Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Naked Truth--From Judith Lynne Hanna

Hanna_JACKET COMP.indd

As a burlesque performer with a substantial history as a strip joint stripper, I'm frequently asked what the difference is between burlesque and strip joint stripping, and my favorite difference to cite is that nobody ever asks strip joints strippers what the difference is between burlesque and stripping.

Burlesque performers do need to differentiate their style for professional purposes, in order to help the venues and produers who book them choose the right kind of performance for their intentions. Some also prefer not to be conflated with the sex-industry-immediacy of strip joints, while others actually also work as strippers and want to differentiate for professional reasons alone. Many burlesque performers are perfectly comfortable being called strippers and don't care if their moral turpitude is aligned with strip joints.

Of course, it rarely occurs to anyone to consider whether or not strip joint strippers would want to be conflated with burlesque. There is sometimes a touch of condescending magnaminity, or a sense that some burlesque performers are almost disturbingly eager to show that they're capable of appreciating strippers, if the strippers are doing some really cool moves that they can imagine have street cred. Many strip joint strippers are pretty aware that they're bad-ass and that their booty-clap, pole trick, or slow burn is worthy of approbation, and don't care if people think they've ever taken a ballet, theater, or circus class. If they are particularly aware of burlesque, they tend to enjoy it but would rather not spend $1000 on a costume to make $100 a night.

For the most part, however, burlesque performers are a rowdy bunch who aren't at all worried about being perceived as strippers, seeing as how they take off their clothes in public and all.

When I was a busy anti-censorship activist, I spent a lot of time studying ways that the First Amendment applied to adult entertainment, and one of my favorite fellow activists was Judith Lynne Hanna. Even when I didn't see things exactly the same way, I appreciated her thoroughness and perspective. Following is the table of contents for her 2012 book Naked Truth. Almost all of these things are discussed in an informal way by strip joint strippers, amongst themselves, and with clientele and management, but Dr. Hanna has a gift for presenting her research and observations in a way that strikes a note of reason from the bar room to the class room to the court room. It's amazing to me how many aspects there are to the topic of exotic dancing, and I've never grown tired of thinking about it.

Click here to purchase on

Naked Truth

Strip Clubs, Democracy

and a Christian Right

by Judith Lynne Hanna

Across America, strip clubs have come under attack by a politically aggressive segment of the Christian Right. Using plausible-sounding but factually untrue arguments about the harmful effects of strip clubs on their communities, the Christian Right has stoked public outrage and incited local and state governments to impose onerous restrictions on the clubs with the intent of dismantling the exotic dance industry. But an even larger agenda is at work, according to Judith Lynne Hanna. In Naked Truth, she builds a convincing case that the attack on exotic dance is part of the activist Christian Right’s “grand design” to supplant constitutional democracy in America with a Bible-based theocracy.

Hanna takes readers onstage, backstage, and into the community and courts to reveal the conflicts, charges, and realities that are playing out at the intersection of erotic fantasy, religion, politics, and law. She explains why exotic dance is a legitimate form of artistic communication and debunks the many myths and untruths that the Christian Right uses to fight strip clubs. Hanna also demonstrates that while the fight happens at the local level, it is part of a national campaign to regulate sexuality and punish those who do not adhere to Scripture-based moral values. Ultimately, she argues, the naked truth is that the separation of church and state is under siege and our civil liberties—free speech, women’s rights, and free enterprise—are at stake.

A leading dance scholar and critic who has served as an expert court witness in more than one hundred exotic dance cases nationwide, JUDITH LYNNE HANNA is Affiliate Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland. She has written hundreds of articles and numerous books, including To Dance Is Human: A Theory of Nonverbal Communication; The Performer—Audience Connection; Dance, Sex and Gender; Dancing for Health: Conquering and Preventing Stress; and Partnering Dance and Education.


Prelude: Sparks Fly: Church-State Conflict 1

An Awakening

From Strip Club to Religion

Aftershock of Secularism and Sexual Revolution

More Surprises

Why Christian Right Activists Attack Exotic Dance

Full Disclosure


Chapter 1: Scripture and Hostility to Exotic Dance

Reasons for Christian Right Opposition


Soldiers of the Cross

Money and Influence

Challengers in Christian Right

The Body and Dance

The Uncovered Body and Lust

Patriarchy Challenged

The Nature of Men



The First Amendment Umbrella

Chapter 2: Fighting Exotic Dance: Call to War 32

The Attack

General Political Strategy

Adverse Secondary Effects Campaign

Allegations Challenged

Criteria for Evidence

Disregard of Evidence

Indecent, Lewd, and Obscene

Government Regulation under a Mythical Pretext

Other Government Actions

Psychological and Physical Attack

An Illustrative Case: Phil Burress and the Citizens for Community Values

Chapter 3: Target of Attack: Striptease 101 or Seduction by the Devil 71

Who’s Onstage

Getting There

Serious “Speech”

