Amplifying Performers of Color and their Projects

Dear Constant Reader,

Yesterday was Blackout Tuesday on social media platforms, but instead of remaining silent (I grew up in the era of silence=death) I posted some of the projects that performers of color I know have created. Facebook made it very difficult by refusing to publish any of my posts with links. I put the links in comments, but I could see the engagement was very low.

This is important stuff, so here it is all in one place.

Bebe Bardot has done an amazing amount of research into the hidden history of shake dancers. She recommends to following articles as starting points:

  • A Brief History of Shake Dancing
  • A Brief History of Blackface in Burlesque
  • Screaming into the Burly Void: Why We Should Never Give Up or Shut Up
  • The Legacy of Black American Classic Burlesque
  • Blackface in Burlesque
  • More Vintage Black Burly Videos
  • Loving Classic Burlesque as a Soft Black Femme
  • If you like these, toss a little something her way
    CashApp and Venmo: $bebebardot
    Paypal: paypal.me/bebebardot

    Caramel Knowledge is hosting her show Cocktails with Caramel on June 14th! Get your tickets now.

    Until June 4th you can watch The House of Knyle at Web of Sin and tip the performers!

    Watch SHAKEDOWN, a documentary about black lesbian strip clubs, featuring Egypt BlaqueKnyle.

    Shimmy LaRoux has taken her years in advertising and product development and turned them into on-demand burlesque business classes.

    Siomai Moore created and hosts the podcast The Pastie Tapes with interviews of a diversity of burlesque performers, including Jeez Loueez, Shimmy LaRoux, Nox Falls, and Ray Gunn.

    Twirlisha Divine created and hosts the podcast Showgirl Sunday Dinner.

    RedBone makes Glam Jam, an all-natural solid glitter lotion.

    More to come! Suggestions welcome!

    M2

    Published in: on 3 June 2020 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  

    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    A little business before we get to your tip!

    First, tonight we are presenting Live-ish From Deacon Giles (sort of)! on our FaceBook page at 8pm Eastern! I hope to “see” you in the audience!

    Second, every Wednesday at 3pm I’m teaching a short burlesque lesson on IG Live. I’ve been posting them on YouTube afterwards. If there’s a burlesque move or technique you’d like to see, leave me a comment and maybe you’ll see it in a future Bite-Sized Burlesque Lesson!

    When filming yourself, make sure your main light source is behind your camera.

    If you only have one light, position it behind the camera (computer, phone, &c.). If you have two lights, shine one on the wall behind you, which will help create depth. For the best lighting, use two lights on you — one main, one for fill — so you don’t get shadows. Avoid overhead lights.


    Here I am filming a reading for Booklover’s Burlesque in my bedroom using clip-on work lights. Very glamourous, no?

    I have been learning A LOT these past few months about tech things I usually let other people handle… What new skills or knowledge have you acquired?

    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 29 May 2020 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Performing Live(ish)

    Dear Constant Reader,

    It’s been too long since I last performed before a live audience (Taste o’ Burlesque, March 8) and even longer since I performed at The Speakeasy Lab at Deacon Giles (Valentine’s Day).

    Well, we’re back! Kinda. This Friday at 8pm Eastern join us for Live-ish From Deacon Giles (sort of)!. We’re not actually at Deacon Giles, of course and we’re not performing live, but we will be live on the chat. We miss our fans and are eager to hear from you!

    You’ll see some performances recorded at Deacon Giles, from back when we could still do that, and some brand-new acts filmed in our homes! We even have some special guests. The show is free, but we’re taking donations.

    Want to feel like you’re really there? Order some booze from Deacon Giles — they’re delivering to the North Shore and greater Boston — and have a cocktail of three with us!

    I’m looking forward to seeing you (virtually) Friday night!

    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 2020 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    In the Kitchen: Retro Hors d’oeuvres

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Today is Memorial Day, when many people usually have a barbecue or potluck to celebrate the start of summer.* That’s not going to happen so much this year. I’m going to make a few canapés and hors d’oeuvres for two to enjoy in the backyard with some cocktails. This recipe takes me back to my childhood.

    When I first had these tasty bites, they were made by Mary Browne, a friend of my parents. Mary was a great hostess and many of her dishes that guests praised highly were simpler than you might think**. This was one of them. It’s so simple, there isn’t even really a recipe.

    You need Untitledcocktail rye, chopped onion, mayonnaise, and Swiss cheese.

    Spread some mayo on a slice of the bread. Sprinkle it with chopped onion. Top it with a piece of cheese the same size as the bread and stick the whole thing under the broiler until the cheese bubbles. That’s it!
    Untitled
    Serve them piping hot. Something magical happens when you heat everything up. Even if you think you don’t like mayonnaise or raw onion, you might like these.

    You can, of course, use any kind of bread you have, but cut an average-sized slice into quarters. Similarly, use any kind of sliced or shredded cheese you like. No onion? Any allium will do (but go light if you’re using garlic). I’ve seen variants on this that add seasoning the mayo or add other ingredients (like crumbled bacon!) to the onion, but I’m kind of a purist.

    I think I’m also going to make a few Bedroll Specials and some White Bean Dip to have with crudité. Are you making anything special today?

    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.

    * I have nothing against a holiday weekend celebrating the start of summer; I just wish it wasn’t the day we are supposed to honor our military dead.
    **The exception was her amazing angel biscuits. She even gave me the recipe and I couldn’t get it right.

    Published in: on 25 May 2020 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! I nearly forgot that this is the start of a holiday weekend… nevertheless, here’s your tip!

    When doing a shoulder shimmy, keep your hands, arms, and shoulders relaxed.

    You’re actually powering the shimmy with the muscles in your back. Keeping everything else nice and loose gives you an effortless-looking shimmy. Otherwise you can get the dreaded T-Rex look.

    For a shoulder shimmy tutorial, check out my Bite-Sized Burlesque Lesson!

    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 22 May 2020 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Booklover’s Burlesque

    Dear Constant Reader,

    You might recall that I have been recording video story readings for my Patrons and audio versions for everyone. But here’s a video for everyone*!

    I am delighted to share an excerpt from the kinky erotic novella Passing His Test that I recorded for Booklover’s Burlesque.

    It was written by Teresa Noelle Roberts and I’m thrilled she gave me permission to share her work.

    If you liked this bit of the story, buy the book and read the rest!

    And there are many, many more stories for you at Booklover’s Burlesque — they release two a night!

    * Well, maybe not everyone. It involves consensual BDSM, sex, and explicit language. Maybe avoid listening if you’re at work or around kids. And if you’re my mom.

    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 19 May 2020 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    It’s Friday again! How do you know? Here’s a tip!

    This week your tip is from special guest contributor, Devastasia!

    Threading elastic (or whatever) through things with a bobby pin of some kind is 1000x easier than using a stupid safety pin..

    Brilliant!

    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 Devastasia if you liked this.

    Published in: on 15 May 2020 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Review: In the Kitchen: Dollface Kitchen

    Dear Constant Reader,

    New book review for you!

    Dollface Kitchen by Cherry Dollface (2020)

    This is the second book from pinup model and vintage enthusiast, Cherry Dollface. (I’ve had her first book since it came out and never reviewed it — must be better about that…) As you probably guessed from the title, it’s a cookbook. You know how much I love cooking, especially vintage recipes! She was supposed to have a book release party at Viva, but instead it got moved to FB and IG Live. It was fun to watch her sign my book on-line, but I miss author events…

    It’s probably not the best timing to try to review a cookbook during lockdown, since mostly I have to look at the recipes and sigh. The book is organized into six categories, of the sort you would expect like main dishes and desserts. Each of those has three “Healthy-ish” recipes, three “Not-so-healthy”, and two vintage recipes — one “weird” and one “wonderful”. The vintage recipes are the sort found on boxes and cans and I’m unclear if she’s actually cooked any of them. All recipes are marked if they are vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and/or gluten-free.

    As you might expect of a pin-up model, the boook is full of photographs. Cherry is shown posing with food, in the kitchen, or just making faces (usually at a weird vintage recipes). There are also tempting photos of all the dishes (except some of the vintage ones). Everything looks bright and fun. I’m looking forward to trying several of these, like the carnitas tacos, baked oatmeal, and caramel apple bread pudding. I can’t wait to cook for friends again!

    All of Cherry’s recipes have notes from her about how to change things up or her personal preferences (she doesn’t like onions) in the header of the recipe. She also tells you if the recipe can be changed up to fit diet requirements, like swapping out chicken broth for veggie to make a soup vegetarian. I really like the little cartoon bubbles with another helpful tip. You know I’m all about the helpful tips… It’s a very friendly book, occasionally even silly, like the recipe that starts, “Preheat oven to 450. Just kidding, this is fruit salad.” She writes as though she’s chatting with you, which is nice in this kind of lonely time.

    I couldn’t review the book without making something. The “wonderful” vintage dessert Fudge Batter Pudding had the note “If you try any of my vintage recipes…try this bad boy!” So I did. You make a simple chocolate sauce that goes in the bottom of a baking pan, then you spoon a chocolate batter on top and bake. The result is a sort of brownie with a fudgy sauce underneath it. The cake part is on the dry side (it has no eggs and only a smidge of butter and milk), so it needs the sauce. When we had it cold the next day, a little cream poured over was a nice addition. It was easy to make and can be whipped up from pantry staples, so I’ll call it a win.

    The book is only available from Working Class Publishing, but I think you can still get a signed copy. It may take longer to get to you, but where else do you have to go…?

    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 14 May 2020 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    In case you were wondering, it’s Friday! Here’s another tip.

    Evie GloveIf you’re going to take your gloves off with your teeth, prep your glove before you go onstage by loosening each fingertip.

    This way you won’t accidentally chomp down on on your manicure. Evie Sphinx shows a successful use of this tip over on the right. Be like Evie!

    If you are more industrious than I am, you could sew a large bead into each glove finger so you have something to bite and protect your finger at the same 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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

    Published in: on 8 May 2020 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Refilling a Vintage Compact

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I hope you’re all doing well.

    Last month Christine McConnell released a video for her Patrons where she refilled vintage makeup containers with modern cosmetics. This inspired me to show off some of my vintage cosmetic items on Instagram. Someone asked if I was going to make any of them functional as well and I got thinking.

    I found this compact at Streamline Antiques, a local shop specializing in Art Deco items. I loved that it had a compartment for lip rouge as well as one for powder and even had traces of the makeup inside! It’s an Elgin American, a popular compact manufacturer in the early 20th century, but other than that, I don’t know anything about its history.

    First thing I needed to do was clean the old makeup out. That proved to be a challenge. The lip rouge was quite fossilized. I tried warming it up with a little boiling water poured into the compartment, but it stayed firm. Then I took my own advice and remembered that oil takes off lipstick. I poured a few drops vegetable oil into the compartment and sure enough, it started to soften. I used toothpicks to get into the crevices and get all the old gunk out.

    To clean out the oil, I turned to my old friend Dawn. Soon the compartment was perfectly clean. I also washed out the powder compartment. It also needed a bit of an oil treatment, because there was residue from a sticker on the lid.

    When everything was clean, I used a little precious isopropyl alcohol to disinfect the compact. Christine boiled many of her cases, but I didn’t want to harm the mirror or the enamel on the lid.

    I didn’t want to sacrifice any of my Atomic Cosmetics lipsticks (since they’re not being made anymore) to this experiment, so I grabbed some classic Cherries in the Snow. I cut off a chunk and melted it in a spoon held over a candle. Yes, I know how that looks. Then I poured the melted lipstick into the compartment and let it harden. It wasn’t a perfect pour, so I tried to smooth out the surface with a hairdryer with limited success.

    Then I took some setting powder and mixed it with a little isopropyl alcohol. I packed the resulting paste into the powder compartment and smoothed it with a butter knife. Then ended up using a cotton swab like a tiny rolling pin. Then I pressed a piece of lace onto the surface, weighted it with an Altoids tin, and left it to dry out. It did dry into a solid cake of powder, but you can’t really see the lace design.

    There is a divot in the lid of the powder container, which I suspect held a powder puff. None of my powder puffs are the right size or shape, so I made a new one. I used a rectangle of cotton quilt batting and covered it with white satin. I wanted some white or pink velveteen for the puff part, but I didn’t have any. I took a drugstore powder puff and dismembered it for the velvety fabric. It was barely enough to cover my square of cotton. I ended up gluing some narrow ribbon over the edge to seal it. It’s not my best work, but we do what we can under the circumstances.

    And voila!

    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 4 May 2020 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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