mia loves henry miller
Letter 41 – Exotic World, Roof Top Parties at the Palms Casino, Desert Secrets, Tempest Winds and Dusty Summers
I’m writing this letter on 3/3/2112 at 8:47 p.m. (The Saturday morning after a burlesque show)
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –Henry Miller
Yesterday was a very busy day! We had an amazing show last night! I’m totally exhausted. My body feels limp, fatigued and rubbery. My mind feels spacey like my brain is made of Swiss cheese. I don’t want to do anything today, but rest on the couch and watch a movie. But, it’s a good kind of tired – a very rewarding type of exhaustion. Dr. Farrago’s Burlesque Theater troupe is an amazing burlesque/variety show production. I am still feeling the euphoric rush after a great show.
The Illusionettes, Nikki Malone and I performed well on stage last night. Sadie Simone couldn’t perform with us because of other job obligations. Due to being one performer short, we kept our magic number simple, yet, sexy and fun. And, I even managed to perform a slinky, sexy burlesque striptease number to Adele’s song, Rumor Has It. I loved feeling glamorous and provocative performing the art of the striptease art in a semi classic, yet modern style.
“The woman also would have learned the art of removing her costume, inch by inch, slowly and sensuously, with smoothness and grace. She never lost the beat of the music, nor forgot for a moment that she must appear seductive and completely feminine from every angle, to every viewer’s eye. She had to make every movement count.” –Shawna St. Clair, from book, Burlesque, Legendary Stars of the Stage, by Jane Bridgeman
You would not think that stripping off your clothes might require a lot of rehearsing – doing it burlesque style does. Every single movement in the striptease should produce eloquent or sexy choreographed moves. A burlesque number might be classic in style, or sensual, or comical, or artistic in nature, or may even exhibit raw bawdiness. I recently dedicated a lot of time to create a new number. I rehearsed my burlesque number for many hours and days prior to the show at my artist loft. During rehearsals, I shredded two pairs of black, thigh high nylons, broke all of the buttons on my vintage garter, and a tore a tiny hole in my pair of long, black, opera gloves. The muscles in my legs were stiff, sore and trembling from rehearsing choreographed dance moves, for long periods of time, prior to the show.
“Henry’s life was never humdrum. He was constantly meeting new people, finding causes to champion, getting new fixes on the universe.” –William Webb, Henry and Friends, The California Years 1946 – 1977
We live in a world where our human senses can become numb and dull, as if a sharp knife had been vehemently rubbed upon stone, by the ordinary humdrum and stresses of life. And, sometimes we feel as if we are moving through our lives in sleep mode – just going through the motions, trying to get by in life, each minute of the day. As a performer, I get to instill some sense of dramatic emotion, tension, imagination, a diverse range of passion, or even an element of surprise, into others via my art work, writing, performing burlesque and magic. Moving people in a variety of creative ways is a very empowering sensation. It makes me feel awake and excited to live my life.
“We’re creators by permission, by grace, as it were. No one creates alone, of and by himself. An artist is an instrument that registers something already existent, something which belongs to the whole world and which, if he is an artist, he is compelled to give back to the world.” –Henry Miller, Sextet
I feel very grateful and appreciative for all of the performers I choose and book for our burlesque/variety show. As individual performers, we are all unique, powerful sources of highly creative and energetic talent. As a whole entity – a troupe of performers, we explode upon the stage, entertaining large, appreciative crowds. Each burlesque, boylesque or variety show performer on stage and every part being played behind the scenes by a production crew, is intensely important to the show. I feel that we are an amazing team and family. Dr. Farrago’s Burlesque Theater has come a long ways from the beginning of our adventure at First Avenue Nightclub in Minneapolis, when we were raw and just beginning. We have learned so much along the way and have worked hard for our success. I feel thankful for each and every experience, regardless of it being negative or positive, throughout the years. Every bit of this journey is well worth it.
Good night Henry. I will write tomorrow.
I’m resuming this letter on 3/4/12 at 6:06 p.m.
I just spent the afternoon with Mr. C. We went thrift store shopping. We used to do this a lot on Sunday afternoons, when our lives were less chaotic. We needed to find a few things for the show, such as glass candle holders for each of the tables at the nightclub. Running a large show on a small budget, we have learned to find the things we need for the show in unexpected places. I am forced to think outside the box, using resources we may not have thought of if we would have had unlimited finances. I’m excited that we finally purchased our very own cherry red table cloths. They looked great at last night’s show. We no longer need to rent them for each show. Mr. C is presently making Dr. Farrago merchandise, starting with three inch buttons, for us to sell at our upcoming shows. The graphic design created by Mr. C and the art work created by Twin Cities talented artist, Timmah Pacello look great together. I can hardly wait to see the buttons when they are finished and eventually shipped. I want to sell them at our next show.
“My first real striptease costume came from a thrift store. It was covered in green sequins.” –Zorita, Burlesque, Legendary Stars of the Stage, Jane Bridgeman
In the early summer of 2008, I attended Exotic World in Las Vegas. I had just renewed my relationship with Mr. B after a several month break up. His wife found an email I had sent him, which caused Mr. B to immediately sever all ties to me. It was nice to have him back in my life again. I had truly missed him. I had felt lost and depressed for many months and was relieved when Mr. B made contact with me again by email. I thought that I could erase him from my life, as easily as pushing a delete button on a computer keyboard. It wasn’t so simple. Mr. B was stuck in my hard drive, unable to omit.
It was Mr. B who encouraged me to attend Exotic World, when I told him that I had been invited by a friend and that I wouldn’t have to pay for my hotel accommodations. I normally wouldn’t attend an event like this. I have to spend my time and money wisely. Financially affording and attending Exotic World in Las Vegas wasn’t in my top 5 priorities. However, the right opportunity at the right time came along. A new burlesque girl in the Minneapolis burlesque community asked if I would go with her. She already had her hotel room booked. The plans she had with another person fell through, due to a disagreement in their friendship, which dissolved in a bitter way, a few weeks prior. I happened to have enough frequent flier miles to book a flight. Mr. B offered to help pay for some of my personal expenses. It was destined to be. Attending the Miss Exotic World Pageant is a memory that I won’t forget!
“So kiss me and smile for me – Tell me that you’ll wait for me – Hold me like you’ll never let me go – Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane – Don’t know when I’ll be back again – Oh babe, I hate to go.” –Song lyrics by John Denver
The young, burlesque performer, who I will name Miss Construe, was excited to learn more about burlesque by attending The Miss Exotic World Pageant, but, due to her fall out with her friend, who I will name Miss Nemesis, she was apprehensive to attend this event in Las Vegas alone. I name her Miss Construe because she is often misunderstood by other burlesque troupes and sometimes other performers. She is very young and desperately wants to fit in. She almost didn’t attend this event, until I agreed to go with her. I was happy to protect this girl from Miss Nemesis, who I was not extremely fond of at the time, due to the negative drama she could add to my burlesque shows. I had no fear of her or what she might do or say to me. I honestly didn’t care.
“The in-fighting and competition, at least in the world of burlesque also subsisted outside of Las Vegas. In her autobiography The Lady is a Vamp, dancer Tempest Storm detailed an argument she had with Lili St. Cyr, at the Follies in Los Angeles. Apparently, another dancer left straight pins on the stage after her performance. When Lili took the stage, she stepped on one as she danced and was embarrassed and angry that she had to stop dancing and remove the pin. She accuses Tempest of dropping the pins and the two argued before Follies owner Lillian Hunt stopped the fight.” –Gilded Lili, Lili St. Cyr and the Striptease Mystique, Kelly DiNardo
I don’t think Miss Nemesis was expecting Miss Construe to follow through with her plans to attend Exotic World. I couldn’t help myself when we passed Miss Nemesis at the Minneapolis airport to board our flight to Las Vegas. My knees grew weak and my belly filled with laughter when I saw the look of shock and surprise on Miss Nemesis’ face. She had once been a performer in my troupe until I decided to put our show on a two year hiatus, shortly after the first, Best of the Midwest Burlesk Festival. I made drastic changes to my show before Dr. Farrago’s return, and replaced many of my difficult performers with less vainglorious performers. I also exchanged my drunken performers with more sober and emotionally balanced performers. Miss Nemesis wasn’t asked to return, when we began our shows again.
My skin was shaded a pale green from the nausea I felt from the major turbulence we experienced during our flight into Las Vegas. The long, bumpy shuttle ride from the airport to our hotel didn’t help either. I was miserable when we arrived at our hotel, which is far off the Vegas strip, Buffalo Bills Casino. Yet, we were nearby the Palms Casino, where the Miss Exotic World Pageant would be. This would save us money on cab fair, yet, pain our feet, by having to walk across two large parking lots in high heels, many times over the course of the next few days.
I was happy when we finally entered our simple, quaint, hotel room and I flopped upon the bed to rest for awhile. It was later in the evening when Miss Construe and I met my old friend and lover, Tiger Man for dinner. My nausea had subsided. I was feeling much better after resting for awhile. It had been a few years since Tiger Man and I last saw each other, and that wasn’t on very good terms. However, we managed to get over that negative bump in the road and move on with a lighthearted friendship. We had been communicating via emails and conversing by phone for over a year. Not as often. But, enough to keep our connection open.
I admit that it was great to see him again! I gave him a HUGE, warm welcoming hug, when I first saw him in the lobby of the casino. Our embrace was long. He radiated with genuine warmth. I reciprocated, attempting to send him apologetic signals, from our mishap a few years ago, with my body language. His eyes were warm, kind and forgiving. His smile was large, his teeth white and glistening. I introduced him to Miss Construe before we went to dine in a nice restaurant inside the casino. We chatted about so many things over dinner, discussing old times, burlesque, the blues, Las Vegas, the musicians, and many other topics I can’t recall. I sat very close to him and could feel his warm energy radiate near my skin. I desperately wanted to talk to him in private.
After dinner, Miss Construe and I went to the New York, New York Casino on the Las Vegas strip to see the naughty Cirque Du Soleil show, Zumanity. I loved it! The talent and energy was highly entertaining and amazing! The show was so provocative, edgy, sinful, and bawdy. Miss Construe seemed to be enjoying the show as well. Even though she was a little bit older than my daughter, and younger than my stepdaughter, as well as much younger than I would pick someone to be a good friend, I genuinely liked her, and enjoyed her company even more after spending a few days with her. I felt bad that she felt shunned by some in the Minneapolis burlesque community. My maternal instinct wanted to protect her.
The next evening was the beginning of the official Miss Exotic World Pageant event at the Palms Casino. Hundreds of beautiful burlesque girls from all over the world were jammed into a large area of the Palms Casino awaiting to go upstairs into Ghost Bar and onto the rooftop. I talked with many lovely burly girls from places like Chicago and New York. I wore a classic, tight, black and white pencil skirt with a black, silk, halter top and vintage, black patent leather pumps. My feet ached profusely from the long walk to the hotel and standing in glossy black, high heeled pumps for what seemed to be many hours, by time we made it to the roof top. I wanted to sit down, relax and observe and enjoy the Las Vegas night life scenery. Miss Construe wanted to socialize. So, she did her thing and I did mine.
The view on top of the Palm’s Casino was exquisite! A gazillion lights twinkled down below, all over Las Vegas’ electrifying city; the desert night glittering like long, exquisite, bejeweled, evening gowns, accessorized by rhinestones and jewelry. As I sipped on a cold, fizzling bottle of Pierre, I observed gorgeous woman of all different shapes, sizes and ages, from all over the world, drink cosmos, martinis, beer and wine, chatting and laughing with each other. I continued to slowly sip upon crisp, cold bubbles of mineral water, observing the drama of the night unfold. I listened to a myriad of conversations and heard a variety of dialect, flitting like a buzzing fly in the whirling air, and around my head and ears. The excited energy I felt from the night was exhilarating and intoxicating. This scene and atmosphere felt surreal, as if I was caught in a wonderful, glamorous dream. I snapped back into the reality of where I was at when I felt the warm, desert wind caress my bare, smooth skin like a lover would on a passionate, summer night.
I was completely mesmerized by Miss Exotic World 2007, Immodesty Blaize’s grace and beauty. I could not take my eyes away from her, and she sat so gracefully nearby. She was by herself, sitting quietly, the wind fluttering the silky scarf on her head, upon the roof top, looking so glamorous. Occasionally she would talk with others, who would approach her. I still couldn’t stop myself from indulging in her stoic presence and sublime exquisiteness. She appeared to me like an alluring, classic movie star from a black and white film – simply breathtaking! Sometimes, I would stop staring at her to observe the gorgeous Miss Kitten De Ville bump and grind on the stage inside the Ghost Bar, or sexily strut like a long – legged Marilyn Monroe across the rooftop to enjoy a drink and conversations with her friends, afterwards.
“Ellion Ness, began performing at the age of 15. During her second week performing in the chorus line at Minsky’s, she was sent on a wild goose chase to find “the key to open the curtain.” She frantically looked everywhere for this mysterious (nonexistent) key thinking that she would ruin the show if the curtain wouldn’t open, and after much searching Minsky told her not to worry and to go get ready for the show.” –Pin Curl Magazine
Inside the Ghost Bar, some of the girls performed burlesque, such as Minneapolis burlesque star, Ophelia Flame, and some of the older, veteran, burlesque legends gave speeches, talking about their past as burlesque stars, like Ellion Ness, who really intrigued me. On this evening, I met so many beautiful women from around the world, who share their love for the art of the striptease and burlesque. It was amazing to connect with so many, unique, open minded, artistic individuals. I even flirted with a handsome performer from Philadelphia. We had a very intriguing conversation upon the roof top, under the bright stars. The warm, passionate wind whipped through my long, raven hair, as our conversations sparked our intellect, our interested and our imagination, warming our blood and stimulating our senses. I’m not an extremely social creature in large settings, so I was grateful for this handsome gentleman’s ability to entertain me with thought-provoking conversation and romance high above a city of glitz, glamour and high energy.
I must end this letter Henry and get some painting done. I will try and write to you on breaks.
I’m resuming this letter on 3/6/2012 at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning Henry. The sun is shining bright and the temperature is going to be in the high 50’s today. I’d love to take the day off and shop, but, I have so many things to do, and need to remain on task in order to meet my art deadlines. It’s my mother’s 70th birthday today. I’m waiting until it is late enough in the morning to call her to wish her a Happy Birthday.
“Growing up, Dusty was emotionally and physically abused “No man will ever want you,” her father said repeatedly. Although an honor roll student, he forced her to quit school.” –Dusty Summers, The Lady is a Stripper
The next day Miss Construe and I had a fancy breakfast at Caesar’s Palace and then we did some shopping at the Fashion Mall. I purchased a long, silky, multi – colored, caftan type dress at Bebe, and Miss Construe purchased a classic, 1950’s style dress at the Black and White Market. We even had time to visit the burlesque bizarre, held inside a conference room at the Palms Casino, where I got autographed photographs of vintage burlesque performers, like Alexandra the Great, Miss April March, a vintage, white garter from Satan’s Angel, and a book by Dusty Summers, The Lady is a Stripper. I was unaware at the time when I purchased the book, that Dusty Summer’s had been the only nude female magician in Las Vegas in 1965, or that her book would be so inspiring to read, which I did soon after I got on the airplane home, finishing it shortly after I arrived back in Minneapolis. I devoured her words like candy. I had always enjoyed performing simple magic tricks in my burlesque show. Until then, I didn’t know very many other female/magic/burlesque performers. I also didn’t know that Dusty Summers was about to become one of my favorite mentors and friend in the near future.
Afterwards, when I returned to the hotel, Miss Construe and I had dinner at the hotel buffet, and then I took the time to do Miss Construe’s hair, so it would match the classic style of her dress. The other girls from Minneapolis were wearing white tonight. Miss Construe wanted to fit in. Her dressed was white, matching the theme. I didn’t want to fit in, as usual, and wore a long, silky grey and cheetah print dress, with grey flowers in my hair. I loved how the expensive fabric caressed my bare legs as I walked to the Palms Casino. On this night we would be watching burlesque girls from all over the world, perform outside the Palms Casino, near the decadent pool area. I was amazed by the large, shimmering pool of water, which the edges of it were ingeniously designed to look like a sandy beach. One didn’t instantly plunge into two feet of water when entering this pool. One’s body slowly submerged as if you were walking into the ocean.
There was a vast sea of enthusiastic spectators crowded around the large stage area, near the edges of the pool, and anywhere else one might find a place to sit or stand near the large stage. Once again, my feet hurt from standing in high heels for so long, so I found refuge in a private cabana, where it had a fairly large television screen where I could see the burlesque performances up close. Due to the large crowd of people watching the show, this was my best view. I observed many amazing burlesque performers, such as Lola Belair, Little Brooklyn, Clams Casino, Angie Pontani, Kitten DeVille, Trixie Little, and even a highly energetic boylesque act, Tigger. I saw so many other magnificent performers who I can’t recall all of their names. I especially loved observing Little Brooklyn on stage. On this evening she did a very cute, creative, comical, clown striptease. Her sense of humor often reminds me of Lucille Ball. I’d have to say that Little Brooklyn is one of my most favorite burlesque performance artist! She is also very humble and easy to talk with. I think that she inspires a creative fire inside other performers, including myself.
I will never forget how fervent and wild the balmy desert wind was on that summer evening. It was hard to keep short dresses on girls from flying upward, exposing their panties and garters, or keep decorative flowers in our hair, or for beautiful burlesque dancers to maintain their graceful clutch on two, large, ostrich feather fans while performing on an outdoor stage, exposed to extreme wind. It was mid show when I was walking back to my quiet cabana, the wild wind, lightly whipping the silk from my dress upon my skin beneath it. I was returning from using the ladies room, inside the casino, when I was approached by a young, curvy, Hispanic girl and her boyfriend.
“Excuse me Miss,” She called out to me with a Hispanic accent. I had no idea that she was attempting to catch my attention. So, I kept walking. “Excuse me,” she said again. This time I stopped to turn around, realizing that this young woman was talking to me. “Can my boyfriend take a photo of you and me together, please? We drove hours to get here from southern California. I’m a huge Betty Page fan, and you remind me of her. Please?”
“I love to swim in the nude and roam around the house nude. You’re just as free as a bird.” –Bettie Page
I felt flattered because I adore Bettie Page, and I took her kind statement as a compliment. I wasn’t a burlesque performer in the Miss Exotic World Pageant. I was just another fan attending the event, much like this young woman. I didn’t mind posing for photos with her and her boyfriend. Afterwards, they joined me in the cabana and watched the rest of the burlesque show with me. In between numbers we talked about so many things. This young woman loved the art of burlesque. The topic made her glossy eyed and her mouth chatter on excitedly about it. I loved her enthusiasm. Her boyfriend and a few of his friends, who eventually met us at the cabana, after we initially settled in, were huge fans of burlesque as well. I never realized the significance of burlesque and its impact on others until attending Exotic World.
The next morning Miss Construe and I enjoyed the pleasures swimming in the crystal clear, hotel pool. The sun was glistening like jewels on the top of the small waves of water, blinding our eyes, making me squint or shield the sun with my hand. It felt nice to cool off from the summer heat, which was already baking Las Vegas. During the hot afternoon, Miss Construe stayed at the hotel while I took a ride with Tiger Man into the desert. We drove to the Red Rock Canyon area. The scenery was breathtaking and soothing. I felt serene. I had been listening to Miss Construe for days talking about her fall out with Miss Nemesis. I needed a break, to recharge my energy and regain my balance.
Tiger Man and I sat close together on the hood of his car talking about so many things. I wanted to tell him my secret, and why I pushed him out of my life a few years ago. I felt the desperate urge to explain. But, I bit my tongue, suppressing the words that wanted to vomit out of my mouth. I wanted to repair the damage in our friendship, but knew that this wasn’t the right opportunity. I wanted to sense that closeness again to Tiger Man, the bond of friendship that we used to have before we fucked, yet, we both kept our distance, remaining friends and not crossing the boundaries into lovers. He even played his harmonica for me. I listened quietly, smiling, remembering the first time he played his harmonica for me at the park nearby my Minnesota home. I have always had a deep fondness for the blues and the wailing, sultry sounds of the harmonica. The music always moves me deep in the soul.
I must end this letter. I’ve been painting a majority of the day. The portraits get better and better. I’m so engaged with my work, that it is difficult to stop to go to bed. Good night Henry.
I’m resuming this letter on 3/7/2012 at 5:47 a.m.
“Salander leaned back against the pillow and followed the conversation with a smile. She wondered why she, who had such difficulty talking about herself with people of flesh and blood, could blithely reveal her most intimate secrets to a bunch of completely unknown freaks on the Internet.” –Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire
Good morning Henry. I wanted to get up early to spend an hour writing to you. I feel bad that I haven’t had the time to write as often as I would like. My mind, body and soul have been programmed to focus myself on painting. Lately, it’s seems difficult for me to ease away from my art work, and write to you for a few hours in between – which is why I woke up early this morning, to try and write to you before I get started. It’s even more difficult when I am listening to a great audio book. I just finished Stieg Larsson’s, The Girl Who Played with Fire. Lisabeth Salendar demonstrates how to take all the bullshit in life, and transcend each unfair obstacle into opportunities and use them to her advantage. I really love the character of Mimi who plays Lisabeth Salandar’s lesbian, S&M lover. Her free spirit reminds me a bit of myself.
“Salandar was the woman who hated men who hated women.” –Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire
It’s difficult to imagine that in some parts of this world, men still think of women as lowly creatures, as depicted in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, and call women whores just because they are sexual creatures. I find it hypocritical because it is sex that drives our advertising industry and it is sex that drives a majority of our business and is deep behind the scenes in our political world. It is sex in our fashion, television, film, etc…Sex is something that men often think about, all day long! Sex has stained men’s brains with permanent, erotic ink. And if sex is their main thoughts, and it’s a majority of women who can provide sexual satisfaction, unless a man is gay, than why are we called sluts and whores? Do we live in an idiotic world?
“Zalachenko…you’re just an ordinary asshole who hates women.” –Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played With Fire
The next evening the attendants of Exotic World met on top of the Palm’s Casino again. This time I wore the long, beautiful, silky, vibrant, multi-colored caftan dress- the one I purchased the day before at the Fashion Mall. I felt elegant and graceful. Miss Construed flitted like a social butterfly, finding intriguing people to engage in conversation with. I sat quietly in a chair, observing the crowded rooftop again, the bedazzled lights of Las Vegas below us, and all of the bright stars high above us. The wind was still in a passionate mood, caressing over my bare shoulders like a lover’s hand. I don’t often drink alcohol to loosen my tongue, causing me to feel more social. At times like this, I wish I did. I felt relieved when I observed the handsome performer who I had met the other day on the rooftop.
“Hello again,” he greeted, walking towards me, reaching out to grab my hand, kissing the top of it with his soft, tender lips, “you look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I replied, my face flushing with humility and a warm shade of pink. There were so many beautiful women upon this roof top. It was nice to hear such complimentary words from such a charming gentleman.
We talked for several hours. I listened with intrigue as he told me about burlesque in Philadelphia. He was fascinating. I told him about burlesque in Minneapolis and a little more about myself as an artist and writer. I didn’t tell this gentleman, who I will name Mr. Philly, that I was married, or that I had a lover. I figured that I may never see him again, so I might as well enjoy the moment, the romance, and the flattery. I’m a creature who lives in the moment. What were the chances that I would ever see him again after I left Las Vegas? When it was time to say goodnight, I permitted Mr. Philly to kiss me goodbye on my lips; a slow, sultry kiss upon the Palm’s Casino roof top, passionate, warm zephyrs of air circulating around us, heightening my arousal. Was I betraying Mr. Philly by not telling him about being married, or was I just living in the heat of the moment?
It’s almost 7:30 a.m. I must start painting. I have a lot to do. I must say good bye for now.
I’m resuming this letter on 3/9/2012 at 6:06 a.m.
Good morning Henry! My right hand is fatigued and sore from painting so many tiny details on the paintings I have been working on all week. I paint approximately fifteen to sixteen hours per day. I am unsure if I will be able to paint today. I may have to take the day off to rest my wrist. My muscles are also sore from working on a new burlesque number. I am inspired by a song by Goyte, and have a unique performance in mind. I will tell you more about it once the number materializes. It is still in the beginning stages.
I’ve been working at my loft since Sunday. I am ready to go home, watch the big screen television and snuggle up to my dogs and husband. Mr. C and I are supposed to attend another party at MJ’s. I am hoping that I will find the energy to attend. I was supposed to work on the mural project today, but, it will have to wait until Monday. I will hopefully feel more refreshed and my wrist will feel better.
On our last afternoon in Las Vegas I met Mr. Philly in the hotel lobby of Buffalo Bills. We sat at the bar, getting better acquainted with each other. We talked about so many things, including my experience as a submissive. He was intrigued. We skirted our conversations on the topic of sex. We didn’t have a lot of time to get better acquainted; just a little over an hour. I still needed to pack because I had to leave later that night. It was the only way I could use my frequent flier miles and afford to attend the Miss Exotic World Pageant. When Mr. Philly escorted me to the elevators, giving me another soft, romantic kiss goodbye, I saw Miss Nemesis observing us from the corner of her eye, near the elevators. I had a very odd sensation that raised the fine hairs on my neck. But, I didn’t think much more about it as I rushed to my hotel room to pack up my things, getting them ready, before Miss Construe and I had to attend the Miss Exotic World ending ceremonies.
I was disappointed that I would be missing the after party at the Playboy Club, as Miss Construe and I walked to the Palms Casino, where the ending ceremonies would be, before the after party. Yet, I was happy that Angie Pontani won the title of Miss Exotic World 2008. I think that she’s very beautiful and talented, as well as an icon in our burlesque revival. She’s an inspiration. As I walked with Miss Construe to the Palms Casino, we had the opportunity to escort Ellion Ness on our way there. It was intriguing to ask her questions and listen to her answers or tell us interesting stories about burlesque.
“Remember, to take good care of yourself girls, “Ellion Ness told us in a wise, maternal fashion. “You only live once.” Her words made me smile large.
A few hours later, I met Tiger Man in the lobby of Buffalo Bills. He was taking me to the airport to catch my flight home. The security lines at the airport were long. Tiger Man waited with me until I finally approached the front of the line. I didn’t say much. I was quiet from fatigue. I still had the urge to apologize to him for breaking things off several years ago, and tell him the real reason why I did so. But, I didn’t dare. I knew that my timing was still off. Tiger Man gave me a large, warm hug goodbye, smiled his big, white, wide grin, and waved goodbye when I went through security. That was the last time I saw him in person.
Later the next day, I got a phone call from Miss Construe. “Hi Mia, I made it home safely. I had a great time. Thank you for going with me.”
“Thanks for letting me know that you made it home safely,” I replied. “And thank you for a great time! I wouldn’t have attended such an amazing event, if you wouldn’t have invited me and let me stay in your hotel room.”
“Guess what happened on my way to the airport?”
“I was waiting to catch a cab to the airport. The other burlesque girls from Minneapolis were also leaving, entering into a taxi. They asked me if I wanted to ride with them to the airport. I said, yes and got into the crowded cab with them. Seconds later, Miss Nemesis comes dashing out of the hotel door.”
“I’m sorry,” one of the burly girls said to Miss Construe, “I guess we don’t have room for you in our cab. You are going to need to get out and find your own way to the airport.”
Miss Nemesis quickly pushed her way into the cab as soon as Miss Construe exited out of it.
I could hardly believe what she was saying. “What a bunch of cats!” I thought to myself, completely appalled. Is “Minnesota Nice” only a myth? I expected Miss Construe to be treated better. Unfortunately, regardless of our age, some of us never leave high school. Some of us remain in that stage mentality and never evolve. After spending several days with Miss Construe in Las Vegas, I knew that I would much rather have her as a friend, than I would any of the other girls inside that taxi cab. I honestly don’t give a shit if they talk behind my back or ridicule me. But, I did give a shit about how nasty they treated this young performer.
“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.” –Sitting Bull
When I returned from Las Vegas, I had no desire to do burlesque for awhile and took a two year hiatus, from performing or producing burlesque shows. I decided to focus more on my art work during this time and began the mural project in NE Minneapolis, grateful for the break. I still loved the burlesque art form, but, I needed a break from the drama and time to re-organize my show. We were also caught in a deep recession. I wanted to wait until the economy got better, before I invested any more money into this show.
I consumed all of the pages of Dusty Summers book, The Lady is a Stripper, soon after I arrived home, and finishing it in only a few days. Afterwards, I felt the need to send her an email to tell her how much I enjoyed reading her book. After many emails, we became friends. She is the one who inspired me to use doves in my magic act. I bought my first dove shortly after I returned from Las Vegas. I didn’t want the traditional white dove. So, I found a grayish, champagne colored Dove and named him Emil after your friend, Emil White. Emil has the most amazing personality. He’s charming and funny. He also loves to fuck.
A got a new white dove for Christmas last year. I named her Vienna because that was Emil’s favorite place to visit. I didn’t know that she was a female until she started to lay eggs. Every time Emil is about to mate with Vienna, he relentlessly rings the large silver bell in his cage. The continuing dinging sound can drive me nuts, if it goes on all day. Now, four years after meeting Dusty Summers, I have five doves. They are all gorgeous – Emil, Vienna, Henry, Valentine, and Anna, short for Anais. I am stopping when we reach six doves. No more! It’s quite the task to take care of so many doves and keep their cages clean. They can get really loud when they all coo simultaneously.
I tried to contact Mr. Philly a few times, over the course of a few months after I returned from Las Vegas, but he was despondent. He did reply a few times, but something seemed distant between us. I often wonder if Miss Nemesis said anything to him after I left – after she saw him kiss me near the elevators. She may have told him I was married. And since I had never told him, nor did I tell him that I have an open relationship with my husband, he might be pissed off at me – and rightfully so. I never meant to harm anyone. I just wanted to experience life. What better way to experience it, when you are feeling a night of romance upon the roof top of the Palm’s Casino? With swirls of passionate wind winding like soft, expensive silk around the two of us as we stood closely together, both of us gazing down at the glittering jewels of lights from the city and at each other.
A culinary artist might put together all the right ingredients to create a sublime dish. It might taste good and look wonderful. But, until the Chef puts that last dash of salt or seasoning into his creation, it is bland, missing something important. Being romantic and kissing Mr. Philly at Exotic World was the dash of the perfect spice or seasoning to top off a magnificent event. I wanted to taste the sublime and not live life in an ordinary fashion.
I must end this letter Henry. I still have to pack up all my stuff before I leave the loft tonight.
“The frantic desire to live, to live at any cost, is not a result of the life rhythm in us, but of the death rhythm.” –Henry Miller on writing