Gracie The Juggernaut

I have been shaking my tail feather. A busy little birdie, evolving into a juggernaut.  I am finally starting to finish projects…if you can believe it. Just let me tell you, have I made progress; which is a good thing cuz, as you can see by the countdown clock, I am running low on time.  Oh man, amI dying to share so much with you, but I don’t have the free-time to pour out my heart right this second and I want to keep some secrets.  So, this is a short rundown of my ramp up:

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1.  Gracie is officially branded! I have a style bible with acceptable fonts, colour palettes and biz cards designed. Next up- to personalize everything including a wonderful pink leather suitcase set that I dreamt of and a jean jacket.

2. All my bits and pieces for my August 7th performance are complied, though not complete.  These costume pieces are definitely on their way to being glittered and glued beyond recognition, but I am working with the theory of “just when you think you’re done, do some more”.

3. My act is second nature.  Which is a problem, cuz it’s not supposed to look that smooth. I’m a freaking Klutz for crying out loud.  Being too choreographed was never a problem I thought I’d have…ever.

4. I am planning my next 3 acts, with deadlines quickly approaching.  There is a lot of buzz, swish and sequins, which is all I am going to say;)

5. Congrats to Gracie!!!! Monday I celebrated graduation from the Virgin Vixens 102  from the Toronto School of Burlesque.

5a. The Toronto School of Burlesque loved me so much they have offered me an uber-glamourous admin position.   If you need class info, click away

6.  There is nothing else for me to advertise….Except:

Alrighty, I know, this isn’t my typical ‘pouring out of my madness, then sorting it out for all to see’ type blog.  But I have to get back to my glue gun!  It’s starting to melt through the plate, she’s been running hot lately…It may need a week off after this show:)  But I am finding it hard to slow down.  That’s the problem with Juggernauts and I have a big pair,  right out front…well, you get what I’m saying.

She’s Not People, She’s Gracie

Some people have poise. Some people have charisma. I got lucky; I get to be a Klutz. A lovable bubble head.  And it’s funny. I mean, I guess I’m funny.  But not because I am trying to be.  Secret Confession?  I am a ‘everything could that could go wrong, does’ type lady. And when it goes wrong, man it’s a beautiful disaster.  And it almost looks planned…almost.

The most famous of Murphy’s Laws states that if it could go wrong, it will.  Sooo very much of my life is guided by this one simple law, my burlesque name should’ve been Murphy Blaw.  But who wants to be a Blaw? I mean that’s awful, so instead I took my mother’s maiden claim.  The Klutz name is a new distinction, finally labelling a well established affliction.  My beloved Momma and I have a few things in common.

1. The two bountiful beauties, right out front.
2. If we’re wearing white, it won’t stay clean for long.
3. We get ourselves laughing so hard we end up crying.
4. We close our eyes to smile when we’re really happy.
5. We love music, but we’re not great dancers.
6. We play real instruments but can’t play air guitar for peanuts.

These are a few reasons why I think she is one of my biggest champions.  She is proud of me forging ahead on my clumsy path, at least that’s what I think. Plus it’s been a while since she’s seen the sparkle that burlesque has brought back to mine eye;) I’m happy and she knows it.  Clap your hands!

My act creation is centered on being myself. The Klutzy, awkward and unlucky lady that I am.  I have come to expect no less than the worst outcome. And man, do I achieve that! With nearly no effort, it’s all just happy mistakes. I’ll just have to accept, I am the best at being the worst…but I guess everybody’s gotta have a gimmick. Mine just happens to be who I really am.

Gracie On Stage OR Sometimes You Wanna Go…

There are those moments in life.  I think of them as guideposts.  The signs that you’re going the direction that’s right for you.  The waitress who knows your drink order.  The store clerk who saved the last bag of your favorite snack, because they knew you’d want it.  The late night bus driver who pulls over at your stop without you ringing the bell.  There is something very special about going somewhere where everybody knows your name. It’s not a fame thing.  It’s a comforting feeling, almost like being home.

For the first time in months, yesterday, I worked on set. Now, to understand what I mean, I work in the deep, deep background of films, tv shows and commercials. Of course, I audition for speaking parts and actor roles, but they are few and far between.  Which leaves me to fill the gaps with other ventures. And why not pay into my RRSPs while being able to chill out, read, doze off and just generally while away the hours.  So, for the last (nearly) 10 years, I have marched in the ranks of background.  Shoulder to shoulder I stood with the huddled masses.  Together, we were the BG.

I have often referred to this line of work as golden handcuffs.   It’s not terribly difficult, I can focus on other things and idle chit-chat is part of the job.  But I haven’t been on set in months!   So, when the call came in, I was so looking forward to being back home. I walked in with a bounce in my step and smile 10 mile wide-spread across my face, only to be greeted with low hanging Heys and unenthusiastic small talk. Mind you it was 4am, which may have had something to do with it.  But it didn’t feel like it used to. It felt foreign, it wasn’t home. And I couldn’t shake the feeling, I no longer belong in the BG.

