If you follow my facebook page, you may have heard a little bit about the Star Trek Burlesque show I was involved in. If you’re really dedicated, you might have even been at the show. I know it probably sounds odd- Star Trek and Burlesque together- but think about it, what would Kirk do?
Beam me up, Scotty.
When the talking about this potential (at the time) show began with the girls in MAIM, I was really on the fence about it. I thought it would be cool to do, but in all honesty: I am far from a “Trekkie”. I probably never even saw a single episode of Star Trek until I happened to date a guy around the time I was 19 or 20 who watched the Sci-Fi Channel like a religion and introduced me to many of the Sci-Fi staples which most of my friends adore. These included Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Eureka, The Dresden Files, Supernatural, Firefly, and of course: Star Trek. Even then, I only ever got into The Next Generation, not the original series. With people included in the discussion thread who seemed to know everything about every episode of every adaptation…I really felt like the odd man out.
The worst thing is that people who are really, really into things like Star Trek can always smell a newb like me a thousand miles away. I can’t even pretend to be as knowledgeable as them, because if they sense I’m a phony, they will oust me in a heartbeat by mentioning some obscure fact that I would know if I were as hardcore of a fan as they were.
And it will be a big deal. Oh yes- it will be a big deal.
So I didn’t try. I openly admitted my ignorance which was a bit embarrassing, honestly. We were working in conjunction with Trek Off, who would be featuring us and our show in a documentary on Star Trek Fandom. There were a few interviews and I always felt incredibly awkward in each one. Especially when the question came up for each person about how they became a fan. A couple of the girls talked about watching Star Trek with their fathers. My parents didn’t even allow Star Trek in our house.
I can remember as a child that there was some sort of Star Trek fan club that used to meet at the local library every so often. The group even dressed in uniform or full on cosplay of characters. My parents always made fun of those people and how “weird” and “nerdy” they were. At some point, my young mind made a connection that liking Star Trek was not cool and something to avoid, thanks to how my parents responded to the “Trekkies”.
Oh how times have changed.
As far as my role in the show, I was stumped as to what I should do. I think this was mainly thanks to being such a newb. Everyone else seemed to have all of their ideas planned out while I had no clue where to start. Another issue with me, at the time of the show, was my income was severely limited and I couldn’t afford to go all out on a costume. My boyfriend, a big Next Generation fan, suggested I do an act as Deanna Troi. I did a lot more brainstorming, mostly with Clementine O’Donnell, and the one act turned into the whole show for me.
All three acts I decided to do; each one something different as Deanna Troi. In order to be readily recognizable, I decided at least one act had to be in uniform. I researched different uniforms popularized by the character. It seems Ms. Troi is the only officer on the Enterprise who is allowed and encouraged to frequently violate the dress code…..
I can relate to that.
I wanted to go for a uniform which was more like a regular uniform, but still recognizable for the Deanna Troi character. I was also inclined to try for something that would be easy to take off or show a little skin— this was for a burlesque show, after all.
In my research, I discovered a dress uniform from season one of TNG that looked official enough and also showed a bit of leg. It looked much more appealing than any of the leotard style uniforms. I decided to make this costume.
I started with a basic black dress from Goodwill as the base. It saved me a bit of time and money to simply modify an existing garment rather than starting from scratch. I used a seam ripper to remove the pockets and I sewed on the blue panels to the front and back of the dress.
This was probably the step that took the longest. Though hemming the panels were easy enough to do with a machine, I had to sew them to the main body of the dress by hand; which felt like a process that would never end. Whenever I sew by hand I always start to wonder how people created clothes before the time of sewing machines. It must have been an awful, dark time…..
The piping and the silver sequins I used for the rank, I glued on. After all the sewing, using glue was a welcome cheat. 😛 For the call button I actually made a pin using glitter foam from the craft store. It wasn’t the most impressive accessory I have ever made, but it did the job.
Deanna Troi has quite a bit of hair. Even if I curled all of my hair (which takes over an hour to do, mind you) I knew I would not have Deanna Troi volume hair. I decided to augment my hair with extensions to get the full effect. I went to a beauty supply shop and found this excellent curly ponytail piece that simply clips in to your hair….for only $11.99. Can’t beat that–especially after the store clerk had tried to sell me $70 extensions as soon as I even uttered the word “extension”. The experience taught me one thing: I always know what I want; store clerks can’t be trusted for real help.
I’m not a fan of cosplaying characters I don’t know much about, so before the show, my boyfriend and I had several Next Generation marathons. To get even further into the Star Trek mood, I caught the latest Star Trek movie in the theater and Clementine and I watched the Wrath of Khan while we worked on pasties for the show one night. Mine turned out really awesome, I have to admit. It makes me want to find a reason to use them again….
The show was quite a success. Honestly I was surprised how many people came considering it was our first show in Arlington. We had a full house, and people really seemed to love the show. I honestly felt a little bummed that I couldn’t see much from the side of the stage as I waited between my acts—I’m sure they were incredible. Unfortunately, I don’t really have many high quality photos from the show, which seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity for such a great costume….
So that’s why I’ve arranged to do a cosplay shoot in my Deanna Troi outfit, and also attend Shore Leave this year. Look for it in the coming months on my facebook.
I did manage to find this little group shot from after the show floating around on facebook though, so I can at least share that.
Until next time…..live long and prosper; my dearest readers.