Dressing Up is Fun!Posted: October 29, 2010
This year for Halloween I will be the tortured soul herself, Ms. Billie Holiday. I have considered dressing up as her in the past, but have always decided on something else. I originally wanted to be Josephine Baker, another subject I have considered time and time again, based off of a childhood love for her and the inspiration I get from this photograph:
My version would have less boobie exposure of course. I am against the ridiculous charade of overly sexed up costumes that women decide to don once they reach high school age. Its not clever or interesting. I think dressing up is fun when you put actual thought and creativity into it. That said, I never give myself the time to craft a costume based off of this famous photo so I always put Ms. Baker back on the shelf. Yet again, this year I find myself a few days before Halloween scrambling to figure out what or who to be so Billie it is. Won’t be too difficult based off of my general love for a vintage aesthetic; my evening wear tends to be some cross between Billie Holiday, Frida Kahlo and Chaka Khan. Ill try to embellish though.
I have loved Billie since I was a little girl and watched over and over again Diana Ross do a decent job playing her in Lady Sings the Blues. I have never been the biggest Diana fan. I mean…I got love for 1970′s disco Diana, and The Supremes had good songs….But, I just never got into Diana Ross like I love other vocalists, such as Nina Simone, Mavis Staples, Billie Holiday and list goes on and on. I also never thought she made a good Billie. Her presence inside and out comes off so wiry and weak; it never encapsulated the roundness and womanliness of Billie Holiday to me. But I can’t hate on Lady Sings the Blues it was definitely a regular in my household, partly based off of my mothers love for Billy Dee too.
I have always loved Halloween. It always fills me with this youthful and magical energy. Even when I was a kid whenever this time of the year would come around I would begin to get excited with this anticipation for the unknown; it was as if something amazing was on the horizon that I could feel coming, but didn’t quite know what it was yet. I think these feelings I get are associated with Falls in Sacramento, which are the best. Sacramento is covered with tree’s that become the most beautiful reds, yellows and oranges during the fall season. The weather is perfect too; the august heat begins to give away to a cool crispness that isn’t wintery yet, but a sweater at night is appropriate. I have fond memories throughout my adolescence into my adulthood of Sacramento Fall experiences: from being a kid riding my bike up and down my block attempting to jump over fresh piles of leaves and trick or treating; to the teen years of quiet, contemplative walks by myself, headphones in my ears, and notepad to write and draw in my bag. This time of the year is so wrapped up in the different stages of my development yet it will always take me back to a feeling of youthfulness and my beloved birth city…it also reminds me of the deep love I have for my mother. Despite the chaos of my childhood my mother always provided for us and made holidays special with fun and traditions. To this day she still goes all out with decorations during the holidays. I have not been home in months, but I am sure if you go to my mothers house you will find fake spider webs in the bushes, gravestones in the front yard with bloody limbs coming out of the ground, and a scarecrow on the porch as well as some scary creature that will say creepy things to you when you walk up on the porch and trigger its motion detector. And even though we were poor my mother always made sure we had a creative and cool costume. I remember one year I wanted to be a red die (singular of dice) so she got a box and painted it red with white dots and cut a hole out of the top and bam I was a die. So wonderful that woman.
But this year I will be Billie and I am looking forward to it. Lots of festivities, my comrades Salvadorean family party with a ton of free Salvadorean food (yum!), Marxist Feminist group, and my dear friend and comrade from LA will be paying us a visit here in the Town so it should be quite a delectable weekend!I hope all of you out there in the land of the interweb have a wonderful and safe weekend as well! <3