The Atomic Blonde

Actress, Singer, Pinup Girl, Celebrity look-alike, Reenactor

Rising from the ashes…

Phoenix

When I blog, I feel like I need some sort of clever title or metaphor. That would be because of my mother, who is an absolutely incredible writer. I, on the other hand, could only be called a good communicator. I wish I could come up with some clever deeper meaning in everything and spin a beautiful web that entrances people. My mother can do that.

I’m convinced this is one of the reasons I don’t keep up with my blog. I know it won’t be as insightful or poetic as my mother’s – I’m a to-the-point gal. There’s also the fact that I doubt anyone would want to read what’s going on inside of my head. At times, a blog seems like such a selfish thing.

Of course, I’m a selfish girl – I won’t deny it. I had to become one. I had to learn to care about myself because for a lot of my life no one would. I’m not talking about family – I’ve been incredibly blessed with family and some of the best friends a person could ask for, but for some reason I seem to have more negative in my life than a lot of people. It keeps springing up, too. Every now and then, things seem to be moving up. Then they come crashing down.

This isn’t meant to be a “feeling sorry for myself” post. Just thinking out loud. Maybe someone will benefit from it, maybe not. Maybe I will.

I tell people all the time how I was the ugly duckling growing up. Unfortunately, it’s true. One of these days I’ll post some pics and prove it. Or maybe one of my classmates will comment on this and confirm it.

Growing up, I had the lowest self esteem of anyone I’ve ever known. While I am very much an extravert and was even then, I was terrified to open my mouth because I knew I’d say something stupid. When I did open my mouth, I inevitably got teased for what I said.

And then there was school. School always came naturally to me. I love to learn. I did all of my homework while I was at school, so I never even had to take it home with me. I was one of the smart kids, so naturally I was teased. I was the “brain”, “teacher’s pet”, etc. I never really felt like I belonged anywhere.

Except behind a piano… My mother found a lady who was willing to start a 2 year-old in Suzuki method piano. I took to it like a moth to the flame. I lost myself in it. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven… It was my own world. When what few friends I did have came over to play, I asked them if they wanted to practice piano. Needless to say, those friends didn’t stick around.

When I was about to enter the sixth grade, my parents decided we should move to a small town. We began school at a private school that only had one class for each grade. Before long, it started. I was the butt of pranks, called names, set up on false dates – you name it. I even remember a boy who said he really wanted to “date” me – whatever that is in 6th grade -, but he was embarrassed to be seen with me. He said we could date in secret, but no one could know and he had another girlfriend he was seen with in public.

I went home from school crying everyday. I was miserable. The teachers wouldn’t do anything. I remember one of them even telling me it was to be suspected with kids our age. They acted like it was no big deal.

When Mom and Dad decided enough was enough and moved us back home, the kids in my class made a big to-do of having a celebration. They would come up to me and ask me if I was coming back next year. When I said “no”, they would pump their fists in the air and yell “Yes!”

After a year home in public school, where everything had changed of course, the folks decided my brother and I should attend private school. What an adjustment it was! I went directly into honors algebra having never taken pre-algebra. I worked my behind off to get a C, when I had always received A’s in public school. However, some things didn’t change.

The bullying continued, although it did abate a bit. The worst part was that two teachers got in on the act – two teachers in the arts. That’s right – the arts, my world. These were two people who of all people should have been encouraging me. I’m not going to name names or even departments, but one of these teachers liked to make fun of me in front of the whole class. I remember one time when this person made fun of how I did my hair, and everyone laughed. The other made me cry practically everyday and told me I’d never amount to anything. I was not allowed to take voice lessons for some reason I’ll never understand. Other people were allowed to.

Fortunately, an arts teacher came along who gave me a chance – Dock Anderson. I will never forget that, Dock. You showed me that I did have talent, that I did have some worth, and I believe I am still in music and theatre in large part because of the opportunities you gave me. At that point, I had no confidence in myself. I would never have had the guts to audition for FSU – hell, to audition anywhere.

And there were others. I also want to mention Mr. McCollum, who is unfortunately retiring this year – I say “unfortunately” because it’s a shame other generations won’t get the privilege of working with you. You made quite a difference in my life, sir. You were always someone I could go to and someone I knew believed in me, and you have no idea how much that means to me. Even now when I see you, you make me think I can take on the world.

