To be honest, I have written and rewritten this blog post for months, and nothing seems like enough. Under the weight of all that is happening in the world, how can fluffy little burlesque things possibly be a concern? So trivial. Surely there are more important things to worry about?
Sure, there are. This year has certainly been a bountiful year for worries. Pick a card, any card; you can worry about health, family, community, politics, the economy, or any number of other things. The world is not lacking in things to worry about.
But this is not the Pain Olympics. We don't have to rank our worries in order of most important and tackle them one at a time. The marvel of the human brain is that, while a human can only effectively do one thing at a time, they can worry about any number of things at once.
So I am setting aside my worries that it may seem frivolous to talk about missing burlesque stages and shows. Burlesque been my central activity for the past four years, my business is centred on it, and I love it. It's a piece gone from my life in the way I have become used to. I miss it.
For the past few years, the events of the burlesque calendar have oriented my mental timeline. I'd know where I was in the year based on which shows, festivals or events we were all working towards.
If this year was the year we all planned to have, we'd be well into the upswing of the Isle Of Tease Burlesque Festival and Burlycon. (Thank goodness Burlycon is offering a digital format this year! I am so excited for the 2 weeks-worth of education we will all have access to! If you have not signed up yet, please do! https://burlycon.com/register/)
There is a special kind of unity in being "different together" that builds a unique community bond. When stages closed, we lost a lot more than billing at a regional show, or that trip to that bigger city for a bigger show, festival or tour.
When stages closed, we (literally) lost the platforms from which we express ourselves, our craft nights, road-trips, classes, rehearsals, the ability to congregate and collaborate, and to share our intimate and ephemeral live art-form with audiences and with each other.
When stages closed, we lost our performer circadian-rhythms.
There's a buildup of energy, intention, and excitement geared towards each show. Each performance gives that alley-oop feeling coming into the show, the high of the show itself, and some degree of glitter crash afterwards. These swoops, swells and swamps are missing from this year.
When stages closed, we lost the ability to create our art in familiar contexts during a time that begged for a certain sense of routine, comfort and familiarity, and many in our industry have lost their livelihoods and have had to reinvent what they can offer the world, and how.
Online shows are now happening and are introducing new audiences to global burlesque and that's amazing. Many performers are expanding into other art forms, video, teaching, subscription-based access; the many different offerings are inspiring!
I channelled my energy (and most of my time) into sewing masks. Masks were needed in my community, it was something I could offer, and something I'm good at; after all, I am used to making 3-dimensional creations that cover up body parts! ;)
It's been an interesting journey into a wider world of craft, and am learning new skills every day. I love fun fabrics and prints and I've started enjoying machine sewing for the first time. I can't wait to create more things!
Life is less sparkly than it used to be, though, and it's okay to be sad about that.
Right now, I make masks that help people navigate the world more compassionately. I'm not sure if masks will just be an always-thing from now on, or a just-until-a-vaccine-thing, but for now, masks are necessary, and I make a great mask, if I do say so myself! (jk other people have said it also. Like *at least* one friend and a relative, lol.)
I'm always happy to make pasties, of course. I'm figuring out how to offer a pastie-making class this autumn, and maybe a rhinestone craft or two to keep things fun!
For the future, I'm developing new products and merging my sewing into my burlesque offerings, because I'm ever hopeful that our stages will reopen as soon as it's really safe to do so.
We will all adapt, as we have always adapted.
There will always need to be sparkly semi-naked people, somewhere.
In the meantime, I miss you all. I appreciate your support of my business so very much, and send so many virtual hugs and squeezes.
VoguePhoto by Matthew Henry from Burst