Stripper’s Holiday: The Work

Dear Constant Reader,

I’ve been writing about my time at Stripper’s Holiday. It was such an inspiring and humbling experience and it’s been taking me a long time to find the right words. You can read about it here and here.

This is why we were all here: the work. For three days we spent four hours a day in the studio. We started two of the sessions with a killer warm up. I was grateful for my personal workout ethic so it didn’t actually kill me, because that was just the start of the session. We also worked on technique and choreography. On the last day we were treated to Michelle’s Pussy Confidence and Sensual Movement classes.

One of the things we talked about in the Pussy Confidence class was vulnerability and how vulnerability is strength. So, here’s some vulnerability. This stuff was really hard for me. I don’t pick up choreography quickly. I just don’t have a 5-6-7-8 brain and it’s hard for me to hear the beats of the music sometimes. I learn choreography by incessant drilling and really burning it into muscle memory. But like I kept telling myself, if this was easy, I wouldn’t need to be there. It was good for me to move *way* outside my comfort zone, but it certainly was frustrating. I wanted to work on refining details, but I needed to absorb the foundations first.

Here we all are after the first day:

Photo by One Chance Fancy.

Before I get to the centerpiece of the studio work, I want to mention a couple of related things we did at the house. One night after dinner we had “Idea Day” (I guess really “Idea Night”) where everyone went around the table and would share an idea they had for an act, usually just one element, like a song or a concept, and would get thoughts and feedback for a direction to go in. I was a complete blank and then I remembered my Hedy Jo Star peacock costume, which deserves to be back on stage. I’ve got some good ideas now; we shall see if they come to fruition. Also, if Scratch is willing to build some set pieces…

Also, before we went into the studio on the last day, Franky ran a meditation on beauty, which was also about imperfection. It was lovely and very pertinent to our work. We were supposed to consider a work of art and the first one that popped into my head was a Hellenistic statuette dancer, which I’ve loved for a long time. Kind of appropriate in many ways.

Back to the studio now…

Everyone brought an act on which they wanted to work. During the first two days we each presented our act and got feedback. On the last day we all presented again, showing how we incorporated the suggestions (a couple showed different acts instead). I was in the first group to present. I was nervous, but glad to get it over with early. I brought my newest act, which had just debuted in December (photo by George Ross of me performing it at The Expo). I thought it was pretty solid, but needed some oomph. After I showed it, Michelle made some very good suggestions, but I felt like I had to burn the whole thing down and start all over. The element I was using as a hook to hang the whole act on had to go.

When I got back to the house, I made an alteration to one of my costume pieces and played with it a little. After studio time the next day, I brought the whole act down into the home theatre room and ran it again and again, trying out Michelle’s suggestions and working on some stuff for the weaker parts. I realized I didn’t have to burn it down after all. A lot of the structure could stay as it was; it was the details that needed to change.

I filmed my last run, as best I could with my tablet, and sent it off to Scratch, because I was filled with self-doubt. He didn’t give me any feedback, just told me to be true to myself, since I was the one who was going to have to perform it. And reminded me that I was good at this and to have faith in myself. That bolstered my confidence a bit (and maybe made me cry a little). Still, I was up early the next morning, working on it again.

On the last day we all presented our acts again. I know this was more nerve-wracking for some than the first time, because there were a couple of camera people there for a project of Michelle’s (no, you’re not going to see the footage). Once I started performing I just tuned them out — I was nervous for all sorts of other reasons! Michelle had lots of praise and more suggestions. I felt a lot better, but knew it wasn’t there yet. Parts were stronger, but I still had holes to fill. I’m still working on it, in fact.

On our very last morning, Michelle gave everyone handwritten cards. It was a sweet touch and made the whole time even more special. This is a treasure I’ll return to when I need encouragement.

