This Guy Walks Into a Bra… 8/4/18

Dear Constant Reader,

This show was a little different from our usual fare. Instead of having Scratch between each act, we did some vintage burlesque comedy sketches. The show was very fast paced and a lot of fun.

Burlesque comedy is rather challenging. Much of the original material is problematic in various ways. First off, most of the lines were meant to be delivered by a Straightman and a Comic, although some sketches had even more male characters and some had a female role or two. We only have one guy, so the sketches had to be adapted for women to play some of the roles. Unlike the 1940’s, no one is going to think it unlikely for, say, a straightman cop to be played by a woman.

The real problem is that much of the material is incredibly offensive to a modern audience. It’s often horribly sexist, basically misogynistic, it’s racist, it’s violent (many sketches end with one character shooting the other), and sometimes the humor is so dated that a modern audience just doesn’t get it.

Scratch searched though tons of authentic burlesque and vaudeville comedy bits to find stuff we could edit and adapt. Sometimes the characters were made all female (as mentioned above). Sometimes the language needed updating (but not too up-to-date; we didn’t want to lose that vintage feel). Sometimes Scratch pulled bits from several different routines and strung them together into a single sketch. And occasionally he stole bits from later sources (like Airplane and Laugh-In).

Something else we did differently for this show — title cards! Back when we did Madame Burlesque, we had title cards for all the acts, which the stage kitten would place on a lovely easel. We wanted to revive that, but it starts getting expensive to create new cards for every act. Devastasia had a great idea — chalk boards. So Scratch took a bunch of thin board covered with chalkboard paint, cut them to size, and Devastasia went to town with her chalk markers. She made these beautiful cards for each performer. The cards add a nice vintage touch, but for this show they Served a practical purpose. We didn’t have traditional MC introductions before each act because of the comedy sketches, so the cards gave the performers their due credit.

The show itself was quite lively and our audience, though small, was enthusiastic, despite the heat. I don’t know about them, but we were all wilting backstage. We got. A lot of nice compliments, but none better than the woman who could only stay for 15 minutes but said she couldn’t miss the chance to see The Boston BeauTease. Perhaps we’ll return to Brattleboro, when it’s cooler.

Next up, I go to Winnipeg International Burlesque Festival to perform and teach and The BeauTease present The Bananaz Variety Hour at Deacon Giles Speakeasy Lab!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

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Published in: on 9 August 2018 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Burlesque Roadshow 6/29/18

Dear Constant Reader,

At the end of June we presented the first ever burlesque show at Down the Road Brewery in Everett. Credit to Devastasia for suggesting the venue. It was, shall we say, an eventful show.

True confessions first, I was very worried about the show. Ticket sales were rather slow. But, as it turned out, the house was pretty packed.

Although they have a big stage, it’s not a theatre and we had to bring in pipe & drape and some lighting. We also brought our own vintage-style microphone, but didn’t have enough cable to connect with their audio, but fortunately they provided a wireless microphone. If you were at the show, that’s why Scratch was having trouble with the volume levels. The lighting wasn’t wonderful — next time we’ll try something else. And the stage was mighty slippery. I was worried about the tap dancers. AS it turned out, they were fine.

Before I get into the show itself, I want to share these great promo images Scratch created. I believe all three photos were taken by Charles Jones (correct me if I’m wrong, please).

  

The show was alcohol themed (because why not) and it went a little something like this:
(Act one performance photos by Jo Oltman)

Devastasia, Mina Murray, Stephanie: Poison
We’ve performed this one before, with three sexy, but rather stupid, murderesses who don’t seem to notice that EVERYONE’s glass is poisoned. New for this show were the matching pasties. I made the skull & crossbone bases and Devastasia did the gorgeous rhinestone job. They look amazing, but I was having a heck of a time twirling. I could only get one tassel going at a time.

Brigitte Bisoux: Alcohol
Brigitte created this act for The Wrathskellar as The Broad. It’s too good to save just for once a year, so she has a slightly more cheerful version for general audiences. I hope audience members noted the bottle from which she was drinking. There was nothing special about it at this time. We’ll get back to it. It was great that the stage had steps down so Brigitte could get into the audience to steal drinks and crush people to her bosom.

Artemisia Vulgaris: Scotch and Soda
Artemisia has such a lovely voice and we like to give her a chance to use it at least once a show. This is kind of a slow, smokey song, but it was livened up during the musical bridge as Artemisia chatted with the audience. 

 

 

Betty Blaize, Tahni: Absinthe
This one hasn’t seen the stage in a long time. I think the last appearance was French Kiss back in 2010. Betty, as an old school Goth (which she is), mourns her lack of absinthe. Suddenly a giant absinthe bottle runs onto stage and starts tap dancing! Tahni the Green Fairy pops out to continue her dance and offer Betty some absinthe. Betty in her delight begins stripping and the horrified Fairy rescinds her gift. Tahni made that lovely gauzy fairy costume herself. Our new bottle was constructed by Scratch and made beautiful (as usual) by Devastasia.
   

Devastasia: Love Potion Number 9
Okay, this wasn’t quite fitting the theme, as the love potion in evidence is a perfume, not a drink.

Scratch: Magic
Scratch did something impossible with a bottle of vermouth. This was just a little something to kill time while the stage kittens were setting up for…

Mina Murray: French Champagne
This is one of my signature acts, last seen at ABurlyQ last August. It requires a lot of set up and potentially some clean up, depending on how well I’ve positioned myself for the climax of the act, so it only works for certain shows, but I love it. People are usually surprised to see me as a blonde.

Intermission

(There are some nice pictures of Act Two by Jo again, but they’re on Instagram, so I can’t make them show up here.)
Brigitte Bisoux: Oh, So Quiet
This is a brand-new act from Brigitte. What would a show about booze be without a hangover. And Brigitte is wearing tap shoes. Fortunately a little Gatorade gets her back on her toes. Ultimately it’s the hair of the dog that revives her completely. Observant audience members will note it was the same bottle that did her in in “Alcohol”.

Betty Blaize: Cocktails for Two
Another number from Betty that hasn’t been seen in a very long time. It was created for Dewer’s Reveal Day celebration back in, I think, 2008. Betty took this opportunity to completely revamp her Statue of Liberty costume and refine the choreography.

Artemisia Vulgaris: One For My Baby (and One More for the Road)
This is a new act from Artemisia and I love it! It’s so slow and slinky and she sprawls on a fur stole in such a classic style.

Devastasia: One Mint Julep
Another debut act — a flirty dance with a parasol. The remarkable thing about this one is the costume. When we presented Wrathskellar Tales I went to Savers and bought a whole bunch of gowns to fill the Diva’s armoire. One of them was a fairly boring mint green probably bridesmaid dress, with no embellishment at all. Devastasia thought the color was perfect for this act and ransacked the troupe trimming box to make it into a stunning costume. I wish I had a before and after picture to show you the amazing transformation.

Scratch: Martini Time
One of Scratch’s signature magic acts.

Mina Murray: Am I Blue
This is a new fan dance and I got to wear my new cage thong from Burluxe. Remember that slippery stage? I was the one who almost wiped out. I was going down to one knee and my foot slid out from under me. Fortunately I just ended up sort of ungracefully on my butt. Devora had surprised us by showing up in the audience and she said she thought it was “very sincere”.

Artemisia Vulgaris, Betty Blaize, Stephanie, Tahni: Puttin’ on the Ritz
Scratch asked Betty for a new group number and gave her some parameters. She exceeded all expectations with the choreography and the dancers did an amazing job with it. It’s one of the best group numbers we’ve done recently.

After the show we talked to audience members (one of who gave me something amazing that deserves its own post) and got a well-deserved drink. It was maybe 15 or 20 minutes all told, plenty of time later to strike, pack up, and load out. Then the fire alarm went off.

We all went outside. I figured this would be a short interlude since it was clear there wasn’t actually a fire. Then the fire truck showed up. The firemen went inside and eventually the alarm went silent. We continued waiting. Next thing we knew, the ladder extended from the truck to the roof of the building and a couple of firemen headed there. Uh oh.

Then the brewery announced that they were shut down by order of the fire department. It was the CO alarm that had gone off. We were incredibly flustered — all our stuff was inside, not just our costumes and other gear, but personal items like purses, phones, and car and house keys. Eventually the firefighters escorted us inside in small groups to get our most important stuff. Of course, I grabbed my fans as well as my purse. And the above-mentioned amazing thing.

If you want to hear all about this right after it happened, become a Patron and you can watch a video where I babble all about the incident after I got home.

Early the next morning, when we would have rather been sleeping in, most of us returned to Down the Road to sift through the chaos that was our dressing room (we were using the back hallway and the firefighters had to move a bunch of our stuff to get to the alarm panel) and pack and to strike the tech.

At least the alarm hadn’t gone off until AFTER the show was over.

I always hope we’l have an exciting show, but this wasn’t exactly what I meant.

