Update! I’m still alive and still failing at adulting

Hey everyone!

Apologies for the long absence, things have been crazy at Luna-tic central. Sapphire Snow and I are amping up ready for the Miss Burlesque South Australia competition which is kicking off May 23rd, so right now that it taking up a lot of space. I’m really excited about this year – almost everyone competing is new to the competition and I think they’re going to blow everyone away with their routines. Eeee! If you’re interested in checking it out, you can like the Facebook page here or buy tickets here!

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The other new thing that has happened is that I have recently started working several days in an office, which is excellent research for my show and an excellent introduction to this whole “adult” thing. So far I’ve made lots of cups of tea and have answered the phone like an important person.

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I have had some fun though – I went to the Medieval fair with all of my nerdy awesome friends! We all got dressed up and drank mead and cheered on people in armour as they whacked each other with swords. It was super fun! I want to do it every weekend!

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My husband knows how to rock ye olde cool

I’m also very excited as my sister and niece will be in town over the next week (they live in Townsville), so stocking up on sister and niece cuddles as much as I can before they go is Very Important.

I promise I’ll write again soon, I’ve got some behind the scenes stuff from “Adult-ish” that might interest you, and some other bits and bobs and ramblings. Ciao!

I think it needs saying again.

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Click to enlarge. By the very talented Jessica Hische. http://jessicahische.com

I posted this on my Facebook wall in August last year, and I feel like maybe it stands to talk about it again. I’m hearing of pretty appalling pay rates during Adelaide Fringe. Variety nights and small capacity shows are one thing, but I’m hearing pretty shocking pay rates for shows that have large capacities and are selling very well. Don’t be afraid to demand what you’re worth.

21st August, 2014

“I don’t normally write this sort of thing but I feel compelled to do so: I am hearing about (and being offered) lower and lower pay rates for shows in SA. This is just my opinion – but if a show is being billed as a professional show with professional performers then those performers need to be paid a fair rate. Shows billed as amateur in my opinion are a different matter because they are being promoted as such and there are different expectations from both the performers and the audience. 

The more that performers continue to accept sub-standard pay rates the more this will be taken advantage of, and rates will go further down as new performers come in and accept even lower rates. In my opinion if a producer can’t afford to pay the performers a decent rate they shouldn’t be producing the show. Accepting low pay rates also means that performers who make most of their living from this (such as myself) can’t get any work as I refuse to lower myself below my minimum pay rate.

Performers, I implore you to really consider what your time is worth. It’s not just the three minutes you are on stage. How much did your costume cost you in time (if you made it) and money? How long does it take you to do your hair and makeup? How much does your makeup cost? How much will parking cost you? How many hours did you spend conceptualising and rehearsing your routine? How much have you spent on training? A rate of $20 (this is the lowest I have heard recently) for an act does not even remotely cover those costs. (edit – I’ve been hearing of $50/$60 rates for several performances in a show during Fringe. Maybe it’s just me but I think that’s horrendous)

We need to stand together – your time is worth more. I know it is the love of performing that drives most of us and not the money, but I have seen this happen in other scenes where now there is next to no work and sub-standard shows because everyone is performing for next to nothing. I love the SA scene and I want to see it grow and prosper. How are we supposed to continue to innovate and create if our work is undervalued?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and even if you don’t agree with me I hope this can prompt some discussion about this issue. Love Luna x

PS – of course, I understand there are some exceptions to the rule and if performing in the gig benefits you in a real and tangible way then sometimes a lower pay rate is warranted, but I think this is about 10% of the time.”

We need innovation

The other night I was wandering around Fringe with a friend who introduced me to someone. When asked what kind of performer I was, I answered burlesque. The person I just met then said, “Oh, you do this thing” and made this motion:

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Now I’m sure he didn’t mean anything in particular by it, but it brought up a wellspring of feelings that have been dogging me for the last year or so. Is this really what people see burlesque as? Is this what we’ve been reduced to? The movie Burlesque created a wonderful boom for the industry which gave a lot of us work and got a lot of new people interested, but it has become so “mainstream” now – tits, teeth and feathers. This stuff is great, but there is so much more to it than that. Granted, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If audiences are no longer interested then it pushes us to create work that is exciting, engaging and captivating to the crowd. We need innovation to survive – not just in terms of getting full audiences, but also to propel ourselves. I found The Gin Sisters so fulfilling for this reason – it wasn’t necessarily innovative but it was something new for us and has opened up the world for me a little bit more. I’m going to focus on new work this year that is personally challenging and exciting.

To cheer myself up after this….

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here are some of my favourite innovative burlesque routines – specifically from Australian artists.

Imogen Kelly

You can’t say “innovative burlesque” without thinking of Imogen Kelly. Imogen’s performances are always exciting and fresh – and it was her show “The Undressing Room” that I saw in the Adelaide Fringe in 2009 that opened my eyes to all the things burlesque can be. Here is one of her latest routines – performed at the New York Burlesque Festival.

Betty Grumble

I first saw Betty Grumble when she entered the Miss Burlesque Australia competition in 2011. She pretty much parodied the entire competition with hilarious and thought provoking results. Betty challenges the sexualisation of children through beauty pageants, as well as standards of beauty for women. I think her work is phenomenal – and it’s not for the faint hearted!

Mema Sifa

Mema Sifa is a local Adelaide performer, and I’m proud to say she started off in the Peaches ‘n’ Gin Burlesque Academy. Mema has a unique brand of “nerdlesque” with her acts referencing pop culture and nerd icons. She produces a show called “Bazinga Burlesque“, now in it’s second year at Adelaide Fringe and I just think her ideas are fantastic. Her Game of Thrones act that she performed at Miss Burlesque SA 2014 completely blew me away. Unfortunately it’s hard to get the full feel of the routine from a video so I haven’t posted it. I’m pretty sure she’s performing this at Bazinga – so get tickets! 

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Photo by Steamkittens

There are still more artists I’d like to include – Lillian Starr, Vesper White, Glitta Supernova, Becky Lou, Sina King….perhaps in another post! And just for one last time…

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