Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Well, I did it. Survived my first public performance as a member of a professional dance troupe. I'm, to quote the velveteen rabbit, a real rabbit now.

Managed not to fall off the bar, either, which is a real plus.

Yesterday was just lovely all the way around. I'd managed somehow to not schedule any catering or modeling or lunch commitments, so I could spend the day leisurely getting ready for our show at the Odeon. Went to Piedmont Boutique to buy some odds and ends--false eyelashes, fishnets--and ended up walking out with a pair of hot pants covered in red holographic sequins, a pvc-covered bra, a new garter belt, two big fluffy hair doodads covered in red feathers. Oh, and a pair of false eyelashes with rhinestones on the band that you glue to the eyelid. A much different look than our usual garb, but Jill wanted something with a retro burlesque feel.

I did, however, stop short at sequinned, flower-shaped pasties to pin to the bra. Nope. No sir.

The experience was a post all by itself, but I have real work to do, so I'll try to sum it up in a few words:

1. friendly salespeople covered in glitter
2. another woman in the changing room trying to pick out a red vinyl devil costume, with the help of two noisy friends and their quiet babies
3. the equivalent of nine hours' catering pay expressed as sequins and lash adhesive

As I was handing the woman behind the counter my bank card, I said something rueful about not paying rent. Well you'll look great standing out on the street, she noted, after you get evicted. Let me tell you, dahlings, if I stand out on the street in these items, making rent will not be a problem. I was giggling all the way home on the bus, which was tricky because I was trying not to breathe through my nose (anyone who's taken a bus to or from the Haight knows what I'm talking about here) and trying to keep my feathers from getting crushed in the press of unwashed bodies.

The rest of the preparations went pretty smoothly. I cleaned up, played a CD Snufkina had made of my favorite music, and tried to still my breathing so I wouldn't end up with eyeshadow all over my forehead. I'd left a lot of time, knowing I needed to get those lashes on, and that turned out to be a good thing. Last night was my first time applying my own falsies, unless you count that time in a parked car in SOMA at night, which I don't; I was afraid I'd glued my left eye shut for good and gave up on the whole enterprise. Last night was much better, although the lashes extended out, oh, eight or ten inches from my actual eyes; my hair kept getting caught in them. By the time I was done, I knew there was no way I was taking BART from the Tenderloin to the Mission, so I got a cab with the world's most flusterable driver behind the wheel, which was fun.

The event itself? Blur. Six wonderful friends showed up, post-workout, post-work, post-dividing-up-of-the-marital-property, bearing flowers, bearing knitting, bearing with me. MonkeyScientist did not recognize me when I came to say hello, which is pretty funny in light of the fact that we're sleeping together; he claims the feathers threw him off. Thread worked on her Halloween costume and drank bourbon. The bar went from thinly populated to packed and raucous, there were a couple of acts before us, and then we were in the tiny backstage area, passing around one small mirror and reapplying lipstick.

I did mention that I didn't fall off the bar, right? That's not figurative; the five of us who hadn't done the choreography in public before were relegated to the bar, while the group that had got the stage. Which meant that we couldn't do any of the turns or the floorwork, so we just sort of noodled through those parts, or vogued, or laughed and blew kisses at each other. I sort of remember how that went, and giving up on moving my feet at all when I realized that I had about six inches less to work with than we'd had in Monday night's rehearsal, and the realization that the song was coming to a close much earlier than I'd thought it would. It's a much longer song in rehearsal... I couldn't see anyone except my troupemates and the tops of the heads of the people at the bar, I missed great big hunks of the choreo, and my plan to grab someone's drink on one of the posing moments went straight out the window. But I had a great time, got a buck pushed into my stocking, and everyone congratulated TalkyBabe and I when we got back into the dressing room for having made it gracefully through our debut.

Then I had my drink, on the house! Woohoo! Blotto on one Cape Cod, on top of no food during the day, on top of the most intense feeling of relief. At just about the point where I was going to really start embarrassing myself (after I'd kissed both Snufkina and her boyfriend Muscles, who handled it with their usual patience, but before I started kissing strangers), MonkeyScientist took me home and fed me ice cream, and his cat tried to eat my feather hair doodads.

I have waited nearly a year for last night. And it went just exactly as well as it might have. Although I have to say that I'm finding the clothes I have on today--jeans, a grey T-shirt--unspeakably boring.