Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Today’s tip is for teachers, but before we get to it, a related question:

If I were to teach at BurlyCon, what would you want to learn from me?

Here’s your tip!
Before teaching a new class for the first time, try it out on a test audience.

A small group of friends works well, especially if you have mix of people –some who know something about your topic and some who know nothing about it. You can get valuable feedback from both groups to improve and polish your class.

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 23 February 2018 at 1:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip:

Creating the order of acts for a show is an art and a science.

When creating a show’s running order, there are artistic decisions and practical ones.

On the artistic side: Creating a show that flows smoothly and is interesting. Spacing out acts of a similar mood or tempo. Also, spacing out variety acts. Placing particularly strong/exciting/crowd-pleasing acts to start and end the show. If there’s a story line, making sure the acts tell the story clearly.

On the practical side: Making sure everyone doing multiple numbers has time to change costumes. Keeping acts with a lot of set up and/or clean up separated. Trying to accommodate performer’s preferences about the order of their acts (e.g. the one with the complicated costume goes first). If there’s a story line, making sure the acts tell the story clearly.

Scratch tends to use spreadsheets, like the one above, for a clear picture of the show.

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 16 February 2018 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Sometimes we perform in spaces that aren’t exactly theatres and the dressing room is nowhere near the stage. Today’s tip is a simple way to make sure you don’t miss your cue.

A baby monitor lets you hear what’s happening on stage.

Some theatres have an intercom system so the performers can hear the stage while they’re in the dressing rooms. This is our low-budget version. We stick the transmitter somewhere unobtrusive near the stage and set up the receiver in our dressing room/green room/backstage area. We even have two receivers, just in case we’re spit up.

It was really useful at our show at Deacon Giles last week (where I took the blurry photo). Our backstage (the distillery) is separated from the stage (in the tasting room) by a soundproof glass door. We could see Scratch introducing us, but not hear a word he said! The monitor was a show saver.

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 9 February 2018 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Tonight I’ll be at Deacon Giles in Salem for The Boston BeauTease Do It Again, our tribute to Grounhog Day. It’s a clever premise, which I’m not going to spoil for you. Come to the show and see if you can figure it out!

Also Universal will be at the early show giving away goodies and tickets for Fifty Shades Free! And of course there will be creative cocktails made with Deacon Giles’ very own spirits, distilled right behind our stage!

And here’s your tip:
In a pinch, conditioner can be used as shaving cream.

Conditioner is particularly good for shaving areas of coarse hair because its purpose is to soften, which makes for an easier shave.

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 2 February 2018 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Your secret weapon for cleaning is distilled white vinegar.

I don’t cook with this kind of vinegar, but I do clean with it. It’s so useful! It’s a mild bleach, slightly anti-microbial, and a deodorizer. I’ve tried to make the tips below vaguely related to the life of a showgirl.

  • Pour half a cup into the washing machine during the final rinse to remove detergent residue that can dull colors.
  • Use it to clean your makeup mirrom and your smudgy device screens.
  • Wipe down your fingernails before putting on polish to remove any buildup.
  • Gently clean and polish leather shoes and purses with a soft cloth lightly dampened with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water.
  • To get the smell of smoke out of your costumes, hang your costumes in the bathroom, fill the bathtub with hot water, dump in a cup of vinegar. Shut the door and let the steam do its magic.
  • Just to be clear, you know that I’m talking about cheap distilled white vinegar, not wine, not balsamic, not that fancy herb-infused stuff at the back of the cabinet, right? Of course you do!

    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 26 January 2018 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

    Save your performance shoes for the stage.

    They’ll last longer and stay cleaner if you only wear your dance shoes in rehearsal and performance. I know sometimes they’re so fabulous you want to wear them out, but pavement is no good for delicate soles. Also, you don’t want to be tracking outside dirt (and other things…ick) onto a stage where you may be placing your bare bum.

    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 19 January 2018 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! I’m still unpacking from The Expo, which reminded me of this week’s tip:

    Wash your underthings as soon as you get home from a show.

    I find the easiest way to do this is in the shower. I always take a shower after a show because I don’t like getting glitter in my bed. You can multitask and wash away the show residue from both body and costume bits. Hang your dainties to dry and in the morning they’ll be ready to go again.

    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 January 2018 at 2:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! It’s Expo time! Of course, yesterday when everything was coming to the hotel for loading and many of the participants were traveling, New England got socked with a monster snowstorm — more than a foot of snow, high winds, tidal flooding, and of course the inevitable canceled flights. And The Expo had been moved* from February to early January to try to get ahead of the snow. (We haven’t had any major storms at this time for a couple of years, even the Snowpocalypse of 2015 didn’t start until the very end of January.)

    That brings me to this week’s tip:

    Mann Tracht und Gott Lacht (Man plans and God laughs)

    I’m a big fan of advanced planning. Make checklists and contingency plans. Research and prepare. And then, sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and realize that circumstances have gone beyond your control. That doesn’t mean give up, just adjust your plans as much as possible. Be willing to be flexible and creative. And maybe laugh a little.

    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.

    *If you’re wondering why The Expo is in the winter, it all has to do with hotel prices. Trust me, we’d all love to do this in the spring again, but the hotel charges way too much for rooms then.

    Published in: on 5 January 2018 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    As the year draws to a close, I’d like to thank you for being my Constant Reader. Without you, I’m just shouting into the void.

    For your tip today I’d like to echo something I’d heard recently and which has stuck with me.

    Be kind.

    I hope you all have a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful, and very kind 2018.

    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 29 December 2017 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! And a merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy your Chinese food and movie! Here’s your tip!

    You don’t have to do it all. It’s okay to get help.

    In burlesque, as in other fringe arts, there’s this DIY thing. There’s an expectation that the performer should also be a choreographer, costumer, producer, promoter, teacher, graphic artist, prop fabricator, music and video editor, roadie, &c.

    Most of us aren’t good at everything. You can hire other people or trade your skills. It doesn’t mean you are less of a performer; it means that you know how to delegate and how to prevent burn out and frustration.

    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 22 December 2017 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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