Little Miss Risk’s Vancouver Beach Body Workout

Step One: Haul all your gear down the stairs to Wreck Beach, find and secure a spot, set up all the shit you brought with you. Pack everything up and haul it back up those stairs at the end of the day. Do this every day for June.

Step Two: Do the Grouse Grind every day in July. Reward yourself with the gondola ride back down.

Step Three: Starfish in a kiddie pool full of ice with a fan on you, because by August it’s too fucking hot to do anything other than this.

Have a great summer!

Little Miss Risk

Posted in Miss Risk | Leave a comment

Look up, way up….

I enjoy shooting with Ned Tobin. Funny, sensible, artistic. It helps he’s the paramour of one of my best friends. So when he told me they had a lovely hotel room to shoot in, I didn’t want to miss the chance to press my naked body to the windows and laugh as everyone on Burrard walked by.

This serves as an important lesson: always be aware of your surroundings. I have stood naked in windows all over the world and watched as people passed by below, absorbed in their own worlds. I’m guilty of this too. Hardly bereft of this sin, I found myself after the shoot with my eyes curiously wandering upward, hoping to get the view that I had been trying to give someone else, and hopefully, brighten their day.

If you didn’t look up, here’s what you might have missed. More on Ned’s erotic art site that you can find HERE. Enjoy.

Pew, pew, pew!

Pew, pew, pew!

Also, I should mention the site is kind of NSFW. Unless you work somewhere that is very enlightened and enjoys the female form. Here’s hoping, anyways.

XOXO

Little Miss Risk

Posted in Fetish Fashion, Miss Risk, Photos | Leave a comment

ASSJam Episode 61….

My friends at the ASSJam podcast are awesome and sometimes do fun things with radio plays and monologs… if you care to hear my dulcet tones assaulting your ear holes, you can tune in and listen HERE….

Podcasts. All the cool kids do it.

Podcasts. All the cool kids do it.

XOXO

Little Miss Risk

Posted in Guest blogs / Interviews, Miss Risk, Random Banter | Leave a comment

Truly Outrageous

 

The inevitable has happened. I know I should have expected it and seen it coming, but what with Hollywood desperate to cash in on the nostalgia factor of past cartoons and films, it was only a matter of time. They made a Jem and the Holograms movie. Sigh. I watched the trailer and felt my face try to contort itself into something resembling Robert Musch’s figure in ‘The Scream’. I felt a multitude of emotions wash over me, all of the on the negative scale. But the longer I consider this, the more I realize this isn’t just some knee-jerk reaction to what I saw in the trailer. It’s something I felt symptomatic of a larger problem at play.

Jem as a mermaid.Rock star, entrepreneur, philanthropist, mermaid.

Jem: Rock star, entrepreneur, philanthropist, mermaid.

Let me back up a bit first to explain my feelings on this. I’m an 80′s kid. It wasn’t unusual for a popular video game, toy or film to spawn a animated series if it saw some success. We knew the drill. Jem and the Holograms were a collection of dolls and the cartoon was made with the idea to hawk those dolls. But the dolls were different; more realistic proportions than their Barbie counterparts. They sported wild hair and make up. They had flashy fashions that the more mundane Barbie wouldn’t be caught dead in. They had earrings that flashed, and they sparked imagination. But I could take or leave the dolls. The cartoon was what caught my heart and made me think big.

Yes. All of the yes. All conflicts shall be soved by Battle Of The Bands.

Yes. All of the yes. All conflicts shall be solved by Battle Of The Bands.

In the cartoon, Jerrica Benton, aka Jem, inherited half of her father’s company, Starlight Records. The other owner was Eric, a greedy producer bent on making a buck at the expense of ethics, taste, and artistic integrity. Pivotal to this was his female band, The Misfits who made it clear that they wanted to be famous at any cost. They valued fame, wealth and host of superficial shit that was detestable and ironically is what feels like is the blood of the celebrity culture. They would toss one another under the bus with such regularity that you could set your watch to it, and often times all turned on Eric when one of their catty stunts didn’t bear fruit. I still remember my mother keeping me in line by saying, ‘You don’t want to be a Pizzazz, (the front woman for the Misfits) do you?” Trust, you did NOT want to be Pizzazz.