Two more teachers come to mind – Tom Jackson (who at the time was President of the school) and Madame Jean Olstin, who taught me French and Japanese. Again, both of these teachers had faith in me and boosted my self esteem. When I asked, Mr. Jackson let me into his honors Coming of Age class even though my grades weren’t high enough, and it turned out to be one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. It was such a wonderful class that we were able to talk him into extending it another quarter.

Madame Olstin was one of those teachers that most students were afraid of. She was very strict. I was a little afraid at first, but I came to love the woman so much. I’ll never forget her calling my mother and telling her I was getting a B in AP French, and that was unacceptable. She knew I could do better, even when I didn’t.

I doubt any of these people I mentioned will read this blog, but I hope they know how important they were and still are to my life. I had such a huge problem with depression – I still battle it – and being bullied. These teachers gave me the confidence to eventually go out and grab my dreams. They took the ugly duckling and turned her into a swan.

Please go out and thank your Mr Andersons, Mr McCollums, President Jacksons, and Madame Olstins. With so much negativity in the world, it’s easy to forget those who really show us the light. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.

To those other two teachers and the countless students who made me feel two inches tall, I would love an apology. In fact, I would love a chance to apologize to one man who I made fun of when I was in elementary school. If I can find him, I will. For my part, I can pretty much guarantee I won’t get one from my people. They’ve moved on with life. They’ve tricked themselves into thinking it doesn’t matter, that it was so long ago. The one thing I will say is that I have done much better in life because I am used to struggling. I’m used to having to fight, although I don’t enjoy it. I won’t go so far as to say “thank you” or that I’m happy I went through that, but it does have that one positive side.

This ugly duckling is still transforming into a swan. Day by day. Step by step. I try to be a better person. I try to treat people better than I was treated, to teach my students not to go down that road. I can see signs that swan is coming out. I just wish I had found her earlier. Oh the things she could have done if she had only had the confidence and love in herself.

I have come to prefer to think of her as a phoenix – a phoenix who is rising from the ashes of the past and reaching out for the future. There are so many things I want to do – big and small. I don’t even know where to begin.

Time to make up for lost time.

It’s time…

Headshot

On New Year’s Eve 2010, my inner voice said, “This is the year you fall in love”. She was right. Unfortunately, it was with someone who didn’t love me back.

This year I waited with dread, but didn’t hear the voice. Until today. Guess it’s better late than never, huh?

She says, “This is the year you remove all obstacles and finally live the life you were born to live. It’s time.”

I hope she’s right. Albert Einstein once said, “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” While I think there is some merit to this, I’ve realized that I’ve been living my life solely for others, and it’s been at the expense of my life and opportunities I could have had.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very proud of things I have accomplished. I started a theatre, The Twilight Theatre, in 2005. At a time when most theatres are not doing well and quite a few are going out of business altogether, my mother Jeanne (the Managing Director) and I (the Artistic Director) have been successfully running our theatre in the black for 7 years now. It didn’t wind up going the way I wanted it to. I was just supposed to be the President of the theatre and in charge of public relations and fundraising, but wound up running the theatre. I also never wanted to direct, and wound up directing 4-5 shows a year. However, after the rather… disheartening… experience I had when I was in theatre in high school, it has been a privilege to give others the opportunities and support I never was given. That’s a whole other blog post to come on bullying, which unfortunately I experienced my whole life from students and teachers.

Last year, I took a step back from the theatre. I am still running it, but have learned to say “no”. If I can’t find a good director for a show, I don’t step in and direct it any more – we just don’t do it. This has allowed me to pursue what I really love – performing and reenacting. As most of you probably know, I’m a singer, actress, pinup model, and celebrity reenactor. I do mostly Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe, but have done (and will be doing!) more. I’ve been reenacting since 2008, and I love it. It makes me happy.

Last year I was still transitioning from directing and didn’t get to go to as many events as I was asked to go to, but when I look back at it, 2011 was quite a year. I had some great pinup shoots with Dixie Pinup, Grant Beecher, Mark Turner, Pam Ellis, and PinupGirl Cosmetics. Kellyn Willey at PinupGirl Cosmetics rocks my world – I can’t wait to do more projects (*Cough… Bridal show… *Cough) with you, Kellyn! I also joined an amazing group of ladies, Pinups for Soldiers, who raise money to send care packages to the armed forces overseas. There is no nobler cause, and I am incredibly honored to be their newest member.

I portrayed Betty Grable at Reading’s WWII Weekend (my second year there), the Battleship New Jersey VJ Day event, the Greenwood Lake Air Show, Secret City, Tullahoma, Fayette County’s Veteran’s Day celebration, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Hometown Holidays at the Frederick Brown Jr Amphitheater, and my home show, WWII Days in Peachtree City. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with WWII Days for many years now and was recently made an honorary member of the Dixie Wing’s Angel Squad. What a great group of people! Last year I wrote and produced a USO show for them – I researched everything and used actual quotes from Bob Hope and the other performers. I also provided a ton of celebrities again. Hopefully, this year we will add a radio show and a fashion show. Thank you to everyone who invited me to be a part of your event in 2011. I hope to see you all again in 2012!

Last year was also a big year for performing. It sure was nice to be out of the light booth and back on stage again. I was in “Broadway by Candlelight”, “The Wizard of Oz” (Glinda), “Footloose” (Vi Moore), and “Rabbit Hole” (Becca). I was also given the opportunity to portray the Marquise in a scene from “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” at NCTC’s gala, so that’s two “bucket list” roles I got to play this year. I’m auditioning to play the Marquise in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” this year, and it would mean the world to me. Please keep your fingers crossed!

I have big plans for 2012. This is the year I pull out all the stops, and boy have I got some plans. Watch for me performing more, producing more USO shows, reenacting more, singing more, and planning some weddings and special events. 2011 was just a preview of good things to come. I will continue to run the theatre and teach private voice lessons, but it’s time for me to step out there and grab what I want. I’m lucky enough to have it in my grasp. Now I just have to have the guts to follow thru, and when I do, I will be the happiest doll in the world!

Do I want to fall in love? Yes. I hope I do – this time with someone who will realize what a gem he has and love me back. In the meantime, though, I’m going after my dreams! Up next – Friday, I have a photo shoot with the lovely Cherry Dame (who makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world) and Paperdoll Photography. It’s the first time I’ve worked with Paperdoll, but I love their work and hear wonderful things. Then, in a couple of weeks, I’m off to Fort Indiantown Gap’s Battle of the Bulge reenactment. This time I will be going over to the “dark side” and will be doing my first German impression. She’s an Austrian countess named Elsa Mannesser and, like me in real life, is a descendant of Henry the Fowler. :-)

So, I’m off! I just wish I had had the confidence, guts, and support to do this years ago. I hope you’ll all share my journey with me. I’m fortunate to have the most incredible support system, and I love you all. I’ve been through some incredibly dark and desperate times, and you saw me thru it. Now it’s time for the incredibly happy times.

I’ll leave you with this poem by Dylan Thomas that seems to keep reappearing in my life lately. A great big “thank you” to the great lady and teacher who introduced me to this poem, Mrs. Cleo Hudson.

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO
THAT GOOD NIGHT

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Happy 2012, everyone! I hope you all have as amazing a year as I’m going to have, and PLEASE don’t take as long as I did to reach out and grab your dreams.

Follow me on Facebook and tell me what you’re doing in 2012 to grab your dreams.

XOXOXO

Alison

Help A Soldier in Afghanistan Have A Nice Christmas

MonCherie
 
 
I am proud to be a member of PinUps for Soldiers, a nonprofit group that provides care packages for active duty military. Currently, we have committed to providing 800 Christmas stockings filled with goodies for soldiers in Afghanistan.
 
It’s amazing how quickly just $2 can add up. If all of my Facebook and Twitter friends donate $2 to the cause, we will raise over $2,400. To make your $2 – or more! – contribution, go to our Facebook page and click on “Donate”. There is also a shop if you’d like to buy merchandise. (I’m not in the calendar this year, but hopefully will be next year!)
 
We are also collecting stockings and items for the stockings, so if you prefer to donate items instead of or in addition to money, there is a list online of what we need. You can bring them to me by noon on Saturday, 11/12 or mail them to
 
PINUPS FOR SOLDIERS
P.O. BOX 3040
LOGANVILLE, GA 30052
 
And/or you can come see us at our Veteran’s Day event Saturday night at the Masquerade – Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge – Pinups for Soldiers Burlesque Show
 
Be sure to let me know when you make a donation because I want to brag on you and thank you myself. Thank you for supporting such a wonderful cause!
 
For more information about the group, you can go to our website.

I’ve Known You Before

About a month ago, I had a dream more vivid than anything I have ever experienced. I sat up in bed and wrote this poem in literally 5 minutes. Please note: This is fiction and only based on a dream. A beautiful dream, but nonetheless, just a dream…


Bridge

A bridge in Innsbruck, Austria



I’ve Known You Before


I’ve known you before.
You take my hand and then a flash
A dashing young man in uniform
And a blushing young lady too taken to look into his eyes.

I’ve known you before.
Two young hearts madly in love
A promise made, an eternal bond formed
A proposal refused until a soldier could return home.

I’ve known you before.
Two souls who couldn’t bear to part
Hands that wouldn’t unclasp, tears that wouldn’t stop falling
A token of love sent with him to the battlefield.

I’ve known you before.
Letters from afar
Sharing memories of dancing cheek to cheek
And kissing on the bridge until dawn.

I’ve known you before
But you were taken from me far too early
Now the universe gives us another chance
But is it too late to get it right? Please say no.

I’ve known you before
You’re half of my soul and all of my heart.
The father of my children, the love of my life.
The one who follows me thru eternity.

I’ve known you before
You’re a part of me
Connected by a cord
Stronger than steel.

I’ve known you before.
Now I’ve found you again
I loved you then
But I love you even more now.

I’ve known you before.
And I’m not going to lose you again.
We belong to each other.
One heart, one soul.

I’ve known you before.

Betty does Greenwood Lake

Costello

Got my lips on Lou Costello!



Abbott

Then got my lips on Abbott. Didn’t want him to get jealous!



WarbirdPInups

With a couple of the Warbird Pinup girls. Nice to meet you ladies!


Thank you Tim Wagner and everyone at the Greenwood Lake Air Show for your hospitality. I had a great time. Hope to see y’all next year (minus Irene, of course)!

Do you have pictures with Betty from this event that you’re willing to share? If so, please e-mail them to BettyGrableLegs (at) gmail (dot) com.

“Best to take the moment present as a present for the moment.”

3 DPU Allison  ddd 222

In “Into the Woods”, there is a song Cinderella’s Prince sings called “Any Moment”. Some of the lyrics are the line above and the following:

“Days are made of moments,
All are worth exploring.
Many kinds of moments-
None is worth ignoring.
All we have are moments,
Memories for storing.
One would be so boring…”

Of course, he’s trying to seduce the Baker’s Wife and succeeds, but these lyrics have come to mind many times over the past months. As I get older, I’ve learned how important moments are – how special they can be and how you should enjoy them. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world that we forget to stop and smell the roses. I personally wear so many hats – voice teacher, running a theatre company that I often get drafted to do several other jobs with (other than being the director), organizing a USO show and a pinup calendar, putting together some shows for a local venue, acting and singing, and of course portraying Betty Grable. All of these – well, okay, MOST of these – I greatly believe in and enjoy, but it’s very easy to get the blinders on and just get the job done. When I do that, I miss out on the process. On the moments.

A few memorable moments I have had that I hope to write more about in the coming weeks:

Reading –

1. Riding in a parade through Reading, PA with JFK and a bunch of soldier boys, then stopping to get my picture taken with Generals Patton and MacArthur.IMG 0074

2. Doing an impromptu skit with Abbott and Costello and JFK throwing in a surprise kiss for all of them. (And yes, my pants are falling down. How embarrasing!ReadingReading2

3. Meeting some INCREDIBLE vets who have lived and seen more than I could possibly imagine. And quite a few were huge flirts! ☺

4. Dancing so hard my feet hurt.
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5. Going to a luau that some of the Navy guys threw and having my first grog and some moonshine.

6. Giving Lou Costello and pinup lesson.
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7. Being treated like a million bucks by all of the gentlemen there. I’m not used to that, but could get quite used to it!

8. Taking pics in front of a ton of planes!
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Secret City

1. Meeting up with and catching up with an old friend, Eric. ☺

2. Getting our picture made with the Village People and getting my name (Betty Grable) mentioned several times from the stage. A girl could get used to having that big a fuss made over her!Betty2Betty

3. Running into the SS tent (the closest tent) when it started raining, then winding up in the German command tent.

4. Watching the Germans have a mudslide “but don’t spill your beer” contest while the Americans were packing up. Come on, Americans! What happened?

5. Sitting in the German command tent with 5 other people. We all had our feet up on a chair because the tent was flooded, but the good company and a little help from a bottle someone brought made it one of the most enjoyable days! Lots of laughing.

6. Getting my picture made in a German tunic one of the officers had given me when I was cold.
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7. Going to dinner with the Germans, then sitting around their campfire, and walking to the bell. Good new friends, good wine, GREAT company.
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Theatre

1. Knowing I had an impressive audition for “Footloose”. There’s nothing better than walking out of an audition and knowing you did a good job – and I got the part, by the way. I know you’re all going to come see me play the Reverend’s wife!

2. Getting in touch with my inner mother playing Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz” with one of my Von Trapp kids playing Dorothy.

3. Getting to be just a cast member (although I’m doing costumes) in something!

Other

1. Cuddling with my kitties and a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Boys

2. Having the coolest shower in town. You really have to see this thing – it looks like a space shuttle. Shower

3. Sitting out on my back porch, making a fire, and looking at the water.

4. Being on the cover of Fayette Woman magazine with my mother. FW cover 0511 385x5003Cover allison jeanne jpg1 300x215

5. Playing one of my dream roles (definitely on the bucket list – the Marquise in “Dangerous Liaisons”), even if it was just one scene and two nights. Here’s the Civil War dress I converted to an 18th century costume: Marquise

These past couple of months have certainly had their share of ups and downs, but also lots of good friends (many new ones!) and laughs. I have to say I’m proud of myself for learning to recognize and enjoy these moments and not just go into “business” mode all the time. I’m one of those types who wants everything I do to be perfect, and then I wake up one day and 5 years of my life are gone.

Portraying Betty Grable in particular has really introduced me to a lot. It started out as a hoby, but has become a passion. I love meeting the people. Reenactors and vets are some of the best people you’ll ever know. Keep those bookings coming, folks! I’m ready to take this to the next level, so hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of me and not just in the south!
2 DPU Allison RAW

And keep your eyes open for the pinup calendar – it’s coming up next! I’ll keep you posted. It’s going to be a ton of work, but a lot of fun. If only the boss could figure out what she’s going to wear… ☺

1 DPU Allison RAW

Busy bee!

Wow. It’s been awhile – way too long – since I have posted something. I HAVE to get better about keeping up with things.

 

Please be patient with me, folks, as I learn about blogging and how to develop a website. This is all new for me, but I’m learning fast! Will be adding more pics, events, and information on my pinup calendar soon.

 

In the meantime, if you need/want a Betty Grable at your event or show, please e-mail BookBetty (at) BettyGrableLegs.com

 

I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Model Mayhem, and several pinup sites. There are links on the right. I’d love for you to look me up and come see me!

 

Next up for me right now:

July 19 & 21 – Shooting my pinup calendar

July 21-24 – Playing Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz”

August 13-14 – Appearing as Betty Grable at the Battleship New Jersey

September 2, 3, 9, & 10 – Playing Vi Moore (the Reverend’s wife?!) in “Footloose”

October 8 & 9 – Appearing as Betty Grable and selling pinup calendars at The Great Georgia Air Show

 

For those of you who don’t know me, I wear many different hats. Apart from reenacting Betty Grable, I run a theatre company, teach voice lessons, and am an actress, singer, and model. But I have to say… These Betty Grable gigs are the most fun!

 

Keep ‘em coming, folks!

Metaphor

Mom’s been urging me to start a blog forever – Mom, who’s the writer. I don’t consider myself a writer. A composer perhaps, but not a writer…

 

However, I have felt compelled to talk about many subjects lately-

 

  • How bullying has entered my life AGAIN. And how, after turning the other cheek my whole life, I have had enough and am standing up to it, getting rid of all of the negativity and negative people in my life and making no apologies for it.

 

  • How I’m finally taking control of my life, getting out from underneath all of the boxes from a move over two years ago, trying to separate the theatre (which I know a lot of people love and I do, too) from me and what I want and need, trying to find time to play and to perform again, trying to figure out what and who I REALLY want to be when I grow up.

 

  • How many exciting opportunities I have in my life right now. How I feel like I’m finding my identity and individuality for the first time in my life. How I’m starting to take care of myself. How I’m noticing the beauty all around me and working on my own, inside and out.

 

And I do intend to write about every one of those subjects. I have so much to say, so much to process, that it’s not even funny.

 

Today, I was walking out to the mailbox, and I caught a glimpse of something in the brush.

 

 

Peeking out of a mountain of other plants was this beautiful flower. I was very touched. I’ve never seen it before. I pulled back all of the brush and admired it’s beauty. I promised it I would come back and trim away all of the plants – both good and bad – that are encroaching on it, choking it, keeping it from the sunlight, keeping it from becoming everything it is capable of being… And yet admiring how beautiful it is, even though it’s mostly covered up, in the background, and has gone unnoticed for so long.

 

 

At the beginning of the year, a little voice in my head said, “This is the year you’re going to fall in love.” I took it literally, but something tells me I shouldn’t have made assumptions. Stay tuned, folks…