Friday, August 29, 2014

Vote for me in the 2015 UPA BSB poster contest!

I am in the running for United Pole Artists' Bringing Sexy Back poster contest for 2015!  This Saturday, August 30, they are having a live event in Chicago to open voting.  The top five contestants will move on the the finals.  There will be online voting, so you don't have to be in Chicago to vote.  I don't know how how long voting will be open, but keep an eye out on UPA's website for instructions.  Let's get a curvy poler into the top five!  My birthday is Sunday, so that would be a lovely gift.  ;-)

Here's the photo I submitted:

There will be a live stream and online voting tomorrow at 8 PM CST.  Please follow the Facebook event link and get all the information there!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Confessions of a Pole Show Producer: NCPP 2014 Wrap-Up

Wow.  I could literally just say that, drop the mic and walk away.  The best way to describe my experience with producing NCPP is: WOW!  From start to finish, I had no idea what to expect!  This adventure started over a year ago, when Amy Bond first brought the idea to me.  (You can read up on some of that HERE.)  Shit got real when Ellen stepped in, secured a location and we actually opened up the website for sign-ups in March.

Looks like a pole move to me!
I don't really know what I expected to happen.  We planned.  We planned again.  And then we planned some more.  (You can read my one-week-ago update HERE.)  And while I stressed myself out for months prior to the show by using most of my lunches, and after-work hours preparing, once it came time to set-up, I felt nothing.  Just peace.  It was the calm before the storm, I told myself.  I was certain I wouldn't sleep Friday night and even more certain I would be a ball of nerves on Saturday -- show day.  Nope.  Still all good.  I went down to Ellen's on Thursday night to organize things.  We spent Friday picking up water and supplies.  Then we got a call that Chobi, the amazing rigger from Los Angeles, was at the venue and ready to set up.  Little did we know, once we arrived, he had actually arrived two hours earlier and was *completely* set up. 

I worried I hadn't secured enough goodies for backstage.  Then I heard someone excitedly talk about the gifts we had set out.  I worried I messed up the music and maybe forgot a song or made the playlist too confusing to understand.  But, nope.  The music tech, David, commented that the playlist was one of the most organized he had ever seen.  I worried that I had nothing to worry about.  Then I worried that I was going to cause something to happen by making myself worry about nothing.  My exterior was completely calm.  Whatever happens happens, I told myself.  The day was here and we had done everything we could to make it a great event.

There was a moment when I went to run up the stairs to the sound booth and I saw my grandfather in a dark corner of the audience.  He passed away years ago and I have been told by more than one medium that he is my guardian angel.  It almost stopped me in my tracks.   He looked young and happy.  It brought tears to my eyes.  As I continued up the stairs, I realized it was actually my friend's husband sitting in the shadows.  That moment was short but it brought me even more peace.  I knew that I didn't need to worry because we had done everything possible to make the event perfect and it was going to be a great day. 

And a great event it was.  We have received tons of feedback -- almost all positive.  Most have said this was the smoothest, most positive event they had ever been a part of.  You don't know how much that means to us.  This is EXACTLY what I wanted.  If you want the pressure of competing, there are many avenues for you.  However, if you'd like to get on a big stage, with lights and music and 200 of your closest friends watching, there are not always a ton of opportunities.  I am tickled at how awesome the day was. 

Ellen and I have so many people to thank.  We thank all of the dancers (we had about 65 performances throughout the day).  We thank all of the studios in the Bay Area (and out of the Bay Area, since Southern California, Nevada and Colorado were also represented).  With the exception of perhaps two studios, everyone had a dancer representing them.  We thank the audience members who came to support the local pole community.  We thank our judges, as most traveled from out of the area.  We triple thank our volunteers, who were so amazing and jumped in to help any time we needed it.  We thank our sponsors, and our vendors, who were selling fun things in the lobby.  We thank the San Jose Stage Company, for trusting us when we were like, "no really, we're just going to put up some big metal poles in your theater and bring a bunch of people."  We thank Chobi for bringing his own rigging and keeping our dancers safe, and for also watching out for us and playing bouncer when necessary.  We thank his son, William, for coming with him and sitting all day as well!  We thank Alloy Images for their amazing photography and videography!  We thank Clif Bar for providing snacks for the backstage.  We thank Girlie Grip and Tite Grip for sending samples for the dancers to try.  We thank Poleitical Clothing, and Girlie Grip for providing pole cleaner outfits.  And we thank PSO for providing guidance for us during the last year.  I also personally want to thank Bel and Twirly Girls for always supporting me.  Even though this event was for all of the Bay Area studios, they are my home studio.  And I especially want to thank Ellen.  NCPP could not have happened without her.  She totally gets my crazy, or at least tolerates it.  And for that, she is owed a million thanks.  I hope I didn't forget anyone.  This is why I hate giving acceptance speeches. 
Here's me not stressing out during the show