Exotic Dance Dialect

Components of Exotic Dance


Private Dance

The Art of It

Pecking Order and Social Class

Artistic Value

Dance “Class”

Adult Play for Pay

“Satan’s” Ploys

Turning On

Reading for the Connection


Moving It

Close Up and Touching

Music and Setting

Socially Redeeming Values

Chapter 4: Nudity Touch, and Sex: Marginal or Mainstream 127

“Sinful Nudity” Is American

Simulated Nudity


Dancer-Patron Touch

Simulated Sex

Chapter 5: “Rottweilers” Lock Their Jaws: Bench Trials 140

Arrests in a Family Business

Why Raid Showcase Theater?

Club Fights and Wins First Round

Round Two: The 2003 Attack

Public Hearing on Proposed Exotic Dance Regulations

Regulations (CB-86-2003) Passed

Legal Challenge

The Battle Continues: Round Three

Commissioned Report

Raids on Club Exstasy

Harassment of Showcase Theater

More Laws

“New” Regulations (CB-61-2006)

Another Lawsuit against Prince George’s County


Chapter 6: Shooting Nude Crotches: Jury Trials 165

Class Act in Cannon Falls

Destiny’s Case

Paris’s Case

Sugar Daddy’s in Benton County

Amy’s Case

Community Positive Feedback on Exotic Dance

About the Economy

Secondary Effects

Trampling Rights

Misplaced Morality

Respect for Women

Artistic Value

Community Negative Feedback on Exotic Dance

Serious Artistic Merit

Brandy’s Case

Community Talk-Back


Chapter 7: Exotic Dancers and Labor: Need to be Saved? 184

Kinds of Clubs

Good Bosses

Bad Patrons and Bosses

Pluses and Minuses

Financial Disputes

Truth Be Told

Chapter 8: Christian Right Claims Club Crime: Where Are the Bodies? 210

Murder: Boyfriends, Husbands, Police, Mafia, and Others

Different Violence

Dancer Aggression

Attacks on Property




Violations of Laws Specifically Regulating Clubs

Questionable Police Tactics

Stigmatization of Exotic Dance


So, Where Are the Bodies? Evidence?

Chapter 9: Stripping Your First Amendment and More 241

The Defense of Exotic Dance

Duel in the Desert and Moral Scold

Reactive and Proactive Club Resources

Indirect Support

The Constitution

The Courts Speak and Misspeak

Evidence of Adverse Secondary Effects

Economic Impact

Time, Place, and Manner Considerations

Zoning and Alternative Locations

Governmental Interest


Alcoholic Beverage Control




Artistic Choice

Dogma v. Pluralism

Perils of Disregarding the Naked Truth

Appendices 261

1 Exotic Dance 262

2 Comparison 263

3 Exotic Dance Criteria for Serious Artistic Merit

4 Nudity in Exotic Dance 264

5 Messages of Physical Distance 265

6 Expressive Contact in Exotic Dance 266

7 Contact in Social Dance: Lap Dance Heritage 267

8 Exotic Dance Patrons 268

9 Judith Lynne Hanna's Exotic Dance Expert Witness Court Testimony 270

10 Jurisdictions that Attack Exotic Dance 273

11 Key Christian Right Political Activists and Revenue in the News, 1995–2010 270

12 Arsenal of a Segment of the Politically Active Christian Right 282

13 Reality and Myth: What Neighbors Say about Exotic Dance Clubs 283

14 Protection under the Constitution of the United States of America 287

References 297

For Orders and Customer Service

(800) 252-3206

To Contact Author: (

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jean Idelle at The Burlesque Hall of Fame

The Burlesque Hall of Fame staffers and friends have always worked hard to find women who performed burlesque in the 1940s-1960s and 70s and bring them back together. Some of the most moving things I've ever experienced have been seeing legends find their tribe again for the first time in decades. The following story bears witness to the incredible experience these women often have, and gives you an idea of what it's like to hear their stories an get to know them, and to see them perform with all the knowing charm they had half a century ago.

"LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- She crushed the color barrier, crashed the party and did it all dancing. Now at the age of 82, Jean Idelle is burning up the stage for the first time in decades. News 3's Reed Cowan has more on the life of Jean Idelle who went from obscurity to headlining in Las Vegas."

Burlesque dancer, 82, takes the stage one more time

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How To Rock Red Glitter Lips--from Veronica Varlow!

"The #1 question I get asked by women after I do my shows is…”Where did you get your glitter lipstick?”

