Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Last Thing!

I lied! I'm in NYC for a few hours before I leave, enjoying my family and friends. I couldn't say "see ya!" for good without a TOOT TOOT for my friend, fellow mermaid and justice lover, former roommate and yogi, Glynis, whose Modern Love Essay appears in the Times this weekend. Tears! Laughter!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Seguimos Adelante: See Ya in Two Weeks!

Tomorrow I'm heading for NYC at the crack of dawn to spend a few hours in the mother city before heading to Havana by way of Toronto. I'll be gone without internet (!!) until July 15th. Expect lots of photos but not a whole lot of glamor: I'm about to embark on a record breaking sixteen consecutive "bad hair days." Below is our Press Release (info subject to change).


Lu, you ol' stowaway!


The 39th Anniversary Contingent of the Venceremos Brigade will visit Cuba from June 28 - July 14 without a U.S. Treasury Department license in order to challenge and oppose U.S. government restrictions on travel to Cuba. At 8:30 AM on July 14th, the Brigade will walk together across the International Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York, to announce its return to U.S. Immigrations and Customs.

The Venceremos Brigade is an educational work project that has sent over 8,000 U.S. citizens to Cuba since 1969. It is the oldest friendship organization with Cuba in the country. This year’s contingent is comprised of 45 participants from all over the United States including San Francisco, New York City, Northern New Jersey, Washington DC, Boston, Denver, Albuquerque, Seattle, Los Angeles, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Atlanta. According to a statement signed by Brigade members, “we are young and older; African-American, Latino, Asian and white; gay and straight; students from high schools and colleges; and workers and professionals.”

The Brigade’s statement further proclaims, “Cuba is not our enemy and we hope to develop friendships with as many Cuban people as we can during our stay… we are united in opposing the travel ban and the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba. We do not ask for a U.S. Treasury Department license to travel to Cuba to view the country, its people, its successes and its challenges with our own eyes. We believe that current U.S. policy towards Cuba is deceitful, in violation of international law, and harmful to the interests of our people and the Cuban people. And we believe, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us, that we have a moral obligation to break unjust laws.” Brigadistas risk fines for breaking the travel ban.

Brigadistas will stay at a school in Santiago de Cuba where they will work side by side with the Cuban people to assist in the renovation of a local health clinics. Brigadistas will also bus across the island to Havana, where they will also work and meet with Cuban workers and students. The “Travel Challenge” is a joint effort with Pastors for Peace, whose caravan will cross the border into Texas on July 14, and a delegation from the African Awareness Association, who will join in the Challenge with us at the Canadian border on July 14. Altogether more than 200 Cuba travelers will be openly defying the Cuba travel ban on July 14.

Copies of the Venceremos Brigade Cuba Travel Challenge statement are available to the press. Members of the press are also invited to meet the Brigade as we announce our return from Cuba on July 14th at the International Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York. Interviews with local participants can be arranged prior to our departure or upon return.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bearded Lady: Long Lost Photos

Below are some photos from the Bearded Lady act from a show at Stage Werx back in April. All photo credits to Brad Zweerink.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tetonia Comes to SF

Ted and his friends came to SF on Tuesday from Idaho by way of San Diego. We took the Red Rider to an A's game (again!) and tried every local brew in the city. The winner: Watermelon Wheat @ 21st Amendment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

6/25 - Burlesqueteers @ Stage Werx

Sit back and relax in comfortable theater seating while sipping your
wine and enjoying the hilarious and delightful acts from your
favorite burlesque troupe, the Burlesqueteers!

Featuring frisky burlesque acts by...

Bombshell Betty
Chi Chis del Feugo
Josie Starre
Mademoiselle Muerta
Peaches N. Cream
Bootsy La Rue
Kiss Me Kate
Ruby Fuerza

Plus more Burlesqueteers performing tantalizing group numbers from
the Burlesquercise classes!

Your host is everybody's favorite drunk...

Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm

$12 in advance (Will call only)
$15 at the door

Order your presale tickets today!
Presale ticketing ends at noon on the day of the show!

Stagewerx Theater
533 Sutter St. @ Powell Street
San Francisco

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Albuquerque, NM: Route 66

Route 66 cuts through Albuquerque in its trail across the Southwest. Fantastic and kitchy neon signs dot the path, keeping with commercial tradition in this region. Lights flash names of budget motels, restaurants, cars parts - in an ingenious effort to reach out to the traveler en route to his final destination somewhere else. Today my coworker Bill ate at an ancient dinner on 66 that served root beer still made in-house. The signs and their titleholders mark a place in Americana that can't be earnestly replicated with a modern hand, not that anyone bothers.

My favorite is the animated billboard of The Dog House - it reminds me of the Perry Cuomo song my mom used to sing to me when I was little.

(I love how the waggy pup gobbles sausage links!)

Albuquerque, NM: GOTV Prep in New Mexico

I spend the first part of my morning at the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office for a training to be certified as a Voter Registration Agent. My sent me to the session because I will be stationed in New Mexico this fall for a block of time to work with SEIU on the November elections. In addition to the O-blah-ma campaign, New Mexico has several (all?) Congressional seats openamong them, as well as the Senate candidate Tom Udall.

New Mexican law uniquely requires that anyone who wants to register NM citizens to vote (and is not a state employee) to complete a certification course. Upon certification, the Agent receives a serial number that must be recorded on each completed voter registration form. This law came into effect after the 2004 elections, when a certain (beloved!) organization apparently turned in large amount of incorrect registration forms. The state argues that this stringent process makes it more difficult to falsify registrations because it holds the registrant and the Agent accountable - and subject to multiple fines and criminal charges.

Call it what they may, the law provides yet another hurdle for the countless disenfranchised in the state. For example, registrants must provide their social security number in order to complete the form. This requirement - in my experience of registering hundreds (thousands??) of hotel workers - is a HUGE turn off for first time voters. In New York you can give the last four digits of your SS# or another identification number. This option values the the hesitation to the newness of voting that many people have. Another barrier under the law is the rule that the registration cards must be sent to the County Clerk within two days of signing to be valid. This presents obvious challenges to both Agent and registrant.

There is one particular item of interest on the NM registration form. Because so many residents call home a "non-traditional place" or "non-street address" (many living in American Indian pueblos,) the back of the form includes a large blank box where the Agent may draw a map of the home's location, followed by a description, so that the County Clerk may place the voter in a district. The example given on the form reads:

"RD 743, west side, 1 mile north of Smith's store and 4 miles south of RD 698"

They sure don't include THAT on New York forms! Sheesh!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Albuquerque, NM: Under a Full Moon

I've just put down my bags at Casas de Sueños, the B&B where I am staying in Old Town, Albuquerque. My casita here is charming and spacious: I have a kitchen, living room, and bedroom - furnished with New Mexican folk pieces - all to myself for the next two days. I am eager to explore the surrounding historical district - if only work doesn't get in the way!

(taken without a flash)

The full moon is utterly radiant and it illuminates the soft corners of the adobe-style architecture that line the unlit street. Magical.

Premiere of Barbary Coast Burlesque!

I'm leaving for a work trip to New Mexico in a few hours but I wanted to put forth a little plug for my friend and fellow dancer Rosa AKA Bunny Pistol. Bunny is producing a new monthly burlesque show "Barbary Coast Burlesque" (a reference to the Gold Rush days of SF) at Annie's Social Club on Folsom. Below is the blurb:

"Where bleary-eyed men and faded women drink vile liquor, smoke offensive tobacco, engage in vulgar conduct, sing obscene songs and say and do everything to heap upon themselves more degradation, are numerous."

The debaucherous debut of this new monthly show will feature an all-star cast of burlesque beauties who will dazzle and amaze and leave you yearning for more...

Not for the faint of heart, the fearless will arrive on-

WEDNESDAY, June 18th!!!
For our debut at: ANNIE'S SOCIAL CLUB
Located at 917 FOLSOM ST., San Francisco.

Doors open at 8PM, show starts at 9PM
ALL for just 8 clams!!! - hahaa....clams...

Don't miss this all star line-up!

Our Lovely and talented Mistress of Ceremonies, Katya Ludmilla Smirnoff-Skyy

Our Burlesque Beauties:

Honey Lawless
Trixie TreatJosie Starre
Miss Bella Trixx
Citty Rich
Sassy Hot Buns
Lady Satan
Bunny Pistol
Ophelia Coeur De Noir
Peaches n' Cream

Doors: 8pm
Show: 9pm
Price: $8, 21+ w/ID

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Here is the debut of my Cake number, shimmied to "Sweet Little Sixteen" by Jerry Lee Lewis. Thanks to ASGFs, Daniela, Robin, and Phillip - and new friend Chris - for w00ting for me!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Freaky Friday+Saturday

Le Weekend: Bikes! Booze! Colors! Puns! Lipstick! Laughing asses off!

