience. I also wanted a damn Barbie.

I wanted her to look a little trashy.

So I made one. My amazing Austin hostess, Dolce Dream, joined me on an adventure to find the right Barbies for our loser awards after Friday's show. We started our decorations before retiring for the night. I had to wait until I got home to order the supplies to complete my statue.

I started with Farmer Barbie. I like to call her Chicken Barbie because she came with her own chicken.
She's so Texas. Also, my grandfather was a chicken farmer.

I chopped up a necklace to make her crown.
So innocent. So pretty. Just you wait, Chicken Barbie.

I glued blue glitter to her lids and penned in some runny mascara.
Looking more and more like the Hole "Live Through This" album cover.

I bought a stand and a wooden base. They don't look as groovy as the actual winner Barbies but they'll work.
Simple 7" diameter wood round. I had to keep the boots on her.

I bought an outfit as close to the Hole outfit as I could find. I made a sash from twill tape and rhinestones, titling it with a Sharpie. "NOPE" seemed to be the funniest thing to put on the sash. I'm all about the comedy.
Pretty hot mess.

I decorated her chicken and added my own titles for the trophy at the bottom. The titles I've given myself are absolutely true. They're also hilarious. I'm glad the crew enjoyed the fact that I danced to the Benny Hill theme.

Loser & her loser chicken.

To celebrate the act I did this year, I put a clump of her hair in her hand. If you've seen the act you know why.

I think I may put her on my bar with a bunch of my hockey bobbleheads. I'm so delighted with how she turned out. She's a wonderful trinket to commemorate my joys from this year's festival.

I wonder if I should burlesque every competition trophy when I don't win...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Barbies & Burlesquing Burlesque

I'm subversive. I figure you know that if you've been to my blog or seen me perform before. Or maybe if you've met me.

This weekend I'm performing at the Texas Burlesque Festival for the first time. It's hard to believe I've spend so much time in Texas over the years and this is only the second time I'm performing in Austin, the first time at this festival.

They give away special Barbies as their trophies. This was part of the reason I wanted to compete. I'm not a Barbie collector but I want one of these damn custom Barbies. Who doesn't?!

Chances of winning a Barbie are slim. I perform Friday night. I might win the audience choice Barbie for Friday if they like it when someone burlesques burlesque. If they don't, I just go home Saturday with no Barbie and only the satisfaction of making new friends, putting down more roots and giving a fun performance to warm my frigid heart.

I'm happy to be here in Austin.

Also, I want a damn Barbie.

I had this brilliant idea on the flight to Austin to make a loser Barbie. I can tart up a Barbie to look like the cover of Hole's Live Through This album-- tiara and runny mascara, looking like a successful failure. I can add a piece of masking tape (or P-Touch tape if I feel sassy) that says "Texas Burlesque Festival Loser - Friday Night 2017." I can add each year I fail that I get to perform. If I get the good fortune of performing here five years and I don't win a Barbie each year, I can document the losses on my Barbie's base.

But wait! There's more! I can add something to the Barbie each year that best represents the act I did that year. I don't want to spill the beans on what I'd use this year. Maybe a feather boa number would require a feather boa and a gold shoe number would require gold shoes. I could add things to my loser Barbie to represent the acts over the years.

It's not about disrespecting an awesome tradition of Barbie trophies. It's about creating a story and marking what's significant to me-- I performed in a competition and this is how I celebrated it. (I do have Barbie envy for the winners. I also recognize there are so many solid acts that the mathematical chances of winning a Barbie are incredibly slim. Additionally, I know not everyone gets into every festival and would love the shot at failing to win a Barbie.) Each year I could point to the Barbie to share the story of what I did.

We are the authors of our own narratives. It's time to turn what could be negative into something very positive. Let's make it something to celebrate.

My incredible host is going to join me in making a loser Barbie. We'll have our damn ridiculous trophies, and we'll tell honest stories celebrating how we got those trophies. Even if we wind up making them for ourselves.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Shrimp's Tale

Well, I live in Dallas now. The past two months have been a lot of packing, stress, prep and driving. I've been in Dallas since March 4th. I still haven't fully unpacked.

There are a lot of reasons for my move, most of them financial and familial. There are more festivals and burlesque opportunities within driving distance. I can get cheaper flights to those places as well. I'm still very much an Angeleno at heart. You can't live somewhere that long without it really making becoming part of you.

I didn't intend to start performing until April 1st. An opportunity arose on Monday and I jumped on it. A friend lost a performer from her show. The band learned a six-minute song specifically for the performer. (Losing a six-minute act makes a significant dent in a show's run time. The fact that this ten-piece band learned the song was huge.) I threw my hat in the ring with my peach robe and got the gig.

Photo by Kelly Gardina Photography
I was familiar with the song but didn't know it very well. I started working through possible movement on Monday after I booked the gig. I kept my brain engaged on the number when I'd take breaks from work or walk the dogs.

