Every now and again, on my off days from Absinthe, I cast off my bubble and perform elsewhere. Last week, I was lucky enough to nab a spot at Lili VonSchtupp’s Monday Night Tease, along with local burlesque performer Kitschy Koo. Tease is an intimate, brilliantly funny show at the Three Clubs in Hollywood (learn more about it at MondayNightTease.com). It’s the longest running burly show in L.A., now in its 10th year.
So Kitschy and I hopped in her TARDIS car and went, and I sang/shouted Hamilton at her the entire way. (Surprise, surprise … seriously, alternative music suggestions are greatly appreciated.) I had a blast in L.A., but will probably hesitate before taking such a heavily technical act on the road again any time soon. Electrical props are fun, but apparently they don’t travel so well: three out of my four fans decided they just weren’t going to work. Where do I keep the fans, you ask? You’ll just have to come see me perform. (Keep an eye on my social media for Fanatical, here in Vegas.)
Luckily, it seems I’m charming enough to pull off an act even when the entire shtick is lost to technical difficulties. Either that, or the crowd was just super lovely. I smiled a lot anyway, and my wig looked awesome. Take your victories where you can!
We shared the stage with a bevy of Californian beauties, Lili herself and a magician named Chris Hannibal. The greatest thing about working in burlesque, aside from the glitter and shaking of various body parts, is the people you meet. Since making the shift to the darker, sexier side of entertainment, I’ve met the most incredible variety of people and seen some pretty amazing things. The minds of the ladies (and gents!) of burlesque are endlessly fascinating to me. Dark, anarchic humor and rip-roaring raunch. Chris Hannibal is one of these fabulous people.
(By the way, I thank Chris for the opportunity of having both a Hannibal and a Starling on the same bill. And also for refraining from ordering me “a nice chianti” at the bar.)
Hannibal has been performing magic full time for 23 years, perfecting his art and creating bespoke programs for all sorts of audiences. Now I’m no expert in magic, but his took my breath away—once I’d caught it again after a belly laugh. Swinging effortlessly between self-deprecation, cheeky flirtation and thinky humor, Hannibal was incredibly entertaining … but it was his second act, The Naked Truth, which transcended his charming and polished magic to give us something quite different.
I’m not going to give it away, because this is something you need to experience for yourselves. (For bookings and show info, go to ChrisHannibal.com. Right now. Go.) I will say that a combination of nakedness, confession, sharing and Sharpies led to a gut-punch of honesty that had every audience member in tears. Not what you’d expect at a burlesque show really, but we were all absolutely with him. I can’t think of a more magical or inspiring way to have brought in 2016, and I will always be grateful to him. Hannibal is a genuine, giving bringer of joy. On so many levels. He’s one of those human beings who just makes you want to do better, try harder and live in truth.
I plan to do all of the above. New acts are in the works, the endless quest for balloon perfection continues, and I’m looking forward to a new year of sharing all the shit I love with you fine people. Happy 2016, folks!