//Dita von Teese at the House of Blues

This past Friday, on February 3, I attended an event that I have waited over 10 years to see--the one and only Dita von Teese performing burlesque! For those in the know, I don't really have to elaborate on my excitement. For those who would like a little context, however, let me take you back to "high school Justyna."

//yes, she IS just as stunning as you'd expect//

When I was a sophomore, I was starting high school in a new town with people I didn't know and who didn't know a thing about me. Thanks to the jealousy or maybe just plain spiteful actions of one girl who I thought was my friend, the entire school essentially avoided me by the end of the year due to a false rumor. I was super alone and super depressed and life basically sucked for me. Then I learned about Dita von Teese. I believe at the time, she was with Marilyn Manson and when I saw a photo of the two of them together, I was so intrigued by this beautiful, glamorous woman with the raven hair and scarlet lips.

//thanks, internet!//

Seeing Dita struck me because I realized that THIS was the look that I wanted to go for. This vintage, glamorous style that embraces femininity because I have always been a "girly girl" and this was like the grown up, chic version of that. Like most women, I have struggled with my appearance and style for a very long time. I continue to struggle with this, especially after giving birth to my daughter. My body hasn't been "mine" since having her and it's taking a lot of work, patience, and acceptance, but I'd like to think I'll get there eventually. I also don't like to be the center of attention and I think dressing this way makes you automatically stand out and forces people to pay attention to you--I'm so self-conscious that my anxiety ends up kicking into overdrive and I fret about my hair not looking right, or my makeup is smeared somewhere, etc etc etc. Super fun. I digress...

//another random photo I found to illustrate my point...FLAWLESS//

I began to read interviews and watch videos of her and I was in awe. She is so DIY in terms of her appearance. She does not have a stylist and does her own hair and makeup. As a natural blonde, she has been box-dying her hair black for years. And that beautiful wave and curls she sports? Achieved with hot rollers by her own two hands. I don't know if it's because of her that I started going for the winged eyeliner and red lipstick look, but she definitely fueled that. It has been my go-to look since I was about 16 and it's still my favorite for every day because of how little time it takes to do it. Practice is key for winged liner and I used to sit in front of a mirror on the weekends, trying out different techniques and products. It's just so polished and chic and looks good on literally everyone.

BUT ANYWAY, onto the show. It was on Friday and since I was coming back from work, I knew I'd need some time to get ready once I got home. I left work early, got home to touch up my hair and makeup and change. I didn't anticipate the trouble I'd have putting on garters with long nails, but with my husband's help we managed. We had originally planned to take the train in but ended up driving and we made excellent time! SHOCKING because driving into Chicago can take obscenely long.

We arrived at the House of Blues and parked our car. Since we were so early, we had a drink and some food before the doors opened. I was antsy because I wanted to sign up for the Meet & Greet and didn't want it to get all booked up. When the doors finally opened--by which I mean a red velvet rope that was moved to let us in--we were escorted to our private opera box upstairs. Originally, we got general admission tickets but then I realized that the idea of standing in heels in a mosh pit of other folks for three hours made me sick...so we upgraded! Even my husband, who initially didn't know if it was a good idea, was happy we did so. We ended up sitting with another couple and the woman, Andrea, has so much in common with me that it was a trip--we even have the same freaking phone cases! She dresses in vintage style daily and even sets her hair (something I'm excited to experiment more once my hair grows out). She ALSO used to be a lawyer, so small world! They were cool folks.

I then ran down to the merch table and I bought a limited edition glamour girl vase, which now occupies a special place in our family room. I got the Venus poster (stunning!), lapel pin, t-shirt, and, of course, the meet and greet. Now that that part was accomplished, I went back upstairs to enjoy the show.

I ordered this cocktail they created just for the show, a vanilla bourbon sour that was de-freaking-licious! Then I sat back and watched true magic happen. Murray Hill was the MC and he did an amazing job. SO funny! Then Dita came out and performed her martini glass act. From the second she stepped on stage, I could not stop staring at her. Her crystal-encrusted corset and underthings were sparkling like crazy and she looked fabulous. She is also so graceful on stage and you can tell she is in excellent shape (I mean, duh, look at her) because it has to take a good amount of athleticism to pull off what she does on stage.

I forget the order of events a little here, but she also had Ginger Valentine, Catherine D'Lish, Violet Chachki from RuPaul's Drag Race, Dirty Martini, and another dancer whose name I didn't catch but had a real Josephine Baker-esque vibe. They were all so freaking great! Violet especially mesmerized me with her big showgirl feather headdress and her routine set to "Art Deco" by Lana Del Ray. Ugh. Just amazing. I lost my damn voice because I was cheering so much. There was an insane amount of talent on that stage that night and I was blessed to have seen it live.

//I wish someone had told me my bangs looked so stupid. Oh well//

After the show ended, I went down to the stage for the meet and greet. I waited in line until it was my turn, when I was taken behind the curtain to meet her. I tell you, people, she is as stunning as you would think she is. She is also very, very tiny, and next to her I probably looked like a potato in a black dress, but hey. I remember thanking her for being such an influence on my life and for helping to embrace glamour, even though I'm just a mom. And she told me, "You're not just a mom," among other things. And she said thank you and we hugged and she signed a poster for me and then I floated away on a cloud made of joy.

I can't tell you how lucky I was to have such a fantastic night out with my husband, doing something that made me so happy. And I got to dress up and be around so many other women who loved to dress in the same way. And I could talk about certain things and they would know exactly what I was talking about. Most importantly, I got to see and meet this amazing woman who had such a profound impact on my life and now I was able to tell her. Like her, I recreated myself when I was in high school and found what truly speaks to me. I was able to get back on my feet, gain a new confidence, and deal with my issues head on. And it's all because of one photo I saw of her. I hope I am lucky enough to meet her again someday, when I've "fully blossomed" with my look as I want it to be and it's no longer just something I do for special occasions. Only time will tell...

My outfit that night:
Stockings - Victoria's Secret
Coat - vintage
Hat - vintage
Handbag - vintage
Brooch - Erstwilder (no longer available)

1 comment:

  1. YESSSSS! I get to see her on the 21st and I am pumped! I am so excited for you that you got to do the meet & greet - did you have to pay extra for that? She IS tiny - my gosh - and so beautiful! I hear she is lovely at the meet and greet, which makes me love her more. I love when stars really do appreciate their fans and want to get to know them even after putting on such a show! I am sure all she wants is to go to bed but she meets everyone she can.