Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Feel like I'm pulled in a lot of directions today! Spent this morning taping my April March tribute act, so April can take a look and give me any last minute tweaking advice before I submit it next week for the Burlesque Hall of Fame event in June. Since then I've been working on the fashion show for LUPEC Prom, gave an interview to Simone at the DPL for their Overdue Love Club that I'm now hosting starting this Friday. I just compiled a list of my favorite downtown bars for the author of my favorite book on rum, Wayne Curtis who is swinging through D-town later this week, and tonight I'll be tasting scotch with my fellow Denver Whiskey Club members.

Right now I'm cracking a Yeti and stepping outside to enjoy the last minutes of a 65 degree February day in Colorado!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spreading the Burlesque Love!

I started my burlesque school as the answer to all the ladies from my audiences who came up after a show asking, "How do I do this?". At the time I had a troupe, but it was already chock full of talented glitter queens, and I wanted a way to show all these other ladies how to shake it, and give them the tools to create performance and take it to the stage.

When I started Vivienne VaVoom's School of Burlesque in 2006 I took the great advice I received from Michelle L'amour and her Studio L'amour, Miss Indigo Blue, headmistress of the Academy of Burlesque in Seattle and Jo Boobs, headmistress of the School of Burlesque in New York and combined it with how I trained the girls who joined Burlesque As It Was, plus added a dash of all the things I wish I'd know when I started in 1998 with only videos and books to train with.

The school has grown and grown and now I sell out nearly every month! It started as a place for all those girls who wouldn't fit into my troupe, and has become an absolute labor of love. Every time I see a girl hit the stage with her first Queen number, every time a girl peels off a glove in the group Starlet act, and feels the warmth and encouragement of the audience and then runs off stage exclaiming, "When do I get to do that again!" I fall in love with burlesque all over again.

Most of my students come in ready to break out of some kind of shell- shyness, body image issues, stage fright, or the crippling idea that she'll never feel sexy onstage- and the process of breaking and finally destroying that shell is SO gratifying. They thank me after, but really I have to thank them for including me on their journey, for trusting me to take them where they want and need to go.

Last night was our first burlesque recital at Bender's Tavern and that room was filled with so much love (literally filled- standing room only) and encouragement. The back stage was chilly, but I never felt cold as I stood beside the light that filled all the ladies who took the stage last night- and I mean took it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Corridor 44, Colorado Cocktail Contest and Smash Putt.

Thanks to Eryn at Corridor 44 for showing LUPEC Denver a great bubbly time on Monday! I'd never been there before and was delighted by the fabulous selection of champagne cocktails and the gorgeous space! We all started dreaming up parties we could throw in their swank and cozy back room.

LUPEC is encouraging you to drink with us at a happy hour every first Monday of the month! Follow us on FB for announcements!

I continued the night at MCA for a gathering of local distillers and Denver Bartenders to launch the Colorado Cocktail contest, the quest to develop a uniquely Colorado cocktail. Read all about it in Sean Kenyon's Westword blog. I'm really excited, as Montanya Rum's ambassador, to get to know the other local distillers and do my part to try and promote the fantastic liquor our state is producing!

Then as a blizzard ramped up, I headed over for one last hurrah with my new Smash Putt pals before they pack up and head back to Seattle. Since it was closed to the public I finally got a chance to play my favorite holes as many times as I wanted, drink a few cocktails from their local and small distillery stocked bar, shoot as many balls as I could on the firing range and sit down and chat with the folks I've been working for and beside for the last few weeks... until 8am! Pretty amazing way to spend a snowy night. Totally worth my having to sleep through most of Tuesday. Hopefully they'll come back to Denver again soon!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wonder Woman toys for Grownup Ladies

MAC really tempted me with the Hello Kitty line, but I resisted. However, when they announced they were putting out Wonder Woman themed products, all resistance was futile.

Bought these last night- the lipstick is Russian Red, a color I'd wanted anyhow, and the polish is Obey Me red. Had to get that.

The Wonder Woman obsession started early with me- until I was old enough to realize it wasn't an occupational choice, I answered every, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with the whole hearted answer that I wanted to be the Amazonian princess.

