RVA Burlesque Festival 2022

Dear Constant Reader,

At the end of March I attended the first ever RVA Burlesque Festival in Richmond, VA. I was so thrilled to be accepted — I’m hardly ever accepted to festivals, I knew four of the producers, and I’d never performed in VA before. However, the festival was originally scheduled for the end of March 2020. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Two years later and it was finally time!

CaligulaI was performing in the Friday night showcase and flying down Friday morning. I was a little nervous as it was my first time flying in over a year and I had heard horror stories of long security lines and canceled flights. But everything went smoothly and I arrived on time. Which meant I had time to kill before I could check into my accommodations. Fortunately, I was staying a mere couple of blocks away from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and you know I can never resist a museum.

I had enough time to relax, have some lunch, and unpack before heading to the Dogtown Dance Theatre for my tech rehearsal. The venue is a real theatre — professional lighting, wings with multiple legs, backstage cross, marley floor. After so often performing in makeshift spaces, this was exciting! We also got a really nice swag bag.

QZJR3190With plenty of time before the show, I hung out in the dressing room, which was well stocked with snacks and drinks. One of my favorite parts of festivals is seeing colleagues from around the country and meeting new folks. I spent a good deal of time chatting with Lady Fingers, from New York who was set up next to me. It was great to see Ember Sky, recently moved to Boston from Seattle, and Murphy Lawless, who I met at the NOLA Burlesque Retreat.

BackstageThe venue required masks, except on-stage, so I made one to go with my costume. Because I was on second after intermission I was able to watch the first half of the show and saw the above-mentioned three performers before deciding I needed to give my feet a break before it was my turn to hit the stage.

It was a thrill to perform in front of an audience in new city. I’ve been performing this number a lot recently, so between that and the great introduction from Ego Von Hubris, I felt completely confident. The audience was terrific, lots of cheering! Unbeknownst to me, there was a photographer there from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and two pictures of me ended up in their piece.

624479d6ae707.imageHere’s one of them, by Eva Russo from Richmond.com

DSC03989This one is from Milotic D Photography, the festival photographer.

It was a late night, made later when the occupants above my room came home very loudly at 2am, but I was still up bright and early to get a fried chicken biscuit and some tea from Early Bird Biscuit Co. before heading out for the Playing with Panels class with Lottie Ellington.

It was so good to see Lottie again! The class was a lot of fun and gave me some ideas to up my panel skirt game. It was even better to spend a little time with her afterwards, catching up and hearing the  latest about Miss Toni Elling.

One of my least favorite parts of festivals is that I’m usually traveling solo and I sometimes get a little lonely. There was no central place where everyone was staying, like some festivals, so it wasn’t easy to just hang out. In 2020, before the festival was postponed I had made arrangements to share a hotel room with three other women, but I was on my own this time. So I was pleased to join Ember Sky and her traveling companions and local friends for lunch.

PoeAfter that we went our separate ways because I had a very specific sightseeing destination — The Poe Museum. He lived a long time in Richmond, so they like to claim him, but so do New York and Baltimore. And let’s not forget that he was born in Boston and did his military service at Fort Independence, just a short ways from me. It’s a neat museum, spread out through several small buildings around a lovely courtyard. They have a number of great artifacts (and some filler and reproductions). I think my favorite was the candelabra under which Poe wrote “The Bells”. I wish it had been warmer, so I could sit in the garden for a bit. I was hoping to spot the resident black cats.

In the evening I returned for the second night show. Lottie Ellington had recommended Croaker’s Spot where I sat at the bar with a book and enjoyed a crab cake sandwich that was perfection. As thrilling as it is to be on stage, it was nice to sit in the audience and enjoy the entire show. It was a great mix of styles and some really creative performances. There were several that I couldn’t wait to tell the troupe about. I was particularly delighted to see Jaqueline Boxx’s headlining act. She’ll be completing for Queen with it at BHoF, but I’m not going (as usual) so it was a treat to see it live.

I lingered long enough to say my goodbyes, and have an unexpected and excellent conversation with Ellie Quinn, before returning to my lodgings to get a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport for a 6:30am flight.

Yes, you heard that correctly. I had to be in Boston in time to teach a 12:30 Introduction to Burlesque class and that was the only flight that would work. Happily, Scratch picked me up at the airport and took me out to breakfast before returning to The Manor so I could get a couple of hours of sleep before teaching.

Another rhinestone for my travel map!
Travel map VA

The festival was fun and ran smoothly (at least from my perspective). It was also very organized. I got my share of the tips within days and photos shortly thereafter. Video arrived only a couple of weeks after the festival. The only downside, as I mentioned above, was not staying in the same place as other performers and spending a ton on carfare. However, overall, a pretty great experience.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 16 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 20 April 2022 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Tale of the Topless Donut Shop

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s story time!

Ten years ago The Boston Babydolls (back before we became The BeauTease) went on our first tour, Madame Burlesque. I didn’t start keeping this blog until after we returned, so this tale has not been told until now.

In July 2011, we were in Portland, Maine. Brigitte had heard there was a topless donut shop near by and we should definitely check it out after the show. So we piled into Brigitte’s little yellow sports car and Scratch’s big black SUV and set out into the hot, sticky darkness in search of fried treats served by topless staff.

We couldn’t find it. So, we pulled off the road to regroup and strategize. I believe into the turn-off in front of a gravel pit. Almost immediately a cop pulled up behind up and went to question Brigitte about our suspicious doings. She cheerfully said something like “Hello Officer! Could you direct us to the topless donut shop?” Thus reassured that there was nothing more nefarious going on than pack of lost and hungry burlesque performers, he told us the whole sordid story.

The donut shop had burned to the ground, a victim of arson. They had valiantly reopened, but never recovered and closed for good mere months before our donut quest. Alas, no donuts for us that night.

One of the people on tour with us that fateful night was Corinne Southern, now one half of The Bottle Blondes. And the incident clearly made an impression on her.

We were so amused when their latest single dropped, loosely based on a true story…
Listen to it on Spotify, Apple Music, or Bandcamp!
M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 13 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 November 2021 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2020: Teaching

Dear Constant Reader,

This year I taught two classes at BurlyCon. I’ve been teaching virtually at B.A.B.E. since April, but this wasn’t the same. There was a bigger audience, new (to me) tech, a moderator, and the class was going to be recorded for later viewing or purchase. I was kind of nervous, to say the least.

My first class was Who’s Who in Classic Burlesque. The whole thing is a presentation and I’ve taught it before, even virtually. Since I was using Google Meet for the first time, I did a trial to make sure my audience could see my presentation, that the film clips would run, and the audio on one of them could be heard. Everything seemed fine.

When class time rolled around, I discovered that unlike Zoom, when screen sharing in Google Meet, you can’t see the rest of the participants. I don’t know how I missed or forgot that. It was completely unnerving and threw me off my game. I tried a couple of different things that didn’t work for one reason or another. If I’d stopped to think, instead of panicking, I could have used my tablet alongside my laptop.

Anyway, I thought I did a terrible job. I get so much visual feedback from a class, even a virtual one, which just didn’t exist. I forgot things, I fumbled, I felt like I wasn’t explaining well, and the audio on that one clip didn’t work. When it was over, I knew that I didn’t want that class recording to be available. More on that in a moment.

My next class was Caring for Your Costumes. I have a lot of fun with it and student questions are a big part of it. I teach this one a lot. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve taught it at BurlyCon now. One of the pieces of feedback I got one year was that the student would have liked to have seen examples of things. The class covers a huge number of topics and it’s really not feasible for me to bring that much stuff when I travel. However, teaching from home…

I gathered a big pile of stuff and set it next to my desk, so I could just grab some show and tell when the topic arose. I realized the day before that something I wanted to demo was too complicated to do in front of my laptop, so I filmed a little video (and I’m inordinately proud of how it came out). I’m quite happy with how this class went and even more so that Christina Manuge told people it was a must-take class! (there might have been a little happy dance on my part…)

So that was the class I was happy with, what about the one I hated? I asked Iva Handfull, the Program Director, if I could re-record Who’s Who and replace the existing version. Yes!

Originally I was just going to record a voice-over and lay it over my slideshow. But then I thought about how much I hated not being able to see faces, so I learned some more about video editing and decided I would film myself talking and put the slide next to me, like on the news (I was actually thinking of Last Week Tonight, since that’s how I get my news, but you get the picture. So to speak). It took me four hours to film a 50 minute class. It was exhausting. At least it wasn’t four hours straight. I was filming on the last day of BurlyCon, so I took a couple of breaks for classes.

Then I started editing.  It occurred to me that I wasn’t restricted to the images in my existing presentation. I scanned pictures from my collection of Cavalcade of Burlesque (a magazine from the 1950s). The American Burlesque Collection let me use images of some of the items in the museum. It took me three days to edit, which was also exhausting, but I had a self-imposed deadline to hit. And I did. I’m pretty happy with the results!

If you would like to take Caring for Your Costumes or Who’s Who in Classic Burlesque, just click the link. Each class is $20 (of which I get $15) and they’re available until December 31.

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 15 December 2020 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2020: Classes

Dear Constant Reader,

What was it like taking classes at BurlyCon this year? We had three options: on-demand classes which were available at any time, live classes via Zoom or Google Meet where you could interact with the instructors, and recorded classes, which are recorded versions of the live classes, which could be watched at your leisure.

I tried to take as many classes live as I could and here’s a short synopsis. This is over the span of two weeks and there were whole days I went without taking a single class, mostly because the scheduling didn’t work out for me. If the title of the class is a link, you can take the recorded class for $20 until the end of the month (and the instructor will get $15 of that).

You Down with MSP? (Shimmy LaRoux): This was part of the Master track, which as I mentioned previously is for seasoned performers and had an application process. MSP stands for “Minimal Stage-ready Product” and the class is about using a similar technique for creating an act as bringing a product to market. It’s an on-going process of questioning and refinement.

Blues Burlesque (Zelia Rose) If we hadn’t been doing this virtually, it would have been impossible to take a dance class with Zelia Rose, who is in Australia. I set up in Albert’s room, with my laptop broadcasting to the TV and my webcam broadcasting me. Albert was completely uninterested in all this and snoozed the entire time. I discovered, as I lost the connection to Zoom multiple times, that the most convenient place to set my laptop is also a mysterious Wifi deadspot. How annoying. But my tech woes are unimportant. The class was about improvisational blue dances, with three base steps and variations on them.

Best Face Forward (Zelia Rose): This was a BurlyLab, a limited enrollment, hands-on class. It also started at 9:45pm, my time. It’s been many months since I found myself in a full face of makeup at midnight. She had a few useful tips I’ll probably incorporate and it’s just nice to shake things up with a different makeup style.

Pleasure and the Art of the Eyefuck (Jo Weldon): This is not a skill that comes naturally or easily to me and I was looking forward to learning from a master. I was wondering how well this would work virtually and the answer was VERY well. I could see Jo’s face, especially her eyes, much better than in a traditional classroom.

Cohesive Costume Design (Christina Manuge): I have to be honest; I was a little disappointed in this class. I think Christina was too. We watched her three excellent videos on costume design, but that was really all we had time for. I wish there had been more time for discussion. Still, I came away with one new nugget of information.

Fantastic! Advanced Fan Dancing (Coco Lectric): I should have taken the time to set up in Albert’s room, like I did for Blues Burlesque. Instead I thought it would be fine in my sewing room, forgetting completely that I now have a ceiling fan in there. Ooops.

Rhinestone & Embellishments (Frankie Fictitious): Frankie’s costumes are so beautiful and I knew I could learn some new ideas from her. I think I’ll also watch her BurlyLab and see if there’s anything else she covers there.

Illusions of Glamour: The Costumes of Burlesque (Rosey La Rouge): Rosey wrote The Book on the history of burlesque costumes (and I really ought to review it soon). Her presentation was a quick and well illustrated run through that history, plus a little bit about her experience creating the book. Very inspirational.

Closing in on the Reveal: Your Key to Better Burly Closures (Christina Manuge): This was an Intensive class with limited enrollment and I’m lucky to have gotten in because I decided to take it at the last minute. There was a series of videos to watch in advance and the class was a Q & A about them. I had seen them on Christina’s Patreon (if you make burlesque costumes, you really ought to join), so my last minute decision didn’t leave me behind. How wonderful to be able to ask questions “in person” of someone so skilled!

Fundamentals of Online Education – Adapting & Empowering (Robyn Swing): What a great way to close out BurlyCon! Not only did this class give me great ideas for continuing to teach on-line, it also showed me a new way to think about teaching in general. I’m definitely making time for a rewatch before it disappears.

So that’s 10 classes over two weeks (and I taught 2), which is exactly the same as last year, although packed into four in-person days. At least I’m consistent!

I also attended three social events. There were two dances, although I just relaxed and listened to the excellent music. During the first one, we played a party game for a bit; it was fun to connect with people for a while.  Albert stole the show during the second one just by lounging with me. I meant to attend the Jewlesquers’ Shabbat, but there were some tech issues. I also joined in the last minute Teaching the Tease caucus for teachers — thank you Saffron St. James for organizing! It was so great to connect with fellow educators and discover many of us had similar issues and challenges. I felt a little less alone after that.

I’m not including the classes I took (and am continuing to take) via recording. That may become a post of its own. I also didn’t include the classes I taught because those get their own post. Stay tuned!

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 15 December 2020 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2020: Prologue

Dear Constant Reader,

In a normal world in early November I would fly to Seattle for BurlyCon (and also to see friends and family). I’ve been attending since the very first year and have only missed three (two due to a conflicting show and one because of serious illness). This is not a normal world, so the usual BurlyCon where we all pack into a hotel near the airport couldn’t happen. Instead, they took it on-line.

This was a massive undertaking in a relatively short time. As one of the presenters I got to see a little of how the sausage was made and it was pretty impressive.

Instead of a jam-packed four days with multiple tracks of classes plus other events, the schedule stretched over two weeks. If you couldn’t take a class live, most were recorded for later watching (and will be available until the end of December). If you didn’t have a full pass, you could (and still can) purchase individual classes a la carte.

There were advantages and drawbacks of the on-line set-up, of course. I’ll probably talk about those more specifically as I tell you about the programs I experienced.

I loved seeing the faces of my burlesque colleagues again and hearing voices in The Manor that weren’t just those of its occupants. It always felt so quiet when a class was over. I missed seeing people in person, hanging out between classes, and going shopping. And just being somewhere other than my house…

More to come.

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 30 November 2020 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2019 in Review

Dear Constant Reader,

2019 was a year full of challenges. A hard, frustrating, often depressing year. A look back at my journal shows a lot of despair and desire to give up. I feel like we performed less frequently (not true — I performed as many times as in 2018 — but this year we had a number of shows that got canceled). I was not accepted into any festivals this year. On the other hand, I traveled a bit and performed in two new states.

January
I go to Los Angeles to perform at Burlesque Bingo: House of Knyle Edition and graduate from Egypt’s mentorship program. I regretfully turn down her offer to join her house. I get to spend time with Kitten Natividad and see friends. The only downside of the trip was that a class with Michelle L’amour was canceled. Everything else was wonderful.

February
We have a Valentine’s Day show at a new venue, Thunder Road in Somerville, where our newest apprentices help out. I get sick again, just in time to spend my birthday in bed with a bad cough. I also teach a workshop at a college for “Love Your Body Week”. It’s well received and a lot of fun.

March
We perform at the Mardi Gras Ball. I go to Costume-Con, which is local. Maybe someday I’ll even show you the costume and talk about its creation. I travel to Atlanta to perform in Coco Rosé’s anniversary show.

April
April marks 2 years that I’ve been on Patreon. Not much has changed there from when I started in terms of numbers of Patrons. I really need to figure out how to change that. We perform at a private club above a strip club with an interesting dressing room situation. Satan’s Angel dies. I still don’t have the words.

May
I teach a burlesque fitness class for a swanky hotel in Boston. We have a beach party show at Thunder Road and the apprentices, Electrix, Holly Go Harder, Kyra Lida, and Madeleine Minx, perform the solos they created with us. The venue likes the show so much they offer us a monthly slot. I also debut a new fan dance, which I love a lot. Despite performing it at 3 shows, there’s no video. It seems to always be the way…

June
I go to Topeka, Kansas to perform in a fundraiser for a historic theatre. This was probably my best traveling showgirl experience this year! The audience was great, the other performers were lovely, the producer was wonderful. And there was KC barbecue.

July
We have to leave The Thalia. Certain renovations have to be done and the city of Cambridge’s bureaucracy is making it nigh unto impossible to get the appropriate permits and licenses. We can’t use the space again until the work is done. We spend the next two months scrounging for rehearsal space. It’s very stressful.

August
Rust Belt Burlesque, a collection of photos from Cleveland burlesque shows is published and The Faerie Queene makes an appearance.

We’re still rehearsing in found space, but everyone is trying to make the best of it.
 

September
We have a new home! Welcome to The Arts Nexus, a space with multiple(!) studios. It needs a lot of work, but after a summer of traveling around, it’s wonderful. Also, we start our monthly show at Thunder Road on the second Saturday. We invite Electrix to join the troupe and she says yes!

September is also pretty terrible for me emotionally. I didn’t write about it at the time, because I was so badly wounded. Three former students (one of whom even taught for me) demand to have their presence removed from my school’s website. And a ex-troupe member tells me to kiss off when I reach out. Thanks, ladies, for reminding me just how inclusive and open-minded the Boston burlesque “community” is.

October
We do 3 shows in October, in Cambridge, Somerville, and Salem, with almost no overlap in numbers. It’s exhausting, but the shows are very good.

I win a contest for an incredible unique piece of art. The experience brightens my entire outlook after the soul-crushing events of September. I feel creative again. I host a spooky tea party. I record and edit a Halloween story (learning Audacity to do so). The day after Halloween I get to meet the artist herself in a graveyard in Salem.

November
I make my mostly annual pilgrimage to BurlyCon to teach and to learn. Scratch and I go to Miss Bonnie Dunn’s Le Scandal Cabaret for his birthday. I have a warm spot for this show as it’s where I made my NYC debut (although not in its current location).

December
A very disappointing month. We have no shows at all. Worse than not having any shows, we think we have three and for one reason after another, they don’t come to pass. Very frustrating. On the other hand, I don’t have to work New Year’s Eve.

A very mixed year. Mostly a low one, with a few bright spots. Here’s hoping 2020 is 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 13 January 2020 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2019: Sunday

Dear Constant Reader,

And the last day of BurlyCon… I had to pack up my Giant Suitcase so I was ready to check out after my first class.

The Get Down: Floorwork Masterclass (Lou Lou la Duchess de Riere)
What a great class! Almost everything we did were new moves to me, which was very exciting. Also, I could do almost everything — a far cry from a floorwork class I once took that started with drop splits and I ended up sitting most of it out. The one thing I didn’t try was my nemesis, the shoulder roll. I really will try it some day… when I have a spotter… maybe.

After checking out and storing the Giant Suitcase, I couldn’t decide what class to take next, so I took a quick poll of the BeauTease by text and the majority said…

On Beat: Musicality 101 (Lou Lou la Duchess de Riere)
By now Lou Lou probably thinks I’m stalking her. Musicality is something I struggle with, so it was good for me. we looked at the different aspects of a piece of music and did some exercises. There’s one we should definitely try in rehearsal and one that will be good for me to play around with.

Choices! Creative Costuming & Leaving Them Gagging (Aria Delanoche)
This was another quandary. I’ve been impressed with Aria’s costuming since I met her at Stripper’s Holiday last year. However, the class was opposite Jo Weldon’s History of Leopard Print class. Hard choice! I finally decided I’d be more likely to be able to take Jo’s class in the future. Aria shared her Ten Commandments of Costuming and a list of questions to consider when designing your costume. I was particularly pleased by the section on color theory, something I often tend to be too conservative in my color pallette.

After closing ceremonies, I had hours to kill as my flight wasn’t until midnight. This was one of those times I felt pretty lonely traveling by myself. Most people I knew went out to or were performing in a local show, but I was too concerned about getting back in time for my flight. I ended up grabbing a seat by the fireplace in the lobby and working on my embroidery until it was time to head over to the airport. My flight ended up being delayed a bit, so I treated myself to a very decadent hot chocolate and brownie while I waited. Once again, there was no one in the middle seat on the place, so I even slept for much of the flight. I was so happy to get home to Albert and cuddle up with him for a nap.

Whilst writing this, I got my class evaluations. I’m so grateful for all the students who filled out the forms and gave me such great reviews!

As always, I learned a lot at BurlyCon and I’ll see you next year!

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 11 December 2019 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2019: Saturday

Dear Constant Reader,

Saturday was BurlyLab day. BurlyLabs are hands-on classes and I think was new this year. Students registered and paid any materials fees in advance. It takes the stress off both the students (having a guaranteed spot in class) and instructors (having the right amount of materials).

Bump N Grind Burlesque Patterning (Lou Lou la Duchess de Riere)
I was very excited for this class: patterning a panel skirt, triangle bra, and panties. I’m always interested to see how someone else does it. It started well, as we were all given pattern-making supplies and Lou Lou clearly explained the math needed to create a quarter circle pattern. We got gridded pattern fabric and could draft our own. That’s when things got rocky. The class was open to all levels and so many people didn’t understand the patterning and needed individual attention. It took almost two hours to get through that one part of the garment. She rushed though the belt pattern and construction. The class was supposed to be two hours, but we had the classroom for another hour so Lou Lou quickly explained patterning and construction of triangle bras and panties. I got some useful information, even in haste.

I saw the line for buying next year’s tickets was very short, so I got on it and got the cheapest ticket they offer. I guess I’m going next year. Now to develop some new class offerings on the them “The Roaring Twenties”…

Shake It Up: Shake Dancing in History & Practice (Bebe Bardot)
I was really looking forward to this one. Bebe is a scholar, a researcher, and is probably the foremost authority on black burlesque history. She’s amazing! She came rushing in about half an hour late — her plane had been delayed and landed around the time class was supposed to start! She hit the ground running and taught a shorter version of the class, but it was still packed with information. We learned about the history of shake dancing, a hidden part of burlesque history, and then we got to try it out! It’s so high energy and exciting. But I can’t imagine doing it for hours, like the shake dancers of the past. You can read Bebe’s brief history of shake dancing here.

Tantalizing Tulle Boas (Robyn Swing)
Before I go to BurlyCon I ask the troupe if there are any classes they’d like me to take and report back. Ava was particularly interested in this topic, so I signed up for it. It was terrific to be able to try the technique hands-on. After a few fumbles, I walked out of the class feeling like I had the technique down and I had something concrete to show the troupe. You can see my very first puff in the photo. Only a thousand more to make a boa!

Again I skipped the evenings activities to meet up with my friend A. I’ve known her since I was in grad school and try to get together with her whenever I can. She suggested we go see Dracula at a local theatre and I was all over that, as you might imagine. It was a terrific production. Very creative staging and movement, an interesting take on the story, great use of music, very effective puppetry. I’m very glad we went.

More to come…

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 December 2019 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2019: Friday

Dear Constant Reader,

Friday was bookended by teaching. I skipped the first class session to try to sleep in (a lost cause) and work out in my room. A long stretching session was required after being scrunched up the plane the day before.

Caring for your Costumes (Mina Murray)
This is probably my most requested class. It’s 90 minutes of me expounding with advice, tips, and tricks. You know, the stuff I do here every Friday, only more so. It was in this class, many a BurlyCon ago, that I was dubbed “The Martha Stewart of Burlesque”. I was gratified that the class was so large and so enthusiastic. I should remember not to go over the stain handout, but just pass it out, so there’s more time for questions.

Teaching Burlesque: for Seasoned Burlesque Performers (Indigo Blue)
Although the class was packed with teachers, Indigo asked anyone with 4 years or less experience take a step back from participating. We did some role play for dealing with difficult students and discussed best practices in the classroom (very valuable!). We broke up into groups to discuss the two most popular issues — curriculum and marketing. I was in the curriculum group (facilitated by the unflappable Legs Malone) and realized my definitions of beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes are quite different from many of the other teachers. I’m still mulling over my take-away from this class.

Adding Magic Effects to Your Performance (Professor DR Schreiber)
My plan was to go to The Art of Sex and Seduction with Egypt Blaque Knyle, but the room was already jam-packed, with more people pouring in. No great shock given the subject and the instructor, but I was feeling rather claustrophobic and bowed out.

I ducked into the class on magic, another favorite subject of mine, and since I have an act that uses slight of hand, I can always use some pointers. Of course I can’t tell you anything about the class, because, you know, secrets are the foundation of magic.

Achieving Closure (Mina Murray)
My second time teaching. This class was much smaller, but still enthusiastic. It was opposite Jo Weldon’s Hairography class and I don’t blame people for wanting to go there instead — I would have as well if I wasn’t teaching. I had a few thoughts on how to improve my little busy book of closures for next time.

Then I met up with Scandal from Bohemia and Scarlett Letter for a “literary names of burlesque” photo. I do wish we could have tracked down Agatha Tristy to join us.

Jewlesquers Celebrate Shabbat (a meet-up)
I don’t really consider myself a Jewlesquer — I don’t have a Hanukkah act or anything like that — but it was nice to meet some new people and talk about some things only other members of the tribe really understand. I came in late and missed the candle lighting, but I was in time for blessing and sharing the challah.

Needing a little downtime, I had take-out and tea in my room and once again missed the class photo. This is pretty much an annual tradition by now.

Although I really just wanted to go to bed, I threw on a leopard print dress, didn’t do my hair or makeup and went to the dance. It’s really easy for me to just want to hole up in my hotel room with a book, but BurlyCon is such a great opportunity to see and meet people and I promised Scratch I would do so. Despite feeling shy and tired, I set out. Before attending the dance proper, I visited Melissa Flynn’s amazing vintage pop-up shop. There were many beautiful items I resisted buying, but it was hard.

I also grabbed my copy of Fierce and hoped I’d run into Jo Weldon. I did and she (wearing a fabulous leopard-rhinestoned corset) signed it.

More to come…

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 26 November 2019 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon 2019: Thursday

Dear Constant Reader,

Earlier this month I made my almost annual pilgrimage to Seattle for BurlyCon. Only “almost annual” because I missed the last two years. Last year, you might recall I caught a nasty cough that prevented me from traveling and the year before that we were hired to perform at RuffleCon. After two years off, I was glad to finally return.

I had to get up stupid early to get to the airport. I’m still not sure what was going on when my Lyft driver was about to plunge into some dire looking traffic when I gently pointed out that he wanted the exit on the left. He seemed puzzled that I wanted to go to the airport. That bit of excitement aside, it was a perfectly dull trip, just as I like it. There was even no one in the middle seat, so I could get some sleep.

Once arrived and checked in, I got settled and went to classes. I skipped the first two class sessions, so it was a short day.

Cowgirl Up! (Dixie DeLish)
I was really excited for this class because it was a whole new skill — trick roping. We learned all about the different parts of the rope and how to handle it. Then it was time to try it ourselves. We started with spinning a flat circle. I was terrible! I was starting to get a bit frustrated and sure I was never going to get it.

Eventually we switched ropes around and starting using one of a different length. I finally did it! I could hear my old archery mentor saying “This is an equipment driven sport”. But that’s only part of it — rotating your wrist while twisting the rope in your fingers is quite tricky. I think it’s a little like hooping — once your body learns the motion I bet it becomes second nature.

We also learned the catch. Not as challenging, but I wasn’t willing to try to catch another person. I’m definitely glad I took the class, even if I never pick up a rope again. It’s always good to challenge yourself.

Cooler on the Internet: Sparkle on Social Media (Siomai Moore)
I’m a fan of Siomai (rhymes with “Oh my!”)’s podcast, The Pastie Tapes (illustration is the pin she gave me for saying so) and my social medial game is poor, so this seemed like an ideal class. I think I walked out with more questions than when the class started, because I didn’t know I needed to ask them. I’m planning to do my own social media audit, once I get Siomai’s materials. She announced at the beginning of class that she’ll send out her presentation as an ebook, so I didn’t frantically have to take notes, but could just listen.

Then I ducked out on the evening’s social event, a circus-themed meet and greet, to have dinner with my sister. As a bonus, she took me to her local supermarket so I could get some genuine Washington apples for snacks. The Seattle light rail is pretty terrific and makes it easy to get out of the hotel and see people.

More to come…

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 18 November 2019 at 3:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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