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 12 July 2018 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Far From Our Clothes 4/15/18

Dear Constant Reader,

In continuing with our penchant for performing at creators of alcohol in Salem, we had our first show at Far From the Tree Cider. As with our shows at Deacon Giles, Brigitte Bisoux made the connection for us. In this case, because she’s a brand ambassador for the cider, so it seemed like an especially great fit.

We did two shows, as is our wont for small venues. The first audience was good, but the second one was fantastic! They were super enthusiastic and a joy to perform for. It was also the birthday of one of our long-time supporters, so we got the audience to join us in a non-direly rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Far From the Tree is very welcoming to dogs and babies. I don’t remember if there were any for the former there for the show, but there was a two-month old who (we’re told) enjoyed the show.

Because of our location, we threw in a couple of apple-themed acts. Brigitte did her infamous “Still Life” performance with a bowl full of apples instead of mixed fruit. Scratch mystified (and perhaps horrified) the audience with “Urban Legend”, involving an apple stuck wth double-edged razor blades. Artemisia sang the PMJ arrangement of “Criminal” because it’s by Fiona Apple (we amuse ourselves). And Betty closed out the show with “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”, backed up by apprentices Ayo and Stephanie in their first show!

It was a bit logistically challenging to make a dressing room for ourselves. We were given the accessible restroom and the space in front of it. The challenge was that there were two doorways open to the tap room. We brought drape, but all the pipe is currently in The Expo trailer. Some very creative engineering was done with conduit, painter’s tape and even some ribbon to curtain off our space. It was cozy quarters, but we made it work. I made a backstage video for my Patrons.

We tried an experiment with this show. In New Orleans at the Legs and Eggs brunch, there were tip envelopes on every table printed with “tips” for enjoying the show. That seemed like a good, low-pressure way for the audience to tip if so chose. We included a piece of paper in the envelope so people could leave a note if they liked, and some of the results are in the photo.

The staff at Far From the Tree was terrific and we’re grateful to them for having us. We hope to do it again! We’ll be back in Salem next month at Deacon Giles with The Boston BeauTease Go Bananaz! (I still can’t believe I’m writing that). But our next show is this Saturday at The Castle on Charles in Rochester, NH.

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 April 2018 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Boston BeauTease Do It Again 2/2/18

Dear Constant Reader,

This past Friday we were performing at Deacon Giles Speakeasy Lab in Salem. It’s a small space, so we do two shows, an early and a late. As usual for us, there aren’t any performance photos or video, alas.

Since it was Groundhog Day, Scratch had a fun idea for the show. Every act ended with a snippet of “I Got You Babe” and then Scratch went into his introduction. The same introduction every time. Perhaps a bit more frantic or frustrated or bored, as the evening went on. That was the obvious reference. I’ll see if you can figure out the more subtle one.

  • Betty Blaize: “Harlem Nocturne” (Les Brown)
  • Artemisia Vulgaris: “Love Potion No. 9” (Artemisia singing)
  • Mina Murray: “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer” (Ute Lemper)
  • Brigitte Bisoux: “Night Train” (Harry Zimmerman)
  • Devastasia: “Tombstone Blues” (Johnny Staccato)
  • Scratch: Magic
  • Mina Murray: “Harlem Nocturne” (Sam Taylor and His All-Stars)
  • Devastasia: “Love Potion No. 9” (Herb Alpert and His Tijuana Brass)
  • Artemisia Vulgaris: “Mack the Knife” (Bobby Darren)
  • Betty Blaize: “Night Train” (Alvino Rey)
  • Brigitte Bisoux: “Tombstone Blues” (Ronnie Magri and His New Orleans Jazz Band)
  • Did you get it? Do you see what we did there? Each half of the show was the exact same set of songs, only different arrangements and very different styles of acts. We’re so clever.

    We’re also so clever in that the plan was that everyone would use one existing act and create one new one. It turned out that I used two existing numbers, because Artemisia was so in love with “Mack the Knife” (I use the German version), while she created one new act and learned a song.

    We had some fun and excitement backstage. Just before the doors opened, Brigitte was getting out her pasties for “Tombstone Blues” and being a little smug that she only had to put on one pair for the whole evening, since “Night Train” was a tap dance with no stripping. Then one of the tassels just exploded into it’s component strands. Yikes! What to do?

    First we realized that Betty had a pair of tasseled pasties that would match Brigitte’s outfit, but she was wearing them for one of her numbers. However, since Betty was wearing them for the first act and Brigitte would need them to close the show, there would be plenty of time for a hand-off. Then Betty asked if I had black thread in my emergency kit (yes) and said she had repaired tassels before. Before the second show, that tassel was good as new and ready to be twirled!

