One of the great equalizers of our planet and a trait that we all share this that everyone is a carbon-based life form. We are all are a high percentage of water, intercellular fluid, and plasma. We all require a certain amount of caloric consumption to live. These things in concert are all what contribute to our biological make up as human beings. A large proportional difference between showgirls, drag queens, and ravers is that they have a significant larger portion of that complex chemical make up being composed of glitter.
Now I’m sure I’m only noticing this because I’m directly involved, but the number of burlesque performers has exploded in the last ten years, and with shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race out there, there is increase in people of a ‘fierce’ persuasion. While this goes towards contributing towards the general awesomeness of life in general, it’s a tiny bit problematic for our systems and on an environmental level, a little bit daunting. The ideas of landfills full of glitter alone is scary, and that’s just Vancouver. I’m pretty sure this might wind up being something of a global problem shortly, and if we don’t maybe reconsider some alternatives, we may be garters deep by the end of the decade.
I’m so far from being bereft of sin on this, that I’m likely one of the worst culprits for it. A few years ago, when Sweet Soul Burlesque did our show at the Rickshaw Theatre as part of the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, I debuted my quick-change burlesque magic number. Think lik a kid’s party magician mixed with a bachelor party peeler. You get the idea. I think I bought $50 worth of confetti when, at the climax, it was dumped on me and my dress disappeared. The thing about that stuff, is while my clothing disappeared, that stuff NEVER goes away. It doesn’t disintegrate into dust, it just sits there, waiting to be swept up. I had so much in my ass crack I regretted not having a camera handy to do a glitter fart, but I suppose I can always recreate the moment. I’m fairly sure that the Rickshaw, years later, STILL has confetti there, leftover from that…
Another incident was when, once upon a time at the now defunct-Dollhouse Studios, we had a GIANT birdcage we were covering with gold glitter in the garage. It was a lot of glitter, suffice to say, and a fair amount wound up on the ground. Being the young twits we were, we swept it up – into the drains – assuming, wrongly of course, that it’d break down, go down the pipes, etc.
How wrong we were.
Instead, what happened was one day after we had hosted a party and our garage became an impromptu smoking area, the drain overflowed. We reasoned that it was just people were jerks and had disposed of their cigarette butts in the drain rather than the five garbage cans around. It wasn’t until we had a visit from our plumber and were gifted with hefty bill and the SEVEN POUNDS of gold glitter from the drains he had pulled out that we made a new rule: no more washing it down the drain.
I’ve gone online to see if such a thing as biodegradable glitter exists. While it doesn’t seem to exist, there is certainly a demand for it. The best solution that I saw is someone suggested grinding mica rocks into flecks, but that poses two problems: while it’s natural, it won’t break down, either and if you think getting conventional glitter in your eye sucks, I can only fathom the pain from mica chips in your eye. No thanks. The second is that given the position of mining and what we, as human beings, have already done in terms of mineral extractions, this would just exacerbate the issue further. Not to mention kind of cancelling out the good deed of having a regular glitter alternative by requiring strip-mining to supply the new demand. Kind of makes your head hurt. Besides, if the whole status from she-who-has-the-most-Swarovski-crystals thing is any indication, fuck, we get going on the my-make-up-is-mica-flecks-crushed-scarb-beetles-mermaid-scales and so on, then I will be forced to hang myself and haunt everyone else. Truth.
So my train of thought on this has passed through Guilt station followed by a rest at Alternatives way on route to it’s final destination at Possible Solutions Road. Since most performers (I’m just going to blanket all us spotlight loving magpies with that term for convenience) would sooner drink a pint of their own piss than do without the sparklies, then we’re stuck with this monster of leftover raver scabies. So rather than wring our collective hands and sulk, I have a creative solution. Call it the Eating Of Cake And Having It Too. Since this shit seems to be practically indestructible, let’s focus on things that require longevity in this world:
*Disaster Relief: We have a shit ton of floods, hurricanes, and other things where maybe sandbags aren;t the only thing to be used. In the creation of dikes and bridges, let’s see some sparkle in there, people. When mixed with mud/water this stuff congeals like last night’s soy-cheese nachos. Perfect quick solution.
*Emergency packs for aircraft: When your plane goes down or you need to signal having a small hand mirror to flash at passing ships/aircraft is key. However, if you can write a message in highly reflective sand, then you might get help a bit faster.
*Tar Road Repairs: Speaking as someone who watched long black tar tentacles snaking their ways over miles of Canada and the USA highways here on the continent, let’s at LEAST make that shit pretty to look at. Will act in place of gravel and still retain the flexibility during winter months for expansion and contraction on the main road and hopefully save on wear and tear. Also: is pretty.
Just some ideas. Not much, but it’s a start. If we aren’t able to ween ourselves from our glitter addiction, we might as well, after our peacocking, have some use for the greater good of humanity. Just saying. Maybe incorporating something that is shiny, makes us smile and so forth would benefit people en mass and not just confine it’s joy to those of us who bathe in the spotlight.
It could happen.
Little Miss Risk