Expo 2016: The Conference

Dear Constant Reader,

I confess that I went to fewer classes this year that I think I ever have before. I was just so busy and tired this year. However, the ones I made it to were uniformly terrific.

Saturday
Lazy Stripper Techniques: Eye-Fucking for Beginners (Maggie McMuffin): Eye contact is one of those things that’s so important and yet I often shy away from. We did some really helpful exercises, practicing eye contact with different messages. Besides eye-fucking we also learned about the importance of walls.

Burlesque, Broadway & Hollywood (Sailor St. Claire): This was so much fun. A look at how burlesque influenced (and still does) Broadway and Hollywood productions. Accompanied by one of Sailor’s terrific presentations with stills *and* clips from “Silk Stockings” (you must see it!). Apparently she knew this class would be Mina-bait because she included as many pictures with fans as possible.

Sunday
Burlesque vs. the Real World (panel): A discussion on how to deal with being a burlesque performer in a world that can be hostile to what we do. Honestly, this isn’t usually my interest, but panels often bring up things I never would have thought of. Mostly, I’m lucky that “outing” has never been a problem.

Stalking the Stocking (me): Although Scandal did her best not to throw me under the bus this year (9am on Sunday, opposite Willy Barrett, &c.), I only had a single student. However, she was completely new to the world of stocking removes, so we had a terrific one-on-one lesson that I hope was valuable for her.

Adding Drama with Isis Wings (Baroness Blitzen von Schtupp): I’ve had a pair of wings gathering dust (and wrinkles) for a couple of years now. I’m a lot more comfortable using them now after this class. I certainly got my quota of spinning and an arm work out. Number one project before I try using the wings again: replace the sticks. The cheap wooden ones had broken inside the wings which made holding them a little challenging.

Dirty, Sexy, Smooth Chair Dancing (Red Hot Annie): A fun class and a real work out.We learned chair moves in a little choreography, which changed and evolved as we did it. The song we used was “In These Shoes”, which Betty often uses for a warm-up, so there was a little aural confusion for me at first. The hotel chairs are really terrible — the backs are too high and they’re balanced poorly — but we did our best. I decided to save the inversion tricks until I’m in the studio with my beloved Stefan. A few people went down and I didn’t want to add myself to those numbers.

As always I’m grateful to all the teachers who share their knowledge and all the students who give the teachers someone to teach and Scandal and her staff for making it possible.

M2

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Published in: on 17 February 2016 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Wonderful Weekend

Dear Constant Reader,

This weekend was just what I needed! I believe we have finally left winter behind and entered spring. The crocuses around Stately Babydoll Manor have bloomed and the tiny lawn tulips shouldn’t be far behind.

Scratch & I drove down to New York on Saturday to take a Delsarte Intensive with Joe Williams (Willy Barrett), and it was amazing. I’m not going to try to explain the Delsarte system (philosophy, teachings, &c.) because it would take a while and I probably wouldn’t do it so well. Thus I’ll just say the principles apply to any form of communication (and what is performance other than communication with an audience?) and I recommend Joe’s teachings to any performer. You can read more here. Some of my Gentle Readers were clever enough to have taken classes with him at The Expo and had their minds blown.

I’ve taken many classes with Joe over the years, mostly an hour long, maybe two, but this was *nine* hours over two days. There was finally enough time to really delve into each topic and explore. Scratch and I were continually having “ah ha!” moments and having little whispered conferences as ideas came to light or the “why” of things suddenly made sense. It was a wonderful mix of students — about equal parts burlesque and bellydance, some other styles of performance, and at least one non-performer, and the differing perspectives really added to the class. There is so much I want to use and share, on stage and with my students. I can’t wait.

(Photo by Kaeshi Chai)

If you ever have the opportunity to learn from Joe, take it. You will grow as a performer. Really. I promise.

The rest of weekend was awful nice too. We got to spend some time with Scratch’s family and also have breakfast with International Superstar Model Sarah Hartshorne. We got to hear abut her latest modeling adventures, stand-up gigs, and the non-profit project she’s working for before she had to go convince someone to loan her a cocktail-dispensing vending machine. I cannot make this stuff up.

