Saturday, December 6, 2014

Victory Rolls: Attempt #1

Gosh, I love victory rolls! I thought to myself on a Saturday night. The boy is in the living room playing video games and I'm puttering around aimlessly. Why don't you learn how to do them? I thought to myself. Really, there are so many great tutorials out there. I'm particularly fond of The Girl With The Star Spangled Heart's video. So I gave it a whirl using a comb, a hand-me-down dollar store hair straightener, hairspray and bobby pins.

I have naturally curly hair which refuses to cooperate on good hair days and has full blown tantrums on bad hair days so first we partition and straighten the hair:

Next we grab then end, carefully make a loop and roll that loop up. Pin it to your head and voila!

Ok, maybe not. Let's try again. Voila?

Maybe 1/2 a can more hairspray and a dozen more pins will help...

Well, I tried.

This has been victory roll attempt number 1. I believe I'll invest in a brush, a better straightener and perhaps a curling iron before I try again.

Stay Saucy,

Miss Scarlet

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Clowning Around

This past winter has been rough- soul suckingly, dream crushingly rough. I've been dealing with intense depression and as a result for months I've had no creative drive. Life without artistic passions to pursue is like living in a colourless world. But lately little buds of hope have been blooming. To help combat the overwhelming drabness winter I organized a vibrant and playful photo shoot with AJ Batac and Mark Godilano on Sunday March 2nd at the Manitoba Legislative building. The following photos were taken by AJ Batac.

Rainbow balloons make me happy.

The weather forecast claimed that the Sunday of the shoot was supposed to be a balmy -6 degrees Celsius. You don't need to be a genius to know that when it comes to the weather the only constant is the curve balls that Winnipeg throws you. It was -17 degrees and with the windchill it felt like -30.

 What's more playful than a clown?

 As you can see, the tights I chose for the shoot don't cover my entire legs. While they certainly fit the theme I was going for they were in no way practical for the resurgence of winter. Luckily AJ is a pro at taking pics and giving directions. The shoot went like this: disrobe sweat pants, pose! Pose! Adjust angle! Pose! And clothing goes back on.

"I used to get a shiver if I thought about holding balloons, because I was scared of floating away." -Fiona Apple

The shoot was short and sweet, with the cameras clicking away as fast as possible. It was exhilarating and a wonderful way to break out of the rut I had found myself in.

Time to spread my wings and relearn how to fly.

Cheers to the coming spring.

Saucily yours,
Miss Scarlet

Friday, September 27, 2013

Autumn Update

Hello, blog. It's been a while.

It's my fault, I know. I'm not the faithful pen pal I should be. But Autumn is here and rainy days and colorful leaves just lend themselves to a hot cup of tea and letter writing so I feel confident you shall hear from me more often.

Today's blog post is about disappointments, miscommunications and feeling burnt out. I tend to take on the world all at once, without properly portioning out my time (and keeping my sanity in mind).

In my last few posts I was excited for the River City Rumble - Winnipeg's own Rockabilly festival. I had been asked in February to be part of the burlesque entertainment for the event. Throughout the year our burlesque sponsor kept us updated on everything she was told by the board regarding our performances and tried to get answers for us regarding things like how long they would like the performances to be, whether we would be performing twice (Saturday & Sunday) or just one day, if we were performing twice whether we would be doing the same performance or whether we should prepare multiple acts. We weren't given the answers to these questions in a timely fashion but we would have made do the best we could. However, shortly before the festival our burlesque sponsor was asked not to participate in the festival and when I was contacted directly by the RCR board I was informed that my burlesque act had to be "family friendly". It was explained to me that there were going to be children present at this event and that while the parents would be informed that burlesque was going on, there was no way guarantee that young children would not be in the room while my act was being performed.

Family Friendly. Burlesque. I'm not going to go into details here but I was very, very angered by this - partly because burlesque, to me, is a celebration of my body and I should not be told to hide my body in an art form where I deliberately show it off and partly because I was informed of this new requirement so close to the festival date that there was no time to create a new act. Because of this I declined to participate in the burlesque portion of the show. I was planning on attending the event but word got around that Roxi D'Lite was no longer coming to the RCR for exactly the same "family friendly" reasons that had prompted me not to perform. And that was too much disappointment to bear. I ended up not going to the River City Rumble as either a performer or a participant.

