I heard this song in a burlesque show a long time ago and I have been dying to use it in a number. However I feel a little weird about it…Do you think it might be OK for me to use the same song since the other performer did it a long time ago?
This is a good question! No one performer can claim the rights to any song legally. Songs belong to the artist that originally performed the song or even the record company who produced it. From a legal standpoint, using songs used by other performers is not illegal and you won’t get sued. From a social standpoint, however, its a good idea to avoid song crossovers with other performers.
This is incredibly difficult however, since most performers don’t publish their song lists, and it’s nearly impossible to show up at every burlesque show know a performer’s entire repertoire. Try, if at all possible, to avoid songs used by other performers, at least within a 50 mile radius or within the same performing circles. If you know the song is used by another burlesque performer and you feel using the song may cause an awkward situation, simply ask the dancer if he/she would mind if you used the song as well. Many times, the performer will not mind at all , so long as you are not using their concept as well. Don’t be offended if the performer does mind you using the particular song. You have avoided an impending conflict by asking, and there could be circumstances you are unaware of giving rise to the performer turning down your request. The song may be part of a performer’s signature act, or they have won prestige and recognition with the use of that song, which would be a very valid reason to turn down another performers request to use the same song.
Performing a song that another performer uses knowingly is insulting to the other peformer, insinuating that you could take their inspiration and do it better. None of us want to insult eachother, do we? Some crossovers are just unavoidable. The problem lies when two performers, who want to use the same song, end up on the same stage together in one evening. It happens a lot more than performers imagine it possibly could, especially in a festival situation.
The best advice I can give is this: if you are just set on performing the song, look into other versions performed by other artists. Sometimes you can find very interesting covers of songs that are even better than the original recording! Another sure fire way to have an original piece of music to perform to is to either have a musician compose an original piece for you or to remix the music you want to use. The finest music are pieces that sample other songs or combine two songs into a longer number. This route ensures that no one can possibly end up performing the same number as you without blatantly stealing your music mix! Originality is the key to a unique performance.
Love and Tassels,
Since going solo a year ago, Dallas’ Rose Darling has been performing everywhere from Chicago to New Orleans, while still saving some time for Dallas. Rose talks geeks, Batman, and the pervertazzi.
Interview & photographs: Shoshana of Through the Looking Glass
Q: You have been solo a little less than a year now, yet you’ve had some amazing opportunities already! What are some of your most memorable accomplishments to date and why?
The way things keep going, my last accomplishment becomes the most memorable. I keep getting involved in more and more exciting things. My last now being the New Orleans Burlesque Fest. My first festival and my first time in New Orleans. And I got to perform, not only at the House of Blues, but in New Orleans, for a burlesque festival. How cool is that? I was so lucky to be chosen and have a chance to meet all the people I’ve been watching perform on YouTube in awe and see them perform in real life!
Q: Some of your performances and appearances have a comical super hero slant to them. Do you have an inner geek? (I use geek in the sexiest way)
I don’t think it’s quite considered an inner geek, as soon as you meet me I think most people figure that out. hah!
And to be honest, this whole sexy thing came way later than the geek thing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing dress-up when I was little, but I was brought up by computer programmers. It’s in my blood to be geeky. In fact, I’ll be making an homage to that side of me in a future dance. My friend Chris was joking that if I was a Goonies character, I would be the Asian kid (Data) with all the gadgets. Haha!
I’ve done a Barbarella number, as you know, cause Barbarella is just awesome. She’s in space, has limitless amounts of costume changes and she’s hot. Sounds perfect for a burlesque number to me! The Ms. Marvel themed Dr. Sketchy’s I got volunteered for, not that I’m complaining! When I was a model for a figure drawing class in college, there was this one guy that would always draw me as a superhero. I think my figure leans towards those superhero woman, you know: tall, big boobies.
Q: If you were a superhero, who would you be? What would your name be- what powers would you have?
My favorite superhero is Batman, he’s kinda James Bond like. Suave with lots of gadgets (see a trend here?). As far as me being a superhero, well I can’t tell you my superhero name for the sake of being caught by the evil villains that are trying to stop my do-gooding ways. My powers would to be able to transport myself anywhere at any time. Make clones of myself that will do my work for me (so I can do more important things like, you know, saving the world). And being able to see through people’s clothing so I can see them naked. Hot.
Q: What was one thing that really inspired you during your New Orleans experience, or one big lesson you learned?
There are many lessons I’ve learned, some from watching others, some from my own experiences. What I’m really working on now is connecting with the audience. When I was watching the Queen of Burlesque competition in New Orleans, the ones that impressed me the most where the ones that connected with the audience. There is something about that. Me, personally, while I was in the audience felt like I was being held up by the little pinky of whomever was dancing. If you looked at my face I would have had this happy spacey grin. I was connected.
Q: After performing in several US cities including Chicago, New Orleans, and Dallas, are their regional trends you have spotted or observations you have made about the different communities?
Every city has the pervertazzi! I can’t really say there was a trend in each city. All girls have their own influences and flavors.
Q: You can have dinner with any five people, past or present, who do you choose and why?
Lauren Bacall she’s a sharp talking badass with class.
Tom Robbins (an author) he would be cracking dirty jokes to keep me laughing but stimulating the conversation at the same time.
Paul Pope for those who do not know him, he’s my favorite comic book writer/illustrator but he’s also thoughtful and well read.
Dorothy Parker she’s another sharp talking BAWC (I think you know my type now).
Don Draper (ok I’m doing imaginary, too) I don’t think I need to explain this.
Q: What does the future hold for Rose Darling? Any upcoming projects we should know about?
I would like do more out of town gigs. I was also thinking about keeping the trend of applying to burlesque festivals in cities I’ve never been to. Bonjour Montreal!
Miami-based pin-up model Jenna Beth talks Cupcake Pin-Ups, being a history geek, Marie Antoinette, and her addictions to tattoos and Food Network.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
You’re a stylist, right? Do you do hair and make-up?
Yes, I do hair and make-up, but I mainly focus on wardrobe, accessorizing, and giving posing direction. I’ve done my own hair and make-up in about 60% of my shoots. I worked in the cosmetics business for about 7 years, so I actually really enjoy that part.
What’s your favorite era as far as styling is concerned?
I love the 40-50s. The style was so feminine, classy, and sexy, while still leaving something to the imagination. I like almost anything vintage. I have my bachelor’s in History, and I’m kind of a history geek, so I love many different styles throughout the decades. I’m actually working on putting together a Marie Antoinette shoot. Not very pin-up, I know, but I think it would still be great.
What made you decide to get a history degree? Do you have a favorite historical time period?
Originally I wanted to be a high school history teacher, but then found out you need an education degree, not a history degree…horrible advisers. I like anything from the Renaissance, also the American Civil War, but mainly I prefer European history. I decided to do my thesis on local (where I went to college and my hometown – Cincinnati, Ohio) history. I’m kind of all over the place.
How long have you been pin up modeling and how did you get started?
I’ve been pin-up modeling for about 2 years. I’m pretty new to it and kind of a late bloomer. I completely fell into it by accident; I had just always loved the style and decide to give it a shot. It’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
How long have you been working with Cupcake Pin Ups?
I’m actually half the business of Cupcake Pin-ups, the other half consisting of my photographer/business partner/boyfriend. I came up with the name and he made the logo. We’ve been doing this for about a year now. Before me he didn’t specialize in pin-up, but he catches on pretty fast!
What/who are your creative inspirations for styling and/or modeling?
I love Petty, Alberto Vargas, Elvgren and Olivia for inspiration.
How many tattoos do you have?
I have 4 tattoos. I have a tiny dove on my hip, scales (Libra) on my back, a fan and cherry blossoms covering one side (ribcage to hip), and a peacock down the other side. They’re pretty large, but hardly anyone ever sees them unless I’m at the pool or on a shoot. I like the fact I can cover them if I need to. I kind of want another. Yes, they are addictive.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I love traveling and seeing new places. I’m headed to London this month, and I’m so excited! I also like cooking; I watch the Food Network way too much. Something I used to do, and would love to get back into is dancing, like ballroom/swing/lindy/salsa-type dancing. I miss it, and it’s probably what got me interested in the 40′s -50′s style about 11 years ago.