On our way back home we went via Brooklyn (which you keen observers of New York City geography will realize is not actually on the way from the Upper West Side to Boston) to meet up with The Italian Stallionette herself, Angie Pontani. I am the proud owner of Angie’s bath tub (the performance prop, not her actual bath tub; that would be weird and kind of creepy), which she delivered at The Expo.

However, there’s a snazzy shipping crate for the tub, which Angie wanted the heck out of her storage unit, but was way too big for her to transport.

It *just* fit in the back of the Babydoll-mobile. And that car can carry 3 dancers, an MC, and all the gear needed for a full-length show. For a little while it seemed like this would be a very squished ride back home until Scratch figured out how to adjust everything so that the crate fit, the back hatch stayed closed, and he didn’t have to drive smashed up against the steering wheel.

Now, it resides in our storage unit, awaiting the day my bath tub act is desired internationally.

And then there was the ritual placation of a large white cat who was quite cranky at our absence.

M2

Published in: on 14 April 2015 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Expo 2015: The Conference

Dear Constant Reader,

(My slowly on-going reporting on The Great Burlesque Exposition. Read the previous entries here and here.)

One of the great things about The Expo is The Conference. Attendees get two days with multiple tracks of classes on so many different topics — dance, stage craft, business, costuming, &c. — taught by amazing instructors from all over. I try to take as many as I possible can. It’s such a valuable experience for improving all facets of our art.

Saturday
Get Tight: A Guide to Corsetry (me): I was surprised to have students at such an early hour! I educated them on this history of corsetry (with examples), different types, what to look for when you buy, tips for making, and of course, how to wear and remove. I’ve proposed it for BurlyCon, but with some changes so I don’t have to bring a shopping bag full of examples and tools.

#whatdatbootydo (Nina La Voix): This class was all about the butt. We started with a warm up of squats (mercifully she didn’t make us do lunges too). Then we learned the finer points of cheek isolations, twerking, and ass clapping. We wrapped up the class with a short routine. I’m rather booty challenged, as it turns out. I see you looking completely unsurprised, O Gentle Reader.

Floorwork (Bella Blue): I’m not sure what I was thinking, taking another intensely physical class right after Nina’s, but I was not going to pass up the opportunity to learn from one of our special guests! Someday I will master the stripper pushup, but not that day…

Big Hair, Don’t Care (Maggie McMuffin): We learned how to get enormous volume through fillers and through teasing plus the secret ingredients. I probably won’t even try it on my thin, fine hair, but The Wortown Bombshells took the lessons to heart for the Pool Party that night. (Photo by Beau Blush)

What Do I Do With These? Boa and Glove Strip Technique (Bella Blue): Two of my favorite accessories! (I say that, but my boas don’t actually come out & play much. I should change that.) I was particularly delighted to see some of my advanced students in the class. I think one of them added something she learned in this class to her performance the next night. I learned a few new tricks, was reminded of some that I haven’t taken out in a while, and found some inspiration. In other words, a good class.

Sunday
Introduction to Fan Dance (me): I didn’t actually expect anyone this early on Sunday. And that was indeed the case.

Stalking the Stocking (me): But I was surprised not to get anyone here either. Had I known, I would have taken Angie Pontani’s Master Class instead.

The Body of Work: Longevity in Burlesque (panel): I was supposed to be on this panel, but Scratch took my place to give me a break in the midst of what we thought was going to be 4 hours of solid teaching. It was fun listening to long-time performers talk about leaving a legacy and how to stay in burlesque for the long haul. Honestly, Scratch was probably a better speaker on the topic than I would have been.

Your Way Student Session (me, Scratch): This was a final review session to give the students in the Burlesque Your Way class some last-minute feedback before they performed that night. We don’t normally do this, but two regular classes *and* two make-up classes were canceled because of all the freaking blizzards we’ve had.

