Friday, April 17, 2015

Wings, burlesque... But no bison to be found in Buffalo

Two days before I left for Buffalo the city was hit with a massive snowstorm.
Time lapse on Youtube shows a wall of white advancing on the city from over the water. My manager in Toronto suggested I reconsider my trip rather than be snow bound and potentially die of exposure although I imagine she had concerns that I'd have to miss work.

But what's burlesque without adventure and isn't being trapped by snow something everyone should experience once in their lives? (No and in case you think this is going to be a thrilling Girl's Own Adventure, spoiler, it's not)

Stripteaser's Give Thanks for Tease!
A $10 bus fare took me from Toronto's bus station on Bay and Dundas to Buffalo.
The scheduled 90 minute ride across the Niagara Falls border into New York turned into a 150 minute crawl, delayed, not due to the weather but by a long wait in customs.
First a European tourist watched as security emptied his bag of soft and veined cheese, unceremoniously dumping, wheel by slab, into a bin then someone else wasn't able to articulate where they'd be staying, who with or for how long.
Immigration officers lose patience really quickly when you don't have proof of accommodation- or try to carry good cheese across the border.

Buffalo bus terminal is similar to any other US bus terminus I've seen, flickering fluro lighting, institution colours, uniformed patrols, public phones, hard seats and people seeking shelter.
In place of the usual Starbucks, was an infiltration by the Canadian pre- mix coffee giant Tim Hortons and in a corner at the other end, incongruously,  a grand piano with a forest scene, not to be played after 7pm, god forbid someone tinkle the ivories after dinner.

Nobody played the piano and I wasn't brave enough to thump out chopsticks.
I wandered out of the terminal and alarmed a blonde woman waiting for someone who definitely wasn't me by peering in her window.
A couple of quarters in the payphone seemed a good investment rather than a potential pepper spray and my host, Cat promptly appeared from the direction of a back car park.

I was beginning to wonder if news of the storm footage had been exaggerated but Cat explained that this side of the city hadn't been hit as hard and then pointed out a massive dune of snow that had been pushed off to one side of the street.

We went straight to Cat's home passing some incredible architecture, The Buffalo City hall, a squat, many windowed monolith with art deco styling that reminds me of buildings from Metropolis. The Liberty Building I spied as the bus entered the city, topped by two matching statues facing East and West that seem to toss a light to one another, a blinking beacon.

Not quite Cat's house, her's was a couple of doors down, but I love the architecture and ... snow!!!
Cat's place has an abundance of felines. Seven in all, three belong to Cat and the other four are owned by the various remaining housemates. It was a huge house with two stairways leading up to five bedrooms. I played with the cats for the next couple of hours because... cats.

head bops.
We started to get ready around 9pm. Nietzsche was a 5 minute drive from Cat's place, a long dark bar with a large stage at the back.
The dressing room was upstairs and once we were costumed, sprayed and rouged, we trooped down and filed on stage to a tiny curtained section where we stuck our heads out to watch the other performers.
Dr Sick was emceeing. Originally from Buffalo, he was in town for Thanksgiving with the high haired, long legged, gorgeous Gogo McGregor.
I love Gogo. We bonded over a mutual adoration of New Orleans, good costuming and the belief that burlesque is more than just a good dancer deciding to chuck their clothes around the stage.
She performed an act that she regularly performs as part of Bad Girl's of Burlesque in New Orleans.

Gogo, Delilah and me
I'd told her that I was meant to be performing in New Orleans for Bust Out Burlesque and she invited me to stay with her if I made it to Louisiana before I left for Australia (I didn't)

During the show people would flick and throw balled up dollar notes which littered the stage and were gathered up by the kitten. Some people were inventive and I saw a couple of small planes land safely on the stage.

I love this skirt by Zoe Felice costumes!

Balled up dollar note by my left foot!
Photo by NLS photography
The Stripteasers finished their show with a huge finale, there was a boat that flipped over to become a frisbee shaped space ship and aliens and angels and sailors.
The song of course was Styx Come Sail Away and as the girls sung, the audience joined in.
Gogo and I watched from the side of stage, egging them and each other on.

We decided not to burst on stage with impromptu dancing and singing- a decision regretted when the girls post show said "THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT!" I love how open this group was to us and how happy they were to share their stage.

We curtain called and departed for the dressing room to change and re appear downstairs where a local band had started up.

We were famished so at 2am I slipped across the road to a bar that served hot food (at 2am on a Tuesday, unheard of back home) with Fifi LaFlea. We brought it back to Nietzsche's and were joined by others devouring fries and vegetarian buffalo wings with a spicy sauce.

I didn't take many pictures... regret!
We made it home around 3am, friends of Cat's were visiting and went upstairs to her room I was sleeping in the lounge room, two of them later reappeared to sleep on the other couch.
I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. They probably thought they were being quiet as they searched for blankets and then possibly when they woke up at 6am to have an argument about a car they maybe thought they were arguing via telepathy.
They weren't. But if that was the only negative to the trip then one night of interrupted sleep was worth it.

I fell asleep again and woke up to discover more cats. They'd multiplied in the night like Mickey's brooms.

If I had favourite's this one would be it.

The stares of cats can pierce dreams better than any alarm.
We grabbed a quick breakfast with some of the Stripteaser's and headed to the bus terminal, it was such a  quick stop over in Buffalo I wasn't able to check out the City Hall's famed dome.
Although as it turned out, all the buses were delayed due to a turn in the weather, the terminal had no announcements and no desk staff so with no one to update me, or the other waiting passengers on how long the delay would be, we just had to wait until the snow encrusted bus, icicle's hanging, thick snow flaking off the sides.
The return to Canada was smooth enough, apart from the driver making intermittent calls to a woman sitting at the front seats on the front level. The driver threatened to kick her off early if she didn't take her bags off the seats (she was occupying all four front seats) The bus wasn't full, I figured it was the principal of the thing.

The house cat was waiting as usual to greet me with a glare as I entered the door. Less frisky than the cats in Buffalo it was still nice to see her and try to make her play with me.
I failed.

No comments:

Post a Comment