Booklover’s Burlesque

Dear Constant Reader,

You might recall that I have been recording video story readings for my Patrons and audio versions for everyone. But here’s a video for everyone*!

I am delighted to share an excerpt from the kinky erotic novella Passing His Test that I recorded for Booklover’s Burlesque.

It was written by Teresa Noelle Roberts and I’m thrilled she gave me permission to share her work.

If you liked this bit of the story, buy the book and read the rest!

And there are many, many more stories for you at Booklover’s Burlesque — they release two a night!

* Well, maybe not everyone. It involves consensual BDSM, sex, and explicit language. Maybe avoid listening if you’re at work or around kids. And if you’re my mom.

M2These 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 19 May 2020 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Isolation Entertainment: Story Time

Dear Constant Reader,

I know so many of you are at home for the foreseeable future — me too. I hope to lighten the time with a little entertainment.

I recorded a video of me reading The Masque of the Red Death (in a vintage red satin peignoir) for my Patrons. Some of you might find that amusing; others wildly inappropriate. If you’re in the former category, here’s a little teaser…

You’ll have to join my Patreon to see the rest.

However, there’s an audio recording for everyone right here:
The Masque of the Red Death

You can also enjoy my reading of The Tell-Tale Heart from Halloween.

I’m looking for some more light-hearted (public domain) material for my next reading. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear (or any other ways I can entertain and amuse you).

Stay well,

M2These 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 19 March 2020 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Teaching, Learning, and Relearning

Dear Constant Reader,

The BeauTease have a new crop of apprentices and we’re training them. Part of the way we do that is through exercises. However, all of us participate, not just the new kids.

It’s good for all of us. The troupe members can lead and guide and the apprentices don’t have to feel like they’re being flung to the wolves while everyone else watches. We all get to practice our skills and it’s valuable for the established performers to get back to basics.

We started with character exercises. The simplest version of this is that everyone draws a card on which is written an emotion. One by one, to the same bit of music, we walk across the floor and express that emotion. Then everyone watching tries to guess what the emotion was. We learn to be big and clear, to express emotion with the entire body. For some, it’s practice walking in time to music. This exercise can get more complex and involved, but we left it at the simple version.

The next one is Standing, Sitting, Kneeling, based on an improv game. We have one chair and 3 performers. Someone needs to be on their feet, someone needs to be using the chair, and someone needs to be on the floor. The goal is to work together and trade off positions while creating an improvised group routine. This exercise has sparked a couple of our group acts…

Factory Girls

Feelin’ Good

But no time for such things now. Our rehearsals are focused on our Secret (Santa) Show on Saturday, December 21. It’s a festive evening of seasonal burlesque at an undisclosed location only revealed to ticket holders! The apprentices will be making their striptease debut!

M2These 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 11 December 2019 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What’s in the Box?

Dear Constant Reader,

A huge, mysterious parcel arrived at The Manor. The contents were so special I thought I’d try an unboxing video.

How did I end up with this magnificent piece? Christine McConnell has a YouTube series, From the Mind of Christine McConnell. Each month she makes something fabulous and selects one of her supporters on Patreon to receive it. This month she asked a trivia question during a livestream and the first person to answer correctly would get the cage. And that person was me!

This was on October first. I had been having such a terrible September. Certain events made me full of doubt about myself and I had lost my desire to do anything creative. Winning the cage was a jolt of positivity and I’ve been much better this month. It could not have come at a more perfect time. Thank you so much, Christine!

The trivia question, by the way, was “In the movie Addams Family Values, what is the name of the baby?” (which is the name of the bat). I still can’t believe that out of the hundreds of people responding, I answered first.

I love everything about it! The Victorian birdcage is the perfect aesthetic for The Manor. There’s so many fabulous details, like the handmade spiders and the fairy lights. And of course the Bat himself and his glowing eyes. The purple accents are just marvelous — there’s even a chunk of amethyst (my birthstone!). I could just go on about how incredible this is! I don’t know where exactly in The Manor Pubert is going to live, but he’ll be the star of that room for sure.

To see more about the creation of the Bat-Cage, here’s the video:

Thanks to…
…Christine McConnell for making this whole experience possible.
…Georgia Dunn for permission to include a panel from her wonderful comic strip, Breaking Cat News in my video. See the rest of that particular strip here.
…Scratch for filming, video editing assistance, and helping to clean up packing peanuts. In case you were wondering, a “metric fuckton” of packing peanuts is five garbage bags full.

M2These 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 23 October 2019 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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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 for 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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