Arriving into the area late Friday afternoon, somehow I managed to check into the hotel, heat up my hot rollers, throw them in my hair, let them cool, busted out a single front roll, left the hotel and made it to the Mach Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, PA. No time to poke around the town right away, but with the short drive through town as well as the walk to the theater, I was instantly pleasantly surprised with the delightful Victorian adorableness that is Jim Thorpe, PA. I seriously need to come back for another weekend, sans burlesque festival. Colorful Victorian buildings are a welcome change from Baltimore’s falling apart, or burned up structures nobody seems to care about. (Sure a city is much different, but its still refreshing to see nice real estate anyways)
At the theater, I recognized a couple performers: Miss Eerie Twilight and Miss Mourna Handful, and I sat with them and we all listened to the organizers run through the show. A couple performers did a run-through of their routine to get used to the stage space. We all also walked around the theater, backstage, and balcony to become familiar with the place. I took my stage pole out of my car and set it up on the stage, just to get that task over with. A large man helped me get the stage pole up onto the stage, and that help is always appreciated from me. I like to screw the parts in myself, but the transportation of the entire thing and lifting it onto stages I need help with sometimes.
We all left the Opera House and walked down the street to the restaurant Pepperjacks for an eat-meet-great of sorts. It was a bit crowded in the downstairs bar area, but it was still a rather enjoyable evening with burlesque talk about shows and cities and performers. I totally love hearing stuff like that, because I often feel like I’m out on my own at home with what I do.
Drive – Hotel – Sleep – Wake up – Drive to Jim Thorpe, PA
It was breakfast time. We were provided a complimentary breakfast at the lovely Albright Mansion. In my head, I thought this complimentary breakfast would be similar to a free breakfast at a hotel, with trays of scrambled eggs and an English muffin. I was so wrong, for Albright Mansion is a gorgeous little proper English Civil war era restaurant. We arrived at this beautiful little place, and in walked 5 fabulous women all with big glittery flowers in their hair ready for some yummy breakfast goodness. I looked at the menu, and was astonished at the very reasonable prices considering the charming ambiance. Seriously, for the same breakfast price as Bob Evans, was this Albright Mansion. With all the fanciness and at a price I could appreciate (for the next time I come back to Jim Thorpe)
After breakfast, we all went to the vendor area to spend some money. I happened to have met a fellow pole dancer there as well! Ha, of course!
After that, I walked around town for a little while, and then I had to drive back to my hotel (15 miles away/30min) to get my stuff for the show that night. Back to Jim Thorpe to practice my routine one last time.
I drove all the way back down to Jim Thorpe (getting used to the drive by then) and ran back into the Opera House. Walking into the backstage area, I saw Count Scotchula, of Peek-A-Boo Revue. He was the person behind my very first show with my stage pole, in Philadelphia, back in September 2009. And it was funny to see him again, and have him call out “Ahhh, Bianca DuPree, I recognized the stage pole!”
I met up with the other pole dancer I had just met, for she wanted to try out my X-stage. She tried it out and gave it a thumbs up! Wow, Ive heard so many people complain about the X-Stage that I don’t know what to think of it sometimes. She explained she tried out the new Platinum Stage Star-Base pole recently, and that thing is no good, and she explained why. I was thinking of buying that one and selling my X-Stage, but she convinced me otherwise. Looks like me and my X-stage will be together for a while.
After I did my routine run-through, I was ready to put on my make-up for the show. I looked around for my makeup case. Then I remembered I did not grab it from my hotel room! My hotel is a half an hour away, meaning it will take an hour to go there and back! Without hesitating, I put my shoes on, ran out of the Opera House, ran to my car and bolted back over to my hotel room. The whole hour drive to the hotel and back, I was cursing myself for picking a hotel so far away. Then realizing it wasn’t that much of a pain until that moment, and then cursing the fact that I’m a dumbass for forgetting my makeup case in the first place.
I ran back to the Opera House, and I had to mad-rush myself to get ready. I had a little over half an hour. Sure that seems like plenty of time but somehow I still forgot to put the rhinestone things in my hair (not really that big of a big deal, I just like to be glittery). I did do the sponge roller in front, side small bun, more eye shadow and more glitter, and I also remembered to put on my pasties…very important.
As I was holding my pasties in place, I heard a loud cheer from the audience and that meant the show was starting, on time. Damn, I was hoping it would start late. So I had to hurry to get my outfit on, making sure to get the items on in the correct order for ease of removal, and ran down to the backstage to warm up, since I was in the first half of the show.
