Titillating Tuesday Business Tip

with The Luvely Rae

Following Brooklyn Babydoll’s Semi Nude Extravaganza, I had a brief conversation with a fellow performer about career goals. Once you’ve made it past the 2 year mark in burlesque you will either find yourself insanely busy or going insane because you are not busy. Now mind you, if there aren’t a lot of shows in your town to begin with, then the two year rule doesn’t apply as much. Ultimately at some point every performer has to think about where their career is headed. For some that means shooting for the crown at Miss Exotic World, for others it means headlining in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, and for many others it means being the biggest fish in their hometown small pool. So how the hell do you get from bar shows to being the queen of anything? The first step is admitting you have a problem. For this series I will focus on 3 main problems in career advancement.

"Oh my god! I have that bra." is not really something a performer wants to here. H & M bra, photo from The Style Spy
“Oh my god! I have that bra.” is not really something a performer wants to here. H & M bra, photo from The Style Spy

The 1st problem: Your product

If you have a poor product (act) or if there is zero demand for your product then you are looking at a hard sell. Just because you took ballet for a few years does not mean you are capable of being a Prima Ballerina. Burlesque is no different. If your costumes look like they came off a rack or out of someone’s closet then you are not ready for Miss Exotic World or to be headlining at a swanky nightclub. Many performers realize this early on and make custom upgrades the starting ground for getting bigger gigs. What they don’t realize is that a great costume and a great prop will only get you so far. It’s the same thing with having a great body. You can be drop dead gorgeous but if your act is crap then chances are you won’t be taking home a crown.

Do your acts make sense? If they do not make sense then do they achieve your artistic goal? I have a friend who’s entire burlesque career (no spanning at least 5 years), is made up of completely nonsensical WTF works of art. The audience knows that they are along for a completely nonsensical ride. She has trained her audience through her show and she has zero interest in taking the crown at any burlesque competition. She creates works that achiever her artistic goal. At Fit and Fab Studios I ask my students to look at why they want to make something just as much as what they are making. Sometimes I will create the what first and then reshape things to clean up the why. Of course with that kind of crafting, I will not invest in the costume until I have sorted out the why.

Perhaps you have no idea of your act makes sense or if your nonsensical act is achieving your artistic goal. If you don’t feel you can judge your own work in an objective manner then find a mentor or simply ask someone whose opinion you respect. Don’t be afraid to have your feelings hurt (chances are you will have your feelings hurt). There are few acts that I’ve seen that are so well organized that I am engaged from beginning to end. This is partly due to the fact that I’ve seen a lot of acts over the years. You never know if your audience member will be a burlesque regular or completely new to burlesque, but wouldn’t it be nice to leave an impact on the person who feels they’ve seen it all.  How many routines have you seen where you are happy to watch theme repeatedly because they are that good. There are acts that are fun, and there are brilliant acts. Fun acts can get you far, but they don’t make you a contender. Brilliant is hard to achieve, but the idea is to refine your product to a point where you are not presenting a work in progress but a complete product. Keep in mind, a complete product does not have to mean an expensive product.

Titillating Business Tip: Make sure you understand what you are selling and that it has value

Part 1 of 3