Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! This week’s tip comes from my new book, Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Burlesque Costuming, Vol. 1: The Foundations, now available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

Removable linings make laundering garments a snap.

If you’ve got a garment that you can’t wash because of the material or the decoration, add a lining that you can remove and clean. Just cut a second lining out of some comfortable cloth — I like cotton. Turn the raw edges under and zigzag stitch them.

Now attach it to the inside of your garment. When I first tried this I basted the lining in place, picked out the stitches, and resewed it after washing, but that got old real fast. Now I just add a snap at each corner of the garment and lining.

When the lining is soiled, remove and wash. When it’s dry, snap it back in. When it gets too worn to keep wearing, toss it and make a new one.

I use this most often on intimate garments like g-strings or in the cups of bras. You can also do a partial lining in larger garments where you just want to target a particularly grimy area, like the neckline or underarms of a gown.

Illustration by Stacey B. Rizoli (aka Devastasia), proprietress of Red Queen Crafts. You’ll see more of her charming clear illustrations in the Little Book of Burlesque Costuming.

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.

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Published in: on 12 October 2018 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! This week’s tip comes from the wisdom of burlesque Legend Toni Elling, The Duke’s Delight. I first met Miss Elling at Miss Exotic World in 2006, but received this pearl from her at the very first BurlyCon.

Keep your head up.

Toni said never to drop your head on stage. You’re not ashamed of what you do, so never look like it. She also said not to take a bow, but to receive the audience’s appreciation upright. I’ve taken this advice to heart ever since.

Keeping your head up is about more than just pride in your chosen art. It also keeps your connection to and interest in the audience. Dropping your head breaks that connection. If you want to direct the audience’s attention to something low on the stage, like your leg, lower your eyes, but not your whole head. Similarly if you need to pick something up, bend from the hips or sink down into a squat while looking out, rather than just bending over from the waist.

As always there are exceptions: since lowering your head signals defeat or shame, these are emotions you may want to project for a specific character or moment.

Chin up!

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 5 October 2018 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Today’s tip is the flip side of last week’s tip. Here it is:

Miss MIna WriterGo back to basics.

If you’re a veteran of your craft, you can still improve it by returning to the fundamentals of it. Perhaps you’ll see something new, try a different method, or otherwise hone your skills. Basic skills are the foundations of any art. It’s always worth it to return to them to further refine your technique.

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 28 September 2018 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Miss MIna WriterLearn to walk before you try to run.

I know it’s tough to start with the basics when you just want to jump in the deep end. Begin at the beginning and learn the skills you need to have a solid foundation. Your learning experience will be a lot less frustrating.

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 21 September 2018 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Miss MIna WriterKeep track of your costs when creating a new act.

I know it’s tedious, but record at least your cash outlay, like for costume supplies and studio rental. You should also track your time. It has value too.How long did you spend sewing, rehearsing, editing your music, &c. With this information, you’ll have a good idea of what your act is worth. You can then figure out how much you’ll need to charge and how many time you’ll need to perform the act to start making a profit on it.

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 14 September 2018 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Name your acts.

A lot of people just use the name of the song they are performing to as the name of the act. There’s nothing wrong with that. But by giving your act another name, you make it uniquely yours. Don’t be just another “I Want To Be Evil”. If you use more than one song in your routine, it’s just easier to refer to the act by a single name, particularly when dealing with a producer or client.

Sometimes acts develop working titles that are descriptive, but strive for something you’d like an MC to announce. I think it sounds more polished and professional to say “Brigitte Bisoux in ‘Still Life'” rather than “Here’s Brigitte’s Fruit Bowl Act!”. Also, your act name can set audience expectations by creating a mood.

The name doesn’t have to be particularly creative, just look at Dita — she has an act called “Le Bain” aka “The Bath”, which tells you exactly what you’re getting. But you can also have fun with it and maybe make a play on the title of the song, like “Betty, It’s Cold Outside“.

I have an act that we just called “Three for the Show” for months, after the song I used. Plenty of people use that music, so I wanted a new name — something that highlighted the classic style, the pale colors, or the prominent use of a fur stole. I finally hit upon “Mina in Furs”. A little literary joke (perfect with my literary name) and a bit of sensuality.

And here I am discarding said fur at the Winnipeg International Burlesque Festival.

Photo by Dano Tanaka

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 7 September 2018 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s Friday again! Time for a tip!

When taking off a pair of garments, you don’t have to remove them at the same time. Except for shoes.

If you’re stripping out of gloves or stockings or anything else that comes in a pair, you can take off only one and then delay removing the other. The asymmetry and anticipation can make your audience wild.

However, if you’re removing your shoes, they really both need to come off at the same time. There is nothing sexy about walking with only one shoe on. Arrange your shoe removal so that you don’t have to take a single step until both feet are on, shall we say, equal footing.

Photo by Kenneth Ingham at ABurlyQ 2017.

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 31 August 2018 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!
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Burlesque is a great reason for travel and travel is a great reason for burlesque.

Out-of-town burlesque shows and festivals are a great way to visit places to which you might not otherwise have gone. And if you’re traveling for some other reason, see if you can get a gig while you’re in town. You’ll probably meet some new folks and certainly be exposed to a new audience.

Right now, I’m on my way to Winnipeg, a city I probably never would have visited otherwise, to teach and perform.

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 17 August 2018 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Strive to improve your art whenever you can.

Last night I had the incredible opportunity to watch the Cirque du Soliel show Luzia from backstage. Well, not actually backstage-backstage, but in the lounge area of the Artists’ tent. We could see the performance on a monitor, but the real show was all around us — the artists preparing. Sometimes that meant stretching or lifting weights, but mostly they were running their acts, sometimes over and over. Even after their set some of them continued working. During intermission I could watch the contortionist in an inhuman over-split while the strap and pole aerialists ran their moves on their respective apparatus and I could hear the juggler working just behind me. (The equipment set up in that tent was AMAZING!)

It was inspiring (and intimidating). And made me realized how much down time I waste when I could be using it to enhance my performance.

A big thanks to Lady Pepper Blossom for giving us the chance to see the circus from such a unique vantage point.

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 10 August 2018 at 11:35 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Tomorrow we’re off to Brattleboro to present This Guy Walks Into a Bra…. I hope to see some of you in the audience!

And now for your tip!
Your signature is an extension of your stage persona.

Develop a signature that suits your personality and practice it so you’re comfortable signing it. You never know when you’re going to asked for an autograph!

For a famous example, here’s Dita Von Teese’s signature. It’s pretty distinctive — the encompassing D, the curviness, the fact that she only signs her first name. It’s also very compact and could probably be signed over and over again in a fairly short time.

 

A little closer to home, here’s Devastasia’s signature. I think it perfectly sums up her personality:

Don’t be too intimidated — she’s a graphic artist and letters are her playground.

For your signature, do you want it to be curvy? Angular? Have lots of flourishes? Be bold and simple? Do you want to use a particular color of pen? How about incorporating a little doodles, either as part of the name or before or after it (a heart, a smiley face, a pastie, a fan, &c.), if you’ve got the skill (sadly, I don’t).

And finally, if you’re signing an autograph, do you just sign your name or do you include a little catchphrase (like “love and tassels” or “keep shimmying” or just “best wishes”).

Play around with it!

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 3 August 2018 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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