How To Break Into The Business of the Arts – 5 Tips To Get You Noticed

the-slipper-room.jpg
“Dear Danger…
I’ve a question I’m hoping you can help with. I work hard on my other creative dreams and and yet I find myself craving more, craving the stage. Every night, I dance to my favourite swing and jazz tunes, and practice my strip tease. I have my routines, my costumes, my music. But what do I do next? How do I take myself out of my bedroom and in front of the audience I desire so much?

Faithfully yours,
Burlesque Dreams

Great question! Danger Addicts- whether you are looking to break into burlesque, or music, or writing, or art, or storytelling, or dance…here’s tips that will work for all of you:

Break On Through Step #1:  Go See Shows/Hang Out Where People Are Doing What You Want To Do.

Chances are….you become who you hang out with.
Hang out with a bunch of musicians? You’re gonna find yourself with an instrument in your hands one wild night.
Hang out with a gaggle of burlesque girlies? You’re going to go home in glitter one day.
You get the picture.

Watching shows and hanging out afterward will help you get your foot in the door.

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I went to every single burlesque show that was out there before I had the courage to take the stage…from the original Galapagos in Brooklyn to the original Slipper Room in NYC. I started to talk to the girls after the shows and tell them how much I loved what they were doing. Before long…that inevitable moment came, when World Famous BOB asked me to do her “New Revue”. She told me to be there on a date in May and walked away before I could say no.

Photo of World Famous BOB by Amy Touchette.

Photo of World Famous BOB (right side of photo) by Amy Touchette.

Break On Through Step #2: Take a Class For What You Want To Do.

Taking a class will help you in three ways:
1. You will learn.
2. You get to have regular interaction with someone actually doing what you want to do.
3. You get to be surrounded with like-minded people who you might be able to team up with.

I took one of the first classes that the New York School of Burlesque offered.
It was at The Bowery Poetry Club and Jo Weldon the Head Mistress and Instructor, blew my mind.
I got a greater sense of what burlesque was about,
I worked up the courage to talk to Jo after class and tell her how much she inspired me (she’s one of my best friends to this day),
and I met a girl named Trixie in class who was performing with a troupe named “Ixion” who invited me to come down and perform with them.

The Fabulous Jo Weldon.

The Incredible Jo Weldon.

Break On Through Step #3: Keep Practicing, Learning and Exploring.

With burlesque back then, and with music now…I comb through Netflix to watch bios on how the greats got their start. I watch youtube videos of people all over the world doing their thing and rocking it out. Through people’s comments on my youtube channel and the things I put out there – I’ve found other amazing people in the community across the world.

Here’s a video that my friend, Lavender Firefly, shot of me performing years ago – introduced by World Famous BOB and with Albert from Ixion on the piano.

Break On Through Step #4: Make a Strong Choice On Your Personal “Trademark” and stick with it.

Ask Yourself:

What are the most unique things about you?

and

How can you best express your style and individual character?

Make it memorable and fun and stick with it!

I personally love the fantasy of performing….I love watching my favorite roll and roll bands and burlesque performers in their costumes and wildness.
I live for seeing the false eyelashes, the glitter lips, the sparkly costumes.
I love seeing the “guyliner” and the fitted pants and different things that make each performer unique.
I don’t want the fantasy shattered with some boring ass ponytail, shorts and a t-shirt with coffee stains before the show. But maybe that’s just me.

I gravitate toward that 1940s glamour look and also the 1940s “Bad Girl” femme fatale vibe in my performing.
When I get ready to go to a show, I pick out clothes and accessories that will give that vibe without me having to say a thing!
Your “street” clothes (the clothes you arrive in to a show or event) are just as important as the costumes you wear on stage.

Break On Through Step #5: Always Be Supportive and Kind With Other Performers.
Let’s face it – performing can be terrifying sometimes.
Offering words of encouragement back stage to other performers and hooting and hollering for them from the wings can mean more than you know.
I know on days that I haven’t felt the greatest – my burlesque brothers and sisters have been there for me – cheering me on, offering me more glitter and pastie tape to feel more confident and secure.
ALWAYS return the kindness.
Remember that it’s about the community and people doing what they love TOGETHER.
Fuck the competing against each other bullshit.
Just compete against the you from yesterday …and every day you’ll get better and better.

Now get out there and go get ’em!

Do you have tips on how to break into your dream? Leave them below.
Do you have a question for “Dear Danger”? Send to my contact info on this page.

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The Coolest, Wildest, Weirdest Things To Do In NYC: A Guide for the Freaks

i love new york veronica varlow
I have a full on hot, wild love affair with NYC.

For two years when I first arrived here, I was a tour guide on a double-decker bus,
cruising down the streets in the open air
introducing tourists to my lover.

Here’s some of my favorite must-do, must-see picks of Gotham City:

♥  Make a wish on the Empire State Building and “blow” it out at 2am.

Seeking a beautiful and romantic view of the city lights and the moonlight?
The Empire State Building is open until 2am at the moment!
Head over to this epic Art Deco building at midnight and beat the crowds.
Two years ago on my birthday, I started making my wishes and “blowing out” the lights when they flicker and go out every night at 2am.

new york city skyline

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building from my Bedroom Window in Brooklyn.

♥  Visit the Slipper Room (NYC’s oldest Burlesque and Vaudeville House) and take a picture of yourself in the gutter out front (It’s tradition.  I say so.)

The Slipper Room is my burlesque home and where I first saw burlesque and got my start.
It’s home to magicians, aerialists, burlesque performers, comedians, musicians, and fire performers.
Go be enchanted.
veronica varlow gutter photo

♥  Dine in a secret 1870s style Parisian train car on a rooftop.

Talk about romantic! Le Train Bleu on top of Bloomingdales is one of the best kept secrets in NYC.
Address: 1000 3rd Avenue, NY, NY – enter Bloomingdales and go to 6th floor.
le train bleu

♥  Dance among the club kids and you will never want to go home again.

Kayvon Zand and his partner, Anna Evans are the King and Queen of NYC nightlife. Their parties include Dorian Gray, Sex Fifth Avenue and others. Dance in a world of hot imagination.
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♥ Ride the World Famous Coney Island Cyclone!

Coney Island is an enchanted place – go take in all the sights: ride the Cyclone, go to the world famous Coney Island Freak Show, make out on the Wonder Wheel and GO SEE Lola Star! <3
Lola Star

♥  Have a picnic in Central Park and wander around the sights.

Central Park Must-Sees are:
Alice in Wonderland Statue
Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon “Imagine” Mosaic
Shakespeare Garden
Conservatory Garden (where Burke and I got engaged!)
burke heffner veronica varlow

♥ Rock out at Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke

Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke is a NYC staple. Now held at Fontana’s, you get to scream to your punk rock favorites as a live band plays behind you.
Pretty bad ass.
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♥ Duck down a dark alley and into a real Prohibition Era bar.

The Back Room serves up beverages in tea cups (just in case the joint gets raided). Once a real Speakeasy 85 years ago, this place delivers that old world charm of New York City.
Look for the “Toy Company” sign. Go down alley. You’ll see the secret door.
Once inside, peek behind the bookshelf to another secret room.
amanda palmer neil gaiman veronica varlow burke heffner

♥ Visit one of the most impressive collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum houses World-Class Egyptian treasures – not to be missed. Go early to avoid crowds and wander the artifacts in silence.
sekhmet

♥ Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and go grab a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s.

Do this at Sunset or Sunrise for fantastic views and a gorgeous skyline.  Also, nighttime walks for the city lights are gorgeous.
You can wave to the Statue of Liberty from the bridge!
girl gang

♥ Screw Broadway. Go see incredible immersive theater and be a part of the action.

Check out Sleep No More and Queen of the Night.
I can’t tell you anything else,
but just trust me on this one – you’ve never seen anything like this before.
SleepNoMore

♥ Check out these secret underground party lists for the best things to do whether you are a visitor or a local!

These three lists are your new best friends in New York City.
You’re welcome.
Nonsense NYC
Gemini and Scorpio
The Skint

jeff stark

What’s your favorite things to do in this enchanted city?
Tell me in the comments.
Looking forward to seeing you on a wild New York City adventure!

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Vintage Dresses, Fabulous Friends, The Gutter… Must Be My BIRTHDAY!

It’s my birthday!
Scan

At Midnight,
I wore white….
because this year
I say “I Do”
to all of my wildest dreams coming true.

I hereby say YES to:
Watching the sun rise after unforgettable nights, adventures all over the world, magic old friends, delicious new friends, more “fuck-it-why-not”s, more “can-it-be-done-let’s-find-out”s, more decisions based on ‘you only live once”, letting the world read my diaries, road trips, Revolver, winning the fucking lottery of friends, family and love in this lifetime

and winding up in the gutter with you.

The Gutter.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde.