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Chapter 10: There is no “I” in C*nt. But there is a “U”. Pt.2

11 May

Continued from Part 1: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/04/27/chapter-9-if-darryl-dies-we-all-riot-if-darryl-riots-we-all-die-pt-1/

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HorrorHound Comic, Pop Culture & Horror Convention

Cincinnati, March 22-24, 2013

The Ugly, The Bad & The Good

Day 3, Saturday: The alarm went off after what seemed like a short nap. Lying there, I realized that there is no ‘I’ in cunt. But there is a ‘U’. With that nugget of intelligence, I hauled myself out of bed for a god-awful hotel breakfast and even more tragic coffee. ‘Coffee’. I had a laborious makeup job to become Poison Ivy, a redheaded character from Batman. I was told spirit gum would hold the winged eye pieces on. They fucking lied. To my dismay, they kept peeling back. Out of desperation, I tried eyelash glue. This worked. So well, in fact, that it ripped part of my eyebrow off later that night when removing them.

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I’d found an artist on Etsy and had the Ivy outfit custom made when fans kept requesting me to do the character. Steven Griffey arrived, with a huge Starbucks skinny vanilla latte. Huge brownie points. HUGE. I’d met him in Indianapolis when he shot a model I knew. His photos are artsy and incredible, so I was really excited to work with him. (Stephen Griffey Photography-> https://www.facebook.com/StevenGriffeyPhotography?fref=ts )

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He set up a ‘studio’ in the room and clicked away. It was snowing green glitter from my costume everywhere. I’d worn the skirt kilt-style (without undies) to avoid lines, so I ended up with a glittery jay-jay. But, in a nutshell, the photo shoot kicked ass.

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The idea of emerging from the hotel wearing nearly nothing in 32F degree weather wasn’t thrilling. We headed to the convention a bit late and the line was wrapped around the building. “Hey, are you Poison Ivy?” Insert a new blonde joke here. I smiled and quipped, “Nope. Today I’m Jessica Rabbit.” Confused look. Jesus. Just go away. Or buy something. Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” clearly never dealt with people.

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I saw a variety of cameras…including the disposable film camera. “I bought the last one at WalMart before coming here.” Really? Did you find them next to the 8-track tape players and Betamax video recorders?

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There was a guy standing in front of my booth. “Hey, I was there the night that you and your roadie kicked that guys teeth in when you were doing a show at Alley Cats. I remember that clearly.” Holy shit. So did I. Touring as a burlesque act, it was a rather interesting career at times. “Were his teeth really kicked in? We didn’t stick around to find out.” “Oh, yeah. I was with that bachelor party. Hey, don’t feel bad…he deserved it.” Yes. He did. The ‘roadie’ – my ex husband – was a laid back soul. Not much ruffled him, and he let me handle my own issues. He knew I was much quicker to punch someone in the face and break their nose than he was…and, unlike him, I would get away with it. But we had a signal…and on that particular night, he’d been on edge with the wild group that had been seated at the stage. That is a whole ‘nother story, detailed in the Behind-The-Scenes Diary section on my site. (HERE-> www.AprilHunter.com)

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Two batman’s (batmen?), one cat woman, Bella Dementes the giant dirty nun and many smiling fans later, the convention ended. I had fun. Thank you so much to those who follow my twitter and newsletter.  Also, thank you to the fan who forwarded my info to www.WrestlingFigs.com. A little help from my friends never goes unappreciated.

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Here’s a little video diary from Saturday:

I had a shoot for the latex booth across the way after the show. They’d asked Steven Griffey if he would shoot me for their catalog, so we planned on doing the funky masks and jewelry after dinner. We headed out for Japanese restaurant, figuring it was a healthy choice.

When I got back to the hotel, my room looked like it a giant fairy had a party and left glitter dust everywhere. As I got ready to shoot, I realized too late that the food had been loaded with MSG. It causes me to puff like blowfish. I was pretty much ruined for the shoot, but we did our best to work around it and managed to get some neat shots the latex people liked.

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It was LATE, and I’d literally worked from 7 a.m. til midnight. I jumped into the shower and lazily decided to stick pink sponge rollers in my hair instead of blow drying it & crash in bed.

Day 4, Sunday:  I stumbled down to the office to grab Yucky Breakfast with no makeup and a head full of pink Grandma rollers. The room had been empty on the previous day, but was bustling that morning, packed with fans and vendors. SHIT. I tried to shrink inside myself and go unnoticed.

Nobody look at me, nobody look at me, nobody–“Hey, April!” Crap. Everyone turned; Nik was calling out to me. I waved and ducked out.

I packed for my check-out and then added a stolen pillow into my bag. Lovely Single Girl Apartment desperately needed it. On second thought, I unzipped the bag and threw in a blanket, too. For what they were charging for these rooms and the terrible quality of coffee and breakfast,  they should give us pillows out as a consolation prize.

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Sunday was fairly uneventful at the con other than signing and selling a lot of new Stripper Vikings. People love dirty comics, especially this one. It was also Stupid Question-less. I walked around and snagged some photos. The car from Christine..pet a duck…admired some quirky and gruesome art…said hello to Rhino. He told me he’d quit caffeine. Clearly, he’s more man than I’ll ever be, because I rely heavily on it.

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After looking back on the slew of snapshots I took posing with others, I apparently like to do that “ooh, yeah!” thing with my hand in most of them. Not sure what that was all about. Maybe I was trying to pull in more energy.

Unfortunately, the money in sales for all three days added up to what I normally make on just a Saturday at other shows. That was exactly what I’d been afraid would happen. There are times when I really hate being right…this was one of them. While it’s GREAT that so many fans support independent artists, movies and music, I think things would have be happier for all if there was more organization involved.

I’d also missed a Shine Wrestling iPPV (where I was involved in a hot story line  and a Slammin Ladies custom videotaping for this and I could have earned the same amount staying home.

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But I would not have gotten to see friends and done kick ass photo shoots. So, hey. Speaking of, Joe arrived and we hit the road for Louisville before the predicted snowstorm hit.

He entertained me with this story: “So, I was in the men’s room washing my hands. The dryer wouldn’t turn on. I waved my hands in front of it…nothing. I waved them again, no luck. So, then I stepped back and waved them under it one more time, wondering if it was broken. It still wouldn’t come on. Suddenly I realized it was one of those dryers that I had to push the button to turn on. Geez. This is what technology is turning us into.”

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142 lbs of luggage lugged back up the creaky stairs. Evidently, I sold 8 lbs of DVD’s and photos. I tried to calculate in my head exactly how many photos would make up 8 lbs…but after a few hours sleep over the course of three days I couldn’t figure out jack shit.

Eat. Shower. Bed. I snuggled down with my newly stolen comforts in the chilly apartment. Until I remembered I had to get up and go out into the front hallway to shut off the only bedroom light. Balls.

Day 5, Monday:  The newly acquired pillow made life just a little bit sweeter. Translation: it was exceedingly difficult to get up early for a photo shoot.

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Hotaru is one of my favorite photographers. She’s a stunning half Japanese, half Filipino former model herself with a fun attitude. Very easy to work with. I’ve always enjoyed shooting with model-photographers. Julie Strain was probably the most well-known that I worked with. She would shoot me topless, barefoot and in boxer shorts…then throw a wig on and jump in for photos herself. (I appear in a couple arty coffee table books she published.) Former models tend to create differently from male photographers. Sadly for YOU, Hotaru kept all her clothes on.

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Freezing floors. Filthy stairs. Dirty door jams. Anything for art. We created some cool stuff. Everything I am has been created from NOTHING. Photos, video, comics, matches, writing, my site…it only exists because I created it. It’s one of the things that I love that about my career. Made In America! Buy American! I do – as much as I can. From buying my costumes to having my hair done in a privately owned hair salon, I put it right back into our economy. It’s extremely appreciated when those of you who are fans purchase anything from me, and it truly matters.

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I knocked a few custom videos out and then I was done. Ahhh. Sitting on the comfortable red ottoman, trying to relax, I still had that “I need to be somewhere or be doing something with my time” feeling.

