Ouchies! Rejection and Burlesque!

Greetings and Salutations my beautiful, naked friends! 

I know I have't written a post in a while, so I figured I would tackle a subject that has been on my mind a great deal this past summer. Festival Season is a coming to a close as summer wraps up and the last of the sunscreen is applied (keep that skin young ladies and gents!). Dreams were made this summer as awards were handed out and titles honored. I was fortunate enough to have been accepted into three major festivals so far this year, which was both thrilling and terrifying. However, I submitted a great deal more than 3 applications this year. A lesson learned this summer: rejection is inevitable. 

I think the beauty of pageants and festivals is our absolute willingness to put our hearts on the line. We are asking to be judged and scrutinized from the word go. From the time we submit our applications until the moment the last crown is placed on the queen's head we are asking our peers to evaluate our every move. And that can be a bit intimidating. However year after year you see thousands of performers truly give it their all. You see thousands of performers become as vulnerable as possible. Because truly, what is more vulnerable than baring your soul and body? This is our art, and we take it damn seriously! 

For this, I commend all of you hard working, dedicated performers out there. I commend you for becoming vulnerable enough to even submit an application. That in and of itself is a true victory! Bravo! 

Despite the empowerment I should feel for even trying, it is so easy to become discouraged upon the arrival of that rejection email. Rejection is never, ever, ever easy... and it is ok to acknowledge that! Feel what you need to feel. No one ever has the right to tell you otherwise. If you are sad, hurt, angry, or confused it is ok! The very good likelihood is we are all feeling the same thing. Feel your feelings, then let them pass. Once you have a clear mind you will be able to think through the situation and evaluate the outcome.

As soon as the negativity has passed I think it is important to start to truly think about why you were rejected. Now, I'm not talking about that self abusive, slandering talk that comes with negativity.... I am talking about real, true self critique. I think too often we as performers get in the mindset of cheering each other on when sometimes we truly need a little tough love. There is no shame in saying "You know, my stage presence could use a little work" or "My costume could use a tuck or two" or even "I think a ballet lesson might help my grace on stage!". It is ok to admit our faults, but what truly matters is how you move one and take it to the next next level. Always strive as performers to elevate your performance, set your standard high!

Now I am not saying I am by any means an expert. I consider myself a very young, baby performer both in years and experience. But I have been a performer since the womb, and thus more than familiar with rejection. 

One thing I know is this: there is always another side. Rejection often has nothing to do with your worth or value. As Sparkly Devil says in her brilliant essay about rejection, you must repeat to yourself "THIS EXPERIENCE DOES NOT DEFINE MY WORTH."

... and repeat it again: This experience does not define my worth. 

(Thank you Sparkly Devil for those inspiring words!)

Every single one of you have tremendous worth. As the wise Legs Malone has said to me in the past, you must repeat to yourself "I am worthy of love, I am worthy of praise, I am worthy of success." This is not a sense of entitlement, nor a demand. Rather, it is acknowledging your own potential. Find that potential within you and nourish it! 

Like any plant, one must continuously feed, water, and nurture it! Without these necessary elements the plant would never grow. Such is the case for us as performers! We must continuously acknowledge where there is an opportunity for growth, where we can praise our success, and how to continuously nurture the spirit. 

Without this growth we can never hope to elevate ourselves as performers. But if we continuously strive for more, for better, for a deeper understanding of ourselves we can move past the hurt of rejection, because we know our value and worth, regardless of the outside circumstances. 



Sparkly Devil's "Coping with Burlesque Rejection" 

Legs Malone

Neo vs. Classic? What's a gal to do?

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

While I sit here eagerly awaiting my show this evening (what a better way to spice up a boring ol' Tuesday then to do a little stripping?) I find myself (as I have for the past few months) struggling with the idea of neo burlesque vs. classic.

Yes, yes I know. This is a age old burlesque argument, and I hate to add fuel to the fire.

That being said, I think it is a predicament that so many performers encounter and a question with no true answer.

Now, before I even continue typing I should add the disclaimer that I am a NOVICE performer. In burlesque years I consider myself an infant. While this by no means speaks to my dedication nor my passion it does speak to my exposure to the wide, wide world that is stripping and performance art.

When I began my burlesque career I was more than determined to be a neo performer. I wanted to push the boundaries of what it mean to strip, what sexy is, how we define sensuality. I remember in my very first burlesque workshop telling Maria Bella (my burlesque mommy) I was" interested in the boundary between sex and death". Oh yeah, I was that student. 

The very idea of classic burlesque was off putting to me. It seemed antiquated, a dying art without a cause or motivation. I had difficulty understanding why one would want to execute a stocking pull when they could stab balloon babies instead. Why corsets when one could don a cargo jacket or internal organs? Thus, I leaped boldly into the world of neo-burlesque.

