The Tale of the Topless Donut Shop

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s story time!

Ten years ago The Boston Babydolls (back before we became The BeauTease) went on our first tour, Madame Burlesque. I didn’t start keeping this blog until after we returned, so this tale has not been told until now.

In July 2011, we were in Portland, Maine. Brigitte had heard there was a topless donut shop near by and we should definitely check it out after the show. So we piled into Brigitte’s little yellow sports car and Scratch’s big black SUV and set out into the hot, sticky darkness in search of fried treats served by topless staff.

We couldn’t find it. So, we pulled off the road to regroup and strategize. I believe into the turn-off in front of a gravel pit. Almost immediately a cop pulled up behind up and went to question Brigitte about our suspicious doings. She cheerfully said something like “Hello Officer! Could you direct us to the topless donut shop?” Thus reassured that there was nothing more nefarious going on than pack of lost and hungry burlesque performers, he told us the whole sordid story.

The donut shop had burned to the ground, a victim of arson. They had valiantly reopened, but never recovered and closed for good mere months before our donut quest. Alas, no donuts for us that night.

One of the people on tour with us that fateful night was Corinne Southern, now one half of The Bottle Blondes. And the incident clearly made an impression on her.

We were so amused when their latest single dropped, loosely based on a true story…
Listen to it on Spotify, Apple Music, or Bandcamp!
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Published in: on 22 November 2021 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Show on the Road: Monday 8/4

Dear Constant Reader,

(Read about Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.)

We were all quite desirous of getting home as soon as we possibly could, so we decided to get up pretty early and avail ourselves of the not-very-good breakfast provided by the motel. Ah, for the Holiday Inn Express of Sellinsgrove!

Before we left town, we had to make a quick detour.

Yup, we did a drive-by of Pennsic.

It was an uneventful drive. We were slowly working our way through the ubiquitous Pennsylvania roadwork when we saw….

Once the roadwork permitted, Scratch caught up with it, but I didn’t get a good picture. Sad. Probably my only encounter ever with the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.

Soon, we stopped at a gas station and what should pull into the neighboring parking lot, but…

The good folks driving it saw us gaping and came over to say hi, ask about the nearby restaurant, and give us #hellonbuns keychains. How cool is that?

And just to prove that we really had a close, personal encounter:

We broke our trip in Wilkes-Barre where Scratch had found a deli/tchotchke emporium that seemed promising. They had an overwhelming number of sandwiches, excellent baked goods, and an array of knicknacks. I picked up a magnet for the filing cabinet at B.A.B.E. with a saucy redhead proclaiming “The boobs are real. The smile is fake.” Kind of sums me up.

Nothing more exciting to report for the rest of the trip, thank goodness, and there was minimal Babydolls screaming like goats screaming like humans. By 8:30pm we had completely unloaded the Babydollmobile into the studio and headed for our respective homes.


Published in: on 14 August 2014 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Show on the Road: Sunday 8/3

Dear Constant Reader,

(Read about Friday and Saturday)

Before I start, I’d just like to point out that the restaurant of our Holiday Inn in Cleveland had a 16th-century Italian monastic secretary in the foyer. Seriously.

Some of my loyal readers will squeal with delight as I did.

We had a much shorter drive today, only going to Pittsburgh from Cleveland. We decided to have brunch at the Beachland Ballroom (where we performed the night before), having been told that it was the best brunch in Cleveland. The menu certainly looked interesting and the pickled veggies that garnished Scratch’s Bloody Ninja were so good we asked for more.

However, it took us almost an hour to get our food (and our waitress appeared to be avoiding us) and when it arrived it was clear that at least some of it had been sitting awhile. Scratch’s waffles were cold and my chicken was tough. The biscuits were, however, terrific as promised. Despite the massive delay, we were on the road only a few minutes behind schedule (probably because everyone was starving at that point). If we’re ever in Cleveland again, I’d give them another chance.

We were almost to the Rex in Pittsburgh dead on time when Dr. Nightmare (that’s the GPS) got confused and sent us well out of our way. We crossed bridges, went up steep hills, saw an amazing panorama of the city, and finally got back on track.

Chris Rickert of Rickert & Beagle Books was waiting by the stage door to help us load in. She’s a big fan and most of the reason we play Pittsburgh in the first place. We unloaded, set up, and did everything we could to get ready before the tech guys arrived.

This time we did take some pictures backstage. Here’s our dressing room:

And here’s a dark picture of everyone hanging out on stage, waiting for the next thing to do:

The next thing turned out to be dinner. We all wanted to eat at the place with the world’s most secure bathroom key from last year, but they weren’t open yet. Instead we went next door to a Thai(ish) place and I was still able to have stir-fried chicken & veggies. By the way, the photo to the right is the impressive garnish that adorned my plate. There’s 3 different vegetables in that confection.

The show was a lot of fun, despite everyone being tired and some level of unhealthy. We’re grateful to our special guests Lita D’Vargas (burlesque) and Sadi (bellydance), and Annie the Merch Girl. You might remember Lita as our Stage Kitten last year. I’m particularly grateful to Lita for doing a comedy bit with Scratch while I frantically changed for my fan dance. I don’t know how I managed Friday night with only about half that amount of time.

The venue wanted a certain number of tickets sold and I’m pleased to say we beat that number — on a Sunday! The reception from the audience was great — there was even a group trying to convince us to move to Pittsburgh. The Rex would like us to come back soon for a Friday or Saturday night.

I know you’re dying to hear about the condition of my screen after two days on the roof and a lot of rain. Well, not great, despite all the plastic wrapping. It was going to be okay for the show, but the frame was warped and the paper was still damp in places and flecked with an unfortunate murky color. And this is where it ended up after the show.

Poor thing! It’s served me well for many shows.

We had an hour to go to get to our hotel, so we bid Chris a fond farewell, eagerly accepting a bottle of mead that her finacé had made, and headed off into the night.

At the Ohio Burlesque Festival, one of the vendors, Bombshell Cupcakes, was giving the performers a cupcake. Big beautiful cupcakes, you just had to have a performer’s badge. We all took advantage of this, of course, but saved them for a little Sunday Social at our hotel. I got the “Junk in her Trunk” cupcake — chocolate cake with cookie dough filling, vanilla icing, sprinkled with something delicious, and garnished with a Reese’s cup, the full-size kind. That should give you some idea of scale. It was slightly the worse for wear, having rattling around in the cooler since Saturday night, but so delicious. Stella got the “Sugar Baby” and Scratch & Brigitte “Miss American Pie”, graced with a mini apple pie. We probably would have had the mead too, but realized we had no corkscrew. Must remedy that for the next trip.

Tomorrow, the long drive home!


Published in: on 13 August 2014 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Show On the Road: Saturday 8/2

Dear Constant Reader,

(Read about Friday here.)

On Saturday of our little adventure, we awoke bright and early and availed ourselves of the fine breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express. I’m not being sarcastic. It was the best hotel we stayed in the whole trip. And there were biscuits and sausage gravy and warm cinnamon rolls.

Before we hit the road there was a brief stop for more trash bags, some duct tape, and cold medicine, which both Scratch & Stella were needing at this point. Scratch was good enough (or delirious enough) to buy us each a roll of duct tape that fit our personalities. Can you match the duct tape to the burlesque dancer? (that’s bacon, mustaches, and leopard, just in case you can’t tell) When we were sure the pink boxes were good & sealed up, we headed off for Cleveland and the Ohio Burlesque Festival.

On the way, we stopped at McDonald’s to use the rest room (we don’t actually ever *eat* at McDonald’s). Scratch was wearing his custom bowling shirt, seen below.

On his way into the men’s room, he found himself face-to-face with a guy coming out. Said guy was wearing a T-shirt with “Jesus Christ: The Real Thing” in Coca-Cola style lettering. He looked at the name and devil image on the shirt and said with not a little hostility “You think that’s funny?” I guess we’re not in Boston anymore!

Because Scratch was feeling kind, we stopped at Stella’s favorite restaurant for lunch!

Everyone was making fun of me because I got a salad at an Arby’s. I’d like to point out that it was a salad with fried chicken, bacon, and cheese in it. Their meat sandwiches were probably healthier…

We were making good time and keeping an eye out for a gas station, when, like the day before, the skies grew black and suddenly opened up. The previous day’s rain was NOTHING compared to this storm. Thunder, lightening, torrential downpour, high winds. Cars were pulling off the highway — visibility was terribly. Then *hailstones*! And the hydroplaning. And just to make it super-fun, there was a non-zero chance of running out of gas in all this.

Just as the storm abated, we pulled into a travel plaza. Whew!

But after we got back on the road it started up again for a while, though not as bad — no hail at least.

We got to our hotel in Cleveland unharmed and Brigitte drove with Scratch to drop him off at the class he was teaching at 3:30. I was awfully surprised when they both came back shortly thereafter. See, someone in charge had thought that Scratch’s class started at 3 and when he wasn’t there by 3:15, sent all his students away. He arrived at 3:25 to find the venue in the process of being shut down since classes were over for the day. So, if you wanted to take his class on contracts, sorry about that. It wasn’t his fault.

We headed out to the Beachland Ballroom for the last night of the Ohio Burlesque Festival. I’m pleased to say that despite the incredible storm, our pink boxes remained snug and dry in their trash bags. After doing a little tech rehearsal, we headed to the BBQ joint across the street for some dinner. Sadly, they had no actual BBQ at that time, but the wings were quite good.

There were a lot fewer performers than last year, which made for a much less crowded dressing room. Unfortunately, in trying to keep our pink boxes out of the way of the other performers, we managed to set up right in the path of the guys running cases from storage to the bar. C’est la vie.

The Boston Babydolls were featured performers, so not on until the end of the show. However, Scratch managed to wrangle me a spot as a solo performer to debut my Faerie Queen act. Stella & Brigitte watched the show, but I was too nervous to do anything but pace the dressing room a lot. I would have liked to have seen the show — I heard there were a lot of good performers and of course, I always like watching Scratch MC — but I needed to just focus on my act.

(Unless noted, the following performance photos are courtesy of the Ohio Burlesque Festival)
Finally, it was time for me to go on stage. I think the act went well. It was a very different style from everything that had been presented that night. I mean, I was using 16th century dance music (Celeste Giglio, if you’re curious). I honestly don’t remember the audience reaction during, but many people came up to me after to say how beautiful it was. And Brigitte & Stella said I nailed it. And they’ve seen it in *very* rough shape in rehearsal.

Photo by Cool Cleveland

This act has been a long time in development and I couldn’t have done it alone. Big thanks (in no particular order) to Aaron Macks for music consultation, Cassandra Annati for the fan fabrication, Whisper de Corvo for creating the headdress, Jeff McBride for magic coaching, Katie and her crew for cleaning up all my debris, the Ohio Burlesque Festival for taking a chance on me without a video or even a proper application, and, of course, Scratch for direction, costume design assistance, and just about everything.

Then it was time for us all to get Factory Girl-ed up for our star turn on stage.

Here we are in our adorable overalls as factory workers by day. Note the pink boxes!

And her we are after our transformation into sexy burlesque dancers at night! This is the famous “rawr” section of the number.

Then we hustled back into some costume to run out into the audience to catch the Golden Glamazon, Sydni Deveraux, burn up the stage!

After the curtain call, we repacked our pink boxes (trash bags inside as well as outside — after that rain we were going belt & braces). The others mocked me badly for twisting up the excess plastic on the top of my box into an origami rose. Hey, I’m called the Martha Stewart of Burlesque for a reason.

Then we headed out to My Friends Deli for a post-show snack (potato pancakes and apple pie!). Many of the cast & crew from the festival eventually arrived, but we were exhausted and didn’t stick around too, too late.

Tomorrow, on to Pittsburgh!


Published in: on 12 August 2014 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Show on the Road: Friday 8/1

Dear Constant Reader,

On Friday Brigitte, Stella, Scratch, and I hit the road for our latest touring venture. It was with a little trepidation, since our final stop was Pittsburgh and we had an interesting (in the Chinese curse sense) trip home from that city last year.

First things first, the annual picture of me looking like I’ve been run over while attaching the cargo carrier. We all met at the studio to load up and head off for our first destination: The Courtyard Theatre in Sellinsgrove, PA.

It was a little fussy loading up the car with all our crap. Although the plan was to have all 3 pink boxes (that’s one of them to the right) that we use in “Factory Girls” (and contain all our costumes) in the car, our Tetris failed and one had to ride on the cargo carrier. And my rice-paper silhouette screen got wrapped in a tarp and rode on the roof. (The reason I mention all these dull details will become clear later). The packing logistics plus some ugly traffic on 93 made for us being a bit behind schedule to start off.

The drive was fairly uneventful for a while and we even made up a little lost time. Then we hit the inevitable Pennsylvania roadwork… and traffic came to a dead stop. Now sooner did we finally start moving than the clouds began gathering and the skies opened up. Torrential rain! Like, Scratch stepped outside for about 75 seconds and was soaked to the skin. That kind of rain.

Remember the pink box and the screen on the outside of the car? I don’t know about anyone else in the car but I was now stressing about being way behind schedule and potentially having ruined a box of costumes (and the box itself) and my major set piece. I could see, when we stopped, that the wind had peeled the end of the tarp on the screen back.

We finally arrived at the theatre. Which is in a mall. Like, turn left at the JC Penney’s to get to the stage door, in a mall.

Two hours late, we began frantically racing to get set up. Fearing for the worst, we unpacked. The bottom of Stella’s trunk had gotten wet and a few items were damp, but nothing too bad. Whew! My screen on the other hand, looked pretty sad. Fortunately, a little packing tape (plus a little pastie tape) got everything back into usable condition.

It’s a pretty nice theatre: large stage, decent lighting, helpful staff, good dressing room with clothing racks, big well-lit mirrors, and a bathroom. And no microphones. We travel with a vintage-style microphone and had requested a stand and cables in our tech rider, but they had none of that. That is, not at the theatre. Someone had the audio equipment at home and forgot to bring it.

It’s not a big theatre and someone with a big voice could easily be heard in the back without amplification, but Stella really needed that microphone for her song. And Scratch had been sick for most of the week and was on the verge of losing his voice. Nothing to do but power through it and hope for the best.

Our special guest performer, Private Tails, arrived, as did Isaac and two kittens from Billtown Burlesque who were helping us out. And we all got ready to go on.

I wish I had thought to take some backstage pictures, but we were in such a rush from the minute we got in the door. The house was packed and the merch was selling fast before the show even started! The acts were all very well received. Stella solved her volume problem by wandering into the audience during the song and then dancing with one particular gentleman. They ate it up.

We got so many nice compliments afterwards. Much of the audience had never seen burlesque before and were just delighted by the show. Yay! That’s what we like to hear. Some of the more amusing comments we got included someone asking if Stella & Brigitte were twins and the fellow who chatted me up for a while about my perfect Irish looks.

Here’s a post-show shot of the cast and some of the folks from the Courtyard theatre on stage:

While packing up, the venue kindly gave us several large trash bags and some packing tape. We bagged & taped up the pink boxes and securely lashed all 3 to the cargo carrier (where they fit very nicely), then swaddled my screen and rewrapped the tarp in a more secure configuration.

Too tired to join the rest of the cast at Applebee’s, we drove down the street to our lovely hotel and passed the heck out.


Published in: on 11 August 2014 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Madame Burlesque 6/20-21

Dear Constant Reader,

We kicked off our summer tour with two shows at The Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, NH last weekend. This is our 4th year here and I think it’s the only venue we’ve hit every summer. Historically we’ve only done one night there, so we were pretty excited to have a two-show run. Our show this summer is Madame Burlesque, which is the first show we performed at this venue! We’re performing some favorites from the original version, a couple of numbers that have been entirely revamped, and some new acts.

Friday afternoon much of our time was taken up with load-in and tech requirements. I’m was told that the usual house lighting had been adjusted before we got there to add some of our usual requirements, like an MC spot stage left. It’s nice to have a long-standing relationship with a venue.

We had a great crowd, but the show was a little rocky. I had a massive wardrobe malfunction in a group number. The stage was slippery and Brigitte went down in two different numbers, once while supporting Evie. A comedy bit happened too early, which could have played havoc with the lighting cues. Fortunately, everyone handled everything with professionalism.

And after the show — the drinking. : )

Saturday started for us with an appearance at Roissy Intimates, a very exclusive lingerie shop, usually by appointment only. We might have also done a little shopping.

After the appearance we had a break for food before call, but it was too early for dinner for me. All I really wanted was a cold drink and some fresh fruit and Scratch knew just the place. We all converged on Popovers on the Square and I believe everyone got exactly what they wanted, whether that was coffee, a salad, a popover bigger than your head, or a mocha brownie (I don’t judge).

The show was a little more frantic for me as D.D. wasn’t in it. So, I went from being in 2 acts to 4, as I did “The Stripteaser’s Education” solo and took her place in the closing trio. Betty filled in for her in “Factory Girls” and Stella played the spider in Betty’s Zorita tribute.

Normally, in “Factory Girls”, D.D. does a backbend over a chair and Betty was picked to replace her because she could also do that move. However, we’ve replaced the chairs with small trunks. (So much better for touring. They’re props *and* storage! And besides, it’s so much fun to talk about stuffing things into our boxes — and they’re bright pink!) Given the new dimensions, plus the slipperiness of the stage, neither dancer could safely maintain the backbend. We quickly put our heads together and came up with substitute choreography which I think worked just as well in both cases.

The show went very well and afterwards we were besieged with photo requests. Not that I’m complaining! We’re happy to pose with our fans. Within reason. we did have to turn down the roller derby team’s request that we form a human pyramid with them.

Because everyone is wonderful and worked really hard, we had the show struck about an hour before our deadline for vacating the theatre.

Unlike the last time we performed this show, it will never be the same twice! The shows further from home will feature only 3 dancers (plus Scratch and special guests) and when we appear with all of us again in Cambridge at the end of August, we’ll change up some of the acts. It makes for kind of crazy rehearsals, but a lot of fun.


Published in: on 30 June 2014 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ohio Burlesque Festival: Sunday, August 4

Dear Constant Reader,

Not too much to report on the drive back from Cleveland to Boston. About 11 hours from the hotel to Stella’s place.

However, one of the things I love about these road trips is seeing places I otherwise never would have. When we left Howe Caverns on Thursday (which feels like a lifetime ago) Dr. Nightmare (that would be the GPS) took us along a secondary, scenic route, instead of taking us back to the highway the way we’d come. We saw some beautiful scenery and lovely old houses which we would have otherwise missed.

Similarly, on Sunday’s drive, Scratch had the brilliant idea of stopping in Buffalo for lunch. We drove through the city, which I have frequently passed, but never seen. It’s a fascinating mix of gleaming new glass & steel buildings and abandoned industrial sites. We decided it looked like Gotham City.

Having lunch there was a great idea. We had. . .

Buffalo wings!

We went to Frank and Teressa’s Anchor Bar, the birthplace of the Buffalo wing. And the wings were terrific: fried crispy, but still juicy, nicely coated in sauce, but not soggy with it. We got the “medium” sauce, which had enough heat that you knew you were eating Buffalo wings, without being painful.

And here we are with the menu for proof!

That’s all the excitement for now, Constant Reader. The Boston Babydolls have 2 more stops with The Fine Art of Burlesque, Portsmouth, NH this Friday and Denmark, ME this Saturday. I’m not in this version of the show, so I’ve asked the other ladies to report back.

You can catch me next in Boston Loves Dixie, a celebration of the life of Burlesque Legend Dixie Evans on August 31st. And don’t forget that tomorrow is Teaseday! Come to The Teaseday Club and see Evie Sphinx’s last performance before she moves out of state!


Published in: on 12 August 2013 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ohio Burlesque Festival: Saturday, August 3

Dear Constant Reader,

(If you’re just joining me, read about Thursday here and Friday here.)

Saturday came way too soon for the weary Boston Babydolls because The Buckeye Burlesque Academy was in session and we were the professors. Scratch started things off with “Who’s Who in Classic Burlesque”, a talk about our glorious predecessors, and “This IS My Day Job”, on making burlesque your career.

Then it was my turn with “Classic Boa Technique”. I was surprised and delighted to see a familiar face — Ava, who played Blanche in The Wrathskellar last year. Her family lives about an hour away and she was home for the summer. The class was fun and we left feathers ALL over the stage.

I was really disappointed in the low number of students. I know at least one who couldn’t get to the venue because there really wasn’t any good transportation from the hotel. But it seemed like there wasn’t much interest in classes. I guess I’m more used to events like The Expo and BurlyCon where people attend because they want to improve their skills and take advantage of having teachers from outside their area.

Stella taught “Vocal Skills for Burlesquers” and then Devora & Betty arrived to teach “Warm-up…or DIE!” and “Choreography for One”, respectively. Scratch, Stella, and I slipped out for some lunch & sightseeing.

The one thing we really wanted to see was The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

It was simply awesome. We were there for about 2 hours and only barely managed to see the ground floor. So many wonderful things, so much history! I think we were all struck most by the personal items, like hand-written lyrics or sketches. I mean Elvis’s gem-encrusted jumpsuit was amazing, but seeing Bruce Springsteen’s thought process as he jotted down ideas for an album title was mind-blowing.

As a trained museum person (really, I have the piece of paper from Harvard and everything), I was so impressed. The items were arranged so well in the cases. The labels were clear and the text was easy to read and informative. Occasionally I questioned their logic (why was Joy Division/New Order in the middle of an unrelated room?), but mostly it was a delight. I really liked the “Cities & Sounds” exhibit, highlighting the regional origins of musical styles.

We were running out of time, but we couldn’t leave without visiting The Wall.

Racing back to our hotel, we got ready for the night’s show. The theme this time was black and red.

Then we picked up the lovely Donna Denise and went to a soul food restaurant for dinner. It’s too bad we had a late lunch because that smothered pork chop was good, but I could only manage a taste.

Off to the Beachland Ballroom for a *long*, *long* show. Remember how I said yesterday that Scratch kept things moving along? That was not the case with the Saturday MC’s. They were really chatty. There were about the same number of performers, but the show was a least a hour longer. And we stood the entire time. In fact, many of The Babydolls were ready to call it quits if intermission ever happened.

Fortunately the last act before intermission was Red Rum’s spectacular mummy number, which energized us enough to stay through the rest of the show. I also want to mention Hazel Honeysuckle’s fabulous Cookie Monster and Chakra Tease’s impressive chair work as stand-outs. And of course, Coco Lectric was worth the wait.

There was one more thing that happened before we finally tumbled into bed, but that deserves a post of its own.


Published in: on 8 August 2013 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ohio Burlesque Festival: Friday, August 2

Dear Constant Reader,

(If you’re just joining us, the first part is here.)

This is going to be a long missive, as it was one long day… The drive from Rochester to Cleveland was easy, although there was a *spectacular* thunderstorm as we passed through Buffalo. We got to the hotel with enough time to rest up before we had to be at the Beachland Ballroom. We were at the venue promptly and had time to run our number twice on stage, figuring out the proper blocking. I’ll get back to this later.

Since we were in the headliner block at the end of the show, we could relax and enjoy the whole first half of the show. Scratch was one of the MCs and really kept things moving along, as is necessary with a festival show. There were about 25 acts, plus handing out half a dozen Golden Buckeye Awards in each half of the show.

Highlights for me:
*Getting 3 more performers to sign my copy of It’s All The Glitters (only 93 to go!)
*Buying a lovely fascinator from Holly Hock
*Bourbon Rose’s dramatic robe (I think we all coveted it)
*Vikki Fahrenheit’s sultry singing (and stripping)
*Red Velvet’s transitions from sweet to manic and back again
*Dangrrr Doll’s Sonic the Hedgehog act.

Before we knew it, it was intermission and time to get ready.

You know how when you’re close to something, you cease to see it. After working on this act for the past several months, I didn’t really think there was anything special about the costumes at all and I though our big hats were sort of dorky. Then the compliments started rolling in from the other performers and I really saw us in our matching/coordinated dresses. Yeah, they did turn out well. And we looked like a troupe. Two different people used “Dior” to describe us.

And here we are:

(Photo by Eric Paul Owens)

When we were done, we hopped back into our dresses and ran out into the audience to see Bazuka Joe in his Speed Racer act. It was almost as much fun to see the reactions of the Babydolls who hadn’t see him before. Drool City. And then we enjoyed the elegance (and powerful pectorals) of Donna Denise.

All did not go soothly, however, I’m sorry to report. One of the big problems was the lighting. Remember I mentioned we’d rehearsed on the stage to get the proper positioning? With 4 of us, it’s pretty important. As Bella was giving the performers some information for the evening, someone was on stage marking a rectangle with pink duct tape. This was the area the lights would cover. It was a *lot* smaller than the space we’d just taken up. If you left that rectangle, you’d fall into shadow.

The stage only had a few lights and they were all downlights, nothing from the front or the sides. And no follow spot. Downlights were a huge problem for us (and Donna Denise) because we were wearing wide-brimmed hats, so our faces were completely shadowed. It also meant that the hundreds of rhinestones we put on our dresses didn’t pop in the least. Scratch and the sound guy (whose name I’ve forgotten) did they best they could to focus the lights for maximum coverage, but the results were really sub-optimal.

The other problem was the other MC, Gilgamesh Taggert. At first he seemed a fine co-host with Scratch — loud, clear, a bit bombastic. And then the rape jokes started. I’m not sure why he thought that would go over well at a festival with a strong focus on advocacy for women and the GBLT community. Scratch told me that performers were asking if he would please introduce them instead of “the other guy”. The reaction was bad enough that after the festival Bella Sin (the producer) completely cut Gilgamesh loose.

