Showgirl Adventure: Rockabilly Queens!

Posted by RubyJoule On March - 23 - 20123,589 views

Readers of this column will remember that at last post, yours truly was in the running to perform at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender coming up in April.  Well, thanks to you and a score of supportive friends and fans, I was voted into one of the few performance spots!  Endless thanks go out to all of you who voted– the race was so close, and every single vote mattered.

One time in Vegas... Ruby Joule, by Don Spiro

The pressure isn’t off yet though; the real competition hasn’t even begun!  You see, this burlesque show will feature the eight finalists competing for the big ol’ title of “Miss Viva Las Vegas 2012.”  I wanted to get the real low-down on what it takes to land this award, so I met up for cyber-cocktails with some of the previous winners.

The first thing I wanted to know was, what drew these ladies to enter the competition in the first place?  Lucy Fur (Miss Viva Las Vegas 2009), of Los Angeles, CA, is a woman after my own heart.  She admits not being all that competitive by nature, and the online preliminary voting wasn’t really her cup of tea.  She had a friend already performing in the showcase who volunteered to be her campaign manager though, and whose help and support got her “to the fun part, the actual performing!”

Lucy Fur

Lucy Fur, by Don Spiro

Another title holder from Los Angeles, Dizzy Von Damn! (Miss Viva Las Vegas 2008), says she “thought it would be a grand tale to tell when I’m old and porch-sitting.”  Win or lose, she knew it would make a good story.

Dizzy Von Damn!, by SH Photo

No matter how talented you are, the act you choose to perform can make or break you when it comes to winning the hearts of the audience.  Ruby Champagne (Miss Viva Las Vegas 2010), also hailing from Los Angeles, had an act already in development that she thought would be a perfect fit.  With violet ruffles, loads of sparkles, and some spicy latin moves, it was also the longest track she had at the time.

Ruby Champagne, by Painted Pinups

Dizzy Von Damn! went for a high energy piece that really got the crowd’s attention after a “long day of music, cars, and possibly some drinking.”  She also consulted with a former winner who agreed that it would be a crowd pleaser.  Lucy Fur won the title in 2009 with a rockin’ hula girl act, which she said she chose because, “it is a crowd favorite, I love it, and…it dovetailed nicely with the rockabilly esthetic.”  It seems that consideration for the crowd was tantamount for all these ladies.

Lucy Fur, by Mark Berry

Let’s take a peek backstage, shall we?  Tensions can sometimes run high at competitions, and Dizzy reports that in 2008 it was a quiet scene in the dressing room.  She’s a naturally gregarious gal, though, and says she chattered away as usual and soon things warmed up.  The overall vibe was nice and supportive with plenty of priceless photo ops (she didn’t send me THOSE pictures!).  By 2009, Lucy Fur was sharing a dressing room with girls she got on with so well that she shared her champagne with them, “and that’s saying something!”  Ruby Champagne’s take on things in 2010 is what I’m hoping for– “excitement, and lots of support and sparkle!”

That supportive, positive vibe seems to go a long way on stage as well, as Ruby Champagne credits the positive energy she radiated on stage, her smile, and perhaps some of those samba moves in her act, with helping earn her the title.

Ruby Champagne, by Boyce Photography

Lucy Fur brought forth her ability to be present, relaxed, and enjoy the moment.  “I think a crowd can tell when there is truly no place else you’d rather be than performing for them right then, right there.”  She feels that perhaps the contrast between her own fun and positive attitude and some of the other contestants “in it to win it” demeanor may have tipped the scales in her favor.  Similarly, Dizzy Von Damn! feels she won with her sense of fun and rather zen approach of being fully present in the moment– wanting to win yet detaching from the outcome.  Her sense of commitment and fearlessness shone through, along with a couple of other things!  “I had a good balance of sex appeal, power-shimmy, and comedy.  I channeled more power than I thought I had that night… Plus, I have fabulous breasts.” (I’ll say!)

Dizzy Von Damn!, by Laura Creecy

You’d think that after winning the title of Miss Viva Las Vegas, performing there again would be a breeze.  Well, when Dizzy performed the following year, she recounts having lots of nerves and pressure to live up to expectations.  When it came time to take the stage though, that old sense of fearless fun must have kicked in, because “sliding across that stage was glory,” she says.  Ruby Champagne had a fun and stress-free time performing at Viva Las Vegas the year after she won, despite a costume malfunction, and Lucy Fur always enjoys the crowd in Las Vegas.  She says it was a special pleasure getting to crown her successor.

Lucy Fur, by Mark Berry

So what then? Did winning the Miss Viva Las Vegas title lead to a constant life of champagne taste and joy?  For Ruby Champagne, it encouraged her to continue pursuing this “dazzling (and expensive) passion,” to hone her skills and continue moving forward.

Ruby Champagne, by Angela Morales Photography

Lucy Fur’s career was not impacted very much, as she was already quite an established performer having graced stages since 1999, though she says she will never forget the feeling of having an entire section chanting her name (oh, a girl can dream!).  Miss Dizzy Von Damn! enjoyed more booking opportunities and a boost of confidence, yet also felt an urgency to work harder and exceed the expectations of audiences.

To my fellow contestants and me this year, Ruby Champagne offers this wisdom: “like everything in life, enjoy the moment and make the best of the experience.”  Echoing that, Dizzy Von Damn! says the number one thing is to “HAVE FUN.” That not winning is not a comment on your abilities– the experience itself is the win, and “winning” is a bonus.  Further echoing that, Lucy Fur advises us to “relax and enjoy yourself!” That this is a great opportunity to perform for a huge, supportive crowd on a beautiful stage, so “why not revel in it and enjoy it?”  And if something goes wrong (her hula lamp prop didn’t light up on cue), just roll with it. The audience won’t know.


Some final words from the Queens…

“Bet on Black 13 if you’re playing Roulette for me!”     – Lucy Fur

“I’m still ever so thankful to everyone who attended the competition in 2010 and lost their voices on account of cheering for me… it was rad!!!”     – Ruby Champagne

“Make sure to eat at a reasonable hour, because you might not get to eat for a while after.  Make sure your costume is well protected to walk through the casino, because there are a lot of people with drinks and cigarettes.  Be proud, no matter what happens.  There’s only 8 of you– small group! You’re already loved.”     – Dizzy Von Damn!

Dizzy Von Damn!, by SH Photo

That’s a lot of great insight, and plenty to think about.  Special thanks to all these ladies for sharing their wisdom… Stay tuned for the next adventure, Live from Las Vegas!

xoxo, Ruby Joule

Ruby Joule, by A to Zed Photography

Ruby Joule is an international burlesque sensation, go-go dancer, pin-up model and bonne vivante based in Austin, TX. She is a founding member of The Jigglewatts Burlesque and strives to seek out new adventures in Showgirlhood!

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