Nellie: “We Built This City on Poutine and Stripteases”

11 11 2008

Many of you may not have known this, but a small troupe of us hit up Montreal last weekend to perform at the Haunted Ho-Down with our friends and the darlings of Montreal, the Dead Doll Dancers. Colette, Erin, Marina and myself trekked up in two cars, chairs in tow, to perform Mein Herr and Backdoor Man for a packed house at Cafe Cleopatra.

It was AWESOME.

I cannot speak to Marina and Colette’s journey, though I know they had some trouble getting into Canada due to the aforementioned chairs and the hassle of having to tell the border guards that they were performing. Since Erin and I couldn’t take time off of work, we got up at ass o’clock and let Boston at 6:30 am. We got to fudge a bit with the border patrol and tell them we were just staying with friends so, though neither of us has a passport, we got through in about five minutes – though we did learn that when the border guard asks you if you’re carrying more than $10,000 in currency, do not laugh.

We arrived in the fair city at around 12:30 and, since we had to meet Jana, a Dead Doll Dancer and our lovely homestay host, at the club at around 1:30, we just went straight there. We realized that there are hot dog joints on every corner, which, while a little strange, was totally awesome. We got hot dogs for lunch and then we went lingerie shopping. Yes, lingerie shopping. We both bought superhot corsets (the same corset, actually…they’re reversible!), and then it was time to head to the club.

And let me just break up this recap to saying something super quick – everyone in Montreal is RIDICULOUSLY ATTRACTIVE. That is not a joke. That is not an exaggeration. There is something in the water there that just makes everyone smokin’ hot.

We got to the club in the middle of drag queen rehearsal. Natalie, the queen of the Dead Dolls (she has a more official title, I’m sure..but queen seems about right.  she’s awesome.), showed us where to put our stuff and warned us not to mess with the drag queens.  Actually, I’m pretty sure the conversation went like this:

Natalie: And here’s where you put your stuff. That area is for the drag queens. Do not go in there. Do not even look in there. Avert your eyes and all that. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you why.
Erin and Nellie: Yes, we’re familiar with drag queens.
Natalie: Oh, good. That’ll save us some time.

So we hung out for a bit, got keys from Jana, and then Marina and Colette showed up to rehearse/tech. The other performers were nice enough to let us have an hour on the stage to make sure we were comfortable in the setting, and then it was time to tech. Since the backstage/green room area is upstairs, this was the only chance we were really going to have to see the show, which was both a little sad, but also exciting. So we watched everyone run through their numbers, and as new performers, Erin and I feel completely in love with the Dead Dolls, who had already charmed the pants off of Marina and Colette.

I knew for certain that I loved Montreal when Nora, the awesome stage manager and all-around bad ass promoter of Faggoty-Ass Fridays, was telling us about her fliers and the experiences her interns had in distributing them:

Nora: So we have this flier of one lesbian fucking another one from behind with a strap-on, and the one doing the fucking is reaching into the other one’s head and tearing out her brains to eat them. This old guy approached my intern and berated her for passing these out in public.
Natalie: He got upset about those?  Seriously?
Nora: Yes. He was very concerned that the sex may have been non-consensual. I guess next time she’ll just have to be flashing the thumbs-up.

Awesome.

Erin and I thought we’d have a chance to go to Jana’s and drop our stuff off, but we didn’t. We finished tech, and there was just enough time to grab dinner and get ready for the show. We headed to…Subway…for dinner. WHATEVER, DON’T JUDGE. The guy working the counter was skeptical the Colette actually wanted a foot-long (I’ve never heard “Yes, a foot-long”) so much in my life. And then it was back to the club. We got ready. There were performers and costumes everywhere, and a ridiculously attractive MC walking around in assless chaps with kiss marks on said ass.  It was awesome.

The show was amazing. The crowd totally ate us up. The other performers were incredibly lovely people (and did I mention smokin’ hot?). The Dead Dolls especially are hilarious, completely disgusting and insanely gorgeous. The only thing that could have made it better is if all of you had been there.

Post-show, we went to an all-night poutine joint and I had my very first plate of poutine, which was delicious.

We then tiredly wound our way to Jana’s house (finally), where we were greeted by our most gracious hostess and her boyfriend, who had a bed, fresh towels, and candy waiting for us. So not only is everyone hot, they’re also sweet and thoughtful. I never wanted to leave.

We got up at ass o’clock again (okay, 9 am. which, after the car trip, performance, and 5:30 am wake up call the day before, is pretty fucking early) and met Marina and Colette for some brunch, which was also amazing.

SO.  If you made it all the way through this, you deserve a cookie. I don’t have any to give you, but know that you deserve one.