Nobody wants to be a Pizzazz. EVER.

Nobody wants to be a Pizzazz. EVER.

Jerrica, in addition to trying to keep Eric and the Misfits from fiscally running the record company into the ground, also ran Starlight House, a place for disadvantaged girls that tried to give them a better life and teach them value from self worth and empowerment. She relied heavily on Synergy, a hologram-producing computer that would alter her and her bandmates to shift into Jem and the Holograms. Each band member was a different ethnicity, had her own hobbies and personality, and character arc growth. When there was friction between the girls, they sought conflict resolution. I know the aim was to sell dolls, but it sold me on another idea.

Sisterhood.

Yes. You CAN have it all, as a matter of fucking fact...

Yes. You CAN have it all, as a matter of fucking fact…

The fashion and flash were great and helped to enforce these ideas to the younger me and seeing the shared joy that the band enjoyed by helping each other was something I’ve longer for. I’ve found it with my burlesque glitter tribe, my horror family, the circus folk, and my kink community. This idea that we should lift each other up is fundamental to my beliefs in feminism and supporting other artists, and I remember clear as day those lessons on Jem. Hawking dolls, but with a sneaky side order of empowerment. I can get behind that idea.

So part of my disappointment with this new movie is there is none of this. I’m going to surpass the whole, ‘I’m suddenly famous and I am coping with all this attention while learning the value of friendship’ honk. We already went down this road with Josie And The Pussycats. Nope, no sir – the dog I’ve got in this fight stems more from the fact that all the things of interest, worth, and value from the series has gotten shelved for little more than Hannah Montana with pink extensions. The loss of the key points of the series is what has my Swarovki crystal-covered panties in a twist.

In the film Jerrica is no longer a woman, but a teen. She is a shy violet who becomes an overnight YouTube sensation rather than trying to run both a music label to save it from financial ruin as well as a foster home for young women. She climbs to fame and forgets her friends rather than raising them up with her and celebrating their talents. That fame is a right, and easy one, and a career in the arts ensured fortune. And one of my favourite elements that constantly sparked my childhood imagination, the hologram mainframe Synergy, is no where in the film. I’d like to say that I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed, but that would be a lie.

Above: yes, below: not so much.

Above: yes, below: not so much.

The best thing about this Pitch Perfect produced pile of nostalgia poop is that it did make me mad. So I had to think about why I should be angry if someone made a shitty movie about a cartoon I liked. But that cartoon made me want to dress up in crazy clothes, perform with my friends, and maybe run a record company while cutting an album, having adventures, and nurturing other female artists. It felt very ‘Who Runs The World’ before Beyonce was Queen B. And thinking about those values it gave me, it made me remember that maybe I should demonstrate those ideas rather than let them speak from a cartoon. The usual: treat each other decently, help when you can, encourage. Who knows? Maybe this film will spark others imaginations the way the O.G. Series once did for my generation.

Showtime, Synergy.

XOXO

Little Miss Risk

 

Posted in Miss Risk, Random Banter | Leave a comment

Meanwhile, In Alberta…

Dear Alberta… I’m not mad, I’m disappointed. Well, no, that’s not entirely true… I actually AM pretty mad, as well as disappointed. Right now the source of my ire is the AGLC or Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Over the Rockies, just one province from my own, there is judgement most foul. 

I take for granted that I can, at any given time, express myself creatively through my chosen art form – burlesque and striptease – and not face legal repercussions for doing so. It’s something I’ve very much taken for granted. When I used to tour through AB in my old band doing burlesque, sideshow and magic alongside the live music, I was told a number of times that if someone from the AGLC was in the house, to ‘Boston’ up my acts. 

For those of your not au fait with the term, it means doing a more conservative version of my show. My show got kind of raunchy sometimes, and being the headstrong 20-somthing I thought ‘fuck that’, and did my show regardless. This resulted in friction between myself and the band leader, but I refused to compromise the integrity of what I did. Little did I know how bad it is in Alberta…

There is an AMAZING performer there by the name of Raven Virgina. She wrote a great piece on the state of discrimination against burlesque and striptease by the AGLC, and I wanted to share it. It’s my hope others will, and hopefully, much like the Rio Theatre’s Corrine Lea and their liquor license fiasco with the BCLB, affect some positive change, and help get the Alberta bureaucrats caught up with the times.