Do you have any advice for aspiring pin up models?
I would say when you’re just starting out, don’t be a diva. You will always catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Confidence is great; arrogance is not. Second, know the difference between quality and quantity. Ten photos in your portfolio that are awesome and well thought out (that you might NOT get for free) are better than 50 photos that are poorly done. Lastly, work what you have. That’s the great thing about pin-up compared to some other genre, like fashion. You can be petite, plus-size, thin or curvy. It takes all kinds.
In the last few years, the US, particularly Texas and California, have taken notice of the Mexican celebration known as Dia de los Muerto, or the Day of the Dead. Cavaleras (or skulls) that are brightly decorated, or skeletons wearing clothing and engaging in activities- playing music, getting married, etc., have become popular imagery for clothing and accessories. Sure, you recognize the fashion trend, but do you understand the origins? Our resident tri-lingual librarian, Hella Goode, enlightens us.
The origins of this awe-inspiring holiday can be traced back a few thousand years or more to the heyday of the Aztec Empire in Central and Southern Mexico. The Aztec religion and gods viewed death as part of the circle of life, and were positive that it was just a step from rebirth. Death was nothing to fear, but to celebrate as a rite of passage. They worshiped the Lady of Death, a goddess called Mictecacihuatl throughout their month-long celebration. They gathered marigolds, as the sweet smell they believed would guide the dead back home, making marigolds the official flower of the celebration.
Of course, when the Spanish arrived, just as they were with most of the indigenous activities, they refused to value this celebration. They were horrified to see death glorified instead of mourned and dedicated themselves to spreading Catholicism throughout the land. The Day of the Dead traditions were so deeply rooted in the Aztec culture, however, that the Spanish found it impossible to get rid of altogether. Instead, they blended their Christian beliefs with the Aztec beliefs. The month-long event became the new three-day celebration that still exists in Mexico and Latin America.
Around this time of year, markets are flooded with Day of the Dead supplies, including popular artist renderings of the Day of the Dead, paper mache or wooden carved figurines of skeletons or “calacas” doing everything from getting married to playing guitar to eating dinner. They are not sad or scary but happy, celebrating their rebirth. They make people laugh. One of the most popular images from this celebration is that of the “Catrina” or the sophisticated lady calaca. She usually wears the fanciest of dresses, a hat, and is often depicted smoking. She was first made by an artist by the name of Jose Guadalupe Posada, born in 1852 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He was originally an illustrator, but enjoyed crafting as well. His image of the sophisticated lady, Catrina, is the first that inspired many today.
Day of the Dead begins on October 31st, what we recognize as Halloween. This is the day that preparations are made for family altars for the dead which are kept in the home. They usually feature a photo of the deceased, marigolds, the deceased’s favorite foods, and typical Day of the Dead adornments such as candy skulls, tamales, or a piece of “pan de los muertos” or “bread of the dead.” Sometimes families also use “papel picado” or tissue paper cut into intricate designs and burn incense.
November first is called “All Saints Day” in honor of children who have passed away. It is said that on this day the spirits of the children, “angelitos” or little angels, return to their families. Then, on November second, the official Day of the Dead is celebrated. It is also known as “All Souls Day.” On this day, families will visit the cemetery of their family members who have passed, and picnic at their grave which has been decorated with candles, marigolds, a photo, and favorite toys or foods. They sing and carry on, feeling the soul of their loved one beside them. They celebrate way into the night and sometimes until the next morning.
Meanwhile, here in the US, kids are still recovering from their sugar hangovers, and haven’t really reflected on anything more deep than the extent their finger will go into a marshmallow or why Ms. King wasn’t afraid of their Friday the 13th mask. Others will appreciate it artistically, using its colorful displays in their own arts and crafts, and begin to reflect on their own life and rebirth. Like it says in the Lion King, “we are all part of the circle of life.”
