Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip:

When at a festival or similar large gathering, wash your hands often.

Burlesque festival season is starting — Vermont is next weekend and The Expo is (*yikes*) about a month away — and I’m going to a SF con this weekend. They’re great places to pick up and spread sickness, so protect yourself and those around you. The best way to do that is to wash your hands frequently, especially before handling food or touching your eyes or mouth, like putting on your makeup.

Make sure you get all the surfaces of your hands soapy and lather for 20 seconds — that’s how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice — before rinsing. All that handwashing can be drying to your skin, especially in the winter, so I slather on a little lotion while my hands are still slightly damp. Mrs. V and the Bees makes a solid moisturizer that’s nice for keeping in your bag.

Sometimes it’s not possible to actually wash (I remember an airplane bathroom where the sink had no water. Ick.) and that’s when you turn to hand sanitizer. It’s not as effective as a good wash, but it’s so much better than nothing. I love Working Girl from Atomic Cosmetics (I swear, I have no affiliation other than being an utterly satisfied customer), which has moisturizer built in! And you can get it in tiny purse-sized tubes as well as big bottles.

Wishing you health this winter,
M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 13 January 2017 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Review: Lady of Burlesque

Dear Constant Reader,

Lady of Burlesque: The Career of Gypsy Rose Lee by Robert Strom (2011).

This was a gift from one of my Adoring Fans who indulged me in something from my wish list.

I’ve already read a number of books* on Gypsy Rose Lee and wondered what new information I could possibly glean from this, but it wasn’t the expected biography. Mr. Strom presents a year-by year timeline of Gypsy’s career, from 1930 until her death in 1970. He cites his sources (a newspaper article, a contract, &c.) and frequently quotes entire articles. The book is peppered with photographs, some I’d not seen before. The book is rounded out with appendices, like a discography, productions of Gypsy, and more.

Not what I would call a gripping read, but a fine reference book.

M2 *American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose, Gypsy Rose Lee, Writing & Stripping, Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy and Me: At Home and on the Road With Gypsy Rose Lee, Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother, Gypsy: The Art of the Tease, and of course, Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper

Published in: on 12 January 2017 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! It’s the first Friday Tip of 2017!

Consider a paper appointment book.

There’s something so delightful about a fresh appointment book at the beginning of the year and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the year, flipping through the pages. I just love putting pen to paper (but you all knew that).

This is my lovely new book for 2017.

I’m particularly fond of this style. It has one week per two pages, plenty of room for notes, a month by month calendar, a clever next year calendar, all sorts of useful information lists, and two ribbon bookmarks.

I find I’m more likely to remember appointments when I write them, as opposed to type them. I carry my book in my purse and refer to it often. And I get to say “I’ll pencil you in” and mean it.

By all means, use the calendar function on your phone — I do. It has all sorts of useful functionality, like alerts and sharing and things. This is an addition, rather than a replacement.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 6 January 2017 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Other Pasttimes

Dear Constant Reader,

Besides making costumes, I also indulge in embroidery and other handwork. When I have time. Which, sadly, is not as often as I’d like. I have a big basket of unfinished projects, and every now and then I buckle down and complete one, as I did last night.

Ta da!
Trapunto tea cozy
A trapunto tea cozy!

A what?, you ask. Trapunto is an Italian quilting technique that involves extra stuffing in the design elements to get a dimensional effect. It’s very time consuming. This is the front, which was hand-quilted and stuffed. The back is a simpler version of this design, which was machine-quilted and has no trapunto work (it was never going to be finished if I had to do two sides by hand).

A tea cozy, for those poor unfortunate souls who have never been to a proper tea, is like a winter coat for your tea pot to keep the contents nice and warm. This is a traditional style of cozy that sits over the pot, like an over-sized hat.

cozyTo the right you can see a different style of cozy, which was knitted by my doting mother. One can pour the tea without taking the cozy off. Sometimes it’s known as a “bachelor’s cozy”, presumably because men are too busy or lazy to remove a cozy or that’s a woman’s job or some other Victorian nonsense.

One project down! Many more in progress. However, The Expo and other events loom close and I fear my embroidery time has come to an end for now.


Published in: on 4 January 2017 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Being Better in 2017

Dear Constant Reader,

In my last Friday Tip, I recommended creating a list of self-improvement goals for the new year and promised to share mine. Here goes:

Work on flexibility: My hip flexors don’t. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do a split, but I know I can improve what I’ve got.

Be more social: I’ve been feeling kind of hermit-like and I should see my friends more often. Maybe that means throwing more parties, maybe just getting together for a cup of tea and some crafting.

Hoop: I love it, it’s good exercise and lots of fun. No reason that my hoops should just be standing idle.

Use the stash: I’ve got some great fabric and trim, but it’s useless if it’s just in a box. I want to reduce it by making costumes and clothing.

Cook more: More historic cooking, more healthy cooking, more make-ahead-and-freeze.

Write more: I’ve got two books in the works. I’d like to finish one or both of them. But also I want to write more here. I’ve got books waiting for reviews and other stuff to share with you, Constant Reader.

Snuggle with Albert: This is an easy one, but important. Sometimes I’m just sitting in front of my computer, wasting time, when I could be spending time with Albert.

Take baths: I have a perfectly lovely jacuzzi tub and a plethora of bath products. It’s a great way to relax. Why don’t I?

Travel to perform more: I’ve already got my first out-of-town show booked, but I would like more, and in places I’ve never performed. I’m thinking of San Francisco, Chicago, Jacksonville, and Seattle, in particular.

Promote B.A.B.E.: With the move, my rent is reduced and I’ll have more cash to spend on advertising. I just have to figure out the most effective way to reach my audience.

Learn something new: Don’t know what yet, but take a class or otherwise explore something that I never have.

Create some new acts: My least favorite part of performing, but so vital.

That’s a dozen things I want to work on in 2017. I’ll let you know how I did at the end of the year.


Published in: on 3 January 2017 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

We’re almost at the end of 2016! What a year it’s been! I can’t say that I’m sorry to see the back of it and I’m hoping for better times in 2017.

Here’s your tip!

Make a list of self-improvement goals for the coming year. Next year at this time, see how you did.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. They are, in the words of Mary Poppins, a pie crust promise — easily made, easily broken.

People set themselves hard, quantifiable goals like “I will go to the gym 5 days a week.” They’re probably good about it for a little while and then life gets in the way, the resolution is broken, and maybe the resolver feels guilty, maybe not. I prefer things like “I want to go to the gym more often.” It’s open ended. Think of it as things you want to work on, not things you must achieve. You’re trying to be better, not perfect.

Just for accountability, I’ll share my own list in a separate missive.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 30 December 2016 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

So Very Busy

Dear Constant Reader,

It feels like it’s very a very long time since I penned a missive that was not a Friday tip.

We’ve been very busy preparing for Twenty-SevenTease, our New Year’s Eve show at The Thalia, in its first use as an actual theatre.
It’s going to be a splendid show of opulent acts — some you’ve never seen before and some favorites — along with a little comedy, song, and magic, and appearances by our new interns! Please join us on Friday the 30th or New Year’s Eve!

We’ll also be appearing, early in the evening on New Year’s Eve, at Jazz from the Ashes at Aeronaut Brewing Company/Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The party is shaping up to be a very interesting experience. I’m so intrigued to see it in full-swing! From there we’re running back to The Thalia for Twenty-SevenTease.

The Thalia is being built around us. We’ve basically been rehearsing in a construction site, but we can handle it! If you saw Wrathskellar Tales, you won’t recognize the space. It’s a work in progress, but so much progress has been made!

And to top everything else off, I’ve been moving out of the B.A.B.E. studio. We’ve been in that building for six years and it’s been a lot of work to return the space to its original state. Almost all of the B.A.B.E. and BeauTease paraphernalia is out, the dance floor is gone, and tomorrow the mirrors are coming down. I’m sad to leave, but exciting to be moving on.

See you at The Thalia!


Published in: on 28 December 2016 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! And happy Christmas Eve Eve and day before the first night of Hanukkah to those who celebrate.

Here’s your tip!

To keep your rhinestones sparkly, put them on after you’re done with your hair & makeup.

Fine particles like powdered cosmetics and hair spray can settle on rhinestones and dull their shine. Wait until after you’re all made up to put on your bling.

I could tell you how to polish your stones to renew their shine, but I think I’ll save that for another Friday.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 23 December 2016 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! It’s extremely cold here in Boston. I hope you’re keeping warm!

Before I get to your tip, a few notes…

The Boston BeauTease will be presenting a fabulous New Year’s Eve show, which we’re calling Twenty Seven-Tease. Already have plans on NYE? Join us the night before for an early celebration!

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be appearing in A Night of Classic Burlesque in Albuquerque, NM in March. The show is produced by Holly Rebelle and featuring Lola van Ella. I’m so excited to make my first trip to the Land of Enchantment and for such a wonderful show!

B.A.B.E. classes will be starting up again on January 3rd!

Here’s your tip, courtesy of Mr. Scratch:

If you want big sparkly balls for the ends of your boa, now’s the time to buy them. The store may think they’re Christmas decorations, but we know better!

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque. It makes a great holiday gift!

Published in: on 16 December 2016 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Warm up before you stretch.

Stretching is not the same thing as warming up, although I’ve heard people use the terms as though they were synonymous. You want your muscles and joints to be nice and warm before you start stretching, to avoid injury. The warm up doesn’t have to be a major production, just 5-10 minutes of movement through all your body parts to get them warm and loose before you start stretching. Personally, I love the warm up on Kristina Nekyia’s Get Bent! and do it all the time.

You want to do things in this order to get the maximum benefit: warm up, stretch, work out/rehearse/perform/&c., stretch more and cool down. And if you’re working out: do cardio first and then strength training.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 9 December 2016 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment