Got some photos back from First Night. No really nice ones of the hoop act, sadly. A couple good ones from the cyberpunk strip.

That is my left foot right there, planted square in front of me. My head's blocking the view, but the way I get that foot there is by slinging my knee forward over my shoulder. I must say, it's interesting to see that from this angle, because I don't really get to -- I do stuff like that with a pretty fair frequency, just not in front of a mirror, and some of the viewpoints you get in pictures aren't possible in first-person.

I may have to reconsider whether I am actually dislocating things to do that. I assumed that I wasn't, because it doesn't hurt, but there is definitely something sliding around -- usually it feels like 'up and over' something else -- in the major joints when I push them through their full range. Then a friend of mine mentioned that people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome tend to dislocate and relocate things rather casually without yelping all the time. I certainly don't have EDS, but I've also been informed that I do very creepy things when I stretch. I've looked up the standard range of motion that doctors check for when diagnosing joint problems, and your test, it is not calibrated for me.

I have not yet gotten back any particularly nice pictures of the hoop number, which is a shame. I don't know if it's coincidence, or that the hoop number is disappointingly less fun to watch than it is to perform. I have heard from at least one photographer who has some decent pictures from after the strip part of the striptease, but they aren't yet up in his gallery. Watch this space for future boobage! Maybe.

People keep asking me if it's terrifying taking my clothes off in front of a bazillion people. No? I'm naked a lot. It makes much better money than being shy. Most people, I think, have a mortal fear of being stared at and judged on their looks. I have perfect strangers stop me on the regular, right in the middle of the sidewalk, to tell me I'm gorgeous. The implication is that people are watching and judging all the time -- no one is displeased enough to speak up, and enough people are moved to praise that I don't even blink when it happens anymore, so clearly I do not need waste energy worrying about that bit.

Also, seriously. It was New Year's Eve, and I was getting my tits out on stage. Who's going to complain?

(No, I don't know how many people were there. The event planning pages for the convention center say that room holds 500 when set up with theater seating. We had a bunch of stuff around the edges and a runway down the middle, but we also had most of the crowd standing. It was crowded enough that when I had to round the back of the room to get to the other side of the stage between numbers, I had to weave and say 'excuse me' a lot. We ran three shows, so I'm going to hazard a guess that we had a minimum of a thousand people over the course of the night.)

The strangest part of it, no lie, was the kittening. Stage kittens are the people who run around and pick up the costume parts that get flung off in all directions when someone is peeling off on stage. I've kittened for other people before, but for some reason it was very disconcerting to make my exit, hunt around for my water bottle, and suddenly find that all my clothes had magically reappeared in a pile next to my hoops while my back was turned. I have absolutely no idea why that stood out as the weird part on an evening I spent with warrior goddess living statues, a zombie schoolgirl stripper, and the collected cast of Steampunk Alice, watching Tweedlepunk stick her entire head and shoulders up Tweedledee's underskirt in an attempt to get Dee's blouse tucked in properly once and for all.

For the record, this was my first burlesque show. I've done a lot of art and fashion nudes for pictures, and I work as a figure model for art classes, but if there was any burlesque in Arizona, I was unaware of it. It took me about a year of actually trying to find someone who would listen when I said 'hey, I think your show could benefit from my boobs'. I would feel worse about this, except I've recently received some scuttlebutt to the effect that I was not the only n00b they were ignoring, and it was happening because there were some serious changes in management going on this year, and most of them were just trying not to lose their damn minds until things got sorted out. The NYE show was produced independently by someone who happened not to be in the middle of that.

I elected not to tell the producer this was my first striptease appearance, of course. She'd only have worried. Several people were surprised when I told them; apparently I have been just sort of around enough that they all assumed I was performing somewhere, and didn't think too hard about it. I am also, I note, never questioned when I walk up to someone and say, "Hi. I'm one of the performers. I need..." even if I'm not hauling around my props, and the thing I need is in fact the badge that identifies myself as an artist with the festival. I can only guess that I just look like the kind of lunatic who is customarily allowed onto the stage.

It was also my first hoop performance, although that's more understandable, as I didn't even know that existed as a skill until recently. I told one of the other studio volunteers about it and she asked me when I'd started hooping. I said, "I don't know, April-ish? I think?" She boggled. Is there some sort of mandatory waiting period on this stuff that I don't know about? How long do I have to be doing something before people don't bug out that I'm reasonably good at it? I did discover that I have vastly overestimated the number of tricks you need to do with a hula hoop before normal people are impressed. I was annoyed I couldn't figure out how to do a particularly fancy neck pass without bouncing the hoop off my hairpiece; other people just think it's exciting that I can get the hoop from my knees back up to my chest without using my hands. I don't get it, but I suppose I don't have to.

I wasn't suffused with joy over the performance, either now or at the time, but I'm chronically unimpressed by me. I've been informed of my awesomeness by several friends, a number of the other performers in the show, a producer who was making more squeaky noises than words, and a random lady on the Orange Line platform who saw me dragging the hoops home and asked me if I was the dancer from the show, so I may be in the minority here.


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