The Hands and Arms of a Dancer (Willy Barrett): I think I’ve taken this class 4 times now and every time I learn something new. I love Willy’s classes — there’s always a huge “ah-ha” moment for me. And it’s so much fun watching people’s minds get blown. I’m really excited that in a couple of weeks I get to take *nine hours* of class with him!

Go-Go Robics (Angie Pontani): This class is so much fun! Angie’s enthusiasm and the goofy moves almost makes one forget what a workout this all is. Those pony steps are killers! This time the song was Nancy Sinatra’s “The Last of the Secret Agents”, so we got to start in our favorite spy pose.

And just a reminder that this year was pretty terrible for The Expo’s coffers. You can help make next year amazing!

M2

Published in: on 31 March 2015 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Expo 2014: The Conference

Dear Constant Reader,

The Conference is the jewel of The Expo — 4 tracks of classes covering everything from dance to business and beginner to professional-level. It’s a fabulous opportunity to learn and I wish more people took full advantage of it.

Friday
The Teasing Touch (me): Friday afternoon classes are new this year. I wasn’t actually expecting anyone to show up, but I had 3 students: a newcomer, an experienced burlesquer, and someone for whom this was her first burlesque class! I was so thrilled. We explored some of the wonderful things you can do with your hands and gloves.

There were more classes and some Birds of a Feather sessions, but I was in tech rehearsal for The Rhinestone Revue.

Saturday
Subtle Sparkle: Edge-Beading (me): I really like “make & take” classes. You go in with nothing and walk out with a thingy or at least the beginnings of a thingy and the knowledge to finish it. In this class I taught the basics of edge-beading and let the students practice it by making a ribbon choker. Here’s Gala Delicious modeling her creation. She practically beaded the whole thing in just two hours!

Strip Like a Stripper (Sheila Starr Siani): After seeing Sheila’s terribly sexy performance the night before, I was eager for this class. We learned some key secrets and practiced some classic stripper moves. No surprise, everyone wanted to learn the booty bounce. Best moment, Stella with her legs up in the air demonstrating, mentioning that she learned it in college.

The Road Warriors (panel): This was just fun, listening to Willy Barrett, Scratch, Angie Pontani, and Red Snapper share touring stories. Still, I learned some useful tips. Just have to point out that Snapper made *handouts*. For a panel.

Dance Moves for Non-Dancers (Red Snapper): I swear I was not stalking Red Snapper. We learned a bunch of basic moves, hardly harder than walking, many of which we use in BABEfit combinations. The class finished with us all dancing The Hustle. And there was a cheat sheet, so I didn’t even need to take notes.

Flirting with Fan Dance (Fanny Galore): You know I love fan dance and I take all the classes I can, even beginner ones because I’m always search for that one bit of gold. In this case, it was the experience of fan dancing to music that was nowhere near my comfort zone.

Sunday
Using Your Face (Willy Barrett): I admit it: facial expressions are one of my weak points and when I’m sharing the stage with Betty or Brigitte, it really shows. We learned the mind-body-spirit correspondences to the parts of the face and to the eyes.

Down & Dirty (Red Snapper): I’ve taken this floorwork class before, but I always like to work my legs and abs. And besides, I might learn something new. In this case, it was the memorable phrase “tits up to God”.

The Legs and Feet of a Dancer (Willy Barrett): I always love watch people’s minds get blown in one of Willy’s classes. And Brigitte was no exception — she’s already reworking her stocking removes. Besides learning the mind-body-spirit connection to the parts of the leg and the foot, we also practiced stances and their meanings. Favorite moment: Whisper de Corvo volunteered to demonstrate. She chose to be a tiger, then said she couldn’t be a bunny. You never say “can’t” to Willy Barrett! And yes, she can.

Ribbon Work for Detailed Costumes (Whisper de Corvo): Ribbon flowers are so beautiful, but I’ve never tried making them. We made pansies from lovely ombre ribbon, some modern and some vintage. My creation turned out a little wonky (I think I needed slightly longer ribbon lengths), but still pretty.

