The Vegas dream.

The gambling capital of the world, Sin City, the entertainment capital of the world, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  A lot happens in Vegas: insane gambling, incredible hotels, fabulous shows, the seen and the unseen night and day life in a city of ridiculous extremes. Theres nothing else like it in the world and it was created that way by the people who envisioned it.

It is world renowned for fine dining, stunning 5 star hotels, incredible scenery and an allowance for extremely varied adult entertainment. Its family and adult friendly variability make it a prime destination for business meetings, corporate events and thrill seeking adventurists who have a thirst for gambling risk and crazy entertainment possibility. Bring the family on one hand and/or party like a rockstar with the other.

Vegas is a major luxury tourist destination. Its not a skin cracking dry/cold/hot heavy industry and long haul truck pitstop or fracking centre. It was established back in 1905 and grew through the first burlesque/showmanship era, the hollywood golden age, the prohibition era, the great depression and on into the neon classic it now is. Everyting about it has been extreme, its never been shy about self promotion or creation of the most extravagant entertainment ever seen.

It is home to several major in house Cirque Du Soleil troupes, it was the home of the incredible live Siegfried and Roy big cat shows and several different major showgirl revues. The setups for all the entertainment venues are catered specifically for the shows they produce: groundbreaking mechanics and sound engineers/technicians, olympic sized swimming pools, state of the art technology/training/testing facilities. In house costume design departments and good accomodations/physiotherapy facilities for artist maintenance and health.

There is also the world famous Las Vegas Showgirl Museum and Hall of Fame which houses the incredible creations by artist/creator Grant Philipo. Just a single costume from his studio runs at about $10,000 each with incredible showmanship, craftsmanship and luxurious presence. Even standing still they are mind blowing with light interaction and body structure. They are by themselves half the show.

Every detail the audience sees from performer style to decor and maintenance of the venue adds to the value of the experience. Taking the audience for granted and abusing their presence is not acceptable for any reason. All it takes is a stroll out the door to find another watering hole of more welcoming vibe and the offending location is avoided from then on. Word of mouth is powerful when negative experiences are repeated and nothing is learned from. Its a painful sign that management has limited in depth experience in their chosen business and that ownership doesn’t care and is so short sighted that they’re unbothered by the death of their business as long as short term bank is made.

Business investment, Part 2

Performers highly value their craft, from costumes to props to shoes and skill training, everything tends to be paid for by the performer if they want to reach a higher level of art. Then there is accommodation, travel, extra baggage, special shipping for really huge props, and overweight costs when those costumes just kill the 50 pound weight limit per bag because of the amount of sequins and beading they have. Promotional material, demo videos, poster images and anything pertaining to the brand of the performer is also under the performers jurisdiction to create their brand as they see fit. Anything detrimental to the performer is not going to be wise for overall business success. The performer IS the business.

We also have to be conscious of body/health maintenance and injury prevention as that hinders performance ability and impacts earning capacity and skill flexibility. That also adds up with deep tissue massage therapy, physio to deal with previous injuries and prevention of further damage with personal trainers of various skill types.

Good performance isn’t cheap, if it IS cheap then its not a good performance. Businesses get what they pay for and depending on the professional experience of the employer that can be the very downfall of their business and professional integrity.  When a business doesn’t respect their performers then the respect between employees and the business begins to crumble and the business will cease to exist.

Viewing your performers as cash cows to milk with as much fraud as possible while completely disregarding the interests of the audience you supposedly cater to and no longer having an interest or understanding of the business you’re trying to run isn’t very conducive to making a long term profitable venture for anyone involved. Ignoring the balance between audience interests, province economy and performance costs is a very sure way of driving out the audience from your venues, enforcing negative business practices, endangering employees, degrading the quality of the venue overall and eliminating public respect of anyone involved in the business. Extremely unwise business practice that should be a concern for all involved.

 

Industry respect in entertainment.

How we are treated in the industry has a lot to do with our own behaviour and what we allow to occur. You need to earn respect from colleagues and the audience and command it as well.

Disrespect that is allowed and easily forgiven just keeps going and never ends until its consciously stopped by those it directly effects. Being passive and hoping things change doesn’t change a thing, only recognizing ones boundaries and standing by them reinforces limits.

Also interesting as a model and performer, the difference between attitudes from photographers when I was naive and unaware that I could say no to a pose of nudity/semi nudity that I didn’t like vs now that I control a large percentage of the work I participate in. Ignorance is not bliss as speaking up and refusing poor quality work isn’t liked by those who wish to take advantage of vulnerable/nude presentation. When a photographer says “oh you can look at the pics and if you don’t like it then I can delete it later.” That is a fail. The second the picture is taken, you no longer have any say in it.  If you want control of your brand and image, do the research on who you want to work with and go from there. Don’t compromise on how you want to be represented. Its how you direct your brand from the start that counts.

Performers in the entertainment industry are often not viewed with the same perceptions as the rest of the population. People unfortunately like to see train wrecks and melt downs, its a darker entertainment that fuels the negative voyeuristic part of human nature. Its sad to see people in distress that aren’t helped out of their plight but left to continue as long as money is still to be made. Its up to you to help yourself. People that have themselves together are also less likely to make foolish business decisions or regret their actions later on.

The ironic part is artists that have stood up for themselves whether it be in quality control or legal right, safety and pay for the work they do have often gotten blacklisted, defamed, banned or fired for speaking up for themselves and their rights. The general public overall being completely unaware of the behind the scenes politics that shapes the industry and the choices available within it. Quite often speaking up comes at the cost of ones career but makes a positive impact on the industry and careers of future performers. Its a very difficult line to toe.

Business investment, Part 1

Business at its heart is an art form, very much like the art of war. You can’t just go in, arms flailing or waiving big guns and expect to win long term. Short term you may get in but can that be maintained? Is the business filling a niche market or is it degrading its original purpose and disrespecting everything and everyone that made it worth anything to begin with?

Entertainment is a difficult business involving many layers and requiring respect from all involved. Without that foundation of wanting to create overall incredible results, the business will never reach its full potential because of internal failings. Without entertainers there is no entertainment and thus, no business.

Stage performance is the art of live entertainment. Regardless of the type of physicality of the show the main point is the skill involved. It takes years to master the craft of beautiful movement, whether it is self taught learning or with dance class background the result takes the investment of time to build up. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, pain and perseverance goes into being an engaging performer. The audience appreciates genuine skill and care. Its that fantastical human connection and elevation thats priceless.  That is irreplaceable. It gives a high like no other and is priceless for the performer. The more energy the performer gives, the more the audience cycles back and its an odd flow of feedback that gives to all involved.

The degradation of performance is when someone is on the stage and expects tips yet has put minimal effort into being entertaining. Granted its a two way street that also benefits from a positive audience but thats not always guaranteed. A big test of entertainment quality is still being engaging while feeling not 100%. The key is finding the centre for proper breathing, fluid motion and concentration. Its a bit harder then it looks, taking a lot of practice to master.

The business of entertainment.

Entertainment is a very strange animal. Its not a necessity and yet on closer inspection it very much is. When looking at the human animal you realize that we get bored very easily. The roots of the most profitable business are in video games, comic books/books, drugs, prostitution and media in all its forms. The biggest punishment for most people isn’t a spanking but to lock them up alone in a windowless room with no one to talk to and nothing to distract the mind from turning inward. The most frightening place to be is inside ones own head, no excuses or places to hide.

When getting into business the big questions are how much experience does one have in it, what is the goal of the business and what is the focus long term. Is it to make money to line your own pocket or to make a creative environment that is safe and profitable for the performers and all employees involved. Everything from building architectural integrity to wise business practice will dictate how a business is viewed by all involved.  Quality stands the test of time while rubbish does not.

 

Creative survival.

An interesting thing about survival in the business of entertainment is what it takes. Is it just about having a pretty face and body or is it about being young and gullible. Or is it about knowing the right people and doing as you’re told when its told to you. The ultimate test of survival is time and enduring relevance in human fascination and fantasy.

Never mind about being a PG rated entertainer but does the show entertain? Does it get people talking and wanting to see more of it? Can you reinvent yourself and float doesn’t matter where you go? Kissing ass and dumbing down creativity is playing it safe but ultimately its self defeating. Nobody remembers mediocrity.

The entire point of entertainment is escape, people want a cathartic fantasy that taps into their dreams, their desires and their fears. They want a full experience where they can leave the show FEELING something more then what they came in the door. Its a distraction from everyday life, the stress of the job, bills and the safe normalcy of reality. Money is spent when that escape is created. Everything from drugs to white water rafting is a gateway of escape and a taste of freedom with adrenaline. When a performer can tap into that vein of fantastical escape, thats gold. Its a lifetime obsession for those who really live their work.

Tech savvy crouton.

Yay!! Back to posting once again. I seem to be as tech savvy as a salad crouton .  Very much need to work on that as it doesn’t help overall.

Creativity updates are as follows: thank you audience people for the super positive feedback to the ballet pointe show! It means a lot that  classical skill is appreciated in such a non classical setting. The reason I started training again was to see what I could do with it as a new performance skill in my repertoire after seeing the AMAAAAAZING Misty Copeland Under Armour commercial. Got me thinking about the fascination and fetishism of ballet and how much I still loved its grace and elegance. Its something that I realized is another creative outlet that isn’t restricted like either my candle or fire shows, only uneven stages are a problem as that can cause injury.

I did ballet from about age 5 to 11 years old which was when I fractured the growth plate in my right leg/fibula, a notable injury on top of the multitude of ankle sprains/strains, a wrenched achilles tendon, prompting the doctor to tell my mum to take me out of ballet as it wasn’t a good idea to  continue.  In hind sight a year off to heal or so and then gradual training/build up would have been wiser but thats not what happened. Instead I took about 16 years off from classical dance training till I started dancing full time in 5 inch heels on stage.

I tried doing pointe again when relatively new to performing full time and failed as my ankle and leg muscles hadn’t been sufficiently conditioned for a full pointe show. That took 8 years of a lot of work to strengthen the ankles/legs where I could do a fully innovative pointe and floor show while integrating pole use without a break in flow. A key component was also getting the right pointe shoes which made a huge difference in comfort and stability. I also keep on my knee pads for floor work as that is invaluable for cushioning/injury prevention, thigh high leg warmers are priceless for concealing those.

A lot of fun as well is the duty of really breaking in new shoes, its amazing the difference it makes, using a comfy broken in pair of pointe shoes vs a stiffer newer pair. That classical problem of wanting to wear the newer pair to break them in but not wanting to do a stiffer show in them vs the comfy pair. The dilemma being the more work and sweat in the newer pair is what they ultimately need to wear in better.

Ballet workable costumes are also tricky when taking into account the pole that is often also on stage. I have to be aware of the weight/movement of the skirt/pants I wear to not get hung up in pointe shoes when I lift my leg and also the feel of a jacket/coat when doing pole work. It throws off balance when the shoulders are constricted.

I have to say that this foray into concentrated ballet training and performance inclusions interesting in where it will go for my style and how I can further my ability on stage with a lot more practice and learning.