Today marks the 422nd day of my life as a totally independent badass — it’s been that long since I quit my lame-ass job, and went full-time freelance. As you can see, I’m eating well, paying all my bills and having more fabulous adventures than ever….so I guess you could call my experiment a success! If you too are stuck in a loathsome dead-end job, dear reader…I definitely recommend quitting. It was the greatest move I ever made!
Now, that’s not to say it’s been all smooth sailing. I have a strict budget, and a monthly income quota that I try to hit — I know it costs me precisely $70/day to cover all my expenses and put some savings aside, and sometimes it can be tricky finding enough gigs to crack my monthly nut. This month (February) is especially tricky — not only do I have fewer days to hustle, but my gig stream sort of dried up lately, inexplicably. I’m still on track to make my nut (in fact I’m a few days ahead)…but I have very little stuff lined up for the rest of the month. I know from experience that random shit always pops up last-minute…but it can still get a little nail-bitey at times like this! Fuck, I even answered an email I got from some random dude asking how much I’d charge to come over and dye all his body hair in the shower ($100; he never answered back). ARRRGH!! Thankfully, if all else fails I can always put on my marijuana showgirl costume and go busking for tips on the Strip…but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that!
To make matters worse, what gigs I *HAVE* had lately got all screwed up due to a massive brainfart on my part. Since my life is kinda crazy, and my work is all over the place and at different times and on different days, I keep three different calendars to keep my schedule straight: one in my phone, an appointment book in my purse, and a big desk calendar at home (this is why you have to give me plenty of notice if you want to hang out).
Well, despite my triple diligence, I somehow fucked up and penciled in this convenience store convention on the wrong days! I was supposed to wear a mascot costume at the show for a popular antacid company, and I had it down as being Thursday and Friday. So on Wednesday morning, I was in my bathroom, leisurely drinking coffee and setting my hair in rollers for a pin-up photo shoot I had booked later that afternoon…when my phone rang: “Where are you?!?!?!” FUCK!!!!!!!!
Thankfully, I had already called the client a few days prior to confirm the gig…so she had my cell number, and called me directly (instead of calling the agency and ratting me out). I told her I’d be there in 15, and hauled ass to the MGM Grand Conference Center as fast as I could — since it was a costumed mascot gig, I didn’t have to fuck with makeup, thank dog, so I basically just finished rolling my hair as fast as I could, jumped into some leggings, and raced across town (I had to finish the rolling part, since I still figured to make the pinup shoot afterward, and wouldn’t have time later on).
By the time I got there, though, I was an hour late….and I was mortified. I *HATE* disappointing people, and I have never, EVER spaced out on a gig before — I just felt really ashamed. I apologized profusely to the client, but they didn’t seem too bent out of shape, so I just got suited up as quickly as possible and tried to make up for my tardiness by busting my ass. Normally with a mascot gig, you wear the costume for 20 minutes, then take a 20 minute break for fresh air and to rest your back — 20 on/20 off for the entire shift. Well, in penance for my sins, I wore that costume for an hour each time, and made sure to bounce around with extra enthusiasm while inside. It was one of those inflatable costumes, with a fan inside to keep it inflated…so it wasn’t really hot, but the battery pack that powered the fan was pretty heavy, and my back was killing me after the first set. But I did three or four of them the first day, just to kiss ass.
Once the show ended at 4pm, my stress still wasn’t finished — I then had to haul ass home and get ready for my pinup shoot, which was supposed to have already started!! Thankfully, the photographer was a friend with whom I’ve shot many times in the past, so I had already alerted him to the fact that I was running late…and he had also hired a few other models for the shoot, so he had them to work with while they waited for me. But I still felt terrible — again, I *HATE* letting people down!!
Anyhoo, I busted my ass, got home, spackled on makeup, did some quik Victory rolls in my hair and threw a bunch of pin-up clothes into a suitcase, then raced to the El Cortez, where the shoot was taking place — in the Cabana Suites, which I wholeheartedly recommend to any photographers seeking a unique place to shoot. These rooms are super-affordable (I think ours was around $40-45 for the night) and very funky and photogenic — colored walls, artsy furnishings and decor, and they even let you shoot in the lobby if you want!
Interestingly, the photographer had initially planned to shoot at the Artisan Hotel…but they quoted him something like a $500 shooting fee, PLUS the cost of the rooms. Fuck that noise! I mean, the Artisan lobby is kinda cool — full of unique, funky antiques and stuff — but the rooms themselves are dark and shitty…I know, because I’ve shot and stayed there in the past. That hotel used to be a Travelodge, and you can totally tell — they basically just slapped on some black paint and added a bunch of artsy oil paintings. Shitty, for sure…plus, they’re assholes: the
bartenders will overcharge you at every opportunity (again, I speak from experience; I was once charged $40 for a $24 order). To top all that off, they deleted my bad review from Yelp! So…fuck ‘em!
But anyhoo, the El Cortez Cabana Suites are the shit…so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a cool room to shoot in here. Not much natural light, though…so bring your equipment!
Aaaaaaaanyway, once the shoot was finished I went home and passed out, making sure to get up in plenty of time to make Day 2 of the convenience store convention. I got there like 20 minutes early…which was good, because I ended up forgetting to bring socks with me, and had to run into the MGM Grand to buy a pair from the gift shop (Logo: “What Happens in These Socks…Stays in These Socks.” I’m not kidding.)
But once the sock crisis was resolved, the rest of the day went fine. I wandered around the expo hall bobbing and dancing and high-fiving various convenience store franchisees, and it was great. Again, I wore the costume for an hour at a time, still making amends for the previous day’s tardiness — I really like doing mascot gigs, and didn’t want the client to give me a bad review in case the agency refused to ever book me again.
Being in a costume at that show was actually a blessing, since it prevented me from shoveling into my face all the horrible crap convenience-store food on display — but even then, on my break I managed to snarf down all manner of junk, ranging from salted caramel Cracker Jack to Jack Links to breakfast sandwiches, stuffed hashbrowns and plenty of coffee drinks. Blecccchhhhhhh!! WHY do I have such a hard time turning down free food, even when it’s basically poison?!?!?
The other interesting thing about this show was, unlike previous convenience store shows I’ve worked, the exhibitors were not allowed to hand out bags to the attendees. You may recall that the last convenience store show I worked basically devolved into a free-for-all worthy of a Sudanese refugee camp, as attendees literally clawed and crawled over each other to grab free handouts at the end of the show, many walking out with overflowing shopping bags full of food-swag. Apparently, some of the more unscrupulous franchisees collect all this free shit, then turn around and sell it in their stores to make extra money! So they put the kibosh to that at this show — no bags allowed! But that didn’t stop people — you saw them walking around with boxes salvaged from the trash, overflowing with collected crap. Oy, vey!
Anyway, at the end of the day the client let me go a bit early, since the show was basically dead anyway. But the costume needed to be shipped to the next city, and the MGM in-house shipping department wasn’t able to come get it for another two hours. Rather than make them wait around, I offered to drive the client to the nearest Fed-Ex, on my own dime, and help her ship it out so she didn’t have to wait. I was still trying to butter her up so she wouldn’t tell the agency I was late the first day…but alas, when I dropped her back at the hotel, she still signed my timecard to reflect my late start. Boooooo! Oh well, lesson learned….from now on I am keeping FOUR calendars, and am double-checking my dates on EVERYTHING!!!
Either way, after those exhausting two days, I was definitely ready for a night off…and thankfully, a very good friend was in town, and we had a special outing planned for that Friday!
Now, as you know, pretty much ALL Vegas shows are cheesy, unimaginative tripe. ALL of them — especially the “artsy” ones! The only way to make them bearable is to take some sort of psychedelics beforehand, and that’s just what my friend and I are wont to do. We’d already been to Absinthe, Penn & Teller and Rod Stewart under the influence of magic mushrooms…but now we wanted to see the granddaddy of them all: the Beatles LOVE, a trippy, psychedelic Cirque du Soleil interpretation of the Beatles’ music that is actually a pretty good show even sober…but undoubtedly even better under the influence!
Well, I’m here to tell you that I was right – it was amazing!!! We had front-row seats, which normally is too close to see all the action (I’d already seen the show 3 times, from various distances, and the middle is best). But being on shrooms, the front row was awesome, since it felt like you were right up in the middle of all the craziness — all those kooky, colorful characters dancing around right in front of you! Amazing, and HIGHLY recommended. We had the time of our lives, then walked over to Caesars Palace for some drinks in the Seahorse Lounge until our buzz wore off. All in all, a fantastic night…and just what I needed to recharge my batteries!
After that, it was back on the hamster wheel. First up was the Super Bowl — thank dog I hate football, because I’ve ended up working that Sunday every single year since I started doing gigs back in ’08. At first it was dumb shit like Miller Lite or Bud Light Girl — walking around various casino parties handing out koozies and crap. But the past few years I’ve worked this one ginormous independent party as a showgirl — walking around posing for pics with guests, that kind of thing. It’s super fun, and this year I got to bring along a buddy, who happened to have two matching showgirl costumes for us!
