I set an alarm. On a Saturday. The appointed time wasn’t until noon, and I’m no teenager. At best I might sleep till nine. But still, this was a big deal. I wanted to be up, awake, and heartily breakfasted well ahead of my engagement with The Young, The Hip, The Beautiful.
A couple of weeks before, I had asked my friend, choreographer, and burlesque persona extraordinaire, Beatease LeBoop of Bourbon and Burlesque featuring Lulu and the Lushes, if she might want to get a couple of people together for a funny, campy picture or two of people reading my new book, The Devil’s Own Piss and Other Stories. I thought it might be fun to have a few people all lined up in lawn chairs or whatever, reading the book, maybe making faces. Not only did she respond with enthusiasm, she, as she always does, went big. Next thing I knew there was a beach photoshoot scheduled with pretty much a full compliment of Lushes. I was a bit slack-jawed that the troupe, as a whole, was this eager to support me and my little book. It wasn’t until later that I figured out it wasn’t so much me, as it was the fact that the Lushes will jump at most any excuse to stage a beach photoshoot. Whatever the motivation, I was absolutely delighted.
Well, mostly delighted. As the day drew nearer, I began to get a bit nervous. After all, I’m an old, gray-haired, big dude. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking myself down. As old, gray-haired, big dudes go, I think I’m pretty cool. And I can hang with The Young, The Hip, The Beautiful that I know and are my friends, like individually. But man, could I really hang for several hours with an entire coterie of TYTHTB, some of whom I’d never even met? On the beach? And not embarrass myself? I was trepidatious.
I expressed my concerns to my dear friend M. Now, M is nothing if not a card-carrying member of The Young, The Hip, The Beautiful. She answered via text that “As long as you don’t shit your pants, you’ll maintain your dirty-esque status.” This confirmed my worst fears. Thankfully, this was a text misfire that was soon followed by a much more assuring, “*Deity* I meant ‘deity-like status’.” Aw, she thinks I’m deity-level cool. Cool! If not shitting my pants was the only bar I had to clear, I might be okay after all. My confidence rose. Thanks, M.
Then I expressed my concern to H. My dear old Bro-friend — closer to my age, but his significant other is one of The Young, The Hip, The Beautiful. I was looking for guidance on how to behave. His main piece of advice was, “Don’t stare at the boobs.” Solid and sound.
Like an old guy would, I left the house stupid early. We were meeting at a beach I’m not super familiar with and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to find parking. But before I left, I grabbed a sharpie and wrote on the palm of my left hand:
Rule #1: Do NOT shit pants
Rule #2: Do NOT stare at boobs
And I did well at following the rules. I exhibited exemplary bowel control and did not, in fact, shit my pants. And although temptation was all around, I steadfastly did not stare at boobs. At least not directly. But there were a few stimulus-filled curveballs. No one warned me about or prepared me for the butts. Jesus H. Christ in a Chicken Basket! You couldn’t swing a dead cat around there without hitting a mighty fine ass. What’s a person with eyes supposed to do?
I was also completely unprepared for Tony Stark Naked’s majestic shirtless torso. I mean, that’s not my team, if you know what I mean. But still, dayum. And although Beelzebulge, the Lushes’ emcee, kept all his clothes on, he took on and dominated the roles of director, photographer, and even cinematographer. His command of the whole shoot was something to see. And, well, there’s nothing sexier that competence, am I right?
Really, though, I had nothing to worry about. Besides the fact that as old dudes go, I’m cool AF. And in a fog of self-doubt, I had lost sight of the fact that I’m also a charming motherfucker. But ultimately the real reason I had nothing to worry about is that Bourbon and Burlesque featuring Lulu and the Lushes, is made up of absolutely top-drawer people, babes and dudes alike. They were fun, kind, and welcoming. I had a great time, and they did great work. Watching creative, talented people do what they do is always a treat. When they’re doing it on your behalf, it’s an unbelievable experience.
Final thought, if you ever get a chance to see a live performance of Bourbon and Burlesque, do yourself a favor and go. You’ll have a great time.
Bottom photo of Lulu and the Lushes – SLV Steve
All other photos – M.C. Beelzebulge