Dear Constant Reader,
It’s been a frantic couple of weeks, getting ready for our newest show, Alice in Underwearland. Almost everyone was creating or learning multiple new acts and if there was something that could be reused, it got a new costume. It’s been a while since we created a show like this and we did it in about six weeks. It was exhausting, but so worth it. I thought the show turned out great and we had TWO sold-out shows. We only planned on having one show, but tickets sold out so quickly that we added a late night edition.
Sharon Everything and Spooky Hailey were our stagehands. Things would not have gone nearly as smoothly without them! The show went a little something like this… We didn’t have a photographer, so you’ll have to make do with a couple of backstage selfies.
Sharon Everything, Ruby Rider, Indigo Switch: Three Aces (“Kindergarten”, Unkle Ho):
Those names might not be familiar to you because those are our three current apprentices making their striptease debut (stage names may change over time). However, the act might be familiar to our long time fans, if not the music. A version of this act was one of our go-to group numbers to the bouncy electro-swing song “Booty Swing”, but we really listened to the lyrics and they were Not Okay. Scratch listen to dozens of song to find a replacement and Betty salvaged as much of our original choreography as she could and voila! New, old routine! The apprentices were representing playing cards, as befits Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Ava Fox: Painting the Roses Red (medley from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland)
Ava removed her demure blue pinafore dress and long white stockings to reveal rose tattoos all over her body. Then she brought out paint pens and encourage the audience to “paint the roses red”. It was a little more challenging that you might expect to coax people to draw on her.
The tattoos were temporary — she designed them herself — but proved quite long lasting. She was easily able to wash off the paint from the first show without any harm to the tattoo, In fact, they were a challenge to get off after the show. I think most of them were still on her a week later.
Mina Murray: Mad Tea Party (“Tea for Two”, Doris Day/”Mad World”, Post-Modern Jukebox)
I was originally going to do an act with a looking glass. It would have been pretty cool, but requires a big prop that Scratch had to build and it would have been very difficult to impossible to reset in the half hour between shows. He were wracking our brains for a new act. About a week before the show, he gave me the concept — tea party. It was so obvious! And then the music. I was immediately smitten and the whole thing came together very quickly. The tea party costume came completely from my closet, including the vintage hostess apron. I was very happy with how it all came out and I hope I can do it again someday, but at 6 minutes, it’s much longer than your standard burlesque act (though not my longest!).
Betty Blaize: Eat Me (“Big Trombone”, AronChupa and Little Sis Nora)
As the Biggest Little BeauTeaser, Betty wanted to be Alice. After biting into a cupcake, labeled “Eat Me”, of course, she begins to grow: Her arms, then her legs, then, well, you can guess… There was a lot of clever costumery to make it look like she was growing. And it the end she grabbed a Deacon Giles bottle labeled “Drink Me”.
Devastasia: The Jabberwock (something epic/”Dream a Little Dream”, Doris Day)
Devastasia entered as the Beemish Boy, holding the head of the Jabberwock. She stripped to a filmy peignoir and lay down to rest. As she dreamed, she put on a black, furry and scaly costume, turning herself into the Jabberwock. At the very last, she picked up the head and it became a mask and headdress (the rest was the dragon skull that usually sits on the mantle at The Manor). The base of the costume was made by Rae Bradbury-Enlsin for herself and then gifted it to us when she was cleaning out her vast costume closets. Devastasia modified it to make it stage-appropriate. (I was going to say stripable, but she’s dressing, not undressing).
Scratch: Card Trick
Scratch performed a little prestidigitation, as he does. However, this time it went wrong and he could not correctly produce the chosen card…
Ava Fox, Mina Murray: Punchline (“Leap Frog”)
…but Ava and I provided the payoff! Betty originally choreographed this for V for Vixen, back in 2009. She turned it into a four-person act a while later, which I was in, but this was the first version, a duet. The challenge was that she created it for Fifi and Lola LaBoomBoom, who were 19-year-old dancers who could do things like drop splits, stag leaps, and other moves I couldn’t even do I when I was 19, let alone now. Ava and I did our best to stick to the original choreography, only changing things that one of use (mostly me) were utterly incapable of doing. It was hard, but I think it was cute in the end.
Devastasia: White Rabbit
Devastasia sang Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”, but with a smoky jazz arrangement.
Betty Blaize, Indigo Switch, Ruby Rider: The Caterpillar (“Alkazar”)
This was such a cool act! Betty was the head of the caterpillar and the two apprentices were the body. They moved together and also in ripples down the body. The focus was on lines and sinuous motion, but there were also two chairs involved with some very creative uses.
Ava Fox: The Cheshire Cat (“Upside Down”, Paloma Faith)
If you’ve seen Ava, you know she likes to do acrobatics on a folding chair and this is her best work to date. She took the name of the song to heart and spent her time flipping around on that chair. Her costume was pink and purple, like the Cheshire Cat in the Disney movie, including striped stockings. The most striking parts of the costume were the ones she made — her garter girdle made from a Manuge et Toi tutorial and those amazing pasties. And yes, the final reveal involved a grin.
Devastasia: The Queen of Hearts (“Tombstone Blues”)
Although Devastasia has an act to this song that she performs frequently, she made an entirely new costume to be the Queen of Hearts (maybe the Red Queen). New costume necessitated some new choreography, so it’s practically a new number. In case you can’t tell from the photo, the hearts on those arm drapes are cut out. I know it kind of looks like a black appliqué, but they’re actually voids, excellent for teasing.
Mina Murray: Pink Flamingo (“Swan Lake Suite”, London Symphony Orchestra)
When we were deciding on characters for the show, I said I wanted to be one of the flamingos from the croquet game and do a fan dance. Scratch suggested I use the concept for the fan dance I created for Vamps After Midnite, but change up the music and costume. So, I bought pink ostrich plumes and fabric and made myself a new costume and new fan staves. Because of time constraints we used the fan bases from Vamps, but I hope to have properly pink ones in the future. Scratch made my amazing flamingo headdress. The flamingo head comes off for transport! (and just in case I want to do a slightly more serious act with it).
We had such a good time and I think the audiences did too. Now we get ready for the Expo (May 4-7), but you can catch me before then at Booklover’s Burlesque on April 16 in Portland, OR!
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