Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Greetings from sunny Florida! This week’s tip is about tipping!

If there’s tipping at your show, make sure the cast, crew, and audience all understand how it works.

I have seen so many methods for tipping: performer goes through the audience with a container (champagne bucket, top hat, trick or treat pumpkin, &c.), stage kitten goes through the audience with a container, performer lets the audience stick money in their costume, audience throws money at the stage, container by the stage, container for each performer by the stage, envelopes at seats, &c. I’m sure there are more I have forgotten.

Make sure everyone knows what tipping method you are using, the cast and crew well before the show, and the audience early in the show, so there are no surprises.

Very importantly, how are the tips distributed? Does each performer keep the money given specifically to them? Or are the tips shared? If so, how many ways are they split? Does the host get a share? Does the stage crew? Again, this needs to be communicated in advance.

Also, don’t forget electronic tipping. Have QR codes or info for all the different payment services available to the audience. If the tips are pooled and split, let the performers know when and how they’ll be getting their share.

M2

These 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 7 October 2022 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m at the New York Burlesque Festival! But I didn’t want to forget your tip.

When you travel, try to go to a burlesque show.

Not only is it fun to attend shows, it’s good to get outside your usual stomping grounds. Unfamiliar performers and acts are inspiring in multiple ways. Regional differences in performance and production are always interesting (at least I think so!) and may give you some good ideas. And do try to meet the folks involved — you might make a business contact, or a friend.

M2

These 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 30 September 2022 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Last Chance to Vote

Dear Constant Reader,

This is it! Voting for the Golden Pasties ends tonight! It would mean so much to me to win one of those oversized pasties (made by Canova Studios), especially for the 20th anniversary of the festival.

I’m a finalist for the Dorian Gray Award, for the performer who looks younger now than when they started performing and the Producers Dream Award, for the performer who is never late and always sends their music on time (it’s true!).

Voting is super-easy, barely an inconvenience! You have until 6pm (eastern) tonight.

And then we wait until the ceremony on Sunday!

M2

These 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 27 September 2022 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

A quick reminder to vote for me for the Dorian Gray Award and the Producer’s Dream Award Golden Pasties!

Here’s your tip!

When using magnets in a costume remove, slide them apart instead of pulling.

If you try to pull magnets apart, depending on the strength, you could end up tearing your costume before you separate them. Sliding them breaks the hold more easily. I’m sure someone could explain the physics, but that person is not me.

M2

These 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 23 September 2022 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

In the Kitchen: To Make a Cake (1604)

Dear Constant Reader,

[I wrote this in January 2020 and apparently it’s been sitting in my drafts all that time. It’s been well over a year since I shared a historic recipe with you and most of what I’ve been cooking this year is from the 1914 project. I can’t find a picture of the finished cake so you’ll just have to imagine it.]

It has been a while since I did any historic cookery. When our local medieval/Renaissance cookery group was having a joint meeting with a gaming group, that was enough to get me thumbing through my Elizabethan cookbooks. I wanted to bring something that didn’t need any cooking on site and was somewhat seasonal. It’s wintertime, which made me think of fruit and spice cakes.

To Make a Cake
Take a peck of flower, and fower pound of currance, one ounce of Cinamon, half an ounce of ginger, two nutmegs, of cloves and mace two peniworth, of butter one pound, mingle your spice and flower & fruit together, put as much barme as will make it light, then take good Ale, & put your butter in it, all saving a little, which you must put in the milk, & let the milk boyle with the butter, then make a posset with it, & temper the Cake with the posset drink, & curd & all together, & put some sugar in & so bake it.
Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book

Cakes in the 16th and 17th centuries were not much like today’s cake. They were raised with barm, which is the yeast used for making ale, rather than baking powder, which wasn’t invented for a couple of centuries. The results are more like bread than what we think of as cake today. I use yeast with a little beer added for flavor.

The above recipe would make a giant cake, as a peck of flour is eight quarts of flour or about 37 cups. I divided all the ingredients approximately by eight to make a more manageable cake. Since I have no idea how much mace or cloves a penny bought at the time, I just added the spices to my liking.

The big mystery here was these instructions “then take good Ale, & put your butter in it, all saving a little, which you must put in the milk, & let the milk boyle with the butter, then make a posset with it, & temper the Cake with the posset drink, & curd & all together”. My read of it is to take ale and add most of the butter to it. Put the rest of the butter into the milk and bring the milk to a boil. Then add the milk to the ale (a posset is a beverage made with warm milk curdled with alcohol) and add it to the cake mix. Why split the butter like that? I might understand if you worked part of it into the flour and melted the other part, but this baffles me. It all melted when I added the warm milk to the ale. Any thoughts?

The end result is a pleasantly-spiced, not too sweet fruit bread.

4 2/3 cups all purpose flour (I like a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat)
8 oz. currants
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 t mace
1/4 t nutmeg
pinch cloves
2 oz. butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup ale (I used a winter warmer)
1 cup milk
1 packet yeast
1/4 cup sugar

Mix together the flour, currants, and spices in a large bowl. Pour the ale and half the butter into a small bowl. Bring the milk and the rest of the butter to a boil in a sauce pan. Let the milk cool to body temperature (if you put a drop on the inside of your wrist, it should feel neither hot nor cold), add to the ale along with one tablespoon of sugar and the yeast. Mix the rest of the sugar into the dry ingredients.

When the yeast bubbles (about 10 minutes) add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until well combined. Knead a few times on a floured surface. Pat the dough into a ball. Grease the bowl and put the dough into it. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch the dough down and place in a greased pan. I used a 9″ round cake pan. Cover and let rise again.

Bake at 400°F for half an hour. You can sprinkle it with coarse sugar when it comes out of the oven or make a glaze with powdered sugar and rosewater and pour over the warm cake.

M2

These 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 22 September 2022 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

A quick reminder to vote for me for the Dorian Gray Award and the Producer’s Dream Award Golden Pasties!

Here’s your tip!

When everything is a rush, you need to slow down. 

Things seem to always go wrong when we’re trying to beat the clock. We miss a turn on the way to a gig. We sew a seam wrong side out. We forget to pack something important. We break things. We lose things. It ends up taking even more time and energy.

Stop. Take a breath. Yes, work quickly, but not in a panic. Take the time to double-check things

As the Emperor Augustus said, Festina lente, make haste slowly.

M2

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 16 Patrons. Welcome to my newest Patron, Adrian! 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 16 September 2022 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Exciting News

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m a finalist for two Golden Pasties!!! Thank you so much for your help getting me nominated. I had a terrible day yesterday, but it ended with this news, so at least I could go to sleep on a positive note.

Now I’m counting on you all to vote for me the Dorian Gray Award and the Producer’s Dream Award. I’ve got some really stiff competition!

We’re encouraged to make silly campaign promises. I haven’t come up with any yet (I’m working on it!) but I do promise you all a treat if I win one of those coveted giant pasties!

M2

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 15 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 September 2022 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Before we get to your tip, I just want to remind you that nominations for the Golden Pastie Awards close on Sunday. Please nominate me for the Producers Dream and Dorian Gray awards. You can vote once a day! If I’m one of the nominees, I’ll have some silly fun for you in the next couple of weeks.

If you know the dressing room at a venue is small, arrive with hair & makeup done.

It frees up the space for active costume changes and you all won’t be piled on top of one another trying to put your face on before the show starts.

M2

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 15 Patrons. Welcome to my newest Patron, Fiona! 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 September 2022 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Before we get to your tip, I just want to remind you to nominate me for the Producers Dream and Dorian Gray Golden Pastie Awards. If you already have, thank you!

It’s not yet officially fall, but some are already buying pumpkin spice everything and planning their Halloween decorations. Others are trying to enjoy the last of summer. Both groups tend to snipe at one another. This brings me to my tip:

Let people enjoy what they like. It may not be your cup of tea, but there’s no reason to squash their pleasure.

I see this in burlesque when people sneer at classic burlesque for being boring or pop culture acts for being juvenile. and then mock the fans of that genre. You don’t have to like that style, but someone does and there’s no reason to be a jerk to them.

M2

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 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 2 September 2022 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Vintage Glamour with La Photographie

Dear Constant Reader,

Last month I had a most wonderful experience. Stephanie May of La Photographie put out a Muse Call with the theme of Vintage Glamour. I met Stephanie (aka One Chance Fancy) at Stripper’s Holiday and then won a virtual photoshoot with her at a fundraising auction. I had wanted to do an in-person shoot with her ever since. And I had wanted a boudoir shoot for my big birthday back in 2020 (we know how that turned out). So, I jumped at the chance. I picked two themes: Hollywood Glamour and Romantic Realism.

Before the shoot we had a video call where she explained what I could expect on the day and also explained the various photo packages (with a Muse Call I was only paying for photos, not the shoot itself) and then sent me all sort of information to prepare me for the shoot. We also had a follow up call after I’d had time to make some decisions about wardrobe and hair. I put this off for a while because I just couldn’t do anything for a time after Albert died and Stephanie was very understanding.

When the big day arrived, I packed everything that I had planned, plus a couple extras items, just in case. Ultimately, I’m very glad I did, but I’ll get to that later. With clean skin and a fresh manicure, I set off for Connecticut at not very early in the morning.

I arrived, only a little late, at Stephanie’s charming Victorian house/studio and met Jess, the hair & makeup artist who would make me look glamourous. And she did! I had no idea what she was doing until the dramatic reveal in the mirror. She made me look amazing! And even improved the style on my wig.

The first set was Hollywood Glamour, which we shot in the parlor with a plush sofa and (faux) zebra skin rug. One of those last minute grabs was the white fans that Donna Touch recently refurbished for me. After a few shots with a fan alone in the dining room, we set it on the couch behind me. I wore a silver satin Cathrine D’Lish robe (a birthday present to myself), which Stephanie had steamed until it flowed like a dream. We took a number of photos of the couch and a few in front of the gorgeously stenciled wall on the stairs. It was really rather decadent, lounging in a luxurious robe while being told how glamourous you are. I felt like quite the Hollywood starlet

Then it was time for the second set. Jess changed my lipstick, then added my other wig, which she had carefully brushed and styled. The transformation was amazing.

We headed upstairs to a bedroom that had been turned into a seraglio with draperies and swags of luxurious fabrics. I know blue is a very flattering color for me so I brought some lengths of satin, some sheer veils, and a sari Betty brought me back from India and Stephanie incorporated them into the set.

I had originally thought of doing implied nudity with a fabric drape, but one of the things I grabbed at the last minute was my blue and gold robe with the long train. I wore that. Sort of. The entire set was shot with natural light from a window to my left. Very Vermeer. I felt so very beautiful and the robe came off.

Photography complete, Stephanie went off to review the images and I settled in at the dining room table with a book and a decadent charcuterie plate. She came back with about 75 images which I had to winnow down. And all the Hollywood Glamour shots had the option of color or black and white. The package I had selected included 8 prints. Only 8! In the end I was only able to get it down to 14 and added the additional images to my tab.

Then I packed up and headed home. I think I was there about 5 and a half hours from start to finish — make up and hair (wigs), two shoots, and the image review.

A few days later, Stephanie sent me my retouched images and I had some major buyer’s remorse about all the gorgeous shots I tossed on the cutting room floor. I asked if I could upgrade to all the digital images. It just wasn’t that much more $$ and I have no regrets.

Besides the photos, I’ll also be getting a boudoir video, which was a special bonus.

To sum up, I loved the experience. I felt gorgeous and glamourous and thoroughly pampered. Jess of Selva Beauty did such a great job with my makeup and wigs. I wish I could recreate what she did with my eyes. Stephanie’s artistic vision and attention to detail created beautiful images. I think it’s a testament to her skill as a photographer that I ended up springing for all the images.

I’ve teased you enough. Here are my favorite images from each of the shoots (at least the SFW ones).

DSC_4676Hollywood Glamour

DSC_4821Romantic Realism

I adore them!

There were more (including some NSFW) that I showed my Patrons right away. And now that I have all the images, I’ll probably give them some more.

If you’re thinking about a boudoir shoot, I highly recommend La Photographie! And if you’re not near Connecticut, don’t worry! She travels a lot.

M2

P.S. Don’t forget to nominate me for the Producers Dream and Dorian Gray Golden Pasties!

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 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 31 August 2022 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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