Friday, July 01, 2011

A Burlesque Bake Sale

Tendrils of music were still flitting through my head as I jumped into a cab to head for the Green Door Tavern where a number of very strange and altogether left of the normal people would be gathered for the Burlesque Bake Sale. This Bake Sale was an event by the local area Chicago Burners to raise money for Burner projects in the Chicago area. Specifically it is run by the Bold Urban Renaissance Network NFP, or BURN for short. Among other things funds from these events go to supporting grants for artists and performers who can use the extra cash. You can find out all sorts of things about them and their fantastic projects at either or on facebook at

As I got out of the cab I admired the big and gaudy signed the signified my entrance to the Green Door. As I walked in I was sure that I had somehow managed to go to the entirely wrong place. I checked the address and knew I was where I was told to go, but it just seemed so…normal.

It was overwhelming normal, far to normal for me to really trust that I was in the right place. There were a number of girls that looked like just out of college cheerleaders in cami tops and short shorts. Beside the girls were a series of men all with short cropped hair, polo shirts, or stripped button down shirts and half cargo shorts. The smell of the place was that overwhelmingly alcoholic stain of high end perfumes, the smell that makes them all smell alike even though individually they cost a hundred dollars a bottle. It just felt wrong.

I was sure I was in the wrong place.

I started heading towards the back thinking there must be a secret door, or secret room, I was feeling a bit out of me league surrounded by so many obviously normal people. And then I saw her, my dancing partner from the Firewater lounge, looking lovely in a flowing skirt.

“Thanks the gods.” I said to her.

“Hey, you made it.”

“Yes, where is it? I feel like I’m lost.”

“Just go downstairs, it’s in the basement.”

She points out the direction so I find myself down the stairs, and like Alice down the rabbit hole, suddenly the world makes sense again. I’m greeted by a jester in a cowboy hat, and Krueger, who tells takes my price of admission and tells me to go buy some baked goods. I walk into a room full of the most wonderful collection of people. Girls in tight corsets, steam punks, regular punks, Goths, freaks, all of them; surrounded from left to right by a throng of the most wonderfully unique and individual people. On stage a girl was performing her burlesque out, starting out as a Mexican cowboy. We laughed as she removed her boots to take off her jeans, revealing red fishnet stockings. We laughed harder when she nodded at the audience as she put her boots back on.

At the bake sale there were so many tantalizing goodies to eat, but I had to be aware of the fact that a) not supposed to eat flour, b) not supposed to eat too much sugar, c) allergic to milk d) allergic to eggs. It’s the last too that make me very wary of baked goods, as they tend to always contain more than a fair share of eggs and milk. I gave the lovely goth girl in a black corset with purple dreads a breakdown of what I couldn’t have, and she directed me to some vegan balls.

“Just what I needed tonight,” I quip back “a bag of balls.”

“Actually you get three.”

“That gives me a ball up on the competition.” My dancing partner laughs. I ask her where I can get a drink and she directs me towards the bar upstairs, which requires us going back up to normal land. We venture up stairs through the throngs of people there to talk about sports and look for random casual hookups. Dancing girl accompanies me as we put in for some drinks and get back out as quickly as possible.

Downstairs we grab seats for the next round of burlesque that includes among other things a great performance with a hula-hoop, the wonderfully classy Feral Kitty, an amazingly nice strip tease done under sort of sheer see-through cover up. While this was all going on, it was also morning in Korea when it is prime time for conversation. As it happened the Irish popped up on the phone having some extreme stress and, being that I am a good friend I felt obligated to discuss with him the particular stress. However discussing the stress with him also meant not watching the stage.

I do believe at least one of the girls took some offense at having me looking at my phone because suddenly I had a whole lot of bra in my face. This being followed later by panties. Dancing girl started laughing. I tried to explain to her, and while doing so got pelted by another piece of underwear. With all that happening I was finally forced to tell the Irish :Look I have to go, I keep getting pelted by women’s underwear.

In between the acts there was also an auction of the baked goods and some excellent performances by our master of ceremonies at the keyboard, with a great deal of help from his lovely assistance Sin. In all a good time was most certainly had. The sweet potato cheesecake was auctioned off for $40 dollars, and the nipple red velvet cupcakes were also popular. There was an all out bidding war for the bacon laced maple and onion cupcakes. Which sounded delicious I’m sure, but still weird.

As the show wound down, decisions were made about eventual after-parties, Dancing girl took my arm and asked me if I would car to join her. I took the offered hand and happily followed her into the chilly Chicago night and out for more adventures.

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