Monday, February 16, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's Kansas City

I love to draw. Figure drawing is, perhaps, my favorite kind of drawing. I haven't been able to do this for a while and really miss having a live model. A few months ago, I heard about this fun group called Dr. Sketchy's. In 67 cities across the United States, there are Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art Schools. It's hard to describe it if you haven't been, which if you like to draw, I would strongly encourage. They are part art studio, part burlesque, part festival and 100% outrageous fun. They are self described as what happens when burlesque meets art school. And lucky for me there is a branch in Kansas City.

It is held in this old warehouse, where you have to take a somewhat disconcerting elevator to reach to top floor to someone's loft. The space here in Kansas City is priceless. There is art hanging on all the walls, everything from prints to paintings to bicycles to car parts. There couldn't be a more perfect atmosphere to create. After setting up your art supplies, there is lots of time to socialize and grab drinks from a makeshift bar as people arrive. I'm new, so, I spend lots of time people watching. People from all walks of life start to show up. From those dressed in t-shirts and jeans to goth to steampunk to artsy, it is an accepting atmosphere where it feels anyone can mingle. A different DJ keeps us entertained each week, with a wide assortment of music.

Soon, our rabble-rousing, charismatic uber stylish mistress of ceremonies takes the stage. She makes announcements and gets everyone excited like we're at a show. Then she introduces the performer for the week. This week the performer is Lu Foxx. The performers are burlesque dancers and bring all the style, all the theatrics, and all the show(wo)manship to modeling. Lu Foxx was an incredible model to draw. Striking fun, animated poses, she warmed us up with ten one minute poses. Dressed in a long flowing half skirt and a scanty bikini top, she used props to create wonderful poses that were a delight to draw. Next, come a couple of 5 minute poses as we start to get in the flow. About every half hour, the model takes a break. More time to get an alcoholic beverage from the bar and to socialize with the other artists. This pattern continues throughout the evening - half hour of drawing, twenty minute break, for about 4 hours of drawing. All for $6 entrance fee, really a bargain.

Often there are contests, best of drawings selected by the model. Many put our best piece on the stage for the other artists to look at and for the model to select her favorite. This night's prize was a free membership to the local clay guild. This is one of my favorite parts, I love seeing what others are creating. All skill levels sit together equal on the stage, from beginners to awe inspiring. Pencils, pastels, markers, paints, and even photos are used to capture the essence of Lu Foxx throughout the evening.

Another highlight of the evening is the show. Before the long poses, the performer will awe us and delight us with a sampling of her talents made all the more challenging by the makeshift small stage. And Lu Foxx did not disappoint. Regaled in feathers and tiger prints, she seduced us, grinding and twisting, dancing and stripping down to a thong and pasties. The audience joins in, hollering and cheering her on. Soon it's over, her 30 minute pose complete. I was pretty excited, this week my drawings weren't too bad and I had a wonderful time. Two Sundays from now is all ready marked on my calendar for the next Dr. Sketchy's Speakeasy. Maybe, I'll see you there.

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