Saturday night, my husband and I went on a triple date with some friends. First we went out to dinner and then to a burlesque show. Our friends had never been before, and it’s a lot of fun. Burlesque is difficult to explain to someone who’s never seen it before. It’s very much performance based, although saying that feels like justification and isn’t exactly fair since I’ve never been to a strip club before. Skin gets shown, it’s erotic, but it’s not as straight forward as stripping/strip clubs.
Again, this is conjecture. When friends find out that I’ve never been to a strip club, they immediately freak out and try to make it their mission to take me. Remember, you’re talking about someone who sees porn as sadly lacking in plot, full of primarily unattractive people, and not emotionally or physically fulfilling. No, I’m not strip club material and have no desire to go. I don’t have a moral opposition to going, but I also don’t go to amusement parks to watch other people go on rides. Same idea. I’d also be bad on the OTHER side of it, but we’re getting to that.
Back to burlesque: there are costumes, themes, dancing, and skillful removal. We went to Led Zeppelin’s A Whole Lotta Love where every act was set to a different Led Zeppelin song. I told my friends, “It’s great. It’s fun. It can also get weird. It’s not always sexy, but it is always interesting.”
The show was great. The announcer even sang while she undressed to one of the songs which in practice I’m sure was troublesome. It looks deceivingly effortless, but as a human being who has changed clothes in front of others throughout her life (sidenote: I do not miss gym class!), I’m sure it isn’t. Part of the appeal of burlesque is that it’s something I don’t feel like I could do even with practice. Anyone can take clothes off, but making it look good is harder. Comedies where characters have to undress and they do it clumsily, awkwardly, injuring others in their path? Where their attempts to make it look good just make it look worse? These are my people.
I was musing on this when one of the acts ended, and the announcer began to explain to us who our next guest would be. A short lady with an adorable sweater (one I actually might own!) and funky shoes stepped onto the stage to grab the clothes the last performer had peeled off. She’d gotten on stage after the end of each act, picking up clothes and replacing it on occasion with props, but the third time was when she really came to my attention.
I don’t like to talk about my day job, unless it involves the following subjects:
- Bonding with co-workers over pop culture references
- Gushing about who brought snacks to work for everyone, what they were, and how delicious they are
- Who I high-fived and why
- Whose dog was there and exactly just how cute he/she was and what he/she did while in the building
- Mistakes I avoided making
- Achievements that happen infrequently and as a whole are unremarkable
The pleasures I get from working are interactions with good people, making a positive impact, and most importantly, money. Money is the primary goal. Growing up, neither of my parents finished college, and neither of them had the jobs of their dream. They sat together once a week, drank coffee, and shared the Classified section. They debated how good an offer was and whether it was worth the risk (it never was). They hoped for better when I left for college (which was mandatory). But it didn’t pan out the way they’d imagined.
The truth is that “dream job” is a relatively new concept to our world and is nearly always reserved to privileged individuals in terms of a full-time day job.
Still, someone has to pick up the clothes from the stage.
When she appeared yet again to put down a bench, it clicked. I leaned over to my friends and whispered, “That’s me in the burlesque world!” My friends laughed. Even the shoes that matched no other part of the outfit are sooo me.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t find ways to make at least some of our dreams come true.
The past few days have been snowy, and I have been able to stay home while awaiting the ice and snow to melt (I’m very thankful my boss has been understanding). Yesterday, I was doing research watching a TV show my friend recommended called Everything Sucks. Research because my hand was killing me so I couldn’t paint or write and trying to identify what works and what doesn’t helps me with storyboarding.
My original post was about how Everything Sucks hits the Nostalgia button inside me and how relatable it was (although The End of the F***ing World is better). The drama crowd plays a big role in the first season, and so I was having flashbacks to my own 90’s junior high and high school experiences.
During one scene, an actor gets incredibly close to the camera, and I paused the show. Resemblance in this field happens constantly in both face, body, and demeanor. It’s rare to find someone in a show or movie that is related to someone else you’ve seen in other films.
But this was different. This person looked like someone I knew. From drama class, plays, and auditions. From high school. Someone who was, as far as I still knew, acting.
A quick IMDB search confirmed my suspicion was correct. Someone I know is now famous.
It’s not the first time this has happened. Our drama department was wildly impressive. My peers were talented, dedicated, and several of them have at least guest starred in some main stream TV or film. One actor has shown up repeatedly in TV shows off an on for over the last ten years. One of my best friends appeared in an indie flick a few years ago. Many of them live in Hollywood, and I get giddy whenever they appear in any show in any part.
But it was heartwarming to see an old familiar face that finally made it into something big.*
I was always a bad actor. In fact, when watching Everything Sucks, I spent a fair bit of time relating to Tyler** who wants to act but can’t memorize his lines and acts purely with enthusiasm instead of method. This is okay. It was fun, and I wouldn’t trade those years with any other group. My strengths lie elsewhere. I chose writing over acting senior year and wept for a week. Seeing others who made it makes me feel happy and also relieved. They were far more talented than I, and that industry is hard.
The cameo was also an important reminder that regardless of how small that dream takes up part of your life, it’s still important to work for it in whatever capacity you can while incorporating sheer talent, practice, and perseverance. Big or small. Because that’s one of the reasons we’re here. To make meaningful choices, connections, and use our abilities to better the world.
You rule, Zach. Congratulations.
Also, the soundtrack kicks ass.
*Apparently, he was also in the newer 90210!
**By the end of the show I doubted our similarities, but Tyler is still easily my favorite character.