"That was headquarters, they want me to go to Las Vegas at once....."
As some of you may or may not know, there is a special event that happens once a year down in Las Vegas. It's called the 'Burlesque Hall of Fame', of 'BHOF' and what this event is a four day celebration of Burlesque that features some of the biggest names in Burlesque from around the world. Basically everyone in the Burlesque community hops on a plane, meets in Las Vegas and we all hang out, perform and compete. The biggest competition is of course for the title of 'Miss Burlesque' which went to Miss Indigo Blue last year.
This year, Screaming Chickens is once again competing for 'Best Group' (we did this in 2010 before) and while I am super stoked and ecstatic about that I am going to talk about something a little more personal.
Like say, the fact that somehow, I managed to make it into the Thursday night 'Movers, Shakers, and Innovators' show.
????? I know right??!!!
What's really interesting and exciting for me is that I didn't make it in with one of my pretty numbers, or even one of my spooky ones, oh no....I made it in as my drag persona.
Hunter S. Johnson.
That's right bitches, Hunter will be going back to Vegas and this time he is taking the stage!
But that will be a whole blog post in itself (complete with pictures and video I promise, I plan on travelling as Hunter the day of), today I want to actually take a step back in time and share with you the origins of my favourite drag persona.
It was probably about a year or so into my Burlesque career, I was getting more comfortable as a performer and with the scene in general when the lovely Vava Vunderbust asked me to do a duet with her. The routine she wanted to do was an old one that she used to perform with a male friend of hers and she wanted to update it and bring it back for one of the summer Taboo shows. The concept was an easy one, a sexy car wash girl interacting with one of her male customers.
Sounds pretty cute, but what made the routine a great idea to me was the size difference between us and a small comment she made about her former partner wearing Hawaiian shirts and high socks. It was just sort of an off hand remark like 'he sort of dressed like Johnny Depp in that movie where he's bald, you know...fear and loathing.'
Ding! Light bulb moment!
I basically decided then that I wouldn't just do an outfit based on Hunter, oh no, I was going to try and actually create a Burlesque character that embodied him. So I watched Fear and Loathing a bunch of times, read some of the real Hunters work and then ran out to Value Village to find a suitable Hawaiian shirt.
This was the result.
There are a few things that I've learned since then, such as that chest hair on a bra doesn't always work and makes the gender swap and costume layers difficult unless done really right. Also, as a woman pretending to be a man it is more convincing if you wear boxers or a fake dick rather than 'manties'.
But all in all I'm still fond of that routine, even if you can see my pink hair under the hat and its fairly obvious that I'm a girl, especially if you look at my butt.
Since then though I've done many Hunter routines, there was a Viva Las Vegas group number where in I harassed a group of beautiful Vegas showgirls until they beat the crap out of me, another in which I go to the lovely Mama Fortuna for a little bit of pleasure and pain but wind up getting more than I bargained for, as well as cameos and other small solos.
I've also hosted a few Taboo Revues and Becoming Burlesque shows as Hunter which presents a variety of new challenges. The first and most obvious being my voice, it is very hard to sound like a man when you have a voice as shrill as mine. There were a few times during those shows that I tried to drop the levels of my voice and add a sort of rough man-like quality to it but I was told later that it had the opposite effect of what I wanted and that it made people less sure of my character than if I just talked in my normal pitch. So I've learned that rather than fight my pitch just go with it and instead try and get the inflections of Hunters speech patterns instead.
The other thing that I had to get used while hosting is standing and moving like Hunter for longer periods of time, which can be hard sometimes when you're used to standing with your back arched and your tits out. I managed to nail this habit after last years zombie walk, I went as a zombie version of Hunter and managed to make it the whole way through the walk moving and walking like him. My ankles were SO sore but it got me in perfect shape for our 2010 visit to BHOF where on one of the days we weren't performing a whole group of us Chickens went and run amok at Circus Circus, where I dressed and lived it up Hunter style!
What's interesting about doing drag and especially being Hunter is the positive feedback I get back from everyone, especially women. Women LOVE me as Hunter, which I can understand because I'm sleazy in a fun yet very safe way since there are no secret motives behind my lewd comments and raunchy humour. But I've also gotten a lot of positive feedback from male audience members and other boylesque performers, from flattering comments about how well I act like the character to discussions about guy clothes and how to take them off. (I've had numerous discussions with the lovely Blue Morris about sock garters and where to find awesome shoes.)
Now let's just hope that I can get as positive feedback from the people in Vegas as here in Vancouver, after all, I might be up against something like this at times........