Go-Go Robics (Angie Pontani):
(Photo by Kristin Chalmers Photography)
I was really looking forward to this one. The Pontani Sisters’ Go-Go Robics DVDs (the original and sequel) were among the first I bought when I embarked on my burlesque journey, so I jumped at the chance to do it with Angie, in person. She taught a super-high energy choreography to “The Clapping Song”, which had us gasping and sweating in no time. Here’s a snippet of video. You can just sort of see me flailing around behind Angie.

And then I had to skip the last class session to set up for my Tea Party!

M2

Published in: on 25 February 2014 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon: Sunday 11/10/13

Dear Constant Reader,

Last day at BurlyCon!

After a quick yogurt, I went to my first class.

Gloves, Arms & Hands (Willy Barrett): I never pass up an opportunity to take a class with Willy (aka Delsarte Master Joe Paul Williams). He’s been a staple at The Expo since the very first year, and you can thank Betty Blaize for luring him into the world of burlesque! His teachings have strongly influenced The Boston Babydolls and I would encourage any performer to take one of his workshops.

This class was packed! I think someone said it was the second-largest class all weekend. There was one marvelous moment when the entire class audibly had their minds blown (it was the wrist-throat connection, for those who know). I heard a rumor he’ll be offering “Legs and Feet” at the upcoming Expo in February…

Power in Simplicity (Perle Noir): Well, I planned to attend. The class was crowded and I realized I didn’t have much concentration at the moment. After the warm up and watching the choreography demonstration I left.

Instead, Scratch and I checked out of our room, put our bags in the holding pen, and had a pleasant brunch with Jonny Porkpie, Jo Weldon, Kristina Nekyia, and some other folks that I can’t quite remember at the moment. The conversation turned to flexibility (as Porkpie showed a photo of his recreation of a vintage Hustler cover involving a bit of contortion). Kristina, a professional contortionist, mentioned that she had an instructional DVD on splits and backbends. I’ve always wanted to be able to do a split and have been unable to find a good training program, so I ordered it as soon as I got home. We shall see how that goes…

And then back to class.

Merkins (Lola Love): For my non-burlesque readers, a merkin is basically a g-string without the string — a little patch that covers the bits that must remain hidden. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever wear one, Boston decency laws being what they are, but I still want to know how to make one. They are really quite simple to construct. Keeping one in place is the challenge.

Then there was a little more shopping before my last class of the weekend.

Dances of the Roaring 20’s (Gin Minsky): So much fun! We learned the Charleston and the Black Bottom and then spent most of the class putting everything together into a choreography. Exhausting! A great way to end the convention.

Then I wrestled my suitcase out of luggage jail, changed into travel clothes, and had a spot of bother returning said bag. But it was okay because I got to hang with Lili von Schtupp while she tried to rescue her bag out.

Then we went out for some dinner with Scandal, Hoi Polloi, Dahlia Fatale, and a brand new burlesquer named Pepper before it was time to head to the airport.

We had an overnight flight, so I was beyond grateful that whoever was supposed to sit between us failed to show up and I could stretch out a little and sleep. We arrived in Boston a bit earlier than scheduled and watched the sun come up as we were chauffeured back to Stately Babydoll Manor. There to be met by a large white cat who missed Scratch terribly.

Next time, it’s all about the shopping!

M2

Published in: on 20 November 2013 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BurlyCon: Saturday 11/9/13

Dear Constant Reader,

Saturday morning I was starting to feel the effects of travel plus a bunch of dance classes, so I started by day off (after breakfast, of course) with Soft Core Stretching (Inga Ingenue): A blissful hour of stretching, yoga, and a little core work at the end. Just the thing.

Stripping Behind the Fans (Michelle L’amour): Another packed class and the big fans didn’t help visibility at all. Again, Michelle taught perched on a couple of chairs. I’m told the Sunday afternoon run of the class was much less crowded. We learned how to hold 2 fans in one hand (Michelle truly has more strength in her little finger than almost anyone) and how to strip off gloves and a bra while doing so.

