Costume Report: Pink and Silver Snakeskin

From Queerfest 2014, Courtesy Douglas Klettke

From Queerfest 2014, Photo courtesy Douglas Klettke

Today I’m going to share with you the story of my latest costume, this pink and silver snakeskin Lycra number you see above. In the interest of helping you with your costumes I’m going to tell you the tale of how this costume and routine came into being, what I did and what I would have done differently and plan to change.

It started with inspiration

It started with inspiration

This all started with jewelry. My lovely sister gave me a silver and pink plate mail necklace and earring set last year. I love it to bits, and since this is a statement piece for sure it needed to see the stage. I figured I would make a pink costume based on the color combination but all we have in the local store is some pink Lycra, plain and uninteresting. One day, a few months ago, I was in the Twin Cities at SR Harris looking for stretch lace for an entirely different costume when I happened down the dance wear aisle and I ran right into the fabric you see in the pictures. Hot pink and silver snakeskin with a black background. I knew this was the one, even though I did not have a design plan yet. I got 4 yards because I knew I had a skirt pattern already that I could work with.

So now I had the fabric and the accessories, I had to put it all together into something wearable. I went to my standby bra technique, so that wasn’t too hard. At least the base part wasn’t.

As per instructions in a previous post

As per instructions in a previous post

Unlike earlier versions I am now using overlapping bands and a halter for stability

Unlike earlier versions I am now using overlapping bands and a halter for stability

I wanted to do something flashier with the skirt. I found the Madame X Mermaid Skirt pattern and decided to give it a try. This was a little trickier. The skirt pattern is the type where you make a sleeve for the elastic so it bunches at the top. Presumably you would put a belt over it to hide the bunching. I did not want to do that. This would be my first attempt at making a dance skirt that would have decorations directly on it.

I started with making the pattern as-is. This is a one-size pattern that gives you instructions on how to measure yourself for fit. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I was able to make it in 3 panels so that part was super easy to put together. It would not remain easy. I decided that I would make darts in the back and install a zipper so the skirt would be form fitting. The darts were hard (understatement!) but ultimately I was happy with the fit. The zipper was a complete waste of time. The fabric is so stretchy there was no reason to bother with it. I still had to add elastic so the skirt would not fall down because frankly it is rather heavy.

Photo Courtesy Douglas Klettke

Photo Courtesy Douglas Klettke

I’m not sure if you can tell from this pic, but there is a heck of a lot of fabric below the knee. It makes 1 1/2 circles; it is very full. Each pattern piece is like a rounded “T.” This also makes for the issue of sort of points where the seams meet. I had to hem this so that the points were cut off smooth because it hung longer at the seams and turned out so you could see the back side of the fabric. Once I hemmed it the whole thing was even with the floor and looked much better.

Early experiments with draping the netting

Early experiments with draping the netting

Then we have decoration. That fabric pattern is pretty overwhelming, so I wanted to break it up with something else. I came across this pink crinkle netting at JoAnn Fabrics. I tried laying it across in various ways but I found I needed something else to ground it. So I went back to the store and got some black crinkle netting and I was happy with the combination of the two. In the photos it is a little hard to tell though. My plan was to balance out the pink and black diagonal top to bottom. I eventually got kind of stuck and just made that poofy thing on the skirt. That won’t stay though.

I should mention here that I normally put beaded fringe on my costumes, but since I was going to be whipping around a prop I wanted to make sure nothing got caught or tangled. I have a tiny amount of fringe on a couple parts but I think that will come off too. It does not add anything to the piece.

The elbow gloves are super simple: measure the top part of your arm, the bottom part, length, cut a trapezoid, sew it together – bam, you got elbow gloves.

I am going to make some changes. I was on vacation for a week before Queerfest so I ended up pressed for time to finish. What I plan to do is add a bunch of sparklies over the netting, especially the black part, to give it more depth. I am also going to re-do the skirt decoration so I have a black triangle rather than the wimpy little poof. I will add sparklies diagonally from the black part of the bra to be consistent. I am going to remove the zipper so I can fully cover the back side and make it consistent with the front. I am also going to re-install the elastic with a proper x-casing instead of the quick-n-dirty zigzag stitch (I was in a hurry).

I'll be making some changes

I’ll be making some changes

Bling to be added

Bling to be added

For those of you who saw the show and said to yourself “where the heck did THAT come from ?!” I needed a special song for this costume vision and it came to me one day when I was driving with my husband. He hooked his iPhone up to the stereo and the first song on the shuffle was Britney Spears’ Work Bitch. I knew instantly that was the song and upon arriving at home I watched the video several times for inspiration. In the video there is a scene where she is whipping people and I remembered seeing a video for an LED whip. I consulted with Bender !Flames!, who is a flow artist as well as an amazing boylesque artist, and he directed me to a web site where he got some of his LED supplies. They are not cheap so you better believe this act will see the stage again and again. It was pretty boss if I do say so myself.

Pretty lights make everything better!

Pretty lights make everything better!

I hope that helps you, my fellow costumers. I will post updated pics when I get everything fixed the way I want it.

Special thanks to Doug Klettke for taking pics during Queerfest – you rock!

The Latest News and Events

Queerfest will benefit the Pride Collective Community Center

Queerfest will benefit the Pride Collective Community Center

Hello lovely people! There is so much going on! First and foremost please check out Queerfest this weekend at the Aquarium at 9:30pm. Bad Weather Burlesque will have a bunch of guest performers as well as the wonderful regular cast to entertain you. We’re raising funds for the Pride Collective Community Center.

Pride Weekend is coming up so check out the drag extravaganza that is the Vixen Variety/BJ’s Cabaret/FM Entertainers showcase at the Garage Bar in Moorhead on Friday, August 15 at 9pm!

Bad Weather Burlesque will also be marching in the Pride parade on Sunday, August 17 at 2pm, Downtown Fargo. Come out and say hi!

My new class session starts Saturday, Sept. 6 at 10am at the Spirit Room in Fargo. Looking forward to seeing everyone after summer break!

Check out our friends up north when the Lovely Dozen hosts a series of workshops with Amy Danielson. There will be a fantastic show that Saturday night, so if you can’t make the workshops you can catch some great shimmying!

And there you have it! Stay tuned for more updates!

World Bellydance Day

Wow, did we have a blast last weekend! First we had a little hafla on Friday night (OK, I was late but I still caught some good stuff).

Improv drumming with Gaia, Lauren Boldt, Natasha, Kelly and Amanda

Improv drumming with Gaia, Lauren Boldt, Natasha, Kelly and Amanda

On Saturday morning we did body conditioning for bellydancers with Lauren Boldt – it was hard, but fun!

Then Shimmy Mob at the Grand Cities Mall!

Then after lunch back to work as we practiced drumming and dancing during the “Insane in the Membrane” workshop. I pooped out after a while because I was not feeling well. But the rest of the class were real troopers.

Drumming and Dancing!

Drumming and Dancing!

And finally in the evening we performed at the UND Burtness Theatre – so many super talented ladies!

Kismet!

Kismet!

And after we all went out to eat I collapsed because my head cold finally got to me. But, as quick as the weekend went it was a great time! Special thanks to Lauren Boldt, who is a fabulous dancer and teacher, and just a delightful person; Natasha and the Lovely Dozen for hosting and doing most of the heavy lifting (especially Natasha for her Shimmy Mob organizational help!); my Kismet ladies who get me through each week; and everyone who participated in the show and contributed to CVIC. Love you all!

A Letter To Miles Copeland

ED NOTE: I may not have made it clear in my original posting that I did in fact get resolution from BDSS accounting 4 months after the show. I had chosen to publish this letter as an expression of my concern about BDSS business practices, and as information to other potential sponsors. Please see the full story at the Gilded Serpent.

As some readers of this blog may know, in February of 2013 I sponsored Club Bellydance in Fargo/Moorhead. It was a pretty fantastic time, I must say, but there were some rough spots, particularly after the actual performance was said and done. The Gilded Serpent has kindly published my account of the entire experience which you can read here. As indicated in that article, on June 14, 2013 I sent the following email to Miles Copeland and I am publishing it here as information for anyone considering being a local Club Bellydance sponsor. As of publication I have not received a reply from Mr. Copeland, but this email was the impetus to finally get some resolution from accounting.

Dear Mr. Copeland and associates,

My name is Erica Franklin and I was the Fargo sponsor for Club Bellydance in February of this year. I am writing directly to you because I am having some rather serious problems with follow-up after the show and I have not been able to get any sort of useful response. It has been 4 months since the show and I have still not been paid. That also means my dancers have not been paid, so that is not reflecting well on me. After consulting with some colleagues I have decided to appeal to you directly for assistance. Please be aware that since my inquiry for advice resulted in a great deal of debate and interest, I will be sharing your reply with others.

I was initially contacted by Stevo Glendinning of course, but he never did give me a payment timeline. The day after the show my door volunteer informed me that Stevo asked him for the cash admissions, and when they were relinquished, Stevo did not count the money, but just wadded it up and put it in his pocket. Obviously this was a bit troubling. I had emailed Stevo but he has not replied to me. Since then I have been in contact with Roxanne Goon, who has made efforts to assist in resolving this, but accounting isn’t really her department so I felt I should not bother her with this issue any further. I would like to mention here that she has been very helpful and a genuine pleasure to work with.

But I digress. After 4 months and no resolution I appealed to some of my dance colleagues for advice. The replies I received were quite surprising. It appears that my issue with BDSS was not at all isolated, and in fact delayed payment and non-payment appears to be a rather serious and widespread problem amongst your sponsors and vendors. BDSS appears to be generating a bad reputation in this area. Some other sponsors have suggested that they would not produce Club Bellydance on future tours. Vendors had similar attitudes.

BDSS has done so much to promote Middle Eastern Dance in the years since it began, it is really heartbreaking to see that the company has developed such a poor reputation. I would like to see BDSS recover from this situation and that is why I am taking the time to inform you of how bad things have become. I hope you realize that because of the internet and workshops all over the country, we all know each other and talk to each other all the time. It’s just like any other profession or serious hobby. I hope you will take this to heart.

Because I do not believe Stevo has any receipt of payment I will give this info to you:

20 pre-sale tickets @ $20 ea = $400
67 door admissions @ $25 ea = $1675
Total ticket sales = $2075
$2075 x .20 = $415 due to me

Please let me know if you have any questions. I anxiously await your reply.

Summer Is Heating Up!

The Boys of Bad Weather Burlesque with Special Guest Paco Fish (poster courtesy Bender !Flames!)

The Boys of Bad Weather Burlesque with Special Guest Paco Fish

Hey lads and ladies, summer is a busy time of year and there are no signs of it slowing down! Mark your calendars for these awesome shows:

Friday, July 26Bad Weather BOYlesque All-Male Review with Special Guest Paco Fish on his Vanguard tour! Bender !Flames! made the poster above – isn’t it gorgeous? I just want to look at it all day.

Thursday, August 1 Bad Weather Burlesque, Cruisin’ Broadway – at the Aquarium in Fargo, 10pm  Cancelled

Friday, August 9 – FM Entertainers Pride Showcase – proceeds to benefit FM Pride – at Big D’s in Fargo, 8pm

Sunday, August 11 – FM Pride Parade – downtown Fargo, 2pm

Saturday, August 24 Vixen Variety Shows performing with Tripwire – at Big D’s in Fargo, 9pm Cancelled

Wednesday, August 29 – Bad Weather Burlesque – debut performance at the Windbreak in Fargo, 8pm

Thursday, September 5 – Bad Weather Burlesque, Cruisin’ Broadway – at the Aquarium in Fargo, 10pm

Saturday, September 21 – Hip Raks (Shimmy Sisters & Oasis Dancers) – Reineke Fine Arts, NDSU, Fargo, 7pm

That should keep you entertained for the summer! Keep an eye on my calendar page for more fun throughout the year, and “LIKE” Bad Weather Burlesque, Vixen Variety Shows and Bellydance With Erica on Facebook for up-to-date info. Hope you can make it to some of these events!

Upcoming Events in the Fargo-Moorhead Area – get off your butt!

Le Belle de Trois

Le Belle de Trois

Hey everyone! Spring (LOL! Whatevs) is upon us and there is so much happening. I thought I’d keep you all in the loop. Make sure to check out my calendar page too.

Friday, April 19:

Vixen Variety Shows at Big D’s with 24/7 – If VV is there it’s totally worth it, right?

Saturday, April 20:

Edge Life Holistic Expo, Fargo Civic Center, both Saturday and Sunday

Blue Elephant Bazaar at the Spirit Room. Sale starts at 2pm, followed by a performance, meal, and book launch. This is an all-day celebration.

Superhappyfuntime returns to FM. Legacy Ballroom, 9pm

Saturday, April 27:

Le Belle de Trois at The Winery: 3 course meal and 3 course entertainment featuring Enchanting Erica, Ladyking Cole, The Alabaster Disaster, and Jarica Jordan.

Friday, May 3-Sunday, May 5:

CoreCon – fan convention extraordinaire at the Days Inn Moorhead. Visit the KEEP for Kaiju goodness and an in-depth look at nudist films, and see the Mistryl Shimmy Guard debut at the Death Star Visitors’ Lounge. There will be other stuff too. 😉

Saturday, May 4:

Vixen Variety Shows at the Legacy Ballroom, 10pm

Tuesday, May 7:

Chippendales at the Garage Bar, Moorhead, 8pm

Saturday, May 11:

World Bellydance Day Stage Show, Firehall Theater 415 2nd Ave N, Grand Forks, ND, 8pm

Friday, May 31:

Naughty Novice Night with Bad Weather Burlesque – check out the new talent and vote for the best Burlesque! More info TBA.

Obviously as the F-M area is pretty happenin’ there is much, much more going on, but this list is the best of the best. I’m not at all biased, really. 😉

Weekend Watch – Le Poisson de Trois at The Winery

Le Poisson de Trois

Le Poisson de Trois

Nothing to do Saturday? Need a romantic night out? Check out The Winery‘s event Le Poisson de Trois: a three-course meal and a three-course show featuring me, of course, and my super sexy cohorts Ladyking Cole and The Alabaster Disaster, and hosted by the fabulous Jarica Jordan. 10% of the proceeds will go toward Bros on Broadway. You can’t loose, especially if you love seafood like I do! Seating is at 6:45pm, tickets are $60 and are available in advance – a great deal for the lovely food and the lovely ladies.

UPDATE: Advance ticket sales are only available until noon Saturday, hurry to reserve your seat!

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