backstage (pink swan)

One of my favorite genres of photography is “performers backstage”. They’re in costume, or partially so, but they have yet to trade their humanity for something bolder. It’s the in-between that attracts me. The grandeur plus the mundane.

I never had a ballerina phase as a kid, so it’s only fitting that I make up for that now. I mean, I thrifted a genuine Capezio’s tutu. I’d be mad not to.

tutu I

tutu II

tutu III

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tutu XII

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tutu XItutu V


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moon IV

Holly and I are kittening at the Vermont Burlesque Festival in T minus two days. Eep! We get red carpet photos and invitations to the performers’ brunch, which makes me die a little – I get to munch waffles and mimosas with real live performers? People who do this for a living, not a lark? I can’t wait.

The kittens’ colors are navy, purple, gold, and orange. I’m more than a little frustrated that I can’t default to red polka dots, but I do appreciate the opportunity to branch out. Here’s a preview of my Thursday night costume: moon goddess.

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moon X moon IX moon III

moon VII

moon I

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moon XIII

the demon and his dames

krampus II

This Saturday was my first cabaret since September; Nightmare and Carbon Leaf stole me away in the interim. Since I’m ~too cool~ for the whole “sexy Santa” thing (that, and Josh finds it an active turn-off), we went the more hipster route. Holly and I dressed as the holly and the ivy, and Josh…you do you, Josh. He dressed as the Krampus (the Austrian Christmas demon) complete with basket and switch, and won the costume contest for it. Alas, his only gain was a signed poster – none of the free porn of contests past.

By the way, my “Ivy” dress is for sale on Etsy!

All photos copyright Zinfandel Photography.

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krampus I krampus IV

krampus IX

Everyone wanted a turn under the switch.

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higher wire

circus I

Saturday: circus night at Green Mountain Cabaret! We didn’t win the costume contest, but I like to think the crowd loved us anyway. Well, inasmuch as you can call our outfits costumes: we pulled everything straight from our own closet, no new purchases necessary. People ask us why we hoard so much gaudy shit? This. This is why.

All the credit in the world to Zinfandel Photography and our sexy friends Sarah, Maria, and Gregg. I don’t remember how I spent my weekends before discovering cabarets. I love this blinding netherworld, where catcalls are currency and sequins are practically mundane. I’ve found my very own Moulin Rouge in bumfuck Burlington, and I’m never going back.

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decadent decades

50s I

Josh and I turned ourselves up to 11 for Green Mountain Cabaret’s ’50s-themed show last Saturday. I did my usual pinup thing. Nothing too new to see here, except this godforsaken dress I picked up at Junktiques for EIGHT DOLLARS. One would assume Hell Bunny or ModCloth. Nope, just my neighborhood junk shop. God I love Junktiques. Its owner also operates a pay-what-you-can cafeteria called Psychedelicatessen, which I suspect is secretly some kind of speakeasy-cum-opium-den. I really enjoy Burlington.

50s II

Josh, little shit that he is, insisted that “the century was never specified!” We ended up as “1950s meets 1850s”. I love these shots of us – not least because we both really, truly look like ourselves. The versions that live in our heads and occasionally get realized in the real world. Possibly my favorite thing about Josh is his understanding of that head-Skye. He knows who I want to be, and every day he helps me be her.

I’ll take the opportunity to mention that yesterday was our first anniversary, which makes today our year-and-a-day. Today is far worthier of celebration, fae that we are.

50s III

All photos by Zinfandel Photography, official photographer for Green Mountain Cabaret.

50s IV


50s V

it was a bridesmaid’s dress

Free porn, you guys! The first prize for Green Mountain Cabaret‘s cult classics costume contest was the critically acclaimed Dickin’ Around, brought to us by the producers of Cumming of Age and A Barely Legal Christmas. Who, other than pun fetishists, actually gets off on this stuff?

This past Saturday, Josh was slaughtered on GMC’s stage. Our friend Sarah, one of their featured dancers (“sugar shakers”), enlisted his roguishness for a combat number. I’ve never seen him strut like he did that night – and we’re talking about a man whose ego has its own magnetic field. Sarah’s boyfriend Gregg and I showed up hours early for front-row seats, hoping for a wink from our lovers. “I wanteed to toss my vest out to you,” Josh told me later, “but stage management nixed it.”

Each number was a tribute to a different cult classic. In Josh and Sarah’s case, Heavy Metal. I also identified Repo: The Genetic Opera, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Doctor Who. Other than that? I was lost. I can identify vintage from any era, but damned if I don’t live under a pop-culture rock. Hell, burlesque shows are about the only getting-out I do.

I love burlesque. I love the whole mad eroticism of it. The skewed axis on which your world operates for one precious evening, where naked butts are normal and catcalls become a good thing. I love the melding of sex and art – and the absinthe doesn’t hurt, either. I’ve been taking classes for six months. Mark me – one of these days I’ll be a stage kitten.