However, as if it was a direct mirror of my collegiate years, as my experience as an artist progressed I craved the fundamentals and core values of my art. As an undergraduate art student I focused for my first 3 years on conceptual performance art. I did everything from burying myself in the forest dirt to taking a bath in class before my peers. Yes, again, I was that student. However, in my last year I realized I had spent 3 years leaping at concept without any foundation to my practice. I barely knew how to paint, I couldn't sculpt to save my life... I was essentially a rebel without a cause. I spent my last year in my undergraduate career soaking up as much information as humanly possible. I took classes in every basic art I could; drawing, woodworking, you name it! If there were skills to learn I was ready and eager to absorb! I left college with a suitcase full of concept and a pocket full of product. 

And now, once again I find myself in the same scenario. Entering my third year of burlesque and looking back I crave the foundation. I am craving the basics. Truly, I feel this all comes from my own discomfort.

As artists, often we don't allow ourselves to be taken seriously, as this means we are seriously judged. If I allow myself to embody sex on stage I have to be ready and open for the audience to absorb me as I am. Live in the discomfort. Sydni Deveraux says, "I kept being pulled to try more classic styles, but I was also uncomfortable with it. (Tip: You need to sit with this discomfort...  find out where it ultimately comes from. Then do something about it; own it, change it or discard whatever belief you have in there.)" 

I have to allow myself to be uncomfortable with my own sexuality. I have to allow the audience to drink me in, Cherie Nuit in all her curvy, weird, sexy goodness. 

I think the key to comfort is quality, and I mean that in all aspects of life. Create something of worth, something you feel comfortable living with. If it's burlesque create art of worth. Embody what sexy means to you and make it worth the audience's time. I am worth it, let me share my worth with the audience. Then, and only then, allow them to drink you in. 

While I find myself tapping into the world of classic burlesque as a means to find quality (and for me, Cherie Nuit, I define that as a foundation and understanding of burlesque history) others may travel a very different path. I don't find either to be inherently right or wrong, but sooner or later we all must find quality on our road to creating Art. Yes Art with a capital A. 

I still consider myself a neo performer. It doesn't matter how many times I pull a stocking nor gloves I peel, my roots are, and always will be, in boundary-pushing. I am find my calling in, as Kate Valentine says, in an art form for men, women, and everything above and in-between,  "to be able to explore their sexuality outside that narrow definition of what we are all supposed to find attractive." 

I want to create something of quality and be self-aware as an artist (if at this limited point in my career I can even call myself that). I want to do neo burlesque because I am pushing boundaries, not because I am uncomfortable giving myself to the audience. "Edgy" can be so broad. I consider myself edgy because I like to challenge my audience. Edgy can also be challenging an art form. Watch Lola Frost remove her shows at the 2013 Miss Exotic World competition. THAT was edgy. Watch Laurie Hagen strip in reverse. That was edgy. It is all about embodying quality, then allowing yourself to rest in the discomfort. When you feel that discomfort that is when you know you are truly challenging something. 

To wrap up this rambling rant of a blog post I leave you with another quote from Kate Valentine's 2011 State of the Union Address, "Why not take that extra leap and try to be exceptional. Burlesque is not curing cancer, but it can be transformational and transporting if done right....The only way to preserve neo-burlesque as an art form is to create high professional standards within the genre…" 

I love you all! Let's make something of quality! 






Paco FIsh

Maria Bella 


Summertime in the city!!

Greetings y'all!

It's that time again... summer. Well...almost.

Time for normal folks to do what I do year round as a career; disrobe and bear it! (yes, pun intended.) 

While I am using my summertime to gear up for some SPECTACULAR events in the fall (oh just you wait!!) I do have some shows in the near future...

Make sure next week to check out...

Poster and photograph by Stereo Vision Photograhy

Poster and photograph by Stereo Vision Photograhy

Burlesque’s spicy “sweet”heart, Candy Del Rio is excited to join forces with DC scene staples - the quirky, sexy burlesque starlet Cherie Nuit and the deadpan humor of our MC, Hot Todd Lincoln, the co-producers of “Hot Night”. Also joining us this evening is the exciting, in fact - SMOLDERING Aurora Wells, as well as the elegant and delightful Samantha Stardust. Candy Del Rio will get you ready for the summer as we heat up the night and with some sizzling fun at the Anacostia Art Center. 
Best of all – this entertaining evening featuring the art of the tease absolutely FREE to the public!
Doors open at 7:30 - come early, enjoy a drink and some food at Nürish Bar and Café, right there on the premises. Free parking, plenty of good times, and you're home early on a work night! 
Mature audiences only please, 18 and over.


SOO exciting!! 

Plus, like always, Todd and I have something in the works! Check back soon for more news about our Pride and Pasties show on June 6th!

That's all for now folks!!


Cherie Nuit