Monday, September 24, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dead Laura Palmer

Dead Laura rising. Photo by Markus Alias 2012.
How death feels. Photo by Markus Alias 2012.
Here are a couple photos from last night's Peepshow Menagerie.  Thanks to Markus Alias for getting the photos out so quickly.

Holy Shopping, Batman!

At last weekend's cosplay panel at Comikaze, they mentioned the wonders of Burlington Coat Factory for off-the-rack pieces that work really well for costumes.  Mr. Snapper took note of their recommendation and looked it up on Yelp, discovering we have a BCF in Burbank.  When he read one Yelper's review that BCF is what you would expect Nordstrom Rack to be (great stuff for low prices), he decided we should go there instead of Goodwill to start our shopping for Mister Rogers.

I had to find a blouse for my Shari Lewis costume, and I've become a bit of a tightwad.  I found the cream-colored blouse in the photo for a whopping $6.  (I don't anticipate doing this number hundreds of times, so I didn't want to make a huge investment in something I wouldn't wear outside of the show.)  And because I could, I spent $10 on a wonderful melon-colored sweater.

Mr. Snapper found a fantastic, non-wool cardigan for cheap.  He found khaki pants for $15 and a blue shirt for the same.  He also found a wonderful orange Tommy Hilfiger necktie with tiny fishes on it.  (I bought him a yellow Tommy Hilfiger tie with tiny turtles on it a few years ago; they look a bit like paisleys from a distance.)  He also splurged on a $7 bowtie.

I did some browsing and they do have quite a coat selection.  It's like a clean Ross or Marshalls, or like an affordable Nordstrom Rack.  We spent $80 for everything in the photo.

Friday, September 21, 2012



Join us for our 4th annual edition of our strange, dark, funny, beautiful, and mysterious burlesque tribute to director David Lynch featuring performances inspired by his films and TV series including ERASERHEAD, THE ELEPHANT MAN, DUNE, BLUE VELVET, TWIN PEAKS, WILD AT HEART, INLAND EMPIRE, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, LOST HIGHWAY, THE STRAIGHT STORY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and LADY BLUE SHANGHAI.

This will also be our first show at our NEW LOCATION and NEW NI
GHT - as of this show we will be on the Third Friday of every month! (So mark - or re-mark - your calendars)

AND for the first time ever PEEPSHOW MENAGERIE is an
18 & UP event! Must have valid picture ID.
There is alcohol for people 21 & Up.

Peepshow Menagerie has been providing theatrical burlesque shows to Los Angeles since 2008 featuring many of the best burlesque performers, comedians, magicians, and bands from around the world. This is a great show for newcomers to burlesque, casual burlesque fans, birthday parties, and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Also an ideal date night!

Featuring burlesque from:

(Legends Award / Best Solo Performance - Boston Burlesque Expo 2010 and Most Classic - Boston Burlesque Expo 2007)


and our 54th Peepshow Pin-Up

Guest Starring

with live musical guests:

hosted by

produced by Scarlett Letter & Chris Beyond

sponsored by Bachelor Pad Magazine

Live at
Friday, September 21st, 2012
5253 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

On the corner of West ADAMS and Cloverdale Ave.

Admission: $12
Doors at 9pm

Doors: 9pm / Music: 9:45 / Burlesque 10:15

Free Street Parking
or Valet parking for $5
(Get there early for best seating and parking options)

18 & Up
Only patrons 18 and Up will be admitted with a valid picture ID

For more info as it comes, go to

Show Posters:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Importance of Sketches

In costume design class in college, I learned the importance of sketching out a costume before building/modifying it.  We always had to render our designs for production meetings in college.  It's a discipline I fall back on when I don't have the exact idea of what I'm building but I know the silhouette.

This is the rough design of the costume I'm building for November.  I knew what pieces I needed but I had to figure out how they needed to fit together.  I also needed to play with the colored pencils to determine what color would work best.  I need a rear view so I can figure out how the assels will work best while keeping the panty coverage necessary for some venues.