    In Betty’s version of “Night Train”, she’s a computer geek who gets super excited about technology. At the climax, she rips off her t-shirt. She forgot to pack a second shirt for the later show, but Deacon Giles provided her (and the rest of us) with shirts.

    Guilted Lily, our favorite stage kitten, came all the way from RI to help out and insisted on wearing the torn shirt *and* having Betty sign it and then her boobs. You can see it happen right here:

    And here’s a bonus picture of Lily wearing Scratch’s hat & jacket. I think it’s no contest — she wore it better!

    After the show we hung out and had marvelous cocktails with the staff. Mine was a simple mulled cider with spiced rum.

    We’ll probably be back in a couple of months. If you want to see us sooner than that, we’ll be at the Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday with a brand-new group number and I’ll be reprising my fan dance from this show.

    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 7 February 2018 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Brrrlesque

    Dear Constant Reader,

    It had been years since we presented a winter holiday show and we weren’t really planning on doing so. We were hired for a New Year’s Eve show at The Strand Ballroom and that was enough. And yet, somehow, we found ourselves booked at Deacon Giles (hint: it was Brigitte’s doing) and as long as we were doing that show, why not put it on at The Thalia as well.

    All three shows (we do two at Deacon Giles) sold out completely and people were pleading for tickets. That was really nice, since, to be completely honest, Dear Reader, our shows did not do so well earlier the year.

    Since timing is tight and the stage is small at Deacon Giles, the show is pretty streamlined. Since we had more space and a more flexible schedule, The Thalia show had a larger cast and a couple more acts.

    It went a little something like this:

    Betty Blaize: Betty, It’s Cold Outside
    A classic. One of Betty’s signature numbers, with her puppet-partner, Dino Martini.

    Mina Murray: Three for the Show
    This is a brand-new number than I debuted on Friday. I wanted something winter-inspired, rather than something so strongly themed that I could only do it at the holidays. An ice-blue gown and white fur wrap did the trick. It’s very classic in style and a bit raunchier than my usual.

    Brigitte Bisoux: The Nutrocker
    Brigitte is a talented tap dancer and she loves the stages at both venues because they show off the sound really well. With her sparkling costume and feathered headdress, you’d never know she was too short for The Rockettes.

    Devora Darling: Snowfall
    D.D. dances en pointe in this beautiful striptease. She also throws around some tissue paper snow, which is beautiful. It’s also gets everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Someday I should tell you about the first time we used fake snow. Please enjoy this photo of Devora and Devastasia, who also used some of the snow in her act, cleaning up after the show.

    Devastasia: Warm in December
    Also a new number for Devastasia. She has professed a strong dislike of Christmas, so it was winter-themed for her. She made a lovely blue and silver dress which was over a flame panel skirt and bra.

    Scratch: Magic
    I think it was a card trick, but I’m not sure of the details. At Deacon Giles it’s very hard to hear what’s happening on stage from the backstage area (the actual distillery and warehouse).

    Betty Blaize: Blue Christmas
    Betty is a disillusioned Mrs. Claus, who once she’s alone, prefers to celebrate Hanukkah.

    Brigitte Bisoux: Perfect Christmas
    Brigitte starts out nice, dancing to “Perfect Christmas Night”, a sweet jazzy tune, and then gets naughty to a version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. You’ll look at Christmas decorations in a new way…

    Devora Darling: Christmas Elf
    This is a super-adorable dance with Devora as a cute little elf handing out candy canes. And when she runs out of candy, she has clothing to give out.

    Mina Murray: Sugar Rum Cherry
    This my holiday fan dance and one of my favorites. At Deacon Giles I performed it solo, but at The Thalia I had Ingride and Gin-ni to open it with a graceful dance with snow-white fans to the traditional Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy music.

    At The Thalia we also had Devastasia, Gin-ni, and Ingride performing “Booty Swing” with oversized peppermint sticks and Gin-ni sang.

    All the shows went well and we had great time, for the most part. And there were delicious cocktails at both venues. The early show at Deacon Giles had one rude audience member sitting right up front who was talking with his seat mate through most of the show. It kind of brought the audience’s energy down. However, the second show was just fantastic. The audience was terrific and I think our performances were excellent.

    As is my custom, I made a backstage video only for my Patrons. You however can get a brief taste of the show in these video clips Scratch took during the show.

    Next up we’ll be at The Strand Ballroom on New Year’s Eve and then The Great Burlesque Expo!

    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 December 2017 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    RuffleCon 11/11

    Dear Constant Reader,

    For third year we were hired to perform at RuffleCon, an alternative fashion event in Stamford, CT. It’s always such a good time, but I think this year was the best. In the past the convention has been in October, so we were crazed with Wrathskellar preparations. They’ve moved the dates into November, which was saner for us, but it meant I missed BurlyCon for the first time in about 5 years. We were also moved to Saturday night rather than Friday, which gave us a bigger audience.

    Everyone headed down pretty early to enjoy the convention offerings. In the late afternoon I taught my corsetry class. Sadly, I was opposite one of the many fashion shows, but most of the ladies I was traveling with came to class, eager to learn about corsets.

    Before the show, we had a lovely, relaxed dinner at a near-by Mexican restaurant. Scratch has an excellent restaurant sense and once again picked out a terrific place. After a stop at a liquor store to gather post-show wine, we returned to the hotel to get ready.

    The show was a lot of fun and the audience was amazing. They were yelling, screaming, and cheering so loudly. We had a few technical issues, to be honest. There were constant problems with the music (songs starting early or late or just wrong or once two songs playing simultaneously), but they were resolved quickly every time. And we had to reconfigure most of our acts to the runway stage, which was really set up for fashion shows (narrow stage with a long runway), but we made it work.

    I’m not going to do a blow by blow of the show because I couldn’t see anything from backstage. Here are a few notes.

    Nicole and I opened the show with “Mistress & Maid”. When I snuck onto stage, an audience member yelled “someone’s going to get a spanking!” How did they know?

    No surprise, but they loved Artemisia, especially her singing voice. They went absolutely berserk when she hit those long high notes in “Creep”.

    Our special guest Mister Twister from Chicago was extremely popular with the ladies.

    Betty did a striking striptease with her new LED Wings of Isis to great acclaim.

    My costume for “Moon Over Bourbon Street” was further decorated and I made a new pair of strappy undies just for this show (with lots of patient help from Scratch — I can’t pin elastic over my butt by myself.) At one point I was covering myself with the fans and someone yelled “Stop teasing me!”

    We closed out with “Booty Swing” which had brand-new sparkly jackets and light-up staves with LEDs and fiber optics! We try to go all out on the costumes and props for these folks.

    After the show, we all went back to our hotel room for wine and snacks and decompressing. I made a post-show video for my Patrons, as it was too dark and too noisy backstage. Scratch asked someone an important question, which will be the topic of another missive.

    I admit that I was sinking lower and lower into bed as the merriment went on, but everyone else was still energetic and went to the dance party. I heard that Betty absolutely broke the dance floor with her all-out Old School Goth moves and she had a devoted ring of admirers dancing around her.

    The next morning we had a fabulous brunch and then most of us went shopping and spent a lot of time thanking audience members who telling us how much they enjoyed the show. Several of the ladies hit the consignment shop and found all sorts of treasures including Devastasia’s first corset. Scratch taught a class on Victorian Parlor Magic which was remarkably well attended for so early in the morning. Perhaps because he plugged it at the show and promised to reveal the secrets of how he pulled so many items from thin air. And then we hit the road to be back in MA in time for rehearsal!

    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 22 November 2017 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Bad Luck Burlesque 11/4

    Dear Constant Reader,

    We brought Bad Luck Burlesque, a mix of the previous show of that name and some acts from Panties Inferno to The Strand Ballroom in Dover, NH. This was the troupe’s second appearance there, but my first, since I was in New Mexico.

    The Strand is a vintage theatre that had been turned into a movie house, but now also hosts live entertainment and dancing. The first several rows of seats had been removed and a dance floor laid out. Although there is a low proscenium stage, we were performing on the dance floor, so as not to be miles from the audience.

    If you are one of my Patrons, you can see a video I made from our dressing room in all my pre-show not-so-glamourous glory. I don’t remember the order of the acts, but here are a few snippets. Photos are by audience member Beth Wittenberg.

    Our special guest was local blues singer Mike Breman. He accompanied Betty during her injury striptease to “That’s Life” and sang two other songs.

    Betty reprised her injured striptease, as mentioned above. She also danced with the Devil in her signature piece, as seen in the photo. Betty is also expert with Wings of Isis. Sometimes she does a striptease, sometimes it’s a straight-up dance number, as it was this time. She included a special surprise for this performance — halfway through the dance, her wings lit up! I wish I had a good picture of the multicolored LED wings in action.

    Devastasia’s disturbing bird tormented poor Nicole. She was also an adorable witch in the act she created for our Salem show.
     
     
     
     
     

    Scratch mystified and horrified the audience with two dangerous pieces: “The Spike”, which involves attempting not to drive a three-inch steel spike through his hand and “Urban Legend” which involves an apple studded with double-edged razor blades and his mouth. There has never been an incident, but I still can’t watch them.
     

    Once again Nicole played my naughty maid and I got to spank her in “Mistress & Maid”. Poor Nicole — first a bird, than a sadistic employer. I also presented my fan dance to “Moon Over Bourbon Street”. From where I was, the lighting for that was fabulous.

    For the finale Nicole, Devastasia and I danced to “Booty Swing”, an act that involves picking up and setting down tall staves. That’s when we discovered the the floor was sloped toward the audience… Exciting. I recall Nicole daintily setting down her foot on an errant staff as it began rolling down into the audience.

    After the show the good folks at the theatre took up on a tour of the place and insisted we take several large bags of delicious fresh popcorn. We’ll be back for New Year’s Tease on December 31st!

    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 21 November 2017 at 3:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Bad Luck Burlesque 10/13

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Over the summer The Boston BeauTease performed at Deacon Giles Speakeasy Lab in Salem, thanks to a connection made by Brigitte. The show went so well that they asked us back. Friday the 13th seemed like a great date for a show in Salem in October. Since the last show practically sold out, we had TWO seatings of this show and they both completely sold out.

    Scratch, Devastasia, Artemisia, and I went up early so we could visit the Peabody Essex Museum for It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection. It’s highly worth it, even if it means going into Salem in the high season. The collection is excellent, with most of the important films represented, and some I didn’t know (I must see Asta Nielsen’s Hamlet). The exhibit is also very well presented with simple lighting effects used to create mood — I’ve always been fond of gobos — and projected film clips of the most iconic characters on the walls.

    After that delightful interlude, it was time to head to the venue.

    The Speakeasy is a small space and like so many bars, there’s no permanent stage, but the good folks there made us one out of four pallets and a sheet of plywood. Before you get all snobby at me, it was actually better than some of the soggy carpeted stages at rock clubs I’ve played. And Brigitte’s taps sounded great. We had a huge dressing room space back in the distillery proper and everyone did their best to make sure we had a great experience. And we did.

    The show went something like this:

    Betty Blaize, Artemisia Vulgaris: That’s Life (Frank Sinatra arrangement)
    Betty decided to embody the “Bad Luck” aspect of our show and came out on a crutch with a sling and neck brace, as Artemisia sang. As she stripped, she also stripped away her injuries her her trademark goofy style.

    Brigitte Bisoux: In the Mood (Glenn Miller)
    Disproving the superstition that it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors, Brigitte tapped her heart out. Here’s a little taste from her rehearsal.

    Mina Murray: Moon Over Bourbon Street (Sting)
    This is a brand new act from a suggestion by Scratch. I was delighted to have permission to use a song from outside of our usual aesthetic and also to wear one of my Catherine D’Lish robes.

    Artemisia Vulagaris: Creep (PMJ arrangement)
    Artemisia showcased her lovely voice with this not too creepy song.

    Devastasia: Ding Dong the Witch is Dead (Ella Fitzgerald)
    We couldn’t come to Salem in October without presenting a witch number. Devastasia was simply adorable.

    Artemisia Vulagaris: The Man I Love (Julie London)
    You may have seen Devora Darling perform this sinister love story. With her permission, Artemisia created her own version of the act.

    Scratch: The Spike
    I can’t watch Scratch perform this trick, which involves a large metal spike, a blindfold, and his hand.

    Brigitte Bisoux: Alcohol (The Kinks)
    This was created for The Wrathskellar, but slightly modified as it was being performed by Brigitte and not her character, The Broad. A little more humor, a little less darkness. And she swigged from a Deacon Giles bottle, of course

    Artemisia Vulgaris, Devastasia, Mina Murray: Poison (Post Modern Jukebox)
    This was originally created for Cover Girls but only Devastasia is left from the original casting. Three murderesses think they are cleverly offing the competition, but are they…?

    I made a little backstage video between shows with an appearance from The BeauTease, but you have to be one of my Patrons to see it.

    After the shows we were treated to creative (and strong!) cocktails by the bar staff. Mine was a Far Side of the Tracks, a mix of their spiced rum and Far from the Tree cider with egg white, cream and nutmeg, pictured at right. So delicious! Brigitte’s coffee rum-based cocktail had smoke in it! I also tried something with absinthe in it and the most bizarre cider I’ve ever tasted.

    We’ll be back at Deacon Giles on December 16th with Brrrlesque, a winter holiday treat. If you can’t wait that long, you can catch us this Saturday at The Thalia in Panties Inferno!

    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 October 2017 at 5:13 pm  Comments (2)  
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    Cover Girls 9/30/17

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I was excited for this show, which was an idea Scratch had a long time ago — we would all perform to covers of songs, mostly current pop songs covered in a vintage-ish style. Then I discovered I had been accepted to ABurlyQ! for the same weekend as the shows, which were in Salem and New Hampshire. I was delighted when we decided to do the show on our home turf too.

    I revived a very old number and created a brand-new one to a song I’ve been longing to use for a while now. I wrote about modifying a costume piece for the first one recently (and a little follow up report if you are a Patron). Neither one was particularly simple to create or rehearse and I confess to being worried abut the results for a while.

    Things got a little exciting when Scratch got a message from our special guest, Carla Corazón, on the morning of the show — she was sick and had lost her voice. Since she was supposed to be singing, this was pretty bad. I’ll let you know how we handled things further down. Also, something went very wrong with transportation for Valerie, one of our new apprentices and a stage kitten for this show, and she didn’t arrive until halfway through the show. Again, it was handled by cast and crew gracefully.

    And here’s the show…

    Artemisia Vulgaris, Devastasia, Gin-ni Gelato: Poison (Bell Biv DeVoe covered by Post Modern Jukebox)
    Three murderesses each think they’ll be the last one standing as they plot to take out the competition. Choreographed by Betty Blaize and originally performed at Cover Girls on the road. Only Devastasia was original to that version of the number and I’ll be taking Gin-ni’s place when we perform it at Bad Luck Burlesque in Salem.

    Scratch: Magic (to Pastime Rag by Artie Matthews covered by Richard Dowling)
    Here we ran into a small problem, because the costumes needed to be cleared from the stage *and* the table with the poisoned glasses needed to be struck *and* Scratch had a bit of schtick where he needed to be introduced by Nicole, who was also the sole available apprentice/stage kitten (Valerie was having the above-mentioned transportation issues and Gin-ni needed to get dressed before she could help). Somehow she managed to get most of it done.

    It’s a card trick he does silently, because his mouth is taped shut — which is why he needed Nicole’s introduction.

    Mina Murray: Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini Orchestra covered by Art of Noise)
    My very first striptease was to the Peter Gunn Theme, although I used the Blues Brothers’ version back then. I still love the music and the costume. It’s evolved a bit in over a decade, but it’s not my typical languid moves and sparkly costume. This is where the previously mentioned zippered trousers come in.

    Scratch: Makin’ Whoopee (Eddie Cantor covered by Tony Bennett)
    Originally Carla was supposed to be singing “Fever” here. Since she was too sick to perform ( no fever jokes please), Scratch decided he would fill in with something from his repertoire. He sings so infrequently that most people don’t realize that it’s one of his many talents. He did pretty well until someone from the audience yelled “take it off!”.

    Devastasia: Love Potion No. 9 (The Clovers covered by Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass Band)
    A rather classic striptease with a boa. Devastasia used her winning smile to great effect as she teased the audience with her love potion.

    Betty Blaize: 1812 Overdrive (Tchaikovsky covered by The Brian Setzer Orchestra)
    Betty created this act for The Big Time and built a stack of dice she can sit and stand on. It’s pretty impressive. However, it’s all stage hands on deck to move it and we were still down a kitten at this point. Artemisia lent a hand and everything went smoothly. Also, Betty’s costume is pretty impressive and has gotten more so since she first created the concept.

    Intermission

    Artemisia Vulgaris: All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor covered by PMJ)
    This was the other song Carla was supposed to sing. Fortunately, Artemisia knew it and jumped in to fill the spot. She gets big points for going above & beyond this show.

    Betty Blaize: Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns ‘n’ Roses covered by Miche Braden with PMJ)
    Betty did a stripped-down and dirty tease that was perfect for the down & dirty sound of this song.

    Mina Murray: Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin & Queen arranged by Scott Bradlee)
    As soon as I heard this song, I wanted to perform to it. It’s an incredibly clever piece of music, blending two wonderful and disparate songs. And the only way I could get close to using Queen on stage. I tried is as a straight-ahead striptease, but realized it needed the drama of fans.

