Book Update

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m thrilled to let you know that Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Burlesque Costuming, Vol. 1: The Foundations has reached its initial funding goal!

And we’ve just made the first stretch goal! The book will now include a bonus chapter! Besides teaching you how to make pasties, g-strings, panties, and bras, I’ll also show you how to make charming bags to store and transport your dainties.

Our next stretch goal is on the horizon. If we make that one, the book will have 4 pages in color! If we make that one, I’ll have to come up with something else! That’s a problem, I’d like to have.

You’ve got 8 days left to pre-order a copy and 3 days if you want your name in the acknowledgments.

Thank you all, Dear Readers, for your support.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

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Published in: on 15 October 2018 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! This week’s tip comes from my new book, Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Burlesque Costuming, Vol. 1: The Foundations, now available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

Removable linings make laundering garments a snap.

If you’ve got a garment that you can’t wash because of the material or the decoration, add a lining that you can remove and clean. Just cut a second lining out of some comfortable cloth — I like cotton. Turn the raw edges under and zigzag stitch them.

Now attach it to the inside of your garment. When I first tried this I basted the lining in place, picked out the stitches, and resewed it after washing, but that got old real fast. Now I just add a snap at each corner of the garment and lining.

When the lining is soiled, remove and wash. When it’s dry, snap it back in. When it gets too worn to keep wearing, toss it and make a new one.

I use this most often on intimate garments like g-strings or in the cups of bras. You can also do a partial lining in larger garments where you just want to target a particularly grimy area, like the neckline or underarms of a gown.

Illustration by Stacey B. Rizoli (aka Devastasia), proprietress of Red Queen Crafts. You’ll see more of her charming clear illustrations in the Little Book of Burlesque Costuming.

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

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 12 October 2018 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Book

Dear Constant Reader,

I am delighted to announce…

Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Burlesque Costuming, vol 1: The Foundations is available for pre-order on Kickstarter!

As with my previous book, our funding goal is very modest and it’s only open for a short time. We’ve got some great stretch goals! Last time they were being hit almost faster than I could come up with them. Let’s make that happen again!

I’ve really excited that this book is finally seeing the light of day. As far as I know this is one of the first, if not *the* first book, entirely about how to make burlesque costumes. The Foundations covers pasties, g-strings, panties, and bras. I’ve got several more volumes planned! How to make all your favorite burlesque costume pieces plus tips and tricks!

I’m hoping, if all goes well, that I’ll have the book ready for BurlyCon. That’s a very short deadline! I’m confident that it will absolutely be ready in time for your favorite winter gift-giving holiday

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 10 October 2018 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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In the Kitchen: Cherry Bounce

Dear Constant Reader,

It seems you all like my cooking posts best (at least according to my site stats), so I’ll endeavor to give you more!

This latest recipe is very vintage — it dates back to at least the 18th century! As you, dear Reader, know well, early summer brings cherries to The Manor and a desperate attempt to use them and preserve them. This year I was determined to try Cherry Bounce, a cordial popular in colonial days. It was said to be a favorite of George Washington.

Cherry bounce is made with cherries (or any stone fruit, though you’d have to change the name…), sugar, and liquor. Washington liked his with brandy, but you can also use rum or whiskey or vodka. Each adds its own characteristics to the bounce. Sometimes the fruit is used whole, sometimes it’s pressed for its juice. You can also add spices or even fresh herbs. For a lower proof, add some water. I’ve seen so many variations.

We used a very simple recipe that’s much like my Christmas fan dance: Sugar Rum Cherry. I wanted to use rum, as it’s very New England and also my favorite spirit. I decided not to add any spices as I feared the results might taste like cough syrup (based on an unfortunate experiment with raspberry cordial once).

Take a big glass jar with a lid. Add a pound of sugar and then a little rum to dissolve. Add a pound of cherries and mash them a bit. Pour a quart of rum over it all. Let it sit in a sunny place for a week, then store in a dark place for at least a month. Strain the liquid and pour into bottles.

We made two versions, each with 2 pounds of sugar, 2 pounds of cherries, and a 1.75 L bottle of rum. The first was a white rum and we put the cherries in whole and then bashed them around with a spoon after the rum was added. The second was gold rum and we bashed the cherries into the sugar with a potato masher before adding the rum.

We let the jars of bounce sit for a week in the pantry and I would stir them every day to make sure the sugar stayed in solution and further bruise the cherries. Then we stashed them in a cabinet for about 2 months. I strained out the cherries and poured the bounce back into the jars. The white rum bounce is pretty clear, but the gold, where the cherries were crushed, has a lot of sediment. I need to find some attractive bottles to decant the bounce into. When I bottle it, I’ll strain it too (coffee filters work well for that).

So, how does it taste? Very good. It’s intensely cherry. I think the white is actually more cherry-flavored than the gold. The gold has more of a boozy taste. And they’re both quite strong. It’s a nice dessert tipple to be drunk out of wee glasses. I’m sure some creative sort could come up with a cocktail that uses cherry bounce.

I was going to toss the cherries, assuming they had given up all their cherry goodness and no longer tasted like anything. However, upon sampling, they still taste like cherries and very much like rum. I pulled out all the whole ones and froze them. They’ll be great over ice cream. Maybe I’ll even flame them like cherries jubilee.

Martha Washington’s original recipe, if you want give it a try:
Extract the juice of 20 pounds well ripend Morrella cherrys. Add to this 10 quarts of old french brandy and sweeten it with White sugar to your taste. To 5 gallons of this mixture add one ounce of spice such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmegs of each an Equal quantity slightly bruis’d and a pint and half of cherry kirnels that have been gently broken in a mortar. After the liquor has fermented let it stand close-stoped for a month or six weeks then bottle it, remembering to put a lump of Loaf Sugar into each bottle.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 9 October 2018 at 11:02 am  Comments (1)  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! This week’s tip comes from the wisdom of burlesque Legend Toni Elling, The Duke’s Delight. I first met Miss Elling at Miss Exotic World in 2006, but received this pearl from her at the very first BurlyCon.

Keep your head up.

Toni said never to drop your head on stage. You’re not ashamed of what you do, so never look like it. She also said not to take a bow, but to receive the audience’s appreciation upright. I’ve taken this advice to heart ever since.

Keeping your head up is about more than just pride in your chosen art. It also keeps your connection to and interest in the audience. Dropping your head breaks that connection. If you want to direct the audience’s attention to something low on the stage, like your leg, lower your eyes, but not your whole head. Similarly if you need to pick something up, bend from the hips or sink down into a squat while looking out, rather than just bending over from the waist.

As always there are exceptions: since lowering your head signals defeat or shame, these are emotions you may want to project for a specific character or moment.

Chin up!

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

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 5 October 2018 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Upcoming Shows

Dear Constant Reader,

September was a quiet month at BeauTease HQ, but October and November are going to be mighty busy!

It all starts the first Saturday in October with a private show at a Las Vegas-themed birthday party. However, you can still see us that day. We’ll be making an appearance at the grand opening of Baby’s Bonetown BBQ in Cranston, RI right before the private show.

On Friday the 12th of October, we return to Deacon Giles for Bad Luck Burlesque II. It’ll be a little bit Halloween preview, a little on the theme of back luck, and a lot of fun!

And then it’s all Halloween. We’ll be The Castle on Charles on Saturday, October 27 with Boolesque. Devora Darling will be in this show with a brand new dance and everyone’s favorite Wrathskellar act. This may be your only chance to see the Creepy Doll this year! Monday, October 29 the Halloween festivities continue at Bill’s Bar on Landsdowne St. for Monday Masquerade.

I’ll be returning to BurlyCon after a year off to teach costume care and how to make G-strings. If we’re lucky, I’ll even have copies of my new costume book.

November 18th is Blue Plate Special, an all-day party at Down the Road Brewery with bands, burlesque, go-go lessons, and more fun stuff. I’ll be teaching and performing.

Then it’s time for the winter holidays. So far we’re booked at Woody’s in Greenville Junction, ME for Brrrlesque. More venues and dates for this show are coming soon.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 1 October 2018 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Today’s tip is the flip side of last week’s tip. Here it is:

Miss MIna WriterGo back to basics.

If you’re a veteran of your craft, you can still improve it by returning to the fundamentals of it. Perhaps you’ll see something new, try a different method, or otherwise hone your skills. Basic skills are the foundations of any art. It’s always worth it to return to them to further refine your technique.

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

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 28 September 2018 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Miss MIna WriterLearn to walk before you try to run.

I know it’s tough to start with the basics when you just want to jump in the deep end. Begin at the beginning and learn the skills you need to have a solid foundation. Your learning experience will be a lot less frustrating.

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

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 21 September 2018 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Miss MIna WriterKeep track of your costs when creating a new act.

I know it’s tedious, but record at least your cash outlay, like for costume supplies and studio rental. You should also track your time. It has value too.How long did you spend sewing, rehearsing, editing your music, &c. With this information, you’ll have a good idea of what your act is worth. You can then figure out how much you’ll need to charge and how many time you’ll need to perform the act to start making a profit on it.

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

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 14 September 2018 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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In the Kitchen: Bedroll Special (1952)

Dear Constant Reader,

In my collection of mid-century cookbooks, I’m most fond of a series by Robert H. Loeb Jr. I’ve already shared a recipe from Wolf in Chef’s Clothing, his cookbook for men. Now here’s one from Date Bait: The Younger Set’s Picture Cook Book (1952)

Despite the name, it’s mostly recipes to impress your friends and your parents. There’s a lot of reliance on packaged foods (this is the 1950s after all!), especially cake mixes. The first chapter is snacks to keep in your icebox for the hungry midnight raider. I made Bedroll Special, a pinwheel sandwich.

You need bacon, eggs, mayonnaise, butter, olives, and a loaf of unsliced bread.

Start by hard boiling the eggs and cooking the bacon. Chop the eggs fine and crumble the bacon. Mix with mayonnaise.

Then comes the tricky part. Cut off all the crusts, except the bottom one, from the bread. Then cut two thin slices lengthwise from the top. The only unsliced loaf I found at my nearby supermarket was Italian bread which turned out to be too irregularly shaped and squishy to make thin, even slices. I got rather raggedy results, which I ran over with a rolling pin to make flatter and more even. If I do anything like this again, I’ll get an unsliced sandwich loaf from our local Irish bakery.

Spread each slice with softened butter, then spread with the mayo mixture. Get close to the edge. At this point in the recipe you were supposed to go over it with a rolling pin, but I didn’t want to get goop all over mine and the slice was already pretty flat.

Place olives in a row along one short end and then roll the bread up. Wrap each roll in a piece of wax paper and twist the ends to make a little sandwich bonbon. Stash in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, take the rolls out of the fridge and unwrap them. Slice cross-wise into rounds (a serrated knife works well for this). You can cut the ends off first if they’re not so tidy. Pile the rounds onto a serving platter. The cookbook had a little banner that said “You’re For Me”, which you could cut out, glue to a toothpick, and plant in the middle of the stack of sandwiches before replacing them in the fridge for your midnight snacker to find.

Instead of a lovely platter, I put them in a tupperware so they wouldn’t dry out and to make them easier to transport to rehearsal. My presentation is often less than elegant.

They’re pretty good. My taste testers were quite positive. The filling is completely unseasoned, so the salty, briny, and smoky flavors from the olives and bacon were necessary.

Bedroll Special
2 eggs
2 slices bacon
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Stuffed olives
Softened butter
1 loaf unsliced bread

Hard boiling the eggs. Let cool. Cook the bacon until crisp and drain. Crumble bacon into a bowl and mix in mayonnaise. Chop eggs fine and add to mixture.

Cut off all the crusts, except the bottom one, from the bread. Then cut two slices 1/8″ thick lengthwise from loaf.

Spread each slice with softened butter, then spread with the mayo mixture. Get close to the edge. Roll bread with a rolling pin to flatten.

Place olives in a row along one short end and then roll the bread up. Wrap each roll in a piece of wax paper and twist the ends securely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, take the rolls out of the fridge and slice (a serrated knife works best) cross-wise into rounds. Pile the rounds onto a serving platter. If not serving right away, keep under a damp tea towel to keep the bread from drying out.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 11 September 2018 at 11:50 am  Comments (2)  
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