Striptease and Athletic Endurance Events

This is a post for anyone who watches a burlesque performances and thinks, “I can do that!” Well, it’s not as simple as just shaking a pelvis in the general direction of strangers. Besides, have you ever watched someone finish a Marathon and just flippantly claim, “I can do that!” Well, Burlesque and endurance events have more similarities than many might think.
 
I dance, therefore, I am an athlete. I am an athlete, yet I also dance. Whether I’m training for an event or rehearsing for a show, there are some similarities between the two worlds.

The Costume Is More Important Than You Think
 
On stage, your costume will help tell the story of your performance piece just as much as, in some cases more than, your choreography. You’ll spend time, money, and creative energy making sure that it fits right, looks great, and tells the story you want. As a burlesque performer, part of the fit is making sure that it comes off at just the right time and in just the right way. You don’t want to ruin the tease with a surprise reveal!

On the field, your costume will show your allegiance with its flags or color scheme. There will also be messages of love and support to/from your crew. Maybe a patch sewn in to remind you that you’re hoping to win this competition for a loved one who passed away or an injured teammate. You’ll spend time, money, and creative energy making sure that it fits right and keeps you warm/cool/dry when you need it most.

The Audience Is Your Fuel

On stage, making eye contact and flirting with the audience as you tease them into a frenzy is crucial to a burlesque performance. The louder they scream, the stronger your adrenaline will pump.

On the field, not every sport has an audience. As a distance runner, you’ll find yourself on mile 10 with no voice other than the one in your head or the voices in your headphones. But, even as a runner, hearing people cheer you on as you near the finish line will help you to sprint when you thought there was nothing left in the tank. If you’re the partner of someone who is an athlete, supporting them as their biggest cheerleader means more than you can ever know.

Rehearsing & Training

For the stage, even if it’s not a scheduled rehearsal time, you’ll find yourself listening to the music for your act in the car, on the train, at home, and anywhere there are speakers. You go over the steps and the reveal in your head only to constantly tweak and adjust the performance up until the moment you set foot on the stage.

Training for the field could mean weights, cardio, massages, nutrition, the list goes on. Your life has been consumed by this event for which you’ve committed. Even when you sit still, you salivate at the thought of crossing the start line.

Prep Time vs. Event Time

Prep time for a stage performance could take weeks or months. There’s costuming, choreography, and nerves to manage. Once the song begins on night of show, it’s all over in six minutes or less.

Prep time for an athletic event could take six-nine months of training. Once the start has been signaled, it will all be over in a few hours.

Food On Event Day

When taking the stage, no one wants to dance with that full feeling. I normally eat something light before a performance and have food backstage for afterwards. Some people have trouble eating the entire day before performing due to nerves.

When prepping for race/competition day, no one wants to compete in an athletic event with that grumbling belly feeling. But, you never want the wrong thing in your belly either. I once made the mistake of eating pasta for breakfast before a 10 mile run. I’ll spare you the gory details. I’ll just say, “never again.”

Exhaustion
 
On stage, thanks to adrenaline, I never feel tired during a performance. When I come off stage, I can barely speak. Sometimes I’m breathless, sometimes I’m shaking, and sometimes I’m crying.

Off the field, after the event. I’ve cried after crossing some finish lines. Shaking, breathless, tears of joy as I silently celebrate my accomplishment.
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Inspiration: Fitness

I’m in the Dominican Republic. This is a repost from February 2013 (with a few edits).

