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The Magic of Live Music + Burlesque Strategic Planning

I recently performed in Deanna Danger's Speakeasy Burlesque, a brand new live band show at an intimate little hideaway bar in downtown DC. It was an eye-opening experience. We danced with a local quartet called Laissez Foure, and I felt the music in my body. I can honestly say it felt different from every performance I've ever done before.

The first time I ever performed with a live band was at a private gig. The band was brilliant, but the crowd was drunk and a little too "interactive" (a friendly euphemism for "handsy"). I spent much of my performance coyly scurrying away from groping fingers with feather fans covering my ass. Attempted drunken groping aside, I still had fun.

This gig was a lot different. We had a little stage and room to walk through the crowd, and because it was an actual show (and not just a "pop-up" performance during a private gig), the crowd was a bit more settled and engaged during our acts. We also had a big changing and VIP lounge area that really made me feel like an Old Hollywood starlet.

As I was performing -- literally, in the middle of disrobing and wiggling my butt, with my back to the audience and live jazz blasting in my ears -- I thought, "I could do this every weekend. Maybe even every night!" I always wondered how big city performers (NYC, LA, New Orleans, etc.) manage performing every night, or even multiple times a night. I think part of the answer may be that they often perform to live music. With its variations and energy and passion, there's probably rarely a dull moment.

At the end of the gig, I thanked Deanna and the bar's owners for having the show, and I truly meant it. There's a dearth of live music + burlesque shows in this area, and I would love to see more of it. This was the first live band gig in DC that I'd ever been asked to do, and I hope there are many more opportunities.

I've recently set myself on a limit of two shows per month (minus big festivals) for the foreseeable future. I really need time to back away and think about what I love about burlesque and what I want to bring to the table. Doing the Speakeasy Burlesque gig made me wonder out loud, "Why can't it always feel this good?" So I want to make that happen!

I'm in library grad school right now, and we're learning about management and strategic planning. During class, I couldn't help but start daydreaming and applying those principles to my burly career (ADD!). With the wondrous feeling from Speakeasy Burlesque still resting in my soul and the anticipation of Jeezy's Juke Joint right around the corner, I've been buckling down and planning out what I envision for my career for both long and short term. And honestly, I'm so ambitious I sometimes laugh at myself when I read my goals. But that's okay -- even if I feel like a bit of an imposter right now, I'm going to keep working hard until those thoughts kinda just melt away.

I won't share all my goals yet because I'm still in the throes of planning, but one of them is to start producing and performing in more live band burlesque shows in DC. Famous last words, I know.

Some people I've told this goal to try to warn me; they immediately start telling me reasons why it won't work, or how so-and-so tried to do it before and it didn't work. Others get excited and immediately offer to help. I'd prefer to only listen to the latter, but the truth is I probably need both types of people around to give me some semblance of balance and reality. And also to know what forces I'll be up against, if any. C'est la vie.

Will keep you all updated on this journey!


Bebe Bardot

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