Monday, October 15, 2012

Baring it all... AGAIN!

The "First Boylesk-ing"

(Because there's always room for seconds...)

This November I'm giving thanks for a cornucopia that's bulging over with more BOYLESK 101 Classes...

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH; 3pm-8pm

 BOYLESK 101: Bared Essentials


We're back with my one-day, Boylesk intensive class focusing on the bare bones (yes, there's more than one) of male striptease! Using a variety of dance, theater, and clowning exercises, you'll get your feet wet and your fly unzipped in the world of Boylesk performance art! 

Students will focus not only on how to play the stage and tease the audience with movement and striptease choreography, but also how to celebrate and tantalize a crowd with their own unique assets:

(Like I said, ASSets.)

 Curious but still riding the fence?

Check out what the Huffington Post and Next Magazine have to say about me and my BOYLESK 101 Classes and you'll be riding that tie in no time!
 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH; 4-7PM

BOYLESK 101: Package Perfection!


You know, I often here, "Gee, Go-Go Harder, how do I get my package to look as perfect as yours?!"


And no friends, (sadly) its not the contents of said package I'm being questioned on, but the decorative g-strings, jock straps, and c-cups I create to enshrine my "Harder Junior."

This is a class for ANYONE--ladies too!--interested in learning more tips and tricks for Boylesk costuming and ESPECIALLY for any male performers who are looking to up the anty with a fancy "mantie"! 

In "Package Perfection" we will examine a variety of hand sewing and construction techniques used to create eye-popping and junk-dropping g-strings, jock straps, and c-cups sure to leave all participants swelling with pride!

PLUS... every student goes home with a basic g-string, jock strap, or c-cup!



And if you need just a little more nudging--because who doesn't love a good nudge every now and then--read below and see what some of the former students of BOYLESK 101 have to say...

(BOYLESK) Jock Talk:

 I've been performing since I was ten years old, and my first boylesk performance with Go-Go's class was some of the most fun I've had on stage in my life. Taking off your clothes for crowd of people can be scary business, but we could not have asked for a more supportive and encouraging teacher. Our class was a broad spectrum of body types and experience levels, but every single one of us emerged a sexy superstar.

-Lucky Charming
  "Go-Go Harder is an excellent teacher, he is attentive, supportive and very well informed.  The class is structured, organized and you will walk away confident and well prepared.  Burlesque art therapy."

-Matt Knife

So please,

Help me, help YOU take your clothes off!!!







Sunday, September 23, 2012

BOYLESK 101 Class Registration Info...

Gentlemen, GentleMEN, GENTLEMEN!

Before I can teach you the A-Z of the G-String, take a moment and read my registration and cancellation policies for November's BOYLESK 101 Classes. I even accompanied them with pictures to make the experience more--ahem--excitable.

Afterwards, continue on with registration and make your commitment at www.gogoharder.com

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH; 3-8PM

BOYLESK 101: BARED ESSENTIALS!


This five hour workshop will meld dance, movement, and acting principles all under that big, beautiful, see-through umbrella of STRIPTEASE!

I'm looking for any self identified, all-bodied boys and men to take part and take it off with me! You'll take home a better understanding of what exactly Boylesk or "male burlesque" involves and how YOU can begin to create your own striptease numbers. 

The class info is as follows:

Who: GO-GO HARDER
What: BOYLESK 101: BARED ESSENTIALS
Where: TRISKELION ARTS: 
When: SUNDAY, Nov. 11 3pm-8pm
Cost: $90

All interested students must register by FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH.


*Please see Go-Go Harder's registration and cancellation policies in regards to any and all BOYLESK 101 classes and workshops below.


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH; 4-7PM

BOYLESK 101: Package Perfection!


You know, I often here, "Gee, Go-Go Harder, how do I get my package to look as perfect as yours?!"


And no friends, (sadly) its not the contents of said package I'm being questioned on, but the decorative g-strings, jock straps, and c-cups I create to enshrine my "Harder Junior."

This is a class for ANYONE--ladies too!--interested in learning more tips and tricks for Boylesk costuming and ESPECIALLY for any male performers who are looking to up the anty with a fancy "mantie"! 

In "Package Perfection" we will examine a variety of hand sewing and construction techniques used to create eye-popping and junk-dropping g-strings, jock straps, and c-cups sure to leave all participants swelling with pride!

PLUS... every student goes home with a basic g-string, jock strap, or c-cup!


All interested students must register by FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16TH.

