Bad Girls Need Love Too 2/14/20

Dear Constant Reader,

This Friday was our Valentine’s Day show at the Speakeasy Lab at Deacon Giles Distillery in Salem. We’ve been performing there for three years at this point and at this point we’ve got a system to our set up. Want to know what happens before a show? Well, I’m going to tell you any way.

We drive into the distillery itself to unload our gear. I cannot emphasize how convenient this is. No schlepping from distant parking lots or making multiple trips or hauling stuff up stairs. After unloading, we need to set up both the backstage (in the distillery) and the theatre (the tasting room). Everybody helps out.

The guys at Deacon Giles are good enough to build us a stage. It’s two pallets stacked with a piece of plywood on top. It’s very sturdy, great for tap dancing on, but only 4′ x 8′. We’re used to working with those size constraints now — we used to have a space the same size taped off on our dance floor for rehearsals. We’re not stuck up there, however, we can go down on the floor or into the audience if we want.

We also set up some striplights behind the stage and a follow spot up near the door at the highest point in the room. The spotlight operator also runs the video camera. Sometimes we even get decent footage. We also set up the music and microphone for Scratch. Fortunately, there’s a house system we can use and don’t have to bring our own.

We set up our merch on and near the drink rail over by the stage and then set out tip envelopes throughout the audience. They have a slip of paper and a wee pencil inside, so the audience can leave us little notes if they like.

Backstage there’s already a table and some chairs for us, which becomes the makeup/snack station (Devastasia always brings snacks). We set up a clothing rack and hang up our costumes. Any set pieces (like our boudoir bench) get assembled and props set out. The glass door between the backstage and theatre is propped open and we put up a curtain rod and two curtains in the door way. We discovered early on that if the door is shut, you can’t hear anything backstage and it’s heavy to open — hard if you’re carrying something, like fans. We cover the glass walls with our banners. There are convenient hooks already in place and we just use some binder clips at the top of each banner.

Then Scratch has pizza delivered and we do hair and makeup in between warming up our numbers on the stage up until doors open — 30 minutes before the show starts.

We’ll do two shows because we can only seat 35 people. We get an hour break between the shows as people from the first show finish their drinks and close out their tabs and then the second audience is let in. We use that time to reset costumes, re-tape pasties, fix makeup, etc.

During the second show we’re also breaking down set pieces, packing costumes, &c. as they are no longer needed and generally getting as ready to load out as possible, so we don’t have to do it all at the end when everyone just wants to have a drink and relax before heading home.

Well, that was a lot about the behind-the-senes of a show. Here’s a short list of the acts, just for posterity:
Betty Blaize: Betty, It’s Cold Outside
Devastasia: “All For You”
Ava Fox: “Feelin’ Good” (a tap dance)
Mina Murray: “I’m in the Mood for Love” (a fan dance)
Scratch: Magic
Betty Blaize: “Sweet Child o’ Mine”
Devastasia: “Sunday Kind of Love”
Ava Fox: “The Man I Love”
Mina Murray: Whole Lotta Mina

One thing we tried for this show was that every ticket got a cocktail from the special Valentine’s menu. I don’t know how the other drinks were but I had the FWB mocktail (pineapple, hibiscus, lime, and maraschino) and it was amazing. I should have taken a picture of its beautiful purple foam.

Our next show is Taste o’ Burlesque on March 8th! I don’t know if I’ll be performing or not yet, but it’s going to be a great show no matter what. See you there!

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 17 February 2020 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Taste o’ Burlesque 1/26/20

Dear Constant Reader,

Back, back in the dim and distant past of 2006, Scratch created a show called Taste o’ Burlesque. It was an “open stage” (like an open mic, but for burlesque) where burlesque performers of any experience level could hit the stage. It was also a light-hearted competition with the audience voting for their favorite, who got a gold plastic trophy in the shape of a chef.

It was fun, it was often silly, it gave some new performers an opportunity to try this burlesque thing out. I remember one performer (never seen again after that night) showing up with an entire squad of fans in T-shirts emblazoned with her name. Another time a CD failed part way through the song and the audience began singing for the performers.

Scratch decided to revive the idea. I admit I was dubious. There are a lot more outlets for burlesque now than there were back then. I should not have worried. A bunch of diverse and talented performers signed up and the venue was packed with enthusiastic audience members, including a lot of B.A.B.E. students.

The BeauTease book-ended the competition to warm up the audience and then give the ballot counter time to tabulate the votes.

The show went a little like this… In some cases, there’s even video, so you don’t have to read my deathless prose to get an idea of the act, you can just watch it!

Betty Blaize opened the show with her down and dirty striptease to PMJ’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine” — always a crowd pleaser.

Ava Fox got everyone “In the Mood” with a sassy tap-strip

Our sweet Electrix opened the competition as the newest member of NH-based Lady Luck (She still loves us but the commute to and from Boston was just too much). She showed off her adorably naughty side and that it’s not just her smile that can light up a room!

Reno Banzai is a new performer to me. Unfortunately I missed most of this act, trying to find a good vantage point. It was very high energy and involved some killer lip synching.

Ingride Denise is a former BeauTease apprentice, turned independent performer. She’s got a lovely classic style.

Penny Rain is a current BeauTease apprentice and this was her burlesque debut! Usually we like to let the apprentices start with an appearance in a group number that we’ve created, but she jumped right in the deep end with her very own act.

Charlie was also making her burlesque debut! She’s a seasoned performer, but this was her first time stripping.

Jeannie Martini is a regular on the local burlesque scene. She’s well known for her comedic burlesque, but she showed she can sizzle with the best of them!

Jewess Prudence is also a current apprentice and this was also her first time stripping on stage, and with an act of her own creation.

The Guilted Lilly is famed for her skills as a stage kitten, but she’s also a very talented singer (and writer of new lyrics).

At this point the ballots were gathered up to be counted by our expert, and the audience got a little entertainment while they waited.

Devastasia performed a sultry chair dance to “Sunday Kind of Love”. You can see her do it again on Valentine’s Day at Deacon Giles.

I closed out the show with an unusual number for me. It’s to my favorite David Bowie song, “Life on Mars?” and this was only the third time I’ve performed it. I created it for Peepshow Menagerie’s annual Bowie tribute show. It was shortly after his death and also on my birthday — I have a lot of emotions tangled up in the act. I hope I did it justice.

The votes were counted and all the competitors were called onto stage to receive their rewards. Third place went to Jewess Prudence! Second place to Charlie! And to no one’s surprise, first place and the coveted Golden Chef to The Guilted Lilly!

The venue was so happy with the show and the turn-out that we’re doing it again! The next Taste o’ Burlesque will be Sunday, March 8th at Thunder Road in Somerville. Sign up to perform here and buy tickets here.

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 February 2020 at 6:16 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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Burlesque Macabre 10/25/19

Dear Constant Reader,

October was a busy month. We had three shows in three different styles, with almost no overlap in acts, which is a *lot* of rehearsing and some lightning fast act creation and teaching. First, the superhero sexiness of Batwoman Burlesque, then the cute and campy horror of It Came from Beneath the Tease, and lastly the dark and disturbing Burlesque Macabre.

We weren’t presenting The Wrathskellar this year (someday, it will reopen!) and we were itching to do something similar. October is the only month we get to go dark on stage. I may look oh-so-elegant and glamorous most of the time, but I LOVE the creepy stuff. The Manor skews more Addams Family than Old Hollywood most of the time. It’s such a treat to break out of our usual aesthetic and use music that wouldn’t ordinarily make the cut.

We had two late night shows at Deacon Giles and I’m pleased to say the first show sold out and the second was even better attended than I expected for an 11PM show on a Friday night. Unfortunately no pictures from the show, but we did get video. And might even let you see it someday…

Big thanks to Hunter for lights and video, English Sarah for working the merch table, and Pirate Jenny for kittening. It was her first time and she did a great job!

Mina Murray: Sex Spider (Gogol Bordello)
This new act was an excuse to bring out The Diva’s Coat, probably my favorite costume that I’ve ever made. Someday (if I get enough Patrons) I’ll tell its story.

Ava Fox: Dead and Lovely (Tom Waites)
Another new act! And the first time someone else in the troupe did a fan dance! Admittedly they were my fans (a gift from Scratch), but they’d been a pile of components for years. Ava did all the assembly herself (and did a much better job than I could have).

Devastasia and Electrix: A Most Unpleasant Way/Dark Eyes (Gordon Bok/Devochka)
Scratch has always loved the first song in this set and envisioned an act to it. Devastasia was the right person to give it eerie reality. And the bird costume she made is amazing. The painting on the mask is so detailed!

Scratch: Magic
I didn’t see this but I know it involved a playing card and a lighter.

