The worst thing about being grown up.

I think the worst thing about being an adult is having to make decisions. Life is so much easier when you’re a kid – all of the major decisions are made for you! The biggest thing I had to worry about was what I was going to buy at the school canteen with my pocket money. The jam tart or the sausage roll? But when you’re grown up, the decisions are bigger and there is no one to make those decisions for you but yourself. And that SUCKS!

Mini me!

Mini me!

I recently realised that I was actually quite unhappy. I felt overworked (and of course, as an artist, underpaid) and had no passion left for what I was doing. Overall I loved the work, but I think I loved the idea of it more. I never really realised that I was unhappy because I was so busy and there always another project to focus on. But when I really thought about it, I saw that I was down more than up. So I decided that I had to make some major changes.

Sapphire and I in our very first photo shoot! OMG we were such babies!

Sapphire and I in our very first photo shoot! OMG we were such babies!

The decision to downsize my business (The Swing Sesh), and leave the partnership I had been in since 2009 (Peaches n Gin Burlesque) was the hardest decision I think I’ve ever had to make. I felt like I was letting everybody down and that people would be angry with me. I really struggle with letting negative judgement get to me. I was also terrified that I would regret it, that I could never go back, and that I would miss out on a lot of opportunities. I agonised over it, but when I said to myself “I’m doing this”, I instantly felt like it was the right decision. The hardest thing was telling people I cared about – especially the teachers at The Swing Sesh who I was essentially letting go, and Sapphire.

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Now that I’m a few weeks out of letting everyone know, I have a much clearer head. I still feel bad that my decision has, in some cases, had a negative impact on people, but I also know that if I hadn’t made it I would have burnt myself into the ground with the same result (except I’d be ashes!). I think Peaches ‘n’ Gin will run a lot smoother and more efficiently now that there is one person at the head, and I will still be involved and doing the things that I love, like teaching and performing. With regards to The Swing Sesh, I’m excited about having more time to focus on planning awesome classes and events – I can feel the fire start to burn in me already without the burden of running a large school. I’m confident my classes are going to be much better with more time to dedicate to them.

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Decisions really do suck. But sometimes you have to make them even when they don’t please everybody. If you don’t look out for you, who will? I am so happy that I get to spend time with family and friends now, and still have time for burlesque and swing dancing. As a friend aptly put it, I’m “right-sizing” not “down-sizing”. I think I’m done for major decision making for a while though now, so if anyone needs me I’ll be on the playground. 😀

The Count Basie Orchestra: review

I’ve unfortunately let my favourite post (Saturday Morning Swing) slip along the wayside, but I’m inspired to start it up again after seeing the amazing Count Basie Orchestra on their 80th anniversary tour on Saturday 16th May at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

The Count Basie Orchestra with Ethel Waters in 1943

The Count Basie Orchestra with Ethel Waters in 1943

An 18-piece big band, they are led by trumpeter Scotty Barnhart and were joined by guest vocalist Carmen Bradford. I like to think I listen to a lot of music, but I had no idea how tight a band could sound until I heard these guys live. So much energy, creativity and freedom of spirit.

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Photo by CBO

They played a mix of songs, some of my favourites including All Of Me, I Got A Right To Sing The Blues, From One to Another and Corner Pocket.

Carmen Bradford dominated the vocals and was an excellent entertainer as well – joking with the audience and sashaying about in her fabulous sequinned gowns.

Carmen Bradford. Photo by CBO

Carmen Bradford. Photo by CBO

The musicians are all extremely accomplished in their own right, but the rhythm section (Bobby Floyd – piano, Will Matthews – guitar, Trevor Ware – bass, and Dave Gibson – drums) in particular blew me away. That’s no surprise really since Basie essentially revolutionised the rhythm section for big band music. Those four cats sure can swing! Bobby Floyd was particularly delightful on piano, especially in From One To Another. Here’s a clip of that song (with a slightly different lineup); I can’t embed it unfortunately!

Some standout solos for me included Cleave Guyton on the Piccolo (I don’t know that I’ve ever heard much jazz Piccolo before!), Michael Williams and Scotty Barnhart on trumpet, and Doug Lawrence on tenor sax.

I am so glad I bought tickets to this show because I think I would have regretted it so much if I hadn’t! It was something I didn’t realise I actually needed. When you do what you love for a living, it’s hard sometimes to remember that you do actually love it! I needed that reminder when it comes to jazz – yes, I do actually love listening to jazz and clearly need to do more of it every day.

The Count Basie Orchestra is touring all over the world, so if they are in your city do yourself a favour and see “The greatest big band working today” – it’s true.

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!

Costuming: Luck Be A Lady

I mentioned in my last post that I am revamping some old routines for my solo show, and I just made a new costume for my routine “Luck Be A Lady”. I first performed this routine in 2010 at the first Miss Burlesque SA competition. I performed it for a while but the costume pretty much fell apart – probably because I made it primarily with a hot glue gun and a stapler!

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Performing at Miss Burlesque Australia 2010. Hahah that guy 😀

After the costume fell apart I kept meaning to remake it, but just never got around to it. So the act sat in pieces in the back of my wardrobe. I recently decided I wanted to pull it out again, so I set about to make a whole new costume.

My crappy drawing haha! My sketching skills have never been the best

My crappy drawing haha! My sketching skills have never been the best

The first costume I made had a tutu covered with cards, which was pretty cool but a bit impractical really and I was never happy with how it turned out, so I decided to go a different direction with a poofy tulle skirt!

Tulle skirt in progress

Tulle skirt in progress

I had fun painting the fabric – it was actually the first time I had done stencilling. I think I’m hooked!

Painting!

Painting!

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I haven’t got a picture of the full costume yet, but if you want to see it in action stay tuned! I’ll be releasing the details of my show very soon! Eeep! Just quietly I’m freaking out a bit. 😉

See you next time!

Cold weather makes for productivity (apparently!)

Today it is a balmy 10 degrees C in Wellington….brrrrrr! I know there are places in the world much colder but for this South Aussie it is definitely outside of my normal experience. It’s been too cold to do anything but stay inside and I’ve been starting to feel a bit restless and ready to get back into work. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a wonderful time but it’s not like me to take such a long break and I’m used to having tons of things on the go! So without really planning to I actually got a bunch of stuff done for my solo show today. I narrowed down some song choices, checked out some ukulele tutorials and sketched out some costumes.

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Most of the material I’m writing from scratch, but I am using one or two things I have already done – revamping them, changing the music or sprucing up the costume. I’m excited to get back to Adelaide and into a fabric store to get working on some of these beauties!

I’m feeling quite grateful that I want to get back to work. I was a bit worried I’d come back from the trip and not want to do any at all. I’m not terribly excited about the boring paperwork stuff, but I am looking forward to teaching again and working on some awesome projects coming up at The Swing Sesh and Peaches ‘n’ Gin.

The next time you’ll hear from me I’ll probably be writing from Radelaide – see you then!  Stay warm NZers!