On the whole, this was an incredibly challenging time, but challenge is a good thing. I learned a lot on many levels. I got to see a dozen other performers with very different styles (which was an amazing experience) and see them also be vulnerable and put their work out there to be critiqued. Hearing the feedback they received also gave me new ideas and insights. I know that other people were nervous and insecure, which gave me comfort that I wasn’t alone.

I’ve admired Michelle for such a long time and working with her on such a personal level was intimidating to be sure, but also kind of liberating. She’s a very honest person, which I think encouraged honesty in others. The experience was very intense, with a lot crammed into 3-plus days, physically and emotionally. I’m still fumbling for words, but I promised myself I’d send this out today no matter what, so these words will have to do.

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 31 May 2018 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stripper’s Holiday: The House

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m writing about my time at Stripper’s Holiday in Los Angeles. It’s been taking me longer than I expected! You can read the first part here.

We all stayed in a big house in Studio City which was kind of incredible. It had an amazing view, a pool and hot tub, a pool table, and a home theatre. We were up in the hills and the landscaping was lovely. We even saw a deer one morning! My Patrons got to see a short video tour of some of the house.

However, it was decorated in a manner that was supposed to be lavish and stylish but was more like set dressing than a place people lived. All the surfaces were hard — tile, wood, brick, marble — I don’t think there was a single rug or carpet and none of the furniture was really comfortable (even the couches were so over-stuffed and piled with cushions that one couldn’t really lounge). Nor did the layout lend itself to socialization. Really, the only place we could all sit was around the dining table, as long as we also grabbed all the chairs from around the kitchen island. This is probably why most people spent their free time in and around the hot tub.

The View

My favorite spot

Artsy shot through the window

Visiting deer

Franky, Michelle’s husband, handled all the cooking and kitchen clean up. Despite numerous offers to help, we were all told to just relax and be taken care of. Michelle has very strict food requirements because of her auto-immune disorder, so we ate like she did — lots of protein and vegetables, no sugar, dairy, grains, or legumes. The food was terrific and plentiful. I was perfectly happy to eat that way the whole time (although I did have a bar of Russian dark chocolate in my bag, from which I rationed out a couple of squares each evening). I’m definitely going to try making the kale with kalamata olives and the chicken-apple-bacon burgers, not to mention experimenting with almond meal for pancakes.

I tend to wake up early and this trip was no exception. Michelle had asked that everyone try not to go on-line first thing in the morning, so instead of noodling around on my phone, I would get up and work out before anyone else was awake. I liked the quiet, but, as I mentioned, the house was full of hard surfaces. My options were the bricks around the pool or the tiles in the theatre. Ouch, floor exercises were right out.

Our schedule was very relaxed. People could sleep in and then have a leisurely breakfast. We were in the studio in the afternoon to work for four hours. Since ever minute was precious, we didn’t take any formal breaks. Thinking of everything, the kitchen at the house was well stocked with nuts, fruit, and protein bars and we would assemble snack bags before we left and munch during our down time. We returned to the house to have dinner and spend the evening, usually drinking in the hot tub.

One of the thing we talked about in the studio was vulnerability and there was a lot of it during these days. It’s hard, but here is some more vulnerability and honesty.

The social aspect of being with a dozen people was very hard for me. Despite my outgoing behavior with students and audience members, I’m really a very quiet person and rather shy when I’m not “on”. I’m okay with small groups of people, but I find it very difficult to join in the chaos of conversation with a big group. Partially I think this is because I have a little hearing loss in one ear, so sometimes it takes me a bit longer to parse what people are saying, especially when there’s a lot of background noise and when it’s dark so I can’t see people’s faces well. Add to this that I don’t often drink and I felt a bit on the outside in the evenings. I did get a lot of crocheting done because I feel more comfortable when I’m doing something creative with my hands and I can crochet on autopilot.

That’s not to say I kept completely to myself. Like I said, small groups are fine. One day after the studio I joined Lana MilknHoney, Elle Diablo, and Jacquelyn Hyde for In-And-Out Burgers and had a ridiculously fun time. We weren’t forbidden to have food that Michelle can’t eat (there was a constant nibbling on cheese in the evenings), but it felt kinda naughty to have a burger and fries. Someone might have gotten drunk on the sugar in her milkshake (spoiler: it wasn’t me).

