It does what it says on the tin! Starting tomorrow, I’ll be helping someone make a documentary on my first (!) professional film job. I don’t feel I should say much about it since it’s ultimately not my doc, but I think it’ll help do some good. You can’t be a big fan of Atari Teenage Riot or System of a Down like I am and not be interested in this topic. Because of that, my head’s been more in documentarian mode than writer mode. I thought I could juggle both hats, but it’s better to find out now than when it’s dreadfully important.
The doc is pro bono, but it’ll get some major play in June. I see it as more of a calling card, though I’m amused at how my art path is taking me everywhere except directing narrative fiction. So far. I’ll take control at some point, but I always wanted to try my hand at documentaries. They use a completely different part of the brain than normal films. You’re essentially taking hundreds of hours of people talking randomly and making a story out of it. To a guy who likes order, that’s frightening. But I also enjoy a good challenge. If I come back more psychotic than usual, I couldn’t handle it.
In non-self-serving news, I finally bought a series that I thought would mean a lot to me, and I was right. Shopping for a garbage can at Walmart (which is really the only reason to go there [and happy accidents]), I wandered to the movie section. I can’t ever resist my Syren’s song. Unshocked by rows of disappointment, my outlook was violently flipped. There it was, top row and glowing, a boxset of Emma Peel’s run on the 60’s spy show, The Avengers. I’m not nearly old enough to have seen it on TV, but it’s one of those shows that’re always around (like Bewitched, or The Prisoner [“Be seeing you.”]). I had an inkling that I’d like it, so I told myself that I’d get it. Someday. And there it was. Fifty-one episodes. Twenty bucks. I’ve only gotten through six episodes, but it’s easily one of the best rides I’ve been on.
I also started going to burlesque shows again. I missed that world and got tired of hoping for free shows to come along. I’ve been following two shows (Wiggle Room and Kiss Kiss Cabaret) on Twitter for about a year now. They weren’t the ones that brought me back, though. The 1901 has been on my radar for years, but I never went to a show (Downtown Chicago parking is a ragetrap). Their… venue was shut down for a long time, but I got an e-mail last month saying that they were back and found a new place (Uptown Underground). I checked my wallet and bit the bullet. The first show was about films, so you know how I reacted. It was on the main stage of a place that’s, more or less, a speakeasy. One of the best performances was a dancer reenacting Mommie Dearest. And by reenacting, I meant that she was essentially screaming at wire hangers for five minutes. The last show’s theme was water and pirates. That took place in the backroom of the speakeasy. The performances were bookended with an X-rated version of The Little Mermaid. I’ll sing Part of Your World and Poor, Unfortunate Souls at the drop of a dime (both were reinterpreted awesomely), so you know how I reacted. A performance that stands out is a female pirate who was dying of thirst and found a… self-loving way to find water while Styx’s Come Sail Away played. There was also Peter Pansexual, and a water gun fight. If you couldn’t tell, The 1901 is more of an outsider than most burlesque groups, but I like that. I’ll start going to Wiggle Room and Kiss Kiss Cabaret shows next month and enjoy them awesomely in different ways, but I like the outside. Doesn’t hurt/help that my first show was with the SS-XXX troupe, where I saw a dancer use a grinder on herself and another one eat a baby. The way I described it to myself while waiting for the last show to start is that I’m more likely to hear Marilyn Manson at a normal burlesque show. Troupes like SS-XXX and The 1901 breed Marilyn Manson.
Why burlesque? Two reasons, really. One, unlike strippers (I’m not bashing them, I’m just pointing out differences), burlesque dancers are there for themselves and not you. Two, it’s a great showcase of sexuality in women. You see a HUGE variety of women who are comfortable with themselves and their bodies. Last night, I saw a dwarf and a big girl dance, and there were fantastic (the former had a leg up because she was dressed as Cthulhu [but the other did dance to Björk…]). A lot of women have body image issues, which is a shame, so any woman who’s proud of her (im)perfections is ok with me. You’re beautiful, women, and punch anyone in the balls/box who says different. Figuratively, not literally. I don’t wanna be the cause of a groin-punching epidemic.