"Ah, yes. It’s a magical concoction of sorts. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I mistakenly bought tons of “glitter lipstick” in the past that never did the trick. I learned the secret formula backstage from my burlesque sisters at The Slipper Room."

Get Veronica's secrets here!

And in case you haven't seen it, here is a a clip of me "teaching" how to makeup glitter lips to our boylesque friend Hard Cory at my book release party show hosted by Storybook Burlesque:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Striptease Expertise

Jo Boobs Weldon Peeling at the Toronto Burlesque Festival
Above: Me stripping out of a red stocking at the Toronto Burlesque Festival.

I am incredibly passionate about striptease and the opportunties it provides and the demands it puts upon a performer. I believe that it is a sensational and radical way to think about communicating to viewers that can inform the stripteaser's self-presentation onstage and off. I think the combination of mischief and glamour with the earthiness of sensuality is a step forward in the evolution of self-realization and the acceptance of shamelessly individualized (as opposed to state-regulated) sexuality. I could (and at some point will) got on for hundreds of pages about this. I'm so serious about this kind of fun!

One of my favorite classes to teach is Striptease Expertise. Below is the content of the handout I share in the class, a set of tips that serve as reminders for the theories and techniques we explore as a group. It is not the full content of the class, just bullet points of key concepts.

Striptease Expertise

Striptease is about making the everyday act of removing clothing into a theatrical event. There has always been nudity onstage, but not until burlesque striptease was there a performing art specifically centered on clothing removal. The women who originally captured the public's imagination by stripping onstage were not necessarily trained dancers or actors, but were often improvising, basing the success of their movements and performance decisions not on an aesthetic or on what looked good in the mirror in a dance studio, but solely on audience response.

Stripteasers who use choreography often rely more on the Choreography of Events than dance choreography. Dropping a glove, for instance, is not a dance move, but an experienced stripteaser knows that if that glove hits the floor on the beat (or the drummer hits the beat for the drop, if live music is employed), the audience gets a bigger thrill. It is worth choreographing so that the glove hits the floor at the optimal point in the music, every time at the same time the performer does the number. So while there may be improvisation between Events, there are choreographed events.

The goal of many contemporary burlesque performances is to engage the audience with a combination of glamour and mischief, and sometimes story-telling or commentary, usually with some reference to the movements of professional stripteasers from the mid-twentieth century. Striptease is the most unique element of these performances. An inventive and knowing garment removal keeps them from texting during your performance. Understanding what makes a striptease compelling is an essential component of making your performance memorable.

Concepts for your Striptease Toolbox:

1. Make imaginary eye contact

2. Identify the sweet spots (laws are based on this)

3. Show them what you're showing them

4. Remember that there is only one camera

5. Let the viewer drink you in

6. Evoke the sense of touch

7. Let the viewer follow your hands

8. Think of yourself as moving toward a 3-d camera

9. Employ a referring glance

10. Your costume is your choreography

11. Make the most of your fasteners

12. Let them see the reveal

Above all, entertain yourself and have fun. A performer who is having fun gives the audience confidence in his/her performance, and there is nothing more irresistible than someone who is enjoying herself!

Copyright Jo Weldon

You can find a more detailed version of this in the print edition of the absolutely stunning magazine produced by 21st Century Burlesque, full of never-before-seen articles and photographs! Check out this stunning labor of love and get a copy for yourelf or your nearest and dearest burlesque aficiando. The quality and beauty of it is breathtaking!

21st Century Burlesque Print Edition

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stage Kitten Etiquette in Pin Curl Magazine

In my almost-monthly column for Pin Curl Magazine, I get to discuss ways and manners in the business of burlesque. I've written about stage kittens before, but every time I do it I find new ways to appreciate them! Following are some excerpts from the newest issue of Pincurl.

“Stage kittens have become iconic elements of many burlesque shows. These are the fabulous creatures you see getting so much time are often also part of the glue that holds the show together. A burlesque show bonus, a stage kitten is the person who picks up the costume pieces and props after a burlesque number. They may also set up props, assist the emcee, gogo dance, sell merchandise between sets, and a whole lot more. A stage kitten can make a show run more smoothly, helping the performers make seamless transitions from number to number.” – Murray Hill

Top Tips for Stage Kittens:

1) Ask the producer (or whoever contacted you to book you for the gig) exactly what they need from you. Since stage kittens can help in so many ways, it’s important to know if there is also a stage manager, if you’ll be expected to collect music, etc. Find out if the gig pays–some producers prefer to hire kittens as unpaid interns, some prefer experienced kittens who already know how to make the job go as smoothly as possible. Even if they are not paying you, treat it as a professional gig. If you don’t want to do the gig for free, don’t do it–that’s much better than doing it and then going around complaining that they don’t pay.

