Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Today’s tip comes to you verbatim from Mr. Scratch, who is so much better at the business side of burlesque than I’ll ever be.

Learn from your competition

Even if you’re friendly competitors, every burlesque performer in your market is looking to reach the same people. You can learn by keeping an eye on their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and don’t forget to get on their email lists!). Your competitors may be offering a variety of services that you haven’t considered. Getting out of your bubble and examining what others are doing can help you be more successful. Read their websites for a list of services or performance elements that they offer.

Read reviews of your competition on sites like Yelp or Goldstar to see if there is anything you could be doing differently. Reviews aren’t always criticism; often, people will mention their favorite parts of the show or the ways the producer went above and beyond to make the show special. Comments can tell you exactly what your potential clientele wants — and doesn’t want.

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.

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Published in: on 17 November 2017 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Review: Mix-Your-Own Mask

Dear Constant Reader,

The other day I took my own advice and used a skin care mask. I’d done three weekends of shows, hadn’t been sleeping well, and winter is settling down here in New England. All this conspired to make my skin look very tired. I’m actually terrible about taking said advice because commercial face masks need to be refrigerated and I’d always use a mask once and then forget about it in the fridge until it dried up or got moldy.

Dr. Jen from Atomic Cosmetics had sent me a sample of her Mix-Your-Own Facial Mask. There’s a tube of wet ingredients and one of dry, that you store in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. Keeping the two parts separate means she doesn’t have to use serious preservatives. You combine the contents of the tubes in a bowl (I found a fork helpful to mix it smooth) and slather the results on. There’s enough in the tubes for a single generous use (you don’t want to save the leftovers because of the aforementioned lack of preservatives). I used the dry/aging skin mask, which has fabulous ingredients like coconut water, evening primrose oil, French green clay, and powdered goat’s milk.

The result is a greenish goo with a funky aroma — that’s the goat’s milk. It made more than enough for me to spread all over my face, neck and decolletage. That frightening image to the right is indeed me under a freshly-applied layer of this stuff. Don’t say I don’t show you the true glamour of being a burlesque performer. Then I relaxed in my boudoir whilst watching a couple of Ask a Mortician videos, staying far away from where ordinary people could see my swampy visage.

Then I washed the dried mask off with some warm water, which was more of a challenge that I anticipated, seeing as I had the stuff ALL OVER myself. Next time I’ll step into the shower instead of trying to do it over the sink. However, it was worth it. My skin felt smooth & soft and most importantly, no longer looked tired.

Dr. Jen has four formulations of this stuff — dry/aging, oily/combination, sensitive, and custom blended for your unique skin issues. I think $7 (for a standard mix) is reasonable for a once-in-a-while skin treat.

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 15 November 2017 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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So Busy

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m so sorry for the lack of content. We’ve had a show every weekend for the past 3 weeks and that’s been keeping me busy. I should be able to get back to writing now, as we have several weeks before our next show (Brrrlesque, at The Thalia on Dec. 15 and Deacon Giles at Dec. 16).

Thanks for your patience!

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 13 November 2017 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Tomorrow I’m off to RuffleCon to teach my corsetry class and perform with The Boston BeauTease. If you’re an alternative fashion enthusiast, I hope to see you there!

If using a front-closing bra, replace the plastic closure with something sturdier.

At right, you can see a front-closing bra with its original closure. These are only made of plastic and many fastenings and unfastenings, as one would do in rehearsal and performance, can weaken them until they fail unexpectedly. Also, you have a contents-under-pressure situation with a lot of strain on that point, which is meant to separate. In a back-closing bra, you have a solid piece of fabric up front to take the stress.

Remove the plastic widget and replace it with a coat hook & eye, a whopper popper, or a ribbon tie. Any of these is much stronger that the original style of closure, easier to unfasten, and less likely to experience catastrophic failure.

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 10 November 2017 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! It’s hard to believe it’s November already. I’ll be performing tomorrow in Bad Luck Burlesque at The Strand Ballroom and I’m teaching and performing next Saturday at RuffleCon. Hope to see you there! And now… here’s your tip!

80% of success is just showing up.
–Woody Allen (attributed)

This is one of those quotes that shows up in a bunch of different forms and can’t be positively traced back to the original source. I like this phraseology best.