This summer I was also part of a Fringe show - Miss Mumford's Marvelous Mummy Unwrapping. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to perform and meet so many great friends. That being said KUDOS to the professional actors and actresses who routinely do shows night after night after night! Hoo boy our show ran for seven nights and I was so exhausted by the time Fringe was over that I could have slept for a solid week. (I wish I had but the real world beckoned - pesky jobs ;-P ) One night in particular was particularly memorable as our lead actresses became too ill to perform, so I stepped in as the cousin from out of town who was helping to host the soiree while the maids each took it upon themselves to perform one of my tableaus. Talk about improv! We had so much fun dashing about stage with only a vague idea of how the play was supposed to end. It was my favorite performance of the week.

After Fringe however a lassitude set in. It was accompanied by a lack of enthusiasm for burlesque, a nagging dislike of my body and the sinking feeling that Winnipeg was just not the place for performance artists, despite the large collection that dwells here. I can't say that I'm completely over these feelings. My creative well is still churning out ideas but the fortitude to bring them to life is flagging. For the meantime I've decided to pursue some other forms of performing - I won't spoil the surprise of future blog posts by naming which ones - and connecting with other performers who deal/have dealt with similar issues.

Here's to getting back on the burlesque pony.

Saucily yours,
Miss Scarlet

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fringe 2013: Opening Night!

Ah, rehearsals. I have missed ye not. Like anything worth doing, a play takes practice, practice and more practice to get it right. That being said the lead up to Fringe this year has been exhausting and a little panic inducing.

With three weeks to go we lost one of our maids to health issues - a secondary but incredibly important role as the maids are in charge of seating the guests, pouring tea, explaining that certain seats will be called on for audience participation and generally making sure the play runs smoothly. Like any distinguished, Victorian abode our play depends heavily on our maids! It was an amazing stroke of good fortune that Jess was willing to step in and even more willing to throw an extra pinch of sass into her character.

 Left to Right: Trish (Maid 1), Piano Man & Misses Mumfords' nephew, Shaylyn (Maid 2) and Jess (Maid 3) with the delightfully dessicated Mummy

With less that two weeks until opening night our 'grand finale' actress had to bow out, leaving us wondering how on earth we would be able to close to the play. Cutting her part out left the play incomplete. Asking an audience member to play our specter from beyond seemed too demanding - the role has quite a few lines and needs to wrap the production to a conclusive end. But what's this? Miss Stella Mumford (Lou Valcourt) had an intriguing idea for her sister's not-quite-socially-acceptable actress friend: Miss Beatrice Atkins (yours truly) could play not only the tableau artist but the ghost as well. Which would perhaps make the play even more amusing as the audience is well aware that they've seen this particular face before.

I was never so grateful that we had rehearsed so often that I could recite almost every part of the play by heart. The show would go on!

Of course we also had the other usual bumps along the road: We couldn't find x piece for y costume. Could we do without it? Could we make it? Our set up is quite elaborate. Where on earth are we going to find that many tea cups and saucers suitable for Miss Mumford's parlour? Can we leave it overnight or do we have to tear down and re-set up each evening? We need a flask for our pianist, pronto!

The Sisters Mumford: Natasha Wiebe and Lou Valcourt

There were also some rather unique stumbling blocks. Originally we were going to create a mummy out of paper mache but starting from scratch would have been horrendously time consuming. Could we use some sort of wire frame? What about a doll? This leads to the rather hilarious saga of Nefertitty ...

Our brave and fearless leader, Natasha Weibe, approached the Love Nest for sponsorship and also to get an idea about the pricing of life sized blow up dolls. As it happens blow up dolls run for roughly $700 a piece. Just a wee bit outside our budget. But wait! The store manager was so tickled by the idea of our Fringe play that she called the store owner and together the three of them raided the basement, finding ... a returned (returned?!?!) blow up doll whose fingers apparently didn't inflate. Due to this defect the doll had been bought and then exchanged within a few hours, after which it had been left in the basement to suffer the cruel fate of unwanted blow up dolls. Undaunted, Natasha took hold of the doll and with many, many bottles of Javex got to work inflating and then paper mache-ing our would be Mummy. And really, what better name for a blow up doll mummy than Nefertitty?

But at last! The tables were set, the tea cups were washed. The mummy was wrapped and we too wrapped ourselves in Victorian trappings. I've been on stage many times before and I usually get a bad case of butterflies and stage fright before going on. This time however, it wasn't until the guests were seated and the sisters Mumford had elicited several enthusiastic rounds of laughter than the fist in my stomach unclenched. I believe the whole cast had they same thought: They think we're funny? They think we're funny! HOORAH!!

Left to Right: Miss Beatrice Atkins (me), Stella Mumford (Lou), Josephine Mumford (Natasha) and our previous maid.

