Dallas based pin-up and fetish model and performer Courtney Crave talks Germany, being a klutz, dissecting brains, and body modification. Courtney is performing at Viva Dallas Burlesque’s “Dirty, Sexy, Funny” show on Friday, January 7 at the Lakewood Theater. We thought a naked gal a much better depiction of “Happy New Year” than an old Father Time, or a baby in a diaper- we hope you agree.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka. Photos: Shoshana of DallasPinUp.com
You’re known as the “German Dream Girl,” but not everyone is aware of your background. Where were you born, when did you move to the states and why?
I was born outside of Naples, Italy, in the town Sophia Loren is from. Interesting factoid, in parts of Italy they prefer to call people by biblical names, so from birth until about two years old everyone other than my parents called me by my middle name, Rebecca. When I was two my family moved to Germany where German became my first language and I started in the German school system. I’m really only 1/8 German by blood but since it was my first language and I was raised as a German that’s how I identify culturally. I moved to the USA in 2002 after only having visited a few times as a kid. My friends all started moving here for college and I was left in Germany feeling like I was missing out. I lived between Texas and Germany for four years before settling in Dallas. I still go back to visit and hope to move back permanently one day.
You spent two weeks in Germany in September, correct? What was on the agenda? What do you find that you miss the most about being there?
My boyfriend, Allen Falkner, was booked to lecture at a body modification conference called BMX.net. We had been to it before and it’s a really great conference and a nice opportunity to see all our European friends. I was brought out to do live translation for some classes. We spent four days in Amsterdam visiting with friends and touring museums. We saw the Helmut Newton exhibit, Sex Museum, and Torture Museum. I also managed to chip my tooth at the Rijksmuseum on an exhibit, don’t ask, I’m a huge klutz. One of our friends there has his own boat so we spent a day drifting through canals, drinking beer and eating cheese, it was amazing. We spent the rest of our time in Berlin, which I hadn’t been to since before the Wall came down. I wanted to see some of the famous museums (and not chip any more teeth) and see where the Wall had been. It was tremendously sad and moving to be there as an adult and understand what was happening while I was growing up there. Eating good food and drinking beer is always on my agenda. The things I miss are too numerous to talk about, plus it makes me cry. I miss my home. I cried at the airport when we left.
You’re a model, fetish performer and burlesque performer. How and when did you get started in each of those endeavors? How do you feel you have grown as a model and performer over time?
When I was growing up in Germany people were always telling my parents I should be a child model. My parents, however, had different plans. They preferred that I live a “normal” life and use my “brain”. When I moved to the USA I was approached by photographers at a local goth/fetish club. Some were legit and some were creepy and just wanted to get me naked. I gave it a shot and discovered I loved modeling. I was always pulled more towards fetish, I love nudity and stockings and latex and corsets and super high heels. Modeling for photos lead to modeling in fashion shows which lead to performing. It all seemed like a natural progression to me. Adding pinup modeling and burlesque was just another way for me to have fun and add to my repertoire. I feel like I’m constantly growing as a model and performer. Different people inspire me and drive me to better who I am and what I do. I feel like if you aren’t growing why continue what you do? New challenges are part of what makes this so fun and rewarding for me. I’ve had help and support from a lot of people along the way and wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
I have a BA in Psychology. I managed to get my degree in 3.5 years with a 4.0 GPA in my field. I had lofty ideas about getting my Ph.D. and forcing everyone to call me “Doctor” but was burnt out on school. I was taking 21+ hours a semester, that’s a lot of classes. I’m very passionate about psychology and love research as opposed to counseling or something with direct patient interaction. I have enough of my own problems; I don’t want to spend all day listening to someone else’s. I’m much happier dissecting brains of people who have committed suicide or analyzing lab data.
You’re open about the fact that you have OCD. What challenges does that present in your daily life? Do you have any advice for others who live with these tendencies?
