Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Read by Jeremy Irons. (via guro-tan)
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”
1. UNDERWEAR IS NOT A COSTUME: Never has been, never will be. But it’s a good place to start.
2. FIT: Make sure your costume fits not only your body—if your garment is too loose, you will look like you are wearing something from your mama’s cloest; too tight and the garment will pinch your body and make bulges. Also take in consideration that you will have many beaded/embellished layers. If you are buying a gown, you may want to buy a size up to accommodate the beaded undergarments underneath, then have the garment fitted over your burlesque bra.
3. CAMOUFLAGE: There are plenty of ways to hide the things we don’t like about our bodies and still keep a level of glamour. Start with good dance posture (standing up straight, tits out, shoulders back and down, chin lifted, pelvis slightly tucked) then use the following: upper arms (gloves/gauntlets/armbands), sagging breasts (push-up bras or demi-bras), tummy (underbust corset), booty (fishnets), upper thighs (long fringe or panels), cankles (boots).
4. PIECES: Burlesque costumes should not contain more than 3 layers: outer costume (gown, pants and shirt, character costume), bra and shimmy belt or over-panties, and pasties and g-string or bottoms. Too many costume pieces make it look like you are trying to hide your body and/or don’t have enough choreography for your act.
5. COLOR: Using a bright or unusual color will bring attention to you onstage before even adding any embelishment. Using colors opposite each other on the color wheel (blue/orange, red/green) will pop on stage. Be sure to try different color combinations (like pink, turquoise and yellow) Play around with paint chips from the hardware store for new color combinations.
6. TEXTURE: You can create texture when using a monchrome by using other variations of the color (kelly green, olive, turquoise), or by mixing in highlights of a completely different color (using dark blues on a black costume). These subtleties will give the garment an added boost. You can also use different materials of one color, like mixing fur, sequins, feathers and spandex.
7. BLING: “Bling” is the ability to reflect light back into the audience. Not all costumes require it (if you are building a character or period accurate costume). Your costume should become more sumptuous the further down you go, embellished bra and belt, then rhinestone encrusted pasties and g-string.
8. NEGATIVE SPACE: is the concept of leaving a ‘blank’ area so whatever embellishments you are using are in contrast to the empty or negative spaces on the garment will pop more.
9. EXAGGERATION: When it comes to the stage, remember the bigger the better in terms of what the audience can see from the back row. For example, if you are using ‘punchline’ pasties, you may have to wear ones bigger than normal so everyone can see them, or making props 3x their normal size.
10. SEW EVERYTHING YOU CAN, GLUE ONLY SMALL EMBELLISHMENTS, AND NEVER HOT GLUE ANYTHING BUT PROPS OR HEADDRESSES: Why? I have seen hand-sewn garments that have lasted literally 300 years, and now think of that Halloween costume you hot-glued that didn’t even survive the night… Plus, if you sew on appliqués, fringe you can pull the stitches and repurpose an expensive piece of trim.
11. BUDGET: If you are working on a budget, you want to put the shiniest embellishments on the part of your costume closest to your face and/or the costume piece you have on the longest for your act. In most cases, this is your bra and belt. If you are working with a limited amount of something, like rhinestones, be sure to section them so that you have an equal amounts with which to work. If I have a gross of rhinestones (144), I will save 72 for the belt and 72 for the bra, with 36 for each side of the bra.
12. YOU PAY FOR IT EITHER WAY: You can buy sequin/beaded fabric at $40 a yard and make a shimmy belt in an hour, or buy plain fabric at $5 a yard, and cover it with embellishments that will take an extra 10 hours to embellish. So it comes down to what is your time worth. Do you “pay” yourself $10 an hour to make a costume? $5? Nothing?
13. MIX AND MATCH: Few have the kind of money and/or storage for multiple costumes/characters, but you can play mix and match amongst core pieces. I recommend starting with the following four colors, to mix and match for different looks. Black: goes with everything, and almost everyone will have a black costume to wear for group acts. Nude/Metallic: a classic neutral and goes with anything and everything. Red: can be worn for Valentines, Halloween and Christmas, depending on accessories and hats/headdresses. Your Favorite Color: because it’s Your Favorite Color.
14. SAVE SOME MATERIALS FOR REPAIRS AND ADDITIONS: Keep a baggie for leftover trim for repairs, or if you want to add pieces like custom gloves, or a fascinator.
15. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY: CUT THE DAMN TAGS OUT OF YOUR COSTUME! Nuff’ said?