Friday the 13th blossomed out of the mist-erious San Franciscan fog - perfect atmosphere at Cafe Revolution featuring our band Cupcakes; Irish.

Saturday, ID BBQ at Dolores Beach by day followed by Conspiracy of Beards* show at Cyclone Warehouse and after party at neighboring factory.

This is actually Thursday night

Sheena is a punk rocker; Roomie's roomie gets a black kitten on Friday the 13th

Freaky Friday

Dolores Beach

Flashback to glamcamping

The umpteenth hotdog

Doing the Russian dance with Old Silver (CoB); CoB Ruben without a beard (!)

Here is a vid of CoB's "So Long Marianne:"

*CoB is an acapella group of thirty bearded men singing Leonard Cohen.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Burlesqueteers @ the Uptown Club 6/16

Summer starts sizzling this Monday night, as The Hubba Hubba Revue hosts a full evening of TITillating tassel-twirlin, courtesy of those Temptresses of Tease, BOMBSHELL BETTY'S BURLESQUETEERS!

MONDAY, June 16th, Come See...

Josie Starre!
Bootsy LaRue!
Ruby Fuerza!
Peaches N. Cream!
Holly Hibeemz!
Madamoiselle Muerta!
Bombshell Betty!
The Burlesqueteers!
Zip the What-Is-It

...and everybody's favorite drunks/MC's, Kingfish & Eddie!

As always, it's just FIVE BUCKS all night!

Come on down and see what the fuss is all about!

Doors 9PM, Show 10PM
21 & Up w/ID

1928 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
(just 1 block from 19th Street BART!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Las Vegas, NM: Glitter + Cazadores

Las Vegas. It was a 72-hour tour of twirling tassels, fake eyelashes, tequila shots, and glitter.

On Friday night we went to the Living Legends show at Ghost Bar, which showcased the acts of the burlesque stars of yore including Dixie Evans, Satan's Angel, and Candy "Baby" Carmelo. Those trailblazers can shake it! After the show we hit the Gold Coast for the best late night bargain's in town and somehow hailed a limo with a random couple to meet up with Erin's friends at Caesar's Palace. I was very close to convincing the pair to make it a Vegas wedding, but alas, no go. At least Siah won an impromptu shimmy contest, knocking a trifecta of tacky bachelorettes out of the water. We limped back to the hotel will high heels in hand at dawn.

Saturday was mostly recovery by the pool. Las Vegas feels incredibly unnatural - a feeling that is emphasized when sitting in a lounge chair in a vintage bathing suit guzzling daiquiris in fake eyelashes. It feels unnatural but there is something to be said about lounging: it is quite relaxing, and in the case, quite glamorous. In the afternoon Betty hosted a pin-up photo shoot in her room. The highlight for me was posing in a red silk beaded robe once worn by Satan's Angel graciously lent to me by Lady Borja, who was also partaking in the shoot (I'll post those when I get them!)

By evening we went back to the Palms for the Miss Exotic World pageant that lasted a whopping five hours. There were some really amazing acts. I was wholly impressed by both the caliber of dance as well as the quality of the make-up and costuming. The performers really put my homespun acts to shame! My favorite performance was a tennis themed number by Clams Casino, followed a Josephine Baker tribute by Perle Noir, the winner of the Best Debut Title.
After the show we went back to the Gold Coast then to Flame Cynder's suite at the Palms where things got a little sloppy. I was a Las Vegas experience. Siah, Rosa, and I topped the night off at the hotel bar before crashing at seven.

Overall, I was quite enchanted by the weekend. The opportunity to see the top characters in the burlesque world was wonderful, especially coupled with the reality that most of them could be seen walking around the hotel or at the bar or party, quite accessibly to their fans. On there other hand, I also felt disillusioned by the whole operation. Coming into the weekend naively, I wasn't prepared for all the internal politics that seem to saturate the community, even among my own troupe. I suppose this is inevitable but it's not pleasing.

Below are photos from my camera, which are somewhat limited on account of my camera's hulking size relative to my tiny clutch.

World Famous BOB and her Living Legend Dixie Evans; UK!

Sunrise on the Strip from Flame's party; Boylesque pioneer Tigger

La Cholita sneaks cake; Jean and Little Minsky's Douglas

Party people;the beautiful Sparkly bathtub