LA is a strange place, and from my very brief time there seems to be everything you hope and fear it will be. It was surreal to be driving down Hollywood Boulevard, a street I've seen and heard depicted umpteen times in my life. The fact that it actually exists and people live there was a new experience. The first night there the ladies agreed we had to go to Hollywood for dinner, since A) it was 11:00pm and we hadn't eaten since San Francisco, and B) I had never been to Hollywood. It was the perfect excuse to do a tiny thing I wanted to do since I was a little girl; wear really red lipstick out in public without feeling like an asshole:
Honestly, I don't know why we're doing that. It's a natural inclination. Living up to expectations that we are going to offend people by taking our clothes off, perhaps.
Anyhoo, the shoot was a lot of things I wasn't expecting. The dancers were wonderfully varied and skilled, a true representation of belly dance mastery. Well, except for me, the interloper. But I'm a good faker. What's more, the bitch meter didn't go off. Everyone was professional. Cream of the crop indeed.
Unmata, a hard-working, aggressive hip-hop belly fusion troupe based out of Sacramento, and the hard-asses of the belly dance world (in my limited understanding of it). Powerful and coordinated choreography, excellent chicks backstage as well.
A male dancer named Steven, dubbed "the most beautiful boy in belly dance," who made a slack-jawed and instant fan out of me with his superlative skill and captivating stage presence. Wonderful. Does it sound like I'm being paid for this review? I'm not.
And of course, the glitter-tastic celeb-status Princess Farhana:
I also want to say that Elizabeth Strong, the newest BDSS member, acts nothing like a superstar. She is one of the warmest, loveliest people I met all weekend, and a damn fine dancer.
And then there was us.
Bollywood, meet belly dance, meet circus.