Ryann Reflections

A glimpse into the life of one anti-social stripper nerd.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm a busy girl

It’s the end of January and I can hardly believe it. I know they say time goes by quicker as you get older, but aren’t you supposed to be able to get more done? Or is that just wishful thinking?

I’m starting to feel the school crunch. Note to self: I’m in school. Fuck! The past two weeks of chaos and stress have resulted in me being too far behind in my homework. Exotic Dancers for Cancer is quickly approaching too, and I have commitments to that event as well. So here I sit in Yellowknife trying to manage my life, catch up on a month’s worth of reading, write an essay, book my schedule, negotiate with bars, keep up on my own writing, travel, keep up on the Naked Truth events, make the money and put the money where it needs to be… oh and actually work.

I think I’ll be hanging out in Western Canada for a while. I find the lack of private dancing allows for a lot more segmented chunks of time to be productive. The money isn’t as good, but I think I need to look at my education priorities. I’ll get a lot done up here. I always do… but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

On the bright side Roxxanne’s was a great bar. I managed to wiggle off the financial loss and meet my target income for the week. It’s an awesome bar, well designed, well run, good clean bar. The people were lovely and I would love to return to Roxxanne’s. Good people. I’m so glad that after the animosity and bullshit of the previous week I managed to find a cozy week in Kitchener.

I’m happy. It’s great to be back in Yellowknife. It’s such a relaxed gig for me. I know some people hate it, but we all have bars that suit us best, and this is one of mine. I have friends up here, and I know the town. It feels like another home. But right now I need to finish the massive “To Do” list that’s staring at me… growing… bigger… and bigger… and not in a good way.

I hope I find time to write more later.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Broken contract.

What do I say? It’s been a crazy couple of days and I’m fucking exhausted.
I’m at Roxxanne’s in Kitchener. After what feels like a hurricane of bullshit I’ve managed to find a piece of stability in this bar. First impressions are clean, friendly, and potentially lucrative. The staff has been very welcoming and kind and after the animosity of last week, I need it.

I don’t know if I have enough distance from the situation to write about it yet… but I’m at least going to try. I was booked for the feature spot at Whiskey A GoGo, just north of Toronto, last week. The manager knew what I looked like, he knew my show, he knew what I was offering… and he booked me back in December. I rearranged my schedule to accommodate his dates and in good faith made the journey from Vancouver to Toronto for a mere two week gig.

This industry can be pretty brutal at times, and we are judged daily, hourly, weekly… on everything from boobs, show, boundaries, pole work, attitude, costumes, body, makeup, beauty, walk, posters, cellulite, music, smile… If you can notice it, if it goes into a show, we are judged on it- naked.

At some point last week the absentee owner came in and decided he hated me. Maybe I wasn’t blonde. Maybe I didn’t buy my tits. Maybe he saw part of my show and decided I simply wasn’t good enough. Maybe this just isn’t my bar. It’s a strange club. Shows that get rave reviews, cheers, and money thrown on stage everywhere else I’ve ever done them went over like gay marriage in Alberta in this bar.

Regardless of my learning curve in meshing with this club, there was a verbal contract in place which the powers that be chose not to honour. Saturday night I was informed of the owner hating me, but nothing was confirmed. Sunday night… at 2am I received a phone call to tell me my shows had been cut to one a day. I was now booked 6 shows for the week rather than the 18 I had agreed to (difference of $1000 on my pay cheque)

I did my one show on Monday, while sorting through alternatives. I fly to Yellowknife on Sunday, and I’m stuck in Ontario for this week. I flew out here for a confirmed booking. With all expenses out of pocket, and work available to me at home, I agreed to come to Toronto because I trusted Whiskey A GoGo to be good on their word. I will not be making that mistake again.

Faced with a broken contract and an income problem I spent Monday and Tuesday searching for a replacement gig. It’s almost the end of January and I have financial obligations just like everybody else. I wish it was easier to get a straight answer on what a club is actually like. Agents will push bars they get a kickback from, and minimize the value of every other booking. Managers of course function on loyalty. Customer’s impressions rarely include more than what extras they can get, and how pretty the girls are. Even other dancers can be reluctant to share accurate information. Thankfully I do have some excellent contacts and friends in this industry whose opinions I can trust. Under the guidance of my stripper friends I found Roxxanne’s.

I started last night and it was a good night. No pressure. It’s a beautiful club and I’ll be okay. (I love the stage here- it’s perfect) I’ll make enough money this week to cover my expenses, and the hit my bank will take shouldn’t be too drastic. It sucks, but I’m resourceful and I tend to figure things out quickly. I’ll be at Roxxanne’s for the remainder of the week.

As for Whiskey A GoGo… well I have no desire to step foot in that bar again. They’re concerned about the reputation of their club… I can see why they might need to be.

They fucked me.

I’m okay, but the level of unprofessional, unreliable, two-faced manipulation and betrayal that I was subjected to is unfortunate. I liked that club. I have recommended it to both customers and dancers. I would have continued to support it. I would have encouraged other features to take the price cut to work there.

I won’t be doing that.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

work in progress

I’m in Toronto. The night has faded into a soft blanket of white as ice crystals send the city into an early slumber. I’m left the bar early simply because I was bored and it was as exciting as a morgue. Gramma called me earlier, worried about the dreadful winter storm I’m supposed to be surviving. It doesn’t look so bad to me. I think this city just whines a lot.

This room hasn’t changed. The bar is still the same. Externally everything appears just as I left it. So much of my life exists only within my mind. The melody of Bob Dylan is floating through the room like the soft current of a river in August. Wind echoes in the background, adding depth and layers to the already poignant song. Tears flutter behind my lashes as I type the date and realize the calendar marker.

It’s been two years. I don’t want to rehash the reality of that day or the phone call that changed my life. I know it. I know every tear and every touch. I just want to pause for a moment and remember…


I wonder when so many years will have past that I will forget the date? Will I ever forget? Or is it to be forever etched in my soul? Am I destined to always think of the beautiful taste of The Musician and the heartbreak of Trevor, entwined in memories?

“We live and we die. We know not why but I’ll be with you when the deal goes done… We eat and we drink. We feel and we think, far down the street we stray. I laugh and I cry and I’m haunted by things I never hoped or wished to say. The midnight rain follows the train. We all wear the same thorny crown. Soul to soul our shadows roll and I’ll be with you when the deal goes down…”

Some days I feel that everything is different, that the whole world has changed and nothing is the same. Then sometimes I look around and feel like I’m standing in exactly the same spot. Sometimes I think my memories are just dreams. Did it all really happen? I struggle to remember the feel of certain touches… too surreal to be factual.

Have I changed? Or have I just awoken to who I always was? Was I living in a dream for years? Sometimes I think I’ve come so far, and then I remember how flawed I really am… and how much I have to grow.

I’ve had a lot of things on my mind the past couple days, most of which I don’t even know how or what to say. I wish I was as good with women as I am with men. I wish I naturally sensed when I was out of line, before I do land myself in the middle of somewhere I don’t belong… I’m trying to learn. I am. Sometimes I’m afraid of Who I Am.

I'm a work in progress.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stuck in the snow...

My car is stuck in the middle of the ice covered driveway. Front wheel drive, when facing up hill, without snow tires, on compact ice and snow… sucks. My cell phone is frozen from being dropped in the snow (overnight) and my luggage weighs too damn much!! (This is me taking a quick break from hauling fifty million pounds of fucking sequins and winter coats up a slippery bastard of a hill.)

See the hill...

Winter? Oh yah I looooooove winter… Alrighty time for this Bitchy McBitch of a peeler to stop whining to the world and drag the last suitcase up that COCKSUCKER of a driveway.

See the house at the bottom of the hill...

It’s time for another tour. Now if only someone with a big ass truck can come save me so I can get on with it.

I’m off to Toronto… and then Yellowknife… and then I’ll be a stripper popsicle.