A brief break for lunch and some shopping and back to class I went.

Beginner Burlesque Choreography (Perle Noir): Ah, a chance to dance with Perle Noir. We learned a short choreography to “Cuban Pete” (the Desi Arnaz version, not the one Betty uses). It was just complex enough to be fun and simple enough to not be frustrating. Perfect.

Advance Chair Dancing (Lux LaCroix): I was expecting to get my ass kicked in this class. I ended up with a banged elbow (still sore after more than a week), a bruised thigh, and utterly sore muscles. It was glorious. There are several moves I am totally going to use in my next chair dance and a whole bunch I need to work up to. More core for sure.

At this point I took a much needed break instead of going to another class.

Illuminating Costumes (Laika Fox & Scarlett O’Hairdye): This class focused on using LEDs and EL wire in costumes. There was an introductory presentation about what they were and how they worked and then the room was spit into two groups for demos. I was in the LED group. Sewing, even with conductive wire, is right up my alley, so there’s a non-zero chance of working with LEDs in the future. On the other hand, I’m sorry I didn’t see the EL wire demo; I’ve always wanted to learn to solder.

After the previous night’s dinner debacle, everyone was promised there would be enough food, so not to rush the hospitality room. When I arrived, about an hour after service had begun, Scratch was standing in the hallway, directing people to any of the three rooms which had been set up with tables of delicious Mexican food. And the food tables had been arranged so people could go down both sides, which I knew was Scratch’s doing. It was so efficient that I had my tacos (thanks Tigerlily Salon!) in no time.

After a visit to Dr. Jen for some custom foundation formulation (more on that in the missive devoted to shopping), we attended the peer reviews, although missing the first few acts.

For those of you who are wonder what that means, it’s an opportunity to get feedback on an act from your fellow burlesquers. The performer get to say a few words about the act and specify why they want feedback, then they perform. A few audience members, selected by a moderator, get to give commentary and everyone has the opportunity to write notes which are given to the performer. One of the hardest parts is that the performer must remain silent while the feedback is given. I did it a couple of years ago and found it very valuable. Although I must say, performing for my peers (Yikes! Jo Weldon is in the front row!) is much more nerve-racking than for the average audience.

It seemed like a lot of the commenters started out with “Oh My God! That was incredible! You’re amazing and I love you!” Very nice, but it would have made me nuts to have the precious time (I think there’s only about 5 minutes for each performer to receive comments) taken up with empty praise instead of useful feedback.

I was particularly struck with acts by Deanna Danger, Darlinda Just Darlinda, and Sailor St. Claire. I hope I have the opportunity to see their performances again after they’ve incorporated the thoughts they were given.

Then the evening event I’d been waiting for — the Movie Pajama Party! Okay, I wasn’t actually looking forward to watching “Zeta One”, but I had a great outfit.
That amazing robe was made by Catherine D’Lish and I adore it. many people recognized the style right off the bat, so I didn’t even have to brag about who made it. The photo was specifically taken for Corinne Southern who had recently announced that she desired “Catherine D’Lish dressing gowns” and “Boudoir slippers with feathers on them” and when I mentioned I’d be wearing both, insisted on a picture. You can’t see my marabou trimmed mules in the photo.

I stayed just long enough to be seen, not win the raffle drawing, and watch the “previews” (here, I’ll share: a music video, a PSA, and the only actual movie trailer). Then I strolled around in my regal glory, accepting compliments, and never quite managing to make it to the bar for a Kitten DeVille cocktail.

One more day!

M2

Published in: on 19 November 2013 at 2:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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BurlyCon: Thursday 11/7/13

Dear Constant Reader,

Scratch and I were out in Seattle at BurlyCon for the past several days. And they were crazy-fun jam-packed days! I’ll do my best to recount them all, without being too tedious.

Not-yet-bright and way too early we were off to the airport. I’m an early riser, but we had to get up *way* too early… and that flight was no fun at all. It was very nice of the airline to upgrade us to exit row seats for free, but I’d rather have a seat that reclines so I could sleep instead of the extra leg room. But that’s not what you wanted to hear about.

