Wednesday 25 November 2009

Posed in the window on a Triumph motorcycle

Toronto is a beautiful city. There's no doubt about it.

It's essence brightly burned an unidentified, distinguished colour this third of October, despite the title of the extraordinary event which takes place. Nuit Blanche is an "all night contemporary art-thing" sprawled across the wide girth of the city, rocking its shit from sundown until dawn.

Originating in Paris, the concept quickly caught fire and spread around the globe to art-avaricious insomniacs alike. Toronto swallowed it without chewing and banged it's fork on the table for more. Celebrating the fourth year of a wondrous pastiche of ephemeral brainchildren on display for the city to soak in and do with as seen fit. Art installations from technology-based mediums to live performance pieces are born and die together. It's a night I always look forward to.

This year, I was fortunate to be a part of a project for the beginning of the evening until two in the morning. Although, it wasn't exactly easy for me. I posed as a model for racy life-drawing sessions for my first time clad in attire attributing the Suicide Girls/Fight Club photo shoot. We froze both for artists, and sight-seeing pedestrians of the night. In my favourite pair of baggy DKNY blue jeans, bare feet, black nail polish, lathered in oil, with an old orange Brownies bandanna, fake tats, a lip ring...and that's it. To accent the aesthetic were two experienced spontaneous Shibari rope-riggers creating designs around our exposed torsos throughout the evening.

I'm a burlesque dancer, very much because of my love to entertain. I adore the human form. It is by far one of the most mind-blowing creations next to underwater caverns, beehives, chocolate and jazz music. I love to celebrate my shape in the midst of an awkward scene between Batman and Robin, after their love has been unmasked and Marvin Gaye's vocals swell onstage.

However, standing still in tableau half-naked without pasties in front of a crowd of discerning individuals even pushes my level of comfort. Some say the line grows very fine, and my judgement a tad pedantic, but whatever I feel is personal and defined by my own rules; I believe in that. In fact, I'm quite shy. My persona is a supa skank, and she loves every minute of it. It comes from a place inside of me, but like any character, it is an embellished extension of a mere aspect of myself. Without theatrics, I feel much more exposed.

I took it as a gracious opportunity to embrace what my Momma gave me, and go full force. It is, after all the body I have until the day I pass. I was astonished by the exhilarating energy, bravery, composure and charisma exhibited by the other six models I posed with. They are a force to be reckoned with, all extremely magnetic in their own right. They helped give me the courage to bare my girls. Some of them being very 'supportive' of my feelings, and cupping them for me from behind en pose, as well as other simulated sex/domination configurations. Woo-eee!

It was a liberating marker for me, and I'm thrilled I overcame the challenge.

The night, of course, did not skip out on cracked out madmen. As I posed in the window on a Triumph motorcycle, a man who did not blink, or look at me when he talked (and who stood way too close), asked me if my temp-tattoo of a python was the mark of the beast, due to having my own dark predator inside me. Trust me, he really didn't want to find out. Then he said he forgot his clothes pins at home... Yeah. Right. That was the savviest pick-up since someone asked me if these were my real eyes. I just sat there and looked mysterious while security escorted him out.

Susie Caboose is Burlesque Against Breast Cancer's Canadian correspondant. She's based in Toronto and for more info, go to:

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