Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Serving Northern Realness

Well shiiiiit.

I guess it's been a minute since my last post, but I've been a busy striphoppin' bitch. Lately the Sweet Soul grrlz have been on deck quite a bit, flying out on the weekends to do out-of-town gigs and then coming home Sunday or Monday to take a three-day breather before Keefer Bar on Thursday. Then we head out again into the weekend... it's a good system actually as opposed to conventional touring where you hit the road for weeks at a time. Makes for more space, less inter-troupe craziness on the road, better rested grrls, more rehearsal / costume / prep time. Plus then everyone can still keep up their day-to-day life-type maintenance, exercise, classes, groceries, and sex with the lover. Because trust me, one thing you DO NOT want to do is deprive a Sweet Soul grrl of homecooked food, sleep, exercise or sex and then spend a whole wack o' time with her all up close n' personal. That is really, REALLY bad idea. You might as well starve a tiger, turn yourself into a small bunny and throw yourself at it. She will eat you. Just don't do it.

This winter we've had the pleasure of performing at some dope northern festivals, and this of course delights me to NO END - not only because it's charming and soo ultra Canadian, but because it means I get to bust out my Winnpeg-era vintage fur coats. Wearing real fur is a rare and sacred fashion privilege and I take it very seriously, because generally it's a BIG NO-NO.. UNLESS (gasp) - a) you happen to be Canadian AND b) the fur is secondhand/vintage. Then wearing fur is magically fine again and NOT grounds for mad fake-blood splatters. It's like the world-wide unspoken law of fur. I don't know why. I just wear my AMAZING eggplant 60's silver fox coat (from Burcu's Angels, obvs) and keep my damn mouth shut. On a side note I'd like to let all the psychos know that if anyone threw a giant can of fake blood at Tristan Risk while she was wearing fur, maybe try doing it around her birthday, cuz she'd fucking PEE her PANTS with excitement and then try to make out with you. For real. If you want extra wetness, get some papz to snap a pic or two. Ohhh yeahhh. Just tell her I put you up to it k?

But yeah, back to Northern Realness. First up we got to jam it out at home with three of the world's best spoken word artists at The Rio Theatre in East Van, which was super dope. Jamie DeWolf slammed the shit out of some poetry. I wouldn't say I'm a full-fledged member of the slam-poet scene per say, but I've been watching it from the sidelines for awhile and it's nice to know people still give a shit about the spoken (and written) word. (And they REALLY give a shit. Any Monday night at Cafe Deux Soleils on the Drive is packed to the teeth). Local wordsmith hero CR Avery beatboxed & harmonica'd at the same time somehow (apparently he's aurally dextrous) and Mighty Mike McPhee of Portland fame proved that the dream of the 90s is still really fucking cool over some Tribe Called Quest . I was honoured with the job of hosting and singing live jazz with a 5 piece and intro-ing ma grrlz on the massive stage. The Rio's been dealing with some seriously business-threatening licensing issues lately (oh how so untypical for Vancouver) and I'm really rooting for them; it's a solid venue with a gorgeous stage, great staff, red velvet curtains three stories high. What more could a grrl fucking want. Come on. There's gotta be some change afoot in these here parts in that regard... but that's a whole other blog post. ;)

Next up was the journey to one of the coast's most notorious annual Valentine's events, the infamous James Bondage Devient Fairytale costume party. Held at a giant lodge in Squamish, the two room event made for hilarious debauchery to the illest degree. Not gonna lie, not much sleep occurred between the non-stop antics of evil queens, Hansel & Gretal, naked red riding hoods and sick sets from tons of the West Coast's finest funk n' crunkers. Hilarity of epic fantasy proportion. I approved.

Up next: WHISTLER! Home of the GLC drink bucket, the coolest gogo dancers I've ever met, and 8 billion 20-something dudes from Australia all living in one bedroom. I know, I know, let's drink all their beer. Heh heh. We hit Dusty's Creekside on V-day proper to dance around for the shot slammin' boarders and then zoomed over to our good friends' b-day pants-free b-day party where we did a *very* private show involving a disappearing egg. "Where'd it go?" the birthday girl's boyfriend asked. "No seriously. WHERE'D IT GO." Sorry. I will never tell.

The next day I nursed my hangover in a hottub, listening to Kryptic Minds & overlooking Whistler Mountain while the grrlz did some runs. Super shitty day, not awesome and relaxing at all. I can't believe how strenuous it was to lift my afternoon wine to my lips. GAHHWD ;) After taking our time to finally glide down the Sea to Sky, we hit the Keefer Bar a day later with one of the new tracks off the record (yes, yes, it's coming along, apparently it takes time and shit with the mastering and tweaking, who knew). It never ceases to amaze me how entertained I continue to be by the fabulsou women I work with, and the clear stunner of the evening, Rita Star. KILLED IT that night. I'm a pretty big fan of our Keefer bar shows in general but this week the front row was in shock. Apparently the person who recommended us to them said it was a "magic show". Well, uh, many many drinks and bras disappeared... does that count?

