Oh man. I totally didn’t want to make good on my new project today. But it’s my intention to paint a thing every day, and maybe write about it (or my feelings around it), so here we gooooooooo……
I have a show that I host tonight so painting seems somehow more important today than yesterday. When I moved from Seattle to New York I was so excited to be performing more (and I am performing more that’s for sure) that I forgot to take into account how different audiences are between the two coasts. At my gig in Chelsea- for instance, the audience can go from “somewhat amused” that there are dancers entertaining them to “NONE FUCKS GIVEN”. It doesn’t matter how beautiful you are, how graceful you are….sometimes it’s just a fucking crapshoot. The audience is mostly privileged, upper middle class, mostly caucasian. Occasionally we’ll get someone famous in there, but I’m always happy to see them because they usually pay the most attention (you know- performers love watching other performers).
It’s a floor show so you’re dancing close enough to touch, smell and definitely interact with the audience. On my more personally successful evenings I am fully eye-fucking everyone, fully present and in general feeling like a sexy badass. But on the nights I can’t quite lock into those feelings (because hey- no one is perfect, jeez), holy shit can it get rough. After all I am human interacting with humans that may or may not (it’s a crapshoot) give any cares to the fact that a performer is baring it all on in a tiny beautiful bar in circumstances that are almost completely unique to New York City.
On the many nights that I do connect, hit the right note, fall into the performance zone I feel energized it’s magnificent. There’s nothing like it. I feel like I gave something lovely to the universe and was rewarded with a little bit of her appreciation. If I could I would just sweep out the back door full of that glow and go tuck myself into bed happy that I’ve done my job. But that’s not how it goes….
I’m learning how to interact with the public after I am done dancing or hosting. I’m not super great at it. Take away my music or my microphone and I’m just a girl that desperately would love a Harry Potter invisibility cloak. I’m a true introvert that has somehow fallen into a love affair with burlesque and showgirl life. I’m 6’8″ in heels, golden skinned, lots of tattoos….lots to take in that’s not society’s heteronormative standard of beauty. So I get mostly stared at, whispered about behind my back, the sometimes compliment and the occasional extremely rude question. It’s a lot to take after you shed your clothes and eye fucked people, you know? But it’s par for the course while I reside inside this mortal shell. So I deal with it. Most of the time I can even maintain a sense of humor.
This is usually the time when I start going back over my performance. Could I have been better? What about that moment? Did I stutter or falter there? Oof. They’re still staring a me! Is there lipstick on my chin? Did I sashay away with charm? God I hope so…..the perfectionist is winning again. And she’s a damn liar! I’m pretty certain that no matter if I was THE most famous burlesque performer in the world I would still have those thoughts. We’re mortal! We just did a thing! Performed for people who have all those pesky thoughts in their heads while watching us….but their opinions are none of my business, right? right?!?
Sometimes in these moments I think of Barbara Streisand. Talented and introverted.
I consider myself a confident person- confident in my abilities and my presentation. I’ve done a lot of work to get to this point…but we all still need a bit of therapy. My therapy of choice remains art but in a discipline I have no business exploring- watercolor. It’s only day two but I’m giddy with how it’s going.
So today, before I go back into the fray, into the thing that makes my heart sing (and on very rare occasions cringe), I decided to paint a pussy….cat. A cat. Pervs.
So….yeah. I tried. It’s definitely feline, but maybe more bobcat perhaps? Fuck. I dunno. I giggled for a lot of it. Pussy jokes aside it was nice to just feel the paint brush in the paint. I still have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s good to feel that way I guess, without trying to fix it right away for feel guilty for embarrassed for not knowing what I’m doing.
I’m happy to be performing tonight no matter what the experience gives me. I learn a little more about people and more about myself every time I go. The joy in having a regular gig goes beyond getting regular money- it’s like a controlled naked science experiment. Most of the time there’s a lot of fun to be had in it. But you can always learn something.
Btw, I just find random pictures on the internet and decide to paint them. I guess I’m on a cat kick. At least this cat won’t know that I just painted a shitty watercolor portrait of her. At least there’s that. I am grateful for this pussy’s help in liberating me a little bit more from pesky perfectionism. Huzzah!