2) Ask them what they’d like you to wear, and don’t let them get away with saying “Whatever you like.” Theatre stage managers usually wear black jeans and t-shirts, but stage kittens are more likely to be seen in fringed gogo outfits–and you may end up go-go-ing in them! Make sure your costume suits the aesthetic of the show, and make sure your shoes are cute but comfortable enough to allow you to run from dressing room to DJ at top speed, should the need arise. Wear makeup and do your hair as if you were going to perform a routine, because you’ll be onstage a lot.

3) Get there before everyone and be ready to go onstage. You should not be doing your makeup when the performers are doing theirs–you should be stage ready and getting their info at that point.

4) Do your best to avoid gossip about the other performers and don’t get involved in talking smack about the venue or producer. If you must talk smack, save that for another place and time.

5) Bring a clipboard and a couple of pens, preferably sharpies, and get everyone’s name (including the staff’s names–and be sure to give those to the emcee as well). Find out from each performer what they need to go onstage, if they have any setup, and WRITE IT DOWN. Find out how many copies of the set list the emcee needs, and write
them up as promptly as possible.

Read the entire article

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ten Tips for Trying Burlesque on Glo

Jo by Rocket

When The Burlesque Handbook was first published, I did a series of burlesque tips articles for various beauty and lifestyle magazines. It was a lovely challenge to try to make what I know about performing useful to people who may not be going onstage. MSN did a gallery of photos with ten tips. Check it out!

From the article:

Build Tension

Weldon says: "Burlesque performers know that just standing still and breathing can build anticipation in the audience once they've established that they're prepared to entertain them. Be willing to be still for a few moments and let your partner drink you in."

You can read the rest of it on!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sally Rand and Gypsy Rose Lee on What's My Line

As if body language wasn't enough, Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand were both delightful speakers, clever and quick and shameless. It's sometimes hard to explain why a particular stripteaser or fan dancer is so enchanting when what they actually do is not unique. For me, a huge part of the beauty and importance of a number is not a skill set--perfect dance timing is more important for the chorus than the lead, and virtuousity can become monotonous to watch. But personality is the singular force that drives a great entertainer, and it's vividly portrayed in both of these clips. Enjoy!

Gypsy Rose Lee

Sally Rand

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Recommended Reading: Striptease by Libby Jones

I can't believe I hadn't seen this book until recently! A friend posted it on my FB page and I immediately hunted it down, found it at Powell's Books, and snapped it up.

Published by Simon and Schuster on their Parallax imprint in 1967, this neat little book breezes through basic principles of striptease in about 50 pages. (Though 80 pages long, the last 30 pages are devoted to beauty.) It's a great way for beginners to grasp that striptease is process of intention and presentation worthy of mastery.

It's adorable, and it reminded me that a lot of the principles of striptease I teach are actually universal. The more I teach, the more I find that I describe steps and principles the way I do not because I'm inventive, but because I'm observant, and that other burlesque instructors observe and teach some of the same things. It's very reassuring!

For instance, I often point out to my students that the Stripteaser, as a category of performer, is barely a hundred years old. And in her introduction, Libby says, "...the art of striptease as we know it today is a true red-blooded stars-and-stripes invention, born in the burlesque theatre about half a century ago." Striptease instructors agree!

She also says, "Recently, there has been a great striptease revival..." !!!

Check out the table of contents:

I love the similarity to the section on classic moves in my own book. She even has a very short description of how to make pasties out of buckram, in a way very similar to the method I discovered fiddling around in my sewing studio ten years ago.

Here's a sample of the illustrations and instructions. It's not super detailed, but it's obviously the result of experience and thought:

She even talks about earring removal, one of my favorite topics in my striptease class!

I absolutely adore striptease for its own sake. It disappoints me when burlesque performers and aficianadoes with their own agendas, most of which I actually share on some level as I also love a narrative, a comedy, a circus, a political statement, make a point of belittling classic burlesque striptease. After all, making the every day act of removing your clothing into a theatrical event is an achievement, and doing it well--meaning that the audience can see and appreciate what you're doing, and delightedly falls a little bit in love with the tease and the teaser--is very much a skill. Classic striptease is actually an entirely modern response to the rise of a culture in which people are seen more than they ever had been in previous centuries. With the rise of new media technology,people now are photographed, filmed, displayed more than ever in human history. Striptease, particularly on the stage, is a way of saying, "Flesh is genius." Removing an elaborate costume with a wink and smile that says, "The glitter and glamour and rhinestones are all quite fabulous, but it's the personality under them that's the biggest deal," is a huge message. There's nothing trivial or trite about that!