Cano, Theresa. Day of the Dead art. http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dead/articles/dead-history3.html
Heinrichs, Ann. Day of the Dead. The Child’s World, 2006.
Denton-based crafter, hot-rod enthusiast, and army wife Dakota Darling talks sewing, Day of the Dead, and pop culture.
Interview: Shoshana Photographs: Courtesy of Dakota Darling
Q: Tell us about the birth of Dakota Darling Designs. How did you get your start and what’s the story behind the name?
I’ve always been crafty! My father is an artist and a photographer, so I grew up in a home with a darkroom and a closet full of art supplies at my fingertips, and my grandmother insisted that I learn to sew before I was even old enough to see over the top of the table!
Selling my art started in high school and trickled into college, but I never really worked at it very hard-life got in the way! I decided to start re-working my designs and selling my goods on a more serious level about a year ago when I was asked to be one of the darlings for Hot Rods and Heels. Since then, I’ve opened an Etsy store and I have a website dedicated solely to my work! When I’m not working my day job teaching art, I work on my designs and my inventory for upcoming events.
I grew up in a small town in North Dakota and I’m always very proud to say that I’m from there. I was struggling with what to call my new “company” and my best friend came up with Dakota Darling. I loved it! It really suits me, I think!
Q: When did your love affair with sewing and knitting begin?
Oh, goodness…I can’t remember NOT knowing how to sew. I was so young when my grandmother started to teach me, it’s just what we did together. It’s something that really spoke to me. I have some really funny “clothes” that I made for my dolls when I was about 6. They are hand sewn and made from some of the ugliest polyester pants you could imagine! My mother also has a pillow that I made out of an old sweater when I was about the same age.
I started designing and making clothes for myself when I got my first Singer sewing machine for Christmas. I think I was around 11 years old. Once I had my own machine, that’s all I wanted to do!
Knitting and other fiber art came WAY later. Over the last ten years or so, I’ve challenged myself to learn a new craft every year. About 4 years ago, it was knitting. I bought myself the first Stitch N’ Bitch book, a set of needles, and a ball of pink yarn to get myself started. The moment I figured it out, it was like dancing! I love the clicking of the needles and the methodical nature of the beast. The only time I am sitting still for longer than 15 minutes is when I’m knitting. I can’t get enough of it!!
Q: You’ve become known for your Dia de los Muertos inspired purses, which are popular year around. What’s behind the current fascination with calaveras?
I’m not really sure, but I think the state of the nation has something to do with it, to be honest. With the influx of the Mexican population comes the influence of the Mexican culture. People who have never been exposed to the celebrations and art that coincides with the Mexican culture are starting be exposed to it and its beauty. Here, locally, they are starting to appreciate it more and more. Also, with hot rod culture on the up and up, skulls in general are becoming very popular. The idea of Calaveras and “hot rod art” becoming pop culture is kind of crazy to me…
Q: When not creating art, how do you spend your free time?
I have two young boys to wrangle!! My kids keep me so busy! As I mentioned before, I’m an art teacher, so I’m at school from 7:30 until around 5:00 Monday through Friday and I do crazy stuff with my kids most weekends. My husband works out of town, so I am a married single mom rearing my boys practically on my own! When he’s home, we do things as a family, so there is really no such thing as free time!
Q: What does the future hold for Dakota Darling Designs? Any upcoming projects or events our readers should know about?
I try not to look too far into the future. I am enjoying the ride!! My art and photography is starting to make its way here and there, so we’ll see, I suppose! I will have some handmade ornaments (and possibly some other art) on display at the Oxide gallery in Denton in November and December and the next show that I will be doing is the Gifts and Garters show on December 5th in Dallas. Holiday shopping season is around the corner, so I’m rolling up my sleeves and stocking up on yarn and fabric!!
Find out more about where to find Dakota’s goods at www.dakotadarling.com.
Night of Mourning (Noche de Duelo) Designs’ mastermind Angie Wood discusses Guatemala, Buddy Holly, her grandmother, and her artistic aspirations.