Tuesday evening I pulled out the costume. I started working with a boa in the gym but didn't feel satisfied. It was still very improvisational. The boa wasn't working. The song was so long that it needed something at the end. In truth, I thought the song was best suited for someone who wore a black dress or Mardi Gras colors (meaning not me). Creative mind still engaged, I had an insane eureka moment.

What if I stripped out of my showgirl stuff and became a shrimp?

Crazy, right?

I pitch it to Mr. Snapper. He knows my determination and my love of a challenge. He also knows that I'm hand beading a corset and finishing a gown this week. Maybe I shouldn't take on something else right now?

Nope, it's decided. I'm going to become a shrimp. I have all the pieces to turn into a showgirly shrimp except the headdress.

Wednesday evening we dash to Hobby Lobby to buy the components. I paint and dye the pieces, he assembles. Teamwork.

Thursday afternoon I run the number with the headdress before rolling my hair for the show. It's going to work! Woohoo!

Carpe shrimp! Check out the video by the awesome Ben Britt of this act's debut.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Atomic Thursday: Bourbon

I just noticed I've been sharing my Atomic love since September! I hope I've helped those of you who were curious about Atomic Cosmetics/Xerion Skin Science products. I'm obviously a fan.

Atomic Cosmetics: Bourbon
Snapper as Ginny Weasley (in Bourbon)

Sometimes I need an adult lip color. Funnily, I wore this for my Ginny Weasley number last week. Ginny is very grown up for a teenager. It's hard to find the right reds for a redhead to wear. Bourbon is perfect for that.

In fact, Bourbon is the darkest lip color I can wear without looking strange. I've tried some darker colors but I look a bit too goth with my coloring.

I have sensitive lips. There are products that have made my lips peel and hurt. I don't have to worry about that with Atomic Cosmetics. I also don't have to worry about having super toxic stuff around my eat hole. :)

All Atomic lipsticks come in adorable tubes. If you're fair and want to look like an adult, check this stuff out.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Atomic Thursday: Eyeshadow Primer

I got a promotion at my day job (yay! money!) and made some major changes to an old number, so I missed sharing with you last week! Sometimes I'm the worst. :)

Atomic Cosmetics: Eyeshadow Primer
Buster made the perfect background.

I'm going on a small tangent but hear me out. I somehow got added to a mailing list for several lady magazines. I don't like lady magazines but I don't like being wasteful. (Who has time for lady magazines these days?!) I flip through them before throwing them away. I saw a tip that said to use eyeshadow primer over blemishes before using concealer because the concealer would stick better. Best tip I've gotten from a stack of free lady magazines in years!

I've used the eyeshadow primer a few times over the past few months. (I usually use Optimus Primer when I do stage makeup and I rarely go out socially because I'm so busy.) On a related note, I've been frugal and just went to my first hockey game for this season on Monday.

I decided to try the concealer trick. I have freckles below my eyes and they look like dark circles when I have a naked face. I gussied myself up a little before heading to the game. I used some Eyeshadow Primer on my lids and on those pesky freckles under my eyes. I then touched up the undereye with some spackle before using BB Cream all over my face. I powdered off my undereye and voila!
I didn't get enough sleep but no discoloration!

Success! I should've used No Baggage to make up for the broken seven hours of sleep the night before. Oops. But my eyeliner and mascara didn't transfer or bleed to my lower lid while I was shouting at the game.

I dig this Eyeshadow Primer. Get a sample and test it out for yourself. Dr. Jen can also tweak the tint so it's a better match if you're not as pale-faced as me. Just let her know in your order notes or shoot her an email. (Atomic is like concierge stuff.)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Atomic Thursday: Pinkalicious

I'm in the opening stages of a winter cold today and I do not feel pretty, despite my Los Angeles Kings t-shirt and Batman pajama pants.

Atomic Cosmetics : Pinkalicious Body Butter

Can you see the fine pink glitter?
Okay, now I feel pretty. I had to slap a little Pinkalicious on my arms.

I have body butter from another company that I purchased ten years ago that still sits in my bathroom closet. I have body butter I was gifted three years ago that remains untouched in same closet. I thought I would like body butter before I tried it, and I found these other brands dried me out more than before I used the body butter. Body butter is supposed to really help moisturize dry skin.

I gave Dr. Jen's body butters a shot because I know she wouldn't sell a tub of cream that does more dehydrating than moisturizing. I'm glad I did. It absorbs into the skin quickly, doesn't feel oily and doesn't make dry skin worse.

Pinkalicious is absolutely girly. It smells like cupcakes. (The scent is gentle and pleasant as opposed to drugstore cotton candy stripper body spray.) The pink glitter is incredibly fine, making it a wonderful accessory for outings when you want to have a subtle glow. Well, maybe not incredibly subtle. It's not as obvious as Glitter Bomb. It's a perfect beauty product for girls of all ages.

If you want something a little fabulous that isn't too expensive or want to have a fancy gift on hand for any gal in your life, toss some Pinkalicious in your Atomic shopping cart.