After the show, we ran back to the hotel to change for the after-party. When the Babydolls go out together, we like to coordinate. Friday night’s theme was black & white and I have to say we looked awesome.

The after-party was not really our scene, but we stayed a while, chatted with some of the other performers, got chatted up by some of the other patrons. Then hunger won out.

I had thought maybe we’d get some pizza delivered to the room, but Scratch got a recommendation for a 24-hour deli from a local. My great regret was that we’d all squeezed into one car and so didn’t have room to bring Coco Lectric who was both hungry and rideless.

We got to My Friends around 1:30am and our wonderfully friendly waitress apologized for the limited late-night menu. Limited? I couldn’t make up my mind! After we had ordered, I noticed Bella Sin’s flaming red hair in the other room. Despite the chaos I’m sure it caused, we moved to the table next to her, Bazuka Joe, Donna Denise, and Eric Paul Owens.

That was a lot of fun, but it was very late (or early) by the time we got back to the hotel. And we had to teach the next day!

Tomorrow, The Buckeye Burlesque Academy, sightseeing, and night 2 of the Ohio Burlesque Festival.


Published in: on 7 August 2013 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ohio Burlesque Festival: Thursday, August 1

Dear Constant Reader,

This past weekend, The Boston Babydolls road-tripped all the way to Cleveland to headline at the 3rd Annual Ohio Burlesque Festival. We left Boston early in the morning with Scratch, Stella and I in the Babydoll-mobile and Betty and Devora in the Betty-mobile.

After several uneventful hours on the road, we stopped at Howe Caverns* in New York. Our sassy guide Ella took us through the beautiful caves. The rock formations are staggering in their size and intricacy and age. It takes a hundred years for an inch to form**. The photo to the left shows The Chinese Pagoda, a massive stalagmite which had broken off thousands of years ago and was moved to a more picturesque location more recently.

We saw stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and the rare stalag-mouse (supposedly the calcified corpse of a pet mouse). After walking through the caves for a while, following the icy River Styx, we arrived at the Lake of Venus and got into boats. Our boat pilot was a gal whose name I never got, but gave us some fun insider dope about being a cave guide. She and her identical twin sister would sometimes switch groups if they didn’t think anyone was paying enough attention. The picture shows Stella and D.D. gawking at the rock formations. And yes, we were all bundled up in sweatshirts. It’s 52 degrees in the cave.

The last part of the cave was the best — The Winding Ways: narrow twisty passages (well lit) with some really beautiful formations overhead. I couldn’t imagine what it was like exploring with only an oil lamp. It goes on for a long while, but I still was sorry when we emerged and had to head back up to daylight.

After a quick purchase of some cave-aged cheddar for Sunday Social, we dragged Stella away from the H2OGO Balls and got back in the car.

Onward we drove to our stop for the night, around Rochester, NY. We chose Good Smoke BBQ for dinner. I think Betty gets credit for this one. Sadly, they were completely out of ribs when we arrived. Every bit of spare space in the little restaurant was displaying a trophy, plaque, or other award for best barbecue. And it was damn good. We got some dessert to go and then for some reason we sent the indecisive twins (Betty & D.D.) off to get some wine. Betty claims it only took as long as it did because the white was chilled for us, using a funky auto-chilling machine.

Once at the hotel, we put on the Food Network, opened the wine, dug into the desserts, and started rhinestoning. Like you do. Our dresses were already lavishly decorated with rhinestones, due to the party we’d had a week before, but the bras and undies were somewhat lacking. With four of us working at once, we got done in record time. The desserts, by the way, were caramel pecan bars and “gooey bars” — vanilla bars topped with caramelized bananas and bacon. Stella & I hate bananas and we were sorry. Everyone else said the bars were amazing, practically swoon-worthy. From their reactions, the bars might have almost been better than sex.

And that was our adventures on Thursday. Tomorrow, on to Cleveland and our performance!


* I like caves, although actual spelunking is not my thing. I’m content to be a tourist. This was my fourth cave, the others being Indian Echo Caverns (PA), Penn’s Cave (PA), and Actun Chen (QR, Mexico).

** I was annoyed to see, right after Ella warned us not to touch the calcite (skin oils disrupt the rock growth), that one of the other tourists slapped her palm right on the wall. We had just been shown what kind of damage that can do!

Published in: on 6 August 2013 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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