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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nancy Does Burlesque...OR NOT?!!!

Welcome to Burlesque by Nancy Toocool

I'd like to start of by thanking Yummy for putting together this video (first time any of my numbers get filmed, big yay for that) and of course for letting me use the Artiste Performance HUD & Palette, without which this number could not have been created.

About the Idea

Since humour, parody and ridicule are essential features of burlesque, I really wanted to dive into the core of burlesque and ridicule burlesque itself, namely the forms it has acquired in Second Life. While many SL burlesque dancers claim that they're trying to stay true to what they believe is the most important aspect of traditional burlesque (that is, sensual stripping that takes ages and does not lead to full nudity), they're at the same time compensating the lack of action by relying more and more to really extravagant sets and effects (such as humongous props and particle effects that at times can block the whole stage and completely hide the star of the show, the dancer), and this (combined with lazy use of movers that results in glide dancing all over the stage, one of my pet peeves), has led to acts that, as I joke in one of my emotes, really look more like a Disney on Ice performance than burlesque. God that was a long sentence.

I am also kind of tired of hearing the same songs (usually by Christina Aguilera or that Moulin Rouge song as in my number) over and over so I just had to mock that too. I wish people would think more what they want to do on stage and take their time to find their own style and voice, instead of concentrating on what they think the audiences expect from a burlesque show. You can do a song that's wasn't on the soundtrack of that Burlesque film (which, by the way, had little to do with burlesque, just saying...)!

Having said all that, I'm really directing most of the mockery at myself. There's nothing as fun as laughing at yourself. And believe me, I too once thought that SL burlesque can only mean clichés and that nipple pasties were mandatory. One of my first numbers was done to Aguilera's Candyman, for f's sake! Luckily, I soon found a crack in the box and was able to think outside it.

About the Production

After six months of playing with the Artiste Performance HUD & Palettes and creating four or five performable show numbers with it, I really wanted to test its boundaries. I had this old idea about a number in which I smash parts of the set as I "break free from the clicé", but I had no way of making the props fall down or anything like that before I got my hands on the Artiste.

There I was with one Palette functioning as an avi mover (11 individual moves in it) and another glued to the giant U that then made it first tilt slowly and then crash down. So I started to think what else to do. Hmm, stage lights of course. Those are always easy to create using a Palette. How about making those chandeliers rotate midway through the number, just to create some movement on the background and emphasise the lunatic feel of the number? Sure, what the heck, let's go crazy. Then I remembered I had these animated mesh statues I had never used before, so I thought they'd be the perfect tool to make fun of how some performances have twenty synced dancers whose only real task is to jump on a pose ball and let the lead dancer add them to their dance hud. Well, I'll let you in on a secret: you don't have to share your tips with these stage filler dancers. You're welcome.

Okay, so of course I wanted my mesh dancers to make their entry in a cool way, so I made stage lifts for them (using Palettes). And since they (unlike some dancers I've seen around) can't move through walls and floors (they're mesh, not ghosts), I made little hatches that opened and closed when they rose from under the stage. That meant two more Palettes.

Let me count... That makes 10 Palettes, all of which functions I timed and triggered using the Events and Auto-FX functions of the actual Artiste HUD (I know, this makes little sense to anyone unfamiliar with the hud). I have to admit, I was somewhat nervous about using so many Palettes and moves, especially with those animated mesh statues (that are potentially laggy), but hey, I like to rake risks.

Having used another mover system before and witnessing how it got stuck and delayed when there are more than one mover and/or when there are more than five avatars on the sim, I was very happy to see this number survive the actual show night with several avis around.

I think I've rambled long enough. I hope you enjoyed the show and be sure to come check us live some day - it's always better live!

-Nancy

PS: My intention was not to hurt anyone's feelings, just to make fun of some of the phenomena related to SL burlesque - and of myself. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we really can't laugh at all and should not be in this "business". Peace & love!

And now for the video...see the video==> “Welcome to Burlesque?”

4 comments:

  1. It's always interesting to see how others' creative process works. Kind of the old 'chicken or the egg' question - does the music spark inspiration first or something else? I think I tend to be a music first person, which probably limits my creativity in some ways. I'll have to think of ways to remedy that! Thanks for the peek behind the curtains!

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  2. Yes, most times I'm a music first person as well. And in a way that is how this number came to be also. Well, I had the vague idea of parodying SL burlesque hidden somewhere deep in my chest of vague ideas. And I had that Peaches song I had planned to do. For that song my initial idea was to start the number as opera or ballet, something very "high culture" and prestigious, which would then switch to that raunchy tune. After letting the idea sit for a while, I got a light-bulb moment and figured I could kill two birds with one stone.

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  3. *Writes a strongly worded letter to the Daily Mail about Nancy's nudity*

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