Interview: Divertida Devitchka Photographs: courtesy of Angie Wood
You state in your Myspace profile that you were “raised to embrace (your) culture even though at times (you) didn’t.” How and when did you not embrace your culture, and what brought about your decision to begin incorporating it into your art?
My mom, brother and I were all born in Guatemala. I wasn’t raised there as they were. Going back to visit wasn’t a big deal for me until after high school. I didn’t remember those people so to me it wasn’t like I was missing anything. By that time it had been two years since I’d been back and by then my grandmother had passed away. I have great memories of her – staying up late, eating candy and decorating for the holidays. My first taste of tequila was with her in Guatemala City. Maybe it’s just a lot of guilt for not really caring about my heritage growing up, but every time I craft or decorate it’s like I’m young again, getting ready for the holidays.
From what influences do you draw to create your art? It’s apparent that el Día de los Muertos is a big factor.
Life experiences and remembering history. My most recent shrine was of Buddy Holly after a night of listening to my Crickets record. So much history and ideology comes to my head when I hear his music. Lots of beauty and irony.
Your profile also says that you honor life and death and that they are the only things that are certain. Is your art your way of honoring life and death?
I think it is. There’s always some theme or idea behind my work, or at least I try to have one. Last year I did an altar honoring my mother who is living and my grandmother who is not. Almost always I’ll try to have it balanced – yin and yang.
How long have you been creating art and jewelry?
About 2 years as a seller on Etsy. Even if I sell 3 things a year to me it’s meditation and to someone else it might be art or a new favorite item.
Tell me more about your creations. Do you primarily create shrines and altars? What made you decide that there was a market for that type of art?
I make more jewelry throughout the year; more folks seem interested in a one of a kind necklace they can wear out. I don’t think Dallas has a market for shrines/altars just yet. Most people forget about Day of the Dead until the month of. Right now I’m working with small coffin boxes and zebra print. All items are one of a kind, and if there is a duplicate I have it but it will never be exactly the same. For Christmas and birthdays I do custom work.
Any big developments or events on the horizon for you and/or your art?
Doing more shows! I’ve done a few hot rod shows and did a burlesque show. I participated with my husband in two Day of the Dead art shows last year and I’m hoping for the opportunity to do it again this year.
What are your aspirations as an artist?
To make beautiful items that people will not want to throw away when they have to move, haha. Right now I just do it for fun. I try to keep a nostalgic feel to the necklaces I make. I’d eventually like to have my own line of jewelry picked up by Daddy-O’s, Sourpuss or Pinup Girl Clothing.
Anything you’d like to add?
Thanks a lot for checking out my stuff. I look forward to meeting more people who share the passion of doing it yourself. Without Discrimination Death Takes Us All.
Article & Photos: Ginger Valentine
It’s been a few weeks since my trip to New Orleans for the First Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival and I am already missing the city. I can’t help it; those who’ve been there will understand. However, my objective is not to get too sentimental but instead share with you dear reader, the details of my latest adventure.
When I first arrived at the Westin, I had to dash across the street to the theater at the Harrah’s Casino for a tech rehearsal. I walked the stage while they tested my music. After 20 minutes and pausing to give fellow performer and Texan Ruby Joule a quick kiss on the cheek, I was free for a couple of hours before I had to get ready for the Mondo Showcase later that evening.
It was pouring rain (as it did off and on for the entire weekend), but luckily we had access to a car so Rose Darling and I (plus our gentlemen) took off to a fabulous spot on Magazine Street called Joey K’s. I ravished my roast beef po’boy in a most savage manner but no one seemed to mind too much. After lunch it was time to go back to get gussied up for the New Orleans Rum Party at the Westin Bar. At this point, my mind was already focused on that evening: The Mondo Showcase. Soon it was back to the room to gather my things and off to the theater.
