Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yes, there is burlesque in Alaska. Along with most other things. Not ALL other things. Just like those other things, burlesque is more difficult in Alaska. I wrote about this in a previous post, that everything we are today, we've earned. We pretty much taught ourselves everything we know. When we started in 2005, we tried searching for burlesque on the internet, and we came up with some scanned newspaper articles and one poster for Tease-O-Rama. We also had some old Betty Page and Tempest Storm VHS videos. So we made it up as we went along. And it was HARD! It took me awhile to realize that underwear isn't a costume. (GASP!) Unfortunately, to get the stuff I wanted to put on a costume, I had to look at our very limited craft and fabric stores and look online. We all know that online shopping, while fun, isn't the best way to buy fringe. Sometimes it's the cheap stuff that wrinkles easily and doesn't move as well, and other times it's the good stuff. Sometimes you order it from one place and it's great, so you buy it again and it's not. Or different colors are different weights. And to add insult to injury, you have to pay double to get it up here, because it's not in the continental US. Or they won't even ship it up here, which you don't find out until you have it all in the cart to check out, and after you put in your shipping address it says the company doesn't ship to AK. Hawaii, are you feelin' me? However, in Hawaii, you don't have to keep your snow boots in the car so you don't break your ass by walking on ice in your heels. Canada, are you feelin' me? So when you see our costumes, know that not only have we worked long and hard to sew them, but we have worked long and hard to find the supplies. Add that to rehearsal time, and you've got yourself a full time job. Not only do we work hard to find costuming supplies, we have worked hard to get ourselves out of the state to experience what burlesque is like out there. It costs a good $500 to do that, but it's worth it. I wish we could host more out of town performers, but when people see the prices of plane tickets, it's pretty daunting. But it's worth it. Don't mind my bitching. Living in Alaska is a choice I made and intend to stick with. Along with the difficulties, there are many more good things that balance it out. Like no traffic. I can drive 20 minutes in any direction, park the car and go for a walk completely alone. If I go out on a weekday, I can successfully not have to talk to anyone. I look out my bedroom window and see only trees, not neighbors or cars, and I live in the middle of Anchorage. I get 19 hours of light during the summer and 19 hours of darkness in winter. I love both. I can drive 2 hours and get world class skiing. I get to perform in front of some of the most wonderful and appreciative audiences. Not only do we not have mainstream craft/fabric stores, we also don't get mainstream entertainment. That being said, when we do get entertainment, our patrons are incredibly supportive and welcoming! I recently read an article about things to expect at a concert (burlesque show) in Alaska. The beard clubs and the shared marijuana are a given. But everyone is just so excited to be there enjoying themselves, that no matter what everyone has a good time. I love that. So yes, living in Alaska is a choice, but one I will never regret.

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