Dear Constant Reader,
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that the most important things in my burlesque life are my fans. I’ve written about my white fans and their conversion before. Today I’m going to talk about safely transporting fans.
Fans are large, awkward, delicate things and traveling with them is tricky. My bamboo stave fans don’t really fold down very far, so I needed something that could accommodate them. For a while I used a shotgun case with the resulting oversized baggage fees and resignation to TSA searches (these lessened when I plastered “Theatrical props: Feather fans” and a photo of the contents on the outside of the case to join the abundance of “Fragile” stickers). Then I got a suitcase big enough to hold the fans (padded with all my garments). While good for flying, it was a lousy option for local shows or road trips. I started packing my fans in a plastic storage box. It fit well in the car, but had no handle, so it wasn’t great for taking on public transit or carrying for a while. I have to admit I was a bit jealous of the folks who could fold their fans up completely and slip them into mailing tubes.
A couple of years ago Donna Touch produced aluminum fan cases, like musical instrument cases, and I jumped on one, even though I hadn’t converted my fans yet. The case is sturdy and latches securely. It’s lightly padded (which Bartholomew loves) and there’s a handy pocket inside for fan repair items (provided!) My fans, even before conversion, fit nicely and there’s even enough room to also pack a wig. I haven’t tried flying with it yet. It does have built in locks, but I don’t think they’re TSA-compatible and there’s no hasp to add your own lock (although I have an idea if I ever fly with it).
While this case is great for gigs, both getting there and keeping the fans safe in the dressing room, it’s a bit much to schlepp to rehearsals. When Donna announced she was offering soft-sided cases, I didn’t hesitate. She’s not producing them herself; they’re made by Black Cat to her specifications. They are not inexpensive, and the shipping fee from Odesa, Ukraine is a bit hefty, but I thought it was worth it. It’s made of sturdy fabric, with carrying handles, a padded strap, and a zippered pocket on the outside (lined in surprise red on mine). It unzips flat and I can fit two pairs of fans easily. It also came with a bonus small zippered pouch. I’m happy with it and also happy to have supported an artisan in Ukraine.
If you’ve got fans, how do you transport them?