Los Angeles: Burlesque Bingo 1/20/19

Dear Constant Reader,

I know this is the missive you’ve been waiting for — all about the House of Knyle graduation show at Burlesque Bingo!

I was extremely grateful for this opportunity, not only to share a stage with all the women I’d gotten to know through Egypt’s program, but I can’t imagine otherwise performing in one of Audrey DeLuxe’s shows.

The venue was Harvell’s in Long Beach. Lili VonSchtupp had given me some advance info like that the dressing room was good but narrow and that the stage was carpeted and a couple steps up, which allayed a little of my nervousness. The space has a great speakeasy vibe and I can see why there’s a lot of burlesque there.

I was the first to arrive. Scratch volunteered to do whatever was needed and that turned out to be running the follow spot. All the other ladies were staying with and therefore traveling with Egypt. I kind of regretted missing out of the bonding time (and more, as it turned out), but I’m not sorry I chose to spend time with Kitten Natividad. Our Legends are so important. When everyone else arrived they briefed me on the plan for the curtain call and after, whihc they had worked on the night before at Egypt’s. That did have me a little nervous because improvisation dance is not my strength.

Burlesque Bingo works thusly: On the floor perpendicular to the stage is a bingo board, like a very low runway. At the back of the stage is a number board (see photo).
When the performer discards a costume piece, she tosses it onto the board on the floor. One of the Lucky Charms (Audrey’s adorable assistants; also see photo) turns on the light for the corresponding number on the big board and everyone marks their bingo cards accordingly. After the act is over, if no one has bingo, the Lucky Charms begin to disrobe and toss out their garments until bingo is achieved. The bingo winner then comes onto stage to claim their goodie bag of prizes. If more than one person has bingo, everyone gets a chance to roll a giant pink fuzzy die to see who claims the prize. It’s a lot of fun. It was also clear some audience members are all abut the bingo, while others are just there for the burlesque.

I wish I could do a blow by blow of the other acts, but I was more than nervous and rather in my own head most of the night, so I don’t recall a lot of the show. The line up, however, was:
Bebe Bardot
Lilac SaintClair
Dulce D’Jour
CoCo Rose
Crocodile Lightning
Nadia Lotte
Briq House
Mayo Lua de Frenchie
Mina Murray
Twirlisha Devine
Egypt Blaque Knyle

After we each did our acts, Egypt joined us on stage and presented each student with a certificate of completion.

After Egypt’s performance, we each came out in reverse order, still in our pasties, and improvised on stage for a few measures. Eventually we moved into our assigned places, arrayed around the runway, while Egypt performed again. By the end we were all over her. We wouldn’t let her leave the stage until we had presented her with our gift, a large engraved diamond.

I was very touched when Bebe Bardot, who had to race off to the airport immediately after the show, took a few moments to say some kind things about my books. I feel a kinship with this lovely lady — she’s also a scholar of burlesque history, a writer, and a classic sort of gal — so it meant a lot.

All right, I won’t make you wait any longer. Here’s my act:

What did I think? It’s still a little rough. I’m not happy with my facial expressions and I can see all the tension in my shoulders. Those shoes were giving me such trouble, especially with the turns and lunges, and you can see where I so gracefully stumble off the edge of the bingo stage near the end. However, I’m really happy with parts of it and I can see there’s some power there. I’ve since performed it three other times and it just keeps getting better as I’m more comfortable with it and I’m not stressing about trying to impress a mentor (and I got new shoes)

This act, probably more than any other one, had a lot of feedback from a lot of people. Egypt suggested the lunges after the turns (as well as other things). It was Ava’s idea that I start with the back panel draped in front. Originally I dropped to my knees for the floorwork, but Betty said “Can you drop into a plank? You do planks all the time.” Scratch came up with the belt remove. He also edited my music so there was a strong ending instead of a fade-out.

I’m so grateful to Egypt for giving me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, to perform in this great show, and to work with these amazing women.

Performance photo by Jason Kamimura Photography
Video by Cliesha

M2These 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 9 April 2019 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip:

Consider using music from independent artists.

It can be a nice change of pace to use music from lesser-known artists, particularly local ones. You’re exposing your audience or students to something new and it’s a song probably few other burlesquers are performing to. It’s usually easier to get permission to use the song, and if you need to pay for rights, you’ll know the artists are getting more of the money than if you deal with ASCAP. Also, you may have an opportunity to cross-promote.

A few years ago we had a lot of fun performing with local musician Samantha Farrell. She sang foor one of our existing routines and Stella created an act to one her original songs. It was a great creative exchange.

For B.A.B.E.’s recent Chair Dance 201 class, I created the students’ choreography to "Voodoo You" by burlesque performer Melody Sweets. Enjoy this snippet!

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 April 2019 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Brrrlesque This Saturday!

Dear Constant Reader,

This Saturday, December 15 The Boston BeauTease present our winter holiday show at Deacon Giles Speakeasy Lab in Salem, MA! You can get a little taste of last year right here:

We’ll be presenting some of your favorite seasonal stripteases. As a special treat for good girls and boys everyone is bringing at least one brand-new act. Be the first to see them! I’m very excited to show you mine!

For an added bonus, we’re bringing The Boston BeauTease Burlesque Boutique! Browse our hand-rhinestoned ties, pasties, and other goodies to find the perfect gift for someone special, or yourself! I’ll have copies of both my Little Books too!

Get your tickets right here! There are only a few tickets left for the early show. The venue is very intimate and we tend to sell out, so don’t wait!

Entertaining burlesque plus creative cocktails — treat yourself!

M2These 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 12 December 2018 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chocolate Pudding: The Video

Dear Constant Reader,

One of the things I want to do with Patreon support is make video expansions of my blog posts. I decided to make one so you can all see what I’m trying to do. This is me cooking the chocolate pudding from my previous missive:

My plan for future videos is to have a videographer with an actual camera to shoot and edit these videos, but for this deathless cinema, it was just me and my iPhone, cooking one-handed, occasionally frantically deleting stuff when my phone ran out of memory. Then I kinda edited it in iMovie, which I’m still learning how to use.

If you couldn’t tell, this is completely unscripted and there were no retakes. Just me rambling away as I cook. One-take Murray. That’s what old Jack Warner used to call me.

If you like this and want to see more (better filmed, better produced) videos, consider supporting me on Patreon.

M2These 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 25 May 2017 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Halloween!

Dear Constant Reader,

Here’s a little treat to celebrate my favorite holiday!

We’ve only got two performances of Wrathskellar Tales left: tonight and Saturday!

M2

 

 

Published in: on 31 October 2016 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Video Project Week the Last

Dear Constant Reader,

As July reaches a close, so does my video project end. In 31 days, I’ve watched 31 (plus a couple) videos. This wasn’t a full week, but the videos I watched were:

  • Lilly Bulle – Classic Fan Dance. Scratch found this one on a search for something else and knew I hadn’t seen it.
  • Jo Weldon – Godzilla. I’ve always wanted to see this one. I think I’ve now seen 3 Godzilla acts to this same song, all different, all delightful, but this was the first.
  • Michelle L’amour – Ritual Calling of the Gods of Fuck. To end as I began. It was perfect timing that Blaze posted a link to this video the day before.

What have I learned over my month of video-watching? A bunch of stuff, some of which I knew already, but a reminder (with visuals) is so helpful.

  • If you’re going to use a big prop, you have to rock it. It’s the center of your act and your focus. Making a dramatic entrance and then ignoring the thing is a waste. I saw some great examples of big-prop-rocking.
  • Simplicity can be mesmerizing.
  • Even an act I thought was poor provides some inspiration. Admittedly lots of the “don’t do that” sort, but also some positive things.
  • Pause and pose. Stillness is so effective.
  • If your face is obscured in some way, push the body language. And have the appropriate facial expressions, even if they can’t be seen, they do come through.
  • When a performer loves her/his act, it’s beyond delightful to watch.
  • Good video is hard to come by. Atmospheric lighting may be great for the audience, but too dark for video. However, the biggest problems I saw were with decisions made by the camera operator and/or video editor. It’s fantastic if you can have multiple cameras, but sometimes I was wondering what the editor was thinking. If the performer is using a big prop that blocks the view of one of the cameras, don’t use the footage from that camera. Fan dances are usually meant to be seen from the front, so don’t use the footage from the camera in the wings. If you only have one camera, get a tight frame the performance area and just shoot without trying to pan or zoom on the fly.
  • I really like floorwork and stocking removes. Why don’t I do more of them?

There are so many ways in which I could up my game. I’ve got all sorts of ideas. And that was the whole point of this exercise.

M2

Published in: on 4 August 2015 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Video Project Week 4

Dear Constant Reader,

This week I decided to go with a theme. I’m working on a bathtub act and now that it’s coming along nicely, I decided to look at other bathing acts for encouragement and inspiration.

  • Lili St. Cyr – Salome’s Bath. I had to start with the classic! (h/t to Corinne Southern for suggesting it and thus inspiring this theme)
  • Angie Pontani – Hendrick’s Bathtub Gin (also here and here). This is my tub in its former life!
  • Ixion Burlesque – Wine Bath. A totally different kind of bath.
  • Immodesty Blaize in the bath. Too bad it was so short!
  • Tonya Kay – Bathtub Burlesque. This was billed as a tribute to Lili St. Cyr, but I don’t see it as such.
  • Sugar Blue Burlesque’s Odile Devine – Tribute to Lili St. Cyr. A beautiful “tub”. I’d love to take a closer look at it.
  • Dita von Teese – Le Bain. Bonus: I have fondled that costume.

M2

Published in: on 27 July 2015 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Video Project Week 3

Dear Constant Reader,

Here’s my third week of videos. A few thoughts:

I’m finding it hard to pick only performers I’ve never seen, but I am sticking to acts I’ve never seen.

I originally planned only to watch contemporary videos, but I stumbled upon a vintage act I’d heard of, but hadn’t known had ever been filmed. I still don’t know what it looked like on stage, since this is full of sooper-high-tech camera trickery.

I’m trying to break out of the classic rut and watch a little neo-burlesque too. I’m unlikely to do a neo-style act, but that doesn’t mean there’s not inspiration there too.

Sometimes I don’t know what the camera person/video editor was thinking!

The biggest thing I’m taking away is that I have got to up my game!

  • Miss Cherry Delight – The Evil Queen
  • Lady Shanime – Bombshell Betty Bump
  • Lili VonSchtupp – Vampire
  • Wham Bam Pam – Pam’s Magic Wand
  • Lili St Cyr – Cinderella’s Love Lesson
  • Medianoche’s winning performance at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival
  • Flora Gattina – Shoe Love
  • M2

    Published in: on 21 July 2015 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Halfway

    Dear Constant Reader,

    My Constant Critic complained yesterday that my post was less than interesting. I confess I was pressed for time and only sent out the list of videos I had watched over the past week.

    So, as it is now half way through the month, what have I learned? Let’s see…

  • Some days it’s hard to find something I want to watch. Suggestions, please!
  • True love of music and concept comes through in the performance.
  • If you are going to have a really big prop, really work it.
  • Simplicity can be mesmerizing.
  • I need to continue to work on my core strength.
  • Cheap magic really does work.
  • Atmospheric lighting doesn’t always film well. (I knew this, but there were some clear reminders)
  • I should do more floor work and stocking removes.
  • Plus some intangible inspiration that I hope colors my upcoming performances.

    M2

    Published in: on 15 July 2015 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Video Project Week 2

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I’m sticking to my resolution to watch one burlesque video a day for the month of July. Here’s what tickled my fancy over the past week:

  • Imogen Kelly’s Step-Down Performance at BHoF
  • Mr. Gorgeous – Ice Cream
  • Ray Gunn – Morpheus
  • Kalani Kokonuts – The Geisha
  • Catherine D’lish – World’s Largest Feather Fans
  • Vicky Butterfly – The Imperial Faberge Swan’s Egg
  • Inga Ingenue at Viva Las Vegas #14
  • In case you’ve just joined us, the Week 1 videos are here.

    M2

    Published in: on 14 July 2015 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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