I want to go back to the dancers to talk about how special I think each and every one of them is.  I am not a performer.  I dance for Twirly Girl events or at Robert's 1220 events, but I am in no way the-best-performer-ever.  At the end of the day, I know I am safe because I am performing at home.  It takes a ton of guts to put yourself out there in a larger theater like this.  I was so proud of each and every person who took the stage.  I know some were disappointed with their routines but I did not see one bad routine last Saturday.  Thank you for bringing your heart and dancing for us.  Also, thanks for all the cool new music ideas.  I actually wrote my PDBA blog hop this month about NCPP songs.  I was only supposed to pick 10 for the blog hop but I really loved every song submitted to me. 

We received only one piece of negative feedback so far.  It's the damn bear again.  It is kind of funny to me that Pat elicits such a hateful reaction out of some people.  People either love or hate Pat -- there is no in between.  But, Pat is here to stay.  As we say in our FAQ's:  "The bear in our logo is a reference to the California “Bear Flag.”  As our showcase is in Northern California, we thought it would be fun to incorporate that into our logo.  We also want this showcase to be light and fun.  We understand you have many options for competitions, and believe that some polers are hungry to showcase their talents without the pressure of competing. This does not mean that we do not take this showcase seriously, but we believe we can put on a safe show without losing our sense of humor."  Like I said on Facebook, if hating our logo is the only negative thing anyone can come up with, then we're doing it right. 

Thanks to Alloy for catching Ellen and me crying like babies
We received a great write-up from SF Weekly.  I know some people were bummed that stripping is mentioned, but that is what the general public associates pole dancing with.  So, I don't mind the reference.  I am proud, however, that events like NCPP are showing that pole is a legitimate sport and is not just for the strip clubs anymore.  You can read that piece HERE (in fact, I urge you to leave a comment on their page so they can see how many polers there are around the world!).  

The day was surreal.  Sometimes it still feels like it didn't happen.  I feel like there is so much more I could say but I don't want to get too wordy.  So thank you again to everyone who supported us.  I am excited to announce we are already planning the show for 2015.  We are still looking for feedback, so if you would like to leave a comment below, we would love to hear what you thought about NCPP 2014!

I went to Stockton-Con and met Nicholas Brendon

A couple of weekends ago, my friend Kate had asked me to go to Stockton-Con.  I knew Chunky Girl Comics were going to be there but I had so much going on with NCPP coming up.  I was feeling burned out on working, so at the last minute, I asked Kate if she still wanted to go.  She said YES.

Kate was interested in seeing one of her favorite stars from Buffy, Nicholas Brendon.  I didn't watch Buffy but knew him from Criminal Minds.  And I'm always down for an adventure, so off to Stockton we went.  Kate didn't realize exactly how far Stockton is from us.  So we left slightly late in the afternoon, then had to drive over an hour.  We arrived at the event around 2 PM.  It was done at 4.  As we are walking up to the doors, I see Nicholas pass me.  I probably terrified him by spinning around and clamping my hand down on his shoulder.  I said, you're coming back, right?!  He said yes.  Whew.  Kate was mortified but we continued into the convention center.

 Kate and I said hi to Marissa at the Chunky Girl Comics both and Ray at the Tragic Hero Comics booth, then went to an ATM near where the celebrities hang out.  I am kind of looking around, trying to figure out where our target is.  And, duh, he's practically right in front of us!  He waves us over.  I think Kate is mortified again.  He introduces himself as Nicky and was so sweet.  We took a photo with him for the Central Valley Business Journal.  Then Kate chatted with him.  We took some photos.  And we were on our way.  After wandering around awhile, I feel like maybe I too should have taken a photo with our new friend, Nicky.  So we go back upstairs and I exclaim that it is time for me to take a photo and get an autograph.  Kate is once again mortified.  Here's where it gets weird.  I asked Nicky where he was staying.  In my brain, it was because I couldn't imagine they put him up in a hotel actually located in Stockton (I figured he came in through Sacramento).  But it really just sounded super creepy like I was going to show up at his hotel room door.  Awesome.  Sorry, Kate!  I only ever want to be medium creepy.  I don't try to shoot directly for super creep.  I think Kate literally almost died at this point.