Fast forward past another couple trips up the hill and some private events, blah blah blah... really we were all just waiting to up to the great gorgeous town of Whitehorse for our 5th annual three-day run at glorious Sourdough Rendezvous, the oldest festival in Canada.

Fuck I love the Yukon. Like, LOVE IT. And it all starts before you even bloody GET there. The Yukon have their own airline, Air North, and let me tell you that as with most Yukon institutions, those Air North effers know what the fuck is UP. No crappy 3 peanut bags of crap or paying eight dollars for a bunwich the size of your asshole. Nope. I'm talking good free coffee at the gate, a fresh selection of danishes and banana bread, PROPERLY PROPORTIONED SANDWICHES, attractive and genuinely fun stewardesses (with lots of awesome gays!), and none of that bullshit Westjet "funny" fodder that makes you want to roll your eyeballs onto the floor and then step on them with your heel. OH - and there's no such thing as "first class"... Yukonners don't roll like that. Everyone's in the same cabin, in the same seats, reading the same facts about the gold rush, all heading to a magical magical place - a place where for 2 a year, you can get arrested by Klondike Cops for not wearing a garter. HEAVEN.

So not only is Whitehorse clearly GORGEOUS beyond compare, with its mountain ranges on every side and crisp clean air that smells like the breath of angels, but your brain just seems to de-compress the minute you step off the plane. I can't describe it, it's like suddenly you're in another dimension - Northern Realness. Also it's the perfect size... big enough to have city ammenities but small enough that everyone knows each other. I'm actually big fan of performing in smaller cities because there's this reversion to using what used to be known as "common sense". For example, if we kinda "borrow" the giant moustache prop from the backstage of club we were performing at? No fucking problem, everyone would be totally chill about it because THEY KNOW WE'RE NOT ASSHOLES. I mean obviously we'd gonna put it back at the end of the weekend after we have MANY retardo-naked photoshoots with it, duh. Everyone just KNOWS that. Because everyone, including the club owner, also knows the people who live at the house we are staying at and that it's all good. We'd totally return said giant moustache once we've had our way with it, and everyone would just chill the fuck out and laugh, because having the burlesque grrls ride and photograph themselves on the 6-ft fun-fur moustache in different positions is just really fucking funny and clearly should just happen.

Like I said. Common sense. Isn't it refreshing?

(Cara's tiger, Sebastian, was protecting it. Tigers are really good for that you know).

The other thing about smaller cities is that they know what's really important; like the ability to have BRUNCH at the peeler bars (I KNOW, amazing), having neon signs at peeler bars that say "No Assholes" (EVEN MORE AMAZING) and also making sure that the hot burlesque dancers get to have really good tables when they go to the peeler bars (that one's just common sense. Again with the common sense!).

Plus it always seems like there's only like 2 or 3 live venues there, so you can sell out your show every night and it seems like it's a big deal, and you can sashay around like you are a TOTAL MASSIVE SUPERSTAR. It's AWESOME. Also the hot guys who spent all year working in the camps for a million dollars are PUMPED to buy your merch. It's FABulous.

SO yeah, got to kill it hard with our special guest Melody Mangler (w/ me backstage below) for three nights in a row at Foxy's pub for 300 peeps a night.. it was super rad to see everyone all dressed up too, they go all out. We also got to work with the first female MC we've had since Brigee K, Miss Erica Bergland, which was dope. All in all a super fun run. My liver was a bit pissed with me but you know. We all have to make sacrifices.

The last morning up there I awoke to a promptly prepared mimosa and breakfast burrito handed to me by lingerie clad Cherry OnTop, Lola Frost & Cara Milk. Life did not suck. We then lounged around and judged Hollywood movie stars' outfits on the Oscars while awarding each other with our own congratulatory nods from the weekends, dubbed the "Osc-whores". I can only tell you what mine was for with the lights off.

Fort Mac where we checked in for a couple night run at the WinterPlay festival. Fort Mac gets a bit of a bad rap cuz of all 'dem oil sands and stuff and the extreme aversion we all have to the Embridge pipeline scam. Low sass. There's 80 000 people living up there with most involved in some way or another in that industry... andit's already a bit of a conundrum about what's going to happen exactly to them when the oil runs out, nevermind all this added pipe business. Probably should figure that out eh? In the meantime they were ready for a sass injection courtesy of Sweet Soul. We bundled up in our afore-mentioned vintage furs and headed to one of the most charming outdoor winter festivals I've ever seen. Nothing like prairie sky on ice, I'm telling ya.

Check out the cool ice maze and cabaret tent they built on the frozen Snye river:

A shot of backstage where we pulled on our showgrrl costumes in the heated tent:

Home now for a bit to warm up a bit and work on the record in between Keefer Thursdays. We're heading out to the Kootenays next weekend for dates in Kelowna w/ A=Skillz & our homie from Dollhouse days Tyler Stickybudz, a gorgeous theatre date in Cranbrook & a prohibition party in Revvy.

I bet I'll have stories.


Huge love (and with particular hearts to all the Wpg-ers who killed it at Festival Du Voyageur this past month... was thinking of you and snowy Provencher...)