Monday, August 27, 2012

"Am I Right, Ladies?"

A sense of humor is sexy.  It just is, especially when it matches your own.  Laughter is sexy, and it feels fantastic.

I attended a comedy show where Mr. Snapper & Mr. Buddy performed this evening.  I've been to enough shows at comedy clubs to know how they run.  Hell, this evening I was accurately speculating on some of the jokes we'd hear from people I'd never seen perform before.  But I'm a good person to have in the audience because I laugh loudly and applaud loudly, and I'm polite enough that I don't comment on the things that I don't like during the show.

I sat with an acquaintance of a friend at the show, not someone I knew at all.  I chit-chatted before the show with this fellow from flyover country who had never been to a comedy club before.  I thought he knew what to expect, but obviously he didn't.  You see, he got up during the second-to-last comic's set and shouted at the comic, then threw his water bottle toward the stage before storming out of the club.  He didn't like being picked on, especially when it came to jokes of a sexual nature, and he apparently had no idea how comics work.

Two things about comedy shows:
  1. Comics often pick on the audience.  I think it's pretty cheap to seriously rag on the people who are paying for your performance opportunity as your material, particularly people you don't even know.  ("I bet that guy in the trucker hat knows how a dick tastes.  Am I right, ladies?") Talk about your mother, your menses, your terrible relationship (all things that also irk me as topics, but you have to talk about something I guess), but don't get too douchy with the people who are feeding you laughter or they may just stop laughing.  (Gently ribbing friends is acceptable in my book.)  Or they may get up and yell and throw a water bottle in the direction of the stage.  Comics, time to creatively mine for some new material.
  2. Comics often pick on the audience.  If you're going to attend a comedy show, know that at least one comic will pick on the audience.  The smaller the audience, the more likely it will be you -- more than once during the course of the show.  Don't take it personally.  The don't really know you, and neither do the other people in the audience.  Unless you're on a first date and are afraid that sex will be removed as an option directly and only because of an interaction with a comic, just let it slide.  (And if you are on a first date, maybe make a stupid joke to your date on the way to the car.  "So, that lady comic said she wanted to jump on my dick.  Hilarious, right?")
One thing for audiences:
  1.  You are there to see the show, support the performers, and interact with them when invited.  Even if you hate the jokes ("Am I right, ladies?), you should still strive to maintain an interested and supportive demeanor while you are in the audience.  If they are so horrible that your facade cracks, go to the bathroom until their set is over.  It's much better to leave the room and check your text messages than be that guy.  
In closing, if you're the victim of a drive-by heckling, acknowledge and move on.  The audience is just there to be entertained.  Get the show back on the road.  "Am I right ladies?"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gift Repurposing

When I was in Arkansas last year in November, the wonderful Diamond Dames gave me a very considerate gift.  They picked up this gown for me to repurpose, knowing I would do something interesting with it.  It was a bit too small and had some rust stains on the skirt, but I kept it in my wardrobe until I could figure out how best to use it.  I'm so glad they thought of me when they found this gown.

Thursday night I finally had a plan.  I would take apart the gown and use it to create the bust panels and skirt for my new number.  Sure, the gown will no longer have the same silhouette as the original gift, but it will work perfectly for my new project.  Some clever rigging, some hand painting and rhinestoning fun, and the gown will have been fully repurposed into something that will work well for me.

Down Time Fun

I like to stay productive.  When I have down time, I still like to get things done.  This apron was my down time project, all stitched on my spare sewing machine.  (I also stitched two corset mockups in the week I've had the spare machine.

I made this apron because I like cooking, especially when I have time to really make a hearty meal.  I also like being naked, but my kitchen window exposes everything above the waist to my neighbors.  Now I can cook in nothing but an apron.