*Go-Go Harder wants you to take away--and take off--as much as you possibly can with BOYLESK 101 and the BOYLESK 101 Class series. That said, he understands when last minute and unforeseen crises or opportunities arise that may get in the way of your getting it off in class. Go-Go Harder's refund policy is as follows: you may receive a full refund if Harder is notified of the cancellation by the final day of registration. This day varies with each class; Bared Essentials finishes registration on FRIDAY, November 9TH and Package Perfection finishes registration on FRIDAY, November 16TH. Any cancellations after this date are only eligible for a 50% refund. If you have any questions in regards to this policy, don't hesitate to ask Go-Go Harder by writing him at info@gogoharder.com.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stillness, or, "The One-Rep-Max of Burlesque"

A recurring note I find myself giving not only in class to my students, but also to myself during my own rehearsal process, is to SLOW DOWN when choreographing a Boylesk number and indicating and teasing with its given garments and props. It sounds so obvious and is so easy to critique, but I think many performers struggle with finding moments of stillness in their numbers.

Of course its understandable. Myself and many others will say, "Sure, I love being naked onstage! Bring it on!"--and then perhaps proceed to make wild hip gesticulations like "the helicopter." But really, when I'm on stage in the middle of a number, the last thing I want to do is take a moment and STAND. STILL. 

First off, in my opinion, using moments of stillness or "quietude" in a number requires double the energy of a fast paced routine. To me, standing still on stage is the ultimate one-rep-max of Burlesque. It requires me to imbue a single moment with as much focus and intensity as running back and forth across the stage floor and jumping into the splits. 

And secondly, I all of a sudden become ten times more vulnerable to my audience. I'm not just batting an eye and then ripping of my shirt and running to the next voyeur; I'm purposely staying my ground and allowing everyone in the room to completely drink me in and see what I've literally got stored next up my sleeve... of course usually its what's stuffed inside my jock strap, but surely you get my point. Its this "drink me in" idea that ultimately makes stillness a huge asset to any performer's number. Not only are we technically adding another layer to our number by switching up the given tempo and rhythm of the piece, we've now caused the audience to screw their focus even more tightly around our next reveal.

And consider the audience for a moment. They're the same audience who struggles with their own previous day's distractions, spilt drinks, texting and tweeting battles, and a myriad of other problematic night club conundrums that keep them from fully taking in one's assuredly magnificently crafted striptease. Stillness then becomes not even a choice, but a demand of practically any number so that the audience may simply just understand us better. And not in a "Lifetime Original Movie Series" understanding, but in a, "Oh, I get it!" kind of way.

From teaching this current class of BOYLESK 101 students I'm especially realizing more and more just how much of a necessity stillness is to my numbers. I encourage my guys to practice breaking down a simple indication like removing a glove, a shoe, waving a hand, undoing one button into as many steps as possible. Ultimately, one won't use this technique with every item of costuming--if any at all--but I guarantee what will happen is a more strongly communicated number that's eagerly consumed by the audience.

Below is a video by one of my favorite NYC, Burly-Q ladies, Nasty Canasta. Voted second runner up at the 2010 Miss Exotic World Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nasty continually raises the bar on stripteases that are sexy AND smart. In my opinion her number featured below also demonstrates the concept of coupling stillness with incredibly detailed, economic choreography. The result is a beautifully crafted, intelligently understated final reveal most certainly worthy of a post-show smoke.

NASTY CANASTA

Sunday, September 9, 2012

TOP TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT BOYLESK!


TOP TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT BOYLESK 101!



10. "So, what exactly is this "Boylesk" thing that you speak of?"
Well, Boylesk, technically speaking, is the male version of female burlesque striptease. However, unlike conventional go-go dancing or stripping, Boylesk is a performance art drawing on elements of theatre, dance, drag, and the exploration of "masculinity." Boylesk's roots stretch from early turn of the century circus and vaudeville performers to the rise and fall of New York's more scantily clad, "rent by the hour," Times Square clubs and theaters. Boylesk is comedic yet challenging, sexy yet subversive, precious yet perverted, and most definitely the SMARTER way to STRIPTEASE!

9. "Okay, but why should I take a class on taking my clothes off? That seems like a waste of time and money."

Well, truthfully speaking, maybe you shouldn't take my class (especially with that attitude)! But if you really want a reason... I created the BOYLESK 101 workshops in response to a growing number of requests from guys like me (and maybe you) who wanted to get into burlesque but were...

a) Clueless where to begin; especially since Burlesque originated as a female form and continues to be mostly female driven.

b) Frustrated creatively with their work as actors, dancers, and artists and wanting to try a different performance form.

c) Excited and aroused by the idea of using their bodies and brains to create work that is as sexy and provocative as it can be clever and humorous. 