Closing thoughts:

1) Montreal is awesome, and I never wanted to leave.
2) Everything tastes better in Canada, because they use liquid sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.
3) Did I mention the pretty?
4) Having a GPS is a lifesaver.
5) People were thanking us all day for electing Obama. That is not a joke.
6) I can’t wait to go back.





Marina: “Hot Buffet Reviews, Let Me Show You Them.”

29 10 2008

Here in Boston we just finished our fall show, Hot Buffet (a dystopian musical satire). And now that the dust has settled, the set has … dustled (?!), and the dildo harness (courtesy of Good Vibrations, thanks, GV!) has been folded and put away in the Big Moves costume box, I think I have about a week to contemplate the experience before the next season comes riding in hard and fast and needing to be fed.

Well, “contemplate” may be ambitious, and by “a week” I mean maybe another 12 hours.

But there have been a couple of interesting incidents during this, the only tragedy/drama that Big Moves has produced anywhere in our eight years of existence so far.

1) We got a COMPLAINT LETTER, from someone who was offended by the show! She and her companion left at intermission because her companion was so traumatized by something portrayed in the first act that she was in tears. I’m not going to say what, because there’s a possibility that Hot Buffet will either be restaged by Big Moves Boston somewhere else or by another Big Moves chapter, but someone was actually moved so far by the content that she couldn’t handle watching any more of it.

Now, our intent was not to make people leave at intermission. There’s the whole tragic ending that we want people to see. THEN they can leave, shaken and disturbed. And I did send a compassionate note to the letter-writer–I mean, we wouldn’t have put a warning in the marketing about the scene, because that would have blown a significant plot point, but it’s always worth taking such comments under discussion when we plan.

But actually, I take it as a round-about, accidental compliment. Our depiction of the issue was sufficiently real that it triggered someone. Someone was offended, not by the fatties, but by a drama unfolding graphically, inexorably on stage. I feel like a grown-up director suddenly. Kinda… wow.

2) We got a REVIEW, from a mainstream print newspaper. We deliberately set up this run over two weekends, in the hope that critics might be able to attend, and be interested enough to write a review. And one guy did.

Take a look. It’s a pretty good review. I mean, we got a photo on the front page, with a jump to a full review and another photo. And he did encourage people to come to the show. (I’ll ignore the “strap on your feedbag” remark, because those poor journalists just can’t seem to avoid getting cute.)

But the big draw, in his opinion, was the big fat fatties doing pervy things all up in his face. Nothing but fatties, all fatties, all up in his face.

The producer side of me (about 85 percent) is all “yay! all publicity is good publicity! Sex sells! Fatties are sexy! Look at how skeezy we got! Exactly the ambience I was going for!” But the remaining 15 percent (the artistic side, see item 1, above) is sitting quietly in the corner with a stiff drink in her hand, muttering “There is too a plot. There are several plots. There are whole fucking story arcs. There are confrontations and secrets and melt-down moments that made people really uncomfortable. There’s a butoh-inspired finale. Our dancing fatties aren’t so fat that they block the fucking stage and everything that’s happening on it. Lots of audience members gave praise, some walked away quietly with very disturbed looks on their faces, we even got a fuckin’ complaint letter. Were you so distracted by the ‘nearly naked, harness-wearing twink’ and the heaving landscape of voluptuous, food-smeared fatties that you couldn’t see the tragedy?”

So, you know, slightly mixed feelings on my part. BUT, it was a review, a good one that brought in tons of phone calls on Friday and Saturday morning about the show.   If people came and got something that they didn’t expect, that’s not our fault. And it’s probably a good thing.

Fortunately for our fans and cast alike, the next big show, Fat Camp, is much lighter in tone. More details about that soon. In the meantime, yay for complaint letters and being misunderstood by the media. It’s a grand artistic tradition that means we’ve finally arrived!





Nellie: “Hot Buffet – Opening Week Audience Reactions!”

23 10 2008

Hot Buffet opened last weekend and, in addition to being a total blast, it was extremely well received by our audiences! Here are a few of the written comments we’ve gotten so far:

“You guys broke my heart. But that was the point. It was so powerful — the psychological stuff and the sexy stuff forced you to feel ways that were surprising! Thanks for a great ride, folks.”

“What a talented, risk-taking, courageous, entertaining bunch of fatties you all are. What a show! Hot Buffet brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. The performances, the acting had power. Excellent book, excellent music. You continue to raise the bar.”

“Hot and Awesome.”

“Extremely interesting and creates conversation!”

“Beautiful, out there, different (in a good way).”

Don’t miss your chance to come see the show this weekend! We’d love to see all of your shining faces this Friday or Saturday at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theater!

Big Moves Presents: Hot Buffet
October 24-25
Cambridge Family YMCA Theater
Central Square, Cambridge, MA
Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8pm

This show is for mature audiences only, owing to adult themes and partial nudity.