My double life finds me working as a Burlesque performer by night and a Fitness Coach by day. With such a full schedule, why do I sit down and write 500+ words a week? I do it because I hope that one of you will connect with my message. When I was in high school, I was the #blerd that read the broadcast announcements on the PA. At the end of each day’s announcements, I’d say some positive reminder to generate a smile or a sigh of relief to… well, anyone. My art teacher once said, “you know those kids aren’t listening!” I replied, “If one of them hears me, that will be enough.” Growing up, I had always hoped to meet that coach from the movies that inspires the team to win the big game. I looked for that inspirational figure in real life churches, schools, and gyms, to no avail. I kept running into cynical pessimists. So, I decided to become the source of inspiration. Let me be clear, I don’t wake up every morning with a goal to inspire people. My morning goal is usually, coffee. I do wake up with a goal to remind people not to doubt themselves or their ability. Most of you have heard me nix the word “can’t” in an exercise setting. We can do the challenging exercises. Even if we need to regress or modify it a bit. Yes, we can do anything. Why am I a Fitness Coach? I want everyone to feel like being fit is not some exclusive club. Any person can create any body they want. Why am I studying to be an Occupational Therapist? Some people really want to walk again, the people that have that desire need someone that believes in the possibility just as much as they do. Why am I a Burlesque performer? We all need a creative outlet. So many aspects of my life are so, damned, serious. I have fun performing and entertaining people. Working in the world of fitness is a natural segue to a physically demanding activity.

Here’s something to process for this week. I was recently asked for a summation of my fitness philosophy. In response, I wrote this. “Repetition, discipline and humility are the building blocks for accomplishing any fitness goal. Sporadic effort, placing wants before needs and holding on to ego will destroy any chance of reaching those same goals.” Recently someone told me that he wasn’t going to do what I’d asked of him because he had been “working out for 30 years” and “knew what he was doing.” An ego that size will never reach a fitness goal. When I place myself in a group exercise setting, I become a student and I listen. That’s the time to humble myself and follow instructions. When I do that, I always learn something new and I use that knowledge to make my mind and body stronger. When you’re working on your fitness goals, embrace repetition (the mother of all skill), discipline (doing the little things you may not want to do in order to accomplish a major goal), and humility (remembering that you don’t know everything). Keep that in mind and you’ll be stronger before you know it. #giddyup

 

Better Than Your Company’s Holiday Party

Are you searching for something to do after your company’s holiday party? Bring some of the cool kids to watch some fanciful Burlesque teasings. Still don’t have plans for NYE yet? Tickets are almost sold out for the Uptown’s re-opening. Check the link below and I hope to see your face in an audience near me soon.

Upcoming Burlesque Performances

Monday, 12/21 @ DNA Lounge (Upstairs)
Monday, 12/28 @ DNA Lounge (Upstairs)
Thursday, 12/31 @ The Uptown
FIN HHR NYE 2015 SIDE 2
Friday, 1/8 @ The Box Factory
Friday, 1/22 @ Beatbox

Fitness Classes at Studiomix in San Francisco

Mondays:
Studio Road Ride @ 5:45PM
Tuesdays:
TRX Bodyweight Burn @ 7:15PM
Wednesdays:
Studio Road Ride @ 6:15AM
Tabata Cross @ 5:45PM
Studio Road Ride @ 7:00PM [Beginning in January]
Cross Mix @ 8:00PM
Fridays:
Studio Road Ride @ 6:15AM
Tabata Cross @ 8:30AM

Upcoming Burlesque Shows

What’s that, you still haven’t made plans for Halloween!? I’ve got just the thing for you. Instead of those lame costumes at the night clubs, come see awesome costumes get (mostly) removed! Want to see horror films, me being body painted, or my Jekyll & Hyde routine (with new choreography)? Come to one or all of the events listed in October!

Upcoming Burlesque Performances
Saturday, 10/24 @ XOXO Nightclub (EBX Scream Fest)
Friday, 10/30 @ DNA Lounge (Upstairs)
Saturday, 10/31 @ The Konservatory
Saturday, 11/7 @ DNA Lounge (Bootie SF)
Friday, 12/11 @ DNA Lounge (Main Stage)
Monday, 12/21 @ DNA Lounge (Upstairs)
Monday, 12/28 @ DNA Lounge (Upstairs)

Fitness Classes [Find me on the schedule at Studiomix, in San Francisco]

Mondays:
Studio Road Ride @ 5:45PM
Tuesdays:
TRX Bodyweight Burn @ 7:15PM
Wednesdays:
Studio Road Ride @ 7:00AM (Moving to 6:15AM in November)
Tabata Cross @ 5:45PM
Cross Mix @ 8:00PM
Fridays:
Studio Road Ride @ 6:15AM
Tabata Cross @ 8:30AM

The Pledge + I Am A Burlesque Performer

“I pledge allegiance to this journey that leads to a higher state of consciousness and to this life, for which it stands, with patience and compassion for all.”

Those were the words that I wrote/agreed to during a journal entry at the Naked Camp in March. They resonated with me so strongly that I asked Micah Riot to tattoo them on my chest, shoulder, and back. [Sorry, WordPress is giving me an error when I try to upload pictures this week.] I’ve always believed in challenging myself to be a better person and I don’t take words tattooed on my body flippantly. This has been my most challenging tattoo to date. When I read it aloud to a colleague, she immediately repeated the last two words to me, “for all“? She asked. Aware of her drift, I immediately conceded that some people are easier than others when it comes to having patience and compassion. It’s not headline news that some people are unkind (read: assholes). This pledge challenges me to answer the questions how and why, daily. How can I be patient for the person that walks down (not across) the middle of the street and flips me off when I choose not to change my speed? Why does the person that beats a child deserve patience or compassion? That muthafucka deserves a boot to the face, right? That would be the easy answer and it would certainly make me feel good. But, there’s an important rule that must be highlighted in our daily dealings with assholes.

The Asshole Rule The anus has one job. Because of that job, the anus smells like shit all day. Even if you spend 15 minutes detailing it in the shower, soon after it will go back to smelling like an anus. The unfortunate truth about an asshole personality is that they have one job. Because of that job, the asshole human does shitty things all day. Even if you spend 15 minutes beating the shit out of the asshole human, soon after they will go back to being an asshole. Think about that for a minute. I’m sure you’ve noticed that our society tends to overlook provocation. Someone can spit in your face and kick your dog. When you beat them and put them into the hospital, you’re the one facing charges. Weird! No wonder we always shouted, “THEY STARTED IT!”, when we were kids. No one considers the provocation. Assholes provoke in hopes of getting high off of their drug which is our response/reaction. I won’t feed their ego. I won’t be their pusher. Instead, I choose patience.

It’s worth mentioning… I’m not suggesting that anyone turn the other cheek. I don’t believe in that. I’m suggesting that the right balance of patience and compassion won’t place me in a situation for the first cheek to get slapped. You dig?

Anger is so much easier. It’s so easy to just flip out, be impatient, and start cussing people out. But, then I become the asshole. No one considers the provocation. Everyone just sees me cussing people out. No thanks, I’d like to be invited back to this house party. I’m not going to amp on that dude committing party fouls. I’m going to stay cool. The tattoo is still a work in progress. Micah will be adding some custom artwork over two more sessions and some of that work will cover my first tattoo. When I was 18, I walked into a shop in Atlanta, chose a Chinese symbol that translated into “cool”, and had the dude put it on my left shoulder. It was my first tattoo challenge. I was going through Anger Management at the time and I would reach up and touch the tattoo whenever I need to cool down. Over the years, I’ve reached for it less and less. People often compliment me on how calmly I handle certain situations. I hold those compliments in high regard. I no longer need the cool tattoo challenge and also, I don’t speak/read Chinese. A Chinese woman once confirmed (while laughing at me) that the translation was correct. “Ha ha ha, you think you’re cool! Ha ha ha!”

Why challenge myself in this way? If my pledge didn’t challenge me, what would be the point? As a young dude, I stared at the flag and said the pledge of allegiance but, I was never challenged to conduct myself as a patient and compassionate human being because of it. The pledge of allegiance was a rote morning routine in grade school that involved more lip moving than recitation. I don’t want to turn this into a political post, but out of curiosity… Does anyone else find it interesting that this indivisible one nation still has states in the South that celebrate the Civil War (e.g., confederate flags, confederate soldier monuments, and confederate parks) and their former desire to secede from the union? Anyone calling America one nation hasn’t lived in many parts of it.

It’s worth mentioning… Before any overly patriotic mouth breather begins typing a rebel yell of a reply, understand that everyone has had a very different experience in this country. If our demographics don’t match, keep your opinion in your back pocket.

Do I regret getting these words tattooed on my body? Not at all. I may never accomplish the goal/pledge of having compassion for all. But, as long as I’m challenging myself to be patient and compassionate as a first response, I see this as a righteous path. Will I ever write a new challenge and use that tattoo to cover this ink in 18 years? W(ho)TF knows? Ask me in 18 years.

Please note: I did not write this blog to suggest that any reader do anything remotely similar. Write your own pledges and create your own challenges. I am asking you to be a better person. But, how you define better and how you manage your societal interactions is entirely up to you. Enjoy your journey and honor the gift of life by living it.

I Am A Burlesque Performer

A Bay Area news group recently, did a piece on burlesque in the bay. Here’s the link to that story! You may recognize the picture of me from my Black Dynamite act. Sometimes I get the question, why, in regards to performing burlesque. Why have I chosen burlesque as a creative outlet? Much like any creative outlet, burlesque found me it wasn’t the other way round. While burlesque by definition is not a gender-specific word, some people make up words like “boylesque” or even worse “brolesque”. I am a burlesque performer. I concede that this is and always has been a female-dominant environment, so I understand the desire some may have to distinguish between crotches. But, I am a burlesque performer. I try my best to bring drama, absurdity, and tease to every strip I choreograph. My costumes have included handcuffs, suspenders, multiple bowties, monocles, wigs, nunchucks, and straight jackets. I’ve dressed up as Gumby, Venom, Black Dynamite, Steve Urkel, the American Flag, and a shadow of pain. I’ve danced to Chemical Brothers, Marilyn Manson, Goapele, Van Hunt, Prince, Deftones, Portishead, and many others. I’m sure that people classify me as neo-burlesque or some other such label. I am a burlesque performer. I’ve never identified with the label of “classic”. In the golden age of burlesque, there were no black male performers. If there were, I doubt they wore a mohawk or covered there body in pledge/reminder tattoos a la Memento. Why do I wear pasties when I perform? As I mentioned, burlesque is a female-dominant environment. In many venues (at least in California) it’s illegal for a woman to expose her nipples in an environment that serves alcohol. I believe it to be a stupid, sexist, and archaic law. So, as long as women have to legally wear pasties, I’ll wear them in solidarity. I’m a burlesque performer and I hope to continue bringing memorable performances to the stage until the day it feels like work.

Come see me perform a new number in our Post-Apocalyptic themed show!
Friday, August 14 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco

Taste The Soup | Taste The Tease

Taste The Soup!

One of the meals that I eat is a mason jar of soup that has a tan color and smooth texture.

IMG_4284

Because of the appearance, this exchange often happens…
Them: “Is that peanut butter?”
Me: “Why would that make sense? Why would I be walking around, in public, eating an entire jar of peanut butter?”
Them: “I LOVE peanut butter!”
Me: “So do I! But, that doesn’t mean that I would just walk around like a fucking 5 year-old, eating an entire jar of peanut butter with a spoon. It’s soup, it just happens to be brown.”

It’s worth mentioning… I could have just said that last sentence and kept it movin’. But, I choose to challenge people to think about their (interrogative) statements. I’m sure you’ve heard the argument that there are no stupid questions. While I do believe that people should ask instead of assume I also think they should think before they ask. A better example is the tattoo question. Them: “Did that [tattoo] hurt?”
Me: “Did a needle puncturing my skin, 50 to 3,000 times per minute, hurt? No. It felt like the tongue of a baby Unicorn.”
Them: “Well, you know what I mean!”
Me: “No, I don’t.”
There are no stupid questions, there are just people that don’t think before speaking.

Alright, enough of me being a dick, here’s the peanut butter soup recipe that you’ve been waiting for since reading the title of this post. [Also, please note that if you read the smoothie recipe from a few weeks back I’ve edited it to remove two ingredients.]

Here Are The Tools You’ll Need
A high-powered blender (e.g. Ninja or Vitamix)
Scale that measures in ounces
Six Wide-Mouth (16 Ounce) Mason Jars

Here Are The Ingredients You’ll Need For The
Arrogant Farmer’s Stew
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, 12 Ounces
Lean Beef, 12 Ounces
IMG_4277
Mirepoix, 1 Container
IMG_4278
Arrogant Bastard Ale, 2.5 Cups
Farmer’s Broth, 1.5 Cups
(This is a mixture of different animal – beef, goat, chicken, pork, et al. – broths. If you haven’t slow cooked enough meats at home and saved the broth from each to make Farmer’s broth, just mix a few store bought broths.)
Water, 1.5 Cups
Raw Cashews, 1 Cup
Skinned/Chopped Sweet Potatoes, 1 Cup
Peeled Beets, 6 Ounces
Drained/Rinsed Garbanzo Beans, 6 Ounces
Garlic, 7 Cloves
Chopped Fresh Sage, 2 Teaspoons
Sea Salt, 3 Teaspoons
Cayenne, 1 Teaspoon

Here’s how to do eet!
Combine all of the ingredients in a 5 quart slow cooker. (A 4 quart slow cooker should also work. I suggest using one with an auto shut off timer if you’re often away from home.) Set it for Low/8 Hours and cover (there’s no need to stir). It should look like this when it’s done and your kitchen will smell great!
IMG_4281

Next, ladle it all into a Ninja Blender (or Vitamix as long as it’s high-powered). If you have an immersion blender, you can skip this step and just blend it right in the slow cooker. Keep in mind that you’re blending meat and an immersion blender may not stand up to that.
IMG_4282
When you start the blender, start slowly and gradually increase the speed/power until you reach the max setting. Let it run until it looks like this…
IMG_4283…and then blend it some more. Pour it into 6, wide-mouth, mason jars and enjoy within 7-10 days. (It may keep longer, but, I wouldn’t push the envelope on that sort of thing.)

It’s worth mentioning (again)… The recipe disclaimer: Barring any allergies (foods that cause an allergic reaction are NOT the same as foods that you dislike) don’t make any substitutions until you’ve tried it this way first. Remember, if you go to a restaurant and special order something that’s not on the menu, you lose the right to complain about how the flavors came together in the dish that you made up. There’s a reason that the chef didn’t put your nasty concoction on the menu. If you decide to make shit up, you should eat it without complaint and let every disgusting bite be a lesson to you.

Want to see me talk shit and challenge you to exercise at the same time? Join me for a fitness class in San Francisco. Find me on the schedule at Studiomix.

Mondays
Studio Road Ride @ 5:45PM
Tuesdays
TRX Bodyweight Burn @ 7:15PM
Wednesdays
Studio Road Ride @ 7:00AM
Tabata Cross @ 5:45PM
Cross Mix @ 8:00PM
Fridays
Studio Road Ride @ 6:15AM
Tabata Cross @ 8:30AM


 

Taste The Tease
“If you can talk you can sing, if you can walk you can dance.” -African Proverb

I’ve always been of the opinion that dancing is just the physical manifestation of our emotional connection to music. So, before you tell someone you can’t dance, just remember that you may not have found the right song. Keep listening. Come out, dance, shout, and show some love for burlesque this week!

Tomorrow night, come see me perform a new act in a burlesque show performed to covers of classic songs. Which song will I use for my performance? I guess you’ll have to come out and see! Here’s the link:
Monday, July 6 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco

Friday night, come see me perform as the American Flag in a State Fair-themed burlesque show! Here’s the link:
Friday, July 10 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco
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Friday, August 14 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco