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.

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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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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! It’s the last Friday in July and here’s your sewing tip:

Avoid sewing when you’re tired.

I know it’s tempting to work late just to get the darn thing done, but when you’re tired is exactly when sleeves get sewn inside out and gussets are inserted upside down. You’ll spend more time fixing your mistakes that you would have gained by sewing while your concentration is drifting from weariness. Do I speak from experience? Oh yes.

The rule of thumb I was taught is not to start a sewing project after 10pm. This of course only works if you keep a schedule in which 10pm is getting late…. By all means, if you’re fresh and alert at 2 am, sew away! If you get fuzzy, step away from the fabric, get some rest, and pick it up again when you’re refreshed.

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 27 July 2018 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your sewing tip!

Avoid sewing over pins.

I know it seems like it’ll be faster if you sew first and remove the pins later, but you risk hitting one of the with the needle. This can nick or bend your needle or, worst of all, cause it to break and perhaps fling a tiny shard of sharp metal at your face. (you are wearing your safety goggles, right?). It’s especially tempting if you’re one of those people, like me, who inserts the pins perpendicular to the seam line.

If the fabric is so slithery or bulky or otherwise badly behaved that removing the pins as you go makes things go awry, consider hand basting with the pins in place and then removing them as you sew on the machine. It’ll be extra secure!

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 20 July 2018 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Continuing with my costuming theme for July, this week’s tip is about keeping your sewing machine in good shape.

Keep your presser foot down when your sewing machine is not in use and keep a scrap of fabric between the presser foot and the throat plate.

There are a couple of reasons for doing this. Keeping the presser foot down relieves pressure on the spring that raises and lowers it. Also the presser foot lever can’t get knocked down (say, by a curious pet wandering around your work table) so that the foot suddenly drops onto the feed dogs. The scrap fabric is to provide a little cushioning so you don’t have metal resting on metal. It’s also a good idea to lower the needle into the fabric, especially if you are transporting your machine. This protects the needle and also lowers the feed dogs.

That’s my machine in the picture and the scrap is from when the repair shop tested the stitch disks the last time I had the machine serviced.

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 13 July 2018 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! It has been beastly hot in Boston. My atelier, where my writing desk is, has no air conditioning, which is why there have been no missives this week. However, I would never neglect your tip. July is sewing month at The Manor, and so the tips will be on topic as well.

Press your seams.

For really great seams, press on the wrong side, then flip the item over and press on the right side. It’s absolutely vital that you press the heck out of multi-part seams, like French or flat-felled. Press each seam after you sew it, rather than saving them all for the end. I know all this pressing seems like a hassle, but it will make a huge difference for your garment. Your iron is your friend.

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 6 July 2018 at 2:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I hope I’m going to see you tonight at Burlesque Roadshow.

Your tip this week is in honor of Jo Weldon’s new book Fierce: The History of Leopard Print:
Leopard print is a neutral — it goes with everything!

It can be an accessory…

…or the complete outfit.

No matter what you’re wearing, leopard print won’t clash!

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 29 June 2018 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Before I get to your tip I just want to mention that The Boston BeauTease are performing on June 29th at Down the Road Beer Co. in Everett, MA.
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It’s the first time they’ve had burlesque at this venue and we’d like to make a good impression. We’re bringing all our favorite booze-themed acts and some brand-new ones. You can get your tickets here.

And now, here’s your tip!

Listen, really listen.

Too often we hear what someone else is saying without actually listening to them. Someone once said that to have a good argument you need to speak like you’re right, but listen like you’re wrong. I rather like that. I think there would be less strife and misunderstandings if we just listened to one another.

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 15 June 2018 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I usually try to phrase my tips so that they are positive advice (“do”) rather than negative (“don’t”), but I just couldn’t figure out how to do so with this one. Here’s it is!

Don’t change your clothes in the bathroom.

This simple statement actually covers two situations.

Often at studios, gyms, and the like, where a locker room or changing area is provided, some women will choose to lock themselves in the bathroom to change their clothes. It’s selfish, rude, and annoys those waiting to use the bathroom for its designated purpose. Just don’t.

If a performance venue expects you to use a public bathroom as your dressing room, reconsider working there. As a performer, you need a clean, private, secure space. A public restroom is none of those things. Just don’t.

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 8 June 2018 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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