Of Blood and Bicycles…

I woke up early from post Sweet Sip Friday morning because something was in my eyes, making it hard to sleep. I believe it’s called ‘sunlight’. After a liquid (and fun!) performance at the Keefer Bar last Thursday night, I woke to an open bag of Cheetos and sunlight attemping to see how small it come make my pupils contract (answer: pretty darn small). With the day ahead of me, and it being so darn beautiful, I knew the true spring equinox has arrived: it was bike season! I had been keeping my bicycle in my bedroom for the winter which, while convenient to drying my delicate, was not really conducive to the sexy bedroom vibe I was going for. As well, it was annoying to trip over going to the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning or coming home so late that it was early. I had moved it downstairs to our basement but now, she was getting busted out of the lock-up and we were going to go for a spin. “Trixie” as I affectionately refer to her as, largely because of my interest in magic tricks, and because this bike has been known to pull some cute stunts on me eg: dropping a gear or having a cable go on the brakes at a fairly crucial moment. She always likes to keep me guessing, which is why I have such an awesome (if slightly abused) helmet that looks like I either escaped some sort of institute for lunatics or am about to be shot out of a cannon. Between that and riding in my corsets (which is actually more comfortable than it looks) I feel I may have to trade her in a few times for a spin on a more dangerous-looking but ultimately more tame penny farthing.

The downside to Trixie is she’s been cooped up all winter, and now she wants to run. Apparently, she wants to run on my blood, which is not entirely acceptable. Between latent attempts on my life in the past (see above) she is now actively seeking to draw blood from my by either scraping my leg with her pedals or chain or else throwing me like a rebellious mare. I can’t say it’s working for me. While I was thinking how much hard work it was going to be to conceal the long scratch on my calf, I was thinking the one person who would truly appreciate it would be trying to cultivate and add to it to make it look far more grotesque then it actually is.

Meet Bloody Betty.

Don’t let the frightening facade fool you. Despite her fearsome appearance this chick is one of the hardest working bitches I know. Works as a free lance make up artist and for MAC (which is impressive considering how many MUA those schools downtown are cranking out), a drink slinger at the Rickshaw Theatre, and produces and performs in all her own shows and wrangles the most outlandish group of stripteasers in the Vancouver (The Deadly Sins). This girl has a lot on her plate.

Here’s a typical example of how much blood (pun fully intended), sweat and tears Betty will pour into a show: conceptualization of the show, working with each of the Sins to come up with a piece that ties into their particular sin and the theme of the show, gathering sponsors to help with show props, decor and special effects. Whatever effects she can’t get help with, she makes HERSELF usually for the whole cast. She puts together her playlists, organizes outfits and costumes for performers that don’t have the income to make one from scratch, outfits all her stage sweepers (her ‘slaves’) and more often than not stays after the show to scrub the blood off of the venue so that she’ll be welcome back to perform again. And that’s just a standard sample of what she does for a show. It doesn’t include for something like our game show, Win, Lose, Or Die gathering all the amazing prizes from our sponsors, getting between eight and twelve people done up in over the top make up, and arranging dead baby feeder mice artfully on pieces of cheese for the Fear Factor portion of the evening. And fake blood. Always mixing up gallons of fake blood.

I know that most burlesque shows (hell most shows period) have a large amount of tech and logistics to deal with, but as soon as you throw the gore element in there, it ups the ante. Gorelesque is a lot like burlesque too when it’s done right it’s amazing but when it’s bad it’s painful to watch. I don’t feel that when watching Betty do her stuff. Seldom do I see more work come together for a single one-off show than I do at a Bloody Betty show. But it’s for her love of the gore, and wanting to bring true over-the-top entertainment to a wider audience that she puts on these spectacles. All I can say is you better get on your knees every night and pray she doesn’t decide to go into politics, otherwise you’d all be in trouble. (“And a liter of fake blood in every cupboard!” may be a campaign slogan. Just sayin’.)

Now as it’s raining again because this is Vancouver, and that’s what the weather does here, I’m going to take Trixie out for another spin. Corset laced up? Check. Battered helmet? Check. Blood-thirsty bicycle? Check. I figure if nothing else after this ride, I can always let this bike work for Betty, as she seems to be fairly adept at procuring blood… you never can have too much.


PS: If you want to see Bloody Betty’s next show, be sure to check out 1000 Ways To Die in Vancouver at the Cobalt. The Facebook invite is here

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