The opening night of Miss Mumford's Marvelous Mummy Unwrapping was indeed THE Social Event of the Season! Our audience proved wonderfully interactive and willing to giggle with us and as a result we were thrilled to perform for them. Luckily for us we get to do it all over again tonight at 9:30 pm at the Centre culturel Franco-manitobain.

Stay Saucy,
Miss Scarlet

Saturday, June 8, 2013

River City Rumble

Every year in the USA an amazing thing happens. It's called Viva Las Vegas - or Viva for short - and it's a festival of all things rockabilly and pinup including burlesque, bands, fashion, dancing, and in brings in celebrities like Mosh and Micheline Pitt.

Every year I cry a little tear inside because I'm not there. But you know what? Turns out I'm not alone! Some absolutely amazing people got together and decided To Heck with Las Vegas! Let's bring the raddest, rockinest, sexiest people together in Winnipeg! And thus was born the River City Rumble: a Rockabilly Festival taking place in Winnipeg August 3rd and 4th at the Metropolitan Entertainment Center.

I am literally bouncing with excitement because this is not your average small town, folksy festival. THIS IS HUGE! And anyone who knows anything about burlesque will be equally excited because ... THE BURLESQUE HEADLINER IS ROXY D'LITE!!!

Performance photos of Roxi's acts.

Ok, so you're not sure who Roxy is? You may remember a previous post where I talked about going to see The Burlesque Assassins - Roxy played the main character Bourbon Sue. But really, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The River City Rumble website says: "Roxy D'Lite is Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World 2010. Known as 'The Bad Girl of Burlesque' and 'The Drinkin', Smokin' Strippin' Machine.'" Intrigued? You should be! You can read more about Roxy here.

<3 Roxi D'Lite <3

BUT that's still not the most amazing part! The reason I haven't been able to sit still since they announced that she was coming to Winnipeg is ... I'll be performing along side her at the festival! *faints* So this won't be a duet of any sort, but the fact that I'm even mentioned in the same program as her is just unbelievable. The Winnipeg Burly Girls will be performing too: Miss La Muse, Robin Red Breast, Miss Ruby RedLips ... and you better believe we will be bringing our A-game.

Seriously, at this point do you even need any more reasons to buy tickets? I suppose I could mention that Stray Cat Lee Rocker and Kim Lenz and the Jaguars will be rocking the stage Saturday and Sunday. There will also be Swing and Burlesque dancing lessons, hair and make up tutorials to attend, Pin Up contests and Fashion shows, a vintage car show, movies, music and dance parties galore!

YOU! Yes, you need to buy your tickets now! You can buy them here or visit for more info.

Saucily yours,
Miss Scarlet

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shamrock Shaker

So this happened:

And it rocked.

The evening started off with the Rockabetty models meeting at the shop in Osborne Village for hair and make up. Now, I can make myself look presentable but when you have professionals attending to your toillette the outcome is amazing! My hair was done in a corner of the shop after which I trotted upstairs to Luna Spa for the best make over. I hadn't even known Luna Spa was there but apparently they opened up recently and offer professional make up services as well as manicures, pedicures and massages. When we were all suitably dolled up we drove over to the Reagle Beagle to get the party started. The Fashion Show began with Rockabetty. They had three lines going; cherries, leopard print and purple. I was lucky enough to model a dress from their cherries line, a beautiful red summer dress that was so comfortable it was almost like wearing sweatpants but a million times more gorgeous. There's nothing worse than being overheated and in super tight clothes. This dress was airy and had that lovely 'swish' going on at the skirt. It's the kind of dress that keeps you cool while looking hot.

 (Unless otherwise stated, all event photos courtesy of Bradley Mazur)

Mmm scarlet .... I think that's my colour.

The models changed in the bathroom which was maybe not the best of choices - the floor hadn't been washed and a lot of us had to change our stockings to match various dresses. There was also only one washroom for the models and the attendees- boy were they surprised to walk in to find a room full of half undressed ladies! With clothes flying everywhere and last minute touch ups to hair and make up the backstage area was hectic but fun and full of laughter. I changed out of the red dress to model a leopard print number from Rockabetty's sexy line. This dress is so amazing I took it home. It makes me feel incredibly attractive but it's classy in that 50's, don't have to show a lot of skin way. I've worn this to work several times as well as out on the town and I've received so many compliments on it.

Here kitty-kitty. ;)

When the Rockabetty models had finished the Foxy Shoppe ladies took a turn on the floor. They kicked off the show with the new lingerie they had gotten in - meow! More leopard print with matching bras and girdles. They had both small and plus sizes in red and black with leopard print accent down the middle. I seriously want!