It’s often hard to get motivated and sometimes we’d rather stay home, cuddle the cat, eat chips, and watch Netflix. Just by getting your ass in gear and showing up for whatever it is, a class, an audition, a rehearsal, an interview, &c., you’ve done most of the hard work.

I’m reminded of someone I knew, who like most of us, hated going to the gym. His deal with himself was that he could blow off a workout, IF he got dressed, drove to the gym, got out of the car and touched the gym’s doorknob. And most of the time, having gotten there, he figured he might as well go inside and work out.

And if you don’t show up, you’re pretty much guaranteed not to succeed.

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 3 November 2017 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review: April Unwrapped

Dear Constant Reader,

Every once in a while I receive a request to review a book or film. I’m always happy to do so!

April Unwrapped: My Naked Dreams Revealed by April Brucker (2017)

April Bucker is an actress and comedienne, not a burlesque performer, but her book addresses being naked in public. Everyone has had that dream of being naked in a public place, whether it’s in the classroom, the boardroom, or on the subway. In April’s case, her nightmare was being naked on the stand-up stage. In reaction to that bad dream, she created April Unwrapped, in which she faces her fear by being naked in the pages of a book.

In the tradition of the pin-up calendar, April presents more than a dozen photos of herself, naked, each one themed for a month. She’s not actually naked, but coyly covered with an item or two, appropriate to the theme. The effect is more cute and a touch campy than it is provocative (although the creamy “bikini” of August was more revealing than most of the other months).

Each photo is accompanied by a short message, relating her dream to the reader. In May, where she holds a vase of yellow roses in front of her crotch and a single rose across her breasts, she writes “I dreamed you planted my May flowers. Au Revoir! April”. It reminded me of the old ads — “I dreamed I argued before the Supreme Court… in my Maidenform bra!” only without the bra.

As I said above, April is not a burlesque performer, so taking off her clothes for an audience isn’t a common occurrence for her. She’s also not a pin up model and she employs none of the glamourous artifice of that profession. She’s truly unwrapped, naked and exposed before our eyes. This is art created to confront a fear and make a statement, not to seduce or entice.

As a book, it’s a little thing and I think it might have worked a little better as a calendar. I would have like to have seen more of April’s creative concepts, untethered by the constraint of the monthly theme. It’s a charming collection, nonetheless, and is both amusing and brave.

If you, Dear Reader, have a book, film, product or anything else you’d like me to review, please drop me a line.

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 2 November 2017 at 3:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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Happy Halloween!

Dear Constant Reader,

Wishing you a very happy and spooky Halloween!

Wrathskellar Babydolls-19 Diva

This is one of my favorite pictures of The Diva. I can’t remember the photographer, but it was opening night of The Wrathskellar 2012. I was utterly exhausted, physically and emotionally, but that’s a story for another time.

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 31 October 2017 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s almost Halloween! Tomorrow we’ll be presenting Panties Inferno at The Thalia! This is a busy time of year for burlesque performers and often involves even more and heaver makeup than we usually wear. Here’s your tip:

After Halloween, treat yourself to a mask!

Not that kind of mask. A soothing facial mask. (If you want to see that kind of mask, you can check out Devastsia’s new number in Panties Inferno tomorrow.)

All that makeup is tough on your skin, so pamper yourself a bit. There are all sorts of masks available commercially, with ingredients like green tea, Dead Sea mud, or French clay. There are also some truly disturbing-looking sheet masks that are rather popular now. Or you can make one at home with kitchen ingredients like oatmeal or yogurt or mashed strawberries. Honey and ground almonds is a good one — you can put some on your face and the leftovers on your toast! You can find plenty of recipes on-line.

Start by steaming your face. Pour some boiling water into a bowl and hold your face over it for a few minutes. For extra steaminess, tent a towel over your head. Then smear or press or pat your mask in place. If you’re using something with crunchy bits, like sugar or the aforementioned almonds, make sure not to scrub it around; the roughness could make tiny tears in your skin. Leave the mask on for a little bit while you relax. Wash it off with warm water. Spritz with some toner and enjoy how fresh your face feels!

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 27 October 2017 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Photoshoot 10/15

Dear Constant Reader,

The Boston BeauTease recently had a photoshoot! It had been well over a year since our last one and we needed some pictures of Devastasia, our newest member, and some promo photos for Panties Inferno (this Saturday!).

We were fortunate enough to secure the services of the very talented Chuck Jones and Altar Boy Photography. I haven’t seen them all yet, but here’s a little tease for you.


Scratch, Devastasia, Betty Blaize, and me being devilish! You can see the real thing on Saturday.

There are also some action shots of Betty with her giant dice and Devastasia and the Wall of Death. Of course there are a bunch with me and my favorite set of fans. There were even a few of Scratch.

I managed to sneak in a couple of personal shoots, which my Patrons get to see first. One features shoes once worn by Dita Von Tease and in another I’m wearing a birthday gift from Kitten Natividad (she gets to see those before anyone else).

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 24 October 2017 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bad Luck Burlesque 10/13

Dear Constant Reader,

Over the summer The Boston BeauTease performed at Deacon Giles Speakeasy Lab in Salem, thanks to a connection made by Brigitte. The show went so well that they asked us back. Friday the 13th seemed like a great date for a show in Salem in October. Since the last show practically sold out, we had TWO seatings of this show and they both completely sold out.

Scratch, Devastasia, Artemisia, and I went up early so we could visit the Peabody Essex Museum for It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection. It’s highly worth it, even if it means going into Salem in the high season. The collection is excellent, with most of the important films represented, and some I didn’t know (I must see Asta Nielsen’s Hamlet). The exhibit is also very well presented with simple lighting effects used to create mood — I’ve always been fond of gobos — and projected film clips of the most iconic characters on the walls.

After that delightful interlude, it was time to head to the venue.

The Speakeasy is a small space and like so many bars, there’s no permanent stage, but the good folks there made us one out of four pallets and a sheet of plywood. Before you get all snobby at me, it was actually better than some of the soggy carpeted stages at rock clubs I’ve played. And Brigitte’s taps sounded great. We had a huge dressing room space back in the distillery proper and everyone did their best to make sure we had a great experience. And we did.

The show went something like this:

Betty Blaize, Artemisia Vulgaris: That’s Life (Frank Sinatra arrangement)
Betty decided to embody the “Bad Luck” aspect of our show and came out on a crutch with a sling and neck brace, as Artemisia sang. As she stripped, she also stripped away her injuries her her trademark goofy style.

Brigitte Bisoux: In the Mood (Glenn Miller)
Disproving the superstition that it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors, Brigitte tapped her heart out. Here’s a little taste from her rehearsal.

Mina Murray: Moon Over Bourbon Street (Sting)
This is a brand new act from a suggestion by Scratch. I was delighted to have permission to use a song from outside of our usual aesthetic and also to wear one of my Catherine D’Lish robes.

Artemisia Vulagaris: Creep (PMJ arrangement)
Artemisia showcased her lovely voice with this not too creepy song.

Devastasia: Ding Dong the Witch is Dead (Ella Fitzgerald)
We couldn’t come to Salem in October without presenting a witch number. Devastasia was simply adorable.

Artemisia Vulagaris: The Man I Love (Julie London)
You may have seen Devora Darling perform this sinister love story. With her permission, Artemisia created her own version of the act.

Scratch: The Spike
I can’t watch Scratch perform this trick, which involves a large metal spike, a blindfold, and his hand.

Brigitte Bisoux: Alcohol (The Kinks)
This was created for The Wrathskellar, but slightly modified as it was being performed by Brigitte and not her character, The Broad. A little more humor, a little less darkness. And she swigged from a Deacon Giles bottle, of course

Artemisia Vulgaris, Devastasia, Mina Murray: Poison (Post Modern Jukebox)
This was originally created for Cover Girls but only Devastasia is left from the original casting. Three murderesses think they are cleverly offing the competition, but are they…?

I made a little backstage video between shows with an appearance from The BeauTease, but you have to be one of my Patrons to see it.

After the shows we were treated to creative (and strong!) cocktails by the bar staff. Mine was a Far Side of the Tracks, a mix of their spiced rum and Far from the Tree cider with egg white, cream and nutmeg, pictured at right. So delicious! Brigitte’s coffee rum-based cocktail had smoke in it! I also tried something with absinthe in it and the most bizarre cider I’ve ever tasted.

We’ll be back at Deacon Giles on December 16th with Brrrlesque, a winter holiday treat. If you can’t wait that long, you can catch us this Saturday at The Thalia in Panties Inferno!

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 23 October 2017 at 5:13 pm  Comments (2)  
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