Coquette: “Opening tomorrow: HOT. BUFFET. OMG.”

15 10 2008

It’s finally here! My thoughts on the subject to follow later…probably after the run is through. But for now, have the full official blurb. And come to the show, if you know what’s good for you. T’will be excellent.

Big Moves presents:
HOT BUFFET
(a dystopian musical satire)


October 16-18* and 24-25, 2008
Doors 7:30 PM | Curtain 8:00 PM
Cambridge Family YMCA Theater
820 Mass Ave., Cambridge
Tickets
General admission: $15/adv., $20/door
VIP seating: $20/adv., $25/door (if available)
Student rush: $10 (15 min. before curtain, w/student ID)
Limited dinner/dessert tasting menu available

Buy advance tickets and tasting packages online at www.bigmoves.org

{ When self-denial is the law of the land,
the pursuit of pleasure will be a crime… }

After studying culinary arts for 7 years in Europe, Andrea returns to a United States she barely recognizes. By 2028, dieting is practically a religion, sexuality is stuffed tightly away, and the state has no qualms about interfering in either. Andrea’s friend Chrissy has a unique role in this brave new world: she’s a dancer and professional eater at Hot Buffet, one of the few establishments in the city where patrons can indulge just about any carnal appetite. Andrea gets work in the kitchen, and Chrissy is making money hand over chocolate-smeared fist.

Meanwhile, the Boss and her lover, the Emcee, do their best to keep the joint jumping, the marks fed, and their little bohemian family safe from the chaos and uncertainty in the outside world. But as society’s disdain for the pleasures of the flesh boils over into outright persecution, the tattered velvet ropes at the Hot Buffet may not be enough to keep the mobs at bay.

With ensemble dancers of all shapes and sizes and a passionate cast drawn from the best of Boston’s community theater scene, Hot Buffet delivers a searing indictment of a Big Brother future we can’t ignore and may not be able to escape.

NOTE: this show is for MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY, owing to adult themes and partial nudity.

TASTING PACKAGE INCLUDES:
deluxe mac ‘n’ cheese
finger-lickin’ spare ribs
backdoor fudge delight
coffee (with rich cream)
full-calorie sodas
Additional charge for having items eaten in front of you by one of our dancers.

*Thursday, October 16, is pay-what-you-can night! (suggested donation: $10)





Nellie: “Love Your Body Reception Tonight!!”

7 10 2008

That’s right, folks, it’s time for another Big Moves Boston public appearance!

We’ll be performing tonight at the reception to kick off Love Your Body month in Cambridge at the Central Square Library. The show, which is in the Lewis Room, starts at 7 pm and is free and open to the public.

The show, co-hosted by Big Moves Boston and Greater Boston National Organization for Women (NOW) will feature a selection from our upcoming musical Hot Buffet, as well as belly dancing by Big Moves’ own Caravan of Curves. Also performing is the fantastic Johnny Blazes, and there will be excerpts from this upcoming weekend’s The Femme Show.

Trust us, you don’t want to miss it.

Love Your Body is a mixed-media exhibit of art, propaganda, and the naked truth about how loving your body – whatever your size, shape, color, or ability – can change the world you live in. Inspired by the NOW’s Love Your Body Day (October 15), Love Your Body is curated/produced by Big Moves, with additional materials from the NOW Foundation.





Nellie: “TraniWrecktastic”

5 10 2008

Thank you to everyone who came out for TraniWreck: The Benefit Extravaganza on Saturday!

Asses were shaked. The Time Warp was done with the fantastic Kielbasia. Honey Suckle turned up the heat with an amazing burlesque performance. Johnny Blazes and Frieda Fries worked the stage – and the crowd – like nobody’s business.

Can Can Revolution made us look at the democratic process in an entirely new, ridiculous, and sexy way. Maggie of the Femme Show danced everyone under the table, and Mel O’Drama has now changed our view of Sesame Street forever. Heywood Wakefield was, as always, an excellent host – and also, pelted with candy.

Oh, and one of Big Moves’ own ladies (*cough*me*cough*)made out with the fabulous Becca D’Bus on stage.

In other words, it was a smashing good time**.

We all had such a blast performing with such talented and amazing people, and we wish Heywood Wakefield, Johnny Blazes, and Red Rider the best of luck at IDKE in Columbus!

**If I forgot anyone, I’m truly sorry. There was so much fabulous floating around, I got a little overwhelmed.





Nellie: “Big Moves at TraniWreck on Saturday!!”

3 10 2008

We’re ramping up our public appearances in preparation for our fall show, the wildly dystopian, not to mention ridiculously sexy, Hot Buffet! We’ll be shaking our asses…in very little clothing…all over Boston in the coming weeks, singing and dancing for you lovely people. And we want to see your glowing, angelic faces there!

