Saturday, September 3, 2011
buRRRRRRRlesque! PORRRRRRRRN!!! AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!
I believe that we all deserve the right to get paid for the things we are passionate about doing. Entertainment, performers, artists, we all deserve to get paid for our work for the time we put in.
Are people tired of burlesque? Are people tired of porn? Are people not buying queer porn? When I settle for a low price for anything I do I feel like I am disrespecting myself. Someone who has less skill and experience should not get paid the same or more than a person who has years experience and skill or tallent. I am feeling angry because I, and other performers, put a lot of work into performance yet I am not paid for the amount of time I put into a project. I feel sad because I want this to be sustainable I am close to being burnt out. In order for me to get what I believe to be a fair wage for my performance EVERYONE in the scene or industry would need to raise their price, yet those who have just begun and do not wish to put time into their work should stay at the same wage until they have some experience under their belt. I wish everyone in the queer porn scene or industry and burlesque scene or industry would document their hours, investment, school, experience, efforts, time, skill level, and so on each project. I wish people would do this because I feel afraid that we are being taken advantage of. How many times have you gone to a show and seen someone perform and you were blown away and inspired and how much did you pay to get in the door? How many times have you gone to a show and paid more than $10 for a show that you were disappointed by? Do you think that the performers need to get paid for their effort or their skill, or just their willingness to be vulnerable in front of an audience? Do you think things in your head like, "Oh, that's easy, I could do that." "Anyone can take off their clothes, why would they need to get paid for that?" If you are asking yourself this then why are YOU NOT on the stage too?
My dream is that every performer who has been performing for more than a year or even just 90 days gives them self a raise. I'm serious, let's do it all together. . Our time, sewing, sweat, dancing in front of mirrors, and hard work is valuable. Please let's get paid for the time and energy and skill and money we have put into a project. How many people do you know that would work at a job for free? Would you work at your job for free just because you were passionate about it?
Like it or not we live in a capitalist society. I do not want to buy into capitalism but I want to support myself with the things I love to do and the work I am passionate about. I don't want to work to make someone else rich. I want the money that I am working for to go to me and/or a cause I believe in.
I do this kind of work as a type of activism because I believe there is not enough representation of queer porn actors who promote and show how to practice safer sex. I do this kind of work as a type of activism because I think there are not enough boys represented in burlesque with ideas that are there to inspire not just titillate. Is activism free? How do activists survive? Do they have full time jobs some where else and then when they are all tired from working all week they work even more? Working more on their passions and beliefs and goals to better themselves and their community at night or on the weekend? Don't most activists and small business owners get burnt out and bitter and settle down after 50? I believe there is another way. I have a dream that equal rights and fair pay means DOING IT: Treat yourself like an equal valid worker and individual, treat yourself like you want to be treated. "Don't just dream it BE it."
There is a lot of burlesque in the bay area. Some might say too much. I here there are people fighting to get burlesque out of their rock shows. I do not want burlesque to become the fast food of entertainment. I don't want it cheapened. It is valid work. Why do you think it is "everywhere"? May be because the performers are spread thin? May be because they are needing to perform so many places because they haven't made any money and they are searching for validation? I don't know why other performers do what they do, all I know is that I feel upset and afraid for the life of queer porn and burlesque in the bay area. If "anyone" can get up on stage or behind a camera and get the same pay that someone working years in the industry how is this line of activism and work sustainable?
Please let me know if you are willing to stand in solidarity with me and document your time and give yourself a raise. Next time a club owner, directer, production manager, or anyone asks you to perform for their show, benefit, bachelor party, or any party please have your resume and price tag available. Tell them your skill, experience, and minimum amount of money you are willing to work for. The less we charge at the door the cheaper we are. I think if people want a free show they can put it on in their living room, or in the park, or something like that.
I am calling all artists, queer porn stars, directors, production engineers, stage managers, diva, drag queens and kings, belly dancers, MCs and DJs, and every one in between. Please, if you've been here a while and have experience and skill in your craft GET A RAISE!!!! Step it up a notch in your show and demand the pay to get you there!