A MUSE MONDAYS: Miss La Muse

This is the first MUSE that I have never met. When this project began a mutual friend suggested since her name was so familiar that perhaps she would be an ideal candidate. So, let’s all get to know, Winnipeg’s own; Miss La Muse! 20140728-083925-31165455.jpg

Gracie: Thanks for taking some time to share with me. First, how did you get your name?

Miss La Muse:I have always felt like a muse. I was raised in a very artistic family, and from a young age I romanticized the whole aspect of being a muse.

Gracie: How long have you been performing?

Miss La Muse: Going on eight wonderful years.

Gracie: What is your signature colour?

Miss La Muse: It always changes!…Right now I think it is gold/copper and pink!

Gracie: Who is your biggest fan?

Miss La Muse: Probably an incredibly lovely and proud, self identified bull dyke lesbian who drives a motorcycle and she is always trying to convince me to go for a ride! I sometimes I have to tell her to calm down though, lol…It’s hard to ride that fine line with fans you enjoy but not wanting to get too close. If I ever decide to throw in the towel and give up on everything, I’m sure she’d take great care of me. I love having a laugh with her! I’m so grateful to have fans like her.

Gracie: Who are your Showgirl inspirations?

Miss La Muse: Dirty Martini, and the way she removes a glove.

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?

Miss La Muse: My legs and bum are quite nice. Thanks mom!

Gracie: What is your characteristic style?

Miss La Muse: My favourite style is classic. I am always striving to do the old burlesque queens justice and carry on that torch. I think Neo-burlesque is doing a fine job at keeping that alive, there are a lot of enthusiasts that are part of this culture, and supporting our aging burlesque legends.

Gracie: Do you have a favourite costume or prop?

Miss La Muse: The latest costume that I created with a local fashion designer Alex Espinosa. It tears away to reveal several different outfits. I’m so in love with it!

Gracie: How do you build an act?

Miss La Muse: When I finally have some solid elements to work with, I put aside an evening to myself in the studio, have a glass of wine and just start dancing around to the music. When I feel like im touching on something I write it down. The inspiration for an act can start with any of those three elements; costume, music or concept.

Gracie: Is there a dream theme you’d like to work with?

Miss La Muse: I’m actually getting really tired of themes! It seems like every burlesque show I see advertised has a theme. I find themes limiting. I put a lot of work into my acts and I will continue to polish and perfect it over a long period of time.

Gracie: What is your favourite venue at home or on the road?

Miss La Muse: My favorite venue in Winnipeg is The Gas Station theatre. It’s run by truly wonderful people. My favorite venue on the road, I would have to say The Mod Club in Toronto.

Gracie: Do you ever see yourself retiring?

Miss La Muse: I fully intend to be fabulous, a showgirl, pin-up darling, etc. until I die. I have been blessed to know such wonderful women who are getting well into their 80’s and still glamorous. It’s opened my eyes.

Gracie: Any Words of Wisdom for budding showgirls?

Miss La Muse: If you want to do it, do it! But it’s important to educate yourself on what burlesque really is first. Take some workshops, do your research, make the effort. It’s not going to happen overnight, its a lot of hard work. It’s very easy to see through someone who is just doing it because “It’s fun!” and someone who is treating it like a serious performance art.

Gracie: Awesome! That was our first non-Toronto Canadian Muse! I love that we’re taking the time to learn about and from each other. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Follow Miss LaMuse at the links below!

Website: www.misslamuse.ca
FB: Miss Angela La Muse Burlesque
Instagram: misslamuse
Twitter: Miss La Muse

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A MUSE MONDAYS: Vayda Rhynstone

I met today’s muse in the back of a double decker bus while racing through the sweaty streets of Las Vegas, snapping shots in pin up style. I first noticed her tattoos, she’s covered in candy. Then she wiped out a parasol paired with pink and teal ensemble and I knew we were bound to be friends. The very next day we lay by the Orleans pool, talking about hometowns and mentors, taco hats and tickled fancy. Ladies and gentlemen: She’s a quiet riot, with a classic gift: Vayda Rhynstone

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Gracie: Now, I want to let my readers know that you’re from Chicago! The Windy City and home of Ray Gunn and Michelle L’amour. And thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. First, where did you get your name?

