Although I try my best not to broadcast too much of my personal life on my blog, I can't help but to show certain aspects of my "true self" to you all. Truly: I am not that glamorous, and actually kind of dowdy! I spend most of my days blending in with the crowd, and I usually look completely different than the Bebe you all see on social media or onstage in rhinestones and feathers. Bebe Bardeaux is my alter ego, a fantasy come to life.
My "true self"? It's safe to say that I'm quite happy and content being a bibliophile wallflower. I've been this way my whole life, my nose always deep into a book. Around 1999, when I realized I was a pre-teen freak (and I say "freak" with the utmost pride, respect, and love), I didn't suddenly close all my books and start raving. Nope -- I went to Goodwill, found and strapped on my first pair of lace-up knee-high leather boots, and stomped my fast ass to the library to look up books on vintage S&M and fetish wear. Sex/intimacy and books/research have always went hand-in-hand to me, strange as it may sound. I first read about sex endlessly, watched hours and hours of Real Sex, Skinemax, and Spice Channel, and then I was finally ready to have it. I'm just studious like that!!
Fast forward to today, and as a professional burlesque performer not much has changed. Much of my passion for this very-sexy artform comes from diligent research and studying performers from classic bygone eras of burlesque. When I feel like quitting, I go back to my ever-growing Burly-Book Wish List and take a look at all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into preserving burlesque history for centuries and centuries, and it makes me feel very small in the *best* way. Burlesque is way bigger than me, bigger than you, and sometimes even bigger than all of us put together! It will never die, even if we all quit. There will ALWAYS be a new crop of burlesque performers, some of whom are just being born right at this very moment -- isn't that a beautiful feeling?? Knowing that you're a part of something bigger than yourself?
This is why I'm a Board member for BurlyCon, a non-profit dedicated to providing education and avenues for professional growth for burlesque performers. BurlyCon connects performers with history, resources, tools, advice, mentorship, skills -- you name it! Lots of folks annually attend BurlyCon in-person every year, but of course with COVID happening that's much easier said than done.
Enter BurlyPod 2021, which kicks off today! Completely virtual, anyone from anywhere in the world can start learning all about burlesque -- whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. You can purchase classes a la carte for about $25 bucks each, purchase all the classes for a flat rate, or drop in to a free session. You can also use this discount code n0v3mb372o21 to get 15% off!
The money shot for me, of course, is the Burlesque Legends Roundtable! This will be free, held on Sunday at 2pm PST/5pm EST, and will focus all on how we as newer generations of burlesque performers can support burlesque Legends. We'll hear from performers like Lottie Ellington, Sweetpea, Jo Weldon, Miz Charlamay, and Iva Handfull, to name a few -- performers who are on the front lines of taking care of Legends (these performers are gd ANGELS, you hear me?? ANGELS!!!) How can we best hire them and take care of them? How can the Burlesque Hall of Fame, BurlyCares, BurlyCon, and other burlesque industry organizations properly provide support? It's important, at least for me, to remember that I too want to perform for a very long time, and these Legends are actually doing it and can offer valuable information on what they need to continue doing their jobs.
Burlesque Legends force people to change their concept of aging. Society seems to want to cast people aside the minute they reach a "certain age". I see it in many different industries, and especially in arts and entertainment. I LOVE that burlesque gives a big fat middle-finger to this notion of age being a negative thing. I LOVE that burlesque puts age on a well-respected, almost deity-like pedestal. I LOVE that there are people being celebrated for their wisdom, their wrinkles, their changed bodies, their scars, their trauma, their f TRIUMPH. I love it, love it, love it, and I am excited for the day when I can display my older body as a symbol of triumph and true beauty. These Legends inspire me and many other performers to no end, and there is not a hint of f irony in our hearts when we say that the Legends are phenomenal performers who we enjoy watching onstage. I've STILL never been to BHoF (I know), but I've seen the videos and heard the tales of people being emotionally moved to tears by Legend performances. I want this to stay a reality, and I want burlesque to continue pushing the envelope and waking society up to what beauty and sexiness looks like in all forms. Beauty and sexiness definitely doesn't have a specific age, body type, weight, etc.
So yeah -- come on out to the virtual BurlyPods this weekend if you can make it! There are also opportunities to learn assels with Tito Bonito, stage presence with Jett Adore, hosting basics with Fancy Feast, and so, so much more.
I'm learning more and more how to balance my mousy booknerdish nature with my status as a local sex symbol (lol), and BurlyCon definitely helps me bridge that gap. If you like to nerd out on burlesque and sex history, I know it will bridge that gap for you too. I hope I see you all at a class this weekend!!
Until next time and always with love,