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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From Poultry to Pleasure

Exhausted from a full day of work. Stuck on the A train with a sick passenger. Bloated from a lunch of pizza and ice cream. "How the fuck am I going to conjure up the creativity to do this?"

This is the question I asked myself as I made my way uptown to meet my friend Kendra. She is starring in a fabulous play called Next, and there is one scene where she does striptease out of a satin robe. She asked me to help her choreograph it, which I was happy to say yes to in the moment. But in my present state was not certain I had the mojo for the job. I was feeling, in a word, schlubby. That feeling I get every Winter here in NY where all my shoes have a salt crust, it's too cold to wear anything but pants, and my skin starts to resemble the pallor of an uncooked chicken.

When I arrived, half an hour late due to the train debacle, Kendra was waiting in the studio with a cotton robe and a blond wig. What (pleasantly) surprised me, was that as soon as I put the robe on and started moving to the music, my chemistry started to change. I went from feeling like my brain outweighed my body to having all my senses engaged. My mind focused and I felt no worries. All that mattered was the music, the character, and the moment I was in.

As much as try to resist it, I really do think I've found my creative soul mate in Burlesque. Nothing else makes me feel more like who I really am, or requires me to operate on all 4 creative cylinders quite like Burlesque does.

What is your creative soul mate? The one that both takes you out of yourself, and plugs you into yourself at the same time? Share with me, my darling reader.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Who Am I?

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is Christmas Eve Mass with family.  As a young girl,  I loved seeing the members of our small town in upstate New York put a little extra sparkle and glamour into their normally casual appearance.  This year, I pressed my edge and went full out - a black 1940's hourglass dress with patent leather pumps, a purple hat with a feather sticking out, white vintage gloves and a jacket with faux fur cuffs. Looking in the mirror, I felt fabulous and gorgeous, but was surprised to also be feeling a little anxious. I mean, people get dressed up on Christmas, but not really this dressed up. It was pushing all my buttons of the messages I received as a child about how a woman "should" look. Reverent and humble was the name of the game, not  flamboyant and flashy. Was I being inappropriate? I mean,  who was I to be wearing something this glamorous and daring? Could I really pull this off?

It reminded me of when I was a child. There was a married couple in our Church whose daughters would come to visit over the holidays. I believed they were from New York City, because they always dressed with a certain panache and sense of style totally foreign to our tiny town.  I looked forward to seeing them every year at Mass, as I felt like I was catching a glimpse of what was possible for me as a woman once I grew up and got out of this small town life (which I now appreciate, but couldn't wait to abandon in my youth).

So I went for it, tossed my reservations aside and charged on in the name of extravagant beauty, a daring kind of elegance, and the risk being looked at as a wacko wearing a costume instead of clothes.  A tribute to the girls I had once admired, and had now become.

As I walked down the stairs so we could make our way to Mass, vindication arrived as I received the best compliment I could imagine: watching my 5 year old niece insist upon wearing her pretty Spring coat instead of her bulky winter one, her summer sandals with a tiny heel instead of her winter boots, and asking her Mommy if there were any gloves she could wear with her coat that might look like mine.

So, to answer the question of  "who am I to be wearing this?".  That's simple. I am Kitty Cavalier.