Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Interview with Dr. Sketchy's Special Guest Ruby Solitaire (NYC)

For our next two sessions, Boston's branch of Dr. Sketchy's is honored to be hosting two different out-of-town performers (see our previous post for more on September's guest...). Our first guest will be Ruby Solitaire from NYC!  We got a few words... well really, a few very well-crafted sentences... out of her about who she is and what she loves about burlesque. So come check out the fabulous Miss Ruby after you read this!

Tuesday August 28, 2012
7:30 - 9:30 pm
Club Café
209 Columbus Ave, Boston
$8 if you're drawing
$10 if you're just ogling

Who are you, what's your thing, how long have you been doing burlesque - tell me the basics about you and what you do.

I'm just a girl who really, really loved "Gypsy" when she first saw the Bette Midler version on TV - it was just fated to happen after that, though it took running away from a marriage and moving in with a psychobilly band to get me to where I am now. I've been doing burlesque since 2009, when I took a class with Trixie Little. I was lucky and sort of fell into a lot of shows right away. When I started I did a lot of rockabilly numbers, but since then I've moved pretty confidently into nerdlesque - I'm a huge geek, and love that nerd culture is having a super sexy renaissance. I'm really proud to be a part of that

Describe the first act you ever performed. What are you proud of about it?

I was lucky in that Trixie is an amazing teacher. I've heard wonderful things about NYSB, and taken some classes there that really blew me away, but Trixie gave me a great foundation that I still fall back on, and she really helped me with my first couple acts. My first night performing was to a packed theater in Northampton, MA and I did both a group number to St. James Infirmary and a solo act to the original version of Tainted Love. With both I was proud that I learned the choreography as well as I did - I can be a klutz and a space cadet - but it was also a huge boost to my self esteem. Anyone who gets up on stage and does this should be proud of that very first night, because you have no idea what to expect, and it really does change your life. What I'm most proud of is that Tainted Love is an act that I have continued refining and growing and still can pull out and perform today. I mean, who doesn't love an act that starts out with a girl running onstage with a pistol? 

Do you have any backstage rituals for getting ready for a show?

I really don't - there's never enough space or time for that sort of thing! I suppose my ritual happens before I get to an event - I listen to the music for my numbers over and over for hours before the show, usually while I'm driving there (I travel all over the place). I walk through the routines in my head . . . though sometimes I get a bit carried away and start doing arm movements in the car. I get strange looks from other drivers. 

What do you love or hate about the burlesque scene?

I love that the burlesque scene really is one of the few places where anyone of any look, color, body type, gender - whatever - can get up on stage and be the sexiest thing you've ever seen. It legitimately is. There's very little tolerance for anyone who tries to change that. Unfortunately, there is definitely stratification, and there are promoters who - despite the ethos we try very hard to maintain as a community - still only work with girls who look a certain way. This is unfortunate, and I wish it wasn't a thing. Still, these promoters are the exceptions that prove the rule. Generally - if you know who you are and own it, that's sexy and that will get you a place on stage. I love that. 

Do you travel much? If so, where, and what's it like for you to perform in different cities? 

I travel all the time. This summer I'll have performed in a half dozen states and twice that many cities. I probably spend 20 hours a week on the road at a minimum. The crowds do have distinct characters in different cities, and you get to know what works best in what places. Even within cities the crowds vary - what happens at R-Bar is totally different than Parkside Lounge, and they're both in Manhattan. No matter where you are though, people are supportive and there to have a good time, which gives every night a really positive vibe. 

What do you like about doing Dr. Sketchy's?

 I think they really serve everyone in the artistic community - everyone knows it helps graphic artists practice, but it's also great for performers. We have to think about how our body moves and looks, it develops a lot of body awareness that you might take for granted. It's also great to make art social, rather than hiding away in a room, sketching eggs and soda cans.

Any upcoming shows or classes to promote?

Friday 9/7: Doctor Sketchy's Northampton (MA) - Alice In Wonderland Theme
Saturday 9/8: Hypergender Burlesque, NYC - X-Rated CartoonZ Show
Tuesday 9/18: Hotsy Totsy Burlesqe, NYC - Doctor Who Show
More can be found on my website,, or my facebook under Ruby Solitaire Burlesque

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dr. Sketchy's Boston presents... Deanna Deadly!

On Sunday September 9, the Boston branch of Dr. Sketchy's (run by Truth Serum Productions) will be hosting Chicago's own Deanna Deadly, a fetish model and burlesque performer who has toured the nation extensively.  

Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School Burlesque Life Drawing Class is the class you always wished they had offered in school. Beer, prizes, hot models that strip off layers between poses, tips (bring your $ingle$!) and a general laid back atmosphere with no pressure to draw well... Sounds like paradise, yes? Founded in NYC in 2005 by Molly Crabapple, the Dr. Sketchy's Empire has branches in over 100 cities worldwide.

photo by James Alexander, latex by Cathouse
Sunday September 9, 2012
2:30 - 5:30 pm
Great Scott
1222 Comm Ave, Allston
$8 if you're drawing
$10 if you're just ogling

In honor of her quick stopover here in The Hub, Deanna graciously granted us a mini-interview.
Who are you? What's your thang?