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After thinking hard about everything, I emailed a very honest letter to Horror Hound, telling them how disappointed I was with the lack of professional courtesy. Then I asked Nik if he knew any others shows in his area, figuring that people hate honesty when it’s pointed at them, so I should probably find other work options. That’s something else I really enjoy about being my career: the freedom of having the option to say, “you should have handled that better” and going somewhere else to work. If I had all my eggs in one basket, I would literally be a basket case. It doesn’t exactly offset the lack of benefits, non-existent health insurance or long hours working without weekends or holidays, but there are a few upsides.

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Joe picked me up and we headed over the one of the best Indian restaurants in the entire world, Dakshin. It’s the Indian place where Indians eat, located in…Louisville, KY. Go figure.  I won’t eat in ethnic places where their own people aren’t present. It’s a bad sign to go into a Japanese place and not see a single Asian. We had a hard earned naan-tastic cheat meal. Their slogan is “Try us once and be ours forever.” It’s true. It’s damn true. (Dakshin -> http://www.mydakshin.com/)

Day 6, Tuesday: Five days without exercise guilted me into bundling up for a walk. With cutting wind, it literally felt colder than Canada did at Christmas. I walked around the University of Louisville campus, ran stairs and then made my way over to Quills Coffee for a cappuccino and Hunter S. Thompson quotes. “Let’s get down to brass tacks. How much for the ape?” Hunter was from Louisville (and one half of my namesake). This is the thing Louisvillians; they will always let you know who is from there. And fairly quickly, as if clawing for the recognition they deserve but don’t quite receive. Abraham Lincoln. Larry Flynt. Tom Cruise. Muhammad Ali. Thomas Edison. Diane Sawyer. I hear it’s a now legal obligation for every Louisville resident to see all Jennifer Lawrence films…punishable by death. Kentucky has given us a little common sense and a whole lot of crazy. Crazy makes the world more interesting. “If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” I wonder who said that…and where he was from.

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After years of driving by the consistently incomplete bridge to Indiana from Kentucky, it was finally open to walk. And I wanted to before I left. As in, it was on my Bucket List. Not high up mind you. It wasn’t ranked like ‘cruise to Barcelona’, ‘speak Spanish flawlessly’, ‘walk the Great Wall of China’, ‘live in a tree house’, ‘buy a mountain cabin or tiny Lovely Apartment with nothing around’ or ‘eat a snail’.  It was more on the level with seeing an IMAX movie. (The Hobbit! I finally went this year!) Nonetheless, it was on the list. After several not-so-subtle nagging texts, a couple of the artists from Open Gallery came over, scooped me up and we all proceeded to freeze our asses off for the walk. Music blared at the halfway point. It was pretty neat. I always thought the bridge views into Louisville were stunning. I also think the artists took  me so I’d leave them alone. 😉

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Back to the Lovely Apartment for my final night of solitude and more carb-gasmic Dakshin Indian food.  I was exhausted, but also felt happy and accomplished. I loved all of what I did: the con, shoots, who I worked with, seeing fans, visiting friends…so nothing was a burden.

Day 7, Wednesday: I scrubbed up Lovely Apartment and fluffed up Stolen Pillow. Thank you, my friend. Enjoy your new home. 142 pounds of luggage down three flights of stairs. Airport. A solid frisking courtesy by TSA without so much as a kiss. Oddly enough, I flew out of the other gate I used to visit Mom from. Landing in Tampa. Straight to the gym. That is all.

I know it’s hard to believe, but the Horror Hound email was never replied to. Shocker, huh?

Perhaps it’s the situation of bad convention once, shame on you. Bad convention twice, shame on me.

A huge thank you to Open Gallery! If you’re in the Louisville area, be sure to check out this little art gallery gem!

 

See Part 1: If Darryl Dies, We All Riot – https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/04/27/chapter-9-if-darryl-dies-we-all-riot-if-darryl-riots-we-all-die-pt-1/

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Chapter 5: My First Meeting With the Big Brass In Life. Pole:1 – April:0

4 Jan

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Before I became a well-traveled and fairly in-demand burlesque showgirl, (which led to modeling…then fitness competitions…and eventually professional wrestling) I got my feet wet dancing in perilously high heels as a go-go dancer.

