Brown Girls Talk Burlesque

During the first BGB All Stars Show, we took some time to chat about burlesque. ūüėÄ

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Also, I recently shared some of my thoughts with Corset Magazine (The Go To Magazine for All Things Sexuality)  too.

 Check it out HERE!!

ESSENCE REVEALED¬†–¬†Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. ¬†She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. ¬†Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. ¬†She’s been published in two anthologies:¬†Pros(e)¬†& ¬†Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chicken Hawks. ¬†She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. ¬†Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing. ¬†Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Female Empowerment

English: This barnstar is sugested for human s...

When I was an undergrad I became a Sexual Health Advocate. ¬†Honestly, I think this is where my interest in helping people talk freely about sexual topics began. ¬†We were put through training and sent off on campus to do various workshops with different groups of fellow students. ¬†It’s there that I met Amy Jo Goddard. ¬†I secretly had a crush on her and her girlfriend at the time. ¬†I don’t know that I ever told her that. ¬†Hey, Amy Jo, if you’re reading out there, yes, it’s true :-). ¬†I got to lead workshops about safer sex, sex toys, contraceptive options and I even owned my own plastic speculum which I used in workshops about GYN exam related topics. ¬†We gave people tools to use when communicating about sexual topics with new partners. ¬†We taught ¬†facts and stigmas around STI’s. ¬†I even got to teach people how to put a condom on with no hands. ¬†Yes, I’ve been talking about sex with strangers for a while now.

I wasn’t studying anything having to do with human sexuality. ¬†I just was very interested in freeing myself from a very strict up bringing & healing as a sexual abuse survivor. ¬†I was fascinated by the fact that so many people seemed uncomfortable talking about sexual topics. ¬†Volunteering and community service was at the core of who I was. ¬†This was a perfect fuse of all these things. ¬†Amy Jo however was actually studying Human Sexuality. ¬†“How cool was that!” I thought.

AJG-Banner001

I had the opportunity to work with her in a play she wrote, produced and directed called Vulvalution. ¬†It is one of my favorite projects to date because I got to play a very butch character named Blue, *b-boy stance* ;-). ¬†I think it was around that time that she ¬†had a book called Lesbian Sex for Men coming out. ¬†We lost touch soon after that I believe. ¬†Then the Facebooks happened and¬†re-connection¬†happened and lo and behold she was a full-blown sex educating star-uh! ¬†She’s even been endorsed by Justin ¬†“Bringing Sexy Back” Timberlake. ¬†Whaaaaat?!?! ¬†Needless to say, this is a totally biased plug but a totally honest evaluation: ¬†Amy Jo Goddard is doing the dern thang.

She has a free class coming up April 3rd at 8pm EST:

Coming Home to Your Sexual Self… When You Didn’t Know You Had Left

Free Call on Wednesday, April 3rd with Amy Jo Goddard, Sexual Empowerment Coach
Register here.

It can happen so easily — when sex falls to the bottom of the priority list, when the relationship plateaus, when you look in the mirror and can’t remember when the last time was you had amazing sex, powerful orgasms, deep intimacy, and truly satisfying pleasure.

Or when something happens with a partner and you feel knocked off your center, disconnected from your sexual confidence and power.

Could this be you right now? Is it possible that¬†you’ve¬†left yourself somewhere along the way‚Ķ perhaps without realizing it?

My friend and colleague¬†Amy¬†Jo¬†is a sexual empowerment coach who does amazing work with women and couples on their sexuality and relationships. And she’s offering a free 75-minute call, no strings attached, for people who feel like they’ve gotten off track sexually and want to find their way back home to a place of radical self-love, authenticity, and openness to all the pleasure, abundance and rockin’ great sex that life has to offer. It’s called “Coming Home to Your Sexual Self… When You Didn’t Know You Left.”

What a great topic! ¬†To get on the list for this free call, go here. Come home, beautiful! It’s time!

ESSENCE REVEALED¬†–¬†Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. ¬†She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. ¬†Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. ¬†She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. ¬†Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing. ¬†Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Vibrator Review 2 – Lelo INA 2

INA 2 Lelo

Guess what?¬† I got another sex toy to review from The Toy Closet.¬† I was excited to do my homework, but I had to get ready to go to a show.¬† One thing that was especially interesting about this toy is that it’s ReChArGeAbLe! ¬†ūüėĬ† I got home from the show.¬† I opened the package and looked at the box.¬† I thought it was so pretty, so, so pretty.¬† And it was my favorite color, purple.¬† Yep, I was biased from the start!¬† What I did not do was plug it in to charge before I left for the show.¬† Which was fine because I was tired and wanted to get to bed anyway *side eye*… ¬†*Sigh*.¬† I plugged it in.