Thus BOYLESK 101 was born. My upcoming Bared Essentials workshop is an opportunity for guys to not only again experiment with a new way of creating performance art, but also see if they want to progress and invest further in the BOYLESK 101 seven week long course. 

8. "So, do we like, get naked in this class. Is this a sex party?"

Two-part answer: YES, we strip in class (though not fully nude). NO, this is not a sex party, a craigslist hook-up, or a speed dating opportunity. No shame, but only those guys truly interested in Boylesk should contact me. 

7. "Okay, but do I have to get naked onstage during the showcase? Do all numbers end with nudity?"

I think the whole, "to johnson or not to johnson" question applies more specifically to a given number or even the venue where the show happens. If anything, I've found that an audience is more responsive to a performer getting as close to naked as possible as opposed to going the full Monty. Remember, we're performing strip-TEASES, not strip-strips!



6. "Does Boylesk happen mostly in gay bars or clubs? Where can I see more?"

My brand of Boylesk and my teachings in general are intended for any kind of audience member. Ultimately, I see myself as an entertainer and I sincerely want to play for as many different kinds of people as possible. I think audience members should be just like the performers: different. Boylesk, like Burlesque happens all over the city in a variety of clubs and bars. Go to www.gogoharder.com and sign up for my weekly email for a listing of my upcoming shows which include male and female performers.



5. "I don't have a six pack and I don't work out; can I still take your class?"

YES! The goal of BARED ESSENTIALS and ANY Boylesk workshop I teach is to inspire you to create interesting, provocative, and entertaining stripteases on your own terms! I'm not looking to create an army of dancing Ken dolls!

4. "I'm a trans boy. Am I allowed in the class?"

Basically, if you identify as a male and you have a positive attitude, I WANT YOU IN MY CLASS! 

3. "Can I make a lot of cash doing this?"

Consider it this way: no one ever tells someone who likes to draw to grow up and become a painter because he'll make lots of money, right? Ultimately for you to be successful and your work to grow, there has to be HEART in it--not just a finely contoured g-string.  

2. "What makes you the expert?"

Lets get one thing straight--before we work on that snarky attitude! I do NOT consider myself an authority on Burlesque or Boylesk. That said, I think I'm a good performer. I think I have a lot of experience with a lot of different shows, numbers, and audiences and in a lot of different countries, so, do I think I can teach a course? Yes, definitely. Do I think I too still have a lot to learn as a performer? You bet! 

1. I've always dreamed of doing Boylesk, but I'm really shy. What skills should a BOYLESK 101 student possess?

Here's what I think: performing either Boylesk or Burlesque requires one to merge creativity with risk, a sense of humor, a functioning cerebral cortex, and a HUGE work ethic. It sounds a little corny I know, but I'm not searching for students with classic ballet training or perfect abs (in case those were any of your concerns). I may be repeating myself, but I'm really interested in telling stories onstage with my body and my stripteases. Funny, stupid, sexy, bizarre, provocative and even gross stories. And that is the mindset with which I try to approach my classes. Yes, there are definitely "stripper" techniques and tips, but we are using elements of dance, theater, movement, circus, and even drag at times, all contained under this umbrella of "striptease." 






Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Announcing... BARED ESSENTIALS!

I know we haven't even finished BOYLESK 101 yet, but I just wanted to put the word out to all you gents and boys who've contacted me about future classes about my next "undress to impress" project...

BOYLESK 101: BARED ESSENTIALS!


A one-day ONLY Boylesk workshop created to help you "get your feet wet and your fly unzipped" in the world of Boylesk striptease!

For those of you unfamiliar--but unrelentingly curious--about what exactly this "Boylesk" thing is, allow me to explain...

Boylesk, technically speaking, is the male version of female burlesque striptease. However, unlike conventional go-go dancing or stripping, Boylesk is a performance art drawing on elements of theatre, dance, drag, and exploring "masculinity" onstage in a 3-5 minute long striptease.


In BARED ESSENTIALS, we will work on the basic--and bare--tools necessary to create a Boylesk striptease including center and core work, class striptease exercises and challenges, and even brief but incredibly succinct make-up and costume demos taught by guest professionals. 

Basically, BARED ESSENTIALS is five hours of learning how to be more confident, creative, sexy, and stupid onstage and win and audience's attention and adoration.



Some Frequently (and sometimes Flippantly) Asked Questions...

"Okay, but why should I take a class on taking my clothes off? That seems like a waste of time and money."


Well, truthfully speaking, maybe you shouldn't take my class (especially with that attitude)! But if you really want a reason... I created the BOYLESK 101 workshops in response to a growing number of requests from guys like me (and maybe you) who wanted to get into burlesque but were...

a) Clueless where to begin; especially since Burlesque originated as a female form and continues to be mostly female driven.

b) Frustrated creatively with their work as actors, dancers, and artists and wanting to try a different performance form.

c) Excited and aroused by the idea of using their bodies and brains to create work that is as sexy and provocative as it can be clever and humorous. 

Thus BOYLESK 101 was born. The Bared Essentials class is an opportunity for guys to not only again experiment with a new way of creating performance art, but also see if they want to progress and invest further in the BOYLESK 101 seven week long course. 

"So, do we like, get naked in this class. Is this a sex party?"


Two-part answer: YES, we strip in class (though not fully nude). NO, this is not a sex party, a craigslist hook-up, or a speed dating opportunity. No shame, but only those guys truly interested in Boylesk should contact me. 

"I don't have a six pack and I don't work out; can I still take your class?"

YES! The goal of BARED ESSENTIALS and ANY Boylesk workshop I teach is to inspire you to create interesting, provocative, and entertaining stripteases on your own terms! I'm not looking to create an army of dancing Ken dolls!

"I'm a trans boy. Am I allowed in the class?"

Basically, if you identify as a male and you have a positive attitude, I WANT YOU IN MY CLASS! 

If you've ever been titillated by the idea of Boylesk,
If you need a break from your regular artistic pursuits,
If you've got a penchant for public indecency and a knack for chewing scenery, 

BOYLESK 101: BARED ESSENTIALS is for you!


For more information, questions, and registration, email me--Go-Go Harder--at info@gogoharder.com

What: BOYLESK 101: Bared Essentials!
When: SUNDAY, OCT. 7 Noon-5pm
Where: Triskelion Arts--118 N 11th St (btwn Berry/Wythe Ave), Brooklyn 11211
Conveniently located off the Bedford Stop on the L Train
Cost: $90
Register at: info@gogoharder.com

Monday, September 3, 2012

On "Meating Your Audience Most of the Way..."


Below is a handout from the first section of Boylesk 101 I taught over a year ago, revolving around the idea of the "final reveal" or the most climatic aspect of a burlesque or boylesk number. I've dusted it off and added a fresh sprinkling of glitter, plus some moving pictures to keep you interested. Enjoy!

THE FINAL REVEAL

As we continue to examine constructing a boylesk striptease with a strong beginning, middle, and end, the “final reveal” can be considered the ultimate climax preceding the closing of your piece—all of your pieces!
The “final reveal” is the biggest statement you want to make to the audience; ideally, it should be as explosive, enchanting, mesmerizing, and memorable as possible. However, before you start googling for illegal fireworks or sewing a makeshift g-string out of flash paper, be assured that there are just as many infinite ways to end your piece as there are to begin it. Remember that while the audience knows you’ve come onstage to take your clothes off, they don’t know the “why” or the “how” or for that matter, the “what” you’ve prepared to reveal. Perhaps after a tease-filled strip you simply want to unveil your body in the skimpiest g-string or jock, or, maybe you have an acrobatic stunt or a surprise prop to conclude your number.
However you decide to—ahem—finish yourself off, keep in mind that the more time you spend developing your story line, fine tuning your costume, and and AND REHEARSING the strip with all those elements, the stronger your final reveal will be and ultimately, your entire boylesk striptease.
Below are several examples of what I’ve labelled as specific types of unique and crowd pleasing final reveals. As you watch the accompanying videos, take note how these fantastic performers have structured the choreography, costume, and the overall narrative of their numbers to climax with these magical and incredibly entertaining finales.

The ‘Ol Bare Bum; or, Going “Classically Commando”
Consider this: it can be argued that a classic female burlesque number’s final reveal centers on stripping down to a g-string and pasties (of varying size, style, and definition of those two—well, three—costume pieces). Essentially, there’s a top and a bottom reveal. As male performers we’re a little more limited simply because we’ve got less equipment to showcase. With that in mind, I fully encourage (read as demand) all my students to strip down to at least a jockstrap or g-string. To me, there’s just not enough “oomph”—ideally it would sound more like an “ahhh”—when a male performer strips  down to only full coverage underwear or boxer briefs. Remember that as male performers we are working in a performance art originating around the female form. If the ladies I have the privilege of sharing the stage with are baring their all, I’m certainly not going to lower the standard with a closing shot reminiscent of a J.C. Penny underwear catalogue.
However, on that same note of just how much of the family treasury to circulate into currency… let it be stated that some performers strip completely naked. Others don’t. As a performer, its important that you never a) feel pressured to go “classically commando” and b) don’t rely simply on “being naked” onstage to save your number. If you feel justified in baring all, fantastic; if not, keep it that way. I always try to remind myself that a burlesque or boylesk number is as much about the tease as it is the strip. It helps me to liken this idea to a similar note on choreography and costuming: I’m not going to come onstage and take a layer off every ten seconds because there’s also no tease apparent in that scenario. If anything, what will leave your audience screaming and cheering for more is when you actually leave them a sliver—not to make any assumptions about your, ahh, rigging—to scream and cheer for. For male performers, consider again the infinite possibilities of cod pieces, c-cups, and other phallic devices that hint at your bared essentials without actually plattering them up for the crowd.

RAY GUNN


The Phallic Prop
And speaking of phalluses, to further extend the above thoughts, consider how you might incorporate a costume piece or prop into your final reveal that not only relates to the overall “story” of your strip but also one that centers around your anatomical assets. A phallic prop not only titillates your audience by having them imagine what your real deal must be like, but it also showcases your cleverness as a performer. To be blunt, dick jokes abound in plenitude in adult life. Pick one and go for it! I’ve seen fantastic final reveals involving a waffle cone, Adam with not one but TWO shiny apples, and bananas of all shape and rhinestones.
Think of it as “meating” your audience most of the way: showcasing a reveal that can still be comedic or sexy but always smart.

THE EVIL HATE MONKEY


Bizarre Twists
The Neo-Burlesque scene of New York City is filled with burlesque and boylesk performers adding unusual final reveals to their numbers. Ranging from comedic to utterly terrifying and stomach turning, such reveals may range from the insertion or extraction of props from below the belt orifices to stage blood or other liquid and edible properties. Personally, I love performers who take risks in their pieces. However, ensuring that a final reveal of this calibre is both justified AND carefully prepped and planned will make you out as a performer who is not only willing to push boundaries but also as one who is incredibly professional.
To begin, if you have any questions about your number and how it may or may not work in a given space, be sure to check with the promoter or venue to make sure your reveal is a) legal and b) works with the overall aesthetic of the show. And as a final caveat, come prepared! Make sure the stage manager or stage kitten is aware of your act’s needs and lead by example by bringing any necessary towels, tarps, etc. to make your experience—and those of your fellow performers—as smooth as possible.

JULIE ATLAS MUZ


Trick or Stunt
Extreme feats of dynamic, physical movement and choreography can be a fantastic, crowd-awing finishing touch to your number. Your “trick” could be as complicated as a gymnast routine or as simple and slick as jumping into the splits—never underestimate the power of the splits! The sheer dynamic effort on your part will amaze spectators and many times make you the darling of a show.
Consider this: as humans, are we not continually impressed and humbled by accomplishments we see ourselves incapable of fulfilling? You’d be surprised how many people think they could never execute a split, back bend, or head stand just to name a few examples.

A Caveat:
Now of course, just like the rest of your stripper choreography, any extra physical stunt should be well rehearsed and prepped. For example, don’t jump into the splits having not warmed up or your final reveal may come a lot sooner than you intended. Many performers train for years to execute seemingly effortless movements and acts of physical strength and endurance. Remember, the ease and fluidity before you onstage is only achieved through these performers’ extreme dedication and focus.

MISS EKATERINA


Monday, August 27, 2012

Thank you Molly Ringwald...

A quick story:
When I was seven, a girl at my daycare let me play with her Barbie which sported a cocktail dress that transformed into a duffle bag.


When I was ten I saw "Pretty in Pink"--on T.V. people--where Molly Ringwald took one ugly prom dress and made another ugly prom dress.

When I was eleven I watched a back up dancer in a John Cougar Mellancamp music video sport a vivid shade of deep maroon lipstick.

It is my belief that these three events profoundly altered and influenced my life and continue to do so in subconscious ways...

Seriously though,
Today's class literally focused on the surface of Boylesk--as in, how a performer actually looks when he walks on stage. Referring back to the very first day of BOYLESK 101, my goal today was to impress upon my students the need to put plenty of time, energy, and thought into their costume AND make-up choices for their numbers.

Now, of course I didn't in anyway want one of my guys to leave feeling like they had to be some air-brushed, hairless, dancing Ken Doll (*number idea*); I'm a hairy, pale--I prefer "porcelain-skinned"--Boylesk-er myself. BUT, I do fastidiously trim and manicure my chest, back, and ass and also do my best to cover any skin imperfections I have on any given day. At the risk of sounding like a middle school guidance counselor, I strive to make my own personal canvas as neutral as possible. Meaning for instance, zits are zits. Whether they're on your nose or on your right butt cheek, cover them up! Body hair is beautiful, but treat it like the hair on your head and keep it coiffed--a little glitter and an electric trimmer with attachments goes a long way.


In these efforts, I was aided by Neo-Burlesque bombshell and professional make-up artist Bambi Galore who condensed years of training into a half hour presentation on basic skin care and foundations for men that left me informed, breathless, and optimistic about yellow tinted color correctors!

My thoughts on costuming are this:

1) Whether you swim in rhinestones and glitter or not, everything that a performer brings onto the stage should ideally have a heightened  style. That doesn't mean it has to sparkle, but consider the pracitcal use of a rhinestone or a spotlight sequin. Sure they're pretty, they're colorful, BUT THEY ALSO CATCH LIGHT! In other words, they shine out in what are otherwise dark, dim, and crowded clubs and bars. Incorporating embellishments like these physically distracts an audience member from tweeting about being at a burlesque show and instead, causes him to actually FOCUS on the show in front of him. At least for 30 seconds or so.

I remember a grizzled, "Old Man and the Sea-esque" acting teacher of mine who one day asked me,

"Do you know why women wear lip gloss?"

I froze, slightly petrified not only by the teacher, but also the gender loaded waters he had just embarked in.

"Its simple stupid," he said. "Because it makes their lips glisten! It catches us men's attention!"

(Consider my attention captured.)
Now, regardless of whether or not my teacher was so out of touch he thought I spent my time looking at females' lips, he did make a valid point: when you're in the spotlight, make sure you shine! Let your costume shine, let your energy shine, and to a greater or lesser degree, let your face shine (or emit a dewey, "natural" glow... thanks again Bambi!)

Which brings me to my next point...

2) A beautiful costume is only as strong as its number. And likewise, a well constructed and choreographed number is incredibly amplified by a beautiful costume. There is a balance to be achieved here, a "stripping Zen state" if you will.

And...

3) Not to tangent too far into queer theory and sexual politics, but as a male performer in a predominantly female art form originated by women, I do feel a certain sense of duty to put as much time, effort, and focus into my appearance and costumes as do the hard working ladies of Burlesque. Granted, there are slips and meek efforts on both sides of the gender wheel, but I am continually inspired and humbled when I get to share a dressing room with my fellow enchanted Burlesque ladies who spend hours setting their hair, curling their eyelashes, and rhinestoneing varoius garment, pasties, and merkins (vajazzling if you will.)

A Final Thought...

I keep encouraging my students to think of their upcoming Boylesk numbers as "stripper monologues." And just like any monologue, the more one practices AND the more one accrues life experience, the more that monologues changes. So too, in my opinion, does a striptease number. For instance one ideally becomes more comfortable with his number's choreography so as to allow for surprise improvisations; or, perhaps he completely re-choreographs certain sections. So too then will his costume probably need to be altered, replaced, or in the very least, expanded upon in some fashion.

For example, below is a visual timeline of the first number I ever created: "Hot 4 Teacher." Originally a one-off for a night club where I was working as a go-go boy, I created this number with very humble means. As I began to become more interested in Boylesk and the Burlesque community, I realized I needed to invest more energy into my costume and props and try to meet the high standards being set by the professionals. You'll see what I mean...
(On Fire Island, 2010... Pretty much what you see + a sweater vest and a pair of cut-offs)
(Fall 2010: added rip away shirt, school boy shorts, and propeller hat)
(London, Spring 2011: completely new costume with specific color scheme.)

(London, Fall 2011: note embellishments on shirt and tie.)

(London, Spring 2012: further embellishing.)

(Summer 2012: additional prop.)

(Summer 2012: additional prop.)

I just recently completed another change to the costume, and have plans for more embellishments, but my point is simply this: there's always improvements to be made.

I know I feel especially inspired by the male performers featured below whose efforts definitely show in their uniquely styled and crafted costumes pieces (and, to be blunt, cock pieces.) Their attention to detail, both in their choreography and costumes, again inspires me to continue to hone my skills equally both in the rehearsal room and the sewing room.

Enjoy, and may the gem-tac be with you!

JETT ADORE



MARK WINMILL



PACO FISH










Thursday, August 23, 2012

PENAL INSTITUTION: The Boylesk 101 Showcase!

It's OFFICIAL:



(Sort of like this, but with much more glitter and less publicly exposed toilets.)

I am so excited to share with you all what my students are coming up--or really, coming off--with. 
INTRODUCING...
Kevin Jesus,
Jack Nasty,
Suffra Gent
Lewd Alfred Douglas
and 
Brooklyn Irons!