My name is Deanna Deadly. I’ve been a full time model for five years, a DJ for two and also doing burlesque for two. I travel pretty much full time doing modeling and burlesque and DJing with a group of girls in Chicago. We call ourselves Psychobitches Outta Chicago. We play Punk, Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Gothabilly and all the other good stuff in between.

Tell us about the first act you ever performed. What are you proud of about it?

The first time I EVER performed was with Emily Marilyn at the D.C. Fetish Ball in 2010. I was her slave/sub for the headlining act of the weekend. I didn’t have to do too much but I LOVED it. After doing runway numerous time for designers since 2008 I had been wanting to do Fetish/Burlesque performances so I was really excited to be able to start out with something fairly easy. My first solo performance was in NJ at Hell’s Kitchen for the Thursday night burlesque show they do every week. I performed to Robert Gordon's "Red Hot."  I was extremely nervous but I think I did allright for my first time.

photo by James Alexander, latex by Cathouse
Do you have any backstage rituals for getting ready for a show?

I try not to worry too much and just go over my act a few times. If you're going to mess up then it’s going to happen and you just have to catch yourself and roll with it.

Most embarrassing moment onstage?

I have been extremely lucky to not really have anything bad happen to me, though I try to be graceful if I slip or mess up and pretend like its part of the act! Funnily enough the only any bit embarrassing moment I can think of was when I was performing at Late Bar in Chicago for my birthday a few weeks ago and one of my brother’s (drunk) friends threw his coat on the stage, but I didn’t trip or slip up or anything ;)

What do you love or hate about the burlesque scene?

I LOVE being able to have the free will to choose my own songs the majority of the time, and my outfits and just really let my creative imagination run wild. I perform at a place in Chicago called the 1901 Gallery often and they have some really fun and unique themes every month. It’s really fun to go outside the box and come up with new acts that I wouldn’t normally come up with if there weren’t a theme. I unfortunately do see some catty insecure girls that try to be extremely competitive to the point of hurting other girls’ feelings in this scene. I try my best to stay out of all of that as a performer and model.

Do you travel much? If so, where, and what's it like for you to perform in different cities?

I travel CONSTANTLY. I generally do a roadtrip at least every other month. I’m heading to Detroit, Toronto, Montreal and upstate NY before heading to Boston in September. I’ll also be driving down to Texas and hitting New Orleans and Memphis, TN on the way home in November.
What do you like about doing Dr. Sketchy's?

I actually have yet to do a Dr. Sketchy's but have always wanted to! I have done a few life drawing classes but I have a feeling this is going to be my favorite ;)


What do you have coming up?

Well, besides Dr. Sketchy’s on Sep 9th (which I’m super excited about!) I’ll be doing runway at the Montreal Fetish Weekend for Vengeance Designs on Aug 31, and I’ll also be doing a group act at Montreal Fet Weekend on Sep 1st and performing with Julie Simone on Sep 2nd. I’ll also be performing with Hot and Heavy Burlesque in Chicago for the Queen Show September 29th (Venue TBA). No t confirmed yet but I may be performing in Dallas in November as well!

How can people find you?

My fanpage is and for anyone who wants to book me for Burlesque, DJing or for a photoshoot in any city they can contact me at

 Stay tuned for the Facebook event to go live - see you at Great Scott!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Babes in Boinkland: From Rags to VEGAS!

Boston's own Babes in Boinkland are heading to Las Vegas to compete at the 22nd annual Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend. W00t!

Founded in 2006 by The Slutcracker creator Vanessa White (aka Sugar Dish), the Babes did not initially plan on becoming a full-time dance company. Lucky for us, they decided one show was not enough.

Since their first day out, back in April of 2006 at the Middle East Downstairs, members have performed around New England and New York, Los Angeles, Montréal, and even Honduras. They have shared the stage with Weird Al Yankovic, The Beach Boys, Amanda Palmer, and Richard Cheese & LATM. They have graced the stages at Somerville Theatre, American Repertory Theatre's Oberon, The Wilbur Theatre, Boston Symphony Hall, Boston ICA, House of Blues, Bowery Ballroom, and more.

Following the break is the Story of BiB, as told by Sugar Dish (re-posted with permission) from the Babes in Boinkland blog.

The Babes have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their trip to Vegas. Check it out!

To keep up with Adventures in Boinkland, you can follow the Babes on Twitter and Facebook, and you can stop by their website for photos, videos, and more blog posts about their adventures.


Back in 2005, I (Vanessa, soon to be known as Sugar Dish) started working for Boink Magazine, a now-defunct soft-porn magazine founded by a journalism student at Boston University. I worked initially as a model, then as a writer and editor. I wrote erotica and porn reviews for the magazine and edited submissions.

When the magazine was getting started, we would throw parties at clubs around Boston to try to drum up some attention, and BOY did that work... but not in the way intended.

These parties would regularly get busted up by police under the charge that they were lewd sex parties.

Inappropriate Sexual Conduct! Indecent Exposure!