Vayda:I picked my first name “Vayda” from the movie My Girl, the lead character’s name is Vayda and I’ve always loved that name. I like it because it fits the diversity of my acts and style; classy, exotic, and dark. “Rhynstone” comes from rhinestones of course! Who doesn’t like rhinestones?! I just changed the spelling to make it sound more like a last name.

Gracie:How long have you been on the scene?

Vayda:I have been in the burlesque scene for 3 years and have been performing solo as “Vayda Rhynstone” for the past year in the Midwest area.

Gracie Do you have a signature colour?

Vayda: Iridescent. I love all the colors and rainbows! I’m pretty indecisive person so there’s never one option, I need choices.

Gracie: Do you have formal training?
Vayda: I guess you could say this all started when I was little and would get in trouble for taking my clothes off in public and running around naked. They called me “Nudy Judy”. Growing up I developed choreography, costume, and makeup skills and the love for glitter and sequins with synchronized swimming (where I traveled to compete nationally) and dancing. I was always on the dance team and drill team throughout school and took hip hop dance classes. Few years later, I discovered burlesque and thought what a perfect way to combine everything I love into one. I moved from Milwaukee to Chicago 3 years ago to study burlesque and the art of tease at Studio L’amour taught by Michelle L’amour. I’ve had the privilege to be mentored by Michelle and perform in her studio showcases. The past year or so I’ve been developing my new persona and creating solo acts.

Gracie: What is your favorite body part?

Vayda: My favorite body part is my ass. I would of never said it was 5 years ago. Growing up with a bubble butt I always thought it was fatter then other girls and that guys wouldn’t like it (boy was I wrong). Burlesque has definitely made me more comfortable with my body and now I appreciate every curve and giggle I have. I enjoy learning new ways to shake my ass. I think my signature move is wiggling my ass bent over.

Gracie: How do you build an act? What comes first: song, costume, concept?

Vayda: I like to build an act by starting with the music then concept, and then costume. It’s important to develop your story, outline, and purpose of the act because if you don’t understand it, how will the audience? It helps me out to have the start of costume pieces while creating choreography. Although every routine is a little different. I have full costume pieces with no song yet and I have great songs picked out with no concept/costume. I learned you can’t force it though, take your time and the greatest ideas will come when you least expect it.

Gracie: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you backstage?

Vayda: The strangest thing to ever happen backstage is when I was getting ready at Milwaukee’s Creme De La Creme Burlesque Festival and there was a performer who had a live snake for her act in a bag behind me. There was a note on the bag that said “Beware Live Snake”, so that wasn’t nerve wrecking at all. 😉

Gracie: Do you have any words of wisdom for budding showgirls?

Vayda: I recommend taking burlesque classes and educating yourself in and outside of your community. There’s a lot of different styles in burlesque so once you know what you want to create, be comfortable and confident in what ever that is you do. Know you can do what ever the f**k you want but it’s always good to have your routines critiqued and get advice from experienced performers to be your ultimate best!

Gracie: Thank you so much again for letting us get to know a bit better. And I look forward to many more hijinx in the future! Follow Vayda at the links below! See you next Monday

Website: www.vaydarhynstone.com
Facebook: msvaydarhynstone
Twitter: @vaydarhynstone
Instagram: @vayda_rhynstone

A Muse Mondays: Leelando Calrissian

I met our next show pony backstage at Folklesque, where we were dissecting the Urban
dictionary and creating our own hilarious definitions. What made this even funnier was he was dressed as a popular children’s toy. His flirty nerdy naughtiness is a staple of the Toronto scene. Ladies and Gentlemen, the shameless king of cosplay, the knight of fright: Leelando Calrissian.
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Gracie: Wowsa, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Can I ask how did you get your name?

Leelando: Originally, I was known as Barely Legal Leelando, but within time I realized that I had to have a name that suited my burlesque style as well as the nerdy cosplay aspect. Which is where Leelando Calrissian came into play.

Gracie: How long have you been on the scene?

Leelando: I’ve been in the scene for about 4-5 years now.

Gracie: What’s your signature colour?

Leelando: Hard to say. I try not to limit myself to certain colours because I’d never like to limit myself. If I had to choose one it would be defiantly black! But that’s the inner fat 13 year old who shops at hot topic talking.