I was so honored to have been selected to perform in this showcase, especially with so many performers that I admire and love. I don’t remember much from my show except waiting in the wings and listening to my intro. I couldn’t believe how much love was out there in the house, and I couldn’t believe that I was there about to do my number. After that I don’t remember much until after I’d finished my act. They had a really nice flat-screen monitor backstage so we were able to watch the show. Michelle L’amour blew everyone away with her heart number. That was the highlight for me.
After the show, Rose and I met up with Mia Vixen from San Diego and the Chicago crew (Michelle and her Starlets) at Coop’s on Decatur where I had a well-deserved Abita beer and fried shrimp po’boy. It was late when we got there, and nobody else was in the tiny restaurant, but in less than a minute we filled it with hungry strippers and friends.
And then finally, sleep.
Saturday I jumped out of bed early considering how late I fell asleep. We walked around the Quarter for a bit and had some breakfast (I use this term loosely) at The Napoleon House. We wandered a bit after lunch and window shopped at Trashy Diva and Fifi Mahoney’s and then we stumbled into the Daiquiri bar. Daiquiris are really popular in New Orleans and there are bars everywhere dedicated only to daiquiris. We each tried the Tiger Teaser (named after the LSU Tigers) which seemed to consist of Everclear and some kind of citrus. Saturday afternoon included more fun with beignets and coffee with Michelle and the Starlets at Café du Monde and then drinks at Tujaque’s.
After we stumbled back to the hotel room, I only had a couple of hours to sober up with coffee and a shower, get dressed and help Rose Darling with her hair. I must be super woman, because I got all of it done, Miss Darling’s hair looked fabulous and we took our seats for the Queens of Burlesque Show just as the house band was starting up.
The Queens of Burlesque Show was the best show I’ve ever seen. All of the ladies were so polished and beautiful. Each act was a little mini production all on its own. I strongly encourage any aspiring burlesque starlets to see as many top-notch performers live as much as possible, you learn so much. I was cheering for my Minneapolis sweetie, Ophelia Flame, but I was very excited to see everyone else too. Perle Noire was crowned the winner and deservedly so. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much energy and power in a striptease act. Catherine D’lish received 1st Runner Up and Lola Van Ella from St. Louis was the 2nd Runner up for her campy and naughty cake and frosting number.
After the Queens show, we dashed off to the House of Blues for the Late Night Burlesque Bash to cheer on fellow Dallasites: La Divina, Scarlette Switches and Rose Darling; Vivienne Vermuth looked dazzling as a stage kitten. Coco Lectric from Austin also performed as well as my friend from Denver, Fannie Spankings. The House of Blues was packed with fans and the girls gave them their all. Catherine D’lish capped off the show by setting the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest feather fan dance. It was certainly a sight to see.
There was one more show on Sunday, but we had to pack up and head back to Dallas. It was such an amazing journey and I’m so glad that my first national burlesque festival was in a city that I love so much. I can’t wait for next year, whether I’m going as a fan or performer, I am certainly going back and I can’t wait.
Almost all of the big name pin-up models wear red lipstick. All of the modern beauty magazines say not to line your lips when wearing red, and to do minimal eye make-up. When I try and wear red, I’m just not pulling it off. How can I successfully create the vintage pinup look with red lipstick? — Samantha in Houston
Samantha in Houston,
Red lips are a classic pinup look and can pick up your whole face when you don’t have a lot of time for makeup. My best advice for wearing them well is to always apply a dark or bright lipstick with a lip brush so that you have total control and can achieve perfect symmetry. If you are not comfortable with a true red, then try a sheer red lipstick or gloss, or tone it down with a brown lip liner. Just be sure to blend really well! It also helps to wear a light application of a bright blush in the same tone as the lipstick. This will pull the whole look together. The general rule with red lips is to keep the eyes more neutral. You can’t go wrong with a nice black liquid eyeliner on the upper lash line. Now go and be fabulous!
–LaDonna Hearne of Drop Dead Gorgeous
The eerie color of this twist on the classic Martini makes it the perfect easy-to-make cocktail for your Halloween party. Happy Haunting!
3 1/2 oz gin or vodka
1/2 oz blackberry brandy
lemon twist or black olive for garnish
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish.