After a brief pause for the last two days of my blogs on the late actress Jacqueline Pearce, London-based American comedian and late-blossoming burlesque performer 84-year-old Lynn Ruth Miller continues tales of her experience returning to the US for three weeks of gigs in and around San Francisco…
This afternoon I met with Beth Lemke, an enterprising woman who started a wine bar in Pacifica where the majority of the establishments are blue-collar, junk food and cheap.
The odds were against her in every way and yet, seven years into it, she has a profitable business that supports her in the Bay Area where the cost of living is over the moon and out.
I always love being with her because she confirms my idea that you make the life you get.
No-one needs to be a victim.
No-one needs to shut up and take it.
And Beth does not in any way.
Her new thing is travel and she is planning several trips in 2019. Hopefully a return to London is one of them.
Tonight I returned to Jim Sweeney’s Hubba, Hubba. Jim is the one who really established me in the burlesque scene here in San Francisco. Dottie Lux picked me up later and has been a wonderful loyal supporter but it was Jim who booked me over and over again.
Tonight I did our old classic – Johnny Mercer’s Strip Polka – with the two songs I composed to go after it and then I tried Zip out on a San Francisco audience.
I was a bit uncertain about Zip because it gets standing ovations in London – but it has several British references.
I need not have worried. It was a triumph!!!
Several of the girls remembered me and the audience went mad for me, which is a very feel-good situation.
I stumbled around on the stage singing my classic Strip Polka number although I certainly did not polka. I did not want to risk ending up in an emergency ward. And I followed this with Zip.
Most of the audience was standing by now. You would have thought that watching an old lady play with her zipper would have put them all to sleep. It did not. I will never understand why the burlesque community does not care that I cannot dance, cannot sing and I have a body that should have been trashed years ago.
Nothing in this vast world of ours is predictable, is it?
Burlesque communities worldwide are not only more accepting of every age and body type but are actively welcoming. I have found this so in London, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bridgwater, Bristol and here in the San Francisco area. I think women who do burlesque are far less judgmental and far more anxious to give everyone the latitude to prosper being themselves.
Even more interesting, the women in comedy over here are very off-putting and determined to assert their own excellence and demean anyone else’s.
In London, women support and love one another and it is a pleasure to share a stage with them. Here in the US, it seems that we are in a competition which is a definite lose/lose situation.
Everyone’s comedy is unique to them and is as it should be.
A performance is not a contest.
… CONTINUED HERE …