Striptease is the ultimate form of theater. It's the ability to think about what the audience can see while making them think about what they can't see. It's about making the naked body, so freely available for gaze in every form of media, seem infinitely precious with every reveal. It's a friendly way to say, "Hey, you know how you go around all day not wanting to be caught looking at me, and I go around all day hoping no one is staring at me, and I go around all day not wanting to be caught looking at you, and you go around all day hoping I'm not staring at you? It's okay--you can look!" And sometimes even, "I dare you to look!" A playful, mischievous striptease isn't about being pretty. It's about being fully engaged and engaging. It's about the joy of the body, saying,"Check out this awesome thing--I live in it!" If that isn't the experience you've seen in a burlesque show, go to a another show! As the glove comes off and the audience applauds (with their naked hands!) at the sight of the stripteaser's hand making its appearance, you'll realise there's a bigger message here than mere consumption. That stripper's taking it off for YOU! Isn't that special?

You can find this out-of-print book by searching for it on,,, EBay, and other sources for used books.

Below: A contact sheet of photos showing Libby Jones tutoring actress Jan Sterling on how to striptease, in preparation of Sterling’s role as a showgirl in the 1954 crime film: “THE HUMAN JUNGLE”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Top Five Stocking Peels on youtube.

I'm doing a Top Five Friday today! These are the top five stocking peels on my mind this week.

I'm including one of my own so that my self interest is really blatant and that my self-serving ways will provoke you to include your own in the comments!

Inga Ingenue at Viva Las Vegas, coming to a slinky soft tragic end:

Midnite Martini does a toe-tally devastating peel:

April O'Peel makes the bench her bitch:

Dita Von Teese gets naughty on national television:

Me, getting down:

My striptease video includes tips on how to make the stockings cling to your toes and how to slide them off without catching them in your knee joint, among other things:

You can buy this DVD here.

You can read about how to buy stockings in my article, Stalking the Stocking.

Julie Atlas Muz, in a routine sadly missing from youtube, does a number in which she comes out dressed as a cop, strips to lingerie, pulls her stockings from her toes directly onto her head, and thereby becomes a robber.

Share your favorite peels in the comments!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Record Breaking Fan Dance!

"One of this year’s BurlyCon highlights was the successful attempt to break a Guinness World Record for “Largest Fan Dance”. This feat was accomplished by 252 dancers in tradtional costume waving their feather fans to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for a full five minutes. The attempt took place at the ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel on the second day of BurlyCon. Volunteers stationed outside made sure all fans and costumes were on par with Guinness requirements before people were let in (specifically, fans had to be within the 12” to 50” range). As the eager particpants walked into the ballroom, volunteers did an official head count, not including official volunteers, videographers, and photographers (of which I was one). Over the next half hour people streamed in with giant fans, small fans, and everything in between."

Read more about this superfun event at Burlesque Seattle Press: A look back at BurlyCon’s record-breaking “Largest Fan Dance”.

And you can learn the choreography yourself just for fun:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Introductions: Etiquette Guidelines for Performers and Emcees

I cover the professional relationships between performers and hosts in my most recent article in Pin Curl Magazine!

Kate Valentine (Miss Astrid): "I appreciate it when dancers keep in mind that the emcee is a performer too. I often need physical and mental space backstage before I go on & for the duration of the show. Personally, I love a performer that sees the whole picture and thus is a pro and a team player. Your job is so much more than your 3 minutes on stage. My biggest pet peeve is when someone brings their diet/exercise regimine/body issues/gluten intolerance into the backstage space. Self loathing talk is contagious among women!"

World Famous BOB: "My few tips are: please don’t ask an mc to do a “comedy bit” with you as part of your act the night of. Good mc’s already have material and are not obligated to be in your act. Do- provide your tag line or anything special that can help the mc introduce you properly- this is especially helpful if the host doesn’t already know you that well. Example; “Recently performed in the New York Burlesque Festival”, or any awards you may have won. These all make for a sparkling intro. Please do not ask a host to say your website, the audience is not taking notes and if they are impressed with you they can find you online as long as they know your name. Finally, if you are new to Burlesque and people have a hard time pronouncing your stage name often, change it, you will do better to have people say it properly than to have something really witty that every host gets wrong. Your stage name is a concept and character but it is also a marketing tool- make it yours but make it not too difficult."

