My friend Caela Bailey is a force to be reckoned with. I think I first met her when she was dancing with the Hill Rat Fly Girls, doing throwback dance routines on Tuesday nights at Havana—bringing back the 90s before bringing back the 90s was back in style. When I’m put in the position to briefly describe what she does, I’ll stammer with a momentary loss of words, because it’s hard to wrap a few words around her talents. “She’s a...performer,” I’ll say—which is accurate, but doesn’t quite capture it. She performs with burlesque troupes, but isn’t exactly a burlesque dancer—she’s more likely to be seen singing a sultry soul number between acts while the kitten clears the stage. She went viral a few years back when her and a gang of friends parodied “Blurred Lines” with a gender reversal of the controversial track. Her most recent successes have been the long-awaited release of her full-length record The Gospel of the Gutter Queen, the debut of “Belltown Crawl”—her music video and first single off the album—on the Stranger, and her autobiographical one-woman show, “Who In The World Are You?” at the Triple Door.
About a month ago, Caela invited me over for a photo shoot. She wanted to document the Capitol Hill home she’d been living in for the past 4.5 years as well as some of the more special garments she planned to off load as she prepared to cohabitate with her long-term girlfriend. I’d been marathoning Mad Men at the time, so when I walked in and Caela was in this exquisite gold muumuu, her hair in hot rollers, and her home filled with midcentury design, I knew exactly what to do.