Previous to THAT, I had a “real” job. Several. Usually work that barely paid my half of the rent, so I had one or more roommates. Such was the case in this particular story. It went a little like this:

What the shit? I knew something was wrong as soon as I walked through the front door. It was eerily quiet. The roommate was nowhere to be found. Neither was his furniture. I darted to his bedroom and was greeted with bare walls. His stuff was gone from the bathroom. It was interesting to note that of all the things he could have stolen, he’d only taken my aspirin. That mutherfucker had split on the first of the month.

I rang my friend Mike in a panic. A little background: at this point I was barely eighteen, had been living on my own for just a few months and my waitressing hours had been cut to part time. I graduated high school early and was planning to return to college after I’d sorted out what I wanted to do, instead of wasting time and money taking random classes like I’d been. Plus, I wasn’t ready to sit in a classroom any longer at that point. I wanted to be free to do things and enjoy life instead of endless studying. Mike came over with the newspaper and we searched want ads. Everything sucked. I needed the entire rent by the 5th , or face eviction.

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One ad caught my eye. “Dancers Make Dollar$”. I pointed to it. He gave me a look, eyebrow raised.  THAT look.

“What? What else can I do right now?”

“Are you sure you want to go that way?” He knew that regardless of how wild I appeared, I was pretty conservative on the inside. I never so much as removed my clothing when with my boyfriend. Unwilling to admit defeat and crawl back to my mothers, I was painted into a corner with exceedingly few options.

I located the tiny dive bar in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Salvo’s wanted to bring girls in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to boost lagging business. They had no license for topless dancers, but were related to mafia, so this niggling issue was of no matter. I met three other girls, all of us baby faced, barely legal and 100% natural.  

In the miniscule kitchen, Mr. Salvo was cooking authentic Italian food and we’d learn to never refuse, lest risk insult. On that day, the kitchen served as our dressing room. I went out and auditioned behind a row of folding tables with a few dozen or so dubious, dirty blue collar men on the other side near the bar. The jukebox played the same songs over and over. It smelled of beer and cigarettes. I was barefoot because it was the only way I could dance at the time. I wore a bra size 32 A and was sure I was wasting my time. I felt clumsy, terrified, self conscious, bold, my heart was racing. Wearing a peach colored short top and matching thong – the only thong I owned – at the end of the song, I swallowed hard and unbuttoned it, flinging it open. I earned more in that quick audition than I had working a double shift at the restaurant.

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I paid my rent. I made friends with the other three girls who worked there.  We banked at that tiny hole in the wall and worked as often as possible. We pushed for a third day to be added to our shifts and won Saturday afternoons. The Salvo’s treated us like family. We were invited to Sunday dinners and two of the girls were dating the Salvo boys.

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And, then…we were closed down. Someone stopped paying somebody off, and that was that.

Instead of hanging up my g-string and ever the entrepreneur, I employed the two of the other girls to work for me as party entertainment for a while. I took out ads, had business cards made up and we got rolling. We surprised CEO’s in offices, crashed nightclub parties and occasionally did the odd stag party. The money was sporadic and unreliable. The bachelor parties were horrific. If we booked in too late at night, the guys were already drunk, out of control and wanted far more than just dancing girls. We brought in a fourth girl, Wendy, who was a prostitute for these parties. I soon learned that if the guys could have Wendy, they didn’t want her…they wanted the girls they weren’t allowed to have. Getting out of the parties without a huge issue became, well…a huge issue. I wanted out.

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I searched for a more reliable (and safer) income. Seventh Heaven was a biker titty bar (think Sons of Anarchy, but more Piney than Jax.) The club…and I use that word loosely…had a tiny stage with a brass pole smack dab in the middle. I scooted around it, trying to dance. Held on to it to do a few high kicks. Accidentally whacked my elbow on it. The pole and I were not getting along.