Betty Blaize: Farewell Magyar (G-String Orchestra)
A classic! Betty cuts off her costume with a very real knife. She created this act for the very first Wrathskellar and has been performing it ever since. If I remember correctly, the music comes from a band Scratch heard playing on the street in New Orleans.

Mina Murray: Nightmare (Mac Gollehon, et al.)
Earlier this year I created an act with the guidance of Egypt Blaque Knyle to “Whole Lotta Love”, which I adore. However, I have very few opportunities to perform it because of our usual aesthetic. So I took the costume and choreography and adapted it to a more appropriate song. And thus “NightMina” was born…

Devastasia: Moon Over Soho (The Tiger Lilies)
This creepy clown number was created by Stella Diamond and Scratch, but it never got the stage time it deserved. Devastasia brought it back to life in a disturbing way. You can be assured Devastasia was smiling almost as widely as her mask from behind it…

Betty Blaize: Me and My Shadow (Peggy Lee — Wrathskellar remix)
Betty, undressing after a show, can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched… In one rehearsal she actually gave herself goosebumps. Scratch engineered this haunting version of the song for The Lost Girl in Wrathskellar Tales.

Scratch: Urban Legend
A terrifying trick with an apple and razor blades. I can never watch it.

Ava Fox, Electrix, Mina Murray: Herr Drosselmeyer’s Doll (Abney Park)
Betty created this for The Wrathskellar in 2011. I was concerned when I was cast because it involves some partner balancing, which I’ve never done before and the original trio involved some very flexible and/or strong people. But I had nothing to be afraid of. The audience on the other hand… there are some quite unsettling moments.

And we bid our creepy cabaret adieu for another 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 29 October 2019 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Batwoman Burlesque 10/6

Dear Constant Reader,

Sunday night was the debut of the Batwoman TV show and we had a little premiere party. It’s was kind of a last minute thing and we’re grateful to Tavern 730 for letting us use their back room.

The BeauTease are not known for performing as comic book characters and the like (often called nerdlesque), but we’re all big fans. It was a lot of fun to adapt some of our acts to work for a Bat-themed burlesque show.

Betty Blaize opened the show with Betty, It’s Cold Outside, but instead of her usual partner, Dino Martini, she danced with Mr. Freeze. (Puppetry creation by Scratch)

Then I performed my rose-petal act as Poison Ivy. The biggest difference being that I changed my usual cut-velvet jacket for a white coat wreathed in ivy.

Ava created a new act for the occasion — Cat Woman. You can see this one at It Came From Beneath the Tease on Saturday at Thunder Road.

We closed out our little show with Bat Woman, of course. Actually Devastasia in her secret identity.

And then we celebrated the birthdays of two of our audience and Ava Fox with some cake! Shows that end with cake are the best!

I realize it’s been a while since I shared any of the glamorous details of burlesque life. Once we got to the venue, Betty realized she was missing her pasties. I was planning to wear gold rhinestoned ones for my act, which were very similar to the ones Betty usually wears, although sans tassels. I loaned them to Betty.

What did I do? If you’ve seen “La Vie en Rose”, you’ll recall that I pluck off rose petals that are stuck to my boobs. Well, I just glued on extra petals as pasties and just had to remember which one could come off and which ones had to stay on! I doubt anyone knew there was anything amiss.

You can see us next at It Came From Beneath the Tease on Saturday for a fun halloween/monster movie themed show. Friday the 25th we’ll be at Deacon Giles in Salem for a darker, creepier Halloween show.

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 7 October 2019 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

If you’re using a mirror on stage, treat the glass so the lights don’t glare off it.

Not only is the light reflecting off a mirror distracting, it might hit an audience member. A good temporary solution is to spritz the mirror with hairspray. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s something we all carry, and it washes right off. A theatre trick is to spray the mirror (or glass) with diluted soda. You can also buy theatrical anti-glare spray, but I don’t see the need for that.

For a permanent solution, if your mirror is a dedicated prop, is to use some silvery paint. It will still look shiny, but you won’t get the reflections. Or, if it’s easy to remove the mirror from the frame, you can replace it with something else silvery (and non-breakable).

Photo is my vintage mermaid hand mirror without any glass treatment. I probably should have hairsprayed it and then taken another.

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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 4 October 2019 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Use stage directions.

It’s so much easier to give instructions to a performer or tech person, if we all speak the same language; in this case, a location on stage. Not all of us come from a theater background, so here’s a quick primer.

Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a stage. Look to your left, that’s stage left. To your right is stage right. Easy, no? The tricky part is if you’re standing in the audience; now if you look to your left, that’s stage right and also house left.

Now look out at the audience, you’re facing downstage. Turn around and now you’re looking upstage. I’m sure you’ve heard of “upstaging” someone. That happens when someone further back on the stage is drawing attention from the performer downstage and/or forcing them to turn their back on the audience to look upstage.

Why “up” and “down” instead of, say, “front” and “back”? Other than we already have a “backstage”? Until the 20th century stages were to be raked, that is, they sloped up away from the audience to improve the audience’s ability to see and hear the action. The performers were literally going up and down the stage as they moved closer and further from the audience.

Of course the very middle of the stage is center stage. You can also be center left, center right, down center, and up center. I usually specify “center center” for dead middle, but I’m not sure how common that is.

If everybody on the team uses these terms, you can be confident that everything and everyone ends up on the stage exactly where they’re supposed to be,

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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 9 August 2019 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I can’t believe I’ve never shared this tip with you before. It’s some of my standard advice to my students.

Discard your costume pieces to the sides or back of the stage.

You want to keep your performance area clear. You don’t want to be stepping over your costume bits while you move about the stage — or worse, treading on them. It’s potentially bad for you as a tripping or slipping hazard and definitely bad for the costumes. Also, it’s less distracting. The audience will be looking at you and not that abandoned crinoline in the middle of the stage.

You may have noticed I didn’t tell you to discard toward the front of the stage. Part of that is visual aesthetics. As above, you don’t want the audience being distracted by clutter in front of your performance.

Sadly, the other reason is that costume pieces so close to the audience can become a tempting target for souvenir hunters. I know it sounds nuts, but I have heard too many stories from performers about audience members grabbing pieces of their costumes from the stage and spiriting them away. It’s so heartbreaking to realize an expensive, one-of-a kind item is just gone. The audience member may think they’re being a fan, but they’re just a thief. Keep the temptation away!

You could also take a page from our Legends and use a catcher to take your costumes after you remove them or perhaps have a decorative container in which to place your discards. These options also make life easier for the stage kittens.

Photo of my discarded gloves at ABurlyQ by Eric Peters Photography

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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 26 July 2019 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hot in Topeka at Jayhawk Theatre

Dear Constant Reader,

I want to tell you about my latest travels, to Topeka, Kansas. Short version: it was fantastic and I’m very glad I went. Long version…

I’m not entirely certain how I found the call for applications, but it came at just the right time. I was feeling rather down about my festival acceptance track record (way more “no” than “yes”) so on a lark, I applied. And was accepted! It wasn’t a festival, but a fundraiser for Jayhawk Theatare, a vaudeville house that’s in dire need of restoration, so I was very excited about the show.

It’s not easy or inexpensive to get from Boston to Kansas City (the closest airport), so to make it work, I had a whirlwind trip, starting at 3:30am on Saturday and ending 3:30am on Monday. At least there was a nice symmetry to it.

Anastacia Vulgar, the producer of the show, treated me like a rockstar at every turn. She arranged for transportation from and to the airport (over an hour away) and even put me up at her place. But it wasn’t just me; all the performers, most of whom were from out of town, were appreciated and got lovely perks: there was real food in the green room, someone else took care of selling our merch, we had an opportunity to teach, there was a very professional program (with mention of everyone’s Instagram), and even a little gift of some rhinestones. And I was paid so promptly I almost got whiplash.

Jayhawk Theatre was built in 1926 and presented vaudeville and movies. In December of 1928, Dainty June and her act, including her sister, Rose Louise, performed on that very stage. Later that night June snuck out of her hotel and ran away with Bobby Reed, a dancer in her act, whom she had married secretly. Rose Louise went on, of course, to become Gypsy Rose Lee. The fact that I was on the same stage as those famous sisters was a bit overwhelming.

The theatre is in rough shape. You can see how gorgeous it once was, but the painted decor is all damaged and the stage is basically bare. They’ve got a decent lighting and sounds set up, but I shudder to think of what the electrical is like. There are no theatre seats anymore, so there were chairs set up for the audience. The balcony wasn’t in use.

The show was fantastic. If it didn’t sell out, it was damned close. The audience was so enthusiastic! There were 10 performers and like I mentioned, almost everyone had traveled quite a distance to be there. It was so good to see Twirlisha Devine, OD Kimani, Caramel Knowledge, and Jacqueline Boxx again and delightful to meet everyone else.

I can’t do the show justice, but here are the performers, their acts (I got the names off the call-sheet, so forgive me of they’re not quite right), video when I could find it, and where they were from.

Caramel Knowledge (Los Angeles, CA): Black Amour
Tommy Gun (Flint, MI): Band Geek
Miss Mina Murray (Boston, MA): The Stripteaser’s Education
Mickie Sinn (Austin, TX): Break Up
Lola Loquacious (Kansas City, MO): Masterpiece
Valerie Veils (Tacoma, WA): Medusa
INTERMISSION
Twirlisha Divine (Bloomington, IN): Sugar in My Twirl
Anya Neeze (Kansas City, MO): Desire
OD Kimani (Madison, WI): Radioactive
Jacqueline Boxx (Baltimore, MD): Blues
Valerie Veils (Tacoma, WA): Glamour Cactus

Our hostess was Violet O’Hara (Dallas, TX).

My act, “The Stripteaser’s Education”, was inspired by Gypsy Rose Lee and her famous “The Psychology of a Stripteaser”. It’s a spoken-word piece and I wasn’t entirely sure how it would go over. Also I was nervous about using the microphone and about hitting my final cues. As it turned out, I nailed it. I might write a little more later about the act and the costume.

After the show, most people went around the corner to a bar. I overcame my exhaustion long enough to put in an appearance and talk costuming with Valerie Veils.

The next day was workshops. Unfortunately it sounded like most of them were canceled for lack of students. Burlesque is a pretty new thing in Topeka and the interest level just isn’t there yet. That did mean that Anastacia, Jacqueline, Twirlisha, Tommy and I could have a leisurely breakfast before it was time for my corsetry class. I had one very interested student who was a delight. I’m pleased with my presentation, but I’ve got a couple ideas to improve it even more.

Then I had to bail on Caramel’s workshop on making showgirl headdresses to go to the airport. Tobias, Anastacia’s partner, was playing chauffeur for the weekend and rather than make him drive to and from Kansas City multiple times, I left along with Jacqueline Boxx, who had an earlier flight. However, because I had time to kill and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to have real KC barbecue, we went to Q39 and I finally had burnt ends in their native land. I even managed to take the leftovers home for Scratch.

Before I knew it, I had clicked my heels together three times and was back home with Albert A. Cat wondering if it had all been a dream. That might have just been the sleep deprivation.

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 July 2019 at 2:03 pm  Comments (2)  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I hope you’re going to join me tomorrow at Burlesque Beach Blast at Deacon Giles. Ticket prices go up at midnight, so grab yours now!

I was humbled to see that close to 200 people read last week’s tip. I hope you like this one too!

Rehearse your curtain call.

It’s the last thing the audience sees of your show, so you want it to be strong and clean. Here are somethings that will help create a professional-looking curtain call.

  • Know what order you’re entering. This could be the same order as performance or reverse or alphabetical. In the BeauTease we start with stage kittens as a group, then apprentices (also as a group), special guests, and then the troupe in order of seniority. What ever order you chose, make sure everyone knows it.
  • Know where to stand. After you’ve taken your bow and fade back, you should take a position on stage. It doesn’t matter if it’s a line or more creative placement as no one has to jockey for a place and each side of the stage is balanced.
  • Know if you’re staying in character or not. This doesn’t always apply in burlesque because often the “character” you play is your burlesque persona and you should stay in that character for as long as the audience can see you.
  • If you’re taking a group bow, be in unison. The easiest way to do this is have the person in the center lead the bow. It helps if you’re all holding hands and the leader will do something everyone can see, like nod. Then all together, hands go up, take your bow, count to two, then stand again, lowering your hands.
  • Acknowledge the tech staff. It’s always classy to extend a hand (all cast members should do this at the same time) to the back of the house.
  • Know how to exit. You should know where to exit (stage right, stage left, through the audience, &c.) and in what order you should leave. Someone should be designated to lead the cast off the stage and everyone can follow like baby ducks.
  • Know when to exit. Leave just after the applause has peaked, but before it starts to taper off. Lingering on stage is awkward.
  • After you’ve left the stage, you can come out into the audience or theatre lobby to meet your Adoring Fans.

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

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    Published in: on 14 June 2019 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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