What’s in the Box?

Dear Constant Reader,

A huge, mysterious parcel arrived at The Manor.

It barely fit though the door of The Manor!

The contents were so special I thought I’d try an unboxing video.

How did I end up with this magnificent piece? Christine McConnell has a YouTube series, From the Mind of Christine McConnell. Each month she makes something fabulous and selects one of her supporters on Patreon to receive it. This month she asked a trivia question during a livestream and the first person to answer correctly would get the cage. And that person was me!

This was on October first. I had been having such a terrible September. Certain events made me full of doubt about myself and I had lost my desire to do anything creative. Winning the cage was a jolt of positivity and I’ve been much better this month. It could not have come at a more perfect time. Thank you so much, Christine!

The trivia question, by the way, was “In the movie Addams Family Values, what is the name of the baby?” (which is the name of the bat). I still can’t believe that out of the hundreds of people responding, I answered first.

I love everything about it! The Victorian birdcage is the perfect aesthetic for The Manor. There’s so many fabulous details, like the handmade spiders and the fairy lights. And of course the Bat himself and his glowing eyes. The purple accents are just marvelous — there’s even a chunk of amethyst (my birthstone!). I could just go on about how incredible this is! I don’t know where exactly in The Manor Pubert is going to live, but he’ll be the star of that room for sure.

To see more about the creation of the Bat-Cage, here’s the video:

Thanks to…
…Christine McConnell for making this whole experience possible.
…Georgia Dunn for permission to include a panel from her wonderful comic strip, Breaking Cat News in my video. See the rest of that particular strip here.
…Scratch for filming, video editing assistance, and helping to clean up packing peanuts. In case you were wondering, a “metric fuckton” of packing peanuts is five garbage bags full.

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 23 October 2019 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dear Constant Reader,

The other day the troupe celebrated Babydollmas. We’ve thought about changing the name Beauteasemas, but we’re traditionalists. It’s a chance for us to get together and celebrate after the craziness of the holiday season has wound down. We go out for dinner or have a potluck and exchange small gifts — usually something handmade or burlesquey or tasty.

Scratch gave us all silver and rhinestone initial letter necklaces, for times we want to be more subtle than our classic rhinestone name necklaces. Devastasia, queen of snacks, gave us bundles of fancy treats, including some lovely dark chocolate. D.D. made everyone glitter-laden body lotion (and an unglittered version for the guys). Artemisia gave us very pretty bath bombs. Brigitte selected truffles from the oldest candy company in America. Betty made us all gorgeous matching fascinators (except the guys who got rhinestones ties). She made me a special one with a band instead of a comb like everyone else, since things tend to slide out of my fine hair.

I gave these useful little zipper bags with a travel-sized bottle of Atomic Cosmetics hand sanitizer.

Of course I couldn’t give one to Scratch as-is, being as he isn’t a girl, so did a little careful editing.

There’s a little piece of ribbon with new letters painted on which was sewn over the inappropriate letters. I was pretty pleased with the results. I guess I did a good job, because at first Scratch didn’t realize it had been doctored!

What were some of your favorite gifts, giving or receiving, this holiday season?

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 29 January 2018 at 11:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gift Suggestions

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s the gift-giving time of year and once again I’d like to suggest some small businesses from which to purchase gifts. You can see some of my previous suggestions here and here.

Deacon Giles is a distillery in Salem, MA with a small line of spirits that is constantly expanding. Try the coffee rum or absinthe! If you make it to the Speakeasy Lab (say for Brrrlesque on the 16th…), sample their creative and delicious cocktails.

Emporium 32, also in Salem, sells beautiful, macabre, creative, and unusual accoutrements for adorning yourself and your home. They’ve got curios and art from local artisans as well as a large selection of jewelry and leather goods made right in the shop!

FinTail Fusions is the brainchild of Master costumer, Rae Bradbury-Enslin. Disappointed in the look of fabric mermaid tails and the price of silicon ones, Rae developed a customizable fabric tail with a cast-silicon fluke. They’re all hand-made in her New Hampshire studio.

International burlesque superstar and Great Burlesque Expo Special Guest Angie Pontani is selling hand-made crocheted hats so you can stay fashionable while you keep warm this winter. She has many different designs, including cloches, turbans, and headbands. Each one is a unique design created by the Italian Stallionette herself!

Cherry Dollface, pin-up, hair & makeup artist, and vintage aficionado, has published her first book, Dollface Vintage: An Everyday Gal’s Guide to a Vintage Lifestyle, a guide to all things vintage, like clothing, hairstyle, makeup, and entertaining. You can’t get this book at Amazon, only through the link above!

