Rebirth of a Dance Floor

Dear Constant Reader,

When B.A.B.E. moved to its new studio space, we had to have a *lot* of work done to make it fit for dancing. Chief among the rennovations was laying a wooden dance floor over the horrible concrete floors. After 3 years of abuse, the boards of the floor had begun to drift, leaving gaping holes between them.
A view of the whole floor doesn’t look too bad, but you get closer and you can see…

…dangerous gaps. Also, the exposed edges of those boards were getting chipped and we were in danger of tearing the padding underneath.

It was more than time for repairs.

On Saturday all The Boston Babydolls converged on B.A.B.E. for a day of hard labor. We started by clearing off the dance floor, which also involved moving a huge heavy cabinet which I have hated from the day I bought it and getting it the heck out. I’m looking forward to shopping for better storage options.

Then we pulled up all the boards, hoping to reuse as many as possible.Gosh, we have a lot of stuff…

Here’s Scratch pulling up the last of the boards. We’re all in sock feet so we don’t tear the precious padding that saves us from dancing directly on concrete. Then we tried to sweep up all the glitter, sequins, and rhinestones that had filtered down between the boards.

We began re-laying the floor. We knew a bunch of the boards would be unusable, either because they had gotten damaged or they were cut in such a way that the could only be used in a particular place. We were using “click-together” flooring and cutting it removes the clicky things, which is fine when that end is up against a wall, but one can’t reuse a cut piece in the middle of the floor. So I had bought a couple more boxes of boards. Of course, that type of flooring had been discontinued, so I got the last two boxes in the warehouse. More on that later.


The crew pauses for a photo op. We each signed the back of a board. We’re really invested in our work! Scratch taught us all carpentry skills, like how to drive a nail (harder than you would think), use a chop saw, and properly measure. And I said goodbye to my nice fingernails, which were all grown out longish for the first time in forever.

After several hours we were moving right along, but the usable boards were growing fewer and fewer. Ones that we had rejected for lack of perfection were getting put back into the mix. We were so close to finishing and having celebratory pizza and beer when we ran out of usable boards. We needed about a dozen more and we were completely out. What a disappointment!

Scratch & I started a desperate hunt for one more box of compatible boards. At this point I didn’t care if they matched, only that they fit. We kept finding ones that were at least one mm too thick. A millimeter doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it makes a big difference.

The closest box of the exact same type, it turns out, was in Bangor, Maine, but we found a (more local) store which had something they thought might work, but they were about to close. The next morning, we were there when the store opened and grabbed two boxes.

It turns out that it’s not *exactly* compatible, but Scratch had a clever idea to secure the boards. He and I laid the last 11 boards in no time at all.

Ta da! Here’s Scratch nailing down the molding.
Yeah, the color of the new boards is different, but beggars can’t be choosers. The floor is now nice and solid and beautiful again.

M2

Published in: on 27 April 2015 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2011 recap

Dear Constant Reader,

My friend Holly Rebelle of Burlesque Noir (New Mexico) recently blogged about her year past in burlesque and I thought it was a great idea. Let’s see how much I can remember.

January
The Boston Babydolls put on a light revue called Hot Dates with a calendar theme. Highlights for me are introducing my “Champagne on Ice” act and wearing my mink coat in the finale. Betty choreographs it such that at no time did the coat ever touch the ground, but was passed from hand to hand until hung up by the stage kitten.

February
Naked Girls Reading Boston participates in the chapter-wide theme of “Love Stinks!”, sponsored by Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love. We are the only group to have the (clothed) participation of the author.

March
Mr. Cupid’s House of Love brings us a couple of milestones. Evie Sphinx becomes an official troupe member. The sultry songstress Alissa joins us for her first show. I perform an aerial act. Scratch is in our finale, dancing.

April
The Expo! I finally perform my tribute to April March. I’m not sure I have ever been so nervous in my entire performing career, trying to do April’s act in front of her.
Also, the Boston Babydolls win “Best Burlesque” from the Boston Phoenix.
And we perform at the launch party for the new comic Teenage Satan.

May and June
We throw a victory party for our Best of Boston win from the Phoenix, but mostly we begin preparations for Madame Burlesque: An Evening of Tributes, our most ambitious show at the time. We launch a Kickstarter campaign, build a giant oyster, and have fabulous photos taken. But most importantly, we cast Brigitte Bisoux and Corinne Southern.

July
Madame Burlesque at home and on the road! It’s our first real tour and we have so much fun. 4 states in 4 weeks! Whose idea was it to bring a giant oyster? That thing doesn’t exactly pack small!

August
B.A.B.E. moves! A larger space, just down the hall, opens up in our building and we take it. Scratch spends most of the month turning it from drab industrial space to a lovely dance studio, including a new dance floor and storage room.

September
At long last The Wrathskellar has a home! After months of searching, Scratch finally finds a vacant storefront in which to build our creepy tavern. He and a very small team of talented carpenters along with a lot of very unskilled labor from the Babydolls do the impossible in about two weeks.

October
It’s all The Wrathskellar all the time. We come to see that dirty, chilly space as our second home. Also, the birth of Sunday Socials. We welcome Brigitte Bisoux as an official Boston Babydoll.

November
We win “Best Burlesque” from the Weekly Dig and arrive at their award party in Scratch’s 1956 Packard.
Scratch thinks it’s a good idea to hold the Burlesque Marathon again. Much sleep deprived fun is had by all.

December
Naked Girls Reading presents an epic marathon reading of A Christmas Carol. We had no idea it would take so long…

And what are we up to now? Getting ready for Unlucky in Love. Live music, live singers, partially-clad dancers!

Published in: on 9 January 2012 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Opening the door

Dear Constant Reader,

As I may have mentioned, I run a modest burlesque academy. Until recently, quite modest. We’ve been occupying a small studio, but we love it because it’s all ours. The opportunity presented itself to move to a new space, just a few doors down, and we jumped on it. We decided to do all the nice things that we always wanted to with the old space, like improving the lighting and having a real wood dance floor.

The studio is so much larger that we have a reception area and a storeroom. When you first walk into the studio this is what you see:

That’s the door to the storeroom, where we keep our costumes and props. Nice, isn’t it? Scratch does very nice work. I bet you didn’t know that besides being our director and producer, Scratch was also a talented carpenter.

If you were to turn to your left, you’d see a lovely Queen Anne desk, eventually with a smiling hostess sitting behind it. For the moment, behind it is a bunch of frightening power tools.

As we progress, I’ll keep you updated. And if you’d like to see the studio in all its glory yourself, consider signing up for a class.

Yours,

Published in: on 12 September 2011 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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