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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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  

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  
Tags: ,

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  

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  
Tags: ,

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  
Tags: ,

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  
Tags: ,

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
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)  
Tags: , ,

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.

    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 14 June 2019 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
    Tags: ,

    Atlanta 3/31/19

    Dear Constant Reader,

    One of the wonderful benefits of the mentorship program with Egypt Blaque Knyle was working with a bunch of wonderful women, with whom I might otherwise not have met. When Coco Rosé invited the members of our group to perform at her show, either in Atlanta or Memphis, I jumped at the chance.

    I haven’t been to either city before, but Atlanta won, with more reasonably priced plane tickets. It was Coco’s anniversary show and her theme was “Evolution” — I thought the act I’d developed during Egypt’s program fit the bill.

    My flight arrived in Atlanta Saturday evening. It was such a luxury not to have to get up at godawful in the morning, as is usually the case when I travel. It was also a luxury to not have to check a bag. I was only doing the one act and that costume doesn’t take up much suitcase real estate.

    Coco put me up at an Airbnb and as soon as I was settled in, I headed out to one of the last remaining Trader Vic’s. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to have a cocktail at the legendary tiki restaurant. Although I considered a piña colada, I had their signature mai tai.

    Sunday morning I had hoped to be teaching. Talloolah Love of the Atlanta School of Burlesque had scheduled me for a workshop at Metropolitan Studios, but we didn’t get enough students to go ahead. Instead I went sightseeing. I was staying walking distance (for me, anyway) from the aquarium, so walk I did. It was a cold, overcast, windy day and I had packed for the 80 degree temperatures of the previous day!

    Because I was a tourist. I visited World of Coca-Cola. I know, a weird choice for someone who doesn’t drink soda, but what the heck. There was some fun history, like this 19th century syrup dispenser (1 part syrup, 5 parts carbonated water) and the gallery about the advertising campaigns using the Coca-Cola Sprite (who disappeared before the soda named for him was developed). I did try some of the myriad sodas from around the world. My absolute favorite was the cucumber Sprite from Russia. Pine-Nut from Africa (pineapple and coconut, not actually pine nut flavor, alas) was a distant second. Inca Kola, often seen in my neighborhood, was way too sweet for me and tasted kind of like bubblegum. Least favorite was Beverley, a rather bitter soda from Italy. I later learned it’s drunk like an aperitif. I suppose if you are an amaro fan or like tonic water, it might be a win for you.

    By then it was absolutely lunch time and some previous research had revealed a barbecue place just a short walk away. If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you’ll know how fond I am of barbecue. Twin Smokers BBQ was just what I wanted. The sausage was a little dry, but the pulled pork was perfection, and I appreciated the wide range of sauces.

    Thus fortified, I headed off to the Center for Puppetry Arts. The Global Collection is a huge display of puppets from around the world, including some celebrities, like Tom Servo and Madame. I was quite taken with the Vietnamese water puppets. The other main gallery is the Jim Henson Collection. What a delight! It was like visiting a whole bunch of old friends. It was hard to pick a representative photo, but here’s Fizzgig! The special exhibit gallery also featured Henson — The Dark Crystal! Besides getting to see all the fabulous creatures up close, there were also concept sketches and prototypes and video about the making of the movie. I was just a wee thing when I saw the movie, so I had no idea how revolutionary it was in terms of puppetry and film making.

    But you want to know about the show! The Red Light Cafe is a familiar sort of venue — I’ve played many like this. I knew exactly what to expect when I walked in the door. It’s set up for bands. The stage is small and carpeted with monitors up front. The lighting set up is simple. The dressing room was cobbled together from some storage space in a loft and was better than many places I’ve changed. Several mirrors, decent lighting, including a makeup station, and plenty of places to put one’s stuff. From the posters on the walls, there a lot of burlesque at the venue.

    The only performer I knew, other than Coco, was Stormy Knight, who had come to an early Expo. I was so flattered that she brought her copies of my Little Books for me to sign! It was great to reconnect with her and we ended up chatting a lot in the dressing room.

    The show started at 6pm, which was unusual for me, but great for a Sunday night! There were eight acts in the show with an intermission and raffle drawings in the middle. I’m always interested in seeing how other producers do things differently. The raffle was for a variety of goods and services and one could put your ticket(s) in the (glitter-encrusted) jar for the items you wanted. Then the stage kittens would mix up the tickets in one of those bingo cages. I don’t remember the pricing for the tickets but the last one was “tits to toes” as measured on Winter (the long-stemmed) Rose. Also, tipping was done with a different set of glitter-encrusted jars, one for each performer.

    I had a fine slot, second act opener. Of course that meant I spent the intermission feeling anxious. The line up was Flexx Giselle, Oodles of Troodles, Royal Tee, Stormy Knight, me, Clyf Hangar, Roula Roulette, and Coco Rosé. Our stage kittens were Winter Rose and Stormy Chance. Here we all are!