Jonny Porkpie: "Remember that everyone – performers, host, kittens, producer, tech crew – is, from the moment they arrive at the venue (perhaps even from the moment they agree to do the show), part of a team. The show is a collaboration, even if you’ve never met some of your partners before. One of the glories of Burlesque: it is an art form which celebrates the talent and vision of the individual, but that can never be at the expense of the whole show — That isn’t fair to the people who have paid to see you. The host is your point person, the one on the front lines, the ambassador between production and audience. As such, their responsibility is to serve the audience first, then the needs of the show and the needs of the performers, and his or her own material last. It’s great to provide a host with 2-3 pieces of information with which they can pad out your intro, but don’t be insulted if they don’t end up using it. A host must keep the show flowing, and while it’s helpful to have extra material available, saying these things about every single performer can interrupt the rhythm of the night, making it seem a series of unrelated events instead of a unified production. That being said, there’s no excuse for getting a performer’s name wrong. If a host does that, feel free to point it out (gently, of course, we’re all in this together) – any good host will be apologetic and correct the error at the next appropriate opportunity."

Get more food for thought from the entire article at:

Pin Curl Magazine

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Social Media Etiquette for Nearly Naked People

"Burlesque as it is would not exist without social media. I suppose that’s true of almost all independent entertainment today! With its low cost, big impact, and almost unlimited outreach, social media has enabled performers and producers with very little capital to get started and to find their collaborators and audiences at rapid speed.

Technology has advanced more quickly than we can have analyzed its full effect, and just when you think you’ve figured it out, they’ve changed it! But the basic tenet of etiquette holds true: step back and take a look at your decisions and imagine how you’d evaluate your actions if you saw someone else taking them.

Online etiquette is covered regularly on the internet, and we’ll touch on a few of the most common concerns, with a particular eye toward what happens when people are nearly naked."

Read the Entire Article

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tips on Getting Booked!

Oh my goodness. I've been writing so much for other publications, I haven't had a chance to write for my own! I'm going to bring my blog back slowly and gently, starting with a taste of what I've been up to on other sites (I swear I was thinking about you the whole time!):

From Pin Curl Magazine Online:

In this month’s installment of a two-part article, we will discuss how performers can annoy producers. This doesn’t mean that in every case the performers are doing anything dishonest or unprofessional; it merely means that these behaviors often irritate or turn off producers. Please note that it is not about just knowing specific actions that might irritate producers. Like all etiquette issues, the essence of understanding how to behave is making an effort to put yourself into the other person’s position. You are unlikely to be able to read their minds, but you stand a much better chance of interacting successfully if you at least try to understand why they want what they want instead of trying to get them to care about what you want.

Next month, we’ll talk about how producers can annoy performers. If you have any annoyances you’d like to have mentioned, please email them to

This first article is split into two sections in order to help you:

A) Get booked by a given producer, or figure out that you’re not right for their show

B) Work well with them so that they will book you again, or even if, having had you in their show once and having decided you’re not right for their show, they would have a good enough impression of you to give you a second chance in a different show or give you a good reference to other producers.

How to Annoy Producers

If they haven’t yet booked you:

1. Feel entitled to be in their shows, for any reason at all.

2. Critique their shows, even when asked.

3. Flyer for your show at their shows without asking, or be miffed when they don’t allow you to flyer when you do ask.

4. Tell them you don’t like X kind of performance without knowing that they also produce X kind of shows.

5. Say, “I’m too busy to come to your show and see what it’s like, but I’d love to be in it.”

You can read the rest of this article in Pin Curl Magazine onlline:

How to Annoy Producers

It's a monthly column, so you'll find lots more information on professional etiquette there!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tempest Storm's Birthday in the Huffington Post

Tempest Storm
Tempest performing in 2004 on the stage by the pool at Exotic World, in Helendale, CA. Photo by me.

"Calling someone a legend before they celebrate their 21st birthday might sound hyperbolic. But, in the case of burlesque dancer Tempest Storm, it just might apply -- with a notable caveat.

"Storm, a fiery redhead known during the 1950s and '60s as "the Tempest in a D-cup," was born on Feb. 29, 1928, a leap year.

Tempest Storm by Brian SmithPhoto by Brian Smith.

"That means even though the calendar says she is turning 84, she is only celebrating her 21st birthday...."

Read more about Tempest Storm's life and her current career.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

School of Burlesque Merch Available for the First Time!

Burlesque Compact

Lola Star designed and made this adorable compact with the New York School of Burlesque! You can get this design on a mug, magnet, shot glass, t-shirt, or tote bag as well. Check out her other gorgeous designs, with lots of fabulous tributes to Coney Island!

Lola Star's Online Shop

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Awesome Blog Post from Sparkly Devil!

Above: The awe-inspiring and amaze-inducing Sparkly Devil.

I freakin LOVE Sparkly Devil, and have been fortunate to know and love her long time. She's a fierce and gorgeous and super smart lady, and you should read her blog! Below, one of my favorite recent posts:

"The heyday of burlesque was cultivated in simpler times, when the 4-martini lunch ruled, computers were giant hulking beasts that only the government owned, and phones took forever to dial 9 and were connected to a wall.
"As the burlesque revival has grown since the late ‘90s, it’s been fundamentally shaped by the technological innovations that our generation has access to. Today, we can pick a concept, do a keyword search on iTunes, order the costume on eBay, promote the new act on Twitter, videotape the performance from our phone and then post in on Facebook – in less than a week’s time.
"That said, having the tools to create an act readily available at one’s fingertips does not mean a great act will magically appear – as always, the execution is what makes it pop; it was true then, and it’s true now.
"And though we relish the instant accessibility of a live webcast show or a fruitful Google search, great burlesque pieces don’t happen instantly: many performers spend weeks and months developing their new routines…but not having to walk three miles uphill in a snowstorm to get your rhinestones certainly makes things easier for us.
"Here are five wonderful technological advancements that have shaped the revival as we know it, and helped us create better burlesque...."

Click below to read the rest!
Five Technological Innovations That Shaped Neo-Burlesque

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five Tips for Rightly Twirling the Tassels

If you want to learn the most basic twirl, here's where to begin!

How to Twirl a Nipple Tassel


You can do it!

This is just the tip (ha) of the iceberg when it comes to all there is to know about tassels, assels, and tasticles, but if you want to get started, you'll find instant gratification in the basic bounce.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Wonderfully thought-Provoking Post from Sydni Deveraux

From the fabulous Sydni Deveraux:

"Today, I got a message (a group message on Facebook) asking me to vote for them in a burlesque competition, something like “Send me proof that you voted (a screen shot), and win a prize! First come first served, hurry! It’s a limited time offer” (message somewhat changed to protect the messenger). I was….to be honest, horrified. This, on the heels of countless emails from people to vote for them to place on a recent countdown list of the best burlesque performers-I ask you the reader if you see anything wrong with this picture?

"To be clear, I am a competitive person. I wish I weren’t, but I am the product of parents who competed in natural-bodybuilding pageants (I know-weird, right?) and over a decade of select sports. I’m not a wishy-washy “can’t we all be the same” kind of hippie when it comes to performing. I don’t think about this as a woman in a kind of feminist statement kind of way. I think about this in a “I want to see a real good show” kind of way-as an athlete- in a sense. I’ve come to realize that this is a blessing and a curse, seeing that it will always make me work harder, gym harder, want to learn more and constantly keep up on people’s careers. I strive to eventually be recognized as one of the best (or hell, the best) amongst the best. I want everyone else to be rad too-it makes it exciting! It’s good to have goals. I don’t know if I will get there, but I will sure as shit try-all while keeping my morals about me...."

Read more on Sydni's blog--there are lots of great comments too!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teaching the Boys to Twirl

A couple of weeks ago L Magazine approached me wanting someone to write a few tips on how to twirl tassels, and wanted to make a video to go with it. I immediately suggested teaching boys, and since no one on the magazine staff was ready for the learning experience, I recruited two of my dear and daring friends. They literally jumped at the opportunity.

Read the entire article

There are many other ways to twirl tassels, including many without bouncing! There's an entire chapter on tassel-twirling and how to make pasties in The Burlesque Handbook.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Showgirl Accounting, from the Reigning Blog of Burlesque

I get offers to perform at benefits all the time, and I am usually happy to do it. In fact, one of the reasons I was inspired to create Pink Light Burlesque was because I was getting requested to perform at breast cancer benefits so frequently, and although I am always thrilled and honored to do it, I also feel survivors can represent even more powerfully. Some benefit events have budgets for entertainment, and on a weekend night when I normally could not afford to cancel other gigs that make up a quarter of my monthly income to perform for free, this makes it possible. If I am not already booked, I am almost always willing to donate my time and name and services for free, if I feel that the benefit is intended to do a real service. A misunderstanding that comes up with surprising frequency is when event organizers tell me I can deduct my donation of a performance, when in fact I cannot.

Above: Julie Atlas Muz with money raised at a Starshine Benefit for Exotic World.

From Miss Indigo Blue:

Hi darlings,
Donating performances is an AWESOME way to be involved in your community, get more exposure to new audiences, and get more stage time. However, the value of your performance is not tax-deductible - even if you're donating it to a Non-Profit Organization.
REPEAT: donated performances (aka "services") are *NOT* tax-deductible.
If someone offers you a performance opportunity, and one of the "benefits" is that you can deduct the value of your guarantee, they are WRONG.
Read the rest of this post

Image from Seattle Peach.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stalking the Stocking

The visual impact of stockings is erotic and forceful. When I was a child I was so fascinated by the images of stockings in old lingerie ads that I painted them onto my Barbie dolls. I've been doing stocking peels onstage since I was in high school, going to Rocky Horror and portraying a poetry-reciting stripper character I had created called Prunella DuBois. I even got into trouble one day in high school for wearing stockings under my dress instead of pantyhose. As a dominatrix I found some quite unusual uses for my stockings, and accumulated bagsful of used stockings for nefarious purposes. I'm not a stocking snob, but I enjoy a good stocking peel more than the average person, and I have more garter belts than I can count.

