Book Successfully Launched! And Rockette-ing to New Heights

BOOKLaunch-4573 BOOKLaunch-4574 Thanks to all the enthusiastic bibliophiles (and beer drinkers) who came out to Arbor Brewing to support my book launch for LONG LEGS TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion & the Radio City RockettesYou ate, you drank, you bought books, and you worked those feather-boas like nobody’s business. I was amazed by the overwhelming turn-out and relieved we had enough meatballs for everybody. I appreciate all you birds-of-a-feather being willing to so closely flock together!

It was especially fabulous to have the event hosted by beloved radio personality John Bommarito from ann arbor’s 107one. If you ever launch your very own book, I highly recommend hiring someone really awesome to introduce you and make you look like a star. Thanks, John!

John Bommarito from ann arbor's 107one

John Bommarito from ann arbor’s 107one

And you can’t have a super shindig without some world-class music setting the mood. Keyboard master Neil Donato tickled those ivories until they were begging for mercy, and just when we thought the night couldn’t possibly get any more exciting, there was a surprise visit by Mark “Dr Sax Love” Maxwell. Enchanting!

Neil Donato

Neil Donato

Mark Maxwell

Mark Maxwell

We heard a few words of wisdom from my extraordinary editor and writing mentor, Ken Wachsberger of Azenphony Press. I simply could not have succeeded without such a kind, committed, and conscientious editor. (If any of you are writing a book, go out and get yourself a Ken right away!) He held my hand through the doubts and fears, pulled me out of the stuck places, and turned me into a writing ninja!

Ken Wachsberger of Azenphony Press

Ken Wachsberger of Azenphony Press

It takes a team to create, publish, and market a book, and I had a whole host of people helping me to raise this baby. Let’s cheer for my multi-talented book cover designer, Annie Capps–graphic artist and folk musician extraordinaire. Woot woot! And I humbly bow to publisher Tom Saunders of Glendower Media for sharing his wealth of marketing advice and insider info on the book industry. Of course, smooches go out to my handsome hubby Dave Boutette who knows how to put together a rockin’ event. And kudos to my kiddos who manned and wo-manned the book sales table. I think all the cash is accounted for…

Tom Saunders, Annie Capps and Friends

Tom Saunders (sitting), Annie Capps (standing) and friends

Dave Boutette

Dave Boutette

Book Sales Team

Book Sales Team

But the biggest applause of all goes out to all my friends, fans, and family who dug deep into their wallets and purses and Paypal accounts, pulled out their credit cards, and pushed the purchase button on amazon.com to take LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES to #3 AMAZON BEST SELLER in Broadway & Musicals category! Wowie! What a thrill ride!

Remember…your dreams don’t come true without the support of many fine folks. Here’s a rousing round of THANKS to my dream team. You know who you are. And if you newbies want to join in on the fun, you can buy your very own copy of LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES and then meet us back in the blogosphere. Right here.

For now, enjoy some bonus book launch pics below by photographer-musician Misty Lyn Bergeron.

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

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Kristi Lynn Davis

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Kristi Lynn Davis

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Kristi Lynn Davis

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Book Launch Spectacular is Finally Here! Kindle ebook–$2.99 TODAY ONLY!

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Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! The BOOK LAUNCH SPECTACULAR! Well, at least I’ve been waiting for this day. For fourteen years. That’s how long ago I started writing my comic memoir, LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes. My daughter was a newborn and my son was barely three. The book has “literally” grown up with my kids. Now it’s finally time to launch this bedazzled literary baby out of the nest and into the great, wide world. Thanks for joining me in celebrating this momentous occasion! (If all you care about is the spectacular Kindle ebook $2.99 deal, CLICK HERE NOW. Otherwise, for more fun and surprises, keep reading.)

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If you aren’t able to make it to the live Book Launch Spectacular tonight in the magnificent “Mitten” (a.k.a. Michigan), never fear! We’re gonna party right now, right here!

First we need to set the mood….with FOOD! Here’s what’s on the menu at our soirée:

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  • Fruit and cheese tray w/crackers and crostini (a classic fave)
  • Vegan Spring Rolls w/ sweet & sour sauce
  • Kalbi (a spicy Korean sauce) Meatballs
  • Thai Chicken Satays w/ peanut dipping sauce
  • Beignets w/ powdered sugar and berry compote dipping sauce
  • Chocolate covered strawberries

Mouth watering yet? If you are really ambitious and love to get down in the kitchen, you can cook up some similar delectables yourself. Certainly a fruit and cheese tray or chocolate covered strawberries are within range for even a culinary newbie or a kitchen klutz.

Otherwise, just gather whatever delicious munchies you have on hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fabulous. Just go pantry diving and see what creative combos you can come up with: a half-eaten apple and a chunk of Cheez Whiz, mini pb & j sandwiches on saltines, a sliver of celery wrapped in a slice of bologna (a.k.a. “log in a blanket”), a spray can of Reddi-wip whipped cream spritzed on Oreos, a handful of leftover Valentine candy conversation hearts mixed with peanuts and chocolate chips. No judgement here. It’s the celebratory spirit that counts. If you’re really having trouble deciding, you can always count on the “ch” foods: cheese, chips, and chocolate.

Second: drinks! I always say the book reads better with bubbly. My sommelier husband IMG_4406Dave has recommended a few spectacular choices and described them for you: 1.) Since LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES is wacky and sexy, how about Sex sparkling Rosé by Michigan winemaker M. Lawrence (sparkly, happy, fruity, with a splash of fun and glamorous)?! 2.) Nivole Moscato d’Asti (slightly bubbly and sweet–like me–w/ notes of ripe apricot and nectarine). 3.) Or why not splurge and sip a bonafide French champagne? Dave and I adore Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec (absolutely the most elegant elixir you can pour into your glass). Cheers!

Now if you’re game to try a cocktail that tastes like candied rose petals, go for Dave’s very own concoction he calls a “Pomosa.” It’s simply 2 parts Nivole (see above) to 1 part pure 100% Pomegranate juice.

If you prefer something non-alcoholic but effervescent and festive all the same, my hubby and I created this cocktail we named “Cherry Red Lipstick”:

  • sparkling water, chilled (like Pellegrino)
  • cherry juice concentrate (pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, or any sweet fruity red juice works just fine)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Pour sparkling water into glass. Drizzle on cherry concentrate to taste (If you use juice, you may want to do 50% sparking water, 50% juice. Again, ask your tastebuds.) Squeeze a wedge of fresh lime juice on top.

Note: All the drinks above show best when sipped from a champagne flute.

IMG_3863 (1)Third: You’ve grabbed a Twinkie and a drinky. Now get slinky! With your dress, I mean. I, of course, am getting all dolled up, because I’m going to be out in public and have my picture taken. (Paparazzi and all, you know.) Feel free to dust off your favorite poofy taffeta gown (perhaps from your prom or bridesmaid gig back in the 1980s) and embellish with a sparkling tiara. If you want to really showgirl-it-up, false eyelashes and fishnets are fantastic. And you can never go wrong with a hefty dose of glitter gel. Think sequins, sparkle, and anything bling.

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Or simply get comfy cozy in your footie pajamas. (I’ll certainly have my bunny slippers on standby in case my tootsies get tired.) But in any case, a feather boa is required. I can assure you that at the live Book Launch we will all be sufficiently plumaged.IMG_4399

Fourth: Music! We have keyboard master Neil Donato tickling the ivories to bring us our favorite musical theatre songs. So pull out the old show tunes! Perhaps a classic like Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma (my husband regularly belts out “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “Oklahoma”) or something more rock opera-ish like Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Evita (“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”) or for you ABBA fans, how about Chess (Remember “One Night in Bangkok?”) or my daughter’s fave–Mama Mia? Of course, you just can’t go wrong with A Chorus Line. “One singular sensation, every little step she takes…”

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Food: check! Drinks: check! Party apparel: check! Music: check! Now the stage is set, and we’re ready for adult story time! (A hush fills the room as I pull out my brand spankin’ new copy of LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES adorned with a shiny silver 5-star Readers’ Favorite sticker.) What better chapter to read from, for adult story time, than the chapter on “Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll?” Sit back, relax, and enjoy this excerpt, which begins with my job interview at Playboy Enterprises:

I must admit, I was nervous walking into Playboy Enterprises for my initial interview. Would this be the last we’d see of a once-wholesome Midwestern girl? Would I suddenly want to throw all caution and clothes to the wind? The success of Playboy magazine made me question the validity of the phrase “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Apparently, men never tired of looking at mammaries, at least not at those resembling full-grown melons. Hugh Hefner—the founder of this fruitful empire—had the money to prove it.

The multi-story glass office building looked perfectly normal from the outside. What did I expect? Giant breast-shaped domes and a phallic tower? It wasn’t until I walked through the hallways past oil paintings of scantily clad women that I sensed any sexual overtones. I suddenly felt a bit overdressed and concerned about what my interview would entail. When I met the producer of the show—former modeling agent Valerie Craigin—I was slightly comforted by the fact that she was a woman. Rumors had it that Valerie was in her mid-sixties but she looked like a well-preserved fifty. She had short coiffed brunette hair, professional attire, a deep smoker’s voice, and a nervous laugh. She took the liberty of saying “Hef” instead of “Hugh Hefner” although I don’t know how well they knew each other. Valerie seemed harmless enough and, thank God, had no intention of making me take my clothes off. We chatted a bit and that was it. I had the job! She mainly held the interview in order to get a good look at me and make sure I wasn’t a heifer, so I could be a “Hefer.”

“We’ll be touring all over Southeast Asia, so be sure to get your shots,” Valerie advised. “I’ll be sending you an itinerary as soon as our travel plans are confirmed. We’ll start out in Indonesia and then we may go to Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia, Germany, Puerto Rico, who knows? There are so many possibilities, it’s driving me nuts! Plan to be gone for six months.” I tried to remain calm and professional but inside I was thinking “Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!” I was so excited: dancing for Playboy, traveling to exotic countries. Now this was something to call home about. Or not. What would my parents think? “Oh, I almost forgot,” Valerie continued. “Next week we’ll be doing a photo shoot with all the girls to be used for posters and promotional items to be sent overseas.”

I went home incredulous about the job I had just landed. Then the doubts and fears and insecurities set in. I’m not a model. I don’t know how to do a photo shoot. I don’t have a perfect body. I wish I had better abs. I wish I were thinner. I wish I were prettier. I wish…

Did I condone magazines that flagrantly promoted women’s bodies as mere sex objects? No, I can’t say that I did or do, and perhaps, if I had put any serious thought into it or been more enlightened, I would have taken up a feminist stance, stomped my foot, and shouted defiantly, “How dare you even ask me to be associated with a company that is degrading women by shamefully displaying them as play toys!”

Instead, I was eager to get a firsthand look at the debauchery behind this famous furry icon. It was more of a sordid curiosity—like wanting the forbidden fruit simply because it’s forbidden. My inner Tigress was roaring and ready to be let out of its cage. This was just too much of an adventure to pass up. After all, I wasn’t going to be doing anything really naughty; was I?
*******
In the days leading up to the photo shoot, I may have appeared relaxed and confident on the outside, but on the inside I was a nervous wreck because, horror of horrors, over the course of the week a boil had sprouted out on the middle of my forehead. I was casually glancing in the mirror while brushing my teeth when, all of a sudden, my eye was drawn to a raised, red spot on my face.

“What’s that? That wasn’t there before!” I said in disbelief, touching the bump to make sure it was real. “NOOOOOOO! I have the photo shoot in three days!” I panicked for a few minutes, then quickly began pulling out my blemish-eliminating tricks. “Okay, maybe there’s still time to get rid of it,” I thought, hopefully.

I used lotions, potions, zit creams, and a steaming hot washcloth, but I think I only made it madder, because it grew. And grew. And grew. Bigger than any pimple I had ever seen. It was a dime-sized lump that birthed from my face like I was trying to grow a second head on top of the one I already had. There was nothing there to squeeze or pinch. Nothing short of surgical removal could have helped. I had no bangs (the fact that I wouldn’t even consider cutting some to cover that monster was evidence of how much I hated bangs) and no way to hide it.

And so it was that my new “friend” and I returned to Playboy Enterprises for the important photo shoot. As if I wasn’t nervous enough already about the photo shoot and meeting the cast for the first time, I was now also horribly self-conscious about my dermatological nightmare. Valerie’s eyes bugged out when she saw me. “Oh my. Uh, you’d better get yourself over to the makeup artist right away, dear,” she insisted, laughing nervously.
I agreed with Valerie, and I prayed the makeup artist would have some special pancake makeup to disguise that blasted boil. When I showed her the mountain on my face and, in desperation, asked her, “Can you do something to fix it?” she gave me this incredulous look like “I’m not a miracle worker, you naïve, acne-faced bimbo!”

Of course, trying to cover that sucker was about as easy as trying to make my nose look invisible. Even the best makeup artist in the world can’t hide Mt. Vesuvius. She made a valiant effort by piling on the thickest cover-up she had. It was the best we could do.

Back in the main room, I joined the rest of the all-female cast of Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll, which consisted of three singers, two dancers (myself and another girl), and three Playmates. Satin, Mallory, and Taffy were the three nude models who were willing to sing and dance in this show. They had taken their clothes off and been photographed for the most famous girlie magazine in the world. I was going to be dancing with them, talking to them, socializing with them. Word was, they made twenty-some-thousand dollars or so for posing for the magazine. I don’t know if that was true, but even that sizable chunk of change wasn’t enough to make me want to bare it all. Meeting the Playmates was like going to the Big Top of the Bizarre to see the woman with three eyes or the rubber man who could twist himself up like a pretzel. I stared at those real Playboy Bunnies like they were circus attractions. I was enthralled.

(The applause is deafening as the crowd goes wild! I humbly take a bow.) Thank you! Thank you! You’re too kind! Truly you are.

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Now the very best part of every book launch: the part when you BUY THE BOOK! You’re intrigued, inspired, perhaps a little tipsy, and your index finger is jonesing to CLICK THIS LINK! “But where will it take me?” you might be wondering. To theatrical stages and dressing rooms and showbiz adventures all around the world! To luscious, laugh-out-loud, literary nirvana! To amazon.com.

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Hooray! You did it! You bought the book. The print version, because the cover is so rockin’ awesome, you want to gaze lovingly at it on your shelf or your coffee table or the rhinestone-studded pedestal you built for it (no better way to class up a room). But then, while on amazon.com, you noticed the Kindlematchbook program–when you buy the print version, you can get the Kindle ebook version for only $0.99! Hallelujah! So you bought that, too!

Or…you wisely took advantage of this wonderful, one-day, super spectacular, singular sensational sale on the Kindle ebook–ONLY $2.99! (No other purchase necessary.) You’ll enjoy hours of luscious literary adventure for less than a large latte. After Sunday, February 21, 2016, it will return to it’s usual price of $9.99 (which is still a dazzling deal for all the virtual world traveling, celebrity schmoozing, and backstage-passing you’ll get).

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Could this book launch get anymore exciting? You better believe it, sister! (And brother!) Settle down, everyone! To thank you for simply showing up to this shindig, we invite you to enter our AMAZON GIVEAWAY RAFFLE for a chance to win a FREE GIFT–an actual print copy of MY BOOK! (No purchase necessary! Raffle ends the earlier of Feb 22, 2016 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules.) CLICK HERE to enter. We’ll announce the winners on the next blog, but you’ll know right away if you’ve won. Good luck!

This concludes our Virtual Book Launch Spectacular! I’ll share pics of the live event on my next blog post. I hope you had as much fun celebrating as I did. Raise your glass, because I’d like to propose a toast: To fine, feathered friends; dreams fulfilled; and wacky, sexy adventures!

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

 

 

 

LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES Earns Another 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review! Woohoo!

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The excitement is building as we move closer to book launch day–Sunday, February 21st–and what better way to get super jazzed than to read another stellar review from Readers’ Favorite! Check out what the reviewer has to say about LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes below. And while you are at it, count those lovely silver stars…1, 2, 3, 4, 5! That’s some brilliant book bling!

(Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite)

What a fun, fun book I just finished reading, one that I simply could not put down once I5star-flat-webstarted it! Long Legs and Tall Tales: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes by author Kristi Lynn Davis chronicles the author’s wild and wacky adventures as she moves from being a sheltered, small town girl from the Midwest to a Radio City Rockette in the Big Apple, and then to a steamy traveling dancer with Playboy’s Girls of Rock and Roll. Relaying fun, funny and sometimes pretty amazing stories about her experiences while traveling the road as a dancer, this book will keep readers riveted from start to finish!

I loved Long Legs and Tall Tales! Loved. It. How’s that for a review? Author Kristi Lynn Davis has done a simply fabulous job at telling the story of her life as a dancer, both the glamorous and not so glamorous parts. Any reader who has wondered what it’s like to live their life in the spotlight, to meet and party with celebrities, and to travel the globe as a part of their job, will be enthralled with this book. This is also a good book for those who are looking to break into show business themselves; it provides a great insider’s look into the realities of a dancer’s life and the sometimes harsh realities of the business. I very highly recommend Long Legs and Tall Tales, and I would love to read more from the very talented, funny and engaging author Kristi Lynn Davis in the very near future!

Understandably, I give Ms. Fischer’s review a big thumbs up! But no need for you to take her word for it. Why not decide for yourself? Buy your very own copy of LONG LEGS and TALL TALES right HERE, right NOW at amazon.com. Maybe you’ll see stars…

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

COUNTDOWN: 38 Days to Book Launch! Let’s Talk Rockette Bizzazz!

Rockettes in "Bizzazz" costumes by Pete Menfee

Rockettes in “Bizzazz” costumes by Pete Menefee

Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!

My long-awaited book LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion & the Radio City Rockettes is finally published and for sale at amazon.com! Join us as we celebrate with a Book Launch Spectacular party and book signing on Sunday, February 21, 2016 from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM at the Arbor Brewing events space in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For you out-of-towners, we’ll have a Virtual Book Launch Spectacular on the same day (on this very website) with loads of fun and frolicking, goodies and giveaways. Until then, the countdown to book launch continues–38!3D book square

Publishing a book requires an entire team of people, and today I’d like to feature and profusely thank the mega-talented, 3-time Emmy Award-winning costume designer Pete Menefee for allowing his fabulous dancer sketch to grace the cover of the book! This prolific, versatile artist has clothed showgirls, entertainers, and celebrities galore, including Michael Jackson, Kiss, Diana Ross, and Elvis. His jaw-dropping, jewel-dripping, feathered fashions have been featured on stage, screen, television, ice rinks, and at the Olympic Ceremonies. Extraordinary!

So this is no ordinary drawing. In fact, it is a design of the actual costume the Radio City Rockettes wore (myself included) in a sassy number called “Bizzazz.” Notice the resemblance between the pics below?

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Kristi Lynn Davis in "Bizzazz"

Kristi Lynn Davis
in “Bizzazz”

The costumes were a dream, but the supersized candy canes could be a nightmare, as you’ll read below in this excerpt from LONG LEGS and TALES:

Besides spontaneous backstage entertainment, rituals, and superstitions, live theatre always had its share of unpredictable mishaps that kept things interesting. Props and costumes were always helpful in this regard, and the giant candy canes from “Bizzazz” were no exception. When dropped on stage, they would make a thud to wake the dead. Whenever the Rockettes heard that awful sound, we’d quickly eyeball the stage to see where the runaway candy cane had landed in case it was about to trip us. The poor Rockette who dropped it had to scramble to pick it up and catch up to the rest of the girls who, by that time, had probably changed formations. God forbid the cane should go flying more than five feet away. Reminiscent of my childhood baton recital fiasco, it was nearly impossible to make one’s way through all the moving dancers to pick it up again without causing a huge scene. If it seemed too difficult to retrieve, a girl might leave her cane on the floor and pantomime the rest of the number with an invisible cane. (That was embarrassing.) Some dancers gave up altogether, ran off stage, and cowered in the dressing room in shame. Everyone else felt really bad for the poor soul who dropped her prop. After the number, there would be hushed whispers in the dressing room asking, “Who lost her candy cane?” We could tell by tracing where the whimpering and quiet sobbing were coming from. Generally, that would be a new girl. The veteran Rockettes were more likely to shrug it off with a “That’s show biz!” attitude.

What made dancing with these striped sticks especially treacherous were the slippery, white satin gloves we wore as part of our costume; they made it nearly impossible to hold onto the canes. Wardrobe’s solution was to glue-gun hundreds of tiny, sticky glue dots onto the palms. This approach worked well, but over time the dots wore down. It was imperative that the Rockettes be vigilant about monitoring the level of our glue dots, or we’d be in for a treacherous show. If we told our dresser that our dots needed replacing, and by the next day it wasn’t done, there was trouble (for us and our dresser). Before the number, we’d have to get to the stage early to talk lovingly to our candy canes and say a dozen “Hail Mary Tyler Moores,” or whatever worked, because we knew we needed all the cosmic forces on our side, or that cane was going down. When the prop master repainted the stripes on our canes, which he did periodically, our canes were even more slippery. Minute changes could mean the difference between a dynamite show and disaster. What might seem like a triviality to the layperson could mean serious injury or mortal embarrassment to a performer.

Thankfully, I never flat out flung my cane on the floor. On the contrary, my worst cane experience was when it slipped out of my hands as I was lifting it over my head, and it walloped me in the face. I thought I had broken my nose and was sure it was going to start bleeding right there on stage. It didn’t, but my eyes watered so much for the rest of the number that I could hardly see where I was going. It was like being smashed in the schnoz with a baseball bat. The accident report filled out by the stage manager hardly did justice to the incident: “Performer was hit in the nose with a candy cane,” it read. “Can’t you at least write that it was a three-foot, ten-pound, wooden prop?” I retorted. I didn’t think the insurance company would believe my claim, as how badly could one be injured by your average candy cane?

To avoid the aforementioned dangers, the smart girls massaged, smooched, pep-talked, and said silent prayers over their candy canes before each show. It was a superstitious ritual that we never missed for fear of the consequences. Props needed a lot of love and attention.

Kudos and gratitude, once again, to costume designer Pete Menefee for his incredible creations and to YOU for reading about my candy cane conundrums. See ya soon!

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review for Long Legs and Tall Tales!

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I’ve always loved me some stars, and the five I just received from Readers’ Favorite for my book LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockette are some of my favorite, sparkly beauties. Take a peek at the glowing, star-quality review below:

(Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite)

Long Legs and Tall Tales by Kristi Lynn Davis is a fascinating tale of a simple girl’s journey from being a Midwestern bumpkin to becoming one of the world’s loved entertainment stars. In this memoir, Kristi Lynn lifts the veil and reveals what it takes to be an accomplished show-girl, singer, and dancer, performing with the likes of the famous Radio City Rockettes and Playboy Mansion, and rubbing shoulders with showbiz icons such as Buddy Ebsen, Paige O’Hara, Susan Anton, Juliet Prowse, Maurice Hines, Jack Jones, and Rip Taylor.

LONG LEGS and TALL TALES

Kristi Lynn Davis’ journey to stardom was one fraught with challenges, but it does have a lot of lessons for anyone who wants to create his or her own path towards success. The prose is beautiful and gorgeous, and the author lights up the hearts of readers with a quality of humor that is rare to find. Even when she recounts the frustrations she’s met along her path, she does so with a lighthearted humor that communicates warmth and gets readers sympathizing with her. At times it is hilarious, then it gets serious, and no one could read this without becoming enmeshed in the multiple sentiments that punctuate the raw and refined moments of a showgirl’s life. This is one of those memoirs that will most certainly offer a lot of insight into what goes on behind the scenes in the entertainment business.

Long Legs and Tall Tales is spellbinding, the kind of book that is hard to put down. Kristi Lynn’s story is one that fans of celebrity memoirs will love to read because it is a beautiful story beautifully told. It is one of the rare memoirs I have read and one I will be recommending for the author’s honesty and courage.

My stars! Are you ready to grab your glitter gel, glue on your fake eyelashes, slip into your fishnet stockings, apply some cherry red lipstick, wrap yourself in a feather boa, and come along for the ride? Then get your very own copy of LONG LEGS and TALL TALES right HERE, right NOW at amazon.com. Because the showgirl adventures are ready to begin! Places, please!

Kristi

COUNTDOWN: 52 Days to Book Launch! And Inspiration for a Happy New Year!

Times Square Ball Drop

Times Square Ball Drop

Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!

My long-awaited book LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion & the Radio City Rockettes is finally published and for sale at amazon.com! Join us as we celebrate with a Book Launch Spectacular party and book signing on Sunday, February 21, 2016 from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM at the Arbor Brewing events space in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For you out-of-towners, we’ll have a Virtual Book Launch Spectacular on the same day (on this very website) with loads of fun and frolicking, goodies and giveaways. Until then, we’ll be counting down the days to book launch–52!

But an even more imminent countdown is the ball drop to welcome in 2016!  I love the idea of a new year, a fresh start, a second (or third or fourth) chance, an opportunity to begin anew. Every January 1st, I use the holiday not only as an excuse to sip champagne and toss confetti (which will never come out of your carpet no matter how much you vacuum, but it’s worth it) but also as a symbol of rebirth encouraging me to rethink my life and where I’m headed. If I’m not on the path to Blissville and pleased as New Year’s punch about what the future has in store for me, I’ve got some changes to make. Pronto.

RCMH Rockette Alumnae Anniv Dinner-2879-2-LTo put you in the mood for both the Book Launch and a Happy New Year, I’m reposting a vintage blog entry that is perfect for sparking your New Year’s resolutions. So pop your favorite bubbly, put on your sparkly party hat, and let the story below inspire you to make 2016 a thrilling adventure.

SHOW BUSINESS, TAKE 2: YA GOTTA MEAN IT

Budding Ballerina

Budding Ballerina

There are times when we feel unsure, confused, and befuddled about what we want to do with our life. We send out wishy-washy signals: “I want to be a professional dancer! That should be me up there on that stage! It would be such a blast! No, wait…I’m not sure I want to do it. It’s too difficult. I don’t know how. I’m not ready. I might not be talented enough. I’m scared.” The Universe obliges by giving us wishy-washy results. Perhaps little gigs trickle in here and there, but the ball never really gets rolling.

I was that wishy-washy, namby-pamby person who floundered in doubt and dismay. As you’ll read below, it took a couple years of unhappily dabbling in other careers before I could say without a shadow of a doubt, “I am going to be an entertainer!” Once I truly meant it, once I was committed, dedicated, and unwavering, the magic and miracles gathered momentum and the Universe took me places beyond my wildest dreams. It will do the same for you!