King Cabernet took over at this point in the evening for some rockin' dance music with a St. Patty's Day flair. The "runway" turned into a dance floor. The Reagle Beagle was packed - I've been there before for events but I've never seen that many people on the dance floor. It was fantastic. When the burlesque portion of the evening arrived the dance floor cleared out and became a stage. It was MC'd by the hilariously funny Heather Witherden. Miss La Muse started us off with her infamous Potions Dance. This is my favourite routine that she does as she drinks a "magic potion" that makes her body start dancing against her will. It really show cases the skill she has not only dancing but in acting too.

"Nerd Girl loses her inhibitions" Photo by Oleh Stolarskyj

Miss Robin Red Breast (who recently made her very own Facebook page! Give it a 'like'!) debuted a new rockabilly routine that I didn't get to catch as I was backstage. From the hooting and hollering going on during it the audience definitely gave it a good review.

I did get to see the lovely Ruby RedLip's Dorothy-esque routine. She went from good girl to watch out! This sexy lady wasn't in Kansas anymore. ;-) A glitch in the music at the wrong (or very right) time had Miss Ruby swinging her bra and bobbing for a good two minutes while the staff tried to get the music back up and running. I think the audience loved that part especially - I know I did! Ruby was such a good sport about it too, hamming it up to the audience. The show must go on! And when they got the music going again she finished her routine without being phased in the least.

Finally it was my turn and I have to admit, I was a wee bit worried about my routine being a little too raunchy. However, it was St. Patty's Day and it called for good Irish drinking song! Flogging Molly's Salty Dog was my poison. I swaggered and I staggered and jigged in some bloody-high heels- I impressed myself with that one- and I had a great time. It was especially cool that all four of us girls had incredibly varied acts. There was something for everyone.

The evening finished with the Go go bops getting everyone dancing again. And boy, did we dance! I couldn't help thinking all night long that this was the best time I'd had in a long time. That's Saint Patty's Day for you, and I was in good company. My boyfriend won a door prize - a necklace and lovely hair fascinator - and despite the fact that I've assured him they would look fantastic on him he gave them to me.

There's only St. Patty's Day beads in there ... I swear!

I'm not sure I could say what the best part of the evening was. It really was a magical evening - perhaps the work of a leprechaun or two.

The Burly Girls!

The cherry on top of it all was that the event was a fundraiser for Winnipeg's own Rockabilly Festival - the River City Rumble! Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Saucily yours,
Miss Scarlet

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Burlesque Assasins!

On April 10th I went to the Winnipeg premiere of The Burlesque Assassins at Towne 8. This hilariously campy movie is set before and after WWII and revolves around KGB spy Katarina Molotov and US Secret Agent Johnnie Valentine who join together (in more ways than one) to create the Burlesque Assassins, an elite guild of assassins whose goal is to Seduce and Destroy the Third Reich.

Bourbon Sue (Roxy D'Lite) is a small town girl from Windsor, Ontario who is taken under Johnnie Valentine's wing to become a Burlesque Assassin and has to learn on the job with coworkers Coco LaDouce and Belle Bombshell in order to stop a secret post war plot to reunite three parts of a secret code that will activate a nuclear powered Nazi death ray. With the fake German accents and characters such as Clone Hitler and Billy Mussolini Jr. this is a B Movie in all it's gory glory. Yet as horrible as the lines and plot may be the burlesque acts in this movie are amazing! Glittering costumes and intricate acts help move the plot along, with everything from fan dances to puppetry. There is an aerial routine that was absolutely jaw dropping for the finale. This movie made me laugh, cringe and applaud. I'm so glad I got to see the only theatre showing in Winnipeg. Plus it was a fundraiser for the Roller Derby. What's not to love?

For dressing 'burlesque' I received a large movie poster! I can hardly wait to hand it in my new place.

I wore my new Rockabetty dress and met up with Miss Robin Red Breast who had the same idea - leopard print for the win! Miss Heather, D and M came out to enjoy the show all dolled up too. As it happened there was a "burlesque" outfit contest before the show. I ended up going to the show straight from work but if I'd known sooner I might have worn some pasties on the job! My bosses might have been a bit scandalized what with that pesky workplace dress policy and all. :P Regardless, we all looked glamorous.

For dressing up (such a hardship, I tell you) the lovely ladies at the Roller Derby table outside the theater gave us movie posters. I can't wait to frame and hang this bad boy! I really hope this movie comes out on DVD so I can own it.

Saucily yours,
Miss Scarlet