Thanks to Nicky for not throwing me in jail when I went super creeper on him!  Thanks, Kate for not leaving me there.  Oh wait, luckily I was driving.  Another adventure in the books... 

Kate and I are looking to create pole dancing superheros so we can play ourselves at Comic-Con next year.  Plans are in the works...  I think my super power will be that I can do handstands and rip zombies' heads off their shoulders with my amazing thighs.  Leave a comment and let me know what superhero name you would give me! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm on the Fear of Flight blog!

A few months back, I chatted with Veruca from the Fear of Flight blog.  We had a great conversation and she released a blog with the interview!

So, it’s hard because I like to say pole dance is for everybody but I also can fully recognize that it works better for different bodies and not even just thinner bodies but even shorter bodies although I think that you have to find out what works for you because tall people will say “Oh well when you do this move, it’s really hard to have long legs” and short people will say “Well if I have long legs I can do this move”, so for me it’s finding the move that is going to work for you and then working on it. I shocked everybody I think when I did my first hand stand and I swear to God my arms were going to fall off the first time I did it because as soon as I got upside down all the air went out of my body and my blood stopped pumping but I did it. That’s my thing am I lifting into it properly; absolutely not but I can do a hand stand and I can shock the shit out of people and that’s what I do. So I’m trying to take the moves that work for me and become better and get stronger at those moves because I’m probably never going to; like I’ll never do a spatchcock I can guarantee that and that’s not being negative, that’s just being honest and realistic.

Read the whole story HERE!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 2014 Blog Hop: My NCPP Pole Playlist

Last weekend, the showcase for which I am co-producer, and have been planning for a year, finally happened.  What also happened is exposure to new pole songs!

Here is my list of top 10 songs from NCPP:

Lil Darlin' by ZZ Ward
Call Me by Shinedown
Skinny Love by Birdy (I want to hate this song so bad but I just can't)
Once Upon a Dream (Maleficent soundtrack)
There was also a mix of two songs from the Lucy soundtrack (First Cells and Mr. Wang's)...very animalistic!
Take Me to Church by Hozier
Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack)
Nothing Else Matters as covered by Godsmack
All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
Thieves and Kings by The peach Kings

Honorable mention: Human by Krewella

I created a playlist that included performance songs and filler songs.  So I filed it with random songs from my eclectic playlist.  I figured people would either love it or hate it.  I can't tell you how many people stopped me to tell me they loved the filler music.  Score!

I will personally be dancing to All About That Bass next month.  I should probably get on creating that routine.  Thanks to Kaitlyn for some cute ideas!

So there are a few songs that may already be on your playlist but hopefully a few that are not.  Please leave some of your favorites in the comments below.  My pole playlist for Twirly Girls needs a refresher!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

NCPP is One Week Away

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I told Amy Bond I was totally down with helping her put on a big pole showcase last year.  We are literally one year from around the date when Amy came to me and we went to the Pole Sport Organization people to ask for help.  We met with them at Pole Expo in Vegas last September to discuss our ideas.

No idea.


Thanks to our butt model, Seanmichael! 
Photo credit:
I also had no idea how many life changes would be happening.  My job change.  Rob moving.  Not that there's ever going to be a good or better time for big life events, but this past year has been quite a crazy time for an event like this to happen.  This new job is...non-stop.  That's the only way I can describe it.  I love it here, and I especially adore the people, but we work like dogs.  So there's very little down time for me to fit in short phone calls or e-mails.  To research things.  To set up appointments.  I am working.  All.  Day.  Long.  You all look at me funny and say, "Of course you should be working all day.  You're at work.  They are paying you to be there."  But it's hard to explain.  At most places there are slow days where you can play catch-up or work on small projects.  Those days are rare here.  They tried to warn me when I took the job, and they were right.  This is definitely the busiest desk I have EVER supported.  But this is also one of my favorite places I have ever worked.  There is balance in the universe. So the last couple of months have been stressful.  I work at my day job.  On lunches and after work, I do NCPP stuff (who knew all the stuff required to make a show of this calibre happen?!).  I try to keep up my workouts.  I'm still teaching and taking classes at Twirly Girls.  At the end of the day, I'm exhausted.  Don't get me wrong.  I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I definitely have some plans for how I will handle this next year, and it will start with some time off the day job right around the time music is due!

