Showgirl Adventure: Movie Benefit

Posted by RubyJoule On September - 15 - 20104,199 views

For those not familiar with my hometown of Austin, Texas, the er- “live music capital of the world,” it is peppered with quaint old live music joints of the dark and divey sort. One such historic place is The Victory Grill, which opened in 1945 and welcomed acts such as Billie Holiday, Etta James, James Brown, Ike & Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.

The Victory Grill

Inside The Victory Grill

It was here that I performed at a benefit show for the independent film, Austin High.  I was happy to support this cause, as I have a cameo appearance in the film and also, I went to Austin High!  The film follows a man’s quest to keep the eccentric vibe of the city alive, and the line-up of acts at this show reflected that.  There were sets by The Gay Sportscasters, Soul Track Mind, Johnny Hootrock (with Goldie Candela and I go-go dancing, natch), burlesque by a lovely dancer named Starlite, and moi.  Also playing was one of my favorite acts; the vaudevillian rag time musical magic of The White Ghost Shivers, and I was honored to take the stage right before them.

The White Ghost Shivers

The White Ghost Shivers

Cella Blue, Ruby Joule

Cella Blue of The White Ghost Shivers with Ruby Joule

As I mentioned before, The Victory Grill is a dark and divey venue, legendary in Austin music history, but not the most accommodating for dancing glamma girls with elaborate costumes.  For some reason, I thought it would be a grand idea to perform my “Merry Widow of N’awlins” routine; an act with 21 separate costume and hand prop pieces.  To be fair, I had never actually been to The Victory Grill before and I’d heard there was a greenroom for dressing.  I should know by now that the term “greenroom” is relative. In this case, it meant “closet where the bands stow their stuff.”  No matter! I would just get dressed in the ladies’ room. Uh-oh… it was a one-seater, and I did NOT want a line of bladder distressed ladies giving me the stink-eye after I monopolized the only bathroom for 20 minutes.  Back to the greenroom, which was dimly lit by a single blue bulb. *Sigh*  “We can do this!” I pep-talked myself. A couple of kind volunteers helped me sort through and pull on myriad costume pieces while the MC stalled for time describing his epic Milli Vanilli experience.

Ruby Joule

Ruby Joule in the greenroom, blinded by a flashbulb

I don’t recall whether he actually introduced me, but once I was ready, it seemed an eternity before my music started. Do nerves do that?  Once I finally stepped onstage, the muse of my routine took over and I was in the zone! As I gazed sultrily back at the faces in the crowd, I noticed a variety of reactions… from exhuberant cheering and catcalls (thanks Goldie!) to surprised raised eyebrows, to mild concern. Ahhh… we had some burlesque virgins in the house!  La-dee-dah, and gown-shimmies-down.  Five-six-seven-eight-there-goes-the-garter.  Wink and a smile and down rolls the stocking.

Ruby Joule

Now for the corset laces (oh please, oh please loosen!).  Oh dear… it feels like a wild jumble of ribbons back there… just pull, PULL!  “That’ll have to work,” I thought as I began unhooking the corset in the front.  So far so good, and then… denied!  One of the steel hooks was stuck like chuck.  It wasn’t going to budge and time was running out.  Decision time.  Due to the genius design of underbust corsets, the brassiere could come off and the show could go on.  I finished with a victorious “I meant to do that” look, and most of the audience was none the wiser.

Ruby Joule

After my act I gratefully sampled the watermelon punch (made with bits of real watermelon, so you know it’s good), and investigated one of the party’s other attractions, the “Dirty Dirty Photo Booth.”  Props were provided there to inspire the imagination: a flower lei, butterfly net, fur collar, and a prize was to be awarded for the “dirtiest photo set.”

Dirty Dirty Photo Booth

Instructions were provided for the "Dirty Dirty Photo Booth"

There was also a silent auction, with a one-of-a-kind Darth Vader mask bong up for grabs!

Darth Bong


Much much later, and after an intriguing ditty called “Ghetto Fight” played by the MC on ukulele, Johnny Hootrock took the stage for a few songs and Goldie Candela and I brought the shimmy go-go along.

Goldie Candela

It was an evening of unique and varied entertainment, a worthy cause, and a legendary venue.  Stay tuned for tales from the Crescent City and the New Orleans Burlesque Festival!   xoxo Ruby Joule

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