After the Super Bowl, the pendulum swung back to “BORING:” the Homebuilders’ Show. But that was only two days, and then it was back to fun gigs: I did a photo shoot as a vampire, where the photographer let me keep the custom-fitted fangs he’d bought (!!!), then I danced in a music video for this awesomely nutty act called Kingdom of Wonderland, and then some out-of-state friends came to town and hired me to accompany them to dinner at the ever-fabulous Rose.Rabbit.Lie. If you haven’t heard of this place, read my review here…basically it’s just a WEIRD-ASS supper club/lounge/interactive theater experiment where performers are all around you, all the time. What was especially cool was that I got a totally different experience this time,
compared to my last visit: this time, we had drinks before dinner in the Music Room…and as we were sitting there, this chick came along and asked to “borrow” us, then took us into this weird little closet room where a naked hot dude was taking a bath in an old-fashioned claw-footed bathtub, reading sheet music and pontificating to a bunch of other kooky characters hanging around. His butler brought out a punchbowl, and played a drinking game with us until we were all totally wasted, at which time the hot dude got out of the tub, got dressed, and we all went back out to the bar. FUN!!! Then after that we had a sick-ass dinner, and some after-dinner drinks in the Study…overall, another fantastic night, and you should definitely check out Rose.Rabbit.Lie next time you’re in town!
Now, that was all the gigs I’ve done lately – well, I’m here to tell you that the most fabulous gig of ALL is yet to come!!! The other girl that I did the Super Bowl party with runs a mudwrestling night at Gilley’s, the country-western bar at the Treasure Island…and she said she’d book me as a wrestler at their next event!!! DREAMS DO COME TRUE — I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO MUDWRESTLE!!!!!!!!
The best thing about this mudwrestling gig is that it’s totally campy shtick, a la the old Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling (G.L.O.W.) back in the day — the girls all have crazy costumes and personalities, and it’s all very theatrical and over-the-top. They’re called the
Power Posh Girls, and I went down to watch them the other night, to get an idea. OH….MY….GAWD! I can’t wait!!!! I already have a BAD ASS character planned: WONDERHUSSY, a sort of slutty all-American superheroine with a very special twist that I’m trying to make in time for the next event, on February 18th. If I can rig up this special prosthetic in time I’ll have a special entrance song to match, but if not, I’ll have them play “American Woman” when I enter the ring. Boo-Ya!!!
Speaking of this special prosthetic, trying to build it has led me to some very strange cosplay websites — cosplay being this weird subculture of dorks who spend hours and hours, and hundreds of dollars, making superhero costumes out of duct tape and foam and all these weird plastics with names like Worbla and Wonderflex and Friendly Plastic. WTF!!! It’s bizarre! But I’m enjoying building this costume so much that who knows….I may end up becoming a big cosplayer myself!! NOT!!!
Either way, it’s good that I’ve been home lately working on this costume, because I also recently got a new dog, and I have to keep the poor little fucker company!! That’s right; this chick I worked CES with read my blog about my old dog Stubby dying, and asked me if I wanted to adopt this stray that showed up near her trailer in the desert, down in Arizona. Apparently she lives down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and assholes abandon their pets there with some frequency — well, this bad-ass chick takes them in and tries to find homes for them when she can! What a cool lady!!
This particular dog had been running around the desert for about a year, roaming free and knocking up all the bitches in the area and generally living the life of Riley. Well, she roped him in and started feeding him, and sent me a photo, and he looked pretty cool: about the same size and stature as my old dog, with the same short lil legs. I think he’s a Basset Hound mixed with an Irish Setter or something. Anyway, I drove down halfway and met her near the Hoover Dam to pick him up, and he’s a real sweetie. I kinda feel sorry for him, though, because I took him from his free-ranging desert life and dragged him into the city, with all the noise and pollution and sirens and shit…and the first thing I did was cut his hair off, and his balls off, and now there’s no more banging bitches and running around freely. But he doesn’t seem to mind it very much — I’ve had him a few weeks now, and he’s been pretty chill, only peeing in the house twice and not chewing anything except a leash (he HATES to be tied up). The girl who gave him to me was calling him Thorin Oakenshield, after the Dwarf King in Lord of the Rings (because he does look like a little dwarf) but I couldn’t get used to saying that, and ended up naming him Freddy. Awww!