I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend my little book as a great stocking stuffer for the burlesquer in your life. It’s full of great ideas for improving your life on-, off- and back stage!

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 4 December 2017 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Gift Giving

Dear Constant Reader,

The season of gift giving is upon us. A couple of years ago I made some suggestions for small businesses to support here and here. And some literary recommendations here.

This year I also suggest the following:

Marrus is always creating new art. Lithographs of her newest painting, “Depression’s End” are available for pre-order, but she has lots of other prints and originals ready right now.

Rory O’Brien’s new novel, Summerland, is now available. I got a preview of this story of spiritualism in Gilded Age Newport and can’t wait to read the rest. It’s only in print right now, but a book is so much easier to wrap and put under the tree than a Kindle download. (You’ve already read Gallows Hill, right?)

Dr. Jen at Atomic Cosmetics (good for your skin; good for your soul) is offering these great Winter Skin Survival Kits containing three of her incredible moisturizing products. You can buy them for the folks on your gift list or donate them to help the homeless in three cities. Or both!

And personally, I think classes from B.A.B.E. are always the perfect gift. We’re happy to make a custom gift certificate for classes, private lessons, or even Burly-Q parties. Just drop me a line!

Red Snapper made this list of fabulous Showgirl Stocking Stuffers. Here are some more ideas from Caramel Knowledge.

Or you could come to The Boston BeauTease Theatrical Tag Sale this Sunday for some one-of-a-kind costumes, props, and other strange things. I’ll even be selling some goodies from my personal wardrobe.


Published in: on 9 December 2015 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Recommendation

Dear Constant Reader,

The holidays are fast approaching and there’s a burlesque performer in your life. What little gifts can you give her to show you care? Red Snapper can help you out! Check out her Showgirl Stocking Stuffers on Facebook.


Published in: on 22 December 2014 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Best Present

Dear Constant Reader,

I have mentioned here and elsewhere that Scratch gave me an amazing present, but I haven’t actually spilled as to what it was. Your wait is over!

When I unwrapped it, I saw…
a small suitcase with the handle moved to make it more of a train case. When I unlatched it and lifted the lid, I saw…

a jewelry tray, which lifted out, revealing a second one.

The lower one is affixed to the inside of the case and the upper one is held to the lower one with magnets, so nothing shifts in transit.

And what it the purpose of this lovely case?

To store my pasties! Aren’t they pretty?

Here’s a closer look.
Just in case you were wondering, I made all the ones in the top two rows myself. The bottom row is, from left to right, pasties by: Betty Blaize, Holly Dai, Bonnie Dunn, Red Snapper, Twirly Girl, & Penny Starr Jr.

The whole fabulous pastie storage and transport case was designed and made by Scratch. He’s pretty freaking awesome.


Published in: on 13 January 2014 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  


Dear Constant Reader,

Yesterday was one of our favorite holidays: Babydollmas! It’s so hard for us to get together during the holidays, so we celebrate in early January. It was within the 12 days of Christmas, so we’re good.

We had rehearsal first. We’re working really hard on our group number for the Vermont Burlesque Festival. It’s so much fun!

Then it was time for Super Sunday Social. For those just joining in, it’s our tradition to relax after rehearsal on Sunday with some wine and nibbles, which we call Sunday Social. This being declared Super Sunday Social, the offerings were a little more extravagant: Betty brought 2 kinds of pate (duck foie gras and chicken liver with truffles), Scratch made a pitcher of our new favorite beverage (cinnamon hard cider with a shot of Fireball), I baked a King Cake (and I got the “baby”), and more.

Then came the gift giving. Stella gave everyone locally-made dark chocolate bars — I snagged one of the darkest ones. Brigitte got us all gift cards to our usual haunt down the street. Devora made beautiful magnets, painted and embellished with rhinestones, different for everyone. I made everyone zippered bags, just the right size for packing a thong and fishnets, maybe some pastie tape too. Or a tie, pocket square, and cufflinks if you’re Scratch. Or spare cable ties if you’re Hunter.

Scratch gave Stella the same polka-dot purse the rest of us got just before she joined the troupe, so we can all be perfectly matchy-matchy. Then he gave all of us rhinestone bracelets and fabulous rhinestone name necklaces, with personalized details (mine has crowns, D.D.’s has smiley faces, &c.).

Betty was the big winner in the giving department. She made us all matching bolero jackets in our favorite red and black! Scratch got a matching vest, but because Hunter wears almost exclusively black, his vest is in his signature color, but trimmed the same as the rest of us.

We are totally going to have all of this finery at the Vermont Burlesque Festival!

Here’s a quick shot of the entire haul.

Scratch gave me an amazing holiday gift, but I think it gets its own missive…


Published in: on 6 January 2014 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wish List

Dear Constant Reader,

I’ve given you some ideas (and then a few more) for places to acquire gifts this year. So, what would *I* like to see in my stocking this year?

* Any of the books on my Library Wishlist (or any burlesque related books that aren’t already in my Library). Bonus points if you buy them at an independent bookstore.

* Gift certificates are easy. Perhaps for Atomic Cosmetics, Secrets in Lace, Trashy Diva, and Stop Staring. I can always use skin care products, stockings, and dresses. Also, dance shoes, rhinestones, and other costuming supplies…

* Interesting and high-quality chocolate, like that at Vogses Haut Chocolat. If one is going indulge, it should be worth it.

* Cage panties from Dangrrrous Designs.

* Yoga blocks and a mat to help my quest for splits.

* Tickets to Sleep No More. I’d rather see the Superior Boston Production one more time, but I’ll take what I can get.

* Rhinestone jewelry. No such thing as too much.

but really, more than anything, I’d like you to nominate Scratch for the Burlesque Top 50. He deserves to be recognized as one of the movers & shakers in burlesque.

Published in: on 12 December 2013 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Gift Suggestions Addendum

Dear Constant Reader,

After my list of authors and artisans to patronize yesterday, I was reminded of a few more, all of whom, as it turns out, make jewelry. Here’s a quick list:

Emrys Handcrafted Fynery is a little steampunk, a little geeky, and all fabulous. (Personally, I love the Poe bracelet.)

Sunspot Designs for unusual jewelry with a goth bent.

Artist Laurel Cunningham-Hill makes Capsulariums, tiny showcases with delicate artwork made from wee animal bones.

More suggestions are welcome!

Happy shopping!

Published in: on 11 December 2013 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gift Suggestions

Dear Constant Reader,

In a previous missive I recommended you buy gifts from various artists in the burlesque community. I didn’t give you any suggestions because there are so many talented people out there and I couldn’t possible include them all. I just know I’d forget someone fabulous and feel terrible. I encourage you to go treasure hunting!

Today I’m going to recommend some of my favorite other gifts sources. These are all little artists and businesses that make good stuff. It’s not particularly burlesque-y, but I like to support my friends.

I know a whole bunch of fabulous people who are authors and you should get their books. There’s a listing of individual titles here, but in brief they are:

  • Marrus (anecdotes, art, and advice)
  • Andrew Kirschbaum (fantasy detective novels)
  • Jennifer Pelland (disturbing SF)
  • Rory Raven (esoteric and spooky history)
  • Teresa Noelle Roberts (paranormal erotica, i.e. supernatural smut)
  • Andrew Shaffer (biographical sketches)

As well as having written a book, Marrus makes art for the smart. Check out her work at Marrus Art. I’m pleased to say a (very atypical) Marrus original graces Stately Babydoll Manor.

Star Cat Books is a brand new indie bookstore in Vermont. They’re in the last couple of days of an IndiGoGo campaign to help with their initial start-up costs and they’ve got some very cool rewards, including signed books from Neil Gaiman (our Twitterhusband) and Jane Yolen for top-level donors.

There’s also Rickert & Beagle Books in Pittburgh. Chris (that would be the Rickert half) is a big Boston Babydolls fan and part of the reason we played Pittsburgh over the summer. The Beagle half is the author of The Last Unicorn. Yes, really.

My talented friend Rae has a line of handmade cameos that she calls Kreepsakes. These are not your grandmother’s cameos… Some of them even glow in the dark.

The Boston Babydolls are dancers, and despite the cutsie saying that “dancers glow”, we sweat. A lot. So we’re grateful for Urban Kitchen whose workshop is just down the hall from B.A.B.E. She makes a whole variety of scented soaps, candles, lotions, and other lovely stuff that help us and the studio get sweet-smelling after rehearsal.

The designer behind Vixens Ahoy has made costumes for The Boston Babydolls for years (including the fantastic polka-dotted dresses we wore at The Ohio Burlesque Festival). I can attest that her aprons and other items are of excellent quality and sturdily made.

The Scarlett Rose made my beautiful feather fans (one pair captured here at The Teaseday Club by Rich Jarvis Photography), but she also creates fancy hats.

Chandler & Kemp makes decorated pillar candles. Nice for these long, dark nights.

And to wrap everything up, Giftable Boston, founded by Dagny Vanderlust, provides concierge gift wrapping services.

Who are some of your favorite indie artisans?


Published in: on 10 December 2013 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment