Winds of the Sahara Cabaret Dance Show

Sunday night I found myself with a little bit of free time, so I headed over to Winds of the Sahara to see their weekly cabaret show.

WotSC 1The show opened with Jilley, Paul, and Wiz doing a techno number.

I liked the costumes for this act.

Ariel was up next with a hot little number to ‘Fever’ by Peggy Lee.

There was a fair bit of skin in the act, and I missed getting a pic before most of the costume was gone. :/

The next act seemed to go a bit haywire.

Devlin had a terrific tribal headhunter costume, but ended up dancing through a couple of walls and was offstage for a fair bit of the routine.

WotSC 3I wasn’t having any lag issues, but SL has been behaving oddly all week.

Things settled down for the next number, a trio of Lotta, Chrissy, and Ariel (I think).

I forgot to write down the name of the song for this one, darn it.

After Lotta and the girls, Queenie was up, channeling her inner Katy Perry.

The candy set for this one was adorable, complete with gummy bears and spinning lollipops.

The last act of the night was Chrissy, dancing to ‘Dear Ophelia’ by Abney Park, one of my favorite songs by them.

I think the lag monster reared its ugly head again during this act, because the sync of the dancers was off and I wasn’t able to get a pic while the ghostly pair was still onstage.

WotSC 5I did manage to get a snap of Chrissy and Amen, though. 😀

Winds does a show every Sunday at 5pm SLT.

You can join their VIP group to stay updated on the latest news.

Think Outside the Burlesque Box

Image Source: http://www.soburlesqueblog.com
One of the first chorus lines – what lookers! Image Source: http://www.soburlesqueblog.com

Ask 10 different people to define burlesque and you’ll likely get 10 different answers.

The Oxford dictionary defines burlesque as ‘an absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody.’  It can also mean ‘a variety show, typically including striptease.’ 

I think that most people have come to associate burlesque (or neo-burlesque) in SL with the latter definition.

When I first joined SL, most burlesque places were full of solo artists.  Some stripped to full nude, some to pasties and g-strings, and others were horrified at the very notion of stripping.

But it was all lumped as ‘burlesque.’

Still is, mostly.

If you go back to the beginnings of burlesque, the emphasis was on parody and exaggeration.  Comedians and actors making fun of something.  (Think of SNL today.)

Add in music and then dancers.

Then it became more vaudeville than the original idea of burlesque.

A variety show – musicians, comedians, jugglers, singers, dancers, strippers – all in one show.

Perhaps what we see in SL is more cabaret than burlesque.

Dictionary.com defines cabaret as ‘a floor show of dancing, singing, or other light entertainment at a nightclub or restaurant.’

I think that definition fits the bill pretty well for most of what is labeled ‘burlesque’ in SL.

Do the definitions matter?

Probably not.

But it’s always interesting to see people arguing over what is ‘true’ burlesque in SL.  😀

For me, call it what you want. If there’s dancing, I’m happy.

Just remember not to lock yourself (or those you work with) into a little box labeled ‘burlesque’ or ‘true burlesque.’  Personally, I think doing so stifles the creativity of many people.

I’ve seen many a dancer leave a troupe over ‘creative differences.’

Let people be creative.

Isn’t that what SL is for?

Breaking News

I reported a few weeks ago about Winds of the Sahara Cabaret closing their doors.

I attended their Christmas show last night and it was announced that, though they are closing over the holidays, they will reopen in January 2015 at a new location.

The location hasn’t been announced as yet, so keep an eye out for notices of the new location.

In the meantime, here are a few quick pics from the show last night:

WinterWinnie

 

Winnie did a darling number to ‘I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,’ including the adorable little hippos.

 

 

WinterWindsThere were several very pretty winter scenes, but this one was my favorite.  So glittery!

Nai’s Rules

Naiki Muliaina is the owner of Blue Moon Cabaret. Nai has been in SL for a long time and I often go to him for help and advice. I haven’t found a topic he doesn’t have an opinion on yet!

He is in the process of getting the Blue Moon website up to snuff, so be sure to check it out (click the linky at the bottom of the post). Nai has done stand up, comedy sketches, and more at Blue Moon, and I thought I’d share some of his ‘rules’ for performances. So without further ado, here’s Nai:

Comedy

It is not the punchline, but how you deliver it.

I have written sketches and stories since 2009 in Second Life, and I generally try to follow a few of my own rules that translate across sketches, dance stories, plays, spoken story times and notices. For them that want to know what I follow, here they are.

1. Decide on the ending first. I am always restricted to short times on stage, so I decide on the ending then gear everything else to working towards it. If it is long enough to have a middle as well, that is great, but try not to side track too much.

2. Be concise. Do not waffle. Time and attention spans are limited, both in RL and SL. Make every line of story aim towards that ending you established in 1. Do not add every bit of story or joke you think of along the way or your story will sprawl and not only will every punchline during the story detract from the final punchline, you will lose attention spans and the audience’s attention.

