Sparkly Devil - Live for joy

Live For Joy – Sparkly Devil

June 20, 2013 - 2 Comments

Sparkly Devil at the Hubba Hubba Revue by Patrick McCrackenSparkly Devil at Hubba Hubba Revue, DNA Lounge, San Francisco, California, 25 May 2013. Photo Courtesy Of: Patrick McCracken

Writer, burlesque rebel, opinionated loudmouth, sparkle addict, Crossfitter, wreakor of havoc.

That’s how Sarah described herself.

She was all of those things and so much more.

I’ve been trying for the past few weeks to make sense of what happened in the early hours of May 26th, 2013. And still nothing does. The facts are there. The cold, immovable truth that my friend was killed in a car accident outside of San Francisco returning home from a performance at the Hubba Hubba Revue. Bones, her loving (and perfectly matched) husband critically injured.

And there it is. It takes a second for the news to be told, and a lifetime or more to process it.

The past few weeks have frankly, sucked.

They have been the suckiest suck suck that ever sucked, for me, and for a lot of people who knew and loved Sarah.

My friend Patrick likened this to a Tsunami. This all encompassing wave of grief that just hits you out of nowhere, drags you under, and suffocates you.

My tsunami moment happened the other day when I saw a woman crossing the street who looked like Sarah – same killer curves, bold red lips, bleached blonde hair and a leopard print coat. She was going into a Tim Horton’s here in Toronto. Logically, of course I knew it wasn’t her. But I tried to get across the street to see none the less. A car passed by blocking her from my line of sight and then she was gone.

And that just did it. In that moment it really hit me that she was actually gone.

Cue pouring rain, and me sobbing in the street looking like the soggy bastard love child of Marc Bolan and the Crow.

I walked home in the rain half crying and half laughing at the absurdity of thinking I saw Sarah in Tim Horton’s, and what her reaction would be to find herself haunting a donut shop in Canada.

Suffice to say there would be a lot of expletives from Sarah in my imagining of this.

At After Dark, San FranciscoAfter Dark, San Francisco 2007 accosting Sparkly while doing a Zoolander. Sarah’s expression is the best.

So I’ve tried over and over again to write about Sarah and these recent events. It’s a pretty impossible task, and I can’t even begin to simply sum up such an absolutely brilliant, sparkling and inspiring life as Sarah’s. Nor do I really want to.

What I can do, is write about those little moments, those random things that you remember about a person. Like the daft road trip film I wrote with Sparkly as one of the main characters, or the fact that Sarah was the first person to send me a Gmail invite (my password for the longest time was  her stage name Sparkly Devil), that her wedding invitation was pinned by my desk at work for years – Sparkly and Bones embraced – always giving me hope for a whirlwind fairytale romance of my own, or hearing about the epic “Sephora Glitter Battle” between Diana and she in Las Vegas, envisioning mountains of red glitter covering the two of them.

All these little moments in between the bigger ones that define and make a person who they are.

The first time I met Sarah in person was one cold, oddly snowless winter over ten years ago in 2002.

sparklydevil_chicagoSarah with Carie & Ismene in Chicago, 2002.

We had become fast friends online through various newsgroups, as well as following each other’s LJs where her wit and humor really shone as she shared the adventures and nuances of her life with friends.

At the time I was living in the UK and had a vacation to Chicago coming up. When Sarah found out I was headed stateside she told me she was going to drive from Detroit to Chicago to meet me and we could hang out.

That was the type of person she was, to drive across states to see a friend from afar. I remember being floored by this; she was always one of the cool kids to me. Sarah said she needed to test drive the new VW Beetle for an article she was writing and it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

Article or no, the fact that she drove 4 hours there and back to spend a weekend with someone she hadn’t met in person yet really touched me.

Sarah & I Hamming It Up In Chicago, 2002Sarah & I, Dorking it up in Chicago, 2002

The trip was fantastic, and meeting Sarah was an absolute highlight. I adored her. It’s too rare in this life to come across someone like Sarah. After that trip I would subsequently get to see her again several times in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Too few but brilliant times I’m so incredibly glad for.

It’s upsetting and sadly unsurprising to see some of the articles coming out now in the wake of her death, tabloid and sensational elements painting a one dimensional picture of who she was.

Yes, Sarah was a Burlesque Star and absolutely beautiful.

Sparkly Devil performing at Little Minskys in San Francisco

Sparkly Devil, Little Minskys, Club Deluxe in SF

She was also an accomplished journalist with a razor sharp wit, fiercely intelligent and articulate with a fantastic knack for swearing like a sailor in all the right places.

Sparkly Devil, Photo By Patrick McCracken

Sparkly Devil Burleque Performance at Little Minskys

She was an incredibly creative performer with perfect comedic timing and an explosive presence on and off the stage.

Sparkly Devil Photo By Noctopia

A glamorous pin up with a deep seated respect and sense of history in regards to the Burlesque movement. She championed this history and educated those unaware of the roots and trailblazing creative efforts of Burlesque performers of yore. She was at the forefront of this revival long before it was the cool thing to do.

Sparkly Devil by Patrick McCrackenPhotos Courtesy Of: Patrick McCracken

The articles out there focusing on a sensational story don’t convey what I loved about Sarah. She defied convention and you couldn’t pigeon hole her.

I loved that she was a Feminist and a geek, who delighted in Bruce Campbell leaving her a voice mail. How infectious her energy and enthusiasm was, and how she was always doing a million different interesting things at any given time. She led by example and was an incredibly inspiring woman and I admired her greatly.

Was. Man…it’s still really hard to use past tense now. Sparkly *is* inspiring and will continue to inspire me in how to live passionately.

Sarah – the original Bullet Bra Bombshell. Brains, Bawdy and Beautiful.

I am so glad I had the chance to see her perform in person. The above photos are from that night in April 2007 at Little Minsky’s shot by our talented friend Patrick McCracken, who photographed many of Sarah’s performances. That evening Sarah made sure I had the best seat in the house, right up front by the stage where I was treated to a special performance. The club was packed, and it was clear why after Sparkly Devil’s show.

Sarah and I may have lived thousands of miles apart, (the curse of making friends online is often the distance), but my life is that much more sparkly and better for having known her.

I can’t even begin to piece together all the wonderful things she was. Simply, she was my friend, fiercely loyal and so big hearted with such a wicked sense of humor. I am going to miss her so bloody much.

Live for joy.

Sarah, no one could ever accuse you of anything less.