We never had to be showgirls while we were in the house. Michelle specifically said don’t bring lashes or gowns and absolutely no glitter. I didn’t put on makeup or do my hair once and spent as much time as possible in my Catherine D’Lish caftan and bare feet. And that was a gift, to be around fellow burlesque performers with no pressure to glam it up.

Next up, the whole reason I was there, the work!

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 23 May 2018 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stripper’s Holiday, the first part

Dear Constant Reader,

I just got back from Stripper’s Holiday in Los Angeles. I have a lot to tell you. Also, a lot to think about. I think rather than my usual chronology, I’ll be writing this up by theme.

First, what is Stripper’s Holiday? It’s a burlesque master class run by Michelle L’amour. The participants stay with her for almost a week and work on honing their craft and refining an act. I’ve been trying to do this for years, but never managed to get in. It fills up FAST. That’s why I signed up for the New Orleans Burlesque Retreat, because I knew Stripper’s Holiday was unlikely to be in the cards for me.

However, after I’d committed to going to New Orleans, Michelle announced to her on-line students that after a year off she was ready to do Stripper’s Holiday again. I took the weekend (which happened to be the Expo) to wrestle with my schedule and finances. I came to the conclusion that this opportunity might never happen again and sent in my deposit.

It was a very dense experience, with a lot to process, so I’ll start with the easy stuff, what I did before and after the actual event.

I arrived Wednesday afternoon after a super-easy flight that even landed early and headed directly to the home of Kitten Natividad, Miss Nude Universe, star of Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, Burlesque Legend of the Year, and dear friend. It was so good to see her and to visit her historic home (the photo on the right). She gave me some very generous gifts (which you may see in the future). I had brought her a jar of my home-made sour cherry jam, but it was hardly equivalent. She also took me out for Mexican food and kindly drove me to the Stripper House. There I joined the others and Stripper’s Holiday officially began for me.

There will be a lot more to come about what went on during the Holiday, but that is for another day.

Jump to Sunday… After we checked out of the Stripper House, I went to The Magic Castle to meet Lili VonSchtupp. Her beloved, Funny Eddie, was performing for the brunch crowd and she saved me a seat. It was such a treat to see him on stage — he’s very talented and, as you might imagine, funny. There are a lot of kids at brunch time and Eddie was great with them, but it was just as entertaining for the adults. Despite not having a ticket, I managed to get a seat in the Palace of Mystery for the big show, which included Caramel Machine, a hilarious duo from Japan and Tempei, a magically talented juggler.

The best part was sitting in the bar with Lili and catching up on everything. I got to hear all about her hosting at Viva Las Vegas with Elvira and the inside scoop on the amazing balloon gown she wore. We talked about all different aspects of burlesque — performance, teaching, business. It’s a delight to be with her. She said some very lovely things to me that I treasure.

The Castle kicked us all out so that they could reset for the evening, but I had time to kill until my evening plans. The wonderful staff was good enough to hold my suitcase while I wandered around Hollywood, being a tourist. I had never been to the Chinese theatre to gawk at the handprints before.

Next I headed to see my friend Professor H. who I’d caught up with in New Orleans last month. We had an amazing dinner at République and I got to hear all about her latest projects (one of which is SO COOL, but I’ve to keep mum about it). I’m not sorry I left academia, but sometimes I miss being a scholar.

After she foisted some of the leftover cassoulet on me and we said farewell, I had a hideous ride to the airport and ended up RUNNING through LAX. I managed to board my red-eye maybe 5 minutes before they closed the doors and promptly passed out until we landed in Boston. When I left it was basically winter and now spring was in full flower.

Much more to come…

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 8 May 2018 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Los Angeles: Monday, 11/24/14

Dear Constant Reader,

What to do with our last, beautiful, sunny day in L.A.? We decided to be total tourists and head for the Santa Monica Pier. I’ll admit it — I didn’t know that it was the end of Route 66. It took a while for us to get the snapshot because a bunch of models were having a shoot in front of the sign. Just another day in Southern California.

Despite my horrible fear of heights, I insisted on riding the Ferris wheel (that would be the solar-powered Pacific Wheel). The ocean view was amazing — when I could look around.

Then we went hunting for the carousel. I love vintage carousels. One of my favorite moments was riding the Flying Horses Carousel on Martha’s Vineyard for the first time and getting the brass ring. Pure magic. At this one I was torn on choosing a mount. Most of the horses were original and normally, I’d make sure to get one of the originals. However, the two replacements, which were not horses, were made by Big Daddy Roth. Guess which one I picked?

Later we went to Venice Beach and took a stroll. Had we planned things better, we might have seen the Freak Show, instead of just visiting the building (they’re currently only open on weekends).

In the evening we headed out to Monday Night Tease: Erotic Titty. Monday Night Tease was basically the whole reason we came to L.A.. Of course, we were hoping to perform, but with a Prince-themed show, there was just no way to shoehorn any of our acts in. Next time.

We were on our way to dinner, just one minute late for our reservation and about to turn onto Vine when On Vine (that’s the restaurant — see how close we were) called to say they had a sewer pipe rupture and were closing down. Glad it happened before we got there! They helpfully directed these out-of-towners to one of their near-by sister restaurants and we had a pleasant meal.

The 3 Clubs (home of MNT) has a fabulous lounge, very Old Hollywood, where we ran into Vikki Fahrenheit, who I thought lived in Las Vegas, but is now a CA resident. We didn’t have to hang out in the lounge for long because Lili set us up at our table while the last bit of sound check was going on. The performance room is pretty small, less than 100 people, and it was *packed*. I was not surprised, given the quality of the show.

I’ve got to say that the house cocktail, the Erotic Titty, was delicious, but I knew I’d fall asleep if I had one, so I opted for my usual Captain & Coke, but it was made with a spiced rum called Coffee & Cigarettes, with a fascinating coffee finish.

The show had a loose connecting story, delivered by Morris Day (Mad Dog Delaney) and Baby (Heather Henderson) with the occasional assistance of Jerome (Mr. Snapper). Side note, I learned after the show that Heather is the vocalist for Penn Jillette’s NoGodBand (her “Ardent Atheist” tattoo had been noted).

Let’s see if I can remember all the acts in any sort of order:

  • Glama Sutra, living Sheila E.’s “Glamourous Life”
  • Egypt Blaque Knyle as Prince’s cat (her moves were *incredible*)
  • Glama Sutra and Jessabelle Thunder dancing it off as Apollonia and Vanity, backed up by Red Snapper, Nikita Bitch Project, Sheila Starr Siani, and someone I forget. Of course, it devolved into a catfight…
  • Caramel Knowledge as “The Purple One”.
  • Jessabelle Thunder, sexy as all get out
  • Sheila Starr Siani with her award-winning harem girl act. I saw it at The Expo last year, but this time I was at the right angle to see all her sensual floorwork. Oh yum.
  • Lux LaCroix, of course, brought the house down as Prince himself. I’ve seen her do the act on video, but that was nothing compared to the real thing. And so close she could sweat on us.

The energy in the room was amazing. Everyone was just having the best time, audience and performers, as well they should. I’m so glad we got the chance to see this show.

And afterward Lili invited us to join some of the cast at The House of Pies for their usual post-show breakfast. Scratch & I looked at one another and knew there would be no sleep for us. There was cherry pie and a chance to really talk with Lili until the chairs went up on the tables around us.

It was a fantastic trip. We’ll be back and sooner rather than later.

We did manage to get two hours or so of sleep before heading to the airport to return to cold, damp Boston and one really annoyed cat.


Published in: on 4 December 2014 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Los Angeles: Sunday, 11/23/14

Dear Constant Reader,

Sunday we had a date in the Fashion District. We met up with Sheila Starr Siani and her offspring, Mowgli and Mogwai, Jessabelle Thunder, and Lili VonSchtupp & Funny Eddie to explore the myriad of shops. It was utterly overwhelming and I’m glad we had some native guides.

I thought NYC had fabulous costume shopping, but LA beats it all to hell. I can’t even begin to count the number of fabric shops we visited — mostly little storefront things crammed with bolts & bolts of fabric. And there were also the trimmings stores, the rhinestone places (loose & in jewelry), and I think there was even ready-to-wear, but we didn’t get to any of those. There is no excuse to be a poorly costumed burlesque dancer in Los Angeles.

I was fairly restrained in my personal shopping, but we have a passel of backup dancers to clothe for the New Year’s Eve Spectacular. Scratch picked up so much stuff that we were concerned about getting it home. Most of it is now in the capable hands of Marion at Vixens Ahoy. Betty had requested some show-stopping fabric for a new dress and boy, did she get it. It’s not in the above photo, so you’ll just have to wait and see it in person on (and off) Betty.

That night we had another show to perform in, a stand-up comedy showcase which occasionally had burlesque. We were invited by someone who had been slated to perform at The Teaseday Club and was repaying the favor.

Let me digress for a moment and talk about payment. There’s been a *lot* of talk lately in the burlesque community about not performing for free. (Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part, don’t give it away). Scratch pointed out that there are 2 ways to pay your performers: with cash or with love & respect. Friday night at Peepshow Menagerie we got both: a guaranteed minimum (and they did well at the door so we got more than the promised), comps, drink tickets, good communication, and overall a pleasant experience.

This gig had none of that. I knew it was a freebie and we were mostly doing it for fun. Except it wasn’t fun. There was a distinct lack of communication and stage management. In fact, there wasn’t a set list posted or any performer amenities, not even freakin’ bottles of water in the green room. However, most of the other performers were perfectly nice and as confused as we were about what was going on. Some of them were also funny on stage.

I went on early (after having my slot moved around more than once. And one of those times I learned I had been moved in the line-up was when I was waiting to go on and the host announced someone else). Scratch went on late, but we couldn’t even leave after his act because he had to leave his table full of magic equipment on stage. There was nowhere to move it to and he can’t break it down in view of the audience. So we stuck it out to the bitter end.

I did a fan dance, mostly because it’s a no-brainer for me. And I realized it was good that I didn’t need any pick up. I guess Scratch could have done it for me because the venue certainly didn’t have anyone. Before I started I had already noticed that the stage was carpeted. I could deal. Once I got on stage I realized the ceiling was only about 7 feet high. Okay, I’ll need to be careful with the overhead moves. And then I saw that the walls were mirrored. Yeah, that kind of kills the tease. Oh well. I did the best I could with what I had. The audience didn’t seem too into it until I finally revealed all at the end. However, I got a lot of compliments later and one of the comics mentioned me in his set (in a good way).

The show was interminable (I think it ran about 2 & a half hours without an intermission). Just as the last comic was finishing up her set, she wandered over to the table Scratch had left at the far side of the stage, picked up one of the pieces from his trick and flashed the gimmick at the audience. WHO DOES THAT?

Afterwards she complimented me on my act and I just said “thank you” because if I said anything else I was going to find myself with my hands around her throat, screaming “Kindergarten rules! If it’s not yours, don’t touch it!”

The only good part of the evening was that Joe K., our stage manager from the first run of Madame Burlesque, had just moved to L.A. Like, he arrived the day before, after having driven cross-country most of the month. Scratch got him comped into the show (we weren’t offered comps; Scratch just steamrollered the door girl) and afterwards we went to Mel’s Drive-In for sliders & fries & pie and to catch up.

Next up, our last day…


Published in: on 3 December 2014 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Los Angeles: Saturday 11/22/14

Dear Constant Reader,

It was a late night on Friday, so we got a late start on Saturday. On a tip from a friend we went to the Farmer’s Market and ended up having breakfast at Du-Par’s. I gotta say the pancakes were pretty fabulous. I suspect the pitcher of melted butter had a lot to do with that…

Having eaten and strolled, it was time for a more serious visit and we headed to Westwood Memorial Park. It’s hidden deep in the heart of the city, surrounded by tall buildings — there’s a sign which seems to be pointing to a parking garage, but once you come around the corner and there’s a lovely bucolic park.

We were there to pay our respects to Dixie Evans, The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque. I wrote a bit about her last year, you might recall. Many of us across the country planned to raise money for her care, but ended up using the funds for her final resting place. We went to the office to ask for directions and learned that her mausoleum was locked. Fortunately, someone was available to escort us and unlock the gates.

It’s lovely. Her ashes are in a glittery, rhinestone-decked urn in a glass-sided niche just behind the wrought iron gates. There are tiny framed photos on 2 sides and a miniature of her star. It was done with such love and care that I was quite choked up. She’s right near Marilyn Monroe and it’s a straight line to see Bettie Page. Lili VonSchtupp told me Dixie didn’t want to be in the dark, so the sun shines on her last home.

I’m glad we were able to visit. Without Dixie Evans we wouldn’t be doing what we do.

Back to being tourists, we headed to LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits. The theme for the day seemed to be unlikely things in the middle of a city, like bubbling tar pits and millions of Ice Age bones. My friend in the photo is a Columbian mammoth. I was particularly struck by the wall of hundreds of dire wolf skulls, which gives some idea of the enormity of the discoveries.

At last, it was about time to meet Lili VonSchtupp at The Magic Castle. I first heard about it when I was a kid (maybe through Games Magazine) and assumed, not being a magician, that I would never get to see it. I was wrong. It’s good to have generous friends with connections.

First though, an amusing interlude. We packed our evening wear, so as not to have to make the trek to the hotel & back. I ended up on a dark side street, changing in the front seat of the car with some entertaining contortions and putting on my makeup in the rear view mirror. I planned to make final adjustments, like hooking my garters and, oh, pulling my dress down over my rump, in the parking lot. This was also Scratch’s plan for putting on his dress shirt & tie (The Magic Castle has a dress code — yay!). Then we arrived and discovered it was valet parking. That was a tad awkward. Especially when I climbed out of the car. Don’t worry — we were all well & decently dressed once we said “Open Sesame” and the hidden door opened, allowing us into to the Castle.

I’m not sure I can do the experience justice. The building is huge and fabulous and quirky. Lili was a wonderful hostess and without her guidance I don’t think I could have found my way around the utterly disorienting warren of rooms. Everywhere you turned there was some wonderful piece of magic memorabilia or a movie set piece or just odd things. What was my favorite? The prototype of the Ballroom at the Haunted Mansion? Invisible Irma (who played “Bohemian Rhapsody” for us)? The library that I could only sigh at from the threshold? W.C. Field’s trick billiards table? Houdini’s hands? I can’t even begin to choose.

We saw 4 different magic shows in 4 locations, all terrific in their own way. Sometimes I was impressed with the spin the magician put on a trick I knew, sometimes I was awed by slight-of-hand skill, and frequently I was just baffled and delighted.

No photos because that sort of thing isn’t allowed and I’d rather remember it as a quasi-dreamlike experience. Exhausted and giddy, we finally left around midnight.

Tomorrow, we hit the Fashion District!


Published in: on 2 December 2014 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Los Angeles: Friday 11/21/14

Dear Constant Reader,

Way too early Friday morning we headed off for Los Angeles. I won’t bore you with details of the travel. Once we finally arrived, Scratch went off to visit an old friend while I rehearsed, took a bath, and napped. Not necessarily in that order.

That night we were performing in Peepshow Menagerie‘s Spacetease: Dimensions of Time & Tease, their Dr. Who tribute show. When Scratch first told me the theme, I was stumped. You know that I’m a classic burlesque kind of gal. What on earth could I do that was appropriate? He reminded me of an old act that I’d done only once many years ago. Change the focus and a little costume revamp… Excellent.

Before we got to the venue, I had to try an In & Out Burger. Yes, for the first time. I haven’t become a total convert, but I would do that again.

Fais Do Do, the venue, is a big club with a nice dressing room. Well, I’m told it was a pit the month before and it had just been improved. I guess we got lucky on timing. It was really nice to just be able to relax and focus on the single act I was performing. We had a late start because of some technical/production issues. There was a band to open, so the burlesque portion of the show started much later than I’m used to, but it didn’t particularly bother me — I was a guest at this party.

Not long before he was to go on, Scratch unpacked his magic trick to set it up and discovered that a key component had shattered in transit, probably from the cold of the baggage hold, since everything else was fine. That was exciting. There was quite a bit of running around and some cursing. So if you had seen the act before and wondered why his lowball glass was a plastic cup, that’s why. And remember — always check your equipment well before you go on stage…

The show itself had a script tying all the acts together with several actors advancing the plot. Scratch started hosting the show and performing “Martini Time” (demonstrating the principle of “bigger on the inside”). He was interrupted in his hosting duties by the appearance of a villain, the TARDIS (yes, really, right on stage), the Third Doctor (played by Wolfgang Wolfwhistle) plus a number of companions.

I’m not going to recreate the whole story for you, but here’s a bullet point list of performers and acts (I might have things a little out of order). I’m not exquisitely well-versed in things Dr. Who, having only seen the first 3 seasons of the new show, so some of the references & characters were lost on me and I had to ask Scratch.

  • Caramel Knowledge: Madame Vastra
  • Mae Lust: an 18th-century clockwork automaton (“The Girl in the Fireplace”)
  • Mercury Troy: a Cat Nun from New Earth
  • Me: I’ll tell you about that later
  • Lemi Atom: The Souffle Girl
  • Mr. Snapper: Capt. Jack Harkness (this was one of my favorites)
  • Holly Go Darkly with tally marks all over her body (“The Silence”)
  • Georgia O’Queef: Queen of the Daleks
  • Glama Sutra: “Hello Sweetie!”
  • Gretna Grenade: The Girl Who Waited
  • Jessabelle Thunder: Cyberwoman
  • Scarlett Letter: Missy
  • My act was to “Howlin'”, a rockabilly song by The Spectres (some of whom have gone on to become The Wages of Sin). I had made a big pink circle skirt for the original act and worn it with a letter jacket. Change out the jacket, make a sequined pink top, add pink shoes, and voila, Rose Tyler in “The Idiot’s Lantern”. I am so sad I didn’t take a picture of the ensemble, since I was pretty proud of it all. You can see a rehearsal shot here. Hopefully there will be pictures from the show someday.

    One of the things I think is important about fandom-based acts (or pop culture acts or “nerdlesque”) is that it be a good act, even if you don’t know the fandom, so that was my goal here. I hope I succeeded, but I can’t tell because the majority of the audience were Dr. Who fans. And my big reveal was especially for them — let’s just say that the song is about a big Bad Wolf… But right before I got to that point, a guy in the audience yelled “I ship you, Rose Tyler!” High praise indeed.

    After it all was over and the cast had their curtain call, there was a special guest sort of tacked on at the end. She was a German burlesque performer making her L.A. debut and bring filmed for reality TV. It was a pretty standard, no surprises, glamour strip with fans and a big champagne glass. Kind of anticlimactic after all the silly fun we’d just had.

    Big thanks to Scarlett Letter and Chris Beyond for letting us play in their show and the entire cast for being so welcoming to a couple of East Coasters. It was a huge amount of fun and a great start to our little trip.

    It was very late by the time we got back to our hotel, foreshadowing the rest of our trip…


    Published in: on 1 December 2014 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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