    Scratch: Magic (to A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles covered by Count Basie)
    One of the best things I learned during the work on this show was that Count Basie had *two* albums of Beatles covers. They’re amazing; you should listen to them. Scratch did a very classic-style magic trick with, appropriately for a burlesque troupe, feathers.

    Betty Blaize, Artemisia Vulgaris, Devastasia: Temptation (Tom Waits covered by Diana Krall)
    Carla was also supposed to be singing this one. Fortunately we have a terrific recording of Billie Von Bonbon (long-time fans will remember her from V for Vixen and French Kiss, among other shows) singing this. The three ladies tempted the audience with various vices.

    No rest for us, we’ve got more shows coming up soon. Next, Bad Luck Burlesque on Friday the 13 followed by Panties Inferno right before Halloween!

    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 3 October 2017 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Show on the Road 7/23/17

    Dear Constant Reader,

    It’s been a while since we went on a substantial road trip. We were hired to entertain at a Vegas-themed 18th birthday/graduation party in Greenville Junction, Maine, which is about 5 hours from Boston. The birthday girl originally wanted a trip to Las Vegas, but instead she got a party with gambling and showgirls.

    Scratch, Betty, Artemisia, and I piled into the BeauTeaseMobile for the long drive. We broke the trip in Portland for a little fun. First stop, The Holy Donut. Their famous cheese and bacon-filled donut was as amazing as promised. The chocolate sea salt was also outstanding. Highly recommended, if you like donuts.

    Then on to the Cryptozoology Museum to gaze upon the weird and the mysterious. It’s a fun collection of really eclectic stuff, like a Feejee mermaid, big foot track casts, and Wessie’s shed skin. The curator in me desperately wants to rearrange things and write wall text.

    As luck would have it, the museum shares a building with Big J’s Chicken Shack, so that was the obvious choice for lunch. I’d been craving fried chicken recently (the problem with reading a murder mystery series set in the south), so I was not displeased with this turn of events.

    I was, however, extremely displeased to drop my iPhone in the parking lot, shattering the screen into a thousand tiny fragments. This is why I was largely absent from Instagram for this trip and the pictures I did take are of dubious quality.

    We all piled back in the car for the long drive up to our final destination. Once you’re off the highway (and we were on local roads for quite a while), it’s really beautiful. We passed through a bunch of charming towns, like Sangervile (Town of Two Knights) and Abbott (Maine’s #1 Town). Closing in on our destination, we weren’t sure we were ever going to make it, as the GPS kept taking us down deserted roads that dead ended at scary-looking industrial buildings. Probably not a wise idea to have the GPS voice set to “Dr. Nightmare”.

    But we did finally make it to the venue, Woody’s Bar & Grill, without incident. The whole place was done up with Vegas-themed decorations and various table games. There was a small stage and a large dance floor, which is where we did most of our show — Betty and her giant dice were up on the stage. Appropriate to the gambling theme, but just part of the everyday decor, there are dollar bills stuck all over the ceiling, some very high up. Apparently there’s a way to toss them up there with a quarter and a tack and it seems to be a popular past time. The staff was terrific and very accommodating. I made a short video backstage before the show, which is available to my Patrons.

    Keeping with the Vegas theme, both Betty and I had new showgirl headdresses for a couple numbers, as created by Scratch (yes, he’s multi-talented). This was Artemisia’s first show with us and not only did she sing, she also performed her first striptease! We were joined by local(ish) flow performer Lexi Go-go, who dazzled us with her hooping. Her first act was done with changeable LED hoops and the second with SIX hoops. There was also magic from Scratch as well as striptease from Betty and me. The audience was appreciative, but mostly importantly, the birthday girl was very happy with the show.

    Afterwards, after dragging Scratch out of game of Texas Hold ‘Em that he was trying unsuccessfully to lose, we retired to the luxurious accommodations provided for us. I’m not being facetious — it was a huge suite at a lakeside lodging. We each had our own room — usually on these road trips, we get very cozy and friendly in a single hotel room. There was even a jacuzzi tube in the (enormous) bathroom and a stack of washcloths with a little note “for makeup removal”.

    This was the view the next morning:

    That’s Moosehead Lake. Pretty gorgeous, no?

    It was a long, long drive back to Boston. Mostly uneventful, except for the pouring rain for most it and the GPS taking us down a series of progressively less road-like roads. Finally faced with a gravel track heading into the woods, we decided not to trust a GPS in Stephen King country and backtracked to civilization. We broke the trip in Portland for a fabulous brunch and continued on it the rain back to Boston.

    This weekend is the Mini Expo and then we are back on the road!

    M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 7 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

    Published in: on 26 July 2017 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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