yarn what?

self

yarn what?, originally uploaded by Chris Blakeley.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

Nov. 1st, 2010

self
The burlesque show I shot today included acts about cocaine overdoses, abortion (on stage) and, as mentioned before, John Wayne Gacy.

The worst thing about them is how dull they were.

Oct. 15th, 2010

self
I have learned that the show I'm shooting on Halloween will include a burlesque number based on John Wayne Gacy. The mind boggles.

I hope she has something more to say than "Boogah boogah, creepy!" but I'm not holding my breath.

Edgy. Shocking. Eh.

Oct. 1st, 2010

self
From a job listing on Craigslist.

"If hearing the words – spread sheets, task lists, goals and detail oriented really get you going, then we WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! "

What if they really get me wanting to run from the room scream "Oh the humanity!"?

Sep. 14th, 2010

self
I once had a woman tell me, after I mentioned I shot burlesque and cabaret, in no uncertain terms that I absolutely had to see A Wink and A Smile, a documentary about Seattle's burlesque scene and Indigo Blue's Academy of Burlesque. I demurred, told her I wasn't all that interested and she kept talking about how amazing and the story and the feeling and...

Then I explained to her that, as I'd already gone through the Academy and had been shooting the scene for five years, I wasn't all that interested in it because I'd already lived it.

"Well, maybe it's not for you!"

Hadn't I just said that?

shock and... eh.

self
There's going to be a burlesque show this week devoted to challenging taboos, breaking boundaries, and promising bodily fluids in the marketing. It's going to be, yes, hard core!

They were surprised when I told them I didn't have any interest in shooting the show. I think they figured that A) I was such a fan of burlesque and B) I was so jaded that anything shocking would be an improvement. What they didn't count on is that A) no, really, I'm very choosy and B) shocking burlesque is part of what's made me so jaded.

Well, that and shocking dance and painting and slam poetry and comedy and...

It's easier to be shocking than surprising. It's easier to get a rise from an audience by repeatedly shouting "fuck" in a theater than displaying an honest feeling. And I find easy to be boring, whether it's a comic preaching to the converted or a burlesque dancer revealing a strap on (or worse) in the last minute of her act.

"Well," said the producer, "if they're talented they should be able to do both!"

Sure, and I've seen it done. Not often, but enough to demonstrate that it's not a complete fluke.

But that seems to happen when the performer brings the shock along as a grace note. It's a shock, yes, but it's also unique like Julie Atlas Muz being stripped by her demon possessed hand or Waxie Moon's act that turns into a BDSM scene on stage. Or it's just plain weird and funny, like Ben de la Creme and a couple inflatable sheep or the moment Pinkie Special played a tampon as a guitar for an air guitar solo (sorry, no work safe pictures of that one). And throw Armitage Shanks into the mix with his occasional dabbling into Grand Guignol for fun! I want that! I want to laugh and stare and hoot and maybe even think a little after.

I'm not laughing when a performer enacts a heroin overdose (complete with a blinged out needle) that ends with an adrenaline shot to the heart. Or watching a routine that centers on suicide to a Nirvana song. Or self-harm. These are the acts that lose me as an audience member.

Ah, well. This will pass. In the meanwhile, I think about a review I read of a performance artist in New York City. The reviewer wrote that he was kind of disappointed that the piece ended with the performer shitting in a bowl on stage. Not that it was shocking but that he'd seen it in the last show the performer had done.

Seriously, once you've enacted The Aristocrats, where do you go from there? When does the shock become schtick?

Sep. 9th, 2010

self
I kind of hate to say it...

... but after a while, all the pictures from Burning Man look like the same picture over and over again.

it's not a good book...

self
I may be naive, but I have a hard time believing that in a post-zombie world where humanity huddles in walled enclaves against a tide of the walking undead, that kids would still try to breach the walls and break out with the same attitude of modern life.

Rebel, sure.

Seek freedom, absolutely.

But while a horde of inhuman monsters that want to feast on your flesh are literally at the gates? No. I just don't see it.

May. 13th, 2010

self
From a local weekly's blog:

"This week in the books section, I write about the sad state of mainstream science fiction, and why Cory Doctorow is one of the few sci-fi writers who is actually doing his job:"

Which is a sign of how sad mainstream SF/F is these days, indeed.

Tassels & Emeralds 2.0

self

Tassels & Emeralds 2.0, originally uploaded by Chris Blakeley.

Three years ago, I published a book of photography from Seattle's burlesque scene called Tassels and Emeralds.

Today I'm announcing the follow-up and what was a book has become a periodical. The first issue features photography from the first half of 2009, including such incredible acts as The Atomic Bombshells and The Heavenly Spies as well as pictures of Through The Looking Glass : A Burlesque Wonderland.

24 high-gloss pages, $8
Available now!

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