|This is not from the show... but it's me|
playing my saxophone.
Since I was a 9-year-old I've played the saxophone. I studied jazz at Hillsdale College and want to continue playing for the rest of my life. So, when I moved to Denver, I began searching on Craigslist for bands to play with. I had some bites here and there, but it wasn't until recently that I found a jazz group that was trying to rebuild their band and they needed a sax player. I was excited about the possibility of playing with a group again!
Last week Wednesday, they invited me to play at this bar in lower downtown. The gig was fine, even though there were about 10 people there. It's a dive-bar on a Wednesday night, I wasn't expecting much. The guys told me they liked what they heard from me and invited me to play again with them Monday night on the other side of town. Not a problem -- I liked playing with them enough that I thought it would be a good opportunity.
I couldn't have been more wrong. Fast-forward to this past Monday.
I arrive at this bar, and it's dark and dirty. I'm getting my sax ready in what is essentially the bar's green room backstage, and I notice the occasional girl that is barely dressed (certainly not dressed appropriately) walk by and into the room next to the one I was warming up in. These certainly weren't the best looking girls and their outfits weren't helping any, but I ignored it.
We played the first set to a small crowd and it went fine. We sounded pretty good and at that point, I figured I would stick around to play the second set, even though it probably wouldn't start until 11 p.m. or later. This is where things got weird.
First, the guys in the band were telling me their goals, which included playing as much as we could and raising money to buy a new bus so they can travel... "to places like California and all over the place. It's wild!" I was told that we wouldn't be making money at first until the band gets more established, then we could be doing shows that pay a few thousand dollars. Well, I doubt that, but it didn't bother me. I wasn't really looking to make money. I just wanted to play music.
Then the lights went out.
"Ladies and especially gentleman - please welcome the Ooh La La girls!"
A larger woman dressed in traditional Bavarian garb that was clearly 5 sizes too small came on stage and began seducing the many men gazing at her over their cheap beer.
"Um, so what kind of show is this?" I ask the guys.
"Oh, it's a burlesque show - we'll be playing with them later and they'll sing with us.
"We're going to go smoke some pot - do you want to come? All of us in the band love getting drunk, stoned and hanging with the burlesque girls."
I paused. I need an escape plan.
The next girl goes on stage and it's even worse. At this point, I realize that I don't need an escape plan - I just need to leave. So I go backstage to grab my saxophone and of course, all of the girls performing tonight are there in their undergarments. Actually, it's more accurate to say they were barely being contained by their undergarments. Pretty gross.
I tell the guys that I'll see them later and that was that. Definitely the weirdest and dirtiest show I've ever played.
And that's how I ended up playing at a burlesque show.