Gracie: Who’s you’re biggest fan?

Leelando: Not meaning to pat my own back but I have a lot of fans. Hard to say that one person is my biggest fan. I remember one time I was at Tim Hortons at 2 in the morning and a girl lost her mind that she was meeting me.

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl inspiration?

Leelando: I could name off the regulars that most burlesque dancers say, but instead I think my inspirations are more in the cosplay scene. I look up to a lot of people and still feel like a newb compared to a lot of people in the scene. But if they like what you’re doing and other people hate what you do then you’re doing something right.

Gracie: Do you have a signature move?

Leelando: I do this really stupid wink and point move ALOT! It’s so ridiculous and I know it is but I can’t stop.

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Leelando: No formal training. Just watched a lot of Lady Gaga and Rihanna videos and picked up the magical art known as “choreography”!

Gracie: Do you have any secret talents?

Leelando: Besides being able to hit it in 7 inch heels nothing outside of the bedroom.

Gracie: What was your burlesque ah-ha moment?

Leelando: I have so many. There’s the pie incident, that time I broke my nose and the time I ran out of paint for my butt during my joker act.

Gracie: Classic Leelando. Do you tassel? Both directions?

Leelando: I can do tassles, but I’m too in love with my nipples to cover them up.

Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?

Leelando: I love the first underwear peel. My favourite way is to slowly roll it down your legs then step out! So perf!

Gracie: Do you have a favourite body part?

Leelando: Is it weird if I say my forearms…. I’m kinda a weirdo like that.

Gracie: Does your audience have a favourite body part?

Leelando: I’m guessing my waist, every time I tight-lace people stare at it like no tomorrow.

Gracie: What is your favourite style of movement?

Leelando: Sporadic thrusting whilst clapping.

Gracie: What is your favourite part of a new act?

Leelando: I always love those moments where you first create the largest act ever known to man and then realize… Wait I’m not Dita, shut it down. (Fun fact: The Harley Quinn act was originally 13 minutes long and involved a two story set.)

Gracie: How do you build it? What comes first: Song, costume, concept?

Leelando: I will always look at costume first. That’s my favourite part, even of I don’t start making until the night before the show. I will always design the costume way in advance.

Gracie: What is your favourite costume piece?

Leelando: Right now I’m working on a new Arkham City Catwoman made in pvc, but what’s finished that is my favourite is my Dr. Mrs. The Monarch costume.

Gracie: What is your most unique prop or costume piece?

Leelando: Most unique prop I’ve ever made was a 2 sided wall with a museum set on one side and a brick wall alley set on the other with a window I could jump through.

Gracie: What is your characteristic style?

Leelando: Humorous fool that lives for your applause. (See what I did there)

Gracie: Tricky devil*said while clapping. What is the most important part of you number?

Leelando: I think the most important part of my numbers is the performance aspect. At the end of the day when I’m all worn down I really couldn’t care if something didn’t come off right or a price of my set broke. I want to know that I put on the best performance I possible could have and that people enjoyed it.

Gracie: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you backstage?

Leelando: Haha, when I did my Bridget Von Hammersmark act, I remember to get the shoe on just perfectly at the end of my act we had to lube up my foot before going on stage. So imagine doing a full 4 minute act with a lube covered foot in giant heels.

Gracie: What’s the most unique show you’ve been a part of?

Leelando: I love every show that I’m apart of. But I had the best time at the New York Boylesque Fest. Even though it was my first time and I felt like awkward ugly duckling, everyone there was so welcoming and so genuinely sweet. It was incredible.

Gracie: Is there a dream theme you want to perform?

Leelando: There are a lot of themes that I’d like to do… And some that will be happening eventually but one really weird theme I’d like would be a Batman The Animated Series show. Way to niche and not enough performers would be able to do it. But hey we can dream… I just couldn’t decided whether to be Catwoman or Harley!

Gracie:Favourite venue in your current city and on the road?

Leelando: In Toronto I loved the Underground Cinema. It’s where our family had grown together and still brings years to my eyes years later. On the road I’d have to say Webster Hall in NY. It was so cute for the Nerdlesque Fest and had great decor.

Gracie: Who is your favourite local showgirl?

