Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Burlesque Bomb

Thursday evening I came home from work and I wasn't feeling too great. I was really tired and had a bad case of heartburn. Ugh. As soon as I got home I took a couple on antacid tablets and decided to take a nap. About 45 minutes later I heard the dogs start barking. I assumed it was my niece coming home (yeah, another of my nieces moved in!) and all of the sudden I felt someone crawl into bed behind me! I quickly turned around and was surprised to see Robin! I hugged her and said "what are you doing here?!?!" I was totally shocked.

Robin reminded me that she talked about coming back for the surprise party for her step-brother Jody on his return from Afghanistan. I totally forgot about it and she didn't remind me on purpose because she wanted to surprise me. I joked that it was a good thing that I didn't have my girlfriend over when she came home! Heheh! Robin wanted some nacho's because she said there aren't any decent ones in South Florida so we decided to go to the Kickin' Chicken in Summerville for dinner. Robin got her nacho's and I had the chicken fingers, which are always excellent - yum!

I had to work on Friday for 5 hours or so while Robin was home doing some things around the house. I remembered that Loretta Lynn tickets for her November concert in Charleston went on sale at 10am so I called Robin to remind her. Ring, ring, ring, ring... no answer. At 9:55 I went online and started the ticket buying process. I had the PERFECT tickets - row B, seats 15 and 16! That's was 5th row center!!! I put in all of my credit card information and then Ticketmaster brought me to the "verify your card" section. I put in my date of birth, last four of my social, credit card security code and it said my info was incorrect. I tried again and it STILL didn't take it. Ugh. I kept refreshing the screen before it timed out while trying to call Robin. I think I called her about 20 times and she never answered the phone. I finally lost the tickets and was sooooo mad! Not because she didn't answer her phone, but because she NEVER answers her phone - AND we lost the perfect tickets! Grrr! I called my co-worker/friend Felicia to vent and she wasn't in her office. Where was everyone when I needed them!?

I finally got Robin on the phone and she said she was outside and didn't have her phone on her. Yeah, okay... I was a bit TOO mad, but you know, I have my moments. Before I got home Robin had gone to the Ticketmaster at Publix and bought tickets. Row H center. I was happy but still gave her a hard time about the perfect Row B tickets that I lost because she never answers her dumb phone. I must say that I have a pretty awesome girlfriend who always tries to make me happy even when I don't deserve it.

I had several plans for the weekend and was really excited that Robin was going to be able to join me for at least part of it! Saturday night I had plans to go to "Summer of Love Burlesque Freakout" show. I have read about the Bizarro Burlesque shows and had seen some photos on Facebook so I was pretty excited that someone started a burlesque scene in the city. A couple of weeks ago I saw that they had an event planned at The Mill in North Charleston so I emailed a couple of friends asking if they wanted to join me for dinner and the show.

Robin and I picked up Felicia and headed out to E.V.O. where everyone else was going to meet us. My friend James and his wife Janice came as well as my friend Mark who I rarely get to see so I was super-happy that he joined us! I had never been to E.V.O. before but I heard good things about it. I knew it was an upscale pizzeria, but I was really disappointed at the small menu. I suppose I should have looked it up online before suggesting the place. Kind of limiting in choices, I thought. I'm not sure if I will be back, I really thought the pizza was mediocre and the the crust had so much flour-like substance on the bottom of it that it left a pasty texture in my mouth. I spent half the time brushing it all off of the bottom before I bit into it! I felt bad for Robin because she's not really a pizza fan and there weren't many options for her on the menu. She ended up having soup and a salad. I'm not sure what was happening with her soup but I saw her add a ton of red pepper to it. I guess it really lacked flavor.

The burlesque show was a benefit for a local school and we were asked to bring school supplies. We stopped by the car to pick up our bags of supplies and headed over to The Mill after dinner. When we walked up to the door I opened it and walked in. It seems like the entire bar turned around and looked at me. I turned around to my friends and no one was there. I walked over to the door and opened it and was like "What the hell?! Why didn't you guys follow me?" Goofballs. I'm not sure what the situation was, but we finally all made it into the door and got some drinks and found a place to sit.

The Mill was... well, a dive bar. It was so incredibly smoky. Within the first minute I was having a bit of a challenge with my allergies. I could feel the smoke in the back of my throat and it penetrated my nasal passages. So gross. I was trying to make the best of it but it was a huge reminder of why I don't go to bars... or smoke. All I could think of was going home and taking a shower.

My friend Devin was on his way to meet us and soon after he showed up we made our way to the "stage" so we could see the show since the couch we were sitting on had no view at all of the stage. The stage was actually just a small corner of the bar with a curtain. There was a rope that sectioned it off. We were in the front so basically anyone in back of us, or people sitting at the tables had no view unless they were tall. It was a horrible venue and setup for this kind of show.

We had to wait a good deal of time before the show started which was pretty miserable as more and more people showed up. It was standing room only and the air conditioner wasn't exactly making things ice cold. Outside it has been in the 100's all week and when you get that many people standing on top of each other it's a sticky situation. By the time the show started we were all a bunch of sweaty asses.