As I counted my tips at the end of the shift, I watched as a pretty blond from Poland flipped upside down on that pole and hung on with just her inner thigh. She then spun around the pole, still upside down to hover gracefully midway, and step off…in high heels. She was amazing. Impressive. Beautiful.

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As an athlete and gymnast, I was intrigued. Could I not learn how to do this, also?

“Can you teach me how to do that? Please?” Her slanted Slavic eyes twinkled. She laughed, which I would soon find out she did often, usually at me…and she agreed.

“You try,” Sascha said.

“What…now?”

“Yes. You try. I see.”

I eyed the cold, brass pole doubtfully. It was smudged with fingerprints and God knows what else from the busy Friday night. I glanced at Sascha. She pointed. I was strong. She was skinny. This should be no big deal.  I took a deep breath, grabbed the pole and hoisted my legs up…and slid down in record speed to hit the hard, wooden stage. It sounded like when worn out windshield wipers scraped and burned like fire. Stunned, I looked to Sascha, who was doubled over in laughter. And, our lessons began. At the end of the shift when the bar closed, I’d stay after and get pole dancing lessons.

I’d love to say I was an instant success. A sexy whirling dervish in leather lingerie. “Wow, look at April, she’s so athletic and sexy!”

Sadly, this was not the case.

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As a matter of fact, I fell. A lot. On my hip. On my ass. On my head. And Sascha laughed. I was not athletic and sexy. I was clumsy and slippery. My tender inner thighs, not used to gripping unyielding cold brass for dear life, were horribly bruised. Purple, black and an interesting shade of green. They were tenderized. And still, I tried.

After some time, I was flipping upside down, spinning, hands free. Or holding on at the very top with just my ankle while my other leg was fully extended and my back arched gracefully. I was amazing, because I had a great tutor. Who laughed at me.

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While my technique had gotten much prettier, my bruises remained quite ugly. I covered them up in heavy dermablend makeup to work but hid them under clothing on my off hours.

My family invited me to the Jersey Shore for a weekend. Oh, no. Swimsuits. Mom announced that she and I would be leaving for the beach shortly, to get out of earshot, I learned. While trekking towards the sand on that hot, sunny morning, my mom suddenly turned and grabbed my shoulder, stopping me. “Tell me the truth. Are you a prostitute?”

“WHAT? No! Wait, why in the entire world would you think THAT?”

Her eyes were wide with concern and panic and her fingers dug into my shoulders. “The bruises on your thighs…men…”

“Oh God, Mom! NO!” She looked unconvinced. “OK…fucking hell…OK…I didn’t really want to get in to this, but I’m a dancer. At a topless bar. “

“A…what?”

“Uh…a stripper. There’s a pole. I’ve been trying to learn how to use it…”

“A what?”

“A pole? You know…a brass pole? I try to hang off it and spin…it looks cool, but my legs bruise up…are you mad at me?”

“You’re  not a hooker? Oh, thank God. That’s all it is?”

“Yes. I swear. You can come to work with me on Wednesday. It won’t be busy; you can meet everyone and see what I do.”

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And, she did. She met the bartender, girls and some of the regulars, who treated her with respect. Mom had been a model while attending the Art Institute so nudity was never a big deal to her. It became a family business when I got my brother a job there as a bouncer working opposite shifts as I. The rest of the family wasn’t so keen on my current career choice, but they grudgingly admitted that at least I was open about it. 

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I’ve learned a lot from stripping. Three of the biggest lessons:

  1. It doesn’t matter what you look like or how big your breasts are. What matters is your confidence & smile. This is not bullshit. But perky nipples help.
  2. The word NO is the biggest aphrodisiac in the world to men. Males are hunters by nature and inspired by a challenge. Anything gotten too easily bores them and signals that it’s not worth much.
  3. You really can hang off a brass pole with just one leg. Who knew?

Eventually, the bruises went away. And Mom would often sit on the floor with me and help straighten out the dollar bills.

….I went back to college and got boobs at age 19, all of which was paid for one dollar at a time.

 

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“One thing…one thing leads to another.” -The Fixx.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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Black & white headshot: Julie Strain – Patriots Pole: Merika Rock