Friday, September 16, 2011

My Burlesque Baby

A guest blog post from my daughter, Emily, live from New Orleans....

Pasties and 9/11 Jokes: In Line With Feminist Sensibilities

Published on September 15, 2011 in Viewpoints

Last week when I told my mother that I was planning to attend my first burlesque show,Fleur de Tease’s Season 6 Premier at One Eyed Jacks, she said in a concerned tone, “Emily, people are going to think you’re a trollop.  And isn’t that sort of thing exploitative to women?” On the night of the performance as I unwound with a pre-show martini in the One Eyed Jacks lobby, I decided that I would try to answer her question.

Promotion poster for Fleur de Tease
The show commenced with host Chris Lane, whose warmness and impeccable timing elicited laughs right off the bat.  One of the best jokes of the night, which compared the Kardashian wedding to 9/11, had some audience members biting their lower lips, glancing at their friends for approval, and ultimately giving in to the uproarious laughter around them.  The rest of the night consisted of dancing, costumes, fire, aerial acrobatics, and more comedy.
Early on, it became clear that Fleur de Tease burlesque is far from exploitative or objectifying.  I found the performance empowering because the dancers’ confidence, creativity, and expressiveness left no question of their sexual hegemony.  Ultimately, the dancers undress to thongs and pasties, but the exciting part is the process of getting there with teasing and flirtation.
Second, it did not perpetuate the concept of the “male gaze.”  Fleur de Tease is different than other potentially exploitative industries, such as pornography, sex-work and strip clubs because these other industries are largely designed by men and for men.  Fleur de Tease, however, is led by founder and director female Trixie Minx and choreographed by Madame Mystere.  The audience was also at least 50% women.
Finally, the choreography celebrated the sensuality of normal, healthy bodies.  The dancers did not look like photo-shopped or surgically altered runway models.  They were real women asserting themselves creatively and enjoying it, which made the experience all the more tantalizing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Remembrance

As I walked over the hill and my vision filled with the flags placed in tribute to those who died on 9/11, ten years ago, I couldn't help but utter, "Oh dear God".  

To try to comprehend the number of those sacrificed had been difficult.  To see it visually counted out with individual flags was heart-breaking.  

A horizon of red, white, and blue blanketed the hill.

On each flag post, there was a label affixed showing a photo of the deceased, where they died, age, and occupation.  We thank St. Louis resident Rick Randall for creating this ephemeral memorial for a national tragedy that we can never forget.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sidewalk Symphony

I made a serious dog-walking miscalculation the other night.  A fierce thunderstorm had just passed through, and I thought that was the end of it .  I hitched up Chewy and we prepared to puddle-jump around the block.  Half-way, another deluge dumped, and we were soaked in seconds.  I managed to get to a shop canopy to wait it out.  It's times like this that I can practice singing, and indeed I was singing in the rain!  After it ended, I passed a fellow under an adjacent canopy...guess he got an earful whether he wanted to or not! 

Then fireflies flickered on and off, signalling that the real concert was about to begin.  Cicadas whirred, the percussion of sycamore bark crunched under my feet, and an owl hooted an aria. Living in the city doesn't get much better than this!