The longer I've performed, the more serious I've gotten about dedicating a pair of shoes to a costume and not wearing them with anything else, no matter how strong the temptation. Once you cannibalize a costume for another costume, you begin the descent into costume hell--"Is the whole costume in the bag?" is not a question you want to be asking in a dressing room right before a show, or even on the subway on the way to the venue. I dedicated a pair of very special shoes to my Sherry Britton tribute, even though they wrong for the era--I knew Sherry would approve.
Above: A costume fitting at Garo's.
When I very first started dancing in strip joints (1981? it's all so fuzzy) I saw some of the dancers wearing amazing wood and metal heeled mules. I loved them but the heels weren't high enough for me. I was, in my late teens, excruciatingly self-conscious about being only five feet tall; plus, I drank a lot, which meant I could wear excruciatingly high heels without feeling the excruciation.
I now could care less about my height, and I don't drink, so my feet hurt pretty much all the time. I am so willing to rock those shoes now, and thank goodness, they are still available. These are Pollys, and they have a history.
"These mules, with their laminated plywood platform and high heels were first advertised in Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs in the Spring of 1961, selling for $15.99."
From Polly of California Glamour Mules.
The inspiration for my newest incarnation of my Pollys fixation is Bambi the Mermaid, who wears Pollys almost constantly.
Above: Bunny and Bambi on the cruise at the 2006 New York Burlesque Festival.
Above: Bambi and Bunny at Coney Island, 2008.
Above: Bambi performing at Exotic World in the lobster costume I made for her. Photo by Minitor.
Above: Bambi at a Coney Island Benefit. Photo by me.
Bambi at Exotic World, 2008, making the wind her bitch. Photo by Pepper.
These are my most recent Pollys:
Buy Pollys at Patricia Field
If you've got Pollys, post a picture in the comments here!
Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.