3. Use characters. Thankfully at Moons we are blessed with easy tropes to put on characters. Nai is always an easy butt of the joke. Autumn has OCD, Beth is a pervert, Sath is our dapper man, Vicki can beat on Nai. Using established characters means I never feel the need to fill in back story and setting the scene is easier.

4. Do not add more than 1 line of back story. If you add more than one line of back story, you go down the road of explaining the story or joke. That is almost always an automatic fail when limited to 3-5 minute sketches as you either lose attention spans or you begin to ramble (see 2).

5. Keep it simple. I am aware I am in a minority there, but Moons has always had a focus on story driven acts and characters. If you pile in special effects, flashy sets, and extra sound effects, it all detracts from the character and story on stage. That said, if you are aiming for performance driven where story and characterization are less important, set the stage on fire (literally).

I will be republishing some old scripts on line soon so you will be able to see some examples of how I work.

Cheers

Nai

www.totbm.co.uk

A Matter of Taste

Different audience members have different tastes.  Variety and diversity is one of the reasons many people love SL so much.  You can find pretty much anything in SL.

In attending a lot of dance shows and performances, I talk to a lot of audience members.  One of the issues that seems to come up again and again is size.  There are many people who dislike going to shows/performances where there is a very large stage.  Having a large stage presents difficulties for some audience members.

In SL, there really are no ‘bad’ seats.  You can cam in as close as you want, or zoom out as far as you want to enjoy a show.  So the size of the stage is irrelevant.

Only it isn’t.

For me, it’s a matter of what the performer is trying to present.  If there is a giant stage and only one performer, I will typically zoom in on the performer.  After all, that’s who/what I came to see.  So if there is a large set, I may not be able to see much of it after I zoom in to see the performer.  If I leave my camera zoomed out so that I can see the entire stage, I lose a lot of the details.  This is a problem for me, especially at dance performances, because oftentimes if I zoom out far enough to see the entire stage, the performer(s) begin doing the ‘zippy dance.’  Instead of seeing smooth dances, I see the avatars moving at double-speed (sometimes triple!) and it’s very jerky.  So it’s a lose-lose situation for me.  I can either choose to see the entire stage/set (along with any particles, effects, lights, etc.) or I can choose to see the performers.

I attend shows to see the dancers/dancing.  So my typical choice is to zoom in and see the performer(s).  In doing so, however, I may miss effects or scene changes because the stage is so large.  Perhaps the focus of some venues has changed, and rather than focusing on dance, the focus has moved to elaborate sets, lots of effects, and multiple set changes.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s just not always what I want to see.

One of the reasons I enjoy burlesque is because of the atmosphere.  Generally, at burlesque/cabaret shows, the venue is intimate (small) and inviting.  I think many of the venues billing ‘burlesque’ or ‘cabaret’ shows are really more along the lines of ‘dance spectacular’ or ‘variety show’ or ‘performance art.’  Not that any of those are bad, just that many audience members may have different expectations before a show.

Again, it’s all a matter of taste.  I can certainly enjoy a ‘dance spectacular’ or a ‘performance art’ set.  But if I go to a venue expecting some burlesque-style entertainment, I may be disappointed.  I love to see innovations in performing, like when scene changes were new, or movers came along.  But I am just as excited (usually more so) to see innovations that add to reality of the performance – like a performer who wears a hat, takes it off, and lays it down somewhere in the scene (with said hat moving from head to hand to chair seamlessly).

What’s your taste?

Show Reviews?

I was at a show yesterday and ran into a friend.  We were discussing dance shows and what we like and don’t like about them.

In SL, there is something for everyone – including dance shows.  It seems that a lot of dance shows bill themselves as ‘burlesque’ or ‘cabaret.’  I’m not sure that those titles accurately describe many of the shows.

When I first started dancing in SL, it was as a chorus dancer.  The venue put on weekly burlesque shows and the occasional big production.  It was a lot of fun, because I am a burlesque fan.  I love the costumes, the dancing, the sexiness, the tease, the humor.  Eventually I moved on to various other venues.  And as time has passed, new things have ‘arrived’ in SL.

Burlesque shows in general were usually in smaller venues in clubs (although there were exceptions).  Someone would dance, maybe emote, maybe have a couple of props, or even a stage set.  New dance HUDs made things easier.  Then movement systems arrived, making it easier to dance in groups, move around the stage in formation, etc.  Dancers used particles and effects, scrolling backgrounds, whatever they could dream up to make their routine unique and entertaining.  Then faders and rezz boxes made it possible to switch sets, using multiple scenes in one routine.

I don’t want to get into a big discussion about whether any of these things are good or bad.  Not everyone likes the same things.

But I got to thinking – I would love to be able to read about a show (venue, dancer, etc) BEFORE I went to it, so I would have a better idea what to expect when I attended the show.  Things like: how large is the venue? Is the stage 10X12 or 100X120?  Will there be a lot of particles/FX?  Do the dancers emote? A lot? A little? Is there a storyline or theme to the show, or is it just individual dancers doing routines?  Is there a script limit for audience members?  How long is a typical show? 1 hour? 2 hours? Longer?

Is there a need for something like this?  Or is it preferable to just show up and ‘what you see is what you get’?