Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! You’ll be pleased to know that your Faithful Correspondent is almost back to normal health, although still coughing most annoyingly.

But that’s not important. What is important is your Friday Tip. And here it is!

A cotton pillowcase makes a great storage bag for a boa.

It allows the feathers to breathe while protecting them from dust and sunlight. You could sew a loop of ribbon to the top of the case and hang it up. Also, to quickly fluff the boa, tie the end of the pillowcase shut and throw the whole thing in the dryer on air dry (no heat!) and tumble it for just a couple of minutes.

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

Published in: on 29 April 2016 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! It’s a glorious warm day here in Boston and one can finally believe that spring is here. The sour cherry tree at Stately Babydoll Manor has begun to blossom and in a few months I’ll be hard at work picking and cooking!

Here’s your tip!

Carry a foldable bag with you. You never know when it will come in handy.

I’m very fond of the sort of string bag that Russians call avoska (“perhaps-bag”, as in “perhaps there will be something at the store to buy”). They’re great for holding produce from the farmers’ market and of course I like best the one that my mother knit.

However, I always carry this nylon bag which folds in on itself until it’s about the size of my fist. It was from the swag bag at the Improper Bostonian “Best of 2012” party, hence the Patrón logo. I particularly like this one because it’s waterproof and every now and then I’ve forgotten to pack a plastic bag for wet costume items after one of my water acts.

Also, if you shop in Cambridge, where they’ve just started charging for bags, you’ll always be covered.

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

Published in: on 22 April 2016 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Challenge

Dear Constant Reader,

All throughout my Nose to the Rhinestone posts I mentioned a challenge that the BeauTease were undertaking. What was it?

It started because Evie is moving away (for real this time). She has a great duet, A Harlequin Romance, with Devora. We didn’t want to lose the act, so Evie began training our apprentice Pearl Buttons to learn her part. Pearl has the ballet background to make a lovely Columbine to D.D.’s Harlequin, but she can’t do splits. One of the showstopping moments in the number the dancers slide gracefully into simultaneous splits. It would be a shame to lose that bit.

I mentioned that Kristina Nekyia has a great video for circus-style flexibility. I had done her backbend exercises and had finally been able to do one (I thought I had a picture around here, but I guess not…). I suggested Pearl try the splits prep stretches. I think it was Brigitte who has the brilliant idea that we all should do them for a month.

And so I did. I started on March 10th and faithfully did the stretching routine until April 10th. I’m proud to say I never skipped a day, not even when I was on a Caribbean cruise or when I started coming down with bronchitis. Once I bought leggings and a t-shirt on my way to the theatre for the Teaseday Club so I could stretch before the show because I realized I wan’t going to get home until really late. I did the stretches at the D.C. airport when I was trapped by snow-caused flight delays.

What was the result?

My flexibility and strength definitely increased over the month. When I started I needed yoga blocks to support me for some of the stretches and then I was using them less and less. I know I was able to go deeper into some of the stretches as time went on, but honestly, they never stopped sucking. I went from being unable to touch my toes to the floor in the plow pose during the cool down section to being able to hold it comfortably. And the one-minute plank certainly became easier as we went along.

And how about those splits? I would have loved to have shown you a picture of Brigitte and Pearl and I all in splits, but we’re not there yet. And having been sick and basically immobile for a week has probably undone all the good work I did over the past month. Onward, upward.

I need to thank Scratch for supporting me in this challenge (emotionally, not physically), especially in the early days when I tried to weasel out because I was tired or some other lame excuse.

M2

Published in: on 19 April 2016 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I hope you don’t think I’m ignoring you. There are so many things I want to tell you, like an amazing accomplishment by a troupemate, revealing The Challenge, a couple of book reviews, and an exciting announcement.

However, after returning from a perfectly lovely Caribbean cruise, I was struck down by a nasty bug which has me coughing most unpleasantly and a bonus eye infection, just for fun. The result being that I’ve been more often found reclining on the daybed than I am sitting at my writing desk. But I wouldn’t forget your tip.

Today’s tip comes from the combined wisdom of my mother and Alice Azul.

To soothe a sore throat, drink hot lemonade with honey and grated fresh ginger.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, add a splash of your favorite spirit, purely for medicinal purposes, of course!

Yes, that is a fake plastic lemon. I only thought to take a picture after the real lemons were all squeezed out.

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

Published in: on 15 April 2016 at 9:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Get to know your local thrift store.

They are a gold mine for costume pieces, accessories, and props. And for cheap. It’s a great place to get things you’re going to destroy, modify beyond recognition, or experiment with. Some garments are worth getting just to rip off the trim and use it on something else.

My best success was half a dozen champagne coupes for my “French Champagne” act for three bucks total. But this pales in comparison to Scratch’s super-shopping abilities.

Tuesday he arrived at The Teaseday Club without his suit (long story) and certainly couldn’t host a show in his civvies. He went over to the Goodwill across the street and scored a pair of pants, a dress shirt, a checked sport coat, and a Hawaiian-print tie. And they all fit.

And of course, if you’ve got stuff you don’t need any more, it make become someone else’s trasure!

M2

Published in: on 8 April 2016 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nose to the Rhinestone: Wrap-up

Dear Constant Readers,

I just spent 30 days spending at least 30 minutes a day on burlesque-related matters. What did I accomplish? What did I learn?

Well, I discovered that I generally am doing about 30 minutes or more of burlesque related work a day. Often tedious, not very glamourous work. The BeauTease taking on a challenge that took about 30 minutes a day guaranteed that I’d make my quota.

I can’t say that I accomplished any big project. I started to make some improvements to The Faerie Queene — upgraded prop, costume piece, music, and choreography. Without the impetus of this challenge, I probably would have let it all slide into “someday”. Also, I read all of Goddess of Love Incarnate. I still have to write a review of it. And I blogged here every day…

I found this exercise was really more about mindfulness for me — being aware of how much and what burlesque-related things I did every day.

Would I do it again? Or course! Maybe even with pictures. : )

M2

Published in: on 7 April 2016 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Make metal hardware (snaps, hooks, zipper pulls, &c) coordinate with your costume by painting them with the appropriate color of nail polish.

M2

Published in: on 1 April 2016 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Nose to the Rhinestone: Day 30

Dear Constant Reader,

The last day! I’ll be writing some thoughts on the whole experience later.

I did a lot of B.A.B.E. admin today. We’re less than a week from the start of a class series.

Then there was rehearsal. We all did our Challenge, but I didn’t run anything tonight. Pearl is making her debut at The Tuesday Club next week, so she got the floor for feedback on all her acts.

Kind of a quiet day for the last one.

M2

Published in: on 31 March 2016 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Nose to the Rhinestone: Day 29

Dear Constant Reader,

I did a little B.A.B.E. admin work and taught Burlesque Your Way. I also handed off my new Faerie Queene prop pieces to the lovely and talented Devastacia for the first round of painting. So excited to have a real artist doing the work instead of clumsy me.

Of course, I also did my Challenge.

I picked up Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother for bedtime reading. I had abandoned it months ago as being kind of dull, but I want to give it another shot. Now that’s we’ve gotten into the Baby June years, it’s a little more interesting.

One more day…

M2

Published in: on 30 March 2016 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Nose to the Rhinestone: Day 28

Dear Constant Reader,

Let’s see, what did I do? I was interviewed over the phone for WERS. I made some paper mock-ups to start playing with the shape of a new headpiece. And, of course, I did my Challenge (19 days!) and a little B.A.B.E admin.

I don’t know what to do with my evenings now that I’ve finished reading Goddess of Love. I was hoping to stretch it out for the full 30 days, but it’s amazing I took as long as I did with it.

M2

Published in: on 29 March 2016 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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