    I felt good about the act. It still isn’t as smooth as I would like, even with the new shoes, but a little of that was performing on carpet. I should just get used to it. I’ve never yet done the act on an uncarpeted stage. My music was nice and loud. The audience was close and they had good energy. I got some lovely compliments afterward, including one woman who said my act was “everything”.

    Here’s my favorite shot of the night, by Charles Bailey Photography:

    Ever since I’ve known Coco, she’s been obsessed with Sublime Doughnuts, so I just had to try one! Stormy Knight gave me a lift to the nearest shop, and I finally tasted what all the fuss is about. I even managed to bring a couple home with me.

    I had been warned to get to the airport extra early in the morning to deal with the construction and monster lines through security. I didn’t mind. It meant I didn’t have to worry about getting to my gate on time. I could stroll though all the art between terminals instead of taking the tram and I had plenty of time for a nice breakfast. By lunch time I was home with Albert.

    And I got to scratch off another state and add a new rhinestone to my travel map!

    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 1 May 2019 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
    Tags: , ,

    Los Angeles: Burlesque Bingo 1/20/19

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I know this is the missive you’ve been waiting for — all about the House of Knyle graduation show at Burlesque Bingo!

    I was extremely grateful for this opportunity, not only to share a stage with all the women I’d gotten to know through Egypt’s program, but I can’t imagine otherwise performing in one of Audrey DeLuxe’s shows.

    The venue was Harvell’s in Long Beach. Lili VonSchtupp had given me some advance info like that the dressing room was good but narrow and that the stage was carpeted and a couple steps up, which allayed a little of my nervousness. The space has a great speakeasy vibe and I can see why there’s a lot of burlesque there.

    I was the first to arrive. Scratch volunteered to do whatever was needed and that turned out to be running the follow spot. All the other ladies were staying with and therefore traveling with Egypt. I kind of regretted missing out of the bonding time (and more, as it turned out), but I’m not sorry I chose to spend time with Kitten Natividad. Our Legends are so important. When everyone else arrived they briefed me on the plan for the curtain call and after, whihc they had worked on the night before at Egypt’s. That did have me a little nervous because improvisation dance is not my strength.

    Burlesque Bingo works thusly: On the floor perpendicular to the stage is a bingo board, like a very low runway. At the back of the stage is a number board (see photo).
    When the performer discards a costume piece, she tosses it onto the board on the floor. One of the Lucky Charms (Audrey’s adorable assistants; also see photo) turns on the light for the corresponding number on the big board and everyone marks their bingo cards accordingly. After the act is over, if no one has bingo, the Lucky Charms begin to disrobe and toss out their garments until bingo is achieved. The bingo winner then comes onto stage to claim their goodie bag of prizes. If more than one person has bingo, everyone gets a chance to roll a giant pink fuzzy die to see who claims the prize. It’s a lot of fun. It was also clear some audience members are all abut the bingo, while others are just there for the burlesque.

    I wish I could do a blow by blow of the other acts, but I was more than nervous and rather in my own head most of the night, so I don’t recall a lot of the show. The line up, however, was:
    Bebe Bardot
    Lilac SaintClair
    Dulce D’Jour
    CoCo Rose
    Crocodile Lightning
    Nadia Lotte
    Briq House
    Mayo Lua de Frenchie
    Mina Murray
    Twirlisha Devine
    Egypt Blaque Knyle

    After we each did our acts, Egypt joined us on stage and presented each student with a certificate of completion.

    After Egypt’s performance, we each came out in reverse order, still in our pasties, and improvised on stage for a few measures. Eventually we moved into our assigned places, arrayed around the runway, while Egypt performed again. By the end we were all over her. We wouldn’t let her leave the stage until we had presented her with our gift, a large engraved diamond.

    I was very touched when Bebe Bardot, who had to race off to the airport immediately after the show, took a few moments to say some kind things about my books. I feel a kinship with this lovely lady — she’s also a scholar of burlesque history, a writer, and a classic sort of gal — so it meant a lot.

    All right, I won’t make you wait any longer. Here’s my act:

    What did I think? It’s still a little rough. I’m not happy with my facial expressions and I can see all the tension in my shoulders. Those shoes were giving me such trouble, especially with the turns and lunges, and you can see where I so gracefully stumble off the edge of the bingo stage near the end. However, I’m really happy with parts of it and I can see there’s some power there. I’ve since performed it three other times and it just keeps getting better as I’m more comfortable with it and I’m not stressing about trying to impress a mentor (and I got new shoes)

    This act, probably more than any other one, had a lot of feedback from a lot of people. Egypt suggested the lunges after the turns (as well as other things). It was Ava’s idea that I start with the back panel draped in front. Originally I dropped to my knees for the floorwork, but Betty said “Can you drop into a plank? You do planks all the time.” Scratch came up with the belt remove. He also edited my music so there was a strong ending instead of a fade-out.

    I’m so grateful to Egypt for giving me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, to perform in this great show, and to work with these amazing women.

    Performance photo by Jason Kamimura Photography
    Video by Cliesha

    M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

    Published in: on 9 April 2019 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
    Tags: , , , ,