Jo Boobs Weldon Peeling at the Toronto Burlesque Festival
Above: Me peeling out of red stockings from Frederick's of Hollywood at The Toronto Burlesque Festival. Photo copyright Mopo.

Above: Gal Friday teasing with an authentic vintage stocking in the School of Burlesque studio at The Slipper Room. Photo by Don Spiro.

Above: Dita Von Teese in her custom diamond backseam stockings. Photo from Secrets in Lace

Above--Not stockings, but pretty darn cool. Tights available from Peek Brooklyn.

When I teach my stocking peel classes, I'm often surprised to find that some of my students have never worn a pair of stockings, and it takes a bit of schooling to get them into a pair. For them, as well as for readers of this blog and other stocking-curious folks, I am presenting a brief glossary of stocking terms and types. This won’t make you an expert on stockings, but it should help you to buy the kind of stockings you are trying to buy.

Since this is not intended to be comprehensive, I would love for readers to post pictures and comments! Feel free to link your favorite stocking sources and resources!

Cuban Heel-- Cuban heeled stockings have a reinforced heel that rises up the back of the ankle into a taper that is squared-off at the top. Many packagers of stockings use the terms “Cuban heel” and “French heel” interchangeably, so it is crucial to check out the picture on the package to determine which you are getting, but many stockings aficionados refer only to the pointed top as the French, and to the squared off as the Cuban.

Denier—a Measure of the fineness of the strands in the knit of the stocking. The lower the number, the lighter, more delicate, and more sheer the stocking. Sheers are typically 15-20 denier. Legwear becomes opaque at about 70-100 denier.

French Heel (pointed, but refer to image)—French heeled stockings have a reinforced heel that rises up the back of the ankle into a point. Many packagers of stockings use the terms “Cuban heel” and “French heel” interchangeably, so it is crucial to check out the picture on the package to determine which you are getting, but many stockings aficionados refer only to the pointed top as the French, and to the squared off as the Cuban.

Fishnet Stockings--stockings in an elastic open knit that looks like a net.

Fully Fashioned—A fully-fashioned stocking is knit flat and is fully fashioned in the shape of a leg.

Garters—Also known as suspenders (UK). Elastic devices for holding up stockings. When circular, as in the 1920s, they would go around the top of a stocking as a tight band to hold them up. Now they are most frequently straps of elastic with clips on the end attached to a band that goes around the waist, called a Garter Belt.

Hold-ups (generally British terminology for Thigh-highs)—Same as Stay-ups. Stockings with bands at the top that holds them up without garters. The band may simply be thicker, or it may be lined with silicone or rubber to grip the leg.


Lycra—the miracle fiber of stretch.

Nylons—stockings, usually made of nylon. Nylon does not stretch.

Pantyhose—stockings with a panty attached. The panty may be sheer to waist, reinforced, patterned, control, or a variety of shapes.

RHT (Reinforced Heel and Toe)—More densely knit toe and heel on a stocking to keep it from running at areas of stress.

RT (Reinforced Toe)-- More densely knit toe on a stocking to keep it from running at areas of stress.

Seam—the line running up the back of the leg, which may be a design woven into the knit or an actual seam.

Stay-Ups(generally British terminology for Thigh-highs)— -- Same as Hold-ups. Stockings with bands at the top that holds them up without garters. The band may simply be thicker, or it may be lined with silicone or rubber to grip the leg.

Stockings—Legwear without a panty or elastic top, which must be held up by garters. Usually sheer.

Stretch Stocking—a knit stocking with lycra built into it to fit a variety of leg shapes and sizes (though not one size fits all).

Suspenders—See Garters.

Thigh Highs (generally US terminology for Stay-ups)— -- Same as Hold-ups. Stockings with bands at the top that holds them up without garters. The band may simply be thicker, or it may be lined with

Tights—in the US, opaque or patterned panty hose; in the UK may be sheer.

Welt—the doubled-over top band of a stocking.

Feel free to add to the list and let us know if you have different definitions for any of these terms!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pink Light Burlesque in TIME

"Jennifer Burke used to prize her breasts as her best feature. But it wasn’t until she had a double mastectomy that she found herself performing a burlesque striptease in front of an enthusiastic New York City crowd...."
Read more: