Where to Donate – In 3 Great Ideas

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Asking for donations and receiving are challenges for myself and several creative people I know.  Where to donate?  So many causes so little time! I have been overwhelmingly humbled and gratitude filled by how many people have shared my campaign to get to the Milan Burlesque Awards on the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, newsletters and more.  This is my 100th blog post so, I decided to pay it forward and tell you all about three other campaigns that are also going on.

1) Heels on Wheels does amazing work all over the country bringing awareness to important issues in very entertaining and creative ways:  shows, open mics and skill shares for example.  NY-ers you’ll be able to get a taste of what they do because I’ll be performing with these ladies in NY on May 5th at Triskelion in Brooklyn.

2) Camera Ready Kutz has been inspiring me for decades with how industrious she is as a small biz owner.  This barber shop has been among her most successful business ventures and it is ready to grow with a little help. Those of you who go to the barber shop especially know what a great experience being in the right one can be!

3) Urban Erotika has been creating spaces for adults to get sensual entertainment for a decade now.  I had the pleasure of performing at their 10th Anniversary show.  Now they want to document the 10 years of luscious.

Heels on Wheels!

http://igg.me/p/356603/x/624290

Camera Ready Kutz!

A Camera Ready Kutz Original

A Camera Ready Kutz Original

http://igg.me/at/khane/x/624290

http://www.camerareadykutz.com/

Urban Erotika: An Odyssey of Eros on Film!

http://igg.me/at/The-UrbanErotika-Evolution/x/624290

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!

April is National What Month?

Trigger Warning!  This is about sexual assault awareness month.  RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) is an amazing support resource.  Click here to link to their site and 24 hour hotlines.

English: A teal ribbon, which is an awareness ...

The month of April is national what month?  April is the awareness month of many things I wish we didn’t need to raise awareness about month.  This week is Street Harassment Awareness Week.  This month is National STI’s Education and Awareness Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month,  Mental Health Month, Sexual Abuse Awareness Month.  It is also the month that I was born in.  Last year I collaborated with Audacia Ray of Red Umbrella Project and co-curated a Red Umbrella Diary story telling night with the theme Survivors.  This was the first time I (and many of the speakers that night) spoke publicly about being a survivors of sexual abuse.  I gifted myself freedom from the silence for my birthday.  There were many reasons why I never wanted to talk about it out loud.  I least of all wanted to talk about it within the context of also having been a stripper.  It was a long journey for me to get to a place where I realized that there would be a whole lot more sex workers if sexual abuse was the cause.  Every TWO minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the US.

However, this year has shown us just how much awareness is still needed.  Watching the various news reports about the rape and sexual abuse cases (that actually made the news) hurt.  Seeing the reactions to the stories also hurt.  In one social media timeline discussion a female poster actually said “it was only fingers” (in reply to the guilty verdict found in the Steubenville Rape Case).  It’s as if having someone violate your body with “only fingers” makes sexual assault excusable.  Could she imagine this being done to her and shrugging it off?  What about to her daughter or son, niece or nephew?  Let us not forget males can also be victims of sexual abuse.  I tried without being able to adequately explain to a partner, once, why I didn’t tell.  Reactions like this are a part of it.  There is still very much a way in which the victims of sexual assault are blamed.  The victim is made to feel responsible in some way shape or form.  There was alcohol involved, she was dressed to skimpy, she willingly was alone with him/them, etc.

Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood...

The rape culture we exist in insists on having victims of sexual abuse believe it is their fault.  In some way, shape or form, the victim is often shamed into silence.  This silence stunts the journey towards healing and surviving.  I wish I could scream it loud enough for even unborn children to hear:

IT COULD NEVER, EVER, EVER BE YOUR FAULT!!!

Would I could be in the mindset of my now, yet another year older self, comforting and supporting my then unknowing younger self.  Tell.  Report it.  Break the silence until you get support.  It’s not so easy to be that strong when you are sexually violated.  It’s even harder when you are young.  It remains a battle in our society to find the strength to do so.  I cannot say/write it better than Melissa Harris-Perry.  See/hear Melissa Harris-Perry’s words here.

