Masuimi Max graces the cover of our one year anniversary issue, and takes time out of her crazy busy schedule to talk Playboy Mansion parties, Hollywood, shoes, David Lynch, and marriage.
Interview: Shoshana, Photos: Morat
Q: Though you were born in Arkansas, much of your early adult years were spent in Dallas, and that’s were many Pin Curl Readers first fell in love with you. Take us through the early incarnations of Masuimi Max, from nightclub stripper to fetish model, burlesque performer, and actor.
I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and my father was in the air force so we moved around a lot. I lived all over the place; Korea, Philippines, Florida, Phoenix, New Mexico, California, Guam, Hawaii. My father retired in Las Vegas where I spent my teenage years. I lived in Dallas for about 5 years. I was stripping part-time and traveling a lot for my modeling. Although I lived in Dallas, none of my modeling jobs were there. I was flying all over the place and a lot of my work was either in London or Los Angeles. I ended up moving to LA, I don’t think I could bear the weather in England! Ha ha!
Q: Your relationship with you parents and your childhood were less than desirable. How did those early years & early independence (moved out at 17) shape who you are now?
Those early years weren’t that great, but hey everyone I know has had it rough, why dwell? All I wanted back then was to be free and now I am, I enjoy my life and the fact that I make my own decisions now and I don’t have to go to bed early!
Q: Being of Korean and German descent, you were born with unusual and striking features, and you also added to them as an adult via tattoos and plastic surgeries. What have you had done in the form of physical modifications and what do your view on the body as a canvas?
I have my boobs done… and just love them! I got my nose fixed recently, I broke it twice, once when I was a small child and the second time a few years ago…if I had it my way I wouldn’t have had anything done to my nose. As for tattoos, my back piece is a cover-up of some awful work I had done when I was younger. Luckily my tattoos are finally where I want them to be, I plan on getting more color on my back and maybe something on my arms.
Q: Speaking of body as a canvas, you are also a skilled make-up artist, often doing much of your own make-up for shoots. Including all creams, make-up, lotions, etc.- what are the seven beauty products you can’t live without?
Creme de La Mere, Creme de La Mere eye concentrate, Lumiere eye cream, Revale Coffeeberry night cream, Super Antioxidant creme, Proactive face wash, Proactive repairing lotion
Q: Control seems to be a reoccurring theme for you. I’m thinking in particular of an interview I watched in which you were explaining a situation in which the original person you hired to do your website tried to screw you over, so you taught yourself HTML and now maintain the entire site yourself. What advice would you give to new performers/models who are looking to manage themselves without becoming overwhelmed?
If you are just starting out you can manage yourself a few different ways, social networking sites like Model Mayhem, Myspace and Facebook are good ways to showcase your portfolio if you have don’t know or have time to learn HTML. Also, there are new programs like WordPress blogs that allow you to update your site without knowledge of HTML. All you would have to do is buy a domain name, find a hosting company (usually where you buy your domain name is where you can also include hosting with your package) and have them install WordPress.
It’s simple to use, after you get the grasp of using something like that you will naturally pick up a few things then when you realize you can search for tutorials or scripts on Google or Yahoo you start learning things you thought you never would have known. Baby steps! Also, since you are starting out, you might have to pay photographers to shoot you to have something to show when approaching photographers to see if they do TFP work (trade for pics). Once you have professional photos you can then approach the company you want to model for and apply this strategy to other stuff too like if you are a burlesque dancer you have to find someone to film your shows, so you have something to show when you want to get hired…
I think one of the most important things ever is you need to always show up to your jobs! Unless something crazy happens… like once I was getting ready for a really big shoot and while getting ready I stood up I split my head open on a cabinet door (I’m accident prone). I asked my PA to hold apply pressure on my wound while I continued to put my makeup on. My PA took a photograph of my head to show me that you could see my skull and that was all I needed to convince myself to go to the hospital, I got 6 stitches! That was a good excuse to reschedule the shoot! Oh, and keep your mouth shut about other models and performers — it just gets back to them and you end up looking like a drama queen. Life is great and can be a lot of fun without the backstabbing, rumors and lies. Just focus your energy on moving your career towards a positive direction rather than waste time trying to hurt someone else’s career.
Q: Has anyone ever tried to screw you over with payment on a gig, and how did you handle it?
YES. First, I try communicating. If I don’t receive the amount that I agreed to I explain what I will do if I don’t get paid. If I’m ignored I will call my lawyer. I’ve dealt with a few shady promoters in the past, before I had a lawyer — most of the time I would get paid in the end. But if I didn’t I would make it public. That way they can’t rip anyone else off!
Q: After a brief first marriage, you were single for quite a while, before marrying again in 2006 to journalist and photographer Morat, who shot the cover photo of this issue. Do you have a traditional marriage arrangement? Do you enjoy married life; and how has it changed your personal and business life?
Ha ha! I don’t think anyone would say we had a traditional marriage! We got married fast! Basically, Morat asked me to marry him the night we got together, I said yes, then 2 weeks later we got the papers from the courthouse permitting us to get married and we got married!
We lived up by the Hollywood sign and we had a big backyard with a pool. I wore a red gown with a big fluffy skirt and walked alongside the pool (covered with rose petals) lined with lit tiki torches. I walked down the “aisle” to “I Walk the Line” by Jonny Cash. Since we got married in a fever (hee hee), we didn’t have our wedding rings yet! I was supposed to pick up some temporary ones the day of the wedding and with everything going on I forgot! But I immediately had a plan, I grabbed my silver and brass knuckles and we used those.
Morat was so cute, he wore a black pinstripe suit. Our friend became an ordained minister the night we told him we were getting married (that night) and he wore an Egyptian pharaoh ensemble. A lot of our friends that could make it were there (we didn’t give much notice), there was a lot of drinking and people swimming, I ate some fire in the pool –it was a really big party, it was a fun night!
