A Showgirl Diary: Burlycon 2015 Part 1

If any of you follow me on social media, speak to me in real life, or even read this blog, you know that I was ridiculously geeked to be going to BurlyCon. Yes, it’s an expensive trip for those of us who have to travel from a far distance (I’m pretty sure Seattle is now the furthest west I have ever been in my life), but it’s worth it. I was excited, anxious, nervous, and so many other feelings at once. I bought my pass as soon as they went on sale a year ago, booked my room as soon as the room block was released, and told everyone who would listen that I was going. I even told Albert Cadabra when he was in town with Angie Pontani‘s Burlesque-a-pades a year ago that I was going. Most people don’t plan their life that far in advance. It was crazy. I mean, it’s pretty crazy to check flight prices every week for almost a year to try and get the best possible price, isn’t it? From planning, to packing, to going, to experiencing, even to the glitter crash that followed, it was crazy, and wonderful. So I decided that I would post a series of blog entries sharing my BurlyCon experience with anyone who feels like reading it. It will be a bit of a tricky business, because lots of the class content is proprietary, but I think I can relate my personal experience with a class and what I got out of it without stepping on anyone’s toes. What I really want this to be is simply an opportunity to put down what I’m feeling and what I want to remember, and hopefully to lend a bit of insight to anyone who is considering attending in the future and is nervous about it (I know the unknown is a lot of what I struggle with, personally).


I’ve wanted to attend BurlyCon since I discovered it’s existence. I don’t actually remember when that was, but it was a few years ago. 2013, maybe? Could have been as far back as 2012. I wanted to go in 2014, but it just seemed like an insurmountable goal. Then when the passes for 2015 went on sale, I discussed it with the appropriate peeps and bought one. I figured it would be fine, I mean, I had a whole year to figure it out, right? Originally I was supposed to be sharing a hotel room with one of my fellow Grand Rapids performers, but she decided pretty early on that she wasn’t going to be able to swing it. At that point I was pretty worried about having to do all of it on my own. I basically never travel on my own, and I struggle with leaving my house in a city I know and have lived in for years, let alone a strange place I’ve never been to before. But I stuck with it. It helped to realize that I could stay in the same hotel where the Con was taking place, which had a free shuttle to and from the airport, meaning I could do this whole thing without having to worry about such anxiety triggers as arranging transportation or finding places I’d never been to before. I know, I know, my “awkward showgirl” is showing right now, but this is real life. These are my real thoughts and struggles in these situations. So when the discounted room block for the Con opened up in the spring, I booked a room for the entire Con right away. I didn’t want to be stuck at another hotel (even if it was cheaper) where I would have to find transportation to and from every day or have some other issues. This turned out to be a good thing, because as we got closer, the room block filled up, and even the hotel itself was booked up for a few of the nights, leaving some people with rooms for only 2 out of 5 nights. I was glad I wasn’t them.
I continued to check flights regularly, but I had been told that the best pricing was to be found 60-90 days out, so I bided my time, even though it made me antsy. It was good that I waited. There ended up being a BurlyCon discount with a travel agency that got me my roundtrip flight for less than I was able to find it on any other site. I wasn’t able to choose my seat assignment, but when you’re trying to save some cash, that seems like something that isn’t too big of a deal. The big thing was choosing a flight that didn’t arrive in the middle of the night. I wanted to be able to see my family when I got in.But I managed it.


I wrote entire blog post on this subject already, so I won’t bore you with more of it. The only thing I want to add, since the previous post was a “before” and this one is an “after” is that packing isn’t all that important. Pack comfortable clothes. Pack some fancy things for the evening events if you want to, but don’t feel obligated to get overly fancy. Don’t take yourself too incredibly seriously.

Finding Roommates

Throughout the entire planning process from the time my original travel partner had backed out on me, I had always planned on footing the bill for the hotel room myself. That is how I had budgeted the trip. Then I found the BurlyCon message board, where there were dozens of stray souls looking for a place to crash in exchange for cash. Some of them had places for part of the duration, but needed a crash pad for one or two nights (I believe I mentioned a few of them above), others needed somewhere for their entire stay. After some soul searching and some analysis of my anxiety, I decided it might be good for me to find a few roommates. There were plenty of pros, and not a lot of cons, if I had been making a list. Pros included some extra cash for vending (that was totally awesome), forcing me to meet new people, depending on who the roommates were possibly opportunities to get me out of my comfort zone and meet even more people, and not being alone. The only con seemed to be STRANGERS, which turned out to be no big deal at all. What was the worst that would happen? I wasn’t stuck with these people for the duration of a lease, just a weekend. I’ve definitely handled worse for longer. So I managed to find a couple of people to spend most of the weekend sharing a room with me, and then a couple of other drifters for the first and last nights. The experience was good, and I would recommend it.

So, that’s essentially the first leg of this series. Next leg I’ll get into arriving in town, in person arrangements, and hopefully DAY ONE. Stay tuned.

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