LONG LEGS and TALL TALES

Please enjoy this except from my recently published book:

LONG LEGS and TALL TALES:

A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey

to the Playboy Mansion

and the Radio City Rockettes

New York wasn’t for me. I loved dancing, but that wasn’t enough to overcome my fears and the challenges of life in The Big City. Plus, becoming a professional dancer was a tremendous shock to my system having come from such a sensible, academic, risk-averse family. Tossing my education out the window to do something so frivolous and insecure seemed selfish and foolish, two characteristics I did not wish to possess. My parents didn’t discourage my wacky dance adventure, but I knew they’d sleep more soundly (as would I) if I went to graduate school. Consequently, I decided to get my PhD in Social Psychology. “Dr. Davis.” Now that sounded respectable. What a relief to be doing something that seemed like the intelligent, practical thing to do—a decision that would bring sincere support from my parents and a guaranteed paycheck.

While waiting to get accepted into graduate school, I took on boring jobs in retail and fundraising. They were the perfect reminder of how the real world and I did not get along. I did not thrive in a practical life of nine to five, suits and nylons, weekends off, one-week vacations, and bottom lines. Working an office job, I felt like a piece of cheese sitting undiscovered, molding away in the back of the refrigerator. If I didn’t get out soon, I’d shrivel up and die from a life of missed opportunities, wasted potential, adventures not experienced, and what ifs. I didn’t want to be eighty years old thinking I had never really lived. This “normal” existence was killing me. I stared at the clock, watching the time tick slowly by, wishing my life away. After a few months, I noticed my saggy derriere in the mirror and decided it was time to start working out again. I missed the dancing, so I auditioned for and was accepted into a modern/jazz dance company in Ann Arbor. It kept me somewhat sane.

Finally, I left Michigan and my humdrum routine for graduate school at the University of Minnesota. At first, it was very exciting to be doing something supposedly worthwhile with my life. I was successful there, too—got a full teaching scholarship, earned good grades, had a nice apartment in a fun neighborhood, made some friends, and even dated a bit. Still, it was lonely living all by myself in a new city, so I bought a beautiful, blue, Siamese fighting fish to keep me company. Once again, I missed dancing and started taking classes at a reputable dance school downtown. Grad school turned out to be terribly stressful, and the chain-smoking assistant professors seemed more overwhelmed than the students. “This is what I have to look forward to?”

I was at a loss. I sat down by the fishbowl and confided in my fish, “I am miserable here. All I do is study until midnight and then wake up and study again at five a.m. It’s kind of interesting stuff to learn, but I hate statistics and I don’t really want to do social psychology research for a living. Will it really help anyone? It’s too stressful, and not the least bit fun. But I just moved here. What will people think if I abandon yet another career plan? What will my parents think? More importantly, what am I going to do with my life if I give up on this, too?” My fish stared back in silence with a look that said, “I’m stuck alone swimming circles in this tiny bowl for the rest of my God forsaken life. You think I give a rat’s patootie? Stop your whining. At least you’ve got choices.”

The thought of quitting was so embarrassing and horrifying, however, that I mustered all my willpower and forced myself to stick through another semester and make it work. I chose to keep right on swimming circles, feeling alone in a tiny fishbowl. But, once again, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. This time felt even worse than the time in New York. When would I learn to follow my heart and do what I truly loved?

Apparently, this world of academics wasn’t for me either. I had tried the business route, the academic route, the safe and secure and practical route, the route that garnered parental approval. “Now what?” Hoping to find some clarity, I pulled out my credit card and booked an emergency trip to San Diego, California to visit my sister, Cindy, who was in transition herself. She was abandoning her PhD program in Oceanography to pursue something much sexier—screenwriting.

There is no better place for soul-searching than by the ocean, and as I walked barefoot in the sand, I asked myself, “How do I really want to be spending my twenties?” The most exhilarating, thrilling, exciting, passionate, scary, enticing, challenging, rewarding, suitable thing I could come up with was to be an entertainer traveling the globe.

“I want to meet unique, interesting, artistic, creative, outgoing, talented people. I want to see the world. I want to be learning, changing, growing, and challenged on a daily basis. I want to stand out in a crowd and be fascinating. I want to experience life as an entertainer, living on the stage, being paid to do what I love most–sing and dance. I want to wear exotic make-up and glitzy costumes and meet famous people and go places I’d never go on my own,” I answered myself enthusiastically.

What it boiled down to was I wanted my twenties to be a thrilling adventure, and I was finally willing to take the risk. Truth be told, everything else made me so miserable that I was forced to do it as my last option. I was terribly afraid to try again, but what did I really have to lose? I had no money, no house, no husband or family. I could only really move up in the world. If I failed, I would have wasted some time and felt like a fool in front of friends and family. But if I never tried, I would regret it for the rest of my life. There’s nothing worse than wondering, “What if?” I could always go back to school later, but this was something I had to do when I was young. It was now or never.

The hardest thing would be telling my parents about another seemingly flippant, haphazard choice. All I knew was that I had to find myself, discover the world, and fill the void of dissatisfaction that was gnawing at me.

“Move out here and live with me,” Cindy offered. I felt relieved at the thought of having my sister around, plus California seemed like a logical place to relaunch my entertainment career. And it’s sunny California, for goodness sake.

So much to my parents’ chagrin, after finishing the semester, I quit school and moved back to Michigan, where I spent two months working as a secretarial temp at Ford Motor Company to bank some cash. I was headed off to California with $5000.00 and no idea how to make my dreams come true. One thing I did know, however: I wanted to be an entertainer. And this time, I meant it.

What would your eighty-year-old self advise you to do with your precious youth? How do you want to experience life now and in the future? What kind of groovy people do you want to hang out with? Where? This is your drama. Set the scene so that it rocks your world. And mean it. Thanks for reading.

Allow 2016 to be the year your dreams come true!

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

COUNTDOWN: 62 Days to Book Launch!

Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!

My long-awaited book LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion & the Radio City Rockettes is finally published and for sale at amazon.com! Join us as we celebrate with a Book Launch Spectacular party and book signing on Sunday, February 21, 2016 from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM at the Arbor Brewing events space in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For you out-of-towners, we’ll have a Virtual Book Launch Spectacular on the same day (on this very website) with loads of fun and frolicking, goodies and giveaways. Until then, we’ll be counting down the days to book launch–62!

To put you in the mood, I’ll be reposting some of my favorite blogposts from the past (just like TV reruns) along with new and exciting showgirl stories and scoops. Here’s an oldie but goodie:

STARTING SMALL

K-Goofus

To do great things, we sometimes have to start small. The important thing is that we start. And we LOVE what we are doing. My first dance classes weren’t at some prestigious academy of dance or some nationally recognized ballet school. I got my boogie on in a lady’s basement, for cryin’ out loud. Take baby steps. Have a ball. Before you know it, you’ll be the cream of the crop, marveling at how you manifested your dreams. Keep reading below to find out how the little girl above did just that.

Here’s an excerpt from my recently published book:

LONG LEGS and TALL TALES

Long Legs and Tall Tales: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes

I continued this impromptu method of dance until five years later when I finally decided I was brave enough to try taking classes again. To be safe, I was going to take my sister and some neighborhood friends for backup. If our new teacher was as scary as the last one, at least we’d outnumber her.

This time my mother enrolled us in the illustrious Josie Grey’s School, nee, “Basement” of Dance. Josie was an entrepreneurial mom who figured out how to make a few bucks underground without leaving home. A small section of her basement, with a couple of ballet barres hung on the walls, served as the studio. Josie undercut the real dance schools around town; at two dollars a half-hour class, the price was right. Plus, she lived so close that Mom didn’t have to drive us. We used to walk the six blocks to her house wearing our ballet shoes and squishing fallen berries underfoot along the way.

Josie filled that “Bargain-Basement-Discount-School-of-Dance” niche for all the not-so-serious and not-so-rich kids who just wanted to dance for fun. She could have cared less if we wore our street clothes to class or even if we wore the proper dance shoes, and she accepted children of all shapes and sizes. You’d easily see a 5-foot-6-inch, 200-pound heavy-weight dancing next to a feather-weight nymph-of-a-girl. Josie let us talk and laugh and giggle all through class. She offered such an affordable and relaxed atmosphere that we wanted to take everything, and we did: tap, jazz, ballet and even baton, which we begged her to teach us.

Josie taught in her street clothes and played the accordion in class. Tap was her forte. I was sure she was a professional tap dancer in her younger years. Perhaps she accompanied herself on a sparkly, royal-blue accordion, her name spelled out in white felt letters down the side. I could picture the crowd going wild as she vigorously played a polka, her feet rhythmically striking the ground in time to the music. Whether or not Josie was ever paid a dime for dancing, I couldn’t say, but she knew more than I did and was so unintimidating and casual that I loved going to class.

