Vintage Glamour with La Photographie

Dear Constant Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC_4676Hollywood Glamour

DSC_4821Romantic Realism

I adore them!

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

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


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

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 31 August 2022 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Review: Rust Belt Burlesque

Dear Constant Reader,

Although I still have a huge pile of books to review, here’s a book that’s hot off the presses!

Rust Belt Burlesque: The Softer Side of a Heavy Metal Town by Erin O’Brien and Bob Perkoski (2019).

Rust Belt Burlesque is a photo collection highlighting burlesque in Cleveland, specifically burlesque produced by Bella Sin and appearing at the Beachland Ballroom. However, it’s not just pages and pages of photos, there’s also extensive text.

Part one is a biography of Bella Sin, who was instrumental in creating the lively neo-burlesque scene Cleveland. She’s not a native of Cleveland, but has made the city her home and burlesque her passion. Part two is a history of burlesque in Cleveland, highlighting the infamous, and now demolished, Roxy theatre.

The bulk of the book is the section of photos taken at shows at the Beachland Ballroom. There are a few posed pictures and a few photos were taken backstage or of the vendors in the hallway, but most are shots taken during performances. They’re action shots with some of the issues that come from motion, but for the most part they are dynamic and flattering. The venue has had terrible stage lighting in the past and it shows in some of the photos, but mostly it creates a moody atmosphere. There a certain excitement at seeing a performer “caught in the act” and shots of billowing fabric and bodies in motion create that feeling. Bella Sin curates shows with a strong commitment to diversity, so you’ll see a wide range of performer types.

The majority of the photos seem to be from the 2017 Ohio Burlesque Festival, although there are some from other years and other shows. The photos that were taken at festivals aren’t necessarily of performers from Cleveland, but all over the country, but you can’t tell who’s local and who’s not from the captions. The captions do identify the performer and the year and often a brief description.

The pages of photographs are interspersed with writings about the burlesque experience — from the audience and performers backstage and onstage. There’s a discussion of candy butchers of burlesque past which segues into a look at the vendors at the festivals. There’s also an essay about the history of the Beachland Ballroom, where all this happens.

The last section of the is black and white portraits of five Cleveland performers out of drag and a short statement from each one about their relationship with burlesque.

Full disclosure, I was included in the book:

The title of the book is a bit misleading, as the Rust Belt is comprised of several states and this is just burlesque in Cleveland, or rather just the shows Bella Sin produces at the Beachland Ballroom, which draw performers from outside the area as well. However, the delight and pride of locals in the burlesque shows come through on every page.

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 27 August 2019 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Birthday

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s my birthday today! The big celebration was yesterday when Scratch stunned me with a surprise party at one of my favorite restaurants. I thought we were just going for a quiet brunch, but when I walked in a huge group of friends were already there. I had no idea!

I wanted to give you all a birthday present, dear readers! I love the backlighting on this and the Delsarte pose.

Photo by George Ross. Robe by Catherine D’Lish.

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 19 February 2018 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Valentine’s Day Treat

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate it and happy Wednesday to those who don’t. And for those who were celebrating Mardi Gras yesterday, I hope your hangover has eased by now.

Whatever you celebrate or not, here’s a sweet treat for you from me.

Mina curtain
Photo by George Ross

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 14 February 2018 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Photoshoot 10/15

Dear Constant Reader,

The Boston BeauTease recently had a photoshoot! It had been well over a year since our last one and we needed some pictures of Devastasia, our newest member, and some promo photos for Panties Inferno (this Saturday!).

We were fortunate enough to secure the services of the very talented Chuck Jones and Altar Boy Photography. I haven’t seen them all yet, but here’s a little tease for you.

Scratch, Devastasia, Betty Blaize, and me being devilish! You can see the real thing on Saturday.

There are also some action shots of Betty with her giant dice and Devastasia and the Wall of Death. Of course there are a bunch with me and my favorite set of fans. There were even a few of Scratch.

I managed to sneak in a couple of personal shoots, which my Patrons get to see first. One features shoes once worn by Dita Von Tease and in another I’m wearing a birthday gift from Kitten Natividad (she gets to see those before anyone else).

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 24 October 2017 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Throwback Thursday

Dear Constant Reader,

There’s this game on Facebook — Throwback Thursday* (aka #TBT) — where in you post an old photo of yourself. I dislike Facebook intensely (I grit my teeth and use it because it is a marketing tool, although getting less and less useful every day… but I digress.), so I’m posting my picture here.

Anyway back to TBT:

That’s me at 17, all decked out for my Junior Prom. My first strapless dress! The discovery I was a D cup! The chance to wear an heirloom necklace! Something finally good done with that unfortunate perm!

I loved that dress. It was a Jessica McClintock (of course) and you can see a Mexican whore wearing it in the movie La Bamba. The bodice is covered in lace with a modest sprinkling of sequins and the tea-length skirt is a huge explosion of tulle. I wore it in a play the next year and caught the skirt on a stray nail in the doorway of the set and ripped off a bit of the tulle. You can barely tell.

I wanted to wear it to the BurlyProm last fall (how fun would that be!), but sadly, I discovered it will no longer zip up all the way. My ribcage is larger than when I was teenager, so there’s no hope. I wore a facsimile instead:

* Amongst burlesque performers there was a penchant for “Butt Thursday” for a while. I think too many pictures were being reported and removed.

Published in: on 22 May 2014 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Late on a Saturday Night

Dear Constant Reader,

I mentioned yesterday that Brigitte and I were supposed to perform before a showing of Bettie Page Reveals All but the movie was canceled because of a snow storm. I had already done my makeup when the call came, so I decided to have a little fun.

Before we get to that… Boston is a great city and I love living here, but there’s a few ways in which New York has it all beat. Two words: costuming supplies. Every time I’m in The City I head down to the 30’s and pick up fabric or trim or beads or rhinestone jewelry. You name it, someone’s got it.

I was down for Thanksgiving and I had one thing on my mind — feathers. I have some gorgeous fan staves and I needed some equally gorgeous ostrich plumes. I was going to do a little comparison shopping, but The Feather Place was closed for the holiday, so I went to Dersh Feather. Oh my goodness gracious! What beautiful feathers! What helpful people! I highly recommend them (caveat: they’re wholesale only). And the price was less than I had budgeted.

So what does this have to do with my makeup and free Saturday night?

Scratch and I had a little fun with a camera…

I have to give Albert (the Manor cat) credit. He was clearly *very* interested in all those wonderful fluffy things on the floor, but stayed on the daybed through the shoot. Although he was poised to pounce, just in case those vicious feathers tried to attack me.


Published in: on 17 December 2013 at 10:44 am  Comments (2)  

In the Kitchen with Scratch

Dear Constant Reader,

Please vote for The Boston Babydolls every day!

For The Bod of Avon wrap party Scratch promised “some genuine Elizabethan delicacies, a Shakespeare-inspired cocktail (probably hot), and some genuine English beer.”

As it turned out, the beer was a challenge. Our local liquor store has a vast selection of beers from small New England breweries, which is normally a good thing. And plenty of German and Irish imports. And many varieties of hard cider. But Scratch wanted English beer. We finally found some Newcastle brown ale.

The cocktail was inspired by the gossip’s bowl, mentioned in both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer’s Night Dream, a hot beverage of ale & cider with roasted apples floating in it. Scratch’s version was soft cider, Shipyard Applehead beer, Jack Daniels (it was supposed to be bourbon, but the Maker’s Mark was mysteriously absent from the liquor cabinet), lemon juice, honey, grated fresh ginger, grated fresh nutmeg, all warmed together. The drink was garnished with dried apple rings (homemade).

The food was a fun project. It had to be Elizabethan, not weird (my offer of pickled herring & fruit pie was struck down), easy to make for a group, and basically finger food. Also, mostly savory because we knew guests were going to bring stuff and a lot of it was going to be dessert.

The first item was hedgehogs. No, not actual hedgehogs, but small meatballs that look like prickly little beasts. The original recipe is in Middle English and involves a pig’s stomach and spit roasting. This is Scratch’s very loose interpretation. As he tends to cook in a loose interpretive style, I don’t have a formal recipe for you.

He started with about 2 pounds total of ground beef, pork, and veal (heavy on the pork) and seasoned it with the Elizabethan quartet of spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove), emphasis on the ginger, plus black pepper and salt. Then the meat was formed into little footballs and garnished with 2 currants for eyes and slivered almonds for prickles. Then baked until they were done (about half an hour at 350°F).

Ta da!
Aren’t they cute! And tasty too.

The second dish was Puffes, On the English Fashion, from A New Booke of Cookerie by John Murrell (published 1615).
Take new Milke curds, presse out the Whay cleane, take the yolkes of three Egges, and the white of one, fine Wheat floure, and mingle amongst your Curdes. Season it with Nutmeg, Sugar, and Rosewater, mingle all together. Butter a fayre white paper, lay a spooneful at once upon it, set them into a warme Oven, not over hot, when you see them rise as high as a halfe peny loafe, then take Rosewater, and Butter, and indale them over: scrape on Sugar, and set them in the Oven again, until they be dryed at the tops like yce. Then take them out, and serve them upon a Plate, either at Dinner or supper.

2 pounds “country style” cottage cheese, allowed to drain for several hours
2 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1 cup flour

These were all beaten together. Scratch wanted a savory dish, so instead of nutmeg, sugar, and rosewater, he seasoned them with chives, dry mustard, salt, pepper. They were dropped by spoonfuls on greased foil on a baking sheet and baked for about 15 minutes at 350°F. Because they were savory, he didn’t bother with the sweet glaze in the original.