Then I remembered, I’m not anymore.  My whole life I have loved life upon the wicked stage.  I love the rush of a live audience. The spontaneity of living in the moment.  The endless barrage of possibilities. The bright lights and laughter.  Film is a silent domain.  There is no way of knowing what works, or time to try to figure out how to make it work.  You have to trust a lens to capture all the nuances that are only visible to the naked human eye.  And to be honest, I have trouble trusting something that doesn’t laugh at my jokes.

After a long hiatus from foreground, I have found myself stumbling back into the spotlight.  And I love it.  The stage is my home. It is a place I can go and walk through the door to a chorus, er, gaggle, um hoard…? of hooting and hollering girls gearing up to entertain.   Gorgeous girls glittering and glamorizing themselves…and some fancy boys too.  I am finally where everyone knows my name. And my favorite snack, and my bus stop, only in this new story it’s a teeny hatchback happily jammed with feathers, corsets and props. Home is where your heart is, and I am home at last.

Burly Girl Seeks Benefactor

Being an artist is expensive. Plain and simple. The cost of materials versus the implied value…well let’s just say it puts the artist in the hole. A deep, beautiful hole that was oodles of fun to dig, but a hole none the less. And this hole burrows through common sense, heats up credit cards, scorches pocket books and cracks nest eggs. But enough about that, I just wanna dance;)

I grew up a hard-working artist. I’ve struggled to make ends meet since I moved out on my own at 19, with the support of my parents, also 2 hard-working artists though they are currently without projects. I’ve been working since 2 weeks before my 13th birthday, in effect making me a child labourer. And that doesn’t even count my babysitting, lemonade stands and recess restaurants. Needless to say, I have been a mover and a shaker from day 2,555 or approximately 7 years old. I have owned my own company for the last 5 years and I have been a free-lancer since I quit the retail biz after graduating post-secondary school. I like working for myself, choosing who I work with and when I do it. Dare I even say it? I like working at home while snuggled up with my doggy. And often I work HARD. Notice, I said often not always…sometimes, I putz around when I could be getting so much more done. But all this is besides the point. The point is that being a sparkly sequined showgirl, well, glamour, she’s expensive.

To put together the kind of number I dream of, let’s call it Vegas, Baby, well it would cost me a month of my day job just to buy the sparkly parts. Now, being the resourceful little vixen I am, what I am capable of doing myself is pretty impressive. I can sew, glaze, glitterize and sequin my pieces, without incurring further cost. Which although time-consuming, saves on the total budget. But even with all that free labour, I am still buying supplies. And counting on the generosity of friends, which is sure to run out eventually.

This is where a handsome benefactor would come in ever so handy. With his wallet open we would walk through the finishings and findings, never even glancing at the price per/yard. The cost of private lessons, rehearsal space, festival applications and travel would be taken care of. With a little left over to pamper myself at the local spa. I daydream of a day when I can doodle a dishy new dress and have it all done for me. I long for a time when coming up with an act concept is the hardest part of my job. I want to buy feathers and fascinators and frilly frocks without bullying my budget and going without something else, like food. I long to live a life of luxury, even psuedo-luxury, heck at this point I’d love breaking even:) I want to get everything I want, when I want it…is that too much to ask? If you are the Benefactor I’ve been dreaming of and want to support my delusions of grandeur; please contact me immediately. I will also accept not so handsome benefactors, fairy godmothers, genies and other wish granting deities. I’m easy…I mean flexible…I mean, well, you know what I mean.

Save The Date: Gracie Live

The Date: August 7th
The Place: Reveal Me @ the Rivoli- Queen St W. Toronto
The Show: Variety Style Burlesque Show- Including the Toronto Premiere of Gracie Klutz

I know, whoa. I am just a bit freakin’ out. It was my hope that a show invite would come. I have been secretly crossing my fingers and daydreaming of the night it would happen…and now it’s going to happen. And it’s happening sooner than I thought.

I have been working towards a goal. A funny, fierce and frightening goal. I had important dates marked on the calendar, categorically and systematically laid out. I had the sign posts leading me down an easy-going path, giving myself plenty of time to procrastinate and still produce. Then an actual producer stepped in and my plan went the way of a glove peel…That is to say, it was pulled, pinched and pitched to the side of the stage for someone else to pick up later.

I was on track for a soft launch in August. With 2 small in-class performances and an evening of kittening (working as a pretty stagehand) to ramp up to my September show. It was my plan to start out quietly and then bring out the big guns. If you get my double meaning. But the best laid plans as they say…

So, it is with a whirlwind of emotions that I announce my first burlesque stage show: August 7th. The Date is set, the location is The Rivoli, on Queen St in Toronto. I will be the one whose kinda freaking out backstage. Skipping a whole month of prep is nerve-wracking. I am not even sure if I will be totally “ready”, being a tad OCD and a mite anal retentive, and knowing that perfection takes time.

If I’m honest, I can’t really be surprised. And I guess even though the plan has shifted into high gear, it’s because my Teachers believe in me and have fast-tracked my acts. It’s also because I am obsessed and they know it. I’m freakin’ obsessed! Out of my mind nutty- all I do is think about gemstones and sparkly paint and pin-up undies…which isn’t so bad. In fact its way more fun than thinking about most other things.

So, as I burn through my list of Showgirl to-dos, I can see the finish line for my amateur sprint and the starting line of the professional triathlon. Which, if I’m counting correctly has way more than 3 events…but we’ll train for that marathon after I’ve stretched a bit.

Gracie Under Pressure

I have 16 different to do lists for each of my 16 different projects.  I am going to admit something that I’ve never told anyone:  I am a bit scattered.  Also that’s an understatement.  I have so many burners going that I am having some trouble keeping it all straight.  Thank Rod for my lists, calendar and other organizing tools.  Then suddenly I realized that I was 3 weeks away from my end of semester finale for term 2 at The Toronto School of Burlesque.  That means I have until Monday the 29th of July before start of business to complete my act…and I have procrastinated.  I’ve spent 4 weeks humming and hawing over each gemstone, embellishment and teeny-weeny detail, it’s almost as though I am stalling.  Wait, it’s exactly like I’m stalling, cuz I am, cuz I want everything to be perfect, which is stupid, cuz it’s never going to be.  It might get close, but perfection on my 2nd Burlesque act, well,  that’s unlikely.

If I already know that I’m not going to be perfect, why is it still so nerve-wracking? I mean, c’mon, I’ve been living a life on and off the stage for more than…well, most of my life.  I am not scared of the audience.  I really like audiences, without them who would watch me? I am not scared about being the worst person in the show, cuz I know that even on my worst day- doing my worst act- in the worst venue, I will still not be the worst act I’ve ever seen.  So, it’s not really failure…oh no, maybe it’s laziness.  I’m not scared of failing, I just don’t like working hard.  Oh geez, well that’s stupid.  With great power, comes great responsibility.  And I want to have a great power over the audience.

After realizing that I had so many things to do, so many people to impress and a completion for level 2 I had to reorganize my stove top.  I turned off all the back burners and finally started focusing on the details that would make this one-act my greatest yet…not a difficult endeavour as my 2nd one.  So, with great effort I turned back to my foolscap list of things that need to get done.  The actual act list wasn’t as long as I thought it was.  Er, as long as I worried it was.  Of course, everything that required help, a sunny day or artistic interpretation remained at the top, but I was able to stroke off a few mini items which made me feel great.  And now although I am not sure I feel on track, I feel like I can get some of these list items done.  It’s amazing what a little pressure does when combined with time.  Like carbon into a diamond, I will glitter with all the efforts I’ve invested.  I will also read records and engage your life mate…twinkle, twinkle little diamond, how I wonder how you did it all.  But that’s a Showgirl secret I’ll never tell.

Greasy Gracie OR Store In A Cool Dry Place

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but recently I’ve been sorta hot.  And I’m soggy from the rain and let’s be honest, sweat. I wouldn’t even call it sweat, it’s more like a perpetual layer of gleaming  glaze.  A shiny grimy film that has taken up residence on my forehead and upper lip…with occasional visits to my under-bosom.  I know, I know, it’s all very glamourous…and way more glitzy than imagined, but its true.  I am coated in my own shmear, just as I started trying everything to be the opposite of that, whatever that may be.

After being flooded out of my life; I’ve spent the last few days wrapped in air conditioning paint brush, glue gun and glamorizer in hand.  I’m covered in sparkles and feeling like yesterday’s shower has worn off long ago.  I am in the process of prepping for my burlesque debut. Which means I am not only trying to perfect my character, choreograph those signature moves, design, construct and complete my costume; I am doing all that while suffering through a full-scale  heat wave rain storm. Although it makes the peels the best part of rehearsal.  Finally, undressed, panting and comfortable.  Lately, I’ve found myself outta breath in mirrored studios.  It’s been happening a lot…At least a lot more than I expected to be at any point in my life. It’s just the only place I can see all of what I’m doing and how I look doing it.  Which, surprisingly is a big part of that crazy thing we call Burlesque.

I am drained and damp and I have never wanted to be at camp more than I do this summer.  Crappy weather at camp meant indoor sports and bible stories…I went to slightly churchy camp. AMAZING GRACE!  Even at school rainy days were movies in the gym.  C’mon, heat waves have knocked out power and had people eating whatever was in their swiftly defrosting freezer- Mmm forgotten deliciousness.  Great things can happen in bad weather.  But this past few days have been nothing like that.  I mean the CN Tower has been invisible behind cloud cover, and if we can’t see it; What will inspire that special variety of TO pride?  Life is all washed out bridges, four-way stops and detours.  Complain-ey commuters and flooded basements.  And I can’t go outside to do my super messy, very necessary craft project that-I-have-to-keep-secret-until-I’ve-teased-it-a-bit-more thingy.  So, this weather can take itself and love it.  (I really meant Shove It, but I am too shy to really say it)  All I have been waiting for is a sunny spectacular day that I can spend rolling in the grass, making a big beautiful Burlesque mess that is too messy to do inside…That doesn’t sound like too much to ask, though apparently it is.  Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun please shine down on me:) And some other nice TO folks who could use the Vitamin D and shot of Optimism.