PLUS... We'll have distinguished alumna, "The Glitter Fur Ball," TEDDY TURNAROUND, 



"The Twisted Beauty of Burlesque," DANGRRR DOLL,



And yours truly mercilessly wielding the microphone!


And finally... quite possibly the coolest, sexiest, most well-lubricated raffle prizes you've ever seen, courtesy of 
THE PLEASURE CHEST!


Come for the Boylesk,
Stay late for the penalizing!


Penal Institution: The BOYLESK 101 Showcase

Stonewall Inn--53 Christopher St (near the 1 train and the A, B, C, D, F, and M 

Trains at 4th St)

8:30pm door/9pm show; $10. 

(Show starts on time!)




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On being a one-stripper, indicating MACHINE!

Class number two of Boylesk 101 has come and gone just as quickly as a pair of rip-away pants... The boys and I are a little over a month out from our BOYLESK 101 SHOWCASE!



With that clothes-dropping deadline in mind, the focus of our second class centered around "indicating," or the act of drawing, capturing, and directing an audience's attention through the Boylesk striptease. Now, as I've mentioned before, these and the following comments and definitions are mine and my opinion only; that said, I stressed to my students the need to think of themselves as one-man indicating machines. As Burlesque and Boylesk performers, we are the ultimate producers of our work. Thus, we're not simply responsible for how our clothing comes off, but also the very costume pieces themselves, not to mention our music, props and any additional stage spectacles or magic we're bringing to our performance. Whether I physically sew the g-string myself or have a fellow performer cut and edit my music, when it comes to showtime, the ultimate responsibility for executing my number lies on my finely oiled, glittered shoulders.

So, to give my students (and myself) a launching point for creating a number and with a little help from Webster's Dictionary--it never hurts to consult a pro--this is my definition of indicating...

Indicating:

1) The utilization of clear, dynamic gestures and movement to FOCUS and DIRECT an audience's attention.

2) The incorporation of extremely strong, vivid, and provocative imagery and sound elements to suggest emotional qualities and feelings. Examples include choice of music, costuming, and in general any and all stage spectacle.

(And while I know I didn't describe the parts of speech I'm referencing, I'm not necessarily concerned with those parts...)

Finally, in our class exercises, I challenged my students with three other basic elements of movement to consciously incorporate into their physical staging: tempo, rhythm, and planar variations; i.e., we explored the speed, movement pattern, and physical level of taking off a piece of clothing.

These elements are already apparent in our every day life as well as any numbers a performer may already have under his belt... or tucked inside a jockstrap. By singling these principles out individually in our group exercises, I hope to drive home the message that ultimately, its important to find movement variations in your act. It's an obvious principle, but if we already walk, chew, brush our teeth, even swipe a metro card in a particular manner, might those physical habits also manifest themselves onstage?

I know mine do. Which is why I continually ask myself, "How can I remove this shirt in a different manner than I'm used to and how can I then transition into my left boot using a completely different tempo, rhythm, and movement plane?"

(Also a good question to ask oneself: "What can my garment become after I've removed it?" Like oh, say, an uzi.)

The videos I've chosen for my students to review in my opinion not only exemplify these above statements but also manage to do so in a very personal, unconventional manner.

And... as an extra little treat, I've also included what some may consider to be "conventional" choreography by the all male Australian dance crew "Thunder from Down Under" AND, a "Step-By-Lap" tutorial on giving an effective lap dance. However, what I honestly love about these videos is that they a) break down movement in clear, understandable, and teachable steps and b) encourage the thought--in my opinion--that stripping onstage can (and should) incorporate just as many basic principles of movement as it can a more formal dance technique.

Enjoy!

MR. GORGEOUS

(Perfectly coiffed with the fullest extensions.)

(The Carol Burnett of Burlesque!)


(Everybody needs a gimmick! What's your's?)

HOW TO LAP DANCE YOUR "LOVER"...

(Husband, boyfriend... client. The line blurs so easily. Just remember "crispy bacon!")






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Making An Entrance... thoughts from a flat chested drag queen.

Yesterday was the FIRST class of Boylesk 101! I'm very excited to announce that I have FIVE fantastic new students, all with varying performance backgrounds. Over the next seven weeks I'm going to assist them in creating (for some) their first Boylesk stripteases!

Now, I know what you're thinking--at least some of you. "Sure, he's 'teaching' them how to take their clothes off. Who needs a class for that?" Or one of my favorite comments, "He looks more like a flat chested drag queen."


The Internet can be so harsh.

The reality, however, is that I'm equally concerned with the story that is being told in both Burlesque and Boylesk stripping as I am with the actual removal of clothing. In my opinion, a solid Burlesque piece requires careful attention to both those factors. Much like any performance or creative form of expression, a reliance on technique can result in work that while finely executed, is monotonous or routine. And a dependence upon creative aesthetic alone can quickly render a number that lacks direction and focus.

I created Boylesk 101 then as a means to breaking down the process of creating a piece of striptease performance art. Ultimately, it is based on my opinion and experiences and in no way do I consider any of my classes to be firm laws or maxims regarding the world of Burlesque--just have to put that out there to avoid any bitch-slapping!

So.

The first day of Boylesk 101 is much like that of any class. We introduce ourselves, we explain our reasons for "exploring Boylesk," we review the syllabus, and... we take our clothes off!


Or at least my students did ; ) 

We ran out of time just as the 5th boy finished his impromptu strip, so boys: "I owe you a three minute striptease next week. You can even choose the music." It'll be like karaoke but with less Carrie Underwood covers.

Really, the main focus of the first class is to examine the "introduction" of a striptease; that precious thirty seconds or so when a performer first enters the stage and greets his audience. Below is a video of the extremely gorgeous and equally focused Ray Gunn. There are many great things about this number, but I specifically chose it for the precision of Ray's opening choreography and also the focus with which he directs these movements. I know that personally, when I choreograph my numbers, I'm continually thinking of not only the strongest movements to grab my audience's attention, but also the most economical means to execute the movement. Whether I begin a number at full blast or start slow and steady, my goal is to always enter the stage with a mental focus and strong physical center to guide my movement and clearly tell my story to the audience.

RAY GUNN


However, before my students make their first entrances at our showcase--SEPTEMBER 25TH, BE THERE!--I want them first to a) have a clear idea about "who" they are bringing to the stage and b) what the hell they're doing there in the first place.

Let's look at "a" first. Nightlife and popular culture in general is inundated with a variety of personalities and characters. For my class and students, I generalized two specific categories for them to consider when creating their new stripper selves: "stage persona's" and "stage characters." 

What do I mean (generally speaking)? Personally, as a performer, I feel like Go-Go Harder is an extension of my everyday self. When the lights are on and the clothing is coming off, I'm a little bit louder, bolder, and much more, well, in your face than during the day when I'm working out or replenishing my store of Trader Joe's goodies. "Go-Go Harder" is really Chris Harder (yup, its my last name folks) but punched up with glitter, leather, and just a touch of crazy.

In contrast, we also have stage characters, or people on stage who are extremely different from their day walker selves. I'm talking about a performer who has created a personality that walks, talks, dresses, drinks, flirts, and frolics in a much different manner than himself. 

Below is a video of actor, writer, and overall comic genius Bradford Scobie performing as his infamous stage character, "Moisty the Snowman." Scobie has so carefully and comically crafted a character with not only a super clear look and costume, but also a more than obvious outlook on life. Enjoy, and pass the potato chips Sybil...

BRADFORD SCOBIE AS "MOISTY THE SNOWMAN"


And then there was "plan b." Or really, "part b." My dear friend, mentor, and Burlesque Legend, World Famous *BOB* once told me, "You can't make an omelet with a FabergĂ© egg." Translation: you make look amazing on stage, but looking amazing doesn't necessarily equal performing amazingly... or interestingly

Thus, I assigned my students "story lines," or written explanations of possible number scenarios with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Now, I'd like to note here that I'm not in anyway trying to force a linear structure on my boys--or myself for that matter. The purpose of writing out a storyline is to ensure that the number continues to grow and develop throughout the performer's song. I too use this technique especially now when I create a number. This is why I've scrapped much of my earlier work as a performer. I realized that many of my first pieces lacked a narrative. There were gimmicks, there were costumes, and trust, there were rhinestones, but I would find myself at times feeling lost in the middle of my own piece or knowing instinctively that something was missing. 

Below is a video of Neo-Burlesque star and former Miss Coney Island 2011, B B Heart. What I love about Heart's work is that it is at times as equally unconventional as it is compelling to watch. See for yourself below...

BB HEART



So to wrap this post up, when I create a Boylesk number for myself, I try to look at it as this "stripper monologue" of sorts. "Who am I?" "What do I want?" "Why am I hear?" These are all questions I ask myself at some point before getting to the stage. Also, "Where's my drink tickets?" 

Stay tuned for class number two where the boys and I really dig into the "meat" of the striptease...



LOVE. PEACE. GO-GO.

HARDER!