So of course, when someone started making lady sized Wonder Woman underoos, I had to have them, since I of course owned a set of the originals way back when I thought I might get to wear the real satin tights some day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Last night was the book event at Tattered Cover LODO for the fabulous Karen Abbott and her wonderful book on my favorite burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy was a DIY girl after my own heart, a fiercely individual artist and total trailblazer.

Me and Karen. Jo Weldon described her as having "The biggest and most beautiful eyes", and she really does!

I was honored to be asked to perform as part of the event and recreated  Gypsy's very funny and very PG (appropriate for the Tattered Cover audience) striptease "Psychology of a Stripper" from "Stage Door Canteen". I piled my hair up Gypsy style and found a few things in my closet that echoed her outfit. I was nervous as all heck and convinced I would never remember the whole monologue, but I did alright and only left out one line. As usual the striptease was much easier than the talking!

Check out Karen's brilliant version, taking Gypsy's act and spoofing it as the, "Psychology of an Author".

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Smash Putt- LAST WEEKEND!!

I've been bartending the last few Saturdays at the amazing Smash Putt golf course and if you haven't been there you MUST GO!!! The last nights are tonight and Sunday. Tonight is their big blow-out party and Boba Fett and the Americans marching band will be filling the place with even more crazy sound than usual!

My favorite hole- the infinity hole!
As a (former? future?) installation artist, I adore what the Seattle founders of this wacky/arty putt putt course have acomplished- it really is a total experience- from the surprising and fun course, to the bar stocked with local and small distilleries (including my favorite Montanya Rum - also a favorite of the staff). The touring course will hopefully be coming back, but won't you be kicking yourself if you miss it and they don't come back? Yes you will.

I might pop by tonight to check out the chaos, but I'll definitely be there Sunday (superbowl? what superbowl?) smashing a few balls, drinking a few cocktails made with some of the finest booze in the Rocky Mountains (they also have Ransom Gin, which I mentioned in my last post, and I highly recommend you try) so please join me.

If you make it by- please do yourself a favor poke around every corner- I went the first weekend, which was super empty (lucky me! Every weekend after was packed) and didn't realize there were hidden lounges and other holes all over the place!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How I learned to love gin

In college I drank gin and tonics because everyone else was drinking them, and they kind of tasted like christmas, but when I experienced several episodes of excruciating late night leg cramps after nights of g&t imbibing, I swore off gin and switched to vodka tonics. The leg cramps stopped and from then on I avoided the juniper beverage. Looking back it was likely the quality of the Pinesol flavored well gin served to me at the Compound, Snake Pit and Rock Island that was messing with my muscles, so now that we're in an age where the gin category has exploded from a handful of choices to an incredible plethera of both large and small distilleries putting out really fine gin, I no longer fear the Dutch Courage.

I've explored a few of the gins out there- Leopold Brothers, Plymouth, Hendrick's, Bols Genever, Hayman's Old TomRansom's Old Tom and a couple others- but it was a real treat to have a guided tasting yesterday with AKA Wine Geek Steve Olson. I knew a little about the history of gin, and was familiar with the wide variety of flavor profiles of the many gins out there, from dry to sweet, and everything in between, but for almost three hours, Steve filled my head (and the heads of nearly 40 stellar local bartenders filling the basement of TAG) with both an in depth history of the very old liquor category and tasting notes that had me inspired to rush home to play with the gin and vintage cocktail books I've got in my home bar.

I'd tasted most of the seven gins set out for the tasting (Tanqeray, Sapphire, Bols Genever, Ransom, Plymouth, (crap forgot #6!)) but the one I had not tasted was the Tanqueray Ten and it really surprised me. Not knowing much about it I expected it to be fairly similar to regular Tanqueray, but the flavor was really different. Steve described it as, "...a fruit basket in your mouth." and it really was. There was an astonishing variety of citrus flavors rising up with the juniper and coriander as I held it on my tongue and even more in the finish. Plus it's sweeter and someone who really jumped back in with gin whole heartedly when I tasted the old tom gins and Bols Genever, it's definitely a gin that fits my taste.