April is also National Poetry Month so, I leave you with this message from an amazing poet, Staceyann Chin:

Related articles

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 & been published in 3 anthologies:  Pros(e)Prose & Lore 2,  &  Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chicken Hawks.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing. 

Dating Women

Romantic Dinner

Well, actually, this is about the first date I ever went on with a woman as opposed to dating women in general.

The date was simple. We went to dinner at a very nice restaurant that she chose. She made the reservations. She took care of all the details.  All I knew was how I needed to be dressed & what time to arrive where.  Ahhh, sometimes it’s so nice to have it all taken care of & just to have to show up.  There was none of the “What do you want to do? I dunno, what do you want to do?” game played. I despise that game whether dating a man or woman.  Just pick already! Take charge!  And she did.  I love dinner as a date because a) I LOVE Food & b) We have no choice but pay attention to each other (smartphones weren’t a big thing then either).  So much can be learned from someone at a meal if it is a new relationship.  It’s a great way to relax, be catered to by wait staff  & enjoy each other if it’s a more established relationship.  We had a great time talking, cracking jokes, being flirty & sharing thoughts.

Hand

After dinner we went for a walk.  Hand in hand, we roamed around Manhattan continuing the conversation.  My stomach bubbled with butterflies from holding another woman’s hand in public.  But then I gave myself a pep talk: I went to art school, we held hands, laid all over &  massaged each other often. I got this! I felt a sudden wetness between my legs. “Whoa, am I that turned on?”, was my initial thought. We stopped somewhere so that I could use the rest room. The wetness was not excitement. It was my period. Ugh, *Sigh*. I told her when I got back to her. She said, “Let’s go to my place.” I agreed & we walked to her apartment. She sat me down & told me to wait. I had no idea what I was waiting for. Being on a date with a woman was a brand new experience so the unknown was exciting. After a few moments, she takes me by the hand, leading me to the bathroom.  It’s filled with small, white scented candles.  Steam from the warm shower fills the air.  I turn around to face her with probably the goofiest smile ever.  She shows me a fresh towel folded in the corner waiting for me.  “Enjoy”, she says before leaving me to my warm, candle lit shower.  Is this real life?

3 candles

I get out of the shower wrapped in the fresh towel.  She walks me over to her room which has tall, white, seven-day candles lit all around the edges of the room.  She gives me shorts, a t-shirt & invites me to lay down. I do. She leaves again. When she returns she has a hot cup of tea. “Do you want ibuprofen?”, she asks. Convinced that I am in a dream I nod yes. She gives me both. After sipping the tea, I lay back down. Why is it that the pain from cramps waits until your eyes have seen the blood to begin? I was fine when I thought I was just excited. She lays down with me.  We spoon and she rubs my stomach until I fall asleep.

This is what hotel bathrooms look like with a ...

I woke up hours later and looked around. The candles were still there though burned markedly lower. This really happened.

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!

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.

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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… 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!

Burlesque New York to Milan

Indiegogo.com Page

I decided to apply to the Milan Burlesque Festival.  I did it mainly because I’ve always wanted to go to Milan.  I really didn’t think I’d get in, so it never dawned on me to think about HOW I’d get there.  So, when I got the e-mail that I got in I did a little happy dance then thought, “Oh well, too bad, I have to decline.”  I told a few close friends & supporters and they all said, “You have to go.  Do a crowd funding campaign!”  My brain got busy telling me how I couldn’t do that because it wasn’t for a charitable cause or a life changing invention or a huge production, etc.  I am doing this despite those voices.  I DESPISE asking for help.  Yes, I know there has to be give and take flow in life but, but…  I’m a multi-tasking Taurus who will burn the midnight oil if I have to because I know, I’ll get it done.  Enter fears here.  Enter trust issues here.  Enter control freakishness here.  Yeah, I know I have baggage and can label many of them quite clearly.  They are not designer! 🙂

Yet, here I am with 36 days left in a 45 day Indiegogo.com fundraising campaign.

I am asking if you can give and/or share the link and help me spread the word?  It would be so appreciated.

This video is especially for my New Yorkers ;-):

Please & Thank You 😀

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!  😀  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.

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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” of sex toys?  I can say that whether you do use penetration or not, it is a fun toy to have.  It’s 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’t 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’t 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!