These simple sewing projects are strengthening my sewing skills, giving me speed, filling in gaps in my sewing education.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I've noticed the longer I do a number, the more replacing and reconstructing I have to do. Tonight is our 5th Annual Tarantino Tribute, and I've been in every show since the beginning.  I replaced my tear away pants and swtichblade in 2010.  I redid my Blonde gun over the weekend since the one } got in 2009 went missing and my replacement looked fully lame (hot glue & gold glitter).  I reconstructed the pasties last night before bed.

The last time I wore these pasties was when we performed for Tarantino. When I took them off, the spinners finally broke.  The pasties were looking a little wonky, warped from wear and tear, crusty from spirit gum. I didn't make new ones when we took Pulp Fiction on the road, wearing a pair of merch pasties instead.

I hadn't planned on making new pasties until about 8pm last night. I used spare stones and made them a little perkier than the old ones.  I hope these bring me as much luck as the former pair.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Little (Work)Pony

I bought a second sewing machine for cheap on Amazon.  My fancy machine is a Brother, so I opted for the least expensive full-size machine because I could swap out presser feet with my fancy Brother.

I had several reasons for getting a second sewing machine.  First, I do a lot of sewing.  A lot of sewing.  I've wanted a sewing machine to keep at my day job for lunches when it's too hot or rainy to go on a walk, or for slow days when I've gotten all my work done and I would rather stay productive than thumb twiddle.  I can't do everything on this machine that I can do at home, but I can do straight stitches, zig zags, and buttonholes.  Good enough.

Second, I need a backup machine if I'm going to do more commercial sewing.  If my fancy machine needs service but I have a client who is waiting for a costume piece, I have to be able to get the work done.

Third, there are times when Andrew and I both have sewing projects.  Usually these are puppet projects or little Snapper sweatshop puppets for Crocodile Rock.  Andrew knows how to use a sewing machine, but the simpler models are easier for him to operate.  This little workhorse is perfect for the types of sewing projects he encounters.

This little sucker isn't as quiet as the other machine, but it works well.  I stitched part of an apron and another vintage repro swimsuit on it this morning.  Next week I'm going to finish the apron, put together a corset mock-up, and maybe even finish the swimsuit on it.  (Then I can work on my own costumes at home.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

High-Low Hem Skirt Mockup

Buster really tried helping drape the back.
As part of one of my upcoming costumes, I'm making a skirt with a high-low hem.  Because I drafted the pattern from scratch (using this tutorial), I wanted to make a mockup before working with the actual costume fabric.

I drafted the pattern a couple months ago.  It took less than an hour for me to cut the pieces and stitch the skirt (no waistband & no hem).  I may decide to weight the train, depending on how I use it onstage.  I can use this pattern for the actual skirt.  It makes my ass look amazing, so I think I'm going to make more bias-cut skirts.

My next project for this costume is to order a corset with a generous gift certificate I got from a friend.  There are some props to deal with, making the act debut likely for next year.

Nude, Improved Net Bra

Remember the failure bra of May?  It's served as a valuable teacher.  While I can't wear the bra, I learned a lot from its construction.  I also referred to it constantly as I put together the nude net bra.

Here's what I did differently:
  • Instead of the cups that came with the pattern, I traced the cups of the best-fitting bra I own.  It's a style I love, a bit more retro net bra inspired but with better support.
  • I used a larger band size.
  • I'd sewn the bra before so I knew the seam allowances and didn't have to pick and redo as many seams.  (I still had to pick and redo the basting a couple times because I was working with a different cup and didn't have the same markings as the regular pattern for reference.)
  • I cheated and didn't use a ball needle.  Maybe not the wisest choice since I was sewing knit, but I was alternating between projects and was too damn lazy to change out the needle.  I don't feel that it harmed my work.  A ball needle is probably ideal.
  • Bigger cups mean bigger wires.  I ordered two sizes of bra wires in my last lingerie supply order, both larger than the ones that came with my kit.  I used the largest wires on this net bra.  Tells you something about my naivete in sizing estimation for construction.  (With the bra pattern I purchased, I learned to go the next full bra size up since my size wasn't part of the pattern instead of hoping to fit into a cup that sometimes fits snug.)
  • I did part of the satin stitching on the rear closure by manipulating the hand wheel of my machine.  It made it easier to work around the buried metal of the hooks and eyes without breaking a needle or seizing up my machine.
  • I realized at the end of the process that I could've made buttonholes on the cups to let out tassels from pasties for twirling.
  • I couldn't find smooth elastic in the width I needed for cup support in nude or beige, so I bought felted elastic.
I used powernet, channeling and elastic from my lingerie supply order.  I bought the fabric I used for the cups back in 2008 when I made my first triangle bra for burlesque.  I haven't decided whether or not I want to embellish this bra with rhinestones.

I think my next bra construction experiment will be an open cup bra.  I want to keep everything lifted when I present it onstage. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Now Serving: Crackers

I'm drawn to hip hop classes.  I can't help it.  My brother taught me how to breakdance when I was six, so it's not surprising I'm curious about this street dance.  I've taken a few classes.  But between my breakin' days and the current handful of classes, I've taken many other styles that have codified form, names for moves, and a very different posture.  Hip hop is still a beast I cannot tame.

You may recall the time Evie and I got served back in 2010.  The two crackers in the class, the teacher had us square off against a couple of non-pasty ladies who obviously had more understanding and experience in the style.  Did this keep us away from hip hop classes?  Nope.  I took a short series last year and she joined me for the last class.  Our teacher didn't have the crackers square off against the other students, probably because the class was filled with crackers.  My "mastery" (ha!) of the moves in that class was much better, but I was by no means a hipper hopper.

We bought a discount coupon for some dance classes at IDA.  I knew we were entering a school where they had advanced hip hop classes so it would be intimidating, but I figured that a place that had beginning hip hop on the schedule could handle we two crackers.  When we checked in to activate our discount pass, I asked the girl at the desk if the hip hop class we were taking was truly a beginner class.  She said it was.  I asked for reassurance because Evie and I had been served in a hip hop class before.  She said with surprise, "You got served?!"  She acted like this was the first time a couple crackers came in and said they got served.  They had a discount coupon, an appetizing for crackers who've been served throughout LA.  We saw some white and nerdy types going into the classroom so it seemed like we would be okay.

WRONG!  There were some great dancers in the class, and the folks you wouldn't expect to be natural talents with the hip hop held their own quite well.  Confused by the rapid steps and moves without names, Evie and I tried to keep up.  We were having fun, even if we weren't television's next dance crew.  As the hour drew to a close, our teacher split the class up so we could dance for each other.  Yeah, that's fun for everyone but the folks who can't understand what the hell the moves are in the turn after the grapevine and don't comprehend the moves well enough to do it without a teacher or sample dancer as a guide.  The crackers in the other group were hip hoppers in disguise, able to do the bouncing poses without looking like a group of dicks.  They could do the crazy turn and make the right faces.  Our group had two or three really skilled dancers, a cracker or two, plus me and Evie handicapping the group's overall street look.  Yeah, we got served again.

I suggested to Evie that we make hipping & hopping outfits for these classes so we at least look like we're supposed to be there.  We're finishing out our discount coupon with a few other classes, but we may wind up taking crunking on Friday night if we miss the classes we picked for Wednesday and Thursday.  They don't serve crackers in crunking class, do they?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Night Tease! presents The Big Easy

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Monday Night Tease!  presents: The Big Easy
An Evening of Blues and Burlesque

Hosted by: Joseph Derry

burlesque performances by:

Red Snapper
Dizzy Von Damn
Mae Lust
Sheila Starr
Evil Twin
Drea Dillinger
Holly Rock-It

Our Chanteuse, Miss Heather Henderson

tickets available at:

6pm bar
9:30 seating
10pm show

3 Clubs 
1123 Vine St. 
(Vine at Santa Monica) 
Los Angeles, CA 90038

No photography. Performers subject to change without notice. Plenty of free street parking.

