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Friday, June 10, 2011

Feathers are a Feminist Issue

This week I graduated my very first 6 week series, Sacred Seduction. This class prepares five students for one main event: performing a group Burlesque routine in a real NYC Burlesque show.

One thing you should know about me, is that I am a slut for rituals. Nothing gets me goin' like a good blessing or intention setting. Which is why I filled this class chock full of them, and made sure that throughout the entire series, we were all really clear about why we are doing this.

What always surprises me about burlesque, is that it is a dance, but it is so not about the dance. It is about freeing yourself, expressing yourself, and transcending any belief that you are too old, fat, pimply, dimply, flat chested, uncoordinated...or whatever other fill-in-the-dis-empowerment-blank that comes your way. It's about claiming it, right here, right now. These women are not dancing just because they like sequins and feathers. Some of them don't even like sequins and feathers. They are dancing for their Light. They are dancing for their own daughters, and for yours. They are dancing for every woman who has ever doubted herself, held back on her genius because of how she might be ridiculed.

Take Belle Du Jour, who is 7 months pregnant with baby Sebastian, dancing for every woman to know it is ok for a woman to be a Mommy, and hold onto her sassy sensuality. Or Glitzy Cougar, who is 58 years old, and has never felt more beautiful in her life. She is dancing for every woman who has ever put her sensuality on a shelf, or felt like she is resigned to a life of short hair and turtlenecks after she turns a certain age. Then there is Calla Lily Rapture, who is celebrating her birthday on performance night, and claiming every ounce of the gorgeous gift she is, unwrapping herself for all the world to see. We've got Ginger Altar, who after backpacking the length of India alone, describes this experience as the bravest thing she's ever done. And last but certainly not least, there is Madame Rouge, who after a lifetime of being afraid of exposing her delicious body, is tossing everything she's ever known about "supposed to" out the window, revealing her innate beauty with a gusto that just brings me to tears.

Every time I see a burlesque show, it changes me. The reason: burlesque requires you to stand in your most profound vulnerability, literally naked. And counter-intuitive to everything we've been taught, it is here that our deepest power lies. Burlesque is a dance of discovery, for the performer and audience member alike. Discovering that our power does not live in the hard shell we wear each day, it resides in the softness that lies behind it.

This Tuesday night, June 14th, the world will change. The Earth will not be the same after these women dance their Light. Come join us if you would like to bear witness to this extraordinary act of beauty, and have your world changed too.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Note From My Dressing Table

Recently in my office building there was a small fire in the floor above us. No one’s safety was at risk, but when I heard the firemen were considering evacutaing, my mind immediately went to one place: my makeup.

That may sound vain, but to me, makeup is a very sacred. I regard makeup the same way an artist regards their paint and brushes. I don’t wear makeup because I feel I have to, I wear it because I want to. I take so much pleasure from creating art in this way and sharing it with the world. I love making my lips look like they just had a good makeout session, my eyes look like a Cape Cod sunset. I love having the ability to invoke the bronze glow of summer right in the heart of winter. I love being able to imitate and honor the Femme Vitales I idolize.

I love the ritual of getting ready with girlfriends. Some of the fondest memories of my teenage years are my best friend Becca and I, parked in some parking lot in our small town, covering up our adolescent blemishes as we un-covered our souls.

I consider makeup to be a feminine rite. I remember my 13th birthday, knowing I was truly a teenager when I received a Caboodles case full of bold shades from the drugstore. I remember buying my first big-girl lipstick at age 15 (Ecru by Lancome) for a whole $17. I remember the tissues that littered my Mother's purse, all covered in big frosty pink kisses. When I am feeling low makeup lifts me up, brings me back to level. It is the one thing I can count on to make me feel fabulous, always.

I didn’t intend for this blog to be a love story but there you have it. Makeup deeply nourishes my soul. Below I have shared some of my all time favorite products for your playtime. Have fun today as you fingerpaint the canvas of your beauty!

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs - I love this product for a bronze glow anytime, I use it before every performance and all summer long.

Matesse - apply a little lotion or oil to your skin before evenly shaking on this loose glitter, it will stay on for hours!

Foundation and Concealer
I love Mac for my face makeup. I use Mineralize for day to day as minerals do not clog the skin. Before I go onstage I use Pro-Longwear, especially if I’ll be go-go dancing, workin’ up a sweat!

Trish McEvoy makes a wonderful product called “Finish Line” that turns any shadow into liquid liner. The key here is the angled brush she makes, it is killer for creating that defined, clean line.

I love all kinds of shadows. To me, even more important than the shadow is the brush. Mac makes a great fluffy shadow brush that gives superior control when you are contouring or playing with several different colors.

Bobbi Brown makes a wonderful mascara called “extreme party mascara”. Wacky name, great product.

Lash curler, I love Shiseido. False Lashes, Mattese with Duo lash glue is my fave.

I use every brand of lipstick from drugstore to department store and everything in-between. The important thing is that I play with liners and glosses too, and the countless combinations these three tools can create. Try lipstick with just liner, just liner with a dot of gloss, gloss first and then lipstick on top, filled-in liner with just a swath of lipstick on top . The possibilities are limitless!

The lipstick I am crazy for right now is Wet and Wild, Silk Finish with Blue Pearl (#521A). It is a bright fuschia that really pops, and it's only $.99! I pair it with Mac Magenta liner. (But this will change in about a week, I could create a monthly magazine of lipsticks that I love.)

There you have it! Enjoy and have fun, and if you have any favorites you'd like to share, I'd love to read them in your comments!

Big, fat red lipstick kiss to you,