All bitching aside... the view from my deck makes it all worth while.

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Stripper room

I love this bar...
And yes... this is actually how I live while on the road.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

at the CoHo

“SLAP!!” the sound of my palm against his cheek echoes in the room. His hand momentarily releases my hip as he gazes up at me.

He mumbles “Ohhh baby” and winks at me. His tongue is undulating in the air, slapping against his lips and bringing to mind the image of a half-swallowed goldfish still in his throat, swimming for escape. “Can I lick your pussy?” he asks.

I shake my head and watch him giving sloppy head to the neck of his beer as he attempts to drink more. He’s blonde, young, drunk, and dumb. My favourite! The pretty brunette beside him peaks through the cracks in her fingers, embarrassed for his sake, and trying not look. I ask her “Is he yours?” and laugh at her adamantly negative response. If he had any hope of getting laid tonight he’s probably destroyed it.

His hand stealthy wanders towards my ass; my right hand is already cupped. “SLAP!!!” Palm to cheek impact is harder this time. I feel his head turn in response to the force and watch his eyes flutter in surprise.

“Oooh do it again. Harder! Please?” He gazes up at me, rubbing his cheek, and savoring the violent memory.

The intoxicated masochism is not attractive and I’m bored of this fool. “You have pay for that shit, kid” I state as I shake my head and walk away.

I make eye contact with some old friends, and wander over to say hello. My name is in the marquee and I’m close to home. It’s not the first time this week that an old friend has come in for a peek.

The updates are shared quickly. Where you living? Whatcha doing? Who else is still around? It’s been years. We used to volunteer together, in a different life. Word of my new career spread quickly through my old colleagues but I’m on the road so much there have been very few opportunities for reunions. From this group they are the first. I know the news will be shared quickly and with pride “Guess who WE saw at the CoHo!?!”

We head into the lobby to take a picture, because they need proof not only that I’m a stripper, but that they really do know me. I watch Mark turn bright red from the top of his head to the collar of his shirt when I bend over to pick up my keys. I laugh at him for checking out my ass. The photos are taken and the hugs are passed around. It’s a good way to start the year.

It’s been a great week in Courtenay and I have only good things to say about this bar. It’s a good atmosphere, good stage, great poles, and a cute town. The staff is amazing, and they run a damn good peeler pub. I really need to remember to work here more often.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year.

The sun is shining and the bar is empty but for staff, musicians, and fans. There are bands taking over our stage tonight and it should be an interesting evening. Aside from a few details it’s New Years Eve and everything is exactly the same, but I feel rusty. It doesn’t take long to adjust to a normal life and forget about the routine of Stripperville. It’s been an amazing month but it’s time to go back to work.

Mindlessly I wander the dressing room. Makeup splayed across the counter I play with colours and paint my eyes, creating the fantasy. My eyes glow jade surrounded by the smoky midnight navy shadow. Metallic gold accents shimmer in the light, drawing focus to the sultry stare that both mesmerizes and betrays me. Sometimes I wish I could hide from the honesty in my eyes. My lips pout, plump and sexy. Powder evens my skin, as blush emphasizes my already prominent cheekbones. I’m beginning to look like the stripper again.

Naked, I examine my body in the mirror, looking for evidence of my couch potato weeks. It’s not as bad as it could be, but I do need a better fitness routine (or at least some imitation of fitness in my life). I slide my feet into my plastic platform shoes, fiddling with a bent clasp. Turquoise sequins in hand I naturally pull the image together. The bra clasp fits snug between my breasts. The skirt zips loose onto my hips. Mechanically I tug at the zipper of the bustier and pull the white PVC trim in line with the laced bows. Snapping on the girly collar completes the outfit and I become the stripper again. Ryann Rain stares back at me through the mirror. It’s time to work.

2006 is coming to an end. I have no doubt that this coming year will be an amazing adventure. I can already see so much on the horizon. I’m excited. Passion and creative inspiration flow through my veins. 2007 is upon us.

Happy New Year!!

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