Ahhh … Dani and Tate. Perhaps I don’t have to introduce them to you all here. You probably already know them. They’ve earned a bit of a celebrity status in the sailing blog world and have certainly been an inspiration to Phillip and I. We started following along on their SundownerSailsAgain blog during the last of the five-year refit of their Westsail 32 for its fourth, but their first, circumnavigation. As Tate so aptly put it, when they stepped on the boat, they “felt its soul.” It seemed, like our Niagara 35, the boat chose them.
Dani and Tate, well into the last leg of their refit when we met them through our mutual blogs in the fall of 2014, were planning to set sail in January, 2015 from their homeport of Metarie, LA to really do it — sail around the entire world. Phillip and I, having planned a trip to NOLA months prior to celebrate the completion of our solar panels project, knew we had to try to meet up with them before they shoved off. So, we set it up, a Sundowner-meets-HaveWind union in the frothy culture hub of the South – New Orleans.
Now, being avid NOLA go’ers already, Phillip and I had already made several reservations at some of our favorite N’awlins eateries and had purchased tickets for a couple of different shows in advance of the trip. What kind of shows you might ask? Only the best — burlesque! While the reason we ended up with tickets to two burlesque shows was through no fault of our own (after the Friday show was seemingly cancelled, we bought tickets to a Saturday show then Friday’s was re-instated — what are you gonna do?), we did hesitate for a moment when Tate asked us if we needed some guidance on finding things to do in the city. Nope, Tate. Unlike the ladies of burlesque, we’ve got it ALL covered! But, knowing we would be meeting up with them on Saturday night, we invited them to Show No. 2 which was actually going to be a Clue-themed murder mystery. I’ll never forget Dani’s response — “Awesome. I’ve never been to one. Can’t wait to solve the mystery! ; )” Love those guys. With everything booked and an exciting meeting in store, we were off.
(And, quick note to the viewers, all photos and videos of the burlesque gals in this post are completely PG 13. I have edited to cover all pretty lady parts (the not-so-pretty ones? Well, it’s just part of the show. Burlesque babes come in all shapes and sizes. Enjoy!)
If you haven’t been to New Orleans, or have only been during Mardi Gras when the city is a chaotic, drunken mess, you should definitely take the time to roam the less-populated streets in the daytime, admire the colorful history and appreciate the true age and culture of the city.
The buildings are almost as colorful as the characters you will meet walking along the cobble streets. The food is eclectic and superb. Just plan to eat and try everything while you’re in the city (NO DIETS ALLOWED). You can work it off when you get back. Trust me, say no to nothing. Our best meal of this trip? The meat pie at Cochon:
Follow that with a worldly trek through W.I.N.O. (the Wine Institute of New Orleans), where you can sample hundreds of wines from regions all over the world,
and you’re ready for a night on the NOLA town.
Street bands seem to emerge around every corner, always playing some jazzy, cajun upbeat number that will force you to put a little dance in your shuffle, smile unknowingly and inhale the energy of the city.
After all of that fun, it was time for Show No. 1 on our list — Cirque d’Licious at the Hi Ho Lounge. Fantastic show. Very talented ladies. And, I do mean that. While pulling your stockings off with your teeth is, yes, entertaining, one gal in particular really impressed me — LadyBeast. (I’ve been called that a time or two). And, you know what her specialty was? Aerial acrobats! But instead of silks, she uses chains! A woman after my own heart!
I have to say, though, I drove Phillip absolutely mad watching her. I was high on the wine and my own inner Cirque-ego came out. I kept saying, “That’s such an easy trick. Super basic. I can totally do that!” To which Phillip, in his infinite wisdom, responded, “Yeah, but you’re not. You’re sitting in the audience. Now hush!”
Hmmmppfff. But, it was really fun to watch LadyBeast do things I did know I could do. I have to admit a little seed planted for my budding burlesque career–after I finish with the sailing perhaps. The real highlight of the show, though, was this little number.
Why, you might ask? Because of this and this …
What are they? Great question! We didn’t know until she hooked up the power cord and roared that thing to life. It was a wire brush grinder. Vrrreeeerrrrr!
Yep. Just like that. And, what do you think this dainty little gal did with it? She fired it up and sparked the place out on her custom garter grind plate. I have to tell you, I’ve seen a number of burlesque shows in my life, but THAT was a first. She was phenomenal. Fearless. A total show-stopper. Funniest part was, though, when I was telling Dani about it the next night. Being the crafty, highly mechanically-inclined sailor she is, she thought immediately about the physical repercussions of use of such a tool near one’s … nether parts.
“My God, wouldn’t it get super hot?” Dani asked, to which my inner thoughts immediately responded, “Yeah, it was super hot.” This literally was probably one of the first things Dani and I discussed when we met on Saturday night. I mean, let’s get down to business, am I right?
The much-anticipated meeting with Dani & Tate from SundownerSailsAgain was incredibly inspiring. Those two had been working so hard for years to fulfill a lifelong dream.
They had saved, scrimped, sacrificed and given pretty much everything they had to do it. They had their concerns and a refreshingly honest approach to what life would be like out there, but they were so energetic and enthusiastic about it, you couldn’t help but feel the excitement pulse out of them. I felt like arcs of energy were going to zap and pop between us. We shared such a common goal. Phillip and I were very fortunate to get to meet the Sundowner crew before they left because we can now feel the personality behind their posts. Dani also did a riveting recap of our NOLA union on her blog as well.
It is also with great joy (and a twinge of bitter jealousy), that I let you know Dani and Tate completed their exhaustive-yet-rewarding refit in the winter of 2014 and set sail January, 2015 to bravely make the first passage of their trip, their first overnight passage on the boat and their first Gulf crossing (all in one!) as they braved the winter winds from Rabbit Island down to the Keys. They made it safely to the Keys in five days, subsequently made the jump south to Cuba then decided to go west to Mexico where they fell in the beautiful quagmire that is Isla Mujeres. I encourage you to follow them on their wildly entertaining and inspirational journey.
But, let’s get back to the important stuff. Yes, the burlesque gals. As talented as LadyBeast and the d’Licious bunch were (it is admittedly hard to top metal grinders and chains), I have to say Show No. 2 took the cake. Why? I’ll give you a clue …
The CLUE-themed murder mystery was really such an awesome idea for a show (and a great way to get the audience involved and make more money to boot). Before the show began, you could buy votes ($1 a piece) to take a random stab at WHO DONE IT? (And, of course, in true CLUE fashion, in what room they did it and with what weapon — pictured above — the revolver and the wrench). Then, as each lady took the stage, she was dressed as a certain CLUE character and dancing in a certain CLUE room. At the very end of her dance, she would reveal a weapon, which meant you needed to scratch that suspect, venue and deadly piece off your list. Here is the burlesque CLUE cast – you can likely make out a few key characters — Miss White, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard is actually the voluptuous vixen in the middle (well-played):
As the show went on (and you realized your previous guesses were obviously wrong) you could buy more votes to submit. The winning votes were thrown in a hat at the end and one drawn out as the winner of an actual classic CLUE game and the privilege of crawling through a “spank tunnel” (yes, exactly what you would imagine) under the burlesque gals. In all, it was total entertainment, an incredible night with the hilarious Dani & Tate duo and certainly an evening Phillip and I won’t soon forget.
Visiting with the Sundowner crew, who are now well on their way to world travel, only told us what we already knew–the time to go is now. As Tate said recently in an email to us, “My God, it’s everything we expected. You need to get out here. You understand.”
Yes, Tate. We do. You kids have fun out there. Fair winds. We’ll see you soon.
Many thanks to the patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.