I did some drawing as a child, but I never managed to quickly whip out figures.  This was a handicap when I started designing because I was so worried about having correct figures what I would stall on the actual costume design.  That's when I learned about the joy of croquis.

Back in the olden days of the nineties, I had to rely on pattern books that were out of season and negotiated for at the local Wal-Mart.  When I was really desperate, I'd use the measurement sheets from the costume shop.  (They were a bit rough looking.)  Nowadays, some patterns include croquis (particularly the Simplicity Project Runway patterns).  The amazing internet has croquis galore.  I've used a few from this site.

By sitting down and sketching with croquis, I now know what exactly I have to build.  I know what color fabric to find and how the pieces need to fit together.  Stay tuned and I'll share as I build.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Approaching Women

Here's a great article for men who want to engage pretty girls they don't know in conversation.  Sure, she may be pretty and might resolve your loneliness issues, but don't ignore the signals she's giving you on when and where to approach her.

I posted previously about guys who couldn't pick up on the signal that I wasn't going to give them my "real name," who thought because I was a stripper on stage I was obviously interested in them, and Walter, the guy who followed me to my car from ballet class to offer me sex even though I'm married.

Comikaze: Cosplay Construction 101 Review

On Saturday I attended Cosplay Construction 101 at Comikaze.  I'm not a traditional cosplayer (I didn't even know what that was until a couple years ago), but I thought some of what they had to say might translate well to burlesque.  The panel was Chris White, Avery Faeth, Vensy, and April Buyer.

Here are some highlights:
  • There are YouTube video tutorials for making specific character costumes.  In the cosplay culture, it's totally cool to use other people's technique and style to build a cosplay (which I would just call a complete costume, but when in Rome).  In burlesque, you just don't make a carbon copy of someone else's costume; it's considered ripping off an idea to us.  (Lots of burlesque costumers will share techniques, but they don't take kindly to someone making a duplicate costume and trying to take their gigs.)  In cosplay, they're paying tribute to characters someone else created and put into the world, so they don't seem to mind sharing the best way to make a Stormtrooper costume, for example.
  • In cosplay (or burlesque), don't skip steps.  When you skip steps, the shoddy work can and will impede later construction.  If you do it wrong the first time, redo the right way.
  • Don't save the difficult stuff for last because it winds up looking crappy or being really uncomfortable.  (Who hasn't done this?  Seriously.)
  • Work out the 3D version of your 2D character so you can figure out what can realistically be done with the costume.  Mr. Snapper does this with props, which is how our Mr. Toad car turned out so awesome.
  • Before investing in a new piece of equipment, make a list of the projects you want to do with that new equipment to justify the expense.  When Mr. Snapper and I invest in any kind of new equipment (like a rotary cutter and cutting pad, a cordless drill, or a second sewing machine), we think about how much we'll use the new stuff, how much time and energy we'll save.
  • If you're significantly altering the shape of a wig, buy wefts of hair to thread into the lace of the wig so you're not inconveniently bare in exposed places.  Extreme wig shapes can be achieved with a sturdy glue.
  • Build your shoes off of inexpensive & comfortable shoes from discount stores.  (I have my own opinions on this, but I'm also not walking around in my burlesque shoes at a convention for twelve hours a day.)
  • Consider how long you'll spend in your costume.  Make things lightweight, and consider the footprint of your cosplay; will you spend the entire day running into people because you can't see or taking up half an aisle with your outfit?
  • Be careful when purchasing something from overseas.  The wig/fabric/prop/costume may be totally different from the picture, leaving you scrambling at the last minute to get what you need and spending more on a local supplier.  (Remember my lovely green taffeta and how I now have a sheer dress because the Chinese supplier didn't represent it accurately in the listing?)
  • Start small with your cosplay.  Try making inexpensive outfits from craft foam and cardboard before trying to tackle a project that requires resin casts and pattern drafting.
They had a lot of useful information that we can and do use in burlesque, but they're missing out on some great suppliers that can save them money!  Here are some resources:
  • Arda Wigs.  This was one they mentioned in the panel.  I popped by the website and the wigs look great and are pretty inexpensive.  They also have a lot of zany colors.
  • Volpin Props.  This was another they mentioned in the panel.
  • Foam Mart.  They mentioned Foam Mart for rigid foam.  In college in Arkansas we were able to get some rigid foam sheeting from our local hardware store.  They do have flexible foam at JoAnn Fabrics (subscribe to their mailing list so you know when they have a 50% off foam sale), and at shops in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles.
  • Wonderflex/Fosshape.  They mentioned Wonderflex in the panel for building rigid, shaped pieces.  I've never worked with it myself.  I know of it from my corset supplier, as they carry Wonderflex and the less expensive Fosshape.  Avery gets her Wonderflex from Dazian in North Hollywood, and they also carry Fosshape
  • Michael Levine.  This is my recommendation.  The cosplay hopefuls were being directed to JoAnn Fabrics for supplies.  If you live in flyover country and don't have a Fashion District, that's probably the best idea.  If you do live in Los Angeles, Michael Levine is like a Wal-Mart for fabric.  They have so much stuff and you don't have to negotiate prices.  (There are lots of fabric shops around Michael Levine who will haggle.  I don't always enjoy the hassle of haggling.)
  • Bohemian Crystal.  The panel talked about personalizing costumes.  Bohemian is a great resource for rhinestones and beads for embellishing.
  • Fabulous Feathers.  The panelists buy their feathers from craft stores, spending significantly more than necessary. Fabulous Feathers is in Northridge.  Jason has been my feather supplier for a few years, and he has a wonderful selection.  If you're in downtown LA and you don't want to make the drive, you can check out Mother Plucker and still save on feather purchases.  In flyover country, there's a fairly new feather supplier called Fancy Feather in Dallas.  (I plan to buy their feather fan hardware to construct my next set of fans.)
If you find yourself in Los Angeles and you need someone to spend a couple hours in downtown Los Angeles with you to find some costume/cosplay resources, please shoot me an email. And if you have any questions about how to build or embellish something, email me.  I do love problem solving.:)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Topless Vlog #1

Down & Dirty

Down & Dirty


Sunday, September 16th

Learn slow, sultry floor techniques with this low-impact, muscle-toning workout. Feel comfortable in your own skin. Sexy moves that can mesmerize an audience of any size. Bring a yoga mat or towel and knee pads if you have them. 80 min.

All classes held at a private studio at 837 Traction Ave #105, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
(213) 293-SNAP

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Giggle-n-Grind presents Getting Lucky

  • Ticket Price: $10.00
  • Show Type: Theater
  • Showroom: The Lab 

Nationally recognized burlesque comedian, Lucky DeLuxe, presents a fun-filled evening of burlesque-based variety entertainment, as her nationally touring show: “Lucky’s DeLuxe Giggle-n-Grind, The Greatest Hits In T*ts and Bits”, returns to the Comedy Lab. Featuring standup comedy, burlesque striptease, variety acts, music, and audience-interaction with original games and prizes (provided by local sponsors), this is the first show of its kind at the Comedy Lab, a venue known for high-quality, innovative comedy shows.  With adult themes and content, this show is intended for mature audiences of 21+.

This month:
Lucky DeLuxe
Nadya Ginsburg
Ian Harvie
Red Snapper (burlesque dancer)
Tickets available here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Off the Rack to Off the Hook

Sunday, September 9th
12:30pm to 1:50pm

Turn your ready-made garments into costumes. Learn tricks for closures so your inner escape artist doesn’t have to work so hard. Smart embellishment tips to customize your outfits. Bring any costume piece that needs help. 80 min.