Our first public appearance will be at TraniWreck’s Benefit Extravaganza – THIS SATURDAY (yes, tomorrow) at Great Scott in Allston. This is a 21+ show (it’s at a bar, folks), and it starts at 9pm. Please note that this a different location than other TraniWreck performances – so don’t go to the wrong place!

Tickets are $10, with proceeds going to cover travel expenses for TraniWreck host Heywood Wakefield and regulars Johnny Blazes and Red Rider as they make a trek to Columbus, OH for the International Drag King Community Extravaganza, where Heywood will MC the Red Light District Show.

See you there!





Coquette: “Touring Fatties!”

30 09 2008

Help us launch our first-ever tour!

In June of 2009, Big Moves Boston will launch its first ever six-Fringe, nine-city tour with an all new, two-woman show: Wide Load. But we can’t do it alone! We need help raising $4000 for the Fringe Festival entrance fees. We’re looking to collect $10 from 400 people…ten little dollars to help a big, BIG tour! If you like what you see, please donate!!





Marina: “Queen For A Day 2”

4 09 2008

QUEEN FOR A DAY 2
(September 4, 2008 – Boston)

In Boston, Big Moves does two big shows a year, spring and fall. We take over a decent-sized theater (the Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre is our unofficial home), we knock out the crazy lights, put out the sandwich boards, and throw a full out production. But there’s a lot of energy left bouncing around in the company, and when that stuff is just boiling over… we put on a bar show: low-budget, high-volume, full-out rock style.

Our second annual Queen for a Day show was a perfect example of the breed. The gimmick? All Queen music. Big Moves’ burlesque project Thick represented with animatronic sex dolls and a socially inept geek getting down to Body Language, while our Caravan of Curves bellydancers Alhena and Alizah Afet tore up the stage to Mustapha, and a sword-and-plaid swirl of hotness set to Princes of the Universe. Guest artists Babes in Boinkland and Johnny Blazes gave us additional burlesque hotness (thank you, Johnny, I will never look at Olympic gymnastics the same way again), and our favorite fat Asian drag queen Becca d’Bus stunned us all with her usual glam-trash handling of the crowd (“yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the last Queen for a Day… of the Bush administration!”).

Our favorite all-girl Queen tribute band, Gunpowder Gelatine, slammed out the second half of the show in their usual inimitable magnetic style; by the last two songs, the crowd was pressed up against the stage at Church nightclub, singing and bouncing along. Birthday cupcakes at midnight, of course, and shots were shared around, and folks, that boat was well and fully launched. If you’re in the Boston area, mark your calendar for September 5, 2009, because there’s no question that Queen for a Day is now an official Big Moves holiday.





Marina: “Big Top”

20 04 2008

BIG TOP
(Boston – Philadelphia, April 2008)

From the very first show that I produced in San Francisco in 2001, Big Moves never set out to be for mature audiences, like, deliberately. But somehow, that’s what ended up coming out. In my first few years of Big Moves, I found my natural allies amongst the fat burlesque queens (the late Heather Macallister/Reva Lucian and her Original Fat-Bottom Revue) and the naked queer modern dancers of Dandelion Dancetheater, and so our shows just kinda… made room for that sensibility. We were all about the sleazy Broadway and bootylicious hip hop, and while the modern pieces that San Francisco produced were Classy and Cerebral, just about everything else I touched had smut marks all over it.

After all those years, Big Top, our spring 2008 production, was Big Moves’ first foray into deliberately family-friendly programming. Set in the 1920s, Big Top had loads of bright colors and bombast, plenty of broad-brush pantomime and clowning, and costumes that were positively demure (there were, for example, no fishnets represented at all). There was one fake cigarette, one fake flask o’ gin, and an opening number in which the country girl was menaced by three urban predators.

I knew our regular adult audiences would love it, in spite of it totally lacking in our normal levels of titillation. But I wasn’t sure whether we achieved my artistic goal–fun, all-ages, size-diverse show–until our first performance in Philadelphia, at the Rotunda. (I know, right? There’s a venue called the Rotunda. Big Moves _had_ to perform there!) Right there, in the front row, sat a row of children, from two different families. They laughed at the pratfalls, went “ooh” at the golden wings of the bellydancer, bounced in their seats to the hip hop numbers, and one of them let out a little shriek when our big cat dancers clawed at the damsel in distress.

Adults applauded and hollered and complimented us, but for the Big Top, a transfixed child was our best testimony of success. And if those moments last in their impressionable little memories as images of fat performers… juggling, airborne, twirling, laughing, kicking high, arching back, spinning, singing loud, making magic… then that’s some of the best work Big Moves can do.