Morat is the best thing that has ever happened to me! I love being married to Morat! I didn’t really have a personal life before, I don’t really like going out. I’m sort of a hermit, but Morat loves to go out and it’s a good balance. I actually have a personal life now, ha ha! Business is always going to be good when you’re married to a talented photographer! We work well as a team and we have fun together — especially when shooting. I just finished creating his website, it’s a customized wordpress blog that he updates on his own. You should check it out — Morat’s been shooting some great stuff since ’92. www.MoratPhotography.com
Q: How did you first break into acting, and is this something you would like to pursue further? What are your most memorable film set experiences?
It sort of just happened! Everything I have done in the way of tv/film was never planned…when I did the tiny part in that movie State of the Union I got that because I became friends with the director and his girlfriend after meeting them at a party and I had no idea what they did for a living! They just called me up one day and offered me the part!
That is sort of how it happens with most of what I do. Even the David Lynch movie I did, Inland Empire, I had a really small part, but same thing, I didn’t try out for the part, they contacted me. Maybe it’s the universe telling me that I need to do more film? I am working on a few projects right now that I am not able to talk about just yet!
Q: Who are your favorite high fashion, pin-up, and fetish designers now?
My favorite pinup inspired fashion would definitely be Pinup Girl Clothing! I love their stuff and I’m their spokesmodel! My biggest fetish is corsetry, I have a few favorite designers, Jupiter Moon 3 Corsets out of Houston has made me a few gorgeous corset outfits, I have a few new outfits coming soon.
Also, I model for Bibian Blue out of Barcelona, they just sent me some new designs that I can’t wait to shoot in! I have a really big thing for shoes, I just modeled for Bordello, the new burlesque shoe line by Pleaser. It was heaven to be surrounded by that many shoes! You can get these shoes at Pinup Girl Clothing.com and get 15% off with this coupon code: cciamtrouble
Q: What is your greatest extravagance?
OMG SHOES!!! Did you see that silly music video? Heh heh! My greatest extravagance…Oh dear, I can think of three — shoes, weed and face creams!
Q: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Marilyn Monroe, ever since I can remember she was always my favorite gal. I collected all of her movies and when I was younger I bleached my hair and fashioned my hair like hers and did my makeup like her, I was a little Asian Marilyn, lol!
Betty Page, because she is the girl that broke all the rules! She had dark hair, she did racy pics for the time, she didn’t pose like a “model” she was a character, a sexy animated bad girl. Marilyn and Betty, they balance each other out don’t they?
Hunter S Thompson, because this man lived in his own universe…I can only think of 3 right now and in general, I sort of shy away from meeting people I admire because I would rather avoid finding out that the person was a wanker.
Q: As you grace the cover of our birthday issue, you recently had a birthday yourself. How did you celebrate?
I haven’t quite celebrated yet. I have been working non-stop the last few weeks, seems like months! My birthday was Friday and I had a burlesque event on Saturday; I didn’t want to have too many birthday drinks and not do a good show so I stayed in. Also I take a lot of pics with people when I do events and I didn’t want to have giant suitcases under my eyes! The event on Saturday was a lot of fun and my friends did give me the most awesome cakes!
Q: What does the future hold for Masuimi Max?
I don’t really talk about stuff I’m working on because I feel like I’m going to jinx it. I can say that I am constantly working on my site, updating it with new photosets, diary entries, and I also do prize giveaways for the members of my site. This month, I’m giving away 2 tickets to the Stars & Stripes 2010 event held at the Playboy Mansion, I am doing my fire burlesque act again (I performed at the event last year)! My site is pretty cool…I designed it, I maintain it and that’s it.. it’s just me slaving away, haha! Although my site is classified as adult and there are a lot of nudes, a lot of my members are girls! Which I think is really cool!
The Original Ruby Rockit of Austin, Texas will perform at Hot Rods and Heels next month. Here, she chats about Children in Heat, zombies, Red Light, merch, and Smooth Operators.
Interview: Bubbles vonBonBon; Photos: Courtesy of Ruby Rockit
Q: One of the first and most important questions we face as performers entering into burlesque is: what is in a name? What does your name communicate? Can you describe it as it relates to your dance style, fashion sense, or personality?
Well, to be honest, I picked Ruby Rockit because at the time I started I had ruby red hair, and I rock it on the stage! I had a really hard time choosing a name and choosing Ruby Rockit was as simple as that. I wanted to convey an “out of this world’ red haired bombshell….though I only rock blue hair at this point!
Q: Although you started your career in Austin, you have traveled extensively along the west coast performing. What are the differences between west coast audiences and Texas audiences? Are there extensive differences along the west coast as well, say Seattle versus LA?
Yes, I saw huge differences in the audiences within the West Coast. Seattle has so many wonderful places to perform and it seems the community has really embraced burlesque, so the crowds were amazing. In LA I didn’t get that same vibe, but honestly I haven’t performed there enough to really compare. It was a lot of fun going to some of the smaller cities like Chico and Modesto where they don’t see a lot of burlesque. The audiences were wild and enthusiastic and I sold a ton of merch. But all in all, nothing beats my crowd here in Austin. The people who come to our shows at Continental for Lone Star Round Up are a blast. Every time we perform at Continental, Alamo Drafthouse, or the Highball, we always sell out- Austin has been so very supportive and the burlesque fans here are fantastic!
Q: How do you differ as a performer within each of your roles—Red Light Burlesque, Dolls from the Crypt, and your dual position of performing and producing in Ruby Rockit Presents? Beyond the costumes, how does your style change?
Since I am the head of Red Light, my role goes beyond performer- I am in charge of booking, merch, organizing meetings, practices, photo shoots, etc. It’s my biggest responsibility and I am still trying to master the balancing act! I do sometimes wish I had more time to focus on just dancing. We are traditional bump and grind burlesque and go down to pasties & g-strings, so within Red Light I often use fan dancing, gown and glove routines, and wear a very classic glamour look.
Dolls From the Crypt is a horror cabaret troupe. It’s more theatrical in the sense that we have much more props and heavy choreography. It is not burlesque, though it is risqué, there is much less stripping involved and does not usually go down to pasties and g-string. Because we are horror themed, our costumes can be all over the board! I wear “zombie” contacts and my make-up is much more extreme. I do incorporate some of my traditional moves into some of it- for instance I do a vampire routine that starts out a classic fan dance but ends with blood spilling out of my mouth and instead of revealing my boobs I reveal that my heart has been ripped out. In addition to our regular shows, we also go-go dance for Children in Heat. They are a Misfits tribute band and we get to go crazy with that! Fringe, blood, and lots of shakin’ it! I have far less responsibility with the Dolls, so it really it’s nothing but fun!
With Ruby Rockit Presents, I try to bring in a variety of talent to each show. Girls with all different styles, so I feel that I can be more open with my style as well. I’ll throw in a black vinyl clad number I do to Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine in addition to a classic fan dance to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Night and Day.” It’s whatever I feel like! There’s a lot of work to be done getting the shows together, but so far they have exceeded my expectations!
Q: You recently took charge as head of Red Light Burlesque. What direction are you hoping to carry Red Light Burlesque into? What sort of dynamic do you feel works best for troupes? For instance do you prefer similar styles and methods? Do you have an opinion on duets versus full group numbers? What do you think works best to still allow each girl to shine individually while still performing as a cohesive whole?
Red Light has been performing in Austin since 2001, and over the last 2 years our light dimmed a bit. With some girls retiring or needing a much deserved break, RLB laid low for a while and in my opinion got lost in the now crowded burlesque scene. We have remained a traditional burlesque troupe throughout the almost 10 years we’ve been around, and I feel like my goal is to keep classic burlesque alive in Austin. I have refreshed the troupe with new girls (who will be debuting at the Round Up!) and we are going to do more shows and be much more involved in the burlesque scene.
I prefer for everyone to fall in to the category of traditional, but I don’t care how they want to express themselves within that. I encourage all the girls to do whatever they feel comfortable with, whatever they feel their strong suit is. I want them to stand out as individuals within a troupe using their talent whatever it may be. In our troupe there is the freedom to do what you want.
In the past Red Light has always danced to a live band and had duos, trios, and a group number at the end of every show. What that meant was a whole lot of meeting and rehearsing. We all have day jobs with conflicting schedules, meeting with a live band adds 5 more people to the mix of schedules, so for now it’s become too hard for us to meet often enough to make amazing group numbers. I’d rather have a really polished solo to recorded music than a half assed group to live music! I do encourage any of the girls who have the time to do a duo or trio to do it! I miss them and I wish we could- but I’d take quality over quantity so to speak.
Q: How many routines do you keep in your repertoire, your sparkle dance bag if you will? What helps you to decide whether a routine becomes part of your collection or only serves as a one time performance?
I have about 5 regulars and rotate them out, with a handful of specialty acts built for specific shows. I don’t always come up with new routines for every event, as that can be costly and inefficient, but once in a while I’ll make something for a specific event and it just ends up being a regular! My “Night and Day” fan dance came from a Casablanca themed fashion show that I danced at last summer. I loved it so I’ve been using it all year! I like to keep a variety of routines on hand to meet the needs of any show I may be in.
Q: Describe your process for us. Each of us has our own method for what comes first. When you begin to envision a routine do you approach with your music, costume, or concept first? Once you begin, how long does the preparation take? Does anyone get a preview or is when you step on stage the first time anyone sees what you’ve been up to?
I have done it every which way! Sometimes I’ll just see fabric at the store and start envisioning some wonderful costume. I usually try to start with the theme or concept, but it seems my best costumes I’ve made on a whim! I prefer to find my music first whenever possible. There is nothing more frustrating to me than an awesome costume idea with no matching music to be found! I’m having that problem right now with a routine I plan on using this spring. Awesome costume pieces, amazing prop already built, and can’t find the perfect song or songs!
I have taken a month to finish some costumes, but I have also made some in one night! My red and black cha-cha dress that I use for “Smooth Operator” by Dorothy Dandridge I made in one night after I had changed my mind completely on what I was going to do! I think I may work best under pressure, but maybe that’s because I always seem to be under pressure. I will sometimes show the girls if I’m stuck on choreography, but I prefer to video myself and learn from watching myself what I need to change. I like keeping it a secret and revealing a new act to the audience!
Q: Like all burlesque girls trying to make it full-time in the business, you are very well rounded in all things surrounding your art. That I know of, you are a stylist, makeup artist, dancer, model, and costumer. What percentage of your time and energy would you say you function within each capacity? What percentage of each would you like to see yourself doing as your career progresses?
Well, I am a hairstylist and make-up artist first and foremost. That is my calling and what brings me joy- and money every day! I have never had the disillusion that I could do burlesque full time. I love burlesque and go-go, dancing is a major passion of mine, but I need more stability than being a full time performer would allow. I will hopefully always be able to keep dancing as a part time job, and doing hair and make-up gives me the flexibility to do so. And funds the money for traveling and costumes! Modeling I feel like I have neglected a little bit lately, so I hope to do more shoots in the coming year. I enjoy it so much! So I think the order would be hair, make-up, burlesque, modeling then costumes.
Q: There are fifteen million different ways to define burlesque. As a performer who personally participates in more than one style of striptease, how do you describe burlesque to people outside of the community?
I would describe burlesque as the art of the tease. The art of seducing the audience with just a wink and a smile! But then I’d have to follow that sweet little cliché with “We don’t get naked and no, we don’t give lap dances.”
Q: People who have never attended a show are often surprised to learn that the audiences consists of an equal if not more numerous amount of women. How do you feel that burlesque contributes positively to women embracing both their sexuality as well as their bodies, both for performers and spectators?
People who have never attended a show are often under the assumption that it’s similar to a strip club experience in some ways- they think it’s mostly men, or think we accept tips, etc.. Then when they come see us they are always so pleasantly surprised at how almost PG-13 so much of it is! We have so many female supporters which makes me feel like I am doing my job right. I think a lot of girls come and realize that we are all different shapes and sizes, we aren’t perfect, but that we OWN our bodies and our sexuality.. it makes them feel like they can do it too, like they can love their body for what it is and be sexy just the way they are. Burlesque shows women that it’s ok to be whatever size as long as you own it, and love it! I know that myself included, many burlesque performer friends of mine have come quite a long way with their body issues through the art of burlesque. I don’t even think twice now about being scantily clad in front of 800 people. This is me- and I have no apologies!
