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.

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