Okay, in the same vein that after a big break up, or after a large scale event, you need some time to pull back, cry, catch up on the giant stack of magic books and/or Hentai you’ve been meaning to read or see your loved ones, such is the same post-festival. The sixth Vancouver International Burlesque Festival was, I can safely say, a huge success, not just because of the performances (though that certainly helped) but from the volunteers, the board of directors, sponsors, and all our friends who put up with our shit for the time leading up to it, and in many cases, came to see the show. Without all these elements, such a large undertaking would certainly not be the success that it was. Thank you.
However, being the ol’ fly on the wall that I can be (as inconspicuous as one can be in a bubblegum pink latex asymmetrical onezie) I couldn’t help but notice the small breaches of etiquette that erupted here and there. Nothing huge or major, but I find sometimes, some of us don’t have the benefit of a higher social education and miss certain, shall we say, subtleties of the backstage and onstage world. I know most of us are pros, but we can all remind ourselves that these are the rules of the game. And as a wise person once said, “Game recognizes game… and you’re looking kinda unfamiliar right now…”. So I figure to help level out the playing field I will give to you:
Little Miss Risk’s Guide To Festival Etiquette
1. Is That Your Booze?
No, really, it’s not. Drink tickets are nice, but in non-music festivals and events that are independently run, you might have to run the risk that you may not get comped for drinks. I won’t tell you NOT to bring a flask, but if you do please, please please don’t wave it around or make it known. Discretion is the better part of valour. Ideally, if your going to sneak in your own (and I’m not advocating this merely suggesting) it’s in good taste to buy at least ONE drink from the bar, and tip the barstaff. Keep in mind that this is how the venues make money, and if they see a lot of tanked people running around, and there are weak bar sales, I can pretty much guarantee they won’t want you back in the room next year. Moving on.
2. That’s NOT Your Booze.
People reading this may think we are a bunch of lushes. Some of us are more than others. So when we roll backstage at a show, we sometimes assume that the large bottle of bubbles or the fine Russian vodka chilling on ice is meant for us. These are the times it’s a good idea to ask our peers if this is for everyone or for, say, the headliner. More than one social faux pas has been made when someone drank a bottle not belonging to them, opened something without checking or, god forbid, drank all the water. Backstages are usually shared areas, and before reaching for a glass, bottle, cup or can just have a quick check to see if these are shared catering or someone’s specific bottle of red and special bottle of water.
3. Who The Fuck Are You?
This is clearly not the way to make friends. While all of us have ‘larger than life’ personalities, trust me, you ain’t Dita. Hell, Dita isn’t like that either. So nor should you be. It’s not advisable to roll into a room and put on The Act, because everyone, no matter what skill level, talent, or point of origin worked to get to that backstage too. Respect your peers and don’t pull a diva attitude. No one likes it or likes having to deal with it.
4. Eyelash Glue/Pastie Tape Is Not Communal
I doubt that you’d go into someone else’s lunch bag to borrow their hot sauce, so why would you dive into a make up bag or suitcase to borrow eyelash glue or pastie tape? Unless, you have express permission from the owner, luggage archeology is not cool. I have lost the glue and the tape on more than one occasion and so know how annoying it can be to have that fresh roll disappear. Rules you learned in kindergarten still apply: ask permission to borrow something from someone.
5. Avoiding Air Kiss Collisions
We’re all friends here, even if we haven’t met yet. We’re totally friends on Facebook and in each other’s Twitter feed, so why wouldn’t we greet each other with a big kiss? Because it’ll ruin the make up we spent hours meticulously applying, so we’re going to borrow a page from our Drag Queen sisters and do the air kiss. There are a number of ways to approach the air kiss, but hair eating and eyebrow smudging can be avoided by doing the following… Lead by kissing the right cheek first, then backwards to do the left cheek kiss. No more than that is needed unless the orgy after the show is off to a slow start. But if everyone follows those directions, no noses will get smashed, and no smears will occur.
This is installment one of at least three of these. Don’t worry, I’ll pop another one out closer to Burlesque Hall Of Fame to help aid in the strange and sometimes scary world of etiquette. For now, the wine is drained, the cheese is gone and there is nothing but bugs and bats, attracted to my late night lamp.
Little Miss Risk