I would like to start my post with this quote from this great man. (thanks facebook)
This post has been festering in me for quite a while. I am one horrible critic, and I do not spare myself either of it, also I am way too harsh in my expressions.
Award winning is something more of a tangible thing, yet critically acclaimed is harder to grasp.
Award winning suppose an actual award to exist and suppose that the person actually won that award, prize, title, etc.
Obviously in London/Britain each and every performer has won some kind of an award, even being a part time performer not to mention bad performers, yet on the mainland we performers hardly ever get an award, even if we maintain ourselves by our art.
Then you can go and make shit up… distort information and such.
In my home country we have a lady, that a couple of years ago decided that pole dancing, stripping, aerials, and whatnot belonged to her personally. So she made Tv appearances and claimed to be a world champion stripper… Well, great, but there is no such title as is!
Obviously people in the burlesque scene would refer to the Burlesque hall of Fame and the Miss Exotic world title, but she never even competed there, so nope. Then in “stripping” (as of butt naked, or more sexual stripping – no shame, just specifying) there is a million and one competitions, with a lot less art involved.
Anyways this fair lady won a Miss Nude Canada and returned home as a world champion stripper… you see the contradiction here. (Later on she surfaced in a far away burlesque festival as well, you know just because…)
So what is this all about? Marketing! Shameless marketing…
But, at least she makes a damn good linving out of it! She is a major celebrity and even has quite some contacts and shows internationally…
So, I get it!
Yet, I cannot understand people who does this without any apparent benefit… being “famous” with nothing… getting attention, only… that is quite a trainwreck attitude… (at least for any of us trying to make a living here…)
Anyways, turning back from general shittalking about others to the point in the burlesque industry…
Award winning…. all new awards and titles and competitions popping up and guess what?
Bumm! It goes mostly to the very same people, who already had some…
So either you are a newcomer and may win something in that category or straight up forget about it, if you do not already own a couple of well polished awards up your award shelf.
We all know about the marvellously written press releases, right?
I mean, you know, written by your best friend or a payed writer to put the best quotable line out there about you…
Then, let us be honest with ourselves, there is no negative criticism our so beloved community, it just cannot exist… Even when we express negative opinions we wrap it in pink so carefully, making sure we don’t burn up the bridges behind us and don’t loose precious contacts in the scene…
Nobody wants to be the troublemaker
Also the faux-positivity surfaces, as you are the badguy, when God forbids you name the person who ripped an act of yours off, because say something nice or don’t say anything at all…
You see a shit act, and nobody dares to say it out loud, you see a rip-off act and hardly nobody dares to say it out loud, yet everyone thinks the same.
All the critical good words I have out there are from LBF, and are mostly blogs…
Because, who the fuck cares about the chick from the other end of Europe, while we can review the well-known, friend of many friends local performer?
So the conclusion is that while there is not a panel of official critics that do need to review everything they actually see, and by what they actually see, this is also just another dead end street in burlescalandia.
What is success?
We jump back to the basic fact, that life is on social media. Nowhere else, but…
Performance art is live art, and sure we can tape it, but it will never ever be the same, as it is live. In my view it looses somewhat 80% of it’s poise and energy. Therefore it is very hard to convert or to translate it into social media terms.
And here comes the tricky part, how social media gets to distort the skills a performer might have.
Well, in the world of circus, skills rule the scene, and that is hard to fake, even a photo is showing a whole lot to another professional, so evaluation is easier, there is less playing around. Surely there are differences between the success of same skill level artist with different talents in the artistic side or plain marketing.
But with burlesque, it is just insane what have been going down in the last 7 years! (read my post on the burlesque top 50… from over a year ago, yet just NOW, bigger names start to pick the topic, carefully wrapped in pink schiffon, of course, because saying it is all bollock would be too harsh…)
To answer the question.
For me, success is being able to be a full time performer, earn over 80-90% of your income from performing. Preferably performing, what and where you actually like.
Then again it is not all. Now, I absolutely can see the benefits of stepping back from full timing in order to better as an artist.