It has been a whirlwind weekend! So much so that after two after party nights/mornings in a row, we couldn’t even make it to any of the Sunday day events before driving home. (On the plus side, we got to visit an old friend of Jake’s, check out the new house, and I got to take a fat afternoon nap.)
There were certainly some low/disappointing moments about the weekend, most of which occurred on Thursday/opening party night. I think that first night left a bad taste in a lot of mouths, so that by Friday morning, a few complaints had already made their way to the MEW group list. Most of the complaints were justified, I thought, as they were mostly directed at the venue and its representatives’ behavior towards MEW attendees. We were definitely soured that first day, having spent about three hours waiting– the first half just milling about looking for information on what was going on, and the second half standing in a mostly unmoving line– before we decided to throw in the towel and head back to our hotel.
As the weekend progressed, however, things smoothed over. And I have to commend the people behind the scenes for handling all the curve balls (and the performers for handling the last-minute underboob ban) with creativity and coolness.
My impressions of the weekend are generally summarized in the following two emails I posted to the group:
Truth be told, I did have a wonderful time this weekend. I loved watching the performances I did get to see (though I’m terribly bummed that I missed out on Satan’s Angel and many others due to time, sight and energy level constraints). But most of all, I had a wonderful time because of the company– I got to hang out again with some of my favorite people in the world, and meet and chat with many other friendly folks. The company was free to me, and most of what I did get to see of the event were free and open to the public as well. I should have just shelled out the $45 day-of-pageant ticket and saved the remaining $100+ to buy drinks for my friends (at The Orleans or Gold Coast– definitely NOT the Palms).
So my point? MEW is about the people, the community. Although this was my first time attending, I’ve always felt and heard and read about how dedicated burlesque performers, friends and fans band together every year to make one hell of a weekend. And I did see this dedication in the faces of the volunteers running around– especially Mig, who was the epitome of “grace under pressure”. And I saw the love in the faces of those of us attending– determined to have a good time despite being treated like second-class citizens (cattle?) by the hotel.
I understand the desire to promote to and perhaps generate greater interest in the museum and burlesque from the mainstream, but please, not at the expense of alienating the core community. Burlesque has always been sort of a fringe community and it was obvious that The Palms– a high-priced, trendy hotel– did not give a damn about us or hosting this event.
Will I come back next year? Quite possibly, if only to be able to reconnect with friends once again. I’ll be waiting to see what changes are made before I decide on whether to actually buy a ticket to the event. I hope that as the days calm a bit and the organizers commence preparations for next year, the lessons learned from this past weekend are taken into consideration and implemented in the beginning stages of planning to minimize the series of snafus that ended in a lot of disappointment from a lot of people.
Despite my previous ranting post, I do want to (re)highlight that I had a wonderful time connecting with great people! Jake and I loved being able to spend quality time with Bombshell Betty, Randy Johnson, Bombshell Betty’s Burlesqueteers (I so *heart* you!), Lady Borgia (who was just the best driving buddy), and especially my honey bunny Flame Cynders– who took good care of us, hooking us up with cabana action, and graciously providing her suite for Friday and Saturday night after parties. I loved having a little producers chat at one of the after parties. I loved seeing some of the legends perform and chatting with more– and being knocked off my ass by all the charisma they still exude. And don’t get me started on exciting new pals! Laveena Lotus, Cardinal Cyn, Jezebel Express, etc… me oh my!
I know you guys were thrown a lot of curve balls, and you did well handling them. Hell, all kinds of snafus happen to large-scale events, whether run by volunteers or professional planners. And things did seem to smooth out as the weekend progressed. I do think that as the barrage of complaints die down and we are able to step back and reflect more objectively, there will be many take-aways about how to minimize/handle the wrath of Murphy’s law for future events. I am definitely going to take some time to compile a list of constructive ideas for the suggestion box, and am putting myself up now as a volunteer for any event planning help.
Now, after having taking a couple of days recuperating and planning for my own local happenings, I will state with confidence that I am very happy to have made the trip to Vegas. And that I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my faraway friends and the new people I’ve met in the future. I’m still compiling my list of suggestions, some of which I am going to try to incorporate into my own shows, and will be sending them to the ‘box soon.
I do so love the burlesque community. I can’t remember exactly who it was that first told me, but it rings true every time: “In burlesque, everything works out well in the end.”