I do have OCD. For real though, not like when people want to impress upon you that they are particular or have an attention to detail. It’s part of my larger umbrella diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome. Primarily I have very obsessive thoughts about food being contaminated and things needing to be symmetrical (seriously, look at all my piercings sometime). My TS manifests as multiple tics, I probably have about 30 that I do almost daily. I’ve had Tourette’s since I was about 9 or 10 so I know how to mask these tics so that it’s not noticeable. It’s hard to give advice to others with these conditions because everyone experiences them differently. All I can really say is, be good to yourself and take care of yourself mentally because most people won’t understand what you are going through, you have to be your own advocate and number one supporter. In that same vein, screw what other people think about your fleeting attention span, need to count things, or noticeable twitches; you have to be okay with you and not with anyone else.
I became a big fan of vegan baking out of necessity. I am deathly allergic to eggs but also highly addicted to baked goods. If I wanted to eat pastries I had to either make them myself or risk hospitalization. Most people assume vegan food can’t taste good and they are always surprised when they find out my cakes they’ve been enjoying are vegan. I love tattoos and am working on collecting more. Recently I acquired a full back piece done by Scott Ellis of Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin, TX. I have so many friends that are tattoo artists that I would love to have work from, I just have to figure what. I belong to Eerie Books Horror Book Club which meets monthly at the book store. It’s great because it exposes me to authors or horror genres I might not have read on my own. And it’s fun to meet with people and talk about what you’ve read together and dissect the story. My all time favorite horror novel is The Shining by Stephen King. I read that book in broad daylight and couldn’t be alone in the room with it, if my dad got up and went into a different room I would get up and follow him without ever putting the book down. I torture myself with horror. I’m a huge weenie, I’m scared of the dark, I startle easily, and I suffer from chronic nightmares and sleepwalking. God knows why someone who has to sleep with a nightlight would constantly immerse herself in such horrific things but I do. I’m sure it has to do with the interesting psychology of the characters. The more messed up in the head someone is the more I want to learn about them and figure them out.
According to an October Facebook post, you were 13 photo shoots shy of your goal to have 52 shoots this year. Have you reached that goal yet? What are your goals for 2011?
I have to admit, I stole the idea for my goals from another Dallas model, Melissa Meaow. I’m very close to reaching that goal, which may be the first time I’ve ever accomplished a New Year’s resolution. For 2011 I’d like to get back to my fetish roots as a model and performer and work more outside of Dallas. I’d also like to do more publications and covers. I never share my personal goals; I feel a better sense of satisfaction when I accomplish them if I keep them to myself. Then I know I’m actually doing them for me and not because I’ll look bad to other people if I don’t. Plus if my personal goal is to eat chocolate and donuts every day or adopt five new kittens and my boyfriend knew that he would probably try to thwart my efforts.
You can find Courtney at CourtneyCrave.com and follow her at GermanDreamGirl.com for all of the latest photos, appearances, and daily musings. Looking for this month’s Cooking with Courtney Crave?
Atlanta based conceptual photographer Dangerously Dolly talks signature styles, copycats, and being overly optimistic.
Interview: Shoshana Photos: Dangerously Dolly
Q: Your bio mentions after years of experience with post production, at 23 you made the switch to focusing on your own projects and shooting. What was your previous gig, and how hard was the transition to being self-employed?
My previous gig was simply being a kid, but I took an interest in web graphics and design at 12 years of age. Being a self-employed photographer is really hard because you need to make it all happen. It takes a lot of marketing skills on top of the list of skills you need to simply be a photographer.
Q: Are you formally educated in photography (lighting, shooting, and post) or self-taught, more trial by fire? What are your thoughts on the two camps?
Self-taught is the way to be. No one should be taught by an instructor on how to create art. It’s in your blood!
Q: Tell us about the early days. What was your first shoot?
My first little shoot was with my little sister. I had finally gotten my first camera and was eager to play around with it. My first shoot with someone else was actually shot in a dirty motel room, haha! As wrong as it sounds, at least she wasn’t naked. I still love those pictures, but I’ve come a long way since then.
Q: How did you evolve to finding your own conceptual & high key style?
As I was getting into the whole pin-up scene, I realized as much I loved it, I couldn’t find a true create outlet through it. I was doing what others wanted to do and wasn’t really doing what I was capable of doing. My move away from pin-up and into a more alternative pin-up style which would be more of what someone considers “my signature,” I suppose, was when another photographer would accuse me of taking their ideas, when all I would be doing is referencing from the 1920′s-1960′s. I don’t understand how someone could point their fingers on something that has already been done time and time again. Of course shortly after my move away from that, it was like a breath of fresh air. The pictures I take might not be a true representation of what pin-up is, however I combine and mix all the spices together. I take a little from everything I like.
Although the pin-up photography world is large but still pretty small (if that makes any sense,) I would like to say that I do not involve myself in others business, or try to sabotage any kind of opportunities for anybody. I’ve had a real rough time with things like that and I’ve never understood why people like to pick wars on each other, for whatever reason. To be honest, it looks unprofessional. With that in mind, I stay to myself, I respect people, I keep it professional, and just simply ignore people I am aware of that like to create problems for others. I didn’t get into this to be stepped on or to further find misery sitting next to me. Photography should always be a fun and exciting thing, even when you’re hard at work.
Q: What is your favorite specific piece of equipment?
My computer, all the way. For too many reasons I can’t even list!
Q: There’s a quote on your site that says, “After investing in my shoot with DD my bookings went from unpaid work to paid work. She has a way with images that make people want to stop and look. Not only did I receive quality images worthy of my portfolio, I also received them in a timely manner! She doesn’t take pictures she creates art! “— BillieJo
What is your advice for gals who are looking to break into pin-up modeling?
If you want to be a pin-up model, just go for it. Don’t be nervous, don’t think you can’t do it because you can. The best way to start something is ALWAYS with a positive attitude.
Q: Think of the models you love to work with, your muses. What qualities do they possess that make you want to work with them over and over?
A good connection is first, and being able to be open with my ideas, because that’s extremely important. If I don’t see a little bit of me in the picture, then there’s no Dangerously Dolly.
Q: What does the future hold for Dangerous Dolly?
I truly dislike being overly optimistic, but I really do see something big coming my way, I don’t know what it is exactly, but all I do know is that I pray it’s not a train or a bus because I have a lot left to accomplish and a lot to offer to many, many people. The best thing would be is to remain positive, and look forward to whatever great and amazing things may come out of my project.
Chicago’s Deanna Deadly talks traveling, inappropriate conversations, silent films, universal monsters, and latex.
Interview: Femme Vivre LaRouge.
You have been modeling for about three years, correct? You’ve done a great deal in that amount of time!
Thank you so much! I’ve been modeling about three and a half years now. Time flies! I honestly have not done half of what I wish I could have accomplished in the last three and a half years so I’ve been doing overtime on the traveling and shooting this past year. Workaholic!
Although you now reside in Chicago, rumor is you will soon be a jewel in Dallas’ crown- is this true? And if so, to what do we owe the honor?
Now where did you hear that? I’m a Chicago native and frankly just cannot get used to the cold! I love the windy city and will always be proud to be from here but it’s definitely time for some new scenery. I am very seriously considering moving to Dallas sometime in the middle of next year after I’ve done a lot of traveling I have planned for the beginning of next year! Dallas really left a positive impression on me when I was there in November and I’m coming back again in January!
You have a very impressive resume and a great deal of traveling under your belt. What are some of the most enjoyable destinations you’ve traveled to for work?
Thank you! I honestly have enjoyed everywhere I’ve traveled. I can find something good in every city and state I’ve visited. I really prefer the South, though; people are generally nicer, as well as the weather. I think Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts are my favorite places I’ve had the privilege to travel to. I am heading to England next March though, so that might make the top of my list
What is your favorite style/genre/time period to model and why?
It’s hard to pick a favorite! It sometimes depends on the outfit…If I’m working with a really amazing designer in Pin Up, Goth, or Fetish genres I’m pretty happy. Anything elaborate or over the top I love. I’m a huge fan of Silent Films and the vibe/atmosphere they give off so the rare times I shoot something with a late 1800s or 1920/30′s vibe I’m very inspired (which means I should be shooting more of it)! I’m also a horror movie nerd and get very inspired by Universal Monsters and Hammer Horror films as well as some of my favorite Post Punk and Deathrock bands.
What avenues have you found to be most successful for finding bookings?
Networking on every site imaginable! It used to be I had to find 99% of the work I made; you can’t just sit there and wait for it to come to you! But luckily it does pay off and now over half of my bookings the photographers are the ones seeking me out!
A girl can never be too careful in this business; when shooting with a photographer for the first time, what safety precautions do you take?
I agree. I always check references. I ask as many models as I can that have shot with the particular photographer I’m planning a shoot with about their experiences with him/her. I also am really cautious of how they talk to me online, I’ve not responded to a few people who have said inappropriate things before we even get to the shoot. You really just have to trust your instinct!
What is your favorite part about your job?
I think being my own boss and doing things my way is probably what I love most about my job. The travel and the many different kinds of people and new friends I make all the time are also huge perks. Of course, the corsets, Latex, and beautiful outfits I get to wear make the job a little easier too
What motivates you? Do you have a strong network of supportive people in your life or are you more of a rogue adventuress? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not modeling?
I can honestly say that lately I’ve found inspiration almost anywhere I look and I’m trying my hardest to keep in this mindset! The start of a new year, kind of like a clean slate, is the biggest motivator for me! I think I have some really great fans and a few good close friends but I definitely feel like a Rogue adventuress probably more often than I should (Love that term by the way!) Most of the time when I’m not modeling right now I’m planning for all my trips next year or planning some of the other exciting new things I’m going to be trying out next year…They are within the artistic genre but not exactly modeling, so I hope I’ll surprise a few people
Fetish Model Courtney Crave is also a genius in the kitchen, whipping up tasty vegan & allergen free desserts! She is kind enough to share with our readers a recipe & cocktail every month & and your taste buds will thank you!
January- Devil’s Food Cake & St. Germain Cocktail
This cake is hands down the best cake I have ever had. January is my birth month, and I have eaten this cake on my birthday every year since I can remember having birthdays. There’s no better way to ring in a new year than with a delicious chocolate cake that has just a kick of caffeine to get you through the night.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 16 oz box powdered sugar
- 1 generous tsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of instant coffee
- 6 heaping Tbsp cocoa
- 1 egg or a couple tablespoons of milk*
- 2 squares Bakers chocolate (unsweetened or semi-sweet)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups sugar (or less)
- 2 cups flour (white whole wheat or unbleached all purpose)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
*For a vegan cake substitute the egg or milk in the frosting with soy or almond milk and the egg in the cake with Ener-G Egg Replacer which can be found in specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts. Follow instructions on package and do not let the egg replacement mixture sit out long before putting it in the oven. Some margarines can be used as a substitute for butter, check the labels. For a vegan buttermilk substitute mix together ¼ cup silken tofu, ½ cup plus 3 tbsp water, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Let it stand for ten minutes to thicken. This will make the equivalent of one cup of buttermilk.
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F, or 176 degrees C for our European readers. Grease and flour, or spray with Pam with Flour, two 9 inch baking pans. Melt the chocolate and butter together and allow it to cool. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl beat the eggs (or egg substitute) and add sugar, butter, chocolate, and vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk (1/3 flour, ½ buttermilk, 1/3 flour, ½ buttermilk, 1/3 flour) and mix until well combined. Split the batter between the two 9 inch baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan before removing them. While your cake cools go ahead and make the frosting. In a large bowl cream all the frosting ingredients together until light and fluffy. If it’s too thick add some coffee or milk. Frost the top of the first cake, set the second cake on top and frost the top and sides so you have a two layer cake.
St. Germain Cocktail
Rather than toasting your New Year’s Eve with plain old champagne try a St. Germain cocktail instead. This is also good for celebrating other holidays, birthdays, weddings, promotions, successfully making it out of bed, days that end in “y”, you get my drift.
- 2 parts Brut Champagne
- 1 ½ parts St. Germain
- 2 part club soda or sparkling water
- Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. First, add the champagne, then the St. Germain, then the club soda. Make sure you stir well as the St. Germain will want to settle at the bottom. Revel in the delight of a new year and a new way to enjoy champagne.
Cassandra MacGregor, milliner and owner of The House of MacGregor in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, talks New York, family, vintage lace, happy customers, color palates and Japan.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka. All photos courtesy of Cassandra.
You’re from Dallas, but you studied millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. You quit your office job after completing your studies and spent 5 years learning from and making hats with theatrical milliners on Broadway, fashion show hat suppliers and couturiers. What are some of the most important lessons that you learned during that time?
How important it is to work for other people! What I learned from the millinery classes I took is so scant compared to what I learned working under these talented people who had been making hats for so much longer than me.
Your designs have appeared in W, Italian Vogue, D Magazine, and many more publications. What are some of your proudest moments/biggest accomplishments as a milliner?
The W cover was my first big boost to let me (and my supportive friends and family) know that I was moving in the right direction and to stay on this path. My proudest moments though are when my customers come to pick up their custom hats and they love them. When they so obviously feel good in them, I know I did my job well.
You moved back to Dallas in 2008 and opened your own shop. What prompted the move and what are some of the biggest differences between working in New York and working in Dallas?
I moved back to Dallas to be closer to my family again. I had been gone for 8 years and am so fortunate to have a grandmother who is 95 and still here. This also is a much friendlier market to start a new business in.
The majority of my New York business has been cocktail hats while Dallas is all fedoras and newsboys. I don’t think there is a culture yet in Big D where putting on some veiling for an evening out feels natural.
One of the biggest rewards is working so directly with my customers and putting a look together that expresses them. I am also not a numbers person and am surprised how satisfying it is to balance my accounts every month.
The most challenging aspect is that you are doing everything. Marketing, sales, inventory, the books…you juggle so many balls at once!
What is your all-time favorite millinery project that you’ve completed?
I have a dear customer who is a burlesque dancer in New York. She will come in with outfits she is working on or dances she created and we will come up with hats to finish the look. A felt teapot cocktail hat down to some nude colored veiling with rhinestones, she lets me explore my more creative side.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
For designer fashion I am loving Marc Jacobs right now. All those ruffles and long skirts, I think they are flattering and whimsical at the same time. I just met an amazing artist the other day named Magda Berlinger who creates true art out of vintage lace pieces. Each one is unique and so gorgeous on.
I have a great archive of vintage hat books that I thumb through every season or when I am stuck on an idea. I also visit museums if I need to refresh my color palate. I follow the fashion trends to make sure my hats are wearable with the clothes people are buying.
What does the future hold for The House of MacGregor?
I would like to start selling my hats in Japan within the next year or two. They are avid hat wearers! I will probably maintain my second floor retail space; it gives me a lot more flexibility than a traditional store would to work on my pieces. I will continue to source high quality materials to keep making my hats a step above what you would find in a traditional store.
Editors note: When Femme came up with the idea to do an article on burlesque arrests, I thought it was fabulous. When she came back and said there were just too damn many for one article, I thought- even better! What better way to kick off a new monthly series than with the delicious Mae West & the legendary Sally Rand.
Burlesque Arrests: Sally Rand & Mae West
By: Femme Vivre LaRouge
Burlesque house raids are as infamous as those of speakeasies during prohibition, sometimes being one and the same. As performers pushed the envelope further and further, policing agencies and government lobbyists went tit for tat trying to pass new laws of censorship and to enforce a moral code. Many a famous burlesque performer has come under the scrutiny of the law; here we shall spotlight fan dancing pioneer, Sally Rand, and 20th century sex icon, Mae West.
Born Harriet Helen Gould Beck, Sally Rand was a teenage runaway, circus performer, cigarette girl, model, dancer, stage actress, and silent film star before she ever picked up a pair of ostrich feather fans. In 1933, at the Chicago World’s Fair, she not only wielded her fans wearing nothing but Max Factor body paint, but also appeared as Lady Godiva, riding a white horse, apparently nude. Thus began her arrest record, with a total of four arrests in a single day! Though Rand was charged with lewd conduct, Superior Court Judge Joseph B. David dismissed the case, noting that, “Some people would want to put pants on a horse…if a woman wiggles about with a fan, it is not the business of this court.” The incident’s publicity made her a burlesque sensation, her weekly pay escalating from $125 to $3,000 in a single summer. Never actually baring quite all, Sally Rand was noted for saying, “the Rand is quicker than the eye.”