The atmosphere at Josie’s was anything but serious, due to the fact that her own four rambunctious children were home while she taught. “Yous guys better shut up and stop that fightin’,” she’d shout at them. “I ain’t comin’ upstairs again!” She often left class to attend to some domestic disaster generally preceded by earth-shattering crashing sounds and screams. It wasn’t uncommon to have one of her three young sons or her only daughter come bounding down the basement stairs unannounced to dance a few steps with our class and then return upstairs to watch afternoon cartoons when they’d had enough.

Jazz class was a riot, and I soaked up all the new moves like a sponge. We learned to twinkle, lindy, sugar, camel, sashay and shorty-george. Josie chose the upbeat Tina Turner song, “Proud Mary,” for our dance. We lined up behind the lead girl, and, one at a time, on our specific count, raised our arms up in a “V.” I anxiously awaited my turn thinking, “One, two, three, four, five, six, SEVEN, eight.” It was hard not to count out loud. On the part of the song that Tina sings “Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ down the river…” every other person would lean right and roll their arms while the others would do the same moves to the left. It was more fun than I’d ever had before.

Our tap class was learning the Waltz Clog to the song “Daisy.” The Waltz Clog is a simple, standard, old tap dance, which has been massacred by millions of amateur tappers over the course of time. I caught on to the steps quickly. At least I thought I had gotten the steps right. It was nearly impossible to hear my own sounds in that class full of beginners, for the noise level was deafening. The walls reverberated with a hodge-podge of scuffing and banging and sliding of taps across the cement floor like nails on a chalkboard.

Every kid seemed to be in her own time zone, performing some variation of the steps to the beat of her own drum. Not only that, but everyone was joyously beating the heck out of their shoes. If you stomped as hard as you could, those suckers produced some major decibels, especially in that tiny basement where the sound waves echoed off the walls. Let’s face it, giving a kid shoes with noise-makers on the bottoms is just asking for trouble. Getting the class to keep their feet quiet long enough to explain the next step was a huge accomplishment for Josie. Time and time again, she found herself shouting over the noise. It’s a wonder that teaching tap didn’t send her straight to the loony bin.

K jump rope tap

When we finally finished the dance, Josie made a shocking announcement: “For the recital you’ll be doing the entire number while jumping rope, so bring one next week.” Luckily, I was one of the best rope-jumpers in my Phys Ed class at school. I was fairly confident about the tapping and even more secure with jumping, but tapping and jumping rope at the same time was another story. Performing the Waltz Clog was hard enough without worrying about tripping myself with a string.

The other challenge was to make sure I stayed on my designated spot and didn’t hop-shuffle-step-step too close to my neighbor and clash ropes. I know, because absent-minded Lilly whacked mine regularly. She’d wander off her spot, tapping so close to me that her rope would hit mine. Then I’d have to get it spinning again and figure out where we were in the choreography. Lilly was a hazard on the dance floor. She was like a driver who can’t stay in her own lane.

Ballet was Josie’s weakest subject, but we learned to point our toes, do knee bends without sticking out our behinds, walk on tip-toe, and “sashay” across the floor. A lot of rules and numbers seemed to be involved: ballerinas had to know first, second, third, fourth and fifth position. For first position, we had to stand with the heels of our feet touching and our toes open to form a straight line. Our legs had to be perfectly straight and our bottoms tucked under. It was difficult to stand like that without falling over, and some of the girls tilted like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Josie knew nearly as much about baton as she did ballet, but we learned enough to keep us happy. She taught us how to do the majorette march, how to wrap the baton around our neck like a choke-hold, and how to jump with our legs split apart while quickly passing the baton through. Josie also showed us the one-handed figure-eight twirl, which was pretty easy, but the maneuver in which we attempted to twirl the baton using one hand and only the thumb of the other hand was so hard that we had to practice at home. Our most daring trick was lifting one leg and tossing the baton underneath it and up into the air. Fortunately, the baton wasn’t too difficult to catch as it could fly only so high before hitting the low basement ceiling.

As if shimmying about in our weekly classes wasn’t amusing enough, performing in the recital was about as thrilling as life could get. Our show was held one evening in June in the auditorium of a nearby middle school. On show night, the classroom that served as our dressing room hummed with restless chatter punctuated by cries of dismay from girls who discovered their mothers had forgotten some of their costume pieces.

Our cheap and cheerful costumes, ordered from a catalog, were sequined and beribboned and just to die for. Josie had instructed all of her students to buy sheer-to-the-waist nylons to wear underneath, but a couple of girls ended up with reinforced girdle nylons which created the unsightly appearance of dark brown underwear hanging out below their leotards. There were dancers in the recital wearing black ballet shoes when the rest of their class was wearing pink, and everyone’s hair was styled differently. Some people left their stringy tresses down and in their eyes. Others had it pulled back in a ponytail or two. The dress code was a free-for-all, but Josie didn’t seem to mind.

K Tina Turner

At seven to nine years-of-age, we were the most advanced kids Josie taught, and we felt like hot stuff on stage. Decked out in our red-and-blue halter tops and shorty shorts (which we also wore for tap and baton to minimize costume expenses), we did “Proud Mary” proud. Several of my classmates concentrated so hard they forgot to smile, and the audience could see their lips counting the beats, but I was beaming with a grin so wide I could have been a commercial for toothpaste.

Performing our jazz dance was pure joy, but our baton routine made me nervous because of the baton toss. I was worried about not catching it, and with good reason. In Josie’s basement we could throw the baton less than three feet before it would rebound off the ceiling, but on stage, we could hurl it miles up in the air before it would ever hit anything. Having that super-energy that comes with stage fright, half the class used way too much force and over-tossed their batons during the show. There was no way they were going to catch those whirling dervishes. Batons were flying every which way, rolling around the stage, thumping to the ground, some even bouncing unpredictably on their rubber ends when they landed hard enough. The audience members should have been advised to wear helmets in case one came spiraling in their direction. There were girls weaving through the other twirlers trying to capture their run-away batons and return to their positions. If your baton traveled all the way off stage, you could pretty much guarantee that the number would be over by the time you retrieved it. I just prayed I’d make it through the song without my baton going AWOL.

I was one of the few who survived the majorette march without incident, but I didn’t fare so well with the tap. There I was, front and center, confidently clogging and rope-jumping, the audience in the palm of my hand, when La-La Land Lilly took off from the back row and headed my way. I had no idea what was about to hit me. All of a sudden, her rope whacked mine and sent it flying out of my hands and across the stage. I scrambled to recover it, carefully dodging the revolving ropes around me. The sparkle left my eyes and anger set in. I was mad. I was mortified. Lilly was lucky I didn’t use my rope to strangle her.

K Tarantella

In addition to being humiliated on stage for the first time, I also had my first taste of personal stardom. Our ballet class, clad in green gypsy dresses trimmed in red sequins and white ribbon, performed the Tarantella. Being the most flexible, I got to stand center stage and hold my leg up over my head with one hand and shake my tambourine with my other hand, while jumping around in a circle. I was the hit of the recital. It was a very heady experience.

I wasn’t the only one who stole the show, however. My stiffest competition came from the three-year-olds. The baby ballet class sang “I Am A CoffeePot,” which went something like this, “I am a coffee pot. I get oh so HOT! When you fill me up, have another CUP!” Their arms served as handles and spouts, and they pretended to percolate by jiggling their bodies, wobbling their heads, and smacking their lips. During the show Josie stood in the wings doing the choreography in case they forgot what they were supposed to do. Many did forget, and they were so mesmerized by the audience that it was hard to tell who was there to watch whom. The tots stood frozen in their tutus like deer in headlights until Josie, whispering loudly from the wings, broke their stupor and then they pointed their toes once or twice and tiptoed around in a circle with their arms overhead. Most of the time, they were either spellbound by the audience or craning their necks to see Josie on the sidelines.

The tiny tap class, irresistible in their yellow-and-black striped bee attire, performed “Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee.” They flapped their wings, buzzed, did a few heel-steps and maybe even a shuffle or two. A couple of bees, in complete control, led the number like little troopers and shouted the lyrics loudly enough to make up for all the petrified insects. Their parents loved them no matter what they did or didn’t do. The kids could have stood on stage in their darling costumes and simply farted, which was about the only thing some kids actually did, and the parents would have been elated.

Josie and her children did a family number in the show a la the Osmonds or the Jackson Five, but it took some coaxing to get all four kids on stage. The music started, and they were still waiting for the two-year-old to join the bunch. Josie rolled her eyes and shouted, “Elliot, get over here!” Someone finally pushed him on stage. The number was a real crowd-pleaser.

Every year, the recital ended with Josie playing the accordion and half-singing, half-speaking her traditional closing song: “This is the end of our show. That’s all the dancing tonight. This is the end of our show. It’s been a delight.” The production left a lot to be desired, but I didn’t know any better and was having a ball being on stage with my friends. After the performance, I was swarmed by people complimenting me on my trick in the Tarantella. My adoring parents brought bouquets of flowers, and I felt like an absolute star.

Thanks for reading. Come visit again and see what happens when I take a step up. You’ll be glad you did.

