2019 in Review

Dear Constant Reader,

2019 was a year full of challenges. A hard, frustrating, often depressing year. A look back at my journal shows a lot of despair and desire to give up. I feel like we performed less frequently (not true — I performed as many times as in 2018 — but this year we had a number of shows that got canceled). I was not accepted into any festivals this year. On the other hand, I traveled a bit and performed in two new states.

January
I go to Los Angeles to perform at Burlesque Bingo: House of Knyle Edition and graduate from Egypt’s mentorship program. I regretfully turn down her offer to join her house. I get to spend time with Kitten Natividad and see friends. The only downside of the trip was that a class with Michelle L’amour was canceled. Everything else was wonderful.

February
We have a Valentine’s Day show at a new venue, Thunder Road in Somerville, where our newest apprentices help out. I get sick again, just in time to spend my birthday in bed with a bad cough. I also teach a workshop at a college for “Love Your Body Week”. It’s well received and a lot of fun.

March
We perform at the Mardi Gras Ball. I go to Costume-Con, which is local. Maybe someday I’ll even show you the costume and talk about its creation. I travel to Atlanta to perform in Coco Rosé’s anniversary show.

April
April marks 2 years that I’ve been on Patreon. Not much has changed there from when I started in terms of numbers of Patrons. I really need to figure out how to change that. We perform at a private club above a strip club with an interesting dressing room situation. Satan’s Angel dies. I still don’t have the words.

May
I teach a burlesque fitness class for a swanky hotel in Boston. We have a beach party show at Thunder Road and the apprentices, Electrix, Holly Go Harder, Kyra Lida, and Madeleine Minx, perform the solos they created with us. The venue likes the show so much they offer us a monthly slot. I also debut a new fan dance, which I love a lot. Despite performing it at 3 shows, there’s no video. It seems to always be the way…

June
I go to Topeka, Kansas to perform in a fundraiser for a historic theatre. This was probably my best traveling showgirl experience this year! The audience was great, the other performers were lovely, the producer was wonderful. And there was KC barbecue.

July
We have to leave The Thalia. Certain renovations have to be done and the city of Cambridge’s bureaucracy is making it nigh unto impossible to get the appropriate permits and licenses. We can’t use the space again until the work is done. We spend the next two months scrounging for rehearsal space. It’s very stressful.

August
Rust Belt Burlesque, a collection of photos from Cleveland burlesque shows is published and The Faerie Queene makes an appearance.

We’re still rehearsing in found space, but everyone is trying to make the best of it.
 

September
We have a new home! Welcome to The Arts Nexus, a space with multiple(!) studios. It needs a lot of work, but after a summer of traveling around, it’s wonderful. Also, we start our monthly show at Thunder Road on the second Saturday. We invite Electrix to join the troupe and she says yes!

September is also pretty terrible for me emotionally. I didn’t write about it at the time, because I was so badly wounded. Three former students (one of whom even taught for me) demand to have their presence removed from my school’s website. And a ex-troupe member tells me to kiss off when I reach out. Thanks, ladies, for reminding me just how inclusive and open-minded the Boston burlesque “community” is.

October
We do 3 shows in October, in Cambridge, Somerville, and Salem, with almost no overlap in numbers. It’s exhausting, but the shows are very good.

I win a contest for an incredible unique piece of art. The experience brightens my entire outlook after the soul-crushing events of September. I feel creative again. I host a spooky tea party. I record and edit a Halloween story (learning Audacity to do so). The day after Halloween I get to meet the artist herself in a graveyard in Salem.

November
I make my mostly annual pilgrimage to BurlyCon to teach and to learn. Scratch and I go to Miss Bonnie Dunn’s Le Scandal Cabaret for his birthday. I have a warm spot for this show as it’s where I made my NYC debut (although not in its current location).

December
A very disappointing month. We have no shows at all. Worse than not having any shows, we think we have three and for one reason after another, they don’t come to pass. Very frustrating. On the other hand, I don’t have to work New Year’s Eve.

A very mixed year. Mostly a low one, with a few bright spots. Here’s hoping 2020 is better!

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 13 January 2020 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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2018 in Review

Dear Constant Reader,

2018 was quite a year. A lot of travel for me. A lot of learning. Many high points, but a few big lows.

January
The year starts off with our trusty Element being the 5th car in a seven-car accident as we return from our New Year’s Eve show. Neither of us is hurt, Dear Reader, but the car is totaled. Certainly not what we need a week before The Expo. We also don’t need a massive winter storm the day before The Expo. It is the smallest attendance ever as flights are canceled all over the country. Scratch swears he’ll never have a winter Expo again.

February
We have a clever show at Deacon Giles for Groundhog Day. We also perform once again at The Mardi Gras Ball.