1946 found Miss Rand back in court, charged with indecent exposure, corrupting the morals of an audience, and conducting an obscene show. She was taken into custody after an engagement at the Savory in San Francisco, where six police officers witnessed one of her fan dances, in which she decreased her costume to a flesh-colored triangle. Rand hired renowned defense attorney, Jake Ehrlich, who had kept both Billie Holiday and Gene Krupa from going to jail on drug charges. Ehrlich made the point that nudity was respected in the art of the great masters and suggested that the court view the dance in question, as evidence of its artistic nature. The judge agreed to this and even granted Miss Rand a release to continue her performances, unaltered, until the trial was over. That very same night, however, Rand began her dance, but was stopped for arrest by the San Francisco Police Department. Imagine their surprise when the lights came up and it was revealed that Sally Rand was hiding a pair of flannel long-johns behind her fans. Furthermore, in place of her customary triangle of costume, was a note marked “CENSORED. S.F.P.D.”! The next morning she performed her usual routine for the judge and jury and was promptly acquitted, on the grounds that, “Anyone who could find something lewd about the dance as she puts it on has to have a perverted idea of morals,” as Judge Shoemaker pronounced.
From flapper to fan dancer, Miss Rand continued to strut her stuff into the, and also her, sixties. As she said herself, of her illustrious career, “I haven’t been out of work since the day I took my pants off.”
Mae West, a household name to this day, began her career in Vaudeville, working her way up to radio, Broadway, and later the screen. Her entire career, which lasted her a lifetime, was based on one infamous character: herself. Known for her sexual candor, wit, and double entendres, she coined many famous phrases, such as “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me” and “A hard man is good to find.”
Not only an actress, but a producer and writer, as well, Miss West titled her first Broadway show “Sex.” The play was not such a great success until it was brought up on a morals charge, sparking a heated debate over the role of censorship in the theatre. After being arrested and released on $1,000 bail, West continued her show, to packed audiences, for a lengthy run. As with Sally Rand, the publicity did her nothing but good! However, in 1927, the play was again brought up against charges of obscenity and West was convicted of corrupting the morals of youth, for which she served nine days out of a ten day sentence, getting out early on good behavior! She served her sentence at Welfare Island Women’s Workhouse, where Mae West, never a quitter, gathered a great deal of material from observing her inmates and wrote her play-turned-film “Diamond Lil.” During the scandal of “Sex,” West was also busy writing and producing “The Drag,” which the New York Times described as the play that “caused the sudden action…toward cleaning up the stage.” Although the show was a success at its out of town previews, it was not allowed to open on Broadway. This didn’t stop her from staging “Pleasure Man,” which also featured drag performers, and landed West, once more, in jail and, once more, released for $1,000 bail. The lady certainly had a fighting spirit and, as she said herself, “Those who are easily shocked…should be shocked more often.”
Her involvement in the film business was fraught with the same battles over censorship as her Broadway career. She caused such scandal on the silver screen that some authors jokingly credit her with singlehandedly bringing down the hammer of the censors that resulted in the Hollywood Production Code of 1934, which was the mode of film censorship until 1968. But Mae West outlasted the production code, using her same shtick in 1978 for her final film, Sextette and still using her most iconic quote, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime…when I’ve got nothing on but the radio.”
Burlesque Legends : Candy Barr
By: Hella Goode
If I had to come up with the recipe for Candy Barr’s candy bar, it would have to include coconuts, white chocolate, ruby red frosting, some illegal substances and a dark gooey and mysterious center. Oh, and it would have to have some pot somewhere in there too. Why? Well, these ingredients, in the right combination would be the story of Ms. Juanita Dale Slusher, a. k. a. Candy Barr’s life.
Juanita was one of our own, a Texas girl, born on July 6, of 1935 in Edna of humble beginnings. She was barely into her teens when she made history as what some would say was the first ever pornographic movie. She was only 15 at the time. Some say it was willingly, others say it wasn’t. Needless to say, Smart Aleck (1951) isn’t exactly available on Netflix to decide for yourself.
At that point, she was still Juanita Dale Slusher. Her dark center was there, but she was still working on her sweet exterior, what would earn her the stage name Candy Barr and the adoration of many.
A short time later, she began working at Dallas’ own Weinstein’s Theater. Weinstein saw that with the right wrapper, Slusher could be a sensation. He encouraged her to become a blonde and named her Candy Barr.
Candy had undeniable appeal and signature talent, known for her spicy and risqué cowboy outfits and for her association with gangsters and bad boys. She later worked as a dancer at Jack Ruby’s Las Vegas Club. Unfortunately for her, Ruby had a dark center himself, later becoming infamous as the man who gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald before his trial for assassinating President John F. Kennedy. Candy was interrogated about her association with Jack Ruby after the assassination, and cleared of having any prior knowledge of the events.
Despite her innocent name, it seemed Candy Barr just couldn’t stay out of trouble, with or without a bad boy on her arm. She apparently had a taste for pot brownies, just without the brownies. She was busted for possession more than once and even spent time within the notorious prison walls of Huntsville in 1959. Huntsville’s Prison Museum features a Candy Barr in their most infamous inmates display to date. Ironically enough she did time for the brownie-less pot brownies, but not for shooting a violent husband.
Ran Away From Home 9th grade
Assault with a Deadly Weapon (Jan-1956), charges dropped
Drug Possession: Marijuana Texas (Oct-1957)
Violating Bail Los Angeles, CA (30-Apr-1959)
Pardoned by Texas Governor John B. Connally (1967)
Drug Possession: Marijuana Brownwood, TX (1969), case dismissed
She was highly successful as a pinup model for pretty much every magazine there was in the 1950’s and danced everywhere from Dallas to Los Angeles to Las Vegas. She married and divorced multiple times then going on to be the true arm Candy to gangster Mickey Cohen as well.
Then like many entertainers, she went back to her roots, went underground and lived quietly during her later years working regular jobs and blending in with the crowd. She tired of the attention and just wanted to be herself again.
So that is exactly who she was, herself, right up until December 30, 2005 where she succumbed to pneumonia in Victoria, Texas.
As a photographer, burlesque producer, and magazine editor, I have a lot of experience with photographs. Here are a few tips and tricks for building a quality portfolio that will get you noticed! I have divided the information into two volumes. This article focuses on burlesque entertainers, while Vol. II, which will be published in the February Issue, focuses on portfolio building for pin-up models.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Publicity Images for Burlesque Entertainers
1. Do send real high resolution images- Size Matters! I cannot tell you how important this is. In the digital age, it is very easy to tag & snag images from sites like Facebook, or live shots from online media sources. This is not the same as having a high resolution image. A high resolution image is at least 300 dpi/ppi, AND either 1000 pixels (or 8 inches) in at least one direction. It must meet both of these criteria to be high res.
You cannot artificially make a low res image into a high res image simply by changing the numbers in a photo editing program. The print quality still sucks, because even though your numbers are correct, you have taken that small amount of digital information and spread it over a larger area, making the image grainy or pixilated. The original source file must be large enough to qualify as high res. in order to have good print quality – period.
Do Not Shrink Them to Email!- The bigger the better! If sending them one at a time is still too much- try zipping them, or use an external free program such as Dropbox or You Send It.
2. Do invest in at least one professional photo shoot. If you are taking your burlesque seriously, you should take your image and likeness seriously as well. You are creating a persona that will be your calling card- represent it well. Just as you want to be paid for your time, quality, and professionalism; photographers deserved to be paid for theirs as well. Remember, you get what you pay for.
If you can only afford one photo shoot start, that’s ok- make it count!
A: Do: Shoot indoors, with a professional studio lighting setup. These images will be used on flyers, and hopefully in the press. For flyers, a uniformity is always good- rather than looking like a high school scrapbook- a well designed flyer is crisp, clean, and professional looking- a cornerstone of that is having quality images to work from.
Do Not: Outdoor shoots (backgrounds of grass, fences, streets, or brink walls), live shots (odd lighting, blurred body parts, motion in hair), and girl with car images are too distracting and busy for most flyers. Also stay away from themed or conceptual shoot as your only images. (More on that later) Also, images not properly lit will be incredibly unflattering, or very underexposed leading to a grainy & pixilated quality.
B. Do: Seek a clean, crisp, background. You want to shoot a clean shot (free of props, busy backgrounds, crazy sets, etc.) If the designer who will create the flyer/poster/ad etc. keeps the backgrounds of the images- s/he can use the solid background and easily change color etc., by contrast if the design idea is to create a visual montage or cut the background out and put on something else, a clean solid color background works best. It’s a win/win.
C. Do: Instruct the photographer you need headshots, ¾, and full
length shots. Each producer formats their flyers differently, and you want to be prepared.
D. Do: Shoot in your very best costume. If possible, pay for additional costume changes, if you only have one shoot- make it count! If you have a signature number- make sure to shoot in that costume.
Do not: Bra and panty, nude, and pastie shots are fine for extras, but are rarely usable as images on flyers, posters, or in the press.
E. Do: Show your personality in your shoot. If you are an extremely versatile performer- include all sides of you. IE. Have a general showgirl shot, a dramatic shot, and a laughing cutesy shot. It’s all about having the most bang for your buck in versatility.
3. Do not: Over Photoshop or send Soft Images. Crispness and clarity! While its fine to go after stretch marks, pimples, scars, etc with your healing tool, you do not want an over-photoshopped image for many reasons. One, is that you can only Photoshop so much before your image is either completely fake looking, or has no tack sharp clarity. Soft images are one without a defined point of focus (a tack sharp section of the image). I want to be able to count your eyelashes when I blow you up to poster size to promote an event or put you on the cover of a magazine.
The second reason is simple, you want producers, fans, etc to be impressed when the see you in person, not let down because you look nothing like your incredibly over-photoshopped images. Who wants to disappoint at first meeting? If you are 40, look 35 in an image, not 25. If you are a size 12, don’t try and make the photographer take you down to a 2.
4. Do not: invest in a themed or conceptual shoot, unless you have the basics down. It’s all about versatility. Your showgirl image on a white background will do so much more for you than a “Santa Baby”, “cowgirl”, “naughty nurse”, “blood and horror”, type of themed image ever will. Once you have the basic press kit together, it’s fun to add to your book with themed shoots, such as holiday themed shoots- which are great as there’s usually several holiday shows every year, or cowgirl or valentine images. You’ll certainly get use out of them at some point, and they are good to have, but if the only professionally shot image of you that you have is a Halloween image- you can’t take that very far.
5. Do: Update the images in your press kit at least every six months. This is where those live shots, trade offers (I will shoot you for free in exchange for this), and themed and conceptual shoots come in handy. Once you have the basics down, you can work on building either based on certain shows you want to be in (IE, so and so does a fabulous circus themed show- so I want circus themed shots, etc.), holidays, or companies you want clothing/costumes/props from. Fans and producers should always find something fresh in your portfolio, both on Facebook, and your personal website. I know Facebook and blogs are often easier to update then your website- but it is important that your website remains fresh and accurate as it is the “official” representation of you and your work.
Avoid your portfolio becoming outdated by removing images that are old, or of retired numbers. As a general rule, if the image is three years old- toss it! This may mean sometimes parting with your favorites, and it’s very hard, but is worth it to appear fresh, organized, and on top of your game. If there’s an image you simply can’t dump- create an archives section on your website, so the image is still reachable, but not something you include in a press kit anymore.
6. Do: Be careful who you shoot with. Outside of the obvious safety concerns- there is the obvious truth that your image matters in this business! Shooting with sub-par photographers and hobbyists can hurt you. (Now there are plenty of talented photographers who choose to make photography their hobby as opposed to full time work. I respect that- those guys & gals are not who my comment is directed at.) In a digital age where anything and everything can be found with a few clicks, you do not want sub-par images of you floating around. Poorly lit, unflattering, or “cheap looking”, photos can hurt the professionalism you are trying to convey. You’ve seen ‘em- you know what I’m talking about. Does this mean you can’t seek out free photo shoots? No, it just means a lot of research on your part to make sure the project is one you want to be a part of and the photographer is worth working with.
7. Do: Have permission. Make sure your photographer knows you want the images for promotional purposes and that you will be sending/posting them everywhere. You can run into serious legal trouble using images without permission. Do not assume that because you paid for the shoot that you own the images- because you don’t. For more on the laws regarding photography, usage, and copyright; check out our Copyright Law: Myths vs. Facts article.