Q: Burlesque requires a definitive level of self-promotion in order to garner attention. What has served as your most successful means of self-promotion?
I am a merch girl! I have t-shirts, stickers, photos and koozies for sale at every show. I also take advantage of all the networking sights out there, and for shows I always have an amazing poster made for both print and web to be plastered everywhere. I’m a firm believer in shameless self promotion.
April is tax month, so we thought it would be a good time to ask local burlesque entertainer Black Maria, who just started her own company — Fastenating Things, to share what she’s learned about entrepreneurship.
Starting your own business
By: Black Mariah
So you have a good idea, a business, and you are ready to sell, sell, sell. Whether you are selling merchandise, a service, or a performance, steps to becoming making your company legit or even becoming a self-employed individual can seem like an overwhelming experience. Having recently started my own business, here is a how to guide to making your stimulus package.
First, to do anything as a legitimate, recognized business, you need to register your business name with the local county clerk’s office. You do not have to register in every county, but you do need to register in the county in which you reside. You will need a valid, government issued, photo ID like your driver’s license, State ID card, anything that proves that you are who you say you are. Go to your local County Clerk’s office and ask to register your business name or file a DBA which stands for “Doing Business As” or an “assumed name certificate”.
No you aren’t changing your legal name. This is just a state document telling the rest of the world what your business name is, or who you will represent. You will need to search the database in your County Clerk’s office to make sure no one else is using the business name you intend to use. If you do happen to find the name is already in use, you will have to choose a different name under which to do business. Once you have cleared the use of your intended business name, you will need to register the name.
You will have to choose what type of business structure you intend to use. Your choices are Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, or Partnership. All have their legal and tax advantages and disadvantages, and you will need to understand them to know what type of business structure you need. Also know that when you register your business with your county clerk, your personal information is sold to any company who will pay to use it! Your phone number and address of which you have registered the business to reside will be bombarded by companies attempting to sell their services to your new business. Merchant services, health insurance, burglar alarm companies, the Shriners, anyone who will pay for your business’s phone and address will be calling you all hours of the day. Better upgrade that phone plan now!
A Sole Proprietorship simply means a business with a single owner. Under a sole proprietorship the individual names on the DBA will be the only person allowed to open the bank account for the business, and file all necessary paperwork regarding the business. In this case, you will use your own social security number for your Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is the number under which you will file taxes for your business.
A Partnership or general partnership is just like a sole proprietorship only with multiple owners. All individuals must be present at the time of filing a DBA to become a partner. All of the company’s assets and losses are divided equally among the partners. Liability for the company is also divided equally among the partners. In this case, you will need to apply for an employer Identification number (EIN) which you will be issued a 9 digit number. Even though all profits flow through to the partners and are reported on their income tax, a tax filing identification number would be required to open a checking account and apply for a sale and use tax certificate, rather than using one person’s Social Security number, an umbrella EIN covers the company. There are other types of partnerships, which are Limited Partnership (limited liability but limited input regarding management) and Joint Venture which is generally for a one time or short term project. In all cases, a partnership, although easy to form, should take the time to draw up a partnership agreement that sets forth how decisions will be made, profits will be shared, disputes will be resolved, how future partners will be admitted to the partnership, how partners can be bought out, or what steps will be taken to dissolve the partnership when needed.
Sole Proprietorships and General partnerships are the easiest and least expensive to own. Profits from the business or proprietorship flow directly through to the owner’s personal tax return. The owner(s) are in complete control of the business and have the authority to keep or reinvest the profits. Disadvantages are that in either circumstance of business ownership, each have unlimited liability and are legally responsible for all debts against the business. Their business and personal assets are at risk. In layman’s terms, if your business fails with debts against it, or your business is sued for whatever reason, the litigants can take your company’s assets as well as your personal assets to cover all damages and loss. It is also more difficult to raise capital for a Sole proprietorship or general partnership as their assets are usually limited to personal investments and small consumer loans.
If you are a simple company and don’t intend to have any large liabilities (clients could have an accident while on your property patronizing your business or suffer loss from your product) then the Sole proprietorship or general partnership may be the way to go. My business is making and selling pasties, tiny top hats and burlesque related costumes. My products so not pose any danger to the consumer, and I don’t own a physical store front so the there is no property liability where an accident could occur. I also don’t intend to have any large debts (investment in high dollar equipment or loans to purchase merchandise). I have a sole proprietorship and that works quite well for me.
The other option for creating a business is a corporation. There are a couple of different types of corporations, one you may have heard of in the burlesque community which is an LLC. An LLC is a limited liability company. That means that a company member’s liability is limited by the amount they invested in the company. Your (and your co-owner’s) personal property and assets are not at risk in case of business debts or legal obligations. This is the best choice if there are any investment risks in your business. Dancers can become injured, patrons can fall and become injured, venues can take your deposit and fold before your doors even open, and clients can neglect to pay you for your performance. It’s a negative possibility but a very real possibility. When time, or money is invested in the prospect of a contracted business transaction, limiting your liability in case the worst happens, is the best choice. Taxation is different per the type of corporation, but if this is the route you intend to go, definitely know what your tax responsibilities are before you even make the first sale.
After you have registered your business and filed and received your EIN number if necessary, you will need sales and use tax permit. Sales and use tax permit will allow you to conduct business and collect sales tax for your retail goods, services, leases and rentals. You must have a sales and use permit as a legal business to sell anything. Your Sales and use permit gives you the advantage of purchasing goods at wholesale cost with the intent of resale, as well as purchase goods or services tax free if they are intended for resale (because you will be collecting Sales tax on the item when you sell it to your customers). What you can’t do is use that sales and use tax permit number to purchase items or services for your personal use or consumption. Everything dollar you sell to a customer must have the state and local sales tax collected with the sale price. You will be required to keep detailed records of your transactions as this will reflect how much sales tax you will be responsible to pay to your county clerk. Most county clerks require businesses to pay sales tax quarterly. You will need to figure out your sales for each quarter ending, and figure out the sales tax you will owe. Some counties offer a discount for paying your tax early, but all will impose a hefty per day penalty for delinquent sales tax owed to the state. Business owners must pay close attention to their sales tax owed as fudging or guessing the numbers is a quick way to get an audit from the IRS.
Payment options are the best way to double and even triple your income. From experience as a vendor at many shows in the area, the option for my customers to pay by credit card has opened up the potential of income tremendously. Cash sales are strictly limited to the exact amount in the customers on hand disposal or the off chance there is a nearby ATM machine. Opening up your payment possibilities to credit cards assumes some risk, the risk is very small in comparison to the lost sales you would have by only accepting cash. If you would like to accept credit cards, you will need to set up a merchant services account. Each service is different and the fees are as diverse as the merchants themselves. Do your homework and invest time and research before signing a contract with any of the Merchants. Make sure all of the fees and billing dates are clear and you know exactly how much the merchant is going to charge you per month to accept credit. You can get monthly fees down to $10 per month and some can negotiate no annual fee and a small percentage per transaction. It’s your money, so make sure you are paying the least amount of fees you can for the service. Merchant services can offer you endless possibilities for accepting credit cards, from the manual carbon copy credit machines, to wireless, to a card reader that hooks into your laptop through a USB connection. Some Merchant services even offer an iPhone app to run credit cards through your phone on site! Consider the environments you will be selling when choosing the type of equipment you will need; if there will be phone jacks with a line available to you to use, power outlets, any sort of internet connection at all, or will you be selling in a store front, or not in public at all, maybe everything you sell is online. In any case, the merchant services can tailor your equipment needs to your selling environments.
Finally get your name out there! Branding and marketing is vital to getting your business competing with other businesses for your client’s dollars. Branding your company is directly responsible for the success of your business. Stick with one logo and font style, as this is the way to make you a memorable vendor to your customers. Consider Coca Cola with the solid red and white cursive text logo. Coca Cola’s recognizable to even consumers who do not speak English. Business cards leave a visual impression on potential clients, have some on hand at all times and always hand 2-3 to potential customers. One business card is for the customer, and a few for the customer to pass along should they encounter anyone who happens to need your services. Always place a card or flyer with the product you sell to the client. Websites and social networking have replaced in person business networking meetings, and vendor booths and e-commerce sites have replaced store fronts. The advantage of the World Wide Web has changed the way we do business and by alleviating the need for leased space or any operational overhead, it has opened up the opportunity of owning your own business for many more people!
Boudoir Queen is the newest incarnation of Austin based designer Dawn Younger-Smith. Smith talks fashion, James Bond, Courtney Love, “dolly style”, and “the perfect dress”.
Interview: Shoshana, Photos: Courtesy of Dawn Younger-Smith
Q: You began your career in the arts as a make-up artist to the stars in Hollywood. What are some of your most memorable stories from that part of our career?
I worked in a few a salons in Beverly Hills where Barbara Streisand , Diana Ross an Faye Dunaway were regulars. One of the highlights of my make-up career was doing Lisa Marie Presley’s make-up . She of course has the face dreams are made of. Chynna Phillips was another favorite face. Bond girl Maude Adams was one of the most beautiful and nicest clients I had during my career. I also had the chance to be one of the make-up artists for Thierry Mugler’s runway show. It was an amazing experience and certainly started me thinking how wonderful it would be to be a designer. Unfortunately some of the most memorable stories I can’t tell.
Q: Does anything you learned as a make-up artist translate your current fashion work?
Yes definitely. I did a lot of editorial shoot’s and worked with several fabulous photographers. I learned a lot during that period about lighting and styling. I incorporate all of that into my designs, styling and photographs today.
Q: You eventually relocated from California to Austin, Texas. What prompted the move? Does the culture and climate of Austin play into your artistry at all?
The move from California to Austin was a very big deal for me. I had lived in California my entire life. My husband former Billy Idol guitar player Mark Younger-Smith was a musician in Austin. His work required him to be in Austin so I moved. Austin culture is interesting but I mainly sell to London, Los Angeles and New York.
Q: Boudoir Queen is your current fashion label. When did the designs begin to take shape?
My Boudoir Queen style started in Los Angeles . The idea for my designs came from my obsession with Boudoir Doll’s and 1920′s boudoir décor. My first designs were metallic lace cuffs and boudoir doll face purses made by me.
Q: What is your inspiration for the Boudoir Queen line?
The Boudoir Queen line is inspired by 1920′s Boudoir Art Doll’s. At one time I had over 500 of them. Unlike most dolls from the mid 20th century, which were made for children, boudoir dolls were made for ladies. Their elaborate gowns of silk, rosette flowers and metallic lace inspired me to design doll clothes for people. We specialize in “Dolly Style” I’ve noticed this style has become quite the trend in Japan right now.
Q: Your line is very elegant and luxurious, yet tattered and torn at the same time. Does this speak to your view of the feminine at all?
Yes, I think women and their fashion can be a little rough around the edges, but can still be quite beautiful inside and out.
Q: You have quite an impressive client list, including Emmy Lou Harris, Courtney Love, and The Veronica’s. What are some of your proudest moments as a designer?
A couple of months ago we designed a special corset and choker for Evan Rachel Wood to wear in the new Carney Video. The video turned out amazing.
One of my proudest moments as a designer was creating a dress for Patty Griffin to wear for the Elizabeth Town premiere where she performed. Her thanking us on her Impossible Dream CD was very exciting. Patty Griffin brought Emmy Lou Harris to our studio in Austin. They sang together that night and both wore BQ. Emmy Lou Harris also wore a custom BQ chiffon dress in one of her videos.
Making uber elaborate head-dresses for Karen Elson and Sarah Sophie Flicker for the Citizens band performance in New York was also a highlight. Most recently Courtney Love wore one of our Boudoir Queen designs a duck egg blue dress on stage with Bono at Carnegie Hall. The Veronica’s also wore our clothes on the hit T.V. show So You Think You Can Dance. That was pretty thrilling as well.
Q: Who are your fashion idols?
Anita Pallenberg, Marchesa Casati, Paul Poiret Catherine Baba and Edie Sedgwick are a few of my muses. I also love Bette Davis. It was rumored that she had an embroidered pillow in her room that said “No Guts No Glory” I have taken that as my motto. You have to take risks in the fashion business.
Q: In your opinion, what should women address first in searching for that “perfect dress”?
Whenever I personally search for the “perfect dress” I always look for the unusual. I found that this was starting to become very difficult and at that point started having my clothes made. I do think that the way a dress fits is most important.
Q: What should our female readers look for in the perfect fashion accessory?
Quality. It needs to be well made. I also like an accessory that I can wear with many different outfits. Versatility is key. My jeweled cuffs and our new Boudoir Be-Decked jewelry line are some of my personal favorites.
I also recommend a hot pair of shoes, large rings and BQ Tap Pants under everything. Our tap pants are taking off big time. You can take a peek at them on our new website www.TheBoudoirQueen.com
Kim Stewart of Poisoned Creations talks monsters, DIY, her mini-me and her new crafting forum. Poisoned Creations will be vending next at Hot Rods and Heels on May 15th!
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
1. You’ve been on Etsy since 2007, but when and how did Poisoned Creations actually begin?
I think being crafty runs in my blood. My grandmother on my mom’s side sews and crafts like no other. My grandfather on my dad’s side used to run sweater machines and would make sweaters, scarves, etc. Poisoned Creations began sometime before May of that year. I started making baby bibs, blankets, and burp cloths for my unborn twin nephews. I was also making dresses and skirts for my daughter. My friends seemed to love the non-traditional prints that I used so I started making items for their kids. They encouraged me to start selling them based on responses that they were getting from strangers.
2. What are some of your sources of inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my love of culture, tattoos, music, cars and burlesque. They all inspire my styles, colors and prints. They also drive my passion and are where my ideas flow from. Some ideas have actually come in my dreams.
3. You’re active in the hotrod, burlesque and art scenes in the Dallas area, correct? Of those, do you have a favorite specialty, or is that the whole reason you decided to bring all those elements together in your business?
My husband is a photographer for custom car magazines so I started vending at the car shows since we always seemed to be at them anyway. They usually have good crowds and they always seemed to appreciate my fabric choices. From there I made more local contacts and decided to add craft and art shows. Eventually, I shifted the focus of my shop and started doing clothing. Burlesque shows quickly became my favorite places to vend. Unlike car shows, even when the weather isn’t that great, the crowd is always big and you always have a great show to watch.
4. Can you tell me more about your project Poisoned Monsters?
My daughter saw a sock monkey and really loved it but didn’t like the color. Me being the DIY type, I took it to a new level using my own style. It took a few tries to perfect my pattern but it worked! They are a hit at shows, whether it’s for a child or an adult who happens to collect weird dolls. When I shifted focus of my shop they really didn’t fit in. So after I got the clothing and accessories store going, I started to work on the Poisoned Monster shop. I do regular monsters but also have a line of character monsters that include the punk rocker, zombie and hippie.
5. You were a vendor at Hotrods and Heels last year and your designs were featured in the fashion show. Care to share about your experience at the event?
Hotrods and Heels was an absolute blast! It was my first fashion show. I was paired-up with three fabulous models: Amber Deville, Rachael Sin and Dolly Dangerous. All three showed off my designs very well and each had their own unique look that was so perfect! I loved how the show had a mixture of everything. While the ladies shopped the men had cars outside to keep them entertained. It was truly a one of a kind show. I can’t wait to do it again this year!
6. Based on your Myspace and Etsy sites, it seems the “do it yourself” mentality is very important to you. Can you offer any suggestions for those who’d like to try DIY?
Many major companies aren’t being mindful of where their products are coming from or what’s being used in them and I think that has pushed the growth of the DIY movement. You no longer have to choose the big corporations and their mass made products. You can choose to buy quality, hand-made items made from the best materials. As for advice, I would simply say just get out there, practice and try something new. There are all kinds of DIY tutorials on the internet that can help you. In an effort to support the DIY scene, my friend Cindy from Angry Girl Gear and myself have partnered up and will be coming out with a DIY forum called Attack of the Craft. It goes live April 1st. Whether you DIY for fun, own a shop or you just love handmade items, it’s a place to talk, get advice, tips, or just hang out. It’s a community where everyone has at least one thing in common – their love for DIY. The website is http://AttackoftheCraft.com.
7. What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect of being DIY?
The most challenging aspect of having a DIY business is time. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I work full time, have a daughter who’s in school and dance, travel with my husband when he’s doing photo shoots for magazines and I own my own business. It’s rough sometimes but I definitely wouldn’t change a thing. I adore being creative and making my own things. I do it all by myself but have the support of an awesome brother and sister-in-law who help me at shows. Other than that it’s a one woman shop.
8. How old is your daughter and does she have any involvement with your crafts? Are her interests similar to yours?
My daughter, Leila, is 10. She is very much my “mini-me.” When I do non-shop designs, she will pull up a chair next to me and try to help. She has her own crafts as well, from sewing felt stuffies, to screen printing (a kid’s screen printer) her own shirts, to making bubble magnets. She actually started selling bubble magnets at some of the shows that I have vended at in the past. She was so proud when people loved them and has even sold out at a few shows. She sometimes helps me package orders, pick out colors or fabrics and keeps me entertained while I sew.
9. Have you ever had any problems with someone copying your designs?
I have learned that people who copy will never succeed. They usually get bored and try to find the next “big thing” and move on. All you can do is improve your own product and keep on going.
10. What is your big picture goal for Poisoned Creations?
My big goal is to get my designs into shops around town and other cities. I have been concentrating on getting my name out there and working on my online presence.
Texas Burlesque Festival 2010: The Showdown
By: Coco Lectric Photos: Courtesy of Lynn Raridon
In its third year, the Texas Burlesque Festival brings you a show like none other with legends featured in the Burlesque Hall of Fame and over sixty performers from all over the US and Canada. This event kicks off on Thursday, April 22 in an evening dedicated to novelty. “Nouveau Nuit,” offers debut performances by seasoned performers and showcases new burlesque talent. The “Queen of the Blazing Bustier,” Pyra Sutra makes a feature performance. Don’t miss a Swarovsky studded evening of legends and headliners on Friday night with burlesque legend and master burlesque instructor, Satan’s Angel; long time burlesque producer, performer, magician and author, Dusty Summers; author and burlesque instructor Vivienne Vavoom; Miss Exotic World 2005 runner up, Torchy Taboo; former Miss Nude Universe, Tiffany Carter, and Miss Exotic World award winner, Indigo Blue. Saturday night undoubtedly brings you the hottest striptease competition Texas has ever seen. Contestants from all over the world don their pasties and passion for a chance at winning Best Solo, Best Tease, Best Ensemble, Best Costume, or Most Original. The reigning Queen of Burlesque, Canada, and award winning aerialist, Roxi D’Lite brings the event to a D’Liteful culmination with her feature performance. Jim Rose will host Friday and Saturday night.
Long time Austin producer and performer, Lynn Raridon producer of the Texas Burlesque Festival, is proud to be a part of such a uniquely Austin event. Former soundstage, The Independent, will host the event all three nights. While this venue has not traditionally been home to such sophisticated, cheeky talent, it has undergone drastic changes to accommodate burlesque and aerial performances. “It has a really good vibe for immediate feedback and rousing raucous response,” says Raridon. Performing in a downtown club is the answer to keeping the Texas Burlesque Festival “progressive and comfortable for audiences.” Raridon states that the festival “will always be in Austin” and that the venue will be unique from other festivals with an Austin-casual artistic freshness; she doesn’t want burlesque to become “this homogenized theatrical art.”
Nouveau Nuit is new for the festival; Raridon is excited about encouraging new artists and the evolution of burlesque and feels that “if we don’t provide a venue to nurture new pieces and new performers, burlesque could go stagnant.”
In addition to the lovely legends of Friday night hometown sweethearts from the Lollibombs and the Jigglewatts will perform. Dallas girls, Athena Fatale, Courtney Crave and Vivienne Vermouth will also grace the stage. Texas welcomes Lydia D. Carllo and Honey B. Hind from Canada and Orchid Mei of Denver, just to name a few.
Saturday night’s ultimate Texas showdown brings famed performers from all over the world out of the woodwork: Renea Le Roux and Gia Nova, Atlanta; Red Hot Annie and Viva La Muerte, Chicago; Katherine Lashe, Avondale Estates, Georgia; Talloolah Love, Decatur, Georgia; Flame Cynders, San Francisco; Hottie McNaughty, Lake Stevens, Washington; and Tomahawk Tassels, Minneapolis. Local performers include: La Divina, Ginger Valentine, Black Mariah, Honey Cocoa Bordeaux, and the Lollibombs, Dallas; and Ruby Joule, Coco Lectric, The Mystic, Carousel Cabaret, Treats in Tights, Austin. Kitty Kitty Bang Bang reunites for a special performance Saturday evening, as well.
Texas Burlesque Festival 2010, April 22-25. The Independent, Austin, TX. General admission $15, $25 seat. www.TexasBurlesqueFest.com
By: Hella Goode
Here we are in the midst of another Depression, and coincidentally at a peak of popularity in the world of roller derby. Why a coincidence? Roller derby, although baring a rockin’ powerful image now, was born as a coed sport during the first Great Depression.
Brainchild of Chicagoan, Leo Seltzer, the sport debuted in 1935 as a nearly marathon race of over 50,000 laps around the rink. A few years later, realizing that violence sells, roller derby skaters got more competitive and physical. Becoming a huge TV hit in the 1950’s, derby female skaters began to become stars of the sport and turned into household names. After its rowdy youth, the sport began to spin its wheels in the 1970’s. Maybe it was disco that took its toll, who knows, but for whatever reason, roller derby athletes hung up their skates.
From time to time I have flashbacks of watching roller derby as a child in the 1980’s with groups like Blondie heading up the entertainment. Is this a figment of my imagination? Did roller derby ever really bite the big one?
Even if it did, there were still believers. So, like many things magical, at the turn of the millennium a group of Austin ladies decided that roller derby needed to be brought back from the dead. Anya Jack, April Herman, Heather Burdick and Nancy Lynn, the She-EO’s as they like to be called, formed TXRD Texas Roller Derby Lonestar Rollergirls, and Bad Girls, Good Women. Their passion for the sport was fierce as they battled their way through hoops, injuries and discord as to how to give birth to a league that would last and win over new fans. The original teams: Putas del Fuego, Rhinestone Cowgirls, Holy Rollers, and the Cherry Bombs and the Hellcats inspired a new generation of skaters, hard-knockin’ ladies and athletes to join up, form teams, and leagues all over the United States.
The local DFW Metroplex scene has a very active group of ladies who skate in the Assassination City league, ACDerby.com. These tough ladies have bouts the third Saturday of every month at Dad’s Broadway Skateland in Mesquite. So, go out and support them!
Dayla Cox, from Flower Mound (Flower Mound seems almost too good of an alias to use), who (although currently on hiatus) skated under the name Trayla Park, gives Pin Curl some insight into the roller derby experience.
For her, the roar of the crowd is the adrenaline rush that makes her skate harder. Of course, there are good and bad nights. Trayla Park still feels guilty about crashing into another girl (who just so happened to be one of the founders) at practice during her virgin days in the rink, leaving her needing pins in her leg. She also has a rival, known as Calypso Crash, who she says is evil. “She knocks people on their asses for the fun of it.”
This is a sport where some are meant to participate and others are destined to be spectators. Yet, according to Trayla Park, roller derby isn’t exclusive to those who wish to join the ranks. Outgoing girls, no matter what they do during the day should try to jab their way in. The more the merrier (until the bout, that is).
Roller Derby today is always open to new skaters, but what they also need is attention to keep support strong, like media attention, the movie, Whip It, directed by Drew Barrymore, and local businesses sponsorship. Even by being a spectator, fans can support roller derby and ensure that it stays a thriving monument to women’s prowess in sports.
Trayla says that, “the derby revival shows that women are fiercely competitive creatures in the sports world. We may use our sexuality to our advantage, but the real draw is the power of competitive sport.”
To see just what the She-EO’s and other ladies went through to bring back roller derby, check out the documentary, Hell on Wheels, or their website, http://www.txrd.com/.
Festivals and Competition
Part of the “Ask a Burlesque Entertainer” Series with Black Mariah
I have been applying to festivals and I am not having much luck getting into them. Any tips on raising my chances for getting my application accepted into festivals? “Cindy”, Texas
Festivals are becoming more and more competitive as the number of Burlesque performers and the popularity of burlesque itself reaches unheard of levels! If you are applying to festivals and not having much luck getting in, don’t fret, and certainly don’t get down on yourself as a performer! Rejection is hard, but you can use the experience to learn and reflect on yourself as a performer. This is how we grow!
First, when you find a festival or burlesque competition of which you would like to apply, go to the website and read through everything. Consider your expenses to participate beginning with the application fee if any. Currently, there aren’t any festivals which will offer to cover travel expenses for their applicants. If the travel is simply not something you could make right now, don’t apply. Acceptance to the festival without the finances to complete the journey is simply irresponsible. There are no burlesque fairy godmothers and although many festivals may offer an honorarium, the honorarium is generally about the amount of the local pay for a performance, and usually not enough to cover even your hotel expenses.
Next, read through the festival’s website entirely. Beginning with the festival’s “about” section and continue onto the showcase description to get an idea of what type of performances the producers are looking to book. Look for clue terms like “Classic” or “traditional”, even “vaudevillian”, “neo-burlesque”. Some festivals focus on particular styles of burlesque, while other welcome any style and even leave room for supporting acts a la true Vaudevillian showcase. When you find exactly what the festival is focused on, consider if you have a routine which fits into the festival’s focus.
Read through the application and make sure you have and send everything that is required to apply. Make a checklist! Core requirements for submission will always be a high res photo (300 dpi is high res), the application filled out entirely, and a bio of you or your group, as well as an MP3 of your music. I cannot stress the importance of filling out your application entirely and sending the files requested EXACTLY as the producers ask for them. Leaving information blank without a reason or ignoring required files gives the impression that you don’t care enough to give the information, or worse, that you or your intended routine isn’t ready. There will be tons of applications filled out completely with routines finished and ready to perform. Leaving questions blank or required items off of the application will only make other complete applications a better candidate.
Many festivals are requiring video of your intended performance now. Video is getting much easier to capture and upload with the invention of the oh-so-chic and portable “flash video camcorders” video camera with moderate memory and can place the video on a computer with just a USB cable. No software required. If you are having trouble getting video in a reasonable, upload capable format, then investing $200 or less in one of these cameras will make your life much easier. There is much debate over the success of applicants based on the environment the video is shot. As a recent producer of a show, I can say for certain that as long as the routine is complete, the costume and prop is present and working, and the sound is reasonable, a good producer can get a good idea if you are festival material. Live shows are thought to be preferred for submissions by many due to the crowd reaction and the energy a performer inevitably turns on when in front of an audience. In theory, this sounds correct, but so much can interfere with a live video that could hinder, rather than help your chances. Crowd cheers can interfere with the sound clarity, that guy, at any show, who’s head magically appears in front of the lens in the one good video you have of your routine, blackouts and club light that changes intensity can make the camera focus hit or miss, or even technical problems with a show, just to name a few. Unless you know some video software savvy individuals who are willing to help you shoot on pro equipment, edit video or dub sound on the cheap, just submit the best video you have of you performing your routine to the best of your ability. If you film the routine in a studio, perform the number as if it were a live show, with full hair and make-up, all props and costumes present and in use for the video.
Also, filming location should be at the most professional level you can afford. A dance studio is ideal if you cannot manage a live stage shoot with an audience. If you have an open space in your home, that is fine as well as long as there are no other distractions in the video which will not be in your routine. Pets, furniture, ringing telephones, noise from appliances (TVs), commentary from the videographer or any vocalization from off camera, and especially CHILDREN are undesirable inclusions to a submission video.
Look at applying for festivals as though you were applying for a high paying job. Dress your best, bring a portfolio of the most amazing routines, and give them everything they ask for. If you give the producers everything they need to consider you, you can wait for the answer with confidence. If you still aren’t accepted as a performer, re-evaluate your submission and your performance portfolio and work for the next year on making your submission routines better and more desirable to a producer.
Lastly, should you be accepted into a festival, make sure you submit everything asked by the required deadlines. If for some reason, you are unable to meet your deadline, call or email the producer to let them know the hold up and the next opportunity you will be able to send your file. Communication with your producer is crucial for repeat booking.
- 1 oz blue curaçao
- 1 oz white crème de cacao
- Pour the blue curaçao and crème de cacao over ice cubes in an old fashioned glass.
- Float the half-and-half on top to taste.
In the boudoir with Dayla
Your sex questions answered by the lovely Dayla, Passion Party Consultant
What are anal beads and how do they work? Becky, Kansas
Anal beads are beads of various sizes attached by a string and a ring that prevent them from being dislodged and lost in space. They are inserted into the anus one at a time during sex and then removed at various speeds to heighten orgasm.
And folks, there is a reason anal toys are some of my best sellers. The sphincter contains many nerve endings that can be extremely pleasurable with pressure or stimulation. Anal beads come in various sizes. Beginners often prefer the smaller varieties, while others enjoy the intensity of larger ones. The key to using them is lubrication and relaxation. Don’t be scared of the anal beads! Just don’t rip them out like you are trying to start a lawn mower, and you will be ok. And remember clean well with a body safe toy cleaner like Passion Parties “Clean and Simple.” And note that now there are more hygienic and easier to clean versions that are now made with silicon or plastic like the Passion Party Love Wand or the Pleasure Anchor.