They really puffed as soon as they came out of the oven, but by the time I snapped this, they had fallen.

Besides the historic treats we also provided crudites & dip, goat’s milk cheddar & crackers, hummus, salt & vinegar crisps (okay, really potato chips). I know guests brought stuff but I only remember Alissa’s corset cookies, Evie’s pigs in blankets, Red’s quince goo deluxe (another story for another time), and Devora’s enormous avocado.


Published in: on 4 March 2013 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Little Tired

Dear Constant Reader,

Please vote for The Boston Babydolls every day!

My last couple of missives were rather time consuming to put together, so today you get a short one.

I’ve heard a rumor that voting is only open for another week or so, so go vote, vote, vote (The Phoenix wants you to vote *every day*!). You know we’re the best, so let everyone know it. And then we’ll have a big Victory Party!

And if that approach didn’t work, allow me to play on your sympathies: I got some bad news about one of our projects yesterday and I’m coming down with a cold. You vote would cheer me up immensely.

Lastly, I’ll try bribery. Here’s a photo of me fan dancing at the 2012 Victory Party to “Jezebel”, sung by Miss Imani with Stella & Alissa backing her up. Photo by John L. Bilotti.


Published in: on 28 February 2013 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  

The Bod of Avon

Dear Constant Reader,

Please vote for The Boston Babydolls every day!

Once upon a time, in a different medium, I used to write up show reports. It was much easier when we did simple revues and not full length shows, often with plots. Still, it was a good habit and I’m going to get back into it. Here, Gentle Reader, without Much Ado, is the set list and a little commentary about The Bod of Avon.

All of the acts in this show were inspired by a work by William Shakespeare. Note I say “inspired”, or as Scratch said “interpreted through a burlesque-shaped lens” (insert appropriate hand gesture here). We weren’t recreating scenes from Shakespeare.

As I’ve mentioned before, we had to keep a minimal set for this show because of the requirements of the venue, so each act had a video projected on the back wall in lieu of scenery. Some of them were quite clever.

All of the photos were taken by Hans Wendland at our second preview at Oberon.

The Bod of Avon

Scratch, Ginny Nightshade, Lara Pollack: Introduction
In the darkness, they recited opening lines from Shakespeare plays, some famous, some more obscure.

Evie Sphinx, Stella Diamond, Ginny Nightshade, Lara Pollack: Henry V (“Drink Up Me Hearties” from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End)
King Evie fights battles, receives her crown, and knights her loyal followers, all while shedding clothing and armor. Black-clad Stella, Lara & Ginny play the opposing army, Evie’s subjects, and scenery.
Video: The St. Crispin’s Day speech, in a Star Wars-style crawl

Mina Murray: The Tempest (“Green Sleeves” by The Musicians of Swanne Alley)
This act was several years in the works and I’m so glad to finally have presented it. I originally thought of myself as being Queen Titania, but we already had a Midsummer act, so I became Ariel. It was a toss up between that and Queen Mab from Romeo and Juliet. There’s no shortage of faeries in Shakespeare. I’m really happy with this costume, which came out pretty much as I wanted. I have to thank Jeff McBride for the magic coaching and suggestions that formed the core of this act.
Video: Butterflies

Stella Diamond: The Taming of the Shrew (“I Hate Men” from Kiss Me Kate)
We certainly weren’t the first to re-interpret Shakespeare. We had to pay tribute to the great Kiss Me Kate. (Seriously, songs by Cole Porter? We’d have been fools to ignore that opportunity.) Stella’s got a great Broadway voice and excellent comic timing. She lounged against the bar, insulting male patrons as she sang. None of them seemed to mind.
Video: none (the stage was dark as the crew quickly cleaned up my mess.)

Betty Blaize: Antony and Cleopatra (“Melancholy Serenade” by Tommy Dorsey)
Betty’s tribute to the Queen of the Nile, longing for her Antony. There’s no striptease, but who cares — Betty dances with a sword. She routinely stunned the audience when she balanced it on her head and then slid into a low lunge and down onto one knee (while wearing high heels, no less). I love Betty’s costume for this, which I suspect was made from one of the many saris she brought back from India. Scratch introduced her as a performer with “great pyramids and a killer asp”.
Video: The pyramids at Giza

Brigitte Bisoux, Lara Pollack, Scratch: Sonnets (Sonnet 29/”Summertime” by Scarlett Johansson/Sonnet 18)
We couldn’t present a tribute to Shakespeare without acknowledging his work as a poet. Brigitte wanted to present a modern dance to a spoken word piece, so everything worked out nicely. Lara recited the first sonnet (“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”, then there was a little musical interlude, and Scratch read the second sonnet (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”). Poetry in motion, Scratch called Brigitte.
Video: A beach scene

Devora Darling, Ginny Nightshade, Mina Murray: Macbeth (“Pantaloons” by Tape Five)
We were the Three Weird Sisters, only cuter. Devora had a magic wand that forced us to take off our clothes. When we joined together against her, the wand wouldn’t work against its owner and we had to rip off her clothes the old-fashioned way. Many thanks to Scratch for building us a wand that would come apart into 3 sections on cue.
Viedo: A montage of witches from the Middle Ages to the present day


Betty Blaize, Devora Darling, Ginny Nightshade, Mina Murray: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (“Yes Sir! That’s My Baby” by The Firehouse Five Plus Two)
We had 2 couples running away into the woods, but sadly, both the guys wanted Hermia (Ginny) leaving poor Helena (Me), sad and unwanted. But I upstaged everyone in the end! Most amusing part of this act was Betty & Devora in white suits, kind of like the one Scratch was wearing to host.
Video: A forest (just outside of Athens)

Scratch: King Lear
Scratch tells the story of King Lear using 3 cups (to represent the 3 daughters), one of which is concealing the serpent’s tooth (a very sharp, 6-inch long metal spike). Cordelia (an audience member) mixes up the cups and then Scratch, demonstrating Lear’s willful blindness to his daughters’ treachery, smashes his hand down on one of the cups. One of the empty ones. Then to represent Gloucester’s actual blindness, he dons a blindfold and with Cordelia as his guide, chooses between the remaining cups. He says that the difference between a comedy and a tragedy is often one character making a decision — the wrong one and it’s a tragedy. The right one? *SMASH* All’s Well The Ends Well. This is a very tense piece with the actual possibility of injury and I find it hard to watch.
Video: none

Brigitte Bisoux, Butch: Twelfth Night (“The Object of My Affection” by The Stolen Sweets/ “Roller Coaster Blues” by Diana Dors)
Brigitte & Butch dance adorably together until Brigitte goes in for a kiss and comes away with Butch’s mustache. Butch is slowly revealed to be Stella! Everyone’s favorite moment is when Brigitte reaches into Stella’s jeans and pulls out a couple of long socks knotted together. From backstage we would hear this huge swell of laughter and know they had just revealed The Dick Sock. Everyone loved The Dick Sock.
Video: Illyria High School

Devora Darling, Evie Sphinx: Danse Apache (“The Disillusioned Guitarist” by Zum)
I’ll be honest with you. This act wasn’t actually inspired by Shakespeare. Evie & Devora created it for The Wrathskellar, but Devora wasn’t able to be a part of the show, because of several broken bones. They planned to perform it at the Marathon, but a week before, Evie broke her foot. (From now on everyone gets bubble wrap suits.) It was just too good to allow to go fallow, so Scratch put it in this show. He thought about making it our tribute to Richard III (“Was ever woman in this humour wooed? Was ever woman in this humour won?”), but decided to use it to show the power of the sort of simple stage devices Shakespeare would have used and how the audience was willing, nay, wanted, to believe. Special thanks to Richard Gilbert of R&D Choreography for the violence.
Video: Red velvet curtains

Ginny Nightshade, Scratch: The Merchant of Venice
Scratch says that during the research for this show, he found a reference in Pepys’ diary to a scene in The Merchant of Venice which did not appear in the First Folio. He and Ginny recreate that missing scene. It’s actually an old burlesque comedy routine, known as “Post Office”. Yes, it’s old and corny, but still fun.
Video: none

John J. King, guest singer: Hamlet (“Ophelia” by John J. King)
From Denmark With Love, a James Bond/Hamlet mash-up opens in May and we thought it would be appropriate to give our audience a sneak preview. Creator John J King and a roster of lovely singers presented “Ophelia” (to the tune of “Goldfinger”). The picture shows Emily Hecht, but we were also graced by frequent Babydoll songbird Alissa Coates and a couple of others whose names I can’t remember right now.
Video: “From Denmark with Love” image

Betty Blaize, Brigitte Bisoux, Devora Darling, Evie Sphinx, Mina Murray, Stella Diamond: Finale (“Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” by Joe Jackson)
As the show began, so did it end, with disembodied voices quoting Shakespeare. This time they were asking questions (“Is this a dagger I see before me?”) occasionally peppered with the title of this song. I will confess, this act didn’t have much to do with Shakespeare. It’s been the finale to our last couple of Valentine’s shows and we like it a lot. Sometimes Scratch sings it for us, but he got a break this show. And we got new parasols! I do like the mix of colors; it makes us look even more like a flower garden.
Video: Flowers

And that, Constant Reader, was The Bod of Avon and we hope it was done As You Like It.


Published in: on 25 February 2013 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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