XOXO

Little Miss Risk (PS: Pasties and nudity are not crimes)

My name is Raven Virginia and I am a professional actor, a burlesque performer, a feminist, a mother, a joker, a high kicker, a rabble rouser and a mother fucking clown. Here’s a condensed history of burlesque as well as an account of modern issues burlesque performers face in Alberta: Burlesque is a century old practice of performance art that invokes all the greatest aspects of Vaudeville such as humour, satire, sexuality, dance, costume, narrative, clowning and music. Many people believe stripping is geared towards to male gaze but what they might not know is that burlesque birthed from an era where a demoralized lower class chose to challenge the status quo. The earliest forms of burlesque included political, social and artistic parodies of respected theatre such as Shakespeare and Wagner and women were the sole initiators of the art form. These sensational foremothers effectively kickstarted the feminist movement and set the tone for the coming burlesque boom of the turn of the Century. The neo burlesque movement is a modern take on performance art of the past and has created the incentive for women to reclaim their sexuality in a society where we are required to keep it under lock and key. Reestablishing burlesque production with women at the helm has given us permission to reinvestigate our female form on our own terms. Now, burlesque is predominately run by women, for women, empowering those watching and performing to express themselves artistically, spiritually and sexually without the sexist pressure and judgement too often handed down by society. That being said, burlesque has become more commercial and is often presented as something more “tasteful” and less subversive. Now we’re seeing stereotypical and heteronormative styles take over the stages. My company has been requested for work where we would be required to “hide” certain aspects of our body or do a weigh in before performing. We declined these requests and while I wouldn’t condemn a performer for accepting the work (we all need to put food on the table) I fear that the more the mainstream attempts to homogenize the art and co-opt the word burlesque, the more diluted the performance experience will be. In order for burlesque to maintain it’s potential for the promotion of body-positive, sex-positive feminism in a climate of sexism, participants must be free to explore their relationship to their body without restriction. Like our burlesque legends of the past, burlesque performers, such as myself, have faced our fare share of backlash. From nasty comments on social media to snide remarks from colleagues, many people grapple with the concept that embracing, researching and reformatting for myself what many consider morally foul, has opened up a world of possibility for me. Not just in how I choose to present my body but in my activism, my relationships and how I create art. This leads me to the most disappointing example of discrimination we’ve faced in Alberta. The AGLC or Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission is a branch of the government that exists and functions unchecked in this province. The AGLC came down hard on my company and community in 2011 claiming we were in violation of their Nude Entertainment laws. The AGLC views an individual as nude if their breasts are revealed – and not just any breast – specifically female breasts. (Don’t even get me started on how frustratingly naive representatives at the AGLC are about the elusiveness of gender or the stats on how many people in the World are transgender.) The AGLC exercise the right to censor what you see in a minors prohibited establishment if liquor is being consumed in the vicinity of breasts. What you might not know when witnessing a performance in Alberta, is that we are strictly prohibited from coming within one metre of you once our pasties were revealed, that we cannot have any props or costume pieces touch you, that we are not allowed to share a dressing room with any other staff or non nude entertainers and even some of the actions we may have choreographed into the act – something suggestive with banana perhaps – have to be edited out. The rules are intentionally ambiguous and restrict not just the body being presented, but the content of the art piece itself – all in the name of protecting you from the potential “filth” of it all. Burlesque and exotic dance are not the only entertainment affected by these rules; ballet, dance, theatre, cabaret are all subject to the same regulations though we have been targeted more than any other artistic genre. They also claim that they have handed down this judgement based on what Albertans want but there have been no elections or referendums to decide these rules and the people enforcing them have not been elected to their positions. They have decided for you that what you are seeing is morally objectionable and by proxy, the performers engaged in entertaining you are objectionable too. While the battle for equality is ongoing, we continue to strive to create more thoughtful, captivating and engaging burlesque. Despite attempts to stifle our voices burlesque continues to thrive as more people discover how freeing and delightful the experience of creating art and revealing oneself can be. Is burlesque dirty? Certainly. But is it wrong? That’s another issue entirely.

 

Posted in Miss Risk, Random Banter | Leave a comment