Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I’m in a philosophical mood and so is your tip…

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Helping your fellow performers to succeed helps all of us. Build each other up instead of knocking down. We can all win together. Burlesque is a niche art and we need to work together to keep it growing and thriving.

Here’s one way to do that…

Lili VonSchtupp, aka Boobdini the Vagician, has created The Burlesque Deck, a deck of pin-up playing cards with 54 gorgeous photos of burlesque performers. It can also be used for magic! The deck is currently only available via Kickstarter and only until January 27th. The project needs to raise $24,000 to go forward and Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal. If The Burlesque Deck is funded, people outside the burlesque enclave will see these fabulous photos and our reach gets a little wider.

Now here’s where the helping each other out part comes in. The Great Burlesque Expo is waiving the application fee for anyone who backs The Burlesque Deck and sends them proof.

You apply to The Expo for free, The Burlesque Deck becomes a reality (and introduce more people to burlesque), and you get the warm, fuzzy feeling of having helped elevate burlesque. Everybody wins.

What else can we do to lift up the world of burlesque?

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 17 January 2020 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

This is a tough tip for me to release into the wild. I’ve wanted to talk about this for a long time, but I’ve been afraid. Scared of being clumsy with my words and offending someone and being attacked. I’ve seen it happen and I’m cowardly enough to keep my head down and hope I’m not noticed. There are some vicious people in the burlesque world.

A confluence of several things recently made me need to say something. One of those things was this essay by Jet Noir, which you absolutely should read. He says some important things better than I can.

I had a hard time deciding on the wording of the tip, so you get two versions.

Conversation, not cancellation and Talk to people, not about them.

If you have a problem with someone, talk to them. Don’t just call them out or send an open letter or screenshot them and then block them — there’s no resolution and nothing will change.

Sharing screen shots in a closed group may make the participants feel smug and righteous, but it does nothing to address the problem and nothing will change.

You may not know the entire context of the situation. The person you have a conflict with may not be aware of the result of their actions. People make mistakes and it doesn’t necessarily make someone a total lost cause. Two-way communication is the way to resolve and improve things.

Social media posts, texts, emails have no nuance — subtleties of meaning are lost. It’s so easy to perpetuate misunderstandings. The best way to really communicate with someone is in person. It’s not just the words; it’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language that lead to understanding. Sitting down with someone also reminds you that there’s a real person behind that screen.

If you can’t talk in person, at least pick up the phone and have a real-time conversation. And these days technology makes it possible to have a face to face discussion from a distance.

Yes, I know there are exceptions and special circumstances but this is just a tip, not a lengthy essay addressing all sorts of “what if”s. I admit there is no talking to some people, but it’s worth at least trying.

Above all, be kind.

M2

This was a challenging tip to write and I’d like to challenge myself more. If you liked it, consider supporting me on Patreon. With more support, I’ll write more!

Published in: on 20 September 2019 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip:

Leave the drama on the stage.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

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

Published in: on 25 May 2018 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

I hope everyone (in the U.S., that is) had a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. This is the time of year when we’re told be be grateful, but many of us, your Humble Correspondent included, find it to be an incredibly busy and stressful season. Today’s tip is a little exercise to help you appreciate what you have.

Make a list of five things that make you happy.

First, actually write these down. Whether that’s on paper or electronically, doesn’t matter, but you should be able to look at your list when it’s completed. Pick any five things that genuinely make you happy right now. They don’t have to be grand or lofty – things like “flannel sheets” or “that perfect red lipstick” or “my roommate who washed all the dishes” are fine. You can write out an explanation of why this thing makes you happy, if you like.

I find this little exercise lifts my mood and make me appreciate what I have. And one of those things that makes me happy is you, Constant Reader, and all the support you’ve given me over the years. Thank you.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

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

Published in: on 24 November 2017 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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On Being Better

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s been turbulent times. I had tears of joy and hope in my eyes last Tuesday as I cast my ballot for a woman for president. And I spent most of Wednesday in tears, weeping for what we had lost and all that we might lose.

On Thursday I got on a plane and went to BurlyCon. Being insulated from the outside world for four days with some of my favorite strippers gave me a chance to revitalize and reflect. I’ll write up my adventures, but not just yet.

In the days following the election I’ve seen some people take small actions toward making change and be scorned by some who say it’s not enough, they’re not really committed. Because of that, the former feel like they might as well not do anything.

No matter how we strive for perfection, we shall never attain it. That’s just the nature of perfection. That’s not a reason to stop striving, but be realistic. Scratch reminded me of this verse from Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

If we waited to be perfect, nothing would happen. What we can do is try to be better. At BurlyCon I did a book signing (which was wonderful — my first author event!) and I inscribed the books “Keep being better!” “Being better” is part of my personal philosophy and I hope you consider incorporating it into yours. Just be a little better, a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, learn something new, move out of your comfort zone a little, challenge yourself, let in the light.

M2

Published in: on 17 November 2016 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Not Unexpected

Dear Constant Reader,

The notifications for performing at the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend* (aka BHoF) went out yesterday. I applied this year because Legs Malone, a performer I like and respect a lot, saw my act at the New York Burlesque Festival and challenged me to submit it.

I was not accepted.

I’m in excellent company. A lot of performers who I think are amazing also didn’t make it in this year.

Am I disappointed? Well, a little. Rejections always suck. However, I knew it was a long shot — there were something like 500 applications this year. And I knew it would be a challenge to get that act to Las Vegas — I can’t exactly put Super Screen in my suitcase — so I’m a tiny bit relieved too.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll try again next year. Or maybe I won’t. There are always possibilities.

M2*It used to be known as the Miss Exotic World pageant and is basically the World Series of Burlesque. Some of the finest performers in burlesque have taken home the crown. On the other hand, some of the finest performers in burlesque have never performed there.

Published in: on 30 March 2015 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Continuous Improvement

Dear Constant Reader,

The other day, Scratch wrote the following on Facebook, and I just had to share with you. I think it’s thought provoking and hope it might start a little conversation. Obviously he’s writing about burlesque, but you can apply this to any performing art.

***
I read yet another performer gushing “Burlesque is great! Anyone can do it!”. Well, that’s true — anyone can write a poem, play the guitar, throw a baseball, or draw a flower. The question is, do you want to be good at it?

Being good at burlesque is constantly learning and training — sometimes burlesque classes, but many times learning other skills that you bring back to burlesque. Being good at burlesque is not taking an introductory class or two, doing your first (or even second) performance, and thinking you know it all.

It’s learning all the time from everything and at every opportunity. It’s watching video clips and movies of modern and classic performers… and yourself — to see what you can glean from that. It’s heading to museums to pull inspiration for costumes and acts. It’s getting outside of your comfort zone and outside your city to see how you stack up against performers in other parts of the world. It’s honestly assessing both your strengths and weaknesses… and working on those weaknesses, even when you’d much rather be playing to your strengths.

It’s not listening to your friends when they tell you you’re great — and, instead, trying to actually be great. You probably won’t achieve greatness, so few people do, but if you live your life as a performer in the middle of a mutual congratulations society, you’ll never get anywhere significant… and worse, you’ll think you have.
***

What do you think? How do you improve your art?

M2

Published in: on 9 March 2015 at 2:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Another Friday, another tip!

Learn the rules first, then break them.

M2

Published in: on 14 December 2012 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

You can’t please everyone.

Don’t even try. You’ll lose your mind, and maybe your soul. One of the wonderful things about human beings is that we have diverse tastes and opinions. Therefore, the same act is going to evoke a different response in different members of your audience. Unfortunately, people who don’t like something are generally more vocal (and more negative) than the ones who were happy with it.

Just concentrate on being polished, professional, and poised. Give the best performance possible. And make sure you’re pleasing yourself.

Published in: on 12 October 2012 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Before your weekly tip, I just wanted to let you know the latest news:

Devora’s surgery went well and she’s recuperating at her grandmother’s. Rehearsals aren’t the same without her.

After emergency auditions and a *long* deliberation, we have a new Lost Girl.

And now for your tip… This is something Scratch posted on Twitter yesterday and I think it’s advice we all could take.

There are mean people and jerks in the world. Try not to be one of them, OK? Create don’t destroy. Positive not negative.

P.S. Please nominate me for The MacGyver Award (for the performer who can fix any costume malfunction anytime, anywhere, and with anything) at the Golden Pastie Awards! Nominations close today!

Published in: on 7 September 2012 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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