Preview: Rehearsal with the Lipstick Criminals

A couple of weeks ago the Lipstick Criminals asked me to take some photos of their dance rehearsals leading up to "Fifty Shades of Bey," their Sunday evening show at the Oberon. (This was the third run of the show at this venue, and it was sold out, again. I'm not the only one who loves Lipstick Criminals + Beyoncé.)

The first time the show ran, I worked with director Sugar Dish to create an end credits video — stay tuned past the first 28 seconds to see footage of the dancers doing their thing.

This time around I also got the opportunity to shoot this amazing show onstage, so check the blog again soon for some pretty spectacular moves, shoes, and eyelashes!

Backstage at The Slutcracker 2015

In 2005 my dad gave me a DSLR camera as a graduation present, and in 2008 I was feeling vaguely bored/dissatisfied with the life I'd created since graduation, so one night I googled "Boston, join the circus." I found a MySpace page for a new show that was happening that December called The Slutcracker, I immediately emailed the director ... and one month later I was standing mostly naked on stage waiting for the curtain to go up, wondering if this was the best thing to ever happen to me or a literal nightmare someone was having. The minute the lights came on and the cheering began I knew exactly which category it fell into. The next night, I brought that camera.

I've been shooting backstage at The Slutcracker almost every year since that year of its inception. It inspired me to study documentary photography more seriously and to get out of all the "auto" modes on my camera. It made up my entire portfolio when I applied to Salt.

Note: you can now enlarge images on my blog by clicking on them.

Every year I wonder if this is the last year I'll shoot this show backstage. I must have all the photos that could be taken by now, right? But every year the show gets better: dancers travel from all over to audition and participate. The director and choreographer of the show has now made this her full time job, and it shows. The budget has grown, the props and costumes become more fantastical. And if there's one thing I learned in documentary studies, it was this: the minute you think you've got it, that you're tired, that you've seen everything there was to see: that's exactly when to stay. The best images come to those who wait. You'll never regret staying and shooting more.

Here are the albums from 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008. It's a fun way to watch the growth of the show, and a strangely scientific method to see the growth of a photographer. (By the way, I realized recently that I shot backstage in 2014 and still haven't processed those photos! That's what happens when you get engaged, move cities and officially start your own full time business just weeks after filling a card with images. Still can't wait to see what I got and share those.)

Did I "get it" this year? I think 10 years will be a nice round number. We'll see how 2017 feels.

Clambake at Alternatease

I've been spending the last two weeks editing one of my favorite burlesque shows I've ever seen: Clambake kicked off the Alternatease festival in Boston this year, with talent coming from all over the country to perform at Harvard Square's Oberon.

Weird burlesque is always the best burlesque.

Warning: a good amount of what follows would not be considered appropriate viewing in most office environments.

alternatease-001 Femme Brûlée

Lolli Hoops

alternatease-008 Lolli Hoops

alternatease-013 JaneDoe Cabaret

alternatease-012 JaneDoe Cabaret

alternatease-034 Al Candida and Honey Pie

alternatease-031 Al Candida as Cher

alternatease-053 Webcam act

alternatease-017 Vivienne LaFlamme

alternatease-018 Vivienne LaFlamme

alternatease-022 Law & Order act

alternatease-024 Law & Order act

alternatease-035 Mary Widow and Ginny Nightshade

alternatease-036 Mary Widow

alternatease-037 Mary Widow and Ginny Nightshade

alternatease-039 Ginny Nightshade

alternatease-038 Mary Widow and Ginny Nightshade

alternatease-029 Money act

alternatease-030 Money act

alternatease-041 Aquanette Jones

alternatease-042 Aquanette Jones

alternatease-043 Aquanette Jones

alternatease-047 Dinah Deville

alternatease-046 Dinah Deville

alternatease-048 Dinah Deville

alternatease-049 Dinah Deville

alternatease-050 Dinah Deville

alternatease-025 Sloth act

alternatease-027 Sloth act

alternatease-055 Straightjacket act

alternatease-056 Straightjacket act

alternatease-057 Straightjacket act

alternatease-058 Straightjacket act

alternatease-059 Straightjacket act

alternatease-062 Toothbrushing act

alternatease-064 Belle Gunz

alternatease-067 The Slaughterhouse Sweethearts

alternatease-069 Jeez Loueez as Whitney Houston

alternatease-070 Jeez Loueez as Whitney Houston

alternatease-071 Jeez Loueez as Whitney Houston

alternatease-072 Jeez Loueez as Whitney Houston

alternatease-073 Jeez Loueez as Whitney Houston

alternatease-075 Devilicia and Claude Kitten

alternatease-077 Devilicia and Claude Kitten

alternatease-081 Alix Mortis

alternatease-088 Sugar Dish

alternatease-090 Sugar Dish

alternatease-092 Sugar Dish

alternatease-093 Bunny Bedford

alternatease-094 Bunny Bedford

alternatease-084 Jenny Castle

alternatease-085 Jenny Castle

alternatease-087 Jenny Castle

alternatease-095 Esmerelda May

alternatease-097 Esmerelda May

alternatease-099 Liberty Rose

alternatease-101 Liberty Rose

alternatease-102 Claude Kitten and Butch Sassidy

alternatease-103 Claude Kitten and Butch Sassidy

alternatease-104 Red Rum

alternatease-105 Red Rum

alternatease-107 Red Rum

alternatease-108 Full cast