Burlesque Performers: Know When To Share Your Spotlight

Eva Mae Garnet by Vixen Photography

As burlesque artists, we rarely do it all on our own. We still have photographers to make us look good, designers to make our shows stand out, costume designers to help us look fabulous on stage, or the plenty of other behind the scenes jobs that help us be the performers we are. I have created a reference list of things to be mindful of when promoting yourself, so that your village doesn’t feel forgotten.


If there is one thing you take away from this piece let it be this: credit your photographers.  You know that fabulous photo of you performing that you use all the time to promote yourself? Credit the photographer. Goodness knows that you didn’t have a camera set up on a timer to step in front of at that perfect moment during your act. Someone else came out that night and most likely shot your show for free, or at least for a very cheap rate, then went home and processed all your photos. I think the least they deserve is a credit.

On a very similar note, if you are making prints that you plan to sell for a profit, make sure you have the photographer’s approval. There is no quicker way to burn a bridge than to take another person’s hard work for granted.

Eva Mae Garnet by Vixen Photography
Eva Mae Garnet by Vixen Photography

Costume Designers

The way most costume designers get their clients is through word of mouth. Most of us have at least some experience making our own costumes, so we know how difficult and time consuming it is. If you take a photo in the costume they created, make sure to credit them. Give them a hashtag, throw their website link on your page, or send them photos of you in their costumes that they can use for promotion if you are feeling really generous. A little appreciation goes a very long way and helping fabulous people make a living is something to smile about.

Roxi D'Lite as Madame X in a costume by Christine Manuge of Manuge Et Toi. © Jo Gorsky
Roxi D’Lite as Madame X in a costume by Christine Manuge of Manuge Et Toi. © Jo Gorsky

Graphic Designers

Many of us are graphic designers, or have graphic designer friends that tend to give us discounted rates. If you know that someone is giving you a deal, promote them. Publicly thank them and send your friends to their website. If you have a production that does well, and you know how much they charge others for the same service that they provided you, then why not send them a little more money than they were expecting as a sign of good faith. Even an extra $20 will tell your design friends, who you probably had a million revisions for anyway, that you appreciate what they do for you.

A videographer at the Drop Dead Dames Valentine's Day show taken by Charles Goodman III Photography.
A videographer at the Drop Dead Dames Valentine’s Day show taken by Charles Goodman III Photography.


Getting good video is hard. Getting good video at a good price is hard. Getting FREE video that is of good quality is like finding a unicorn. You better cherish it. I would treat video the same way I treat graphic designers. Give them shout outs, recommend them to your friends, and if you make a little more profit from your show, consider sending a little their way. The reason I wanted to call this one out specifically is to explain that the post video process is the hardest/longest part of the job.  Be patient with your videographers, especially if the quality of video you have is superb.

Much loved Cabaret Roulette producer Vivacity Bliss collecting signatures to save her show's venue, Madame Jojos. ©Juliet Shalam
Much loved Cabaret Roulette producer Vivacity Bliss collecting signatures to save her show’s venue, Madame Jojos.


See Also

Producers have a tough job and are often underappreciated. They create the opportunities for you to be on stage. They gather all the assets needed for the shows, deal with multiple performers and problems at once, and usually walk away praying that they break even. If a producer books you for a show, MARKET THAT SHOW! If you do that, not only are you telling your friends and fans where you will be so that they can see you perform, but I guarantee your producers will take notice as well and will consider this when booking you again.

As a performer, I understand that when we are promoting our events and ourselves there are sometimes so many people that we should do a call out to that some slip between the cracks. It happens, but as long as you don’t always forget and are sure to show some love to your support team, they will remember that. It takes a big sparkly village to make us all look good. No one can do it all on their own. Do you have anything else to add to this list? I would love to hear it.

Eva Mae Garnet

Eva Mae Garnet can be found producing and performing with the Drop Dead Dames Burlesque Revue in San Diego, CA. Be sure to check out her website at www.evamaegarnet.com. You can always contact her at evamaegarnet@gmail.com.


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