The hotel shuttle was packed with other burlesquers and the air was filled with excitement and the potential for glitter. Once arrived, we checked in, unpacked, picked up our badges, had a burger with Lili vonSchtupp and company and generally relaxed until my first class (which was really the second class session. I skipped one. Forgive me.).

Panel Skirt Construction (Penny Starr Jr.): I was really looking forward to this one and I was not disappointed. I love panel skirts and I’m always happy to pick up costuming tips. She displayed and discussed quick & dirty versions, more luxurious skirts, bustles, drapes, &c. I always find Penny a knowledgeable and accessible teacher and she answered my biggest patterning question, so I’m totally inspired to make some new panel skirts.

Fast & Furious Silk Fans (Agent Asian): I use a single cloth fan in my Titania act and was hoping to pick up some pointers. I was a little dismayed to see a room full of students with silk veil-fans. We were told the instructor was stuck in traffic and after we moved to a bigger classroom, one of the students jumped into to start teaching about veil-fans. I was contemplating leaving, since I had the wrong equipment, when the instructor raced in. Fortunately, the class was geared more toward my style of fan, so I’m glad I waited around. After learning a few moves and combinations, we drilled a choreography (to “But I am a Good Girl”, which amused me with the fusion of styles). I think there are a few moves I can incorporate, but most valuable was just the drilling of opening and closing the fans smoothly.

After that I went to catch the last bit of Scratch’s Commedia dell’arte class. He was drilling everyone on a section of our “Temptation” choreography, using different body parts to lead. When I arrived, they were all dancing like Pantalone. Scratch told me he was awfully nervous to have Waxy Moon, Paco Fish, and Ray Gunn in his class. The students were numerous and extremely enthusiastic for a 90-minute class on a 500-year-old theatre form.

Then we dressed up for the Vintage Meet and Greet (sponsored by Atomic Cosmetics). Scratch donned a tiki shirt and I stepped out in a slinky black dress with rhinestone accents. My fabulous black heels turned out to be a poor choice for the hotel’s thin carpets-over-concrete floors, but they looked great for the short time I wore them. There was bacon jam and champagne punch and many drag queens. There had also been awakening at 4:30am East Coast Time, so I turned in relatively early.

Before I called it a night, I attended the Literati caucus, just to see what the heck that meant. It was organized by Sailor St. Claire who had sacrificed some pages from books for the cause. We would each draw a section of a page from an envelope and try to figure out which book it came from and who else had part of it. Thus organized into little groups, we chatted about books. Then we did it again.

This was the first page piece I drew:

Appropriate, no?

There will be much more to come. I have 3 more days of BurlyCon to report on, plus shopping!

M2

Published in: on 14 November 2013 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Classes at B.A.B.E.

Dear Constant Reader,

I hope you won’t mind a brief commercial plug here. As you know, I run a modest school devoted to teaching ladies of all sorts to tease and tempt. We’ve got a few fabulous classes upcoming!

Every month we teach Introduction to Burlesque. It’s a four-week course that covers all the burlesque basics (and then some). The 90-minute classes are designed to stand alone, so you could take just one to try it out, but it’s more fun with all four (and we have a special Early Bird rate). Take it with Devora Darling on Mondays in November or Mandy on Thursdays in December.

Don’t have time to commit to an entire class series? Burlesque for Beginners will give you a grounding in the fundamentals in just two hours. We’re offering it on Thursday, October 24 at 7-9pm with Stella Diamond.

Once a year we offer Burlesque Your Way, in which Mr. Scratch and I guide students through creating their very own routine. Students who successfully complete the course can perform in The Original Newcomers’ Showcase at the Great Burlesque Exposition in February! The course is 5 weekly classes, starting on Thursday, January 2nd and requires Introduction to Burlesque, Burlesque for Beginners, or the equivalent.

