Friday, October 14, 2011

Welcome to Burlesque

Last night we were in an ordinary bar, in an ordinary place... not too far from here.  Nonetheless I felt a tingle of rebellion... it was a work night, and I wasn't tucked safely at home in bed like I was supposed to be.  In fact I was surrounded by the people your mother warned you about, who were anything but ordinary.

In a world where the industrial revolution continued solely down the path of steam power.  Victorian style pin stripes and top hats met ruffles, feathers, corsettes and leathers. All of it, accessorized with copper and gears crafted with a gadgeteer's flourish, obvious even to the unobservant.

The evening's entertainment consisted of a bizarre mixture ranging from carney acts to salacious skits, songs, and choreographed dance routines in all of their live, unpolished glory. The imperfections holding you captive in a moment, each story directing your attention as easily as the one you've heard Granny tell a hundred times. Not even realizing you're watching slack jawed, holding your breath... until it's released, erupting out of you like a sprinter off the start line to running in circles around the room playing tag with the rest of the cheers and applause.

What once was old is new again. Watching the power of women who were so comfortable in their own skin, was incredibly liberating. Real women, women with voices as big as their hips, and a confidence that made their bodies fit them... not you, or me or anyone else.

These weren't the perfectly fake airbrushed glossy magazine Hollywood girls... lacking the inny-outty bits that allow you tell them apart from the twelve year old boys. This was the real thing, served up like a good cold beer with a full body of attitude and a healthy dose of take it or leave it... because I don't give a damn. It was awesome and humbling at the same time, this was a rare glimpse of the raw strength few women tap into lying seductively, hibernating just below the deceivingly soft surface.

The realness of it lent to the saloon atmosphere and grounded everything, while the steampunk transported the evening from the old, half remembered whispers of a dream that you've been here before to the realm of the fictional and imaginary, the likes of which you've never seen.

I witnessed things that hereto I had only every heard spoken in hushed tones and incredulous whispers. Things I would not have believed, or would have thought to be exaggerations had I not seen them with my own eyes.

The daring, the wonder, the magic of burlesque.

It was totally worth the 5am wake up sleep walk and subsequent hour and half drive spooning with the passenger door nap back to work this morning.  Even as I sit here at 10pm, eyes burning and blinking wading through my muddled thoughts... wanting needing to go to bed I can't because I have to get them all out and down on paper now.