Tags: burlesque


Who is worthy of my tits?

I'll admit, the caffeine in my coffee combined with the sunshine this morning really sparked my neurons and on the train ride to downtown brooklyn, i further structured/fell in love with my lit thesis and conceived a new piece and couldn't wait to get to the studio to move.

And I came home, listened to the new Rufus Wainwright CD and realized that Christopher Williams is performing this Thursday. I have a very deep artist love/admiration for these two men. Their arts are just oozing with intelligence, poignancy, humour - and it all sparks. It makes you think while you're feeling, brings you something new ... Laurie Anderson's work and some of Ana Medienta's work do this too. Stir it up some, move you somewhere you didn't know was there (in you).

This is what anything worth while does. Entertainment can be art or it can be the opposite - social propaganda, a numbing effect that lets you believe there are molds to fill, roles to play. Underground entertainment is often mistaken for art when really ... it is just working for a coup of the current norm. Because something is independent or underground or masqued as such does not mean it is necessarily challenging you.

So, when burlesque all too often [not always, never always for anything] to be art i get a little angry. more than angry, i get sad, i get paralyzed and mixed up inside. Thank goddess for Margaret Atwood ... Because really,

So few people are worthy of my tits.

That's my not so elegant way (I actually hate the word "tits", the short hard sounds make it sound demoralizing, devaluing to me. object-ified even.) of saying I am not only disheartened but offended at what the so-called "underground" culture of ny burlesque is often claiming itself to be. I believe in the beauty of bodies, I believe in work that venerates the body, work that looks at our absurdity as these awkward beings, work that makes us laugh at ourselves, work that admires bodies. I do not believe that striptease unless formulated in a smart context (as it has been! Cabaret!) is art.

It is so often a support of a harsh partiarchal structure, a consumerist (i say that with negative connotations implied) mindset that believes everything can be bought and sold, including bodies, and most often, women's bodies. (Even male striptease is often based on a consumerist ideal). How is this freedom? Being paid because I have a good rack and can shimmy? Shouldn't bodily and sexual freedom be free? Shouldn't be supportive, not competitive?

Putting my ear to the ground, I feel as though I hear I'm less of a womyn, I'm held back by not participating in this -- like birth control, like all those other things that promise women security. Why must it be bought? Why must we sell ourselves purely as bodies, as sexual objects? By being wary and frightened of the restrictions the "liberated womyn's" culture brings I feel I am judged as unprogressive.

Why do I care? Because it creates a competition - because my voice must be made ten times as loud to be heard. Because it lowers my art, it lessens the imagination pool, it kills the audiences, and it makes me feel insecure - and it makes a profit on my insecurity. There it is, the dichotomy of idealized women -- either I am poloshirted and pure, or I am a burlesque star. And if I do not wear these masks I am .. a failure. How awful. What have we done to ourselves?

I love cabaret. I love the rocky horror picture show. I love the work that uses sex and turns it up on its head, speaks out for the spectrum of physical love and well, says straight out [ironic pun not intended] what we are. Human. drastically alive.

So its not that I don't want it and its not that I believe that people's work should be free ... I mean, if you work, you should be paid for the work. But for the work, not simply for the body you were born into.

I don't want to feel I have less of an edge for not doing burlesque. I don't want to think that it will tear away all men's eyes. I don't want to give into the conditioning culture of hypersexuality.

I want to have fun. Good, smart [not necessarily clean!] fun.

This is important. Modeling + producing the rocky horror show + writing a cabaret + fucking craigslist and living in new york as a dancer all bring this very loudly to me, daily.
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