21+, full bar, no food.

Need help?
Email Lili with any questions:

Reservations available for parties of six or more, 818-378-8866 or

Follow us on twitter: @MNTease
You'll get updates and flyers for discounts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Big Bad Boa With Coco Lectric

In a quest to learn as much as I can in the time I have to dance, I finally had the opportunity to take a boa class with Coco Lectric when she was in LA last weekend.  She does incredible work with a boa, so she really is the person to teach this skill.  I learned some great new tricks and had fun in the class. 

More importantly, I had some realizations about my own performance style, and how I need to make sure I keep playful, devil-may-care sexuality in my numbers.  I have to stick with what's germane to myself.  Sure, I can explore other things, but my strength is in the saucy grin and playful tease.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I didn't really vacation this summer.  I did some dancing, but I did more sewing.  I don't want to sit around and be unproductive while I ponder my next numbers, so I spent the past three months improving my sewing skills.  See what I made!

Rumpus Revue - photo by Jason Kamimura
Laura Ingalls dress and apron: I made this dress at the very beginning of May, knowing I had this number ahead of me.  I made the apron the day before the show out of some spare muslin, and some lace from 1994.  I really liked this pattern so much that I made a second dress with slight variations.
Forgive the bags under my eyes - Buster did.

Green taffeta dress: I made this dress for fun.  The pattern I used for the Laura Ingalls was so easy that I wanted to use it again.  I ordered this taffeta from Shanghai via eBay, and I will never do that again.  The fabric is so thin that I'm going to have to make a lining for the skirt before I wear it out in public.  I melted the first bodice so I had to remake it.  At least it looks pretty and has pockets.  Next time I'll put on makeup before I wear the dress in front of people.

Pencil skirt:  I had fabric leftover from a dress I made for my shoot with Amanda Brooks in May.  (You can see that green dress here.  I haven't shared the photo she took of me in the green dress yet but it is AMAAAAZING!)  The fabric was flawed down the center, so the salesman threw in some extra yardage for free.  I drafted the pattern on wax paper based on this video.  After cutting enough fabric for two skirts (because I discovered tiny flaws in the fabric after cutting the first set of pieces), I finally got it right.  It took an afternoon to stitch together and it fits perfectly.  I'm going to make a few more when I get more knit fabric.
Buster jumped out of the photo at the last moment

Romper:  On a whim, I decided to make this purple romper for the MNT Prince show in early July.  Based on this tutorial, I bought fabric in lieu of using a t-shirt.  I used a Gap tank top to pattern the top and a pair of boxers to pattern the shorts.  I had a few challenges (like making a waistband that connected the slim top to the looser shorts and finding the right stitch length for this fabric), but I got a great result for very little money.  I want to draw a paper pattern from this sample so I can make a few cute workout outfits.

Failure bra:  Holy cow am I glad I didn't make this for a show!  I'm still working on a net bra that should actually fit.  The pattern I used for failure bra should work well for an underbra, with a few alterations.

Underbust corset: Using leftover fabric from Shanghai, I made something I'm going to be able to use in a new number I'm debuting in Dallas in December.  I'm eager to get more corsets under my belt so I can eventually make and sell custom corsets.
Rumpus Revue - Pistachio, me & Mr. Buddy. Photo by Jason Kamimura.
Repro swimsuits: I made these from fabric I was given by Penny Starr, Jr. a few years ago.  I made three swimsuits in the same size; you can see how well they fit us.  I learned a lot about sewing swimwear, working with powernet, making shelf bras and installing cups.  I may just sell a couple of these swimsuits, keeping mine.  I'm definitely using this pattern again.

I also made two puppets for fundraisers, a handful of hand puppets for a birthday party, six hair flowers, and started on some matchy matchy garments for me and the mister.

With all of that out of my system, I'm diving into two costumes for later this year.  It's time for some serious crafternoon fun with Evie Lovelle.