Pole Theatre USA 2017 #togetherisbetter

Today I am going to get all the photos and videos up from this year’s Pole Theatre competition and surrounding reindeer games because once tomorrow comes, it’s gonna be a whole new scene. That’s right …


Sideboob and I are driving out to Billings, WY to get Chief and I have a feeling that I will be so consumed with puppy photos that it will be impossible to play catch up with Pole Theatre. It was such a wonderful week that I don’t want to forget a thing. So here goes.

Márion Crampe was the first to arrive on Tuesday from Spain (via pole camp in San Diego). She said she wanted to get here early to acclimate to the altitude as she performed later that week at the competition, but I know it was really to spend time with me.

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There simply are no words to completely describe Márion, she’s a force unto herself. She is warm, emotionally available, deeply connectable, fierce, nurturing, childlike, raunchy, wise, full of wonder, worldly, committed … I could go on.

She recently taught in Poland and the studio made this wonderful tribute to her, it really says it all.

Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle arrived late at night so I caught up with them in the morning.

This is their third time here so it feels like they are coming home for a reunion rather than them being new guests. It’s a lovely way to be with them and flopping around on the bed together while looking at videos of their dogs and cats is a favorite thing to do.

Of course, they were thrilled about Minx.

I love their sister energy, part love and part antagonism. Naturally the antagonism part speaks deeply to me as antagonism is my language of love.

My biggest surprise this year was that Dirdy Birdy came out all the way from Australia to hang out with me!

Well, she came out to go to Pole Theatre (she’s really good friends with Shimmy and Sparkle as they live close to each other in Syndey) and Pole Expo in Vegas but I like to think that she has been pining to get to know me after all these years of being Facebook and Instagram friends.

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But let’s get real, she was here for the cats.


But mostly the cats.

I have heard about her for years, aside from her on-line presence. She is by all accounts the nicest and most generous person, she was even better than that in person. She arrived with her bag packed with delicious vegan chocolates for the family, she always insisted on buying the groceries and picking up the tab, and she even bought me a shirt. Her presence alone was gift enough.

And she emptied my dishwasher while I was in bed. Swoon.

It’s was fun to watch her with Shimmy and Sparkle, she felt like a third sister and showed me a side to Sparkle that I’d never seen before. Maddie might seem like a soft spoken sweetheart, but she has a sadistic side.

I put Deebs (aka Dirdy Birdy, it’s her nickname and seeing as how we are super tight …) in the guest room downstairs so she could get MAXIMUM CAT ACTION but the clown picture over the mantle kind of freaked her out so I covered it up with a scarf. But Sparkle did this to it …


Anyway, she loved the cats.

Too bad Bates was in such a foul mood about the kitten. I swear I have never seen this side of him before. He’s snarly and grouchy all the time, even when he’s getting loved on.

Michelle Stanek arrived next from New York. She knew everyone but I had only met her briefly last year. She was a lot of fun and is everything I like about a person: smart, great sense of humor, likes to take fun pictures.

This large group isn’t the most conducive to one-on-one connection, but I’m hoping that since she’s staying a few days after everyone else leaves, I’ll have a chance to get to know her better.

Steven Retchless was the last to arrive and finally the family was complete.

Deebs 3

Boomeranging in Sparkle’s bra

The entire weekend was captured on Instagram Stories which was fun but hard to document, all I could do was take screenshots as moments flew by.

The weather was gorgeous so we spent a lot of time outside on the porches. It was where we met, ate and talked.

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There was even some bending.

I took everyone (except Márion) to hike Green Mountain. I hiked it with her a few days prior and felt confident in my ability to stay on the trail but alas, I missed a turn on the way down and had to text Sideboob to come get us because Shimmy was super cranky about all the walking and was comparing the hike to a Steven King death march novel.

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Needless to say, I Shimmy and Sparkle did not join us for a 5:30AM hike up Mt. Sanitas to see the sunrise.

Animals are a huge part of my life and make up the fabric of this house. Deebs said my house was like a cat café and I took a rather large amount of flack for not having the puppy here.

Chief was ready to go home with me last week but 1) I didn’t want him to fly here on his own in cargo and 2) I needed to be 100% present for the puppy to get him started with good habits. Knowing my pole family, he would have been spoiled rotten immediately.

At least they had Minx, Scheissehund and Bates to keep them occupied.

My animals were so spoiled by all the love and attention. Deebs made it her mission to score with all my cats. TFC not withstanding because she’s stuck up.

My pets delivered.

Steven got weird with Scheissehund who insisted on being inside someone’s shirt (preferably Shimmy’s) at all times. Here’s some simulated labor pains.


Scheissehund is in his shirt

Loony loves getting everyone together to get coffee, mostly so he can prove to his friends that the stories about beautiful people everywhere are real.

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Another thing that Loony and I love is what happens on the 3rd floor deck. Is it weird that I get such a kick out of watching my friends frolic around topless? It’s not creepy (I hope), I just find it so delightful to see them reveling in their youth and vitality.

And hair, I love all the hair.

In the end it is about family – this itinerant gypsy family – being together. I don’t know how I lucked into it (except for knowing Sideboob, that is) but I’ll take it. My “pole weirdos” (as Márion likes to call them) wrote a little poem for us, read by Deebs.

And by Sparkle

Márion uses the hashtag #togetherisbetter to describe her desire for connection. I agree.

Pole Theatre USA happened on a Saturday night. I didn’t take many photos as I figured Sideboob will do a much better job of it. Ditto that with videos, but here’s what I have.

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Márion regretted not performing last year so I put the screws to her and she did a piece that she said was for me. It was magnificent.

It isn’t available on video yet but I’ll post it once it is. It was a departure for her stylistically. She performed the Russian Exotic style and in heels. It was deep and resonant, emotional and full of gravity, it was mesmerizing.

Thank you Márion, from everyone in the audience who had the privilege of seeing you perform live, and from me for having the privilege of knowing you in person.

My beautiful Steven performed his piece from Pole Theatre Brazil and it was even better in person and he is the perfect person to close this chapter of Pole Theatre USA in Colorado.

The posted video is from Brazil as Sideboob wants to get competitor videos up before the guest performances.

Speaking of Sideboob, at the very end of the show she asked me to stand up and acknowledged me for my contribution to her shows.

Yes, I lent her the deposit money for the venues and housed the judges and threw parties and dinners, but she always paid me back on time (often times I forgot I even lent her the money) and hell, it was an honor to be allowed into the private lives of such public figures.

I got to be part of something bigger than me, I made friends and found family, I spent giddy weeks playing and celebrating, I have memories that will last me my entire life.

I could not have done it without Loony who not only lets me give up a week’s worth of income, but dutifully does booze runs to Hazel, unclogs drains (those dancers have a lot of hair), gets on board my crazy preparations (he fixed the string lights that the squirrels chewed through), and tolerates my fawning and fangirling.

I also have to thank my kids for giving me the week off. They know what a big deal this week is for me and did a great job holding down the fort.

Of course I’m not done, there is always another chapter, but this one was a beaut.


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