When the show started I was kind of surprised - it just wasn't what I expected. I mean, I've never seen an actual burlesque production in person but I have seen plenty of videos - especially older ones and also modern acts like Dita Von Teese, whom I love, but this was like super-fast Mickey Mouse burlesque! I didn't think it was seductive in any way, shape or form. There was no tease, and personally I didn't find it to be the least bit sexy. The music was really the opposite of what I think burlesque is all about. Yeah, Mickey Mouse is how I would describe it. I was bummed.

I brought my camera and tried to take photos but the girls were dancing and jumping around so fast that I could barely keep up. There was no spotlight so the stage area was really dark which meant I had to use a flash which slows down the shutter speed. I never use a flash at concerts or performances. I pretty much lost interest in taking any photos at all, actually. These are the best of the set and they aren't even that good.


During intermission the bar got so hot I practically had a meltdown. Well, I guess I actually did. I just don't do well in the heat! I can't stand it. I get lightheaded, clammy and drenched with sweat. I don't know what it's all about but it started happening after my thyroidectomy. I just assume it's my medication, but I'm not 100% sure. I was trying to stand still and not have anyone touch me which is practically impossible in a situation like that. I knew my friends weren't feeling the show either so I finally asked if everyone wanted to leave - they all immediately said yes!

After witnessing the first half of the show no one was interested in seeing the second half, or sticking around to see if we won a raffle. It was that bad. Maybe in another venue it would be better... We all decided to walk over to The Chart to cool off and have a drink.

The Chart was pretty dead which was fine with me. It was nice to be in a smoke free environment with air conditioning! It was also nice to be able to have a conversation with my friends! At one point I took my hair out of its ponytail and all I think an actual puff of smoke came out of it. My hair smelled sooooooo bad! Of course I made everyone smell it! I'm pretty sure everyone gagged at the stench.

After a drink we decided to head out because Robin had to get up bright and early to head back to Florida. I was glad to see my friends but was kind of bummed that the plans turned out to be lame.

We did get the opportunity to see this awesome crocheted phone booth, though! That was pretty cool!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

South Beach - First Visit

Before my trip I did a lot of research on Miami and the surrounding area and was really saddened that most historical things have been demolished and paved over for parking lots and shopping malls - have I mentioned this already? After visiting twice I decided that South Florida is really pretty, but has no depth or soul. I think it's perfect for a person from the Midwest who has no beach, but if you come from a place close to the ocean it's really no big deal. I do, however, love the bluish-green ocean water!

After my brief excursion to the Miami City Cemetery I decided to head out to South Beach.

When I think of South Beach I think of neon, art deco and hot bodies. None of that particularly thrills me, but I decided to go anyway. The drive out to the beach across Biscayne Bay was gorgeous! It was hard to keep my eyes on the road because all I wanted to do was look out at the skyline!

I had no idea where I was going and no itinerary but I knew that I wanted to see at least one thing... the Versace mansion. I looked up the mansion on my phone and found it pretty easily. I parked within a block or two and walked toward Ocean Drive.

I'm no fashionista by any means, and I have no special connection to Gianni Versace, but I have a great fascination of true crime stories. I remember seeing the mansion on television with the police tape after Versace was murdered by Andrew Cunanan. I have a morbid curiosity, I suppose, and was really intrigued by the story.

When I walked down 11th street and was about to round the corner I knew that I was in the right place because the fence adorned the famous Versace Medusa logo.

When I rounded the corner there were people standing in front of the infamous mansion milling about. I decided to walk across the street so I could get a shot of the entire mansion and there was this older gentleman sitting in a lawn chair under under the palm trees. He said hello to me and asked me where I was from. He then asked me if I knew about the mansion and the person who used to live there. We talked for a while and he told me that he never knew Versace personally, but had met him on several occasions. He said the South Beach neighborhood was almost like a small town for long-time residents.

I stood there talking to the man for a good amount of time while waiting for the perfect opportunity to get a photo of the mansion without people in front of it. I was starting to think that I would have to come in the wee hours of the morning for that to happen! Finally, after waiting it out, I got my chance. I had to be quick because there was a constant stream of people on the sidewalk!

After getting my picture I headed back to the car to take a drive up and down Ocean Avenue and the other areas of South Beach. I knew that I wanted to bring Robin back for a Duck Tour so I didn't hang out too long. I figured we would have a chance to walk around when we came back later in the week.

Before I left South Beach I did make an effort to drive up Washington Street to check out DASH, the Kardashian store. Yes, I watch it! They annoy me so much, but I really love Khloe! :) I didn't go in because I'm sure nothing would fit me and besides, Khloe was nowhere to be found!

When I left South Beach it was around 4:30pm. I was hot so I grabbed a beverage for the road and decided that I was going to go to head to the beach... Haulover nude beach, that is!

More to come of that bizarre story!