Anyhow, Gregg and I got our own spotlight later that evening, when our respective Tyler Durden and Marla Singer were hauled onstage as the winners of the costume contest. Infinite credit to Zinfandel Photography!

marla and tyler

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Helena Bonham Carter allegedly asked Fincher and co. to give her the most haphazard makeup they could, because she didn’t think Marla would care about such things. I don’t know how to feel about this, given that Marla’s makeup isn’t too different from my normal palate.

marla and tyler II

Gregg and Josh could damn well be brothers. We joke (but it’s not really a joke) that he and Sarah are Josh’s and my bizarro-world equivalent.


But actually.

Next month’s theme is nifty fifties! Knock on wood, but that costume contest will be MINE.


the traveling yellow skirt freak show

skirt I

I’ve waited many a moon for this post. Way back in my salad days (by which I mean last June), I discovered a magical series of posts linked by one ineffable skirt. Initially worn by Melanie of Bag and a Beret, it rose to stardom as the figurehead of the Traveling Yellow Skirt Freak Show. As Sue from A Colorful Canvas (one of my sisters in skirthood) put it:

One day, a long long time ago, Melanie, of Bag and a Beret wore a yellow skirt.  It was a beautiful yellow skirt, and she happily twirled and whirled to her heart’s content.  It seems though, that the sunny yellow skirt had a negative effect on one of Melanie’s friends.  One so deep as to incite him to leave a very critical comment on her blog.  Her loyal followers, dismayed by the news, rallied behind her, and, at the suggestion of Sarah of Misfits Vintage, The Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show was born!  The skirt has been flying magically around the globe for just over a year now, sprinkling fairy dust and positivity wherever it lands.

I was hooked. How could I not join this gravy train of spectacular aberration? I zipped over to Melanie’s blog, signed up according to her instructions, and settled into the heartache of waiting my turn like a big girl.

With the launch of these photos, I stand with my sisters in whimsy. So many fabulous bloggers have styled the skirt, though Forest City Fashionista’s take remains, so far, my favorite. Though I received it just before Christmas, I stashed it for so long in part because I feared being derivative. I had to do what hadn’t been done. More importantly, it had to scream Skye. What could I bring to this skirt that no one else had?

At heart, I’m nothing if not a showgirl. And a garment this gaudy simply yearns for the theatrical touch. I present to you, dear bloglings, the latest act in the Traveling Yellow Skirt Freak Show: “burlesque dancer goes bizarre”.

skirt iii

I’m particularly honored to be (I believe) the youngest woman to make her mark on the skirt. It’s nice to be nestled under the wing of so many formidable eccentrics. I’d like to think to think I’m practicing for my dotage, where my remaining Fucks to Give will evaporate and I can be my garish-harridan self in peace.

skirt IV

I’ve been doing burlesque for a while now. After a lifelong fascination with the culture and costumes, I finally sucked up my bank account a few months ago and started taking classes. There’s a lot of crossover between haunted house culture and cabaret culture, and many of my friends are involved with Green Mountain Cabaret in some capacity. Becoming a stage kitten and eventually performing with GMC are two of my goals for 2014.

skirt IX

skirt X

skirt XIII

My contribution to the skirt’s tapestry. A close friend of mine made this patch for me a few years ago, while I clawed through a bout of existential depression. Given the skirt’s “fairy dust and positivity” ethos, I thought it appropriate to donate.

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skirt XI

skirt XV

skirt V

skirt II

skirt XIV

Godspeed to you & your magic.

the second-best day of the year


Today I’m Crystal Lil from Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love (a book I love so much I ought to get royalties for plugging it). Geek Love (“geek” in the second sense) is about a carnival-owning couple who decide, with the help of various fetal poisons, to breed their own freak show. Crystal Lil, the matriarch, is a showgirl worthy of Palahniuk or Easton Ellis – “kind of a Gypsy Rose Lee who bites the heads off chickens and drinks their blood”.

Of course I had to play her.

The best part of this costume is the fact that I already owned all the components. My wardrobe is that comprehensive.

Five of Lil’s freak children survive to adulthood; she pickles the ones who don’t and displays their tiny corpses in jars. In that vein, I thought the skull was a nice touch.

I just happened to own a water bottle emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. It was perfect for Lil’s poisons.

My usual pic editor was offline today. I had to make do with a less consistently decent one, hence the lower-than-usual quality.

I dressed like this for class and errands today. Costumes are nothing if you can’t commit to them.


Yesterday I took the bus to Montpelier to shoot with Brent Gould, a photographer whose work I really enjoy. He’s been exhibited all around Montpelier, so I was pretty excited to share in his prestige. He has such an interesting little studio, full of evocative knickknacks. For this shoot, I embodied three distinct themes: “scheming noblewoman”, “backstage at the burlesque hall”, and “mildly erotic winter-wear catalog”. He hasn’t edited them all yet, so here is one photo from each theme, and a promise that the full set will be posted on Monday or Tuesday.

The light on my chest is a candle and not, as my friend conjectured, a lens flare.