Anyway, I want to thank everyone who are already helping make NCPP a success.  Ellen has been amazing to work with.  And I am so excited that we are only a week away from the largest event I have ever been involved with producing.  I have planned another blog for after the show, but wanted to post this one to tell everyone "thanks for putting up with me."  I know I've been either completely absent from some people and completely psycho on others. 

If you are thinking about coming to the show, please buy tickets in advance.  It will make the check-in process SO much easier if we aren't having to ask our volunteers to collect money from people. 

To all of the dancers still working rabidly on their are amazing.  Just the fact that you are all ready to leave your heart on the stage is making me all teary.  And you know I don't cry easily!

I am ready to get this party started!!  See you in a week!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years!

I often say events are life-changing.  What I probably meant was, "that was SO much fun!!!"  So while I may have had a lot of awesome events throughout my life, not every fun event is life-changing.  However, one event truly was life-changing for me.  It was however I met Ellen Lovelace.  I know we met because of pole dancing, and through her former studio, but I can't even really name the exact time and place.  Nor would I have had any idea the path on which we were suddenly placed on.  Ellen is my partner with NCPP and has been coaching me about my nutrition for a little over three months.  I really do feel like she is saving my life. 

The last few years were really dark ones for me.  And I finally feel like I see the light.  Not just with my weight.  With exercise.  With food.  With my job.  With my relationship.  With life in general.  I think if Ellen hadn't helped me see what sugar was doing to my insides, I would have eaten myself to death in a very short few years.  Now that I am eating healthier, I feel better.  I don't feel as much depression and anxiety dragging me down.  I haven't had to take allergy medication for three months!  I may have only lost about 18 pounds but I feel like I've lost 50.  And again, I haven't changed the number of calories I eat, I have only changed the quality of the foods I choose. 

thank you butt model, Seanmichael
Photo credit:
If Ellen, like so many before her, had come to me and said, look, "you're going to give up sugar and bread and pretty much everything you like to eat, then you'll feel great," I would have told her to pound sand!  But she told me that I could start small.  I gave up the jelly beans in my desk at work.  Then suddenly, Vitamin Waters didn't taste good to me.  (I told people I would NEVER give up my Vitamin Waters!)  Then donut day at work wasn't as delicious.  These were all conclusions I came to on my own as I realized how eating crappy foods made me feel.  With the exception of a couple of times when I was really acting silly, she has never said, DON'T EAT THAT!  Don't get me wrong, I still pick up some sugar products on occasion.  But I am eating waaaaaay smaller portions waaaaaaaay less often.  And I feel great!

I am also excited about pole again and feel like I'm on the right track to do some of those moves I've been promising myself I will learn to do someday.  I am now only 15 pounds heavier than when I started poling four and a half years ago -- and I gurantee I have a lot more muscle this time.  Every year I claimed I would invert before the next Lovely Rita Fundraiser.  This time around, I may actually hit that goal.  Finally...only in time for the sixth event. 

So thank you again to Ellen for opening my eyes, and knowing the right way to do it.  My body and my liver especially thank you as well! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Seanmichael - PSO Men's National Champion

Our very own Seanmichael won the men's division of the Pole Sport Organization's U.S. National Pole Championships in New York a little over a week ago.  There really are no words for how proud I am to know this man.  He is very sweet and it has been so fun to watch him blossom as a pole dancer.  I want to congratulate Seanmichael on his win.  It was well-deserved!  And a shout out to his coach, Ellen!!  They make a great team!

Here is his official video:

Seanmichael had a theme for this routine...tell me in the comments what you think it is!! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Physical Limitations - Scars

One thing I have SWORN up and down since having my tummy tuck (and multiple other skin removal surgeries) is that it is so much harder to do certain exercises, like squats or pulling my knees to my chest.  I can't describe it.  It's just a feeling.  Like I can't do it no matter how hard I try.  I've always just figured I've gained weight so my muscles are weaker. 

But then I was talking to someone recently about how I felt.  And I described my scars and he said there is a very real possibility that between the way you are cut for a tummy tuck, the way the muscles are realigned and the way scar tissue forms, I may actually have an uphill battle while performing certain exercises!  Score!  I'm not crazy!

I did a little research about scar tissue and muscle repair.  I won't regurgitate it here but I did learn that I should NOT have hard spots and I definitely have those at the bottom of the upside down T of my tummy tuck.  I liked to attribute them to my rock hard abs, but apparently that is not actually the case.  I may ask my doctor if this is something he can work on after he's done torturing my hip with myofascial release. 

Anyway, that was just some interesting news to me.  Have you ever felt limited by scar tissue?