Review: Grizzly Pulp #1

Dear Constant Reader,

Pulp novels and burlesque shows have a lot in common — they were inexpensive, guilty pleasures, rather racy, a little silly, a lot over the top, entertaining in an expected way.

Grizzly Pulp is bringing back the pulp novels staring confidential investigator Tokey Wedge! Who? That’s what I asked too. The good folks at Grizzly Pulp sent me a copy of their first offering (and some cool barware) to check out and I thought I’d share my review with you. Do not expect high art.

239819.nympho-promobook-2Nympho Lodge (Grizzly Pulp #1) by Jack Lynn, originally published 1959.

Janice Bradley is afraid. Her husband is about to divorce her, but she won’t give up The Wagon Wheel, a resort they own jointly. Now she’s received a threatening note hinting at arson. She fears her husband might kill her to get control of the property, so she hires Tokey to be her bodyguard. The contested resort is full of gorgeous women with hot bodies and soon it’s also full of cold bodies… the dead kind. Everyone is a suspect, including Tokey. In the tradition of pulp novels, do not expect a happy ending.

Tokey is short and scrawny, but a tough fighter and a good shot.  Almost all the women are tall, busty, lusty and desperate for Tokey. He spends the entire book fending off their advances, except when he doesn’t. The plot is full of twists and turns, but if you know the pulp formula, you’ll probably figure out the murderer.

This book is ridiculous. It’s a parody of the hard-boiled detective novel. Do note that on the cover it’s not a “Case” or an “Adventure”; it’s a “Swinger”. That should tell you all you need to know. It’s full of lurid violence and sex described in overblown prose. Wild similes abound, as do sentence fragments and the occasional 50 cent word. The prologue has nothing to do with the main plot. The writing is absolutely of its era (late 1950s) in terms of language and attitudes. 

That’s not to say it’s not fun. It’s a quick read with constant action. I love the fact that Grizzly Pulp has printed it on, well, pulp paper. They’ve also been kind enough to wrap the book in a plain black dust jacket, marked only “Grizzly Pulp #1”. That saves some embarrassment, if you’re perusing Nympho Lodge in public — maybe on the beach or poolside. It would be a fine vacation read. Just be warned that you can whip through it in no time, like a bag of potato chips.

The original plan was to sell the first six books in the series at dive bars (how fun!), but the pandemic screwed that up. You can read a sample from Nympho Lodge and buy the book at Grizzly Pulp’s store. If you know an indie bookstore that would like to carry these, drop Grizzly Pulp a line! Nympho Lodge is currently the only book available, but the next ones should be coming out soon. Keep your eyes peeled for Mad for Kicks — “Tokey takes on a GANG of thrill-mad BEATNKS on a shocking binge of MURDER AND PERVERSITY!”

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this. 

 

.

Published in: on 16 June 2021 at 3:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I’m out of town! I got on a plane for the first time in a year and a half to see my family. However, I would not neglect your tip. 

If you wear glasses, have a pair that suits your stage persona.

A lot of performers who need corrective lenses prefer to wear contacts or, if their vision isn’t too bad, take off their glasses before they hit the stage. But some would prefer to wear their glasses and sometimes circumstance require it (like an injury or illness — ask me how I know…). 

In those cases, have a spare pair for stage. They could be vintage or rhinestone-encrusted or whatever goes with your look, so you are presenting a complete package to the audience. You don’t want to be wearing something that looks utilitarian when the rest of you is glam.

However, I can’t take my own advice because my prescription is so freaking extreme that I can’t afford a second pair of glasses. So I made sure my current frames worked for everyday and for stage. They’re a tortoise shell that kind of looks like leopard print and they have a bit of a cat’s eye shape. It’s a pretty good compromise.

The most important thing, though, is that you can see well enough not to fall off the stage!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this. 

Published in: on 11 June 2021 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Here we are, Friday again! After 10 years, maybe I should come up with an actual name for these weekly tips…

Last Friday we talked about washing feathers, here’s how you clean them if they’re too delicate for water or attached to something that shouldn’t get wet.

Use a soft brush to remove dust and dirt from feathers.

A soft flat natural-bristle paintbrush is the best, but you can also use a microfiber cloth. The key is a very light touch. You don’t want to damage the barbules — those are the little hooks that hold together to make the feather vane one smooth piece. Brush in the direction of feather growth — from the shaft to the edge, working your way from the base to the tip. Everyone once in a while, it’s okay to gently stroke the feather with your fingers. A little of the oil on your skin is actually good for the feather.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

 

Published in: on 4 June 2021 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Here it is, Friday again and I have once again failed to fill your week with delightful missives. For that I am terribly sorry. May has been a busy month indeed!

I’m teaching my last installment of Fantastic Fan Dancing tomorrow with “Fan Dance Uncovered”, a history of the art. I’m very excited to teach this brand new class and a little nervous, since it will be my first hybrid class, taught simultaneously at the American Burlesque Collection and on Zoom. Tickets to the in-person class are very limited and include museum admission and a guided tour of the “Fantasy of the Fan Dancer” exhibit. I hope you will join me!

May also celebrates 4 years on Patron and 500 tips right here! You have until Monday to subscribe to my Patreon at the Advisory Committee tier ($5/month) and download my Very Little Book of Costuming Tips, which contains 25 helpful hints to improve your costume-making!

And now for your tip!

You can wash ostrich feathers.

I know it seems terrifying, it can be done! You can wash loose feathers or ones attached to washable clothing. Feathers on fans or headdresses and antique or fragile fragile get a different treatment, which perhaps will become another tip.

Note: if your feathers have been dyed, there is the possibility you’ll get some bleeding. Test a small spot first.

  • Fill a basin (sink, tub, etc.) with tepid water and a little mild soap. Dawn is my go-to.
  • Gently swish the feathers or feather-trimmed garment through the soapy water. Don’t rub or scrub.
  • To rinse, swish through clean cool water. Repeat with new changes of water until the water is clear.
  • You are going to be horrified at how your feathers look. Don’t panic!
  • Lay your feathers on a fluffy towel to dry, preferably on a drying rack. Don’t try to wring out the moisture.
  • The feathers will fluff up a bit as they dry, but after they are completely dry, steam them for maximum fluff.

(I was really sure I’d given you a tip about steaming in the past… I guess it’s a future tip!)

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 28 May 2021 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Review: Forbidden City, USA

Dear Constant Reader,

I know I haven’t been so communicative this month. I’ll try to make it up to you next month, but for now, here’s a quick review.

Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 by Arthur Dong, 2014.

This book is on the same topic as Forbidden City: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs, but it’s also a companion to a documentary, released in 1989. The pages are packed with photos, menus, press clippings, some with wording that may have been cute then, but is cringe-worthy now. The real meat is the interviews with the singers, specialty dancers, and showgirls.

I was most interested in the interview with Noel Toy, the Chinese Sally Rand, who features in my new class, Fan Dance Uncovered (join me on Saturday!). As a nude dancer and later as a stripteaser, she’s the only performer interviewed who did who we would consider burlesque acts. Ivy Tam, a founding member of the Grant Avenue Follies, does mention Coby Yee and scoffs at anyone dismissing her as “just a stripper”. A couple of the others are clear to point out that nobody showed everything, not like American burlesque.

The performers (and one club owner and a choreographer) tell their stories in their own words, which is so precious since so many are no longer with us. They talk about hard word and fun, but also adversity from the more traditional member of their community and war-time prejudices — some of the “Chinese” performers were actually Japanese.

I’ll be looking up the documentary. Reading first-person histories is great, but actually hearing and seeing them is even better.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 27 May 2021 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s Friday again! How does that keep happening?

A few announcements first…

I’ll be teaching a fan dance routine workshop tomorrow (Saturday) at 2PM (Eastern), on-line. It’s Pay-What-You-Can and your fans can be any size and any material.

IMG_1834

BeauTease Burlesque has a video in the Hollywood and Southern California Burlesque FILM Festival and we’d love your vote for Fan Favorite! You can vote up until midnight Pacific time on May 25th. Unless you watched the one screening of The Underwear Academy, you’ve never seen this act before, so go watch it and vote!

And now for your tip…

Don’t trust that your Facebook account will always exist.

Facebook, more than any other social media, has become ubiquitous in our lives and our businesses. As a performer, you need to use it to promote your shows and your other projects. That means creating events (and maybe selling tickets through them), running Pages and Groups, and other features. But…

FB does not love burlesque performers and other sexy people. You never know what post might get your shapely ass thrown in FB jail for 30 days or get your account suspended or even deleted. And FB makes it very hard to appeal their decisions and impossible to talk to an actual human being to get some answers or plead your case, so you may be stuck.

Make sure you have a backup account or a trusted friend or colleague set up as an admin on everything you run through FB so you’re not locked out.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 21 May 2021 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s another celebratory Friday! B.A.B.E. turned 15 today! I taught my first burlesque class under the auspices of my own school on May 14, 2006 (it was Mother’s Day). I didn’t expect the class to sell out and I certainly didn’t expect that a decade and a half I’d still be running a burlesque academy. Thank you, everyone, for your support over the years — all my students, instructors, and anyone who has spread the good word about B.A.B.E. Here’s looking forward to many more years of bump & grind!

This tip comes from something I realized very early on as an instructor.

When creating a teaching choreography, be sparing with moves where you face away.

When performing on stage, we often coyly turn our backs on the audience. It’s a great tease! However, when you’re teaching and you turn away, you can’t see the students and they can’t see you! It’s even worse if you’re teaching in a space without mirrors.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 14 May 2021 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s a celebratory Friday! You’ll see why when you read your tip…

The journey of 500 tips starts with a single post.

I never thought, back in 2011, when I started this blog, that I would get to 500 tips. I was just looking for a little content and decided to post an occasional tip. And “occasional” became weekly. And then that became a decade.

Big projects can be accomplished a little at a time, especially if you’re consistent about working on them.

I’m celebrating 10 years of Friday Tips and four years on Patreon! If you join my Patreon this month at the $5 level, you can download…

Little Book of Costume Tips

…a charming little PDF with 25 of my favorite costuming tips from this blog and a few new ones. Graphic design, including amusing illustrations, by Mr. Scratch (without whom I would never get anything done).

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey, Dear Reader!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 7 May 2021 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s Friday! I’m spending my day helping The American Burlesque Collection get ready for their reopening tomorrow. In honor of the temporary exhibit The Fantasy of the Fan Dancer, I’ll be teaching fan dance workshops in May!

Here’s your tip!

Store your X-Acto knife blade point down in the handle.

These little babies are so useful for all sorts of projects and it’s easy to add a sharp new blade. It’s also easy to lose the protective cap. If you store your blade like this, you are much less likely to stab or cut yourself. I learned this little trick from Nina Nightingale during an session of her Charm School, presented by Atlas Obscura.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 30 April 2021 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s Friday! It’s a particularly good one for me as I got my second vaccination this morning. Here’s your tip!

Heat will soften hot glue.

Makes sense, right? This is great because you can fix mistakes by hitting the glue with a heat gun or sometimes even a blow dryer (depending on the glue). This is not great because if you leave an item in the car in the summer you can lose all your hard work.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 23 April 2021 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: