Monday, July 16, 2007

How much time do you devote to burlesque?

How much time do you spend on your burlesque activities (whatever they may be)? Is burlesque a hobby in which your time spent is a labor of love? Have you turned your burlesque time into a career of some sort? Or is burlesque an all consuming obsession that eats up every moment of your life?

How much time do you devote to burlesque?

9 comments:

Holly Rebelle said...

I just started logging the hours I put in to burlesque last week.. and came in at 26.

I was actually more curious as to what the time frame is of others seeing as I am starting to think its becoming life consuming!

Paris Green said...

I tend to spend about 15 hours a week on burlesque work related to my troupe - a great deal of that is on practical matters like administrative and production stuff (I'm the director and producer). We have a weekly rehearsal to prep things for shows, plus a tech on the day of a show which adds up to an additional 10-12 hours a month of rehearsal time, sometimes more if we're picking up gigs in addition to our monthly Revue. I also spend an hour or two a week fixing, making or shopping for costume pieces and a few hours rehearsing and working up my own solo acts on my own.

So around 20-ish hours a week seems about right for me too.

holly rebelle said...

Thanks Paris!

I am a director/producer/performer as well and it is good to hear that someone else in a similar position spends about the same hours.

Burlesque Daily said...

I've had a lot of different experiences with it. In the late 1970s I was doing the occacional striptease routine as part of the pre-show at Rocky Horror Picture Show in Atlanta, where the preshow was a variety show featuring singers, circus artists, and drag queen. Then while I was working in strip joints I did performance art on the side and things like stripping while reading poetry (a la Gypsy, or at least I thought so at the time--I guarantee you would be pretty horrified by the way I did it when I was 19). I kept doing performance arty things that had stripping in them and finally became a feature dancer in the early 1990s, doing very elaborate and expensive acts. One of the reasons I'm so impressed by what Dita and her partner Catherine have done is that they made feature dancing into a real tribute to burlesque, which I didn't do as much or at that level, and because I've been a feature I know how hard they worked to do it. I made excellent money doing that, but I didn't like traveling alone to new strip joints all the time.

After that I did fetishy burlesque or burlesquey fetish at events for several years before getting into the New York burlesque scene in the late 90s/early millenium, and it NEVER occurred to me that there was any money in it.

I used to tell my students that I didn't think there was a way to make a living in burlesque, unless something unusual happened for them like it did for the Blue Man Group. (I'm not saying the Blue Man Group is burlesque, just that you wouldn't have thought they could make a living just having fun like that.)

However, since burlesque has now been around at such a high level of frequency in New York for several years and has gotten lots of press everywhere, clubs and theaters now know what it is and they're more willing to have burlesque shows in their venues. There are now burlesque shows every night of the week in NY, and there are several going on at the same time on some nights. So it's possible to make a living, even if it's less money with more investment than bartending--or working in a strip joint.

I believe some of the on-going shows, such as those in Vegas, who pay a salary and have exclusive contracts with the dancers, pay a decent living.

I'm no expert on what goes on in other cities--and the scene in New York is so vast that I don't know all of what goes on here, either.

Paris Green said...

I should, of course, add that I make pretty much no money doing burlesque. Anything I do make goes right back into the group... or costumes. Or fabulous shoes.

Burlesque Daily said...

Oh duh, I didn't answer the original question! Between performing, doing research, teaching, producing, photographing, and posting on the web, I probably spend about 40-60 hours a week.

Zeugma said...

When I was teaching three nights a week, it was burlesque full time (35-40 hours, including meetings, classes, performances, media, etc etc etc). Now that I'm in New York and just starting to gig, it's probably closer to 20-25. Then again, if you count all the time I spend drinking and watching shows, it jumps again. But I'd hardly call that work...

JE

Mariel said...

It really depends on what act I'm working on. Right now I'm spending my time with equal parts circus, music and burlesque, though they all kind of intermingle at some points. So, I guess I would say time devoted to some sort of performance art is minimum 20 hours a week, though can be whole lot more when I'm in full-on production mode!
At various times I have made my living solely off of being a performer, though I've not quite reached that equilibrium in San Francisco. I definitely view it as more than a hobby, though I still tend to take the fun jobs rather than searching out higher-paying but less up my alley!

Jack Midnight said...

More than a hobby, less than a job...

the amount of time I spend depends on what's going on month-to-month. As co-producer of the Belmont Burlesque Revue, I take on a lot more of the business-end of things (like marketing), so if we have a big show, I could easily spend 30 hours a week working on posters, talking to the management at the venue, working out details with the group, rehearsing, performing, etc. If we travel for a show, it can easily bump up to 40+ hours the week of the gig.

However, on a normal month where we "just" have our regular monthly show, I spend about 10 hours a week.