Thursday, September 22, 2016

I'm a Pole Dancer!

Sometime in the last year, I started noticing posts in a Facebook group called, I'm a Pole Dancer.  I'm added to new groups all the time, so I did't pay much attention at first.  I did eventually notice that the group was HUGE -- over 70,000 members.  And people were sharing everything they loved about pole -- from their favorite moves to their go-to products.  Then I found out my friend, Janette, was the creator of the group!

Not only is Janette facilitating this active group, she now offers pole dancing clothing!  She was a vendor at Pole Expo this year.  I bought a tank top and she also provided me with a birthday sweat suit outfit.  In addition, we represented at Thunder from Down Under by wearing our Pole Dancer hats.  It isn't always easy to find pole clothes in extended sizes and I am excited to share that Janette has larger sizes!  I generally wear a 2X in pole clothes and she had plenty of things to fit me.  If you would like to purchase clothing, please visit THIS link.

Please check out her group, show some love and pick up some cute pole clothing!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

5th Annual Pole Expo

Timber Brown
Just a few days ago, I returned from my epic adventures at the 5th Annual Pole Expo.  I have attended four out of five years.  2013 was pretty epic as I was in my walking boot post foot surgery.  And 2014 ended up being epic thanks to me flipping out of the fly gym, smashing my face on the ground and injuring my foot and spine.

In 2016, I successfully attended Expo without injury.  I did not arrive with any injuries and I did not leave with any.  I am not counting the fact that I hurt my back dragging my 50 pound suitcase around BART on my way home -- I made it out of Vegas injury free!!

This trip was a whirlwind.  I flew in last Thursday and essentially went straight to my room to get ready for the Pole Classic competition and showcase.  The Mighty Grip team kindly invited Robert, Janette and me up to their VIP suite.  I have to say this was one of their best shows. 

Underwater with Brett Stanley
Friday began with a floor workshop with Rafaela Montanaro.  I am not super flexible and the room was packed way too tightly, so I feel like I didn't get to perform well.  I also feel like it is difficult to learn a routine in an hour.  I did, however, video it and want to work on it further at the studio.  I then had an underwater photoshoot with Brett Stanley.  It was an interesting experience.  I bought the nose plugs (literally could not have done the shoot without them).  However, in my first pass underwater, I took some water in and came up coughing.  So, I got nervous that it was a sign of things to come and had to calm myself down.  Brett was great, though!  He is very calming and he would give me advice on posing each time I went under.  I certainly didn't do any epic pole moves (which I was hoping for since I was weightless in the water), but I am happy with many of the shots and am excited to see the official proofs.  (The one I attached here is just an unedited phone shot of his iPad.) 

Pepper - Yesod, Bret, Kaleo
Friday evening was pretty awesome.  After I booked Pole Expo, I found out that my favorite band in the wholewideworld, Pepper, would not only be in Vegas on the one night I didn't have plans -- but would be performing in my hotel.  That was a no brainer.  I picked up tickets immediately.  They did a meet and greet at the tattoo shop beforehand, so I got to meet them again.  My yoga instructor, Theresa, trained with the lead guitar player's wife, so we also talked about yoga for a bit.  The concert was at the stage by the pool.  It was hot so my night ended with me in my bra and underwear in the pool.  I guess next time, I'll just plan accordingly and just bring a bathing suit.  You're welcome to the guy who kept losing his shit and thinking I was giving him his own personal strip show.  The show was off the hook and I had a great time!  Thank you to Angela and Justin for coming to the show with me!

Saturday started out a little more quiet.  I sat by the pool.  I had a flexibility workshop with David C. Owen in the afternoon (yeah, I suck at it).  Then, while most Pole Expo'ers went to Pole Show LA Vegas, Robert, Janette and I went for my very first strip club experience.  We had received a tip that locals liked the Palomino.  It was about a 15 minute Uber ride away, but it was worth it.  I think I expected to go in there and see abused women who were being forced into slavery, but I really didn't get that vibe.  I met a couple of really cool girls.  We sat along the stage and threw extra dollars for the girls who could actually do pole tricks.  I loved it!

Sunday I woke up early to have my make-up done so I could do a photoshoot with Somer.  I think most people showed up wearing pole outfits and I busted out my pirate skirt and corset.  The shoot went really quickly and her direction was easy to follow.  I am also excited to see these proofs.  Sunday's workshop was Stripcraft with Lux ATL.  I love Lux's passion as she talks about accepting yourself.  I'm not even into chicks but her eye fucking alone during a lap dance is pretty fucking hot.  I also got to meet Eda from Eda Marbury's Climb To The Top.  We are besties now as we lapped dance each other in class.  Sunday night, Robert, Janette and I essentially ended our trip the best way we could -- front row for Thunder From Down Under.  It was a super fun show, but it was almost more entertaining to watch these ladies lose their shit for a little man meat.  I think I liked it because they didn't get down to banana hammocks during every performance.  I like to leave a little to the imagination. 

I flew home Monday to the post-Expo blues.  I'm still recovering from that.  There are so many people I didn't get to see (what, Nadia, how did that happen?!).  But I am looking forward to next year already!  Thank you to everyone I did see -- you helped contribute to a really fun trip!

Having make-up done for the underwater shoot

My Artista Activewear outfit for the underwater shoot
Dinner with my partners in crime and my polly pocket!

Steve Gale at the Pole Classic

My pirate outfit for the photoshoot with Somer

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Twirl for a Cause Reminder: Out of the Darkness Walk

We are only TEN DAYS away from our next show!

On Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 6:00 PM, Twirl for a Cause and Club 1220 will host a fundraiser for my Out of the Darkness Walk. 

I promise a fun show filled with pole dancers and faux drag queens (well, Marisa and me...).  I even understand we may have some singing and perhaps a burlesque performance. 

The subject matter may be a little heavy, and you may wonder if it is odd that we are using pole dance to support an event to bring awareness to suicide prevention.  In light of the recent withdrawal of support of an abused women's center for a Take Back the Night event in London because pole dancing was going to be a featured demonstration, I thought perhaps I should tackle the subject before it is applied to our situation. 

I sometimes wonder how it feels to sit on your high horse and judge those around you.  Part of me wanted to come here to say, how dare you compare pole fitness or dancing with stripping, because we all know that's what you're doing when you say that pole dancing shouldn't be featured in a night that is designed to bring awareness to sexual violence against women and "gender non-conforming folks."  (That is taken from their Facebook page directly.) 

However, after my recent experiences with Lux ATL, I am trying to be much more careful about the words I choose when discussing stripping and pole dancing.  Because somehow when I strip a shirt off in pole class and upload my video to YouTube, it's sexy and artful, but when the women I met at the strip club in Las Vegas last weekend do it, they're just whores. 

It seems like a center that deals with abused women may want to be more inclusive, and women -- humans -- of all walks of life experience abuse.  They all deserve support.  

I appreciate that our event has not had any backlash.  I imagine I could try to understand why outsiders may look down on using pole dance as a way to raise money for a cause, but I'm too busy thanking everyone for their support.  Suicide touches so many people.  It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States -- almost 43,000 people per year take their own lives.  I realize it is too late to save my aunt or my boss, but if I can use this event to bring awareness to suicide prevention (also to making resources available and removing the stigma attached to asking for help), then I feel like I am doing the right thing. 

We are still accepting raffle prizes.  If you have a company that would like to donate to the cause, please let me know.  Thank you to Cowboy Wild (Robert) for setting this up for me.  Thank you to Club 1220 for hosting.  Thank you to the dancers who will be donating their time.  And thank you to everyone who will be attending.  I am always touched at the support of the pole dancing community and 1220 crowd.

If you are unable to make it to the event, but would like to donate, please use THIS link.  If you would prefer to send me a check, please contact me directly.  Otherwise, I look forward to seeing everyone on the 24th with your dollar bills in hand!

Friday, September 2, 2016

NCPP 2016 Wrap-Up

The third annual Northern California Pole Presentational is in the books.  We did it!

In year one, we worried.  We planned but we worried.  Would everyone want to participate in another pole event?  Turns out, we had nothing to worry about. 

In year two, we knew we were fine.  This wasn't our first rodeo.  We knew what to expect, and we had another amazing year.  I even got to watch a good portion of the show!

Year three finally provided us with a challenge.  It wasn't anything we couldn't handle.  Shirts bearing our awesome brand new logo came in two days before show time with damage.  Damn.  No problem -- discounted shirts for everyone!  New staff at the venue (who did a great job but sometimes when I'm stressed out, I forget people can't read my mind).  A checkerboard floor at the venue only the day before the show -- very cool if you planned your outfit around it, but not if you were wearing black and white yourself.  Parking issues.  Injuries.  But we did it.  A fantastic year and another group of awesome pole dancers successfully crossing our stage!

Ellen and I were discussing how we both really have no idea what the other person does.  We literally could not run this show without the other person.  We have a very easy working relationship.  We rarely disagree and it makes me extremely happy to have someone I can depend on working on this show with me. 

I don't have much to say other than thank you.  Thank you to the dancers, who make this event possible.  There would be no reason to do this if you were not hungry for an event such as ours.  THANK YOU to Chobi!  Seriously!  He travels from Los Angeles and rigs our poles to keep our dancers safe.  He keeps an eye on everyone during the event.  He has a sharp eye, will not hesitate to act as security when necessary, and offers hugs when he knows they are needed.  We could not do this without Chobi.  Thank you to our vendors who come out to support us and haul their wares to sell.  Thank you to our sponsors for supporting us and keeping this show affordable for their students.  Thank you to our volunteers for helping us out all day.  Thank you to Robert for always letting us borrow his stage poles for the warm-up area -- and for basically being our assistant all day last Saturday.  Thank you to Janet and Ginger for keeping the backstage in order and our dancers in line.  Thank you to Kai, Miles and Tiffers for standing in the back of the theater for the entire day taking photos and video.  Thank you to our lovely judges, who travel and give up their day to give feedback to our performers.  Thank you to Amy Bond for trusting me with her idea and letting me run with it.  Thank you to Rita for always helping with our interwebs questions.  Thank you to our audience for supporting local arts.  Thank you to Jonathan, our stage and sound person from the venue, who did that event on two hours of sleep.  Also, thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated my birthday after the event.  As I suspected might happen, after waking up at 4:30 AM and being on my feet all day, the party didn't get all that wild.  We ate dinner at a jazz bar, which had children present, so no lap dances were in the cards that evening.  I was also ready for bed at 8:30 PM.  Sometimes, it is the thought that counts, and I do hope downtown San Jose enjoyed the ass signing that I received in the middle of the sidewalk.  Finally, thank you to my pole mama, Bel, for introducing me to this beautiful world.  Unfortunately, I am sure I have forgotten someone (which is generally why I hate mass thank-you's, but please know that I appreciate everyone who touched this show). 

I am looking forward to year four, and I hope you are too!  (P.S.  If you missed out on one of the new shirts and you would like one, please send me a message.  We can ship!)