Tuesday, September 7, 2010

chain of events

tip, noun, verb
a small present of money given directly to someone for performing a service or menial task; gratuity: He gave the waiter a dollar as a tip.

Things you may not know about me: In my country, "tipping" is not a cultural norm. Here, we are paid wages for work, and rarely, a gratuity for a job well done. I have many years of RL work history in the hospitality industry and can count the instances of tipping on one hand.

No matter where you are from, however, it only takes a few days in SL to realise that "tipping" forms the basis of the economy. At almost every venue and many shops, you will be invited to tip the venue, the performer, and sometimes the staff working for the venue. In every venue I have been to, this "tipping" is, in fact, the only payment for any entertainment enjoyed by people using the venue. There are no cover or door charges, and very few membership or subscription fees.

Since I started working inSecond Life, I have worked for tips. To me, from my cultural perspective, this means, in order to be tipped for my work, I must do a "better than usual" job; as an entertainer and as the owner of an entertainment venue, I have struggled at times to ensure that my work was the best it could possibly be. I did what I could to make sure my work as a performer was diligent and committed. I made sure my venue was competently run and outfitted.

As a performer, I was aware I was not to everyone's taste. Knowing I was "light" on the standard themes and practices (grrr@emoting). I always assumed I would appeal to a "niche" market, and was comfortable with that.

But lately my niche has dropped away. Lately I have made consistently less in tips than the other performers. And it has occurred to me, as I watched my ability to provide for my virtual life dwindle, that perhaps times or tastes have changed. Often, at shows, the audience would be filled with friends of one or another dancer. My friends either couldn't attend, or were broke. And I was not reaching the audiences who were in attendance.

On Saturday night I made a clear 500L less than the other dancers. All of them. I am well aware of how and why it occurred, and there IS reason, but let's pretend that I am wrong, and I am just 500L less quality than other dancers. That's a significant difference. Particularly at a Factory show. The Factory is supposed to be the flagship venue of Virtual Burlesque. In my opinion, if a dancer is 500L worse than the rest of the team, she is below the required standard.

So I retired.

And as I considered retiring from burlesque, I remembered that I took up burlesque to pay some of Idle Rogue's expenses. And that my work has not, for some time, come close to meeting the weekly outgoings of running Idle Rogue. And that was when I realised that Idle Rogue had to stop too.

more to come ...

1 comment:

  1. You asked me to come to the Circus and I did...your vague reasoning was never explained but I did anyway because you asked. And everyone still loves you. I don't know how much of this I would take personally or blame on summer....my tips have suffered greatly...but if there is "some mysterious reason" please tell me. And BTW - Emoting bothers me. The only time I really like it is in a skit like Madison's at Halloween when she was held hostage and made to dance to death.