Monday, March 26, 2012

Michigan Pole, Aerial, and Vaudeville Expo

I'm at home, recovering from an intense weekend! This Saturday, I attended the Michigan Pole, Aerial, and Vaudeville Expo in metro Detroit, in order to cover the event for Vertical Art and Fitness Magazine.

I've had a few failed launches with VAF. They were going to publish one of my blog posts, but ran out of room in the issue and asked if I could cover an event instead. We agreed on an event, but that fell through (I think it was cancelled). And then they asked if I could cover this event in Michigan. I hadn't been planning on going, because I'm dead broke, and also because I work on Sunday mornings, so a weekend away doesn't really work for me. However, I didn't want to say no after so many failed attempts. And it turned out that the bulk of the event was on Saturday, so I could make it back in time for my gig without missing too much.

I left Friday noonish, after borrowing money from my parents to pay for gas. I have friends about 45 minutes from the Ukranian Cultural Center who were letting me stay in their sweet house. But I had to be there by 6:30 for a business meeting. (They are music contacts of mine.) And I hit really awful rain. So I was all worried about being late, speeding and trying not to hydroplane. I figured that my GPS wouldn't account for the time zone switch, so when it said my ETA was 5:17, I assumed that meant 6:17 Michigan time, and couldn't afford to lose a moment. Imagine how surprised I was when I turned a corner at 5:16 and "Gypsy" (my GPS) said, "Now arriving at destination." She had accounted for the time zone change after all, and I had made incredible time, thunderstorms and all!

So I arrived at the house that is so amazing it makes me want to cry, and waited for my other friend to arrive for our opera meeting. We tossed ideas around, and then they took me out for a sushi dinner (my friend running the opera group is Japanese). Who knew there was such good sushi in Detroit? I'd never had a tofu tempura roll before. Recommend!

Somehow the drive had taken a lot out of me, and I was too exhausted to stay up and watch movies in the movie theater in the basement, but not too tired to take a hot soak in the guest room tub that lights up like 9 different colors. Whaaaat.

The next morning I got enough of a start to find an Einsteins Bros. for breakfast, and learned that a bagel is not good highway driving food. Can some creative inventor find a way to make cream cheese less messy? I was a relatively early arrival at the expo, and was given a VIP wristband, which made me feel really special, even though they were the same color as the regular wristbands (but said VIP VIP VIP VIP) so no one knew but me.

There were basically three aspects of the event: the showcase performances, the vendors' tables, and the workshops. Most people who come to these things from out of town come for the workshops with celebrity pole instructors. I didn't have money to invest in workshops, and they would have comped me for whatever still had room, except they were ALL sold out, every last one of them! So I used that extra time to hang out in the main room, talking to whoever else was sitting around while their friends were in workshops. I got to sit down with the event's organizer, Charley, and have an extensive conversation about her vision for the expo. I hadn't been planning on recording anything, since my article is so short I'm not going to have a lot of room for quotes, but she was so interesting and so engaging I had to turn my iPhone video recorder on halfway through the conversation. She was dropping gems left and right! A writer's dream interviewee!

I talked to pretty much everyone--co-organizer Jessica of Pole Addiction and Aerial Dragonfly, star poler Shadow, the manager of the Ukranian Cultural Center, Mattcrobat and Swift Ali, my friends at Skindustry, and anyone who was hanging around. Saw almost all my current students from Chicago, too!

Most of the rest of the day was spent watching the showcase. There were 50 performers of all levels. Mostly pole, but also silks and lyra. I hesitate to give highlights here, because there were so many I'd forget something.

I'm waiting on some info from Charley before I write my article. You won't see it here--it will be exclusive to Vertical Art and Fitness Magazine. So you'd better subscribe today!!

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