The Fat Joke

I’ve been wanting to perform to spoken word for as long as I’ve been an entertainer. I’ve been hesitant, because I can’t shake the nagging feeling that anything I write myself isn’t ready to be read or heard by other humans.  Like the majority of the population, the sound of my own voice gives me strange feelings and I don’t have the right situation at hand for someone to voice my words without it taking more time to partner than I have available to get it right. With these perceived obstacles in my way, it went on the back burner for years, until I experienced yet another doctor-patient encounter to add to the life long list of ailments and injuries being dismissed because of my weight, causing my brain webs to light up.  I recalled poetry from Rachel Wiley. The Fat Joke. The creation of this act happen with great speed and passion.  One of the most beautiful and powerful aspects of the art of burlesque is the ability to make the audience feel something and to connect.  Evoking some kind of feeling should be a core objective of the art. Knowing how many people would be able to relate to Rachel’s words, I instantly felt that I needed to perform to this fantastic piece and reached out to obtain permission to share her work.

joke 1

Creative costuming is one of my strengths and it was a challenge for me to keep this as simplistic as I felt it needed to be. I knew I had a white lab coat from when I was in nursing school many years ago. Tried it on. It was too small.  How serendipitous and pertinent to the content of the act. Rather than modifying it to fit me, I used it. A simple beige slip I already owned became my choice over other costume pieces I had that could have worked.  I added rhinestones to make it a “stage” costume, but practicing restraint from the typical ostentatious glamour was the right choice.

joke 2

A couple of the burlesque movement workshops I’ve taken were centered around expressive choreography. They were the support and push I needed to move in a way that I yearned to move to tell my stories.  Special gratitude has a place in my heart and memory for the classes of Rebel Vitale and Gabe Gabriel.

My physical limitations for movement may exist. The limitations society puts on bodies and how they should move are maddeningly absurd.

Art and performance often tell an emotional story.  It is a weakness of humanity to dismiss any story, any voice, any pain, or any person. My hopes are vast for how this act will evolve and where it will go. It has already brought several people and myself to tears with simplistic and striking nature.  We carry around so much hurt that often rests just under the surface and connecting on an emotional level can be all that is needed to release some of it.

joke 3