Leelando: Now if I get shit on for this, whatever. My favourite showgirl is Dolly Berlin. I met her about 5-6 years ago and she is the very definition of started from the bottom now we here. She made her way through the ranks and is an amazing performer and friend. She is definitely one of my role models.

Gracie: If you weren’t a show pony, what would you be?

Leelando: I really couldn’t be sure. I would be still doing costuming but who knows where I’d be in my life. Maybe making costumes for ice skaters or still working grocery at loblaws!
7. Do you think you’ll ever retire? Yes.

End Cap
Gracie: Do you have any words of wisdom for budding showgirls?

Leelando: Don’t let anyone tear you down for being you. Keep being you and performing what you like. The main person you have to impress is yourself. If you leave happy and proud, well that’s the best feeling anyone could ever ask for.

Facebook: Leelando Calrissian Fan Page
Instagram: leelandocalrissian

This Is What’s So Hot, Right Now

As a trend setter, it is my responsibility to share my insight with those inquiring minds longing to be in the cutting edge of fad. So what’s hot right now?

**The following is to be read in the style of a 90’s valley girl.

Things That Are Hot, Right Now

1.The colour Yella- Think bananas. Think sunshine. It’s so hot right now.

2. Gwen Stefani- Yes, it’s true. The Holla Back Girl is back and she hasn’t aged a bit! Her platinum hair and red lipstick kick started the rockin’rolla pin up in the 90’s and she’s showing no signs of stopping.

3. Telling the truth. We all know it should be hot to tell the truth all the dang time, but ’tisn’t. The cycles of fad have rolled through butt-kissing white lies to respectful silence and finally back to honesty. Which, of course is my fav slice of the pie chart- it is the best policy.

4.Nail Art– As over the top designs flood Pinterest it’s clear that these quirky nails are the finger fashions of the now. With Hello Kitties, Chanel logos and polka dots leading the pack, the only limit is what you can get your hands on…Er, on your hands.

5. Rambo Commando attire minus of course the grease paint. The fatigue of the armed forces finding new life in funky colours and styles. This pattern transforms a boring old pair of shorts into an elite force to be reckoned with. Be proud, stand tall, support the coupes. (that means cutoffs)

Things That Are Always Hot

1. Pulling together- The more the merrier. Many hands make for light work. The more we get together, the happier we’ll be. It’s kinda like with the Truth, except pulling together never goes out of style. Just because we’re born alone, (which we really aren’t, there’s a whole lotta people there when you’re born) doesn’t mean that we have to go through our life in a solitary bubble. There are people all around you to help with the heavy lifting, carrying, sorting, washing, moving…etc. Which reminds me, if you want to work with me, I’ll always have a task for you.

2. Narwhals, unicorns and rhinos- They’re horny, horny, horny, horny. So horny. They’re horny, horny, horny tonight…actually all the time. Part of me thinks they’re all hot because they are all unicorns…in their own chicken of the sea way. These strong and beautiful animals protect, defend and they’re always En Garde.

3. Beer Gardens at outdoor festivals especially if there is fireworks. Live music, entertainment and libations. Boom ’nuff said.

Things That Are Cool, but Will Never Be Hot

1. Home baked goodies- except when they come out of the oven. Ha!

2. Ponytails- The humid air and extreme heat are not awesome for the following hair types: Everyone. With curly hair getting bigger and thin hair getting limper, rocking a flirty pony is the best option. Let’s be honest, hair up with never be as hot as hair down. But when it’s like this, a good looking set of piggies is way cooler than a slick, drippy messed up mop.

3. Stomach tattoos on men who look pregnant. The distended distortion of the original image becoming a puzzle for unwitting belly oglers. It may be an overstatement to say they are/were cool…but I hope that at least the design was cool at the time that tattered tatt was drawn…I hope.

There we go, another chapter complete of my ‘Things That Are So Hot, Right Now’ series. Thanks for reading. As for me, I look forward to rocking a pony, while telling the truth, at a beer garden, scoping out some wicked combat shorts while deciphering stomach tats…I guess it’s a good thing fads come and go, otherwise what would I talk about? Oh man, I can’t wait for being poor to be hot, I already rock at that.