All classes held at a private studio at 837 Traction Ave #105, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
(213) 293-SNAP

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"He Loves Me ..."

Less than two weeks ago I took this gown and started repurposing it into a costume for a brand new number I'm debuting in December.  The process so far has been quick and relatively effortless.  I sketched out the design and everything has fallen into place.

The corset I made in July was made from leftover fashion fabric and works as the perfect base for the costume.  I cut petals from the gown, painting and reinforcing them for the top and skirt.  I have to string a few together, but they're 80% complete for my "He Loves Me" number.  I still have to make the shoes and feather fans, and do some light rhinestoning on the bra component.

I'm delighted and amazed at how quickly this costume came together!  I'm hoping that all the sewing I've been doing lately has sped up the creative process in costume design and rigging.  I know I'm getting faster with construction.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Six Ways to Suck Ass as a Dance Teacher

I've taken a lot of dance classes, and these are some alarming traits I've observed among "dance teachers."  I am not exaggerating.  Each of these things happened in classes I've paid good money to take, some of them have occurred many times in different classes.

  1. Don't warm up your students, especially if you're teaching a beginner class that requires a lot of movement.  It's beginner class so they should already know what muscles they'll be using and should've warmed them up on the drive to the studio.
  2. Don't explain the mechanics of the steps and assume they already know the technique you're covering, especially if it's beginner class.  They should already know what you're covering.  What kind of idiot takes a dance class if they don't already know how to dance?
  3. Make up the moves as you go.  You don't want them learning how to really dance and stealing your opportunities.  Start on the one then start on the four.  Mix it up so they can't really keep up.  If they ask you to clarify the choreography, tell them they just need to feel it and have fun.  They'll eat that up.
  4. Point out individual shortcomings and laugh at your students.  Don't try to give generalized advice or quietly correct individual mechanics.  It's far better for you to stand in front of the class and say, "You there, you're making the stupidest faces while you're trying to do the moves and you keep tensing up your leg so you look stupid. Ha!"
  5. Class isn't about imparting your knowledge to others.  It's about showcasing your talent when you're on a break from touring or shooting music videos or whatever.  Show off what you can do and make sure your students can't copy the moves.  It's much like putting on a dance showcase to a captive audience but you don't have to get dressed and you get paid.
  6. Treat your class like a cult.  Have your students give up deodorant, wear uniforms, and speak of you reverently.  Touch your new students in a way that might be considered inappropriate; if they complain or react as if it's inappropriate, they might not work out as cult members.  Hell, have sex with your willing students to seal the culty deal.  (This only happened once, but it was too good to leave out.  I like to refer to this teacher as "bad touch guy.")
With these simple steps and little to no training, you can be a "dance teacher" in no time flat.

But in all seriousness, friends don't let friends take shitty dance classes.  Tell people about the great dance teachers you've had, the great classes you've taken, and warn them against the jackasses who would land on this list.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

It seems that every weekend ends with one of us saying, "It would be so great if we had an extra day in the weekend so we could get more done and actually relax."  I love three-day weekends for that very reason.  I saw a movie, made a cupcake run, and took a couple naps.

I also made things because I'm a damn busybody.

On Saturday, I finished the butterfly potholder in the top center of the photo.  I also managed to burn the edge that afternoon when I was cooking.  I edged a few of the flower petals for an upcoming number as well.

Sunday started with the bodice of the dragonfly dress on the left.  We'll see if I get any more of it finished this afternoon.  I hung out with Evie (always productive and she's just the best company) and mostly assembled the pair of retro pants in the background of the photo. I also put together most of the purple bowtie on the right.

This morning I used up all the matching thread I had working on the edges of more petals.  I switched to hand painting the centers to make them less pink.  Maybe I'll make another bowtie or paint or work on the dress for the rest of the afternoon.  Or maybe I'll just nap.