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Bermuda, Bahama

“Come on, Pretty Mama.”

So I’m watching Portlandia today and it made me want to go to Portland.  I saw Boyhood this weekend and it made me want to visit Texas.  SNL made me want to go to New York. And everything makes me want to go to Paris!!

All this made me realize where I want to live.  And the answer is–Not here!!  Not anywhere really.  I want to travel around.  I envy the ones who succeed at their art and go on tour.

I don’t envy those that travel for their job.  That seems lonely.  Traveling for your art is less lonely.  For one, there is usually some kind of posse.  So it’s kind of like a traveling family even if the posse is little.  Another thing is that you are traveling for your passion.  And that is awesome.

I have traveled for my art.  I’ve gone to Masschechusetts, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado, Virgina, New York and Ontario as well as Ohio where I live.  I never went on tour though.  I had a tour with a band scheduled once but it fell through.

Dancing to live music is incredible.  It’s two passions put together on stage which makes it electrifying!!  Going on a tour of electrifying performances night after night, state after state, province after province is the dream.

Dear Band that would like a live Bellydancer to hit the road with them– I am ready!!

Until then, I have Portlandia and my dreams.

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What a Noble, Distinguished Collection

“Of fine little friends you have made.”

(Amanda Palmer The Point of It All lyrics that seem to have that sarcastic tone I like.)

I finished reading Ms. Palmer’s book The Art of Asking today.  I recommend it to any and all artists.  First off–it will make you realize that you are, in fact, an artist.  Then you will realize that ALL artists question whether or not they are, in fact, an artist.  Then when you are more than halfway through the book, an awesome and bold story about her relationship with her mother will make you realize that we are ALL artists.

We are all artists that have a need to have our art noticed and respected.  I respect Amanda’s many arts as well and her mother’s very different art.  And after reading this, I have a much greater respect for my own art that I work very hard doing.  That my dancers come to my studio week after week and work very hard doing.  We are all artists doing our thing.

And when we do our thing, we get a great deal of respect.  The compliments from audience members, the people that recognize me at the market and Starbucks, the emails from people who saw the show and wanted to reach out and tell me they liked it.  The others who find me to say “are you the ones that did that piece that had a ghost dancing in the middle??  That was my favorite piece ever.”  There are many connections that fulfill our need for respect of our art.

My main problem is noticing them like I should.  Now I’m sitting writing this blog thinking about all the things that have happened over the years.  What admirers have done and said to show their love of us and what we do.  Why didn’t I realize before today how many there were?

I had my first student stalker when I taught a workshop in Indiana a few years back.  After my class –in another location, I noticed a girl staring at me.  I thought I had my skirt tucked in with my ass hanging out until she came up to me and told me she took my class and loved it.  She stared at me the rest of the day, evening and during the gala show.  I was not creeped out.  I’ve been her when I saw a dancer that inspired me.  I was thrilled to fill that spot for her.  I may have been a little more subtle than she was but we all have our ways.

We’ve had a handful of male stalker fans too.  Not “call the police” male stalkers but men that show up for every show and stare at the dancer they like.  Many of us have been the one the stalker liked.  When I was the one, I didn’t like it.  It brought back memories of when I was stalked by a real-life “call the police” stalker which caused me to create fears in my head when my eager fan showed up.  He wasn’t dangerous though. He was just my fan.

Here is a list of under-appreciated love:  kids who want to play with our props, men who yell things at us like we are strippers, and women who come up and say, “it’s so nice to see performers that have real bodies.”  Yeah, you were trying to compliment us but all we heard is “you’re fat!!”  Truth!!

But I get it now.  You all like us.  And I’m going to work very hard to notice that from here.

Artists (which of course means everyone) I urge you to read.  You will feel better about your art when you do!!

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That Thing You Do

“Every day just doing that thing.”

Today I caught the end of the movie That Thing You Do. I haven’t seen it in forever. I saw it the year it came out in the 90s. Before I was ever a bellydancer. Before I was Jez. Before I ever thought about becoming Jez.

It’s a completely different movie when you watch it after you’ve experienced the performer life. Even though it’s a different art and a different level of popularity, it captures exactly what you go through from trying to succeed at your art, to succeeding at your art, to what happens to your ego after you succeed at your art. These three phases are so difficult In some ways and so easy in others. One thing is for sure though, it is awesome!!

One scene definitely caught my attention: half way through their tour they added background dancers to their act. They stood on tables behind the band doing choreographed dances to the song. I’d love that job!!

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You Can Ring My Bell

“Ring my bell”

I get the bell jar comparison now.  I didn’t when I read The Bell Jar over a decade ago.  But I had gotten to the point where I was in the bell jar and I felt it lifted off me today, tonight really.  It was when I exercised with weights for 29 short minutes.  That’s all it took.  The ironic thing is that I was using the bell jar as a reason not to exercise.  It really is a physical cause.  A mental problem with a physical solution.  I advise never to slough off the simple suggestion.  It’s often the one that really works.  It’s often better than meds anytime for anything.  Shock worked for Sylvia; simple weights worked for me.  I am blessed.

And because of this post, I am expanding my blog theme beyond gigs and classes.  It’s all part of the big picture of my life as a bellydancer anyway.

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Like a Record, Baby

“Right round, round round.”

Tomorrow is NYE and every year I have different resolutions.  I usually keep most of them too.  Not all.  I fall off the wagon sometimes but I do well.  I thought I would post them here so if I do fall off the wagon, I have it publicly posted for shame reasons.  So my whole two readers, you have my permission to shame me.  🙂

Jezolutions for 2015 (I just created that word right now!!):

1.  I want to travel more for dance.  I would love to do some more shows outside the tri-state area!!

2.  I want a handful of solos in different styles.  There is no reason I shouldn’t have this already since I don’t need to depend on ANYONE to make this happen.

3.  I want flat abs!!  I have never in my dance career had flat abs.  I want to see what it’s like.  I bet it’s cool!! I’m going to do some serious ab work daily and see where it takes me.  🙂

And that’s my list.  What is yours??  Post it in comments and let’s do it together!!

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He’s in the Army Now, A-blowing Reveille

“He’s the Boogy Woogy Bugle Boy of Company B.”

There’s a point.  I bet you can guess.  Just kidding.  No one would guess this.

I entered the Blackwater Cabaret’s Miss USO pageant and WON!!  I am the reigning Blackwater Miss USO complete with sash and crown and commitments to make appearances throughout this year until I pass down the crown to the next Miss USO next year.  How fun!!

I love it since I’m kind of obsessed with the 40s and gypsy jazz etc.  And my polka dot dress has more opportunities now.  :). Always a bonus.

My first appearance as the reigning Miss USO is next weekend.  Let’s do it!!

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Hello

“Is it me you’re looking for??”

I know I keep saying this but this time it’s true. I’m going to blog more than once a year. Even if it’s just a gig haiku. That sounds fun. Let me try that:

Last gig of the year
Oddmall was our final show
‘Til email today

Yes we got an email asking us to dance this weekend. I will probably say yes because I always do.

I have different goals for next year. I don’t even want to write them down yet because I don’t want to set myself up but they are really bold!!

I also have a Qaina announcement that will surprise people a little bit. I will have that by the end of this week. Stay tuned!!

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