A MUSE MONDAYS: Pixie Trix

Anyone who knows me, knows I love-LOVE a good joke, and this lady is one of my favourite jokesters. Her compelling layers of character blend seamlessly with her technique. She is a supporter of all positive elements within the Toronto burlesque scene, and has always been a champion of mine.  I consider her a personal role model for a life well loved. Ladies and gentlemen, the tiny dynamo: Pixie Trix.

Gracie: Thank you for letting me see behind the curtain Ms Trix. How long have you been on the scene?

Photography by Angela McConnell

Photography by Angela McConnell

Pixie: I have been a watcher of burlesque for about 4 years now, and have been performing for just over a year. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Toronto Burlesque Community in both audience and performer roles.

Gracie: Do you have a signature colour?

Pixie: No signature colour. (yet)

Gracie: Who is your biggest fan?

Pixie: My biggest fan is Mr. Trix. He supports me 100% and helps me with ideas, props and never complains when he escorts me to the many burlesque shows we attend during the year ;-).

Gracie: Who is your Showgirl Inspiration?

Pixie: That’s a difficult one. I have many both local and international inspirations but have to say I Iove performers who are both sexy, funny and clever. I’m definitely a neo-burlesque lover.

Gracie: Do you have formal training?

Pixie: Before performing I took classes at the Coco Framboise School of Burlesque for 2 years and continue to do so. I also actively attend workshops of visiting performers when they are in town: My list so far (and yes I have a list, as I keep a notebook with all my class notes): Indigo Blue, Minnie Tonka, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Tiffany Carter, April March, Nasty Canasta, Cherry Typhoon, Jo Boobs, Johnny Porkpie, Coco Electric, Tempest Storm, Burgundy Brix, Dr. Lucky, Kristina Nekyia, Paco Fish, The Lady Josephine, Peekaboo Pointe, Armitage Shanks, Ophelia Flame, Dangrr Doll, Bettina May, World Famous Bob. I love to hear different viewpoints and really enjoy the learning process. I continue to take classes in other areas to support my overall performance skills. I’ve taken Sketchy’s and Fesso’s Crash Course in Vaudeville (both levels), dance classes with Daytona Bitch at the Toronto School of Burlesque, and my next class is a Joke Lab with actor Jack Newman. I’m looking forward to going to Burly Con this year as well. Prior to burlesque I was involved in Toronto’s hooping scene so also have hooping, poi and staff skills.

Gracie: I love you dedication to learning. Do you tassel?

Pixie: I love to tassel twirl and can do so fairly successfully. Still working on my control of one tassel at a time. I’m a good ass tasseler but haven’t taken the opportunity to highlight this skill as yet.

Gracie: What is your favourite peel and reveal?

Pixie: Interesting ways to remove pants…..

Gracie: And I’ve seen you do it. How do I build an act?

Pixie: I’m always bouncing ideas off of Mr. Trix. Our family dinner conversations with our daughters can be quite entertaining. I keep a book of ideas and thoughts for acts so I don’t forget anything and can go back to an idea. I would say concept generally comes first, song next and then costume. In the process of putting the act together, the costume often changes as I go. I make my own costumes (mostly from scratch since I can’t really buy much off the rack) so I have the ability to change things up as I see the act coming together. Once my costume is put together enough to wear, I rehearse to figure out my choreography, and any costume adjustments that I need to make. Mr. Trix is my prop man and is very handy. I always take video of my rehearsals so I can watch later and adjust the act accordingly. Mr. Trix gives me feedback on the rehearsal videos too. We’re a good team.

Gracie: What’s your favourite venue in town or on the road?

Pixie: My favourite venue so far is the Revival. The upstairs has a great vibe and the downstairs is nice and large for getting ready before the show.

Gracie: One last thing, do you have any Words of Wisdom for our new showgirls?

Pixie: Research- see local shows, watch you tube, get to know who’s who in the Burlesque World both locally and internationally. Continue learning and improving (we are so fortunate to have such great local classes as well as visiting performer classes), practice, be respectful of other performers and producers and have fun.

Gracie: Pixie, thank you so much for taking the time to share your insight with me and my readers. You’re a great attribute and a fantastic ambassador of to the Toronto Burlesque scene. If any of you haven’t seen Ms Trix in action, I highly recommend it. She’s quite the funny show-bunny. Follow her antics on the links below.

Facebook: Pixie Trix