Standing backstage, I was watching the beautiful storm of glitter and feathers and performers waiting to be announced and performers having just finished their routine. Two women were actually waiting to be announced for their very first show ever, at a festival! How fabulous of them!
And there I was hopping around, trying to stretch a little and to warm up. All the while, I was repeating to myself “Smile, you’re ganna smile, don’t make ugly face, smile” And then it was my turn to perform.
The theater was packed; they sold out the show. I walked over to my stage pole, wiped it down, put a little Dry Hands on the pole, and waited for the large men to lift the stage pole to center stage. It took them a little longer than expected, but they came and strongly lifted that stage pole to center. I stepped up and did my routine. Cheers for all the pole poses, but I was trying to focus on smiling throughout my routine. And then…I was done, and exhausted. No matter how many times I do it, every routine wears me out. I ran backstage, panting and relieved that I didn’t slip on the pole. I was proud of this performance, no mistakes, and I smiled.
There were a few more performers after me, I tried to take a peek, but was thwarted due to the probability that the audience could see me peaking. Poop, I tried. I changed into a dress I brought and proceeded to put away my some of my stuff during the intermission. So strange, doing all that driving and preparation just for a 4 minute routine. I went down to the Opera House lobby, and a few people recognized me as the pole dancer. They were all so surprised at my routine and figured I must be very strong. Amusing, since Im not the most perfect pole dancer out there, and a lot of pole dancing is gripping with skin and physics of the body. But I love the compliments!
I went back into the theater. The show was sold out, and there weren’t any available seats for me, so I stood on the very side to watch the rest of the show. I totally loved the show, and I kind of wish I could have seen the entire show, I bet it was awesome. I was impressed with the variety of everyone performing. From hula hoops, big feather fans, small silk fans, singing, comedy, my pole, and a group number…so many different interpretations of burlesque really inspire me.
At the end of the show, all us performers went on stage and they announced 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place. To be honest, I didn’t even know we were being judged at this show until a few days before. I am personally very against competitions, they bother me, but since this is truly done for fun, I accepted the situation. I didn’t place, hey, I didn’t think I would. Im just starting out after all.
And then we all packed up our things and made it down to the restaurant Molly McGuires Pub & Steakhouse. When I walked into the restaurant, I wanted to run away, for the place was just about the most packed tiny restaurant I have ever seen. By this time, it was about 11pm and I hadn’t eaten anything since my English breakfast at 11:30am. So I needed food asap. But this was the only place open in the area, and I felt I had almost no choice but to stand there and wait. My feet hurt, and I was starving.
Soon, everything fell into place, tables became available, I ordered a hot sandwich I talked some more to other performers. Much to my surprise I found out that so many of us in this show were beginners as well, having performed for less than a year. I felt so much like I belonged with everyone, into burlesque but just starting out and very focused on getting into more shows and learning more. When our hostess Madame Corsetiere walked by, we had asked her how long she has been a host, or if she was a stand-up comedian, for she was so comfortable on stage. Much to everyone’s surprise, she admitted “I’ve never had a mic in my hand in my life…I’m just a smartass!” Even our show host was new to it! That actually made me love the show even more. I never would have guessed she’s never been on a stage before. Fantastic!
Drive – Hotel – Sleep – Wakeup – Check out – Drive to Jim Thorpe, PA
Couldn’t make it to a 10:30am class, for I wanted my English breakfast. Oh, the debate, burlesque class or yummy complimentary food…the food won.
After that, it was back to the Opera House for a hula hoop class. Hula hooping right after eating made my tummy feel weird, but the class was fun anyways. I was trying to go for the move where you are hooping at the waist, and grab the hoop and then bring it over your head. But whenever I went to lift the hoop, I would stop the thing I grabbed it so hard and then I kind of messed up lifting and would hit my shoulder? I couldn’t figure it out. I was able to hula with my hand over my head, and have the hoop drop down t my waist and continue to hula with my waist. I was also working on the vertical isolation type move.
After the hula hoop class, it was time for some more walking around Jim Thorpe, this time for a more leisurely walk. I enjoyed myself, and after that I loaded up my car with the stage pole and headed back to good ol’Bawlteemore. Exhausted from driving and excited about meeting wonderful people and the possibility for more shows in the future.