Burlesque 101

One of my editors over at Penthouse is a huge fan of the odder things in life —- including burlesque and sideshow culture. She recently put together a really awesome feature about some of the coolest people in that world, and I was fortunate enough to grab a few assignments from her. Along with interviewing burlesque legend Jo Weldon (aka Jo Boobs) and writing up Operation Bombshell (which I’ll post about soon), I also got to write about my own attempts at shimmying and shaking.

Last summer, I signed up for a Burlesque Bootcamp class with Kitty Cavalier. I’d decided I needed to try something new, and I was taking every opportunity that presented itself. As it happened, my lovely editor Christine (who put this whole feature together) saw a Groupon-esque deal for burlesque classes, and sent it my way. I couldn’t turn it down! I bought three certificates, grabbed two of my most adventurous girlfriends, and off we went.

You won’t learn much burlesque in one evening, less if you have the grace and coordination of a bull in a china shop (which I do). But after a little more than an hour of thrusting and shaking and bumping and grinding, I manged to pick up a few tips. For the full story you’ll have to read the blurb, but suffice it to say, it was one hell of an experience!

If only every new hobby led to a byline… .

Shirts & Skin

Once in a while I write wacky features for Penthouse that don’t necessarily involve porn or sex, but do involve sexy ladies. One of my favorites was “Shirts & Skin,” about a strip beer pong game played between members of Howard Stern’s production team and the ladies from Rick’s Cabaret. It was a hilarious match, full of ridiculous antics and nearly naked babes. What’s not to love? My favorite thing about this article, however, is that a copy of it has been mounted and hung inside Rick’s Cabaret in NYC. A friend and I discovered my strip-club fame when we went to Rick’s for another friend’s birthday, and I posed for numerous photos next to the plaque. I’m pretty sure the other partygoers thought I was a little nuts, but I’d never seen any of my work so prominently displayed by someone who wasn’t a close friend. I love looking at the photos of me with my article and wondering how many people have stopped to read it or check out the byline. If you’ve ever been to Rick’s and seen my work hanging up, please tell me. I’m dying to find out how famous I am among the titty-bar aficionados.

The Torch: Glory Days?

While I was a student at St. John’s University, our basketball team went through a lot of, for lack of a better term, shit. There was the drug bust, the alleged rape of a hooker, the rumored involvement in the rape of a student, the banning from NCAA play, the sudden search for a new coach… They were busy fellas. But once they’d found Norm Roberts and things started to look up a bit, well, that’s when everyone else started to have issues.

At a game against Duke in early 2007, some SJU (or STJ if you insist on using the new abbreviation) fans caused the Red Storm to receive a technical foul by tossing t-shirts onto the court. The game that day was being broadcast to millions on CBS, and the fans’ behavior brought a lot of shame upon the university. Everyone had something to say about the lack of class the students and fans displayed.

Now, with a new coach leading the team, and the Red Storm kicking ass all over the place, it’s hard to believe there was a time when fans were anything less than enamored of the team. But for a big chunk of my college career, calling them “fans” would’ve been less than accurate.

Glory Days?