What small step are you going to take?

Shimmy on,

Kristi

COUNTDOWN: 69 Days to Book Launch!

Las Vegas Radio City Rockettes 1999

Las Vegas Radio City Rockettes 1999

Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!

My long-awaited book LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion & the Radio City Rockettes is finally published and for sale at amazon.com! If your index finger is just itching to buy this book now, let it click away. Right here. The finger knows best.

In honor of this monumental literary achievement (and a big check off my bucket list), we are hosting a Book Launch Spectacular party and book signing on Sunday, February 21, 2016 from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM at the Arbor Brewing events space in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For you out-of-towners, we’ll have a Virtual Book Launch Spectacular on the same day (on this very website) with loads of fun and frolicking, goodies and giveaways. Until then, we’ll be counting down the days to book launch–69!

To put you in the mood, I’ll be reposting some of my favorite blogposts from the past (just like TV reruns) along with new and exciting showgirl stories and scoops. Here is an excerpt from the very beginning of the book (and my virgin voyage into blogging):

“If I ever got a chance to get a group of American girls who would be taller and have longer legs and could do really complicated tap routines and eye-high kicks… they’d knock your socks off!”
–Russell Markert, Founder of the Rockettes (Originally the Missouri Rockets, 1925)

July 2002
Like many Americans and international connoisseurs of culture, I have been knocked sockless by the Radio City Rockettes. But if perchance you’ve spent most of your life hiding under a rock on a deserted island, and upon hearing the term “Rockette” (thinking your ears need a good cleaning) you clarify, “Did you say Rock-head?” I’d animatedly articulate, “The Rock-ettes are the world’s most famous precision dance troupe—a bevy of tall, leggy beauties acclaimed for their intricate, unison tap dancing, eye-high kickline and gorgeous gams. They are the synchronized chorus-line supreme, and their theatrical home is none-other-than the renowned Radio City Music Hall in New York City, where they’ve been amazing and amusing audiences since the 1930s.” And if that weren’t enough to sock it to you, I’d rave, “The Rockettes are referenced in movies, t.v. sitcoms, best-selling books, magazine articles, cartoons and even the board game Trivial Pursuit. They are a household name and as integral a part of Americana as baseball, hotdogs and apple pie.” So enthusiastic am I about these luscious ladies, that I’d continue to rhapsodize until you implored me to “Put a sock in it!”

A devoted fan growing up, I watched the Rockettes perform on national television for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year without fail. At the end of the sparkling, spectacular performance, the camera panned across their fair faces one by one, each woman brightly beaming for her personal close-up. My sister and I delighted in discussing which dancers were the darlingest. A Thanksgiving without the Rockettes was like a Thanksgiving without turkey. In the last seven years, however, I had come to know more about the Rockettes than the average American. Let it be said with certitude, that I knew the Rockettes intimately. Like you-know-the-holes-in-your-underwear intimately. For I was a Rockette.

This was a Big Deal to me, as becoming a Rockette was literally my fantasy world come true. As a kid, I used to go gaga over those old Hollywood movie dance extravaganzas (a la Busby Berkeley or the Ziegfeld Follies, circa early-ish 1900s) in which a million stunning showgirls in lavish costumes formed intricate kaleidoscopic, geometric patterns and were escorted around sensational stage sets and staircases by debonair men in tuxedos and top hats. It was a world of razzle-dazzle and romance, and I loved it. Appearing as a Rockette was about the closest I could get to living my life in a magnificent musical. It also meant I had made it as a dancer. The Rockettes were the cream of the crop, the top of the skyscraper, the peak of perfection. In short, they were The Big Time.

But life goes by fast, and soon, instead of getting a kick out of life, you’re getting kicked out of life. Before you know it you’re a ninety-five-year-old rickety rocker in a rocking chair, about to kick the bedazzled bucket and bemoaning, “It’s over already? But, but, but I feel like I just got here! Why it seems like just a blink of an eye from birth to grave, from opening night to closing night, from overture to finale. I want an encore!” In this insidious way, the end of my career snuck up, caught me by surprise, and bit me in my middle-aged buttocks. Of course, I knew subconsciously that the final curtain was about to fall, but the reality of the situation didn’t hit me until I returned to perusing the audition notices after taking a year off for maternity leave. A year spent singing and dancing in my Florida home to a literally captive audience of two small children under the age of four was all well and good, but I was ready and anxious to get back to a real stage and an audience that could wipe their own bottoms.

Like a virgin, reliving the excitement and anticipation of the very first time I touched a Backstage newspaper in search of performance opportunities, I eagerly turned the pages only to be rudely awakened to the discovery that everyone wanted eighteen to thirty-five-year-olds only. “But I was thirty-five just last year before I had the baby! What happened?” I blurted aloud, my tykes wide-eyed over their ranting mommy. Time flew by faster than I could count “a five, six, seven, eight.” That’s what happened. Somehow I had forgotten or failed to realize that, like a carton of milk or a can of tuna, a dancer came with an expiration date, and I was already spoiled goods. Thirty-five seemed such an arbitrary number, but you turn thirty-five and all of a sudden you need mammograms, prenatal testing, and are no longer desirable as a dancer. The consolation prize is that you are now of age to run for president of the United States, but it’s not a likely transition. Although Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar made the dubious leap from acting to politics…

One moment I was reaching my peak and the next I was over the hill. “At least I still have the Rockettes,” I reminded myself, temporarily relieved. “But I want to leave looking good and at the top of my game. I don’t want to be one of those decrepit die-hards the other girls make fun of. Don’t want people begging me, the crinkly old lady, to get the heck off the stage,” I proclaimed, robotically retrieving the youngsters’ runaway Cheerios from the floor. While proud to be performing at my age, particularly post-pregnancy, I preferred not to pathetically persevere past my time.

Many of my fellow thirty-something Rockettes were also getting married, buying homes, and birthing babies. We were all hanging onto our jobs by a thread trying to keep the dream (and the health insurance) alive for as long as we practically could. Our priorities were changing. So were our bodies. Dancing professionally and child-rearing were like oil and water. They just didn’t mix. Having taken maternity leave last year when my daughter was born, this year I was required to either plop out another papoose, take a leave of absence or actually do the show, God forbid, if I wanted to keep my job. As an almost thirty-seven-year-old mother of two, who was apparently too old to audition (new news to me), I now knew that once my Rockette contract was up, my dance career was completely kaput.

This perturbing possibility was smacking me right in the face, because the Rockettes were currently fighting to protect our positions and maintain our cushy contract with Radio City. All spring and summer long, my phone had been ringing off the hook with gossip from the Rockette cross country hotline. Being the lone Rockette outpost in the swamplands of Florida, my calls were coming in third party from New York through Vegas. My computer was bombarded with conflicting e-mails from multiple sources. My mailbox was loaded with persuasive letters from Radio City and Cablevision (who had bought out Madison Square Garden, owner of Radio City) and opposing rhetoric from A.G.V.A.(American Guild of Variety Artists), the union representing the Rockettes, and retaliation from enraged Rockettes. Our boisterous battle made the morning television news shows and CNN. Matters were coming to a head and the tension was thick. There was even talk of a strike.

One of the main issues up for discussion was Radio City’s demand to dissolve the notorious “Roster.” Many Rockettes had to re-audition every year to maintain their status, but, for umpteen years, there had also been a Roster of forty-one women who were considered permanent employees of Radio City. That is, they could remain Rockettes forever and ever amen, barring they didn’t blow up like a balloon (in other words, as long as they met their weight requirement) or become incapable of kicking to their bifocals. So there would be “girls” pushing forty or even fifty years old, which is ancient in the dance world, still pumping out those Christmas shows and cashing in.

These rostered Rockettes had first right of refusal for any and all job offers. As such, the Roster was a cash cow and possibly one of the best gigs in New York, because you were virtually guaranteed work for approximately three months leading up to and during the Christmas season every year. These privileged gals could do a gazillion shows a day and get double or triple overtime. They’d make so much money they could kick back and eat bon-bons the rest of the year and then simply crash diet before the first weigh-in come fall. (That’s an extreme scenario, but technically it could be done.) As you might guess, these were most coveted positions. And I had one of them.

Understandably, Radio City disapproved of having to cater to the Roster. In fact, they assured us that the very future of the Rockettes rested upon its elimination in favor of yearly, open auditions so that the creative team could choose the most capable individuals for each production. I could see their point. If I were in charge, I’d certainly want to hire the best. But the message some of us heard was, “There are younger, better models out there, and if we have to use old has-beens in the lineup, our show will suffer to such an extent that the Rockettes will decay into nothing more than a historical relic, like pet rocks.” Ouch. I felt like the devoted wife of many years being traded in by my wealthy husband for a newer, hipper, prettier woman. It was an emotional issue; it hurt to be one of the few to have earned a spot on the prestigious Roster only to be told that the Roster would be the downfall of the troupe. It also hurt to have our job security threatened and our status and privileges revoked. But times they were a-changing. As compensation, Radio City was offering us each a buyout package commensurate with our respective years of service. And we still had the option of auditioning to be rehired; Radio City guaranteed that many of us would indeed be given our jobs back.

