Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Tomorrow I’m off to Topeka — extremely early in the morning — but this week’s tip isn’t about travel. It’s about your hands.

Extend your gestures beyond your fingertips.

You want your hands be dramatic and your gestures to be clearly seen, even in the back of the house. Make your motions full of energy (which is not necessarily the same as energetic). I like to imagine I’m shooting power rays out of the ends of my fingers.

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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 21 June 2019 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I hope you’re going to join me tomorrow at Burlesque Beach Blast at Deacon Giles. Ticket prices go up at midnight, so grab yours now!

I was humbled to see that close to 200 people read last week’s tip. I hope you like this one too!

Rehearse your curtain call.

It’s the last thing the audience sees of your show, so you want it to be strong and clean. Here are somethings that will help create a professional-looking curtain call.

  • Know what order you’re entering. This could be the same order as performance or reverse or alphabetical. In the BeauTease we start with stage kittens as a group, then apprentices (also as a group), special guests, and then the troupe in order of seniority. What ever order you chose, make sure everyone knows it.
  • Know where to stand. After you’ve taken your bow and fade back, you should take a position on stage. It doesn’t matter if it’s a line or more creative placement as no one has to jockey for a place and each side of the stage is balanced.
  • Know if you’re staying in character or not. This doesn’t always apply in burlesque because often the “character” you play is your burlesque persona and you should stay in that character for as long as the audience can see you.
  • If you’re taking a group bow, be in unison. The easiest way to do this is have the person in the center lead the bow. It helps if you’re all holding hands and the leader will do something everyone can see, like nod. Then all together, hands go up, take your bow, count to two, then stand again, lowering your hands.
  • Acknowledge the tech staff. It’s always classy to extend a hand (all cast members should do this at the same time) to the back of the house.
  • Know how to exit. You should know where to exit (stage right, stage left, through the audience, &c.) and in what order you should leave. Someone should be designated to lead the cast off the stage and everyone can follow like baby ducks.
  • Know when to exit. Leave just after the applause has peaked, but before it starts to taper off. Lingering on stage is awkward.
  • After you’ve left the stage, you can come out into the audience or theatre lobby to meet your Adoring Fans.

    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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

    Published in: on 14 June 2019 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Many of those in the burlesque world are off at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. I hope you’re having fun, drinking lots of water, and maybe even getting a little sleep.

    I’m so excited to share with you a tip from the brilliant Betty Blaize. It’s so simple and so clever.

    When you’ve got a tear-away cup bra, it’s important to make sure you attach the cups on the correct sides. There’s a subtle, but important, difference between the left cup and the right, but they look so similar. Betty, ever the engineer, came up with this simple solution.

    On one side of the bra, sew the male halves of the snaps on the cup and female halves on the frame. For the other side do the opposite.


    Here’s the bra she just made for Devastasia. I know it’s hard to see the details, so there’s a close up below.

    You can see the female snap on the cup and the male snap on the frame. It’s exactly the reverse on the other side. It’s impossible to snap a cup onto the wrong side!

    This works for detachable panel skirts too! Sew the snaps one way for the front panel and the other way for the back.

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

    These 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 7 June 2019 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Tonight I’ll be at our Burlesque Beach Party. Hope to see you there! And here’s your tip…


    Even if you can’t kick high or straddle wide, if your form is good, you look great.

    Look at Devastasia’s straight legs and her nicely pointed toes. That’s what you want to strive for! Keep your back nice and straight too. It’s easy to bend forward and not even be aware, especially you’re trying for a higher kick.

    (Photo by Andrea Ramirez-Maciolek.)

    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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

    Published in: on 31 May 2019 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Before I get to your tip, some exciting news! On June 22 I’ll be headed to Topeka, Kansas to perform at the historic Jayhawk Theatre, site of Dainty June’s last vaudeville performance with her sister, the future Gypsy Rose Lee. I’m thrilled to be performing at this fundraiser for the theatre. You know how I feel about history! I’m also teaching the next day.

    Now, it’s neither easy nor inexpensive to get from Boston to Kansas City (the closest airport to Topeka). If you want to help me defray the costs of this worthwhile performance, please become a Patron, buy a book, take a class, or just leave a donation. Thank you!

    And now for your tip…

    Dance shoes are not necessarily sized the same as street shoes.

    And of course the sizing isn’t constant across manufacturers. Trying to buy on-line can be an occasion for tears. I recommend going to a dance store and trying on shoes to find the size and style that works for you, then you can buy them on-line if you want. I keep a list of my preferred shoe styles and the size that fits me best. That list also speeds things up at the shoe store (I don’t enjoy shopping and try to be as efficient as I can).

    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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

    Published in: on 24 May 2019 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Once again it’s Friday and time for a tip!

    Ballroom shoes need special care.

    Ballroom dance shoes are wonderful. Their flexible suede soles give the dancer a lot of control, but they’re also more delicate than a hard leather-soled shoe. To make them last as long as possible, there are a couple of simple steps you can take.

    First, only wear them while you’re performing or rehearsing, as you should with any dance shoe.

    Brush the soles with a soft-bristled shoe brush after each wearing. This will remove any dirt and condition the suede, which gets compacted when you dance on it.

    Use heel protectors. The heels of your shoes take a lot of pressure and wear out fast. These clear plastic caps that fit over the heel of your shoe. My new ballroom shoes (above) included the heel protectors in a cute little bag, but you can buy them separately too. Mine are plain plastic, but I’ve hear you can get ones with a suede bottom. They’re a little tight to get on, but you won’t have to take them off unless they need to be replaced.

    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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

    Published in: on 17 May 2019 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! I’ve been making pasties like crazy for all the Burly-Q Parties we have booked, so this tip came to mind.

    If you make pasties frequently, make templates of your most-used shapes.

    Pictured is my round pastie template, which is made it out of quilter’s template plastic. Paper templates, even cardstock, just weren’t durable enough for the number of pasties I make. Especially if you make shaped pasties or pasties in multiple sizes, a sturdy template is going to make your life so much easier.

    M2Like this tip? There is more costuming information in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Burlesque Costuming, Vol 1: The Foundations.

    These 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 10 May 2019 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

    It’s everybody’s job to promote the show.

    Few of us are lucky enough to work for shows with dedicated marketing people. While it’s true that the performer’s job is to perform, you don’t want to be doing it in an empty venue. And a producer will be more likely to book you again, if you prove you’re invested in the success of the show.

    Since everyone has different pools of fans and different strategies for promoting, a multi-pronged approach is going be even more successful. Besides, to borrow an old saying, many hands make light work. A dozen people can get the word out more easily and efficiently than just one.

    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. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

    Published in: on 3 May 2019 at 2:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! I try to make your tips positive rather than negative, that is “dos” instead of “don’ts”. This one, I just couldn’t figure out how to do it…

    Never fly Spirit Airlines.

    Mercifully, I’m not speaking from personal experience, but I’ve had a remarkable number of friends and loved ones swear off the airline. I know they’re often the cheapest option, but it’s not worth it if you’re constantly inconvenienced.

    The complaints I’ve heard ranged from minor — the price wasn’t *that* low once you paid for all the necessary “extras” or the the seats are really uncomfortable — to major ones like seats resold, reservations vanishing, canceled flights with no rebooking for days, &c. And throughout it all the constant thread of poor or non-existent customer service.

    When I flew to Atlanta last month (yes, there’s a missive on that trip in the works), I noticed that all the delayed or cancelled flights on the departures board were Spirit. And there were a lot of them. No other carrier had canceled a flight at that time.

    So, to put a positive spin on this tip, what should you do instead?

    I’m not going to recommend a specific airline, but you should pick one that works well for you, like it flies non-stop to places you often go or has perks you need (like a free checked bag). Fly it whenever you travel and watch your miles add up! If you can maximize your miles (without paying more), do so. I used to have my hotel loyalty program linked to my airline miles, so when I bought an plane ticket I got hotel points and vice versa. (I was so sad when they discontinued that!). Sometimes it’s worth it not to go for the absolute cheapest option to be sure you’ll get to your destination as planned or that someone can help you out when plans go awry.

    No airline is perfect, but you can find one that’s better than Spirit!

    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 26 April 2019 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Last week we had a pastie-making workshop for our apprentices and it put me in the mind of this tip:

    When encrusting your pasties with rhinestones, use a metallic base fabric for extra sparkle.

    I made this pastie with gold lamĂ© under all those gold rhinestones. It’s barely noticeable between the stones, but you get more *GOLD* impact than if it were a non-metallic background.

    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 19 April 2019 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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