Friday, July 25, 2008

The one-man-band is overrated

I suppose "one-woman-band" would be more accurate in my case, but anyway...

This is the last time I will plug my show, I promise: Saturday, July 26th at 8:00PM, get your butts out to the Majestic Theatre in downtown Madison for the rrrreally big sheeew - "Hot Mess! the best in Midwest drag kings and burlesque." It's just $10, anyone 18 years of age and older can get in, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

To say that organizing, producing and promoting a show of this size pretty much all on your own is a bit exhausting is, well, the understatement of the year. I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I decided to undertake this little project. I'm kind of glad I was clueless, though, because then I likely wouldn't have gone through with it.

You see, this whole idea got started late last year after I had the great pleasure of attending and performing at the International Drag King Extravaganza in Vancouver, Canada. I'd never actually done any drag king performance prior to that, but through my sister and a group of her friends in Chicago, I was asked to take part. I'm so glad I did, too. I'd always wanted to visit Vancouver anyway, and though it was to be a whirlwind weekend tour, I didn't want to miss out on my chance. Plus, the wildly diverse and creative bunch of people at the event were amazing and friendly. The acts were spectacular--there was so much talent on display, and it came in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

Basically, the whole thing inspired the hell out of me. I wanted to bring our own act back to the Midwest. I started kicking the idea around, and in the process I met the Mad Kings, Madison's own drag king troupe. They'd been stuck out at a dimly lit club venue for their performances, and I began to think of combining some of their acts with our own into a fun, small show--finding a better venue to showcase their stuff in the process. But then I went to Milwaukee for Kingstock, and I saw the Miltown Kings perform. "They should be part of my show, too!" went my fevered brain.

And it was at that critical mass that my plans started growing like crazy. If we had people from Chicago and Milwaukee coming, Madison needed more representation! I'd seen and enjoyed Cherry Pop Burlesque before, and happened to have a passing acquaintance with one of its stars, Olive Talique (aka the lovely Angela Richardson). I went ahead and popped the question, and a few of them agreed to participate in my hairbrained scheme. After that, I added Foxy Veronica's Peach Pies, another local burlesque style group, and my dear friends Irma & DeeDee to the line-up as well. Now we just needed a good venue.

My first thought was of the Majestic Theatre. Recently rennovated into a really classy space with good lighting and good sound, I thought it might just be the exact right fit for what we needed. I worked up my sales pitch and went in. Amazingly, possibly improbably, they agreed to let me, a relatively unknown quantity, rent the space for a Saturday evening. After my initial wave of joy had passed, I realized that I now had the somewhat daunting task of filling up a 600 capacity theatre.


But this was important. I had a fantastic line-up of incredibly talented performers ready to come out and strut their best stuff. I wanted to make sure they got the audience they deserved. But a good PR campaign ain't easy, especially when you're working out of your own small pockets. So I called in favors, made my dollars spread out as far as they'd go, and worked my networks as hard as I could. I was a PR machine. I'm really hoping that all of that work pays off tomorrow night, but regardless, it has certainly been quite the learning experience.

The biggest lesson in all of this, though? Delegate. Doing nearly everything on my own was not, perhaps, the best course of action. My health and mental well-being have both suffered noticably. I think the only thing that saved me from complete meltdown was assistance from a few good friends, who graciously agreed to design our posters for free, house some of the out-of-town performers, and serve as lines of contact with others. God bless them, every one.

Now I've done pretty much everything that can be done prior to the day of the show. Tomorrow we run a dry tech, cross our fingers, and then rock. Come Sunday afternoon, I expect to be curled up in a ball somewhere, nursing a bottle of rum, and thinking of nothing but sweet, blissful sleep (if only--I have to move apartments next week).


M Big Mistake said...

Hope it goes well. I'm not a fan of drag or burlesque, but I had wanted to go to support you and yours. But I'm going to be out of town, sadly. So rock on!

Emily said...

Thanks! I appreciate that you were considering it at all, in that case. :)

The Lost Albatross