Let’s be clear that I’m not here to call Radio City and Cablevision the bad guys; perhaps their actions would ensure a higher quality product that would keep the Rockette franchise afloat. They’ve employed oodles of excellent entertainers for years on end, and I’m eternally grateful and proud to have been one of them. I’m telling you what went down, because it demonstrates just how fiercely competitive and uncertain showbiz can be and how it favors the youngsters. (Thank goodness I wasn’t a gymnast. My career would have been over before I got my first period.) Frankly, I’m also telling you, because this sensitive situation gives me a dramatic beginning (and ending) for this book.

So, in the name of preserving the legacy of the Rockettes, Radio City was determined to disband our cherished Roster and all its power and privilege therein. We knew that Big Daddy Cablevision and their lawyers would be a tough contender against our union that represented the pool of “variety artists.” Our fight felt like a ninety-five pound weakling trying to kick sand in the face of a three-hundred-pound muscle man. I generally rooted for the underdog, but this time I wasn’t placing any bets. A.G.V.A. had taken good care of us for years and was making valiant efforts on our behalf, but I sensed it was only a matter of time before my time was up.

And so it was under such suspenseful circumstances that I received a crucial call from Rockette Headquarters at Radio City. “Kristi, you’re next on the list to teach the Rockette Experience. Can you be in New York in two weeks?” The “Rockette Experience” was an afternoon-long workshop open to aspiring dancers in which they would learn fragments of real Rockette repertoire from a real Rockette in the real Rockette rehearsal rooms in the real Radio City Music Hall. The participants would then proceed through a mock audition followed by a question and answer session with the real Rockette. I had put my name on a waiting list to lead this event, and the opportunity had arisen just in the nick of time.

This bit of business wasn’t necessarily reason enough for me to be Manhattan bound. But this was a much more personal, vitally important mission, because, here’s the kicker: this would actually be my first, and probably last, appearance as a Rockette in New York City at Radio City Music Hall. “What’s the big deal?” you might ask. The big deal is that you don’t feel like a real, bona fide Rockette unless you’ve been on the Great Stage at Radio City Music Hall. Standing on this sacred spot is a Rockette’s pilgrimage to Mecca. Even though I was one of only forty-one women on The Roster and had logged in approximately 1200 shows and 240,000 kicks as a Rockette, I still needed to perform at the Music Hall to feel my experience was complete.

Of course, as a rostered Rockette, I had been offered opportunities to dance at the Music Hall but had turned them down, for what I thought were good reasons at the time, to perform elsewhere. In the back of my mind, I always thought I’d get around to it someday. With the contract deadline looming overhead, however, my instincts told me that someday better be now or it may well be never. When presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s best to stand at attention, salute your good fortune and shout, “Yes, Sir!” Nothing was going to keep me from this final hurrah, this grand, spankin’ finale, this apropos ending to my fairy-tale adventure.

Heeding the call from H.Q., I mustered the troops and briefed them on my upcoming deployment. “Kids, Mommy is being sent on special assignment and has to go bye-bye for a little bit.” In response to this entertainment emergency, I left my precious progeny in the hands of my husband and boarded a flight to JFK International Airport in NYC to do the divine deed, most likely my final duty as a World Famous Radio City Rockette. You’ve come a long way, baby, I realized, reflecting back to my humble beginnings in the world of show business.

What’s on YOUR bucket list? When you are about to kick the bucket, what will you wish you had done? Get up and go do it. Now. And enjoy it to high heaven.

Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to meeting you back here soon for more showgirl adventures!

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

LONG LEGS and TALL TALES is Published and Ready for You to Read!

Kristi_Cover_V2_Final copy(Trumpets blare to grab your attention.) “Ladies and Gentlemen! Kristi Lynn Davis is proud to announce the publication of her long awaited book (drumroll, please)–the uproarious, notorious, sensational, and glorious LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes!”

(Confetti, streamers, and fireworks fly as the crowd goes wild!)

You’ve watched and you’ve waited and you’ve wondered, “When can I turn off the TV (enough already with the reruns of Cupcake Wars) and be turned on by a spectacularly entertaining book? Well, that time is NOW! Just make a quick click over to amazon.com to purchase the print book ($19.99) or ebook ($9.99). Then snuggle up with a hot toddy (the drink, I mean, but a hot dude named Todd would work as well) and literary nirvana shall be yours. While you are over at Amazon, you can even look inside the book and read some juicy excerpts for free.

I hope you get as much of a kick out of reading my Tall Tales as I did living them. Meet me back here next week for more showgirl adventures.

Kick high! Be spectacular!

Kristi

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep Unless You Do a Photoshoot for Playboy

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Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll

“Beauty’s only skin deep,” you’ve heard people say, minimizing the importance of outward appearance in favor of charming inward qualities. A person’s character should be more important than how they look. Except when you work for Playboy. Then you gotta look good. Skin and all. That’s what they pay you for, after all. Talk about pressure! But here’s the skinny: even Playboy stars pop a pimple now and then. We’re all human, and we can’t let a little imperfection stop us from being sexy. Read below to find out how I handled a blistering beauty crisis.

Please enjoy the next installment of my upcoming book

LONG LEGS & TALL TALES:

A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes

by Kristi Davis

In the days leading up to the photo shoot, I may have appeared relaxed and confident on the outside, but on the inside I was a nervous wreck because, horror of horrors, over the course of the week a boil had sprouted out on the middle of my forehead. I was casually glancing in the mirror while brushing my teeth when, all of a sudden, my eye was drawn to a raised, red spot on my face.

“What’s that? That wasn’t there before!” I said in disbelief, touching the bump to make sure it was real. “NOOOOOOO! I have the photo shoot in three days!” I panicked for a few minutes, then quickly began pulling out my blemish-eliminating tricks. “Okay, maybe there’s still time to get rid of it,” I thought, hopefully.

I used lotions, potions, zit creams, and a steaming hot washcloth, but I think I only made it madder, because it grew. And grew. And grew. Bigger than any pimple I had ever seen. It was a dime-sized lump that birthed from my face like I was trying to grow a second head on top of the one I already had. There was nothing there to squeeze or pinch. Nothing short of surgical removal could have helped. I had no bangs (the fact that I wouldn’t even consider cutting some to cover that monster was evidence of how much I hated bangs) and no way to hide it.

And so it was that my new “friend” and I returned to Playboy Enterprises for the important photo shoot. As if I wasn’t nervous enough already about the photo shoot and meeting the cast for the first time, I was now also horribly self-conscious about my dermatological nightmare. Valerie’s eyes bugged out when she saw me. “Oh my. Uh, you’d better get yourself over to the makeup artist right away, dear,” she insisted, laughing nervously.

I agreed with Valerie, and I prayed the makeup artist would have some special pancake makeup to disguise that blasted boil. When I showed her the mountain on my face and, in desperation, asked her, “Can you do something to fix it?” she gave me this incredulous look like “I’m not a miracle worker, you naïve, acne-faced bimbo!” Of course, trying to cover that sucker was about as easy as trying to make my nose look invisible. Even the best makeup artist in the world can’t hide Mt. Vesuvius. She made a valiant effort by piling on the thickest cover-up she had. It was the best we could do.

Back in the main room, I joined the rest of the all-female cast of Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll, which consisted of three singers, two dancers (myself and another girl), and three Playmates. Satin, Mallory, and Taffy were the three nude models who were willing to sing and dance in this show. They had taken their clothes off and been photographed for the most famous girlie magazine in the world. I was going to be dancing with them, talking to them, socializing with them. Word was, they made twenty-some-thousand dollars or so for posing for the magazine. I don’t know if that was true, but even that sizable chunk of change wasn’t enough to make me want to bare it all. Meeting the Playmates was like going to the Big Top of the Bizarre to see the woman with three eyes or the rubber man who could twist himself up like a pretzel. I stared at those real Playboy Bunnies like they were circus attractions. I was enthralled.

Taffy was an ultra-petite beauty with long, wavy blond locks and a perfect body. She starred in a Playboy video where she did naked rhythmic gymnastics while twirling a long, satin ribbon attached to a stick into mesmerizing circular, spiral, and figure-eight patterns around her delicate figure. She was light and airy and not extremely friendly. She didn’t need to be; she was just that hot, and boy, could she give a look to kill when she was in a sour mood.

In contrast, Mallory was an enormous, blond, athletic, Canadian kick boxer with fake D-cups and an “I’ll kick your ass!” attitude hovering beneath the surface. I wanted her on my good side; she could most certainly beat the tar out of me if she felt like it.

Satin was a voluptuous gal with lusciously long, blond hair. Under that soft, sultry exterior, however, was a tough little cookie. I’m sure she could hold her own, if not entirely slaughter almost any woman, in a mud wrestling contest.