For my birthday, Scratch takes me to my favorite restaurant for brunch. I’m stunned to see a couple dozen of my friends, a special menu, and a giant cake.

March
I attend the first ever NOLA burlesque retreat, organized by Bella Blue. I meet some great people and learn a lot. Upon my return to Boston I go to a screening of a documentary about Tempest Storm. The audience attendance is underwhelming.

April
We hold the first BeauTease Slumber Party!

We perform at two new venues, Far from the Tree Cider and the Castle on Charles.

At the end of the month I go to Stripper’s Holiday. I’ve been wanting to attend this for years, but never could get in. In hindsight I don’t think I was in the best headspace to be there and spend a lot of time feeling lonely in a crowd. On the other hand, my act has improved.

May
We all go see Dita. As always the show is inspirational. Everyone falls in love with Zelia Rose. We’re all prepared to finally present Brigitte’s dream show, The Boston BeauTease Go Bananaz!, but the city tells our venue that our performances aren’t covered under their entertainment license. We’re pretty bummed, but the venue decides to fight for us.

Stephanie Schorow, a guest as the Expo, has a signing for her new book on the Combat Zone. We take the night off rehearsal to attend. There’s a cake decorated like the book cover, so I get to eat a bit of Satan’s Angel.

June
Scratch, Artemisia, and I spend a day at Ikea doing promo for the new Cirque du Soliel show. They wear swordfish heads and clown around. I explain to the confused passersby what’s going on. It’s exhausting, but fun and we get Cirque tickets out of it.

Continuing with our theme of performing at places that produce alcohol, we present Burlesque Roadshow at Down the Road Brewery. It’s a little more exciting than we expected.

July
We take on a temporary student. Miss Pepperblossom is traveling with the Cirque du Soliel show, Luzia, and wants to do burlesque while she is in town. She gets us backstage access to Luzia. I see the show three times, once on a monitor in the artists’ tent, while the performers warm up around us. We even have dinner in the Cirque dining hall (Miss Pepperblossom’s husband is one of their chefs).

August
Scratch thinks it would be fun to add some more classic comedy bits back into burlesque and creates a show we call This Guy Walks into a Bra…

The long delayed The Boston BeauTease Go Bananaz! is finally scheduled. It just happens to be when I’m performing at the Winnipeg International Burlesque Festival. Oh well. I don’t like bananas anyway. (I was going to perform to “Peel Me a Grape”.)

Albert A. Cat has a scary medical crisis. He’s ultimately fine, but The Manor’s coffers are down several thousand dollars.

September
A quiet month, prepping for upcoming shows.

October
We perform a lot in October! We are the main entertainment at a Las Vegas-themed birthday party, we bring Bad Luck Burlesque back to Deacon Giles, we perform again at the Castle on Charles, and finish things off at The Fenway Pub.

Scratch and I are working furiously to get my next book ready for BurlyCon. It’s a lot of long nights and hard work, but he does it!

November
On Halloween I get sick with a bad cough. It won’t get better. It gets even worse. At the last minute I make the heart-breaking decision not to go to BurlyCon. I might have been crying a little as I package up books I was planning to hand-deliver.

By the end of the month, I’m feeling better and go to a book event for Feuding Fan Dancers.

December
We have our annual winter show, Brrrlesque at Deacon Giles and some BeauTease alums show up. We invite Ava to join the troupe. It’s a great way to end the year!

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 15 January 2019 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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2017 in Review

Dear Constant Reader,

twentyseventeaseLooking back on 2017, it was a mixed year. We had some extreme lows, but some great moments as well.

January
B.A.B.E. officially moves out of our dedicated studio and into The Thalia. While I’m grateful to no longer be responsible for so much (especially that much rent), I do miss having my own space.

Also this month we make a poor choice in marketing our February show. The backlash reignited the ire of the Boston burlesque scene against us and a number of former allies disavowed us. It was very ugly. I can barely even talk about it now, but at the time I was a complete wreck and strongly considered giving up burlesque completely.

February
The Expo, of course, is bracketed by snowstorms and attendance is way down.

We present The Road to Striptopia, a rather clever show, if I do say so myself, with a witty script and some fine performances by our apprentices. The audience is tiny, which is terribly disheartening.

Also, we see Dita when she passes through Boston. It’s an inspiring show, as you will see later.

March
I go to New Mexico for the first time. In short, it was beautiful. I performed in a new state, saw old friends (and met some new ones), ate great food, and had a hell of a time getting home thanks to an ill-time East Coast snowstorm.

April
Devora goes back to school and cuts back on time with us. We understand but miss her.

May
Inspired by Dita’s big props, we base a whole show on big props with all the cast members learning to build their own props. We work with wood, plastic, metal, papier mache, electrical, &c. The Big Time is a lot of work, but the results are impressive. The audience is tiny.

I launch my Patreon account.

June
Scratch goes to BHoF; most of the rest of us work RiverFest.

July
Now things get busy!

We go to Maine for a private show. Road trips are usually fun and something of an adventure and this is no exception.

The Mini-Expo was a chance to have some fun when it wasn’t snowing (although we kept the snowblower on the porch at Stately Babydoll Manor just in case. It’s wonderful to spend some time with Egypt Blaque Knyle.

August
The troupe goes to the Pennsylvania Burlesque Festival. Originally I’d applied solo and found out I was accepted before the deadline, so we also submitted as a group. I’m also invited to teach. 9 days before the festival one of the performers is too sick to continue. Betty & Brigitte rechoreograph our five person number for four and we all work like hell. We’re very pleased with the results.

I go to ABurlyQ. I’m very excited about this because it was my first festival acceptance in years. Also, it’s great to have an excuse to go back to NM. I see friends, teach, learn, watch terrific performances, and have amazing BBQ.

While I’m gone the troupe performs Cover Girls, acts to songs by artists who didn’t make them famous, at two new venues, Deacon Giles Speakeasy Lab and The Strand Ballroom.

September
We invite Devastasia to officially join the troupe.

We present Cover Girls at The Thalia and I finally get to perform “Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue”.

October
We perform in Salem on Friday, October 13th. The show is called Bad Luck Burlesque, but it’s good luck for us because we sell out both shows.

We are all too exhausted to produce The Wrathskellar this year, so instead Scratch writes Panties Inferno, a light-hearted romp through hell. It is very good and quite clever. And it completely sells out.

November
We return to The Strand Ballroom for another iteration of Bad Luck Burlesque.

We are invited to perform at RuffleCon for the third year, the best audience yet.

We invite Artemisia to officially join the troupe.

December
We aren’t planning on doing a winter holiday show, but Brigitte really wants to do her Christmas numbers. Brrrlesque sells out at both The Thalia and at Deacon Giles. I debut a new number and am quite pleased with it. (Yes, the photo is from The Expo, by George Ross. I didn’t get one in December)

We go to The Strand Ballroom for New Year’s Tease. It’s really cold and the audience is relatively small, but very appreciative. My troupe mates demonstrate once again that they’re pretty terrific people who work very hard.

In short, some good, some bad. I think things got better as the year went on.

Here’s hoping things get better and better in 2018!

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 17 January 2018 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2016 in Review

Dear Constant Reader,

January
I perform at The Teaseday Club after a long haitus. Stella announces that she’s been cast in a production of The Addams Family and it’s time for her to return to her first love, musical theatre. Most of the month is devoted to getting my little book published.

February
There is, of course, The Expo, where once again I perform, teach, host, and generally help out. Scratch moves me to tears by presenting me with a award for 10 years of service.

We perform R & J: A Shakespearean Burlesque for Valentine’s Day. It’s silly fun.

Scratch & I go to Los Angeles to celebrate my birthday where we perform at Peepshow Menagerie and Monday Night Tease (a long-standing dream of mine)

We perform at a birthday party.

March
We throw a “we survived February” party. I try Bazuka Joe’s “Nose to the Rhinestone” challenge. I also try doing Kristina Nekya’s splits stretches for a month.

April
I come back from a Caribbean cruise and come down with bronchitis. We go to see Stella in The Addams Family.

May
I perform at the B.A.B.E. Spring Spectacular Showcase alongside my students & instructors and host part of the show.

June
Scratch & I head to Chicago. We teach at The Windy City Burlesque Festival and see Michelle L’amour’s Big Sexy Show. Evie heads off to tour Asia for two months before moving to New York.

August
We take over The Teaseday Club with BeauTeaseday. It’s the last time I perform at The Rockwell. We do a private show for a fraternal organization. I realize this is as close to a classic smoker as I’m likely to get. The fabulous Lili VonSchtupp comes to visit. A movie is being filmed practically in the backyard of The Manor. I decided not to renew my lease at B.A.B.E.’s current location.

October
We start off with a geeky bachelor party. We have back-to-back gigs at RuffleCon and Another Anime Convention. Wrathskellar Tales opens. It’s probably the hardest show we’ve ever done.

Brigitte decides she needs a break and goes on hiatus. Pearl is made an official member of the troupe.

November
I perform in and host the B.A.B.E. Autumn Student Showcase, held in the bar at The Thalia. I cry a lot at the election results and then go to BurlyCon, where I teach 3 classes and have a book signing.

We invite 5 interns to join us.

December
I move B.A.B.E out of its home for the last six years and into the Rehearsal Hall at The Thalia.

The BeauTease end the year with our own New years Eve show, but also an appearance at Jazz from the Ashes, a huge party from Aeronaut Brewing and Brooklyn Boulders.

16 shows (27 performances), taught at 3 burlesque events, hosted 3 shows. Onward, upward.

M2

Published in: on 24 January 2017 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2013 in Review

Dear Constant Reader,

2013 was kind of a rocky year for us. It certainly had some high points and some lows, moments that were glamourous and some that were “glamourous”. Here’s a little month by month guide.

January & February
We spend these months preparing for and performing The Bod of Avon, a Shakespeare-themed burlesque show. We have a lot of fun with it, but it was not without its challenges. I am often frustrated trying to learn and rehearse a new solo, a trio, a quartet, and our big 6-dancer finale. We have the luxury of 2 preview nights at Oberon, after which we were able to tweak the show a bit based on audience feedback.

The “real” show is at Naga in Central Square, a new venue for us. Every night we set up the theatre and strike it again. Annoying, but we get it down to a science and everybody pitches in. However, just before the run of shows starts the venue cancels some of our nights, having double-booked the space and deciding we would lose. Then a blizzard wipes out another weekend. Frustrating for all involved and seriously cutting into the profit margin.

March
I host the last Naked Girls Reading salon. I am terribly disappointed that the new management decided to revoke our charter just as we’d figured out how to make it all work smoothly.

The Mardi Gras Ball, postponed due to the blizzard the previous month, is rescheduled for that same night. We have a blast and feel like total rock stars.

The Expo! 7th annual! We’ve been working very hard on a new number, the best thing we had done to date.
(Photo by Jo Weldon)
Sadly, there’s no video. If you have any idea how to film an act that’s lit only by flashlights, do let me know.

April
The debut of The Teaseday Club!

Something really bad happens in Boston, but we’re all okay.

May, June, & July
We prepare for and perform The Fine Art of Burlesque, our summer touring show.
We use what we call “The Burlesque-A-Pades Model”: 3 dancers plus Scratch plus a local Special Guest & stage kitten. It works really well and we only need one car and one hotel room. We have a ton of fun and perform in some new states (i.e. New Jersey and Pennsylvania). We pet a baby kangaroo. We’re accused of blasphemy. We drink crème brûlée beer. We’re very well received everywhere we go, however, we barely make enough to cover expenses. There are no dressing room horror stories to report.

Also, Evie leaves. We know this is coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. To complete her degree and get her license, she needs to do clinical work out of state, so she moves to New Jersey and then will be moving on to Arizona. For more than a year and a half we’ve been six dancers sharing a hive mind (as Betty likes to say). Now there’s an Evie-shaped hole in everything. We miss her terribly.

August
We headline the Ohio Burlesque Festival. No big deal.
(Photo by Eric Paul Owens)

We work incredibly hard on our number. Betty took a duet she had created four years ago and revamped it for 4 dancers. We sweat over the choreography only to change it and change it again. Very little of the original moves are in the final product. We spend hours and hours gluing rhinestones onto our dresses, only to have such lousy lighting that there was no sparkle at all. However, we’re incredibly happy with the final product. Sadly, there’s no video.

Dixie Evans dies. Dixie Evans Week goes ahead, but tinged with sorrow.

September
Production for The W.R. Athskellar Cavalcade of Curiosities is in full swing. We have a band, singers, actors, aerialists, dancers, other misc. performers, &c. It’s going to be the biggest and best thing we’ve ever done. It’s like all the good parts of the previous 4 productions of The Wrathskellar wrapped up in a new story.

October
Our venue for The W.R. Athskellar Cavalcade of Curiosities hasn’t been able to get the proper licenses for us to perform. We cancel all shows. We are crushed. And take the biggest financial hit yet in a year full of them. The show is too good to abandon and we will perform it some day, hopefully sooner than next October.

The Babydolls see Dita for the first time. It cheers us up a little and inspires us a lot.

November
Scratch and I go to BurlyCon. He teaches; I don’t. We see old friends and make new ones.

We are invited to headline at the first-ever Vermont Burlesque Festival in January. We scramble to come up with a 5-person number, since all our good ones need 6 (or 4).

December
We present Brrrlesque, a holiday-themed show and make a few other appearances (or plan to, but there’s snow). We play a couple of new venues and are likely to return to all of them.

I learn that my article on the costume exhibit I curated will be published in Berlesker: Handcrafted Literary Journal.

In Conclusion
Some good, some bad. We’ve continued to improve as performers and our shows just keep getting bigger and better. But money-wise, it wasn’t great this year. And as much as we do this because we love it, a gal does need to pay the rhinestone bill. Everyone is excited for 2014 to be better and better. Onward, upward!

I hope your New Year is fabulous and glamourous!

M2

Published in: on 2 January 2014 at 11:16 am  Comments (7)  
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