By Marisa Demarco
Hanging from an aerial hoop performing slow feats of strength and flexibility wasn't enough for Contraband Velour. Doing it in three-inch heels (though most hoop artists won't wear shoes) wasn't enough either. Velour, aka Connie Wind, will perform blindfolded Friday, Aug. 24, during the Femme-O-Lition Derby at the KiMo Theatre.
"Just get a blindfold you can see through," other performers suggested. "That's not really an honest presentation," Wind says. Her blindfold will be real.
Did she mention the hoop rotates while she's up there? "The speed changes. There's a way to get it pretty close to being consistent, but it's never the same." Not that being upside-down and suspending yourself from a hoop isn't already pretty hard on the senses. With no vision, you feel as though you're spinning faster than you actually are. "Knowing where to grab is the main challenge."
When most people think of foxy hoop acts in this state, they probably think of September Smith, the burlesque performer who put together the sexy showcase of queer femmes three years ago. The show, she says, just features queer femmes--it's not exclusive to them. And yes, you can bring your male folk to the event. "Sometimes people say, 'Can my boyfriend come to your show?' and I'm like, 'Yes! Everyone can come,'" laughs September, whose real name is Colleen McKeown. "It's not exclusionary."
The concept came to McKeown because she put together a number of acts for herself but didn't have a venue to put them in. The advancing deadline of a show adds the right kind of tension needed to polish up an act. "I saw this transgendered tour, and I was like, 'Where's my specialty tour? I want a specialty tour. What's my specialty, dammit?'"
She laughs again. Surely there will be much laughter to be had at McKeown's brazen, ambitious show. The Von Foxies, a gender-bending (that's not actually the word they use, but their term for it would require asterisks) power trio that was crowned Best Burlesque Troupe at the Miss Exotic World convention in Las Vegas, will be there. Molly and Matie, owners of Self Serve, Albuquerque's first education-based sex shop, will emcee the event. Queer femmes from around the country sent the two M's photos, which they rifled through and will present as a slide show. Rain Wilson will do a trapeze act while singing live. Right. Because doing a trapeze act wasn't challenging enough.
There's heaps more performers. Go to www.myspace.com/femmeolitionderby for more information.
The Femme-O-Lition Derby will be at the Wise Fool Studio (2778 Agua Fria, Unit D) in Santa Fe on Thursday, Aug. 23. Admission is $12. Tickets are $12, $15 and $18 the next night in Albuquerque on Friday, Aug. 24. Buy them at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central SW), at Self Serve (3904B Central SE) or through Ticketmaster. Both shows start at 7 p.m.
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