Callie, Jasmine, and Rhonda were our well-seasoned singers. All three had performed in the Playboy Show at the Maxim in Vegas and were so well acquainted with Valerie they called her “Val.” Callie was a riveting seductress who reminded me of a young Morticia from “The Munsters” with her waist-long, brunette hair parted in the middle. On stage she had a dark, sorceress aura about her, but off stage she was as fun, funny, and lighthearted as a person can be. An L.A. native, she was always sporting some funky, ahead-of-the-trend clothing and was game for just about anything.

Jasmine, a nice girl from New Mexico, was an aspiring country singer and guitar player. She was tall, thin, flat, and wholesomely beautiful with waist-long, stick-straight blond hair. She did her best to put on a rock and roll vibe for the show, but underneath you could tell she was a country sweetheart.
 At thirty-something, Rhonda was our most senior and most experienced performer. This rowdy rocker, from Vegas, sported big, black, wild, frizzy hair, and a curvaceous, womanly body. She had found salvation in her Mormon church and was proudly counting the days she’d been sober. Rhonda had a rough edge about her, having lived on the wild side for so long. All three singers were amazingly sexy performers in their own way.

Besides yours truly, Porsche was the only other real dancer Valerie hired. The two of us were the only Playboy virgins, the rest of the cast being Playboy veterans in some respect, either on stage or in print. Porsche was a talented dancer with short, strawberry-blond hair and a fantastic boob job that was her pride and joy. She had married a sensible guy with a normal job, and was the only wedded one of the bunch.

I was nervous and shy around these stunningly beautiful, overly sexy, talented, and worldly women. I felt like a frumpy housefrau in comparison. Many of them knew each other and chatted away as they dug through a box of old black leather, silver-studded S&M mix-and-match costume pieces claiming their favorites from previous shows.

“Remember this ugly thing? I’m not wearing that again.” “Hand me that belt. It’s mine.” “Here, Jasmine, this must be your tiny bra; I’d never fit into it. What is it: triple A?” “Very funny. Ha ha.” “Satin, this would look good on you.” “Does this make me look fat?”

The costume box contained as assortment of thigh-high black boots, black halter tops, black bustiers, lacy black bras, black leather gloves, dog-collar chokers, and wide black belts to wear over black thongs. It was Harley Davidson meets harlot. Gulp.

Find something to wear, dear,” Valerie said to me. “These are the costumes for your opening number.” I pawed through the scraps of black, black, and even more black, hoping to find something that would cover up my flaws and accentuate my assets.

The veteran girls seemed to take over, leaving Valerie in the dust. A couple of them emerged from a closet where they hauled out another box to rummage through. “I’m sick of those old costumes. How about these, Val? These would look better,” Rhonda said holding up a colorful, sequined spaghetti-strapped mini dress in one hand. “We have five of these and three of these” she added, grasping a midriff-bearing sequined halter top and sequined shorty-shorts in the other hand. “The singers can wear the dresses, because I’m not showing my stomach, and this would look better with my boobs.”

The veteran girls grabbed their picks, and I was stuck with a halter top and shorts, which meant I was going to have to show my stomach. I kept wishing I weighed ten pounds less and had washboard abs. Still, I guess this was better than a black thong, motorcycle mama bra, and studded dog collar. We were given black fishnet tights and black stiletto boots to finish off the look.

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Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll

For our photo session, we grouped together for a sexy pose that would lure those Southeast Asian men away from their bowls of rice and toward our bosoms. Sure that a massive pimple wouldn’t help our marketing efforts, I tried to part my hair so that a few strands hung over my forehead. Then I watched as the other girls instinctively arched their backs, stuck out their chests, cocked their heads, and pouted their lips for the photo. I had no clue how to make love to the camera, so I just sucked in my stomach, held my breath, and smiled. I am way out of my league, here.

Next, we changed into super-short, simple, sexy spaghetti-strap black dresses with long, white satin gloves that came up to the elbow. It was a classier, more romantic look. Having no cellulite showing and being fairly hidden in the back of the group, I had a much easier time posing like a lady of the boudoir.

Glory be! The promo pictures actually turned out pretty nicely. I was relieved that one had to look very closely to see that boil I had sweated buckets over. Anyway, no one was going to be looking at me when there were professional sex kittens offering an eyeful. Meow.
*******
Once the photo shoot was over, it was time to get down to business and learn the show. Our rehearsals were held in Santa Monica at the studio of producer/director/choreographer Anita Mann. Sadly, my fabulous friend Gino was ousted as choreographer before we even started. He was replaced with Anita, who was much more experienced, but I felt terrible for Gino and am forever grateful for his recommendation. If you are out there, Gino, I hope when this door closed, a better one opened for you.

Anyway, Anita was this forty-something, super sexy blond dancer/actress who used to choreograph for the 1980s TV show Solid Gold—a musical countdown in which the sultry Solid Gold Dancers would move alluringly to the top ten pop hits of the week. These women knew how to work the camera and were always shown in their close-ups making seductive faces for the people watching at home. Of course, I loved the show, which aired when I was a teenager, so Anita was a celebrity to me. Her work there even got her nominated twice for Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography. (She later earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for her work on The Miss America Pageant and continued to produce phenomenal productions for stage, screen, and television, even garnering recognition by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as “one of America’s top five contemporary choreographers.” Anita was also born in Detroit. What an amazing talent hailing from my neck of the woods!)

To stay young and gorgeous, Anita was game to try a facial peel or some Hollywood miracle beauty treatment or a special diet. Whatever she did, it worked. She also sported stylish clothing, especially shoes. Dancers are very trendy; when her dancers would come in wearing the latest cool duds, she had to have them right away. She looked sensational.

Scads of distractions, however, kept Anita spread so thin that they made it hard for her to focus on one task. When she first started her business, she actually choreographed shows herself. You’d learn two sets of eight, and she’d have to answer a phone call about another project or her boys would come in or someone had to know if she wanted Chinese take-out or chicken burritos for lunch or one of a hundred other questions had to be answered. She’d return to rehearsal wondering where we’d left off. This was the way she worked, and you could count on her projects being tweaked and perfected up until the last moment.

Used to working television where she choreographed on the spot, Anita seemed to thrive best with the push of a deadline looming in her face. To succeed with her, you had to be able to work with organized chaos, rehearse yourself, do your homework, and be flexible and prepared for last-minute changes. She was extremely kind and friendly and happy to have you, but if you could steal a minute to talk to her it was probably while she was on hold on her cell phone, in between bites of chop suey and running to her next meeting. She was like an espresso shot in Doc Martens. I wanted to be her, looking Hollywood hot and sassy in jeans, black leather jacket, and with cell phone, before cell phones were popular.

Anita often critiqued her choreography as she created it, saying, “This isn’t right.” I thought, “How can it be right or wrong?” She was attempting to work the choreography so that you didn’t have odd weight changes or “cheats”—where you have to quickly switch to another foot to be prepared to go in another direction. Her attention to these sorts of details made my job easier and less disjointed. I learned a lot from Anita and thoroughly dug working with her.

Anita had her hands full in teaching the show due not so much to her business juggling act as to the impulsive Playmates. These unpredictable Bunnies didn’t have the same work ethic as did the professional singers and dancers. Everyone held their breath wondering if they would show up on time, if at all, for rehearsals and, once there, if they would agree to do what was asked. The choreography had to be amended to fit their abilities, as they weren’t professional dancers. In general, reliability was an issue. Perhaps some ladies weren’t used to the daily discipline required to practice and perfect a production.

In fact, partway through the rehearsal process, Taffy, a Playmate who came with a designated talent (gymnastics), up and quit on us. I was disappointed, because she really spiced up our act. She was replaced by Kylie, a professional dancer from Anita’s talent pool, who was another sexy, petite blond with a fantastic body and the ability to be provocative. Sadly, we were now down a Bunny. Gladly, we were up a real dancer.

My track was easy—no difficult choreography or challenging singing. It was all fun and few worries. Between performing and changing costumes, I was busy the entire show—no time to sit down and take a coffee break—but the pace was comfortable enough.

Some of our show consisted of slightly altered and patched-up hand-me down numbers from Anita’s other shows. Being a smart business woman, Anita recycled her work when appropriate. The numbers were entertaining and energetic, seductive and flirtatious, but they weren’t particularly pornographic; this was no XXX Adult Girlie show like you’d see in Vegas. For me it was just the right amount of risqué without crossing over into sleazy. I could do this show and still show my face in church. Maybe.

In retrospect, I feel extremely lucky that the show was as respectable as it was. Being an adults-only production, I could have shown up for rehearsal and been required to do lord knows what with lord knows who. What would I have done? I was just that naïve that the thought never crossed my mind about what trouble I might be getting myself into.

Don’t get yourself into trouble by thinking you’re not beautiful enough. Let your outer appearance reflect your inner beauty, and rock whatever ya got going for ya. Remember…even with a zit or two, you look maaaaaaahvelous! Both inside and out. Don’t let a little blemish (or a big one) stop you from being all you can be.

Sparkle on,

Kristi