Safety and Security - Burlesque Risks - Khandie Khisses - Burlesque, Fire Breather, Underwater Mermaid and more...

Safety and Security – Burlesque Risks

Safety and Security – Burlesque Risks

I am not talking financial security here. I am not talking burlesque safety. I am talking you safety. You the performer safety. In the 10 years I have been doing burlesque I have seen, witnessed and been subjected to all manners of scary things. Having spoken to other people, it seems if you are working closely with the general public and use any level of social media, you are going to face some breach of safety and security. As awful as that sounds. Its a disgusting thought if I am honest.

The other week whilst I was finishing a burlesque and sideshow performance at a corporate gig, I was led through the seated crowd to my private dressing room with an escort in front and behind. This crowd had been wonderful and really good to perform for. Out of nowhere, a man grabbed me by my neck to swing me round to face him. I was holding my robe at the time so no free hands. The escorts jumped to my defence. This man wasnt being malicious but merely wanted ‘meet me’. His alcoholic induced behaviour is not acceptable but I hate to say it, it is not the first time such a thing has happened. There is a blurring of lines when you enter the audience. You are relying on people to understand the social conduct of an audience member. Some dont know it. Some ignore it and some deliberately flaunt it.

(There is a photo on my instagram showing the minor injury I acquired.)

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We as performers (be that burlesque or otherwise) can try to keep ourselves safe. Learn to spot the signs. Look out for that behaviour, rethink how we engage off stage with our audience. Watch for the overly drunk and learn to side step. Watch for those who lurk by the door and impose themselves. A smile can normally get you out of there but dont be afraid to ask for aid, security or help. Ever. Not every audience has a predator or be an altercation in the waiting but being safe is better than being sorry. Dont simply fling yourself into the audience. There was a outcry on social media recently when  a fellow performer when at a fetish club was unexpectedly spanked so hard she had welts. It does not matter who does it, or where you are it is your body. Not theirs to use.

Once when walking to my car after a gig by the sea, I was pounced on by 3 men. Drunken men. I had to run up my car to avoid them. I am street smart and ex-military but I let my guard down as I thought I was alone. Be mindful and alert. Male or female it does not matter. Anyone can pose a risk. Thankfully not all people are like this. Just learn to keep an eye out. The military call it ‘Shark Watch’. Watch for those circling, waiting to get in. Ask someone to walk you to your car. Park in well lit areas where possible. Make decisions to ease your route out and home.

Our own safety whilst onstage can be also an issue. During a gig in the Midlands, a performer was doing a needle act and sadly the stage manager had quit during  a rather childish and stupid rant with the promoter. She failed to clear the stage, and the performer was somewhat nonchalant about clearing up after herself and her partner’s performance. I was not informed she was doing needles before me as I was elsewhere getting changed. In hindsight perhaps the promoter should have told me.

I go onstage and midway through a back bend, end up with one her dirty needs lodged in my back. I spent the rest of my act attempting to perform and remove it at the same time. Alas I couldnt do it until right at the end. I addressed the matter immediately and was informed by the performer ‘oh its only a needle’. Only a needle?! The promoter was mortified but this is where he should have stepped in. There was no medical cover for this performer and nor could she say if the needle was from her piercings or her partners. Cue me at the hospital that night with regular blood tests for all sorts of nasty stuff. Thankfully all negative. She cared not.

Your safety is paramount. Take no risks. If a promoter is shoddy, you are putting yourself at risk. I know have it in my contract about a SAFE environment in bold. If nothing else to press the point. I will not risk that ever again.

About to head to bed....once slap is removed. How lovely is still some 8 hours after?! Bedroom selfie!?

I mentioned that social media has broken down many barriers for ‘fans’ with their dealing with us. Social media has allowed them instant access to our lives. We post photos of our homes, selfies in our bedrooms and semi nudes. We have all done it or at least some of them. Privacy is slacking and so people feel they ‘know’ you more. I have had people walk up to me when with my partner and holler my stage name across the street like we are old friends. Its both flattering and a little alarming. I am not always Khandie Khisses. Sometimes I am just me. Me is private. These blurring of lines is my own doing. By promoting myself as a performer and brand, I am allowing people into my private world, thus exposing myself to them on some level. They connect and form a type of relationship with me. I have written before about my stalker. I am not at fault if someone chooses to step over those boundaries but be mindful of how much information you give away. Be careful of how much of your personal life you show.

 

All I ask is you be mindful of actions, of your movements and engagement. Dont be afraid to block people, ask for escorts, demand someone walk you to your car, wait with you. We live and work in a world that we routinely expose ourselves both physically and metaphorically. That doesnt mean we are for the taking.

Khandie Khisses 2017 Up
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