Here are some of the graduates of Burlesque Your Way performing at The Expo in 2012 (photos by Chris McIntosh):

Amber Bu Táne

Dagny Vanderlust

Lana del Legs

Strawberry MILFshake

Delilah Spring

Pink Lily

And speaking of the The Great Burlesque Exposition of 2014, applications to perform close on Halloween! I want to encourage everyone to go. There are amazing performers (including Angie Pontani, Bazuka Joe, and Perle Noire!), excellent classes, tons of shopping, and fun parties. You’ll be totally inspired. It’s a fabulous opportunity to grow as a performer or just enjoy a glitter-drenched weekend. Price for The Whole Shebang (that’s access to absolutely everything*) is currently only $175, but that’s not going to last.

I hope to see you at B.A.B.E. soon!

M2

*except Master Classes

Published in: on 16 October 2013 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dixie Evans Week in Boston

Dear Constant Reader,

B.A.B.E. and The Boston Babydolls were proud to be a part of Dixie Evans Week. We held 2 events, both to to raise money for Dixie’s memorial fund.

B.A.B.E was part of the 100 Classes for Dixie with “Blonde Bombshell”, a 3-hour workshop in which we taught an entire, brand-new routine to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s best Friend”, in honor of The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque.

It was an experiment of sorts. Now, any new choreography is a bit of an experiment — you never know if it’s going to survive contact with dancers — but we’d never created or taught a class in this way before. Brigitte, Stella, and I each choreographed 1/3 of the song, checking, of course, to make sure everything was compatible. And then we team taught it, which was an awful lot of fun.

The students were great! Everyone was really enthusiastic, including the bride-to-be who was using this as a kick-off for her bachelorette celebration. We started off the class by talking about Dixie and then showing “The Casting Couch”. Everybody was inspired by it, even the teachers.

It turned out that the only issue with the joint choreography was that both Brigitte and Stella used a step-touch, but Brigitte started with the touch and Stella with the step. The students were getting confused as when to use which, so Brigitte declared that she would change to start with the step instead. And everyone was happy.

And here are our glamourous students!

But we weren’t done yet! Right after class, we all headed over to Davis Square for

Big thanks to everyone who came out, despite it being Labor Day weekend. (For those of you who are not Bostonians, that’s the weekend when thousands and thousands of students descend upon the Boston area to move into their dorms or out of their summer sublets. The sidewalks of Allston are filled with discarded belongings and moving vans get stuck under bridges on Storrow Drive.)

Bigger thanks to those of you who chose to pay more than the lowest ticket price or made an additional donation.

And biggest thanks to the Davis Square Theatre for giving us a very reduced rate and to the performers and crew for donating their time.

The show went a little something like this:

Scratch opened with a speech about Dixie Evans, who she was and why she’s important.

Stella started with her “Date Night” number to “Moonglow”. We thought this was a good first act since it’s got some similar elements to “Casting Couch” — Stella is seduced by a man who isn’t really there, just his jacket.

For a little variety we turned to Betty in her fast-paced bellydance-inspired number to “Airmail Special”.

Next up was Brigitte with a dirty striptease to “Tombstone Blues”.

Devora presented a dance en pointe with just a hint of striptease (she took off gloves and a scarf, but left her filmy tunic in place). This is usually done with a balloon, a la Sally Rand’s bubble dance, but the ceilings at the theatre were too low.

And then I did my fan dance to “Harlem Nocturne”.

Stella sang “Always be True to You”. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the microphone, so she could barely be heard over the backing track.

Betty closed out the first half with an act we like to call Geek Love. Betty, dressed in jeans, sneakers, a flannel, and a t-shirt, gets really hot & bothered by her laptop. The costume may not be sexy, but Betty is as she bumps & grinds to “Night Train”.

And then we took a little intermission.

To make up for the previous audio problem, Stella came back and sang “I Hate Men”. She hadn’t planned on singing twice, but she’s just that good.

Next up, I preformed “Champagne on Ice”, a moody striptease with some ice. Again, we picked it because there’s an invisible partner. When I finished, there was dead silence. It stretched long enough that I was wondering how to get off the stage with any dignity when a woman’s voice drifted down from the back of the house: “Wow…” Thunderous applause. Thank goodness.

Brigitte brightened things up with a tap dance to “In the Mood”.

Devora had a little surprise for the audience during her can-can striptease to “Love Me Or Leave Me” — assels!

We had given the Blonde Bombshell students the option to perform the routine they had just learned in the show and one of them was brave enough to do it! Trixie Santiago made her burlesque debut right on our stage with a choreography she hadn’t known mere hours before. Brigitte performed it alongside her, but Trixie did great!

Then, with the help of a volunteer from the audience, Scratch performed a card trick which didn’t quite go as planned…

Betty, Devora, Stella, and I closed out the show with “Leap Frog”, the number we presented at the Ohio Burlesque Festival.

And Scratch ended by once again talking about Dixie and how the funds raised were going to be used.

It was a fun show, but bitter-sweet. I hope we did Dixie proud.

M2

Published in: on 5 September 2013 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ohio Burlesque Festival: Saturday, August 3

Dear Constant Reader,

(If you’re just joining me, read about Thursday here and Friday here.)

Saturday came way too soon for the weary Boston Babydolls because The Buckeye Burlesque Academy was in session and we were the professors. Scratch started things off with “Who’s Who in Classic Burlesque”, a talk about our glorious predecessors, and “This IS My Day Job”, on making burlesque your career.

Then it was my turn with “Classic Boa Technique”. I was surprised and delighted to see a familiar face — Ava, who played Blanche in The Wrathskellar last year. Her family lives about an hour away and she was home for the summer. The class was fun and we left feathers ALL over the stage.

I was really disappointed in the low number of students. I know at least one who couldn’t get to the venue because there really wasn’t any good transportation from the hotel. But it seemed like there wasn’t much interest in classes. I guess I’m more used to events like The Expo and BurlyCon where people attend because they want to improve their skills and take advantage of having teachers from outside their area.

Stella taught “Vocal Skills for Burlesquers” and then Devora & Betty arrived to teach “Warm-up…or DIE!” and “Choreography for One”, respectively. Scratch, Stella, and I slipped out for some lunch & sightseeing.

The one thing we really wanted to see was The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

It was simply awesome. We were there for about 2 hours and only barely managed to see the ground floor. So many wonderful things, so much history! I think we were all struck most by the personal items, like hand-written lyrics or sketches. I mean Elvis’s gem-encrusted jumpsuit was amazing, but seeing Bruce Springsteen’s thought process as he jotted down ideas for an album title was mind-blowing.

As a trained museum person (really, I have the piece of paper from Harvard and everything), I was so impressed. The items were arranged so well in the cases. The labels were clear and the text was easy to read and informative. Occasionally I questioned their logic (why was Joy Division/New Order in the middle of an unrelated room?), but mostly it was a delight. I really liked the “Cities & Sounds” exhibit, highlighting the regional origins of musical styles.

We were running out of time, but we couldn’t leave without visiting The Wall.

Racing back to our hotel, we got ready for the night’s show. The theme this time was black and red.

Then we picked up the lovely Donna Denise and went to a soul food restaurant for dinner. It’s too bad we had a late lunch because that smothered pork chop was good, but I could only manage a taste.

Off to the Beachland Ballroom for a *long*, *long* show. Remember how I said yesterday that Scratch kept things moving along? That was not the case with the Saturday MC’s. They were really chatty. There were about the same number of performers, but the show was a least a hour longer. And we stood the entire time. In fact, many of The Babydolls were ready to call it quits if intermission ever happened.

Fortunately the last act before intermission was Red Rum’s spectacular mummy number, which energized us enough to stay through the rest of the show. I also want to mention Hazel Honeysuckle’s fabulous Cookie Monster and Chakra Tease’s impressive chair work as stand-outs. And of course, Coco Lectric was worth the wait.

There was one more thing that happened before we finally tumbled into bed, but that deserves a post of its own.

M2

Published in: on 8 August 2013 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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