While it was charging, I checked out what was in the box.  A carrying case, lube (glycerine & paraben free), a warranty and an instruction manual were in the box.  A charger was, of course, in there as well.  I promise, I have never before thought about registering a toy.  Now I have.  There was a product registration card.  I also, don’t typically use toys with penetration.  I had to wait until the following night before I  had time to test it out.

IMG421

For the sake of research, I pushed through, so to speak. ¬†I was curious about that shape. ¬† There are 8 vibration settings as well as intensity control.¬† Is this the “luxury vehicle‚ÄĚ of sex toys?¬† I can say that whether you do use penetration or not, it is a fun toy to have.¬† It‚Äôs like a sex toy, video game controller and you are in the command center. ¬†You know, in a sexy time kind of way. ¬†Yes, it is fully water proof as well.¬† Perhaps, one of you could test it out in water and let me know how it was? ¬†In the bath, perhaps? ¬†I always think that fully water proof ¬†is a great option, especially if you take showers with your partner. ¬†I don’t need details: a yay or nay will do!!!

The battery life seems to be excellent.¬† I haven‚Äôt charged it for days and have been able to use, I mean, test it out a time or two or three or…¬† Thumbs up to the Lelo.

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Guess what else? ¬†The Toy Closet will be available at the Brown Girls Burlesque “She’s A-Shake-A-Ning” show in Phili, Washington DC & New York City this weekend Mar 21st – 23rd.¬† If we won‚Äôt be in your city Toy Closet can be reached 24/7 online.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

ESSENCE REVEALED¬†–¬†Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. ¬†She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. ¬†Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. ¬†She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. ¬†Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing. ¬†Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Strip Clubs, Why Do Men Go?

English: Signage on the exterior of a strip cl...

I was recently asked why men go to strip clubs. ¬†It was a text message and I was responding in way too many parts. ¬†So, I decided to write it out here. ¬†I think this question is¬†similar¬†to what kind of woman strips? ¬†There is no “typical” customer as there is no “typical” stripper. ¬†There are many reasons why the men who enjoy strips clubs go. ¬†I suppose, though, the short answer is in the same way that the kind of ¬†woman who strips is the kind of woman who needs to earn money, men go to strip clubs to see T & A. ¬†Some more A than T and vice versa but you get my drift.

1) Men are highly visual. ¬†The Club, the¬†endearing nick name for strip clubs, are chock full of visual stimulation. ¬†There are beautiful women. ¬†The attire depends on the club. ¬†It could be long evening gowns. ¬†It could be nothing more than coordinated bra’s and panties. ¬†Then there is everything in between. ¬†At any rate, it’s a sight to see. ¬†Numerous women dressed up with full hair and make-up. ¬†Nails done and, hopefully, smelling good. ¬†There are usually big screen televisions showing sporting events. ¬†There are cocktail waitresses bringing you your cocktail of choice. ¬†Or if you choose to sit at the bar you’ll be catered to there. ¬†The folks at the door welcome you with open arms, if the club is doing their business the right way. ¬†No one is going to tell a strip club customer that they are being disrespectful for looking at numerous beautiful women.

Strip Club Customers Seated at Tip Rail

2) A break from societal expectations is enjoyed. ¬†The conversations had with dancers and staff can range from sports & current events (personal or news worthy) on down to sharing the raunchiest of stories, jokes and fantasies. ¬†It could be a conversation about the divorce that he’s going through right now. ¬†No one at the club knows the people in your life so you can say what you want. ¬†There is no need to worry about what type of talk is socially acceptable. ¬†There’s the company of beautiful women and dances. ¬†I’ve spoken to guys who enjoyed coming to strip clubs because they are shy and they know dancers will approach them first. ¬†This is another nice change of pace for men. ¬†Traditionally, men are expected to be the initiator in the real world. ¬†(Though, ladies, I hear that you making the first move is more than welcomed contrary to traditional beliefs.) ¬†And after a conversation, she may seductively take off her clothes just for you. ¬†If a dancer isn’t digging your chat she most likely will politely walk away. ¬†A. ¬†Why would she want other potential customers see her be hostile. ¬†B. A successful night often depends on attitude so why would she want someone to take her away from her happy space. ¬†C. ¬†There’s the dressing room where dancers can vent, share experiences, give warnings or accolades, etc. ¬†So the main floor is like a safe zone unless he gets way out of hand.

A silhouette of Stripper on a Pole

3) He’s treated like king of the castle. ¬†One thing you can expect to be stroked is your ego. ¬†One night, I sat talking with a customer while he ate his steak. ¬†At one point he stopped and said, “You know, I go to work, my employees don’t appreciate me. ¬†I go home and I’m taken for granted. ¬†I come in here and I get treated like a king. ¬†The door men know my name. ¬†Beautiful women talk to me. ¬†Everyone wants to make sure I’m having a good time…” ¬†He shook his head then continued with his meal. ¬†After being in relationships or a marriage for a while, messages go from “I wanna do xyz (insert sexy, flirty action here) to you…” into ,”Can you get some milk on your way in?” ¬†I know I’ve been guilty of it.

Need we say more?

If ¬†a guy with expendable income is into strip clubs, this can be a very welcomed part of his day. ¬†However, the reasons why are wide and varied. ¬†Some may go because they had a good day and want to celebrate. ¬†Perhaps, he had a hard day and wants to get away for a moment. ¬†Maybe his partner is sick and he doesn’t want to cheat on her. ¬†Maybe he cannot stand his partner and wants an escape. ¬†It could be a business meeting, birthday or a bachelor party. It could be “boys night out”. ¬†It could be he enjoys the conversation and company of a particular dancer(s). One thing is clear. ¬†Either it is a man’s thing or it is not. ¬†But for those who enjoy it, you never can pin the reason why on just one thing… ¬†Well, except the T & A of course!

ESSENCE REVEALED¬†–¬†Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. ¬†She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. ¬†Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. ¬†She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. ¬†Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing. ¬†Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Femme Collar Realness!!!

If ya gonna be collared, why not like this?

Source: kaboodle.com via Essence on Pinterest

Or This!

Vibrator Review

English: The glowing red neon sign spells out ...

I’ve been living in NY for quite some time now. ¬†This is my first vibrator review. ¬†Anytime I wanted to get a new sex toy I’d just dip into one of the many sex shops open all hours of the day and night. ¬†At an erotic poetry event that I had performed in recently I met Janine. ¬†I mentioned to her that I was doing a show called Shades of Burlesque and Shades & Friends. ¬†I also half jokingly mentioned that I’d love to review products for quality assurance purposes only, of course. ¬†She will be selling her goodies at both shows AND I got a product to test out. ¬†Ya know, because I care about the people that deeply ūüėČ

This is the first time I’ve had one delivered to my door via mail. ¬†It was really nice to have a discretely packaged toy handed over to me. ¬†I loved having that secret from the delivery person. ¬†The toy I got was called the Heavenly Heart. ¬†It is Water Proof people! ¬†Fun, fun, fun!!! ¬†I thought the heart design was really nice. ¬†Let’s be honest, not everyone wants a phallic looking toy. ¬†The ten speed/pulse pattern options are a definite win in my book. ¬†Sometimes, a lady likes to meander towards the road to the big O for a bigger, more intense pay off so to speak :-D. ¬†It takes a double A battery which is easily found everywhere. ¬†I’ve had vibes with watch batteries and that it not as¬†convenient¬†to replace quickly. ¬†Ever had that awkward moment when the battery dies mid session? ¬†No? ¬†Only me. ¬†Fine. ¬†I hear tell there are even ¬†rechargeable vibes out there. ¬†Sounds like a great idea, right?

English: Two identical LR44 button cell alkali...

The only cons I can come up with is that the battery is not included. ¬†I opened the box ready to do my *ahem* work and alas no starter battery was in there. ¬†Luckily, ¬†I had an extra double A battery on hand or I would have had to raid a remote control. ¬†The other con is that I thought that some of the pulse patterns could use a bit more power. ¬†However, that is a personal preference, isn’t it? ¬†It may be the perfect intensity for others.

Go check out the Toy Closet to find the Heavenly Heart vibe and more!

wonderlandheart

As I mentioned earlier The Toy Closet will have tables of goodies on sale at Shades and Shades & Friends on Feb 15th & 16th at WOW Cafe Theater.  Get tickets in advance for $15/$20 at the door.  Showtime is 9pm for both nights.

ESSENCE REVEALED¬†–¬†Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. ¬†She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. ¬†Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. ¬†She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. ¬†Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.

Beauty of Feminine

Sweatpants

Being a burlesque performer has led me to experience the stark difference in reception I get when in and out of “burlesque drag”. ¬†How people perceive feminine beauty is something I purposely mess with. ¬†For years I’ve heard men say that they don’t like women who wear make-up and definitely not women who wear a great deal of it. ¬†However, as I go through the urban jungle of New York my, ahem, field research shows very different findings for me personally. ¬†I know this experience is not the same for all women. ¬†I have a friend who could be wearing a trash bag with a freezer bag hat and would still have to deal with street¬†harassment¬†and cat calling on the street. ¬†However, with me it is a totally different experience. ¬†There have been many a time I show up for a gig casual, get ignored, change into performance mode and get sudden attention.

When I am not in showgirl mode, I trend towards being a no make up wearing sweats/jeans, tee-shirt, sneaker woman. ¬†I’ve never been the type of woman who would “never leave the house without make up”. ¬†I’ve had those friends. ¬†We are getting ready to run out to the corner store for snacks. ¬†I have to sit and wait for lipstick, mascara, eyebrows, etc all to be applied first. ¬†The thought bubble over my head reads, “Really?!? ¬†Just to go buy some Cheese Doodles?”. ¬†But I’d sit and wait patiently. ¬†Whatever makes you happy. ¬†I on the other hand am perfectly happy to roll out in the same grey sweat pants day after day after day with no shame. ¬† When I am dressed down, I can pretty much move through the streets of NYC without being bothered. ¬†Mostly I choose to dress this way because it’s comfortable for me. ¬†I admit though some days it’s because I’d rather not deal with the¬†harassment.

dressed down

It’s ¬†not so shocking to me that no one wants me to “smile” or “have a nice day” or any of the other litany of things I get told, wished or crassly bombarded with. ¬†Perhaps, it is because my casual seems to read as tomboy on most days. ¬†I had the experience recently of standing in a room full of Burlesque folks and very few people recognized me. ¬†One person, who’d seen me perform only the week before said she was wondering who the soft butch lesbian in the corner was. ¬†Hilarity to me. ¬†I often end up in conversations with strangers. ¬†I talk to everyone. ¬†If the conversation leads me to talking about being a burlesque performer or sensual dance/booty twerk teacher, I’ll hand them a card. ¬†I forget that the card looks like my on stage persona. ¬†The silent skepticism on their faces reminds me that I look very different to other people. ¬†Enter ¬†Clark Kent/Super Hero joke here.

Photo by Frederick V Nielsen II

Photo by Frederick V Nielsen II

I took a business class last year. ¬†Most people were discussing traditional business ideas. ¬†There was a man who was opening a winery, a music school owner, real estate¬†folks, etc. ¬†I talked¬†about Essence Revealed and ideas I plan to create in the future. ¬†After several¬†weeks in the class the instructor said she wanted to have a one on one session with me. ¬†She explained that because she was seeing the entire picture of what I was building. ¬†However, because my classmates do not, I needed to be able to¬†“sell” my classmates¬†and look sexy when I come to class. ¬†Her thought was I needed to sell the image visually. ¬†What’s funny is that it never occurred to me that “attractive” or “attracting” needed a specific look. ¬†I feel good when I walk out the door and that’s good enough for me.

fred&shelly

It leads to questions for me. ¬†Are people being honest when they say that they don’t like women who wear a¬†lot of make-up? ¬†Men, in particular, are very visual creatures. ¬†Does attractive or what is attracting “look” a certain way. ¬†I tend to have “look” fairly low on my what attracts me to someone totem pole. ¬†And also femininity is defined in very limited ways it seems. ¬†Is a woman less feminine dressed down in sweats or is that simply a societal construct.

dressed down 2It has been my experience that only after I am in relationship with someone do they express that they love that I can dress down or “put some sparkle on it”. ¬†Very seldom, have I ended up in relationship with someone who met me in my dress down mode. ¬†I don’t feel any less of a woman, no matter how tomboy I am dressed. ¬†However, how I’m physically adorned surely dictates whether people feel like they should give me a “pound” or a “hug” as a greeting. ¬†What has your experience been?

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ESSENCE REVEALED¬†–¬†Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. ¬†She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. ¬†Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. ¬†She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. ¬†Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.