You ready for the funny part? These parties were no different than any other dance club party, except that they were actually tamer, primarily because they got broken up before most people were inebriated enough to even brave the dance floor. It was total nonsense, and was clearly only happening because the parties were associated with porn.

So the tiny Boink Magazine staff had a meeting. They brainstormed ideas about how to have a launch party for the new issue and NOT get broken up. I suggested that rather than throw a party, we instead put on a show.

What kind of show? they asked.

A burlesque show! I replied.

Earlier that yea I had visited New Orleans where I saw a burlesque show. It wasn’t my first, but it definitely took the cake in the my brief experience. I had felt inspired to give it a try. However, I didn’t know it would come about quite in this way...

GREAT! Can you get one together in 6 weeks?

Um.... Sure? I mean... I think so? Um... <PANIC>

I wasn’t really sure where to start. I had no connections whatsoever to the kinds of people I thought might be interested in taking their clothes off in front of an audience. Having been a classically trained dancer in a previous life,
alI I did know is that I wanted dancers.

So I hit up craigslist and MySpace and a local exotic dance studio. I held auditions. I found 4 dancers who would ultimately come to be known as Abby Normal, Bella Sapphire, Honey Suckle Duvet, and Machete. And me, Sugar Dish.

Because this show was being created as a one-time event in support of the magazine, Machete suggested the name “Babes in Boinkland.” And thus, the Babes were born.


We had our big debut on April 6, 2006 at the Middle East Downstairs and we 
performed to an audience about 500 deep. It was exhilarating! Amazing! Wonderful! Beautiful! And SEXY as all hell.

I had made the very deliberate decision to create a contemporary burlesque troupe: one that maintained the spirit of traditional burlesque, but which used current music, themes, and dance. We performed group numbers and solo numbers, all to the music stylings of artists like Prince, Gwen Stefani, Kelis, Def Leppard, G. Love, Queen, Tweet, and so on. We had made a show, from nothing, in six weeks. And that was that.... Or so I thought.

A little less than a year later, I contacted all the ladies to see if they wanted to do it again. I was met with a resounding “HELL YES!” We also picked up the woman who had performed as a go-go dancer at our first show, Pixy Dust, as a corps member.

We performed our second and third shows also at the Middle East, and made a pit stop in between the two at the first Boston Burlesque Expo in 2007, where we garnered a decent amount of press and started booking gigs like crazy.

We started performing regularly with Jerkus Circus, dancing at benefits and booking private events.

We competed at the 2nd Boston Burlesque Expo in 2008, and took home the prize for “Best Group.”

In 2009 we captured the Boston Phoenix Reader’s Poll award for “Best Dance Performers.”

The Babes have moved from producing variety-format shows to focusing our efforts into larger, coherent works like The Slutcracker, Abbey Road, and Beaver, though we can often be spotted performing as part of other producers’ showcases as soloists and ensemble members. We’re constantly working to create new material and better our performance skills.

And now, as you know, were heading to Vegas to show the burlesque community at large what we’re made of. VEGAS OR BUST.

We’ve come a long way, baby, and we have YOU to thank for your love and support!

Sugar Dish
and Babes in Boinkland


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mary Dolan Chews and Screws!

interview with Mary Dolan, by Sugar Dish
You've seen her perform with All The Kings Men. You've seen her wield a dildo in The Slutcracker. You've seen her host Bent Wit Cabaret and do stand-up at the Women In Comedy Festival.  I'm speaking, of course, of the legendary 86-years-young Mary Dolan

But what many of you may not know (TRIGGER ALERT: I'm about to tell you there's no Santa Claus...) is that Mary Dolan is a character created and portrayed by Jill "Petey" Gibson.

RIGHT?! Amazing!

Petey and Mary are heading to Los Angeles in June to attend the Groundlings school and to take a crack at the glamorous life in Tinsel Town. Sparkletown Productions is producing a show to fundraise for the trip, featuring a slew of Hubba-Hubbies!

Happy Trails!
A Send-Off to Mary Dolan
Sunday May 6. 8pm
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge
Get your tickets HERE.

Petey and I had lunch last week and I thought I'd share with you our conversation about the genesis of Mary, what Petey is hoping to find, and what she'll be sad to leave behind. Enjoy!

SUGAR:  When did you start performing as Mary Dolan?

PETEY:  I started a version of Mary Dolan about 5 years ago with All The Kings Men... the character slowly evolved, slowly started to get a voice, the costume got better... And now it's perfect. ;)

SUGAR:  Is she based on a person or did you make her up out of thin air?

PETEY:  A lot of her qualities are based on my grandmother, Mary Gibson, who did vaudeville revival shows in the 70s at the Orpheum in Foxboro. My grandmother was a big fat lady who used to do Sophie Tucker numbers with a bulls-eye on her ass. And when she died, I inherited her costume trunk.

SUGAR:  Did your grandmother ever get to meet Mary Dolan?

PETEY:  No, very sad. She did not live to see Mary.

SUGAR:  What has been your most memorable experience as "Mary"?

PETEY:  Ugh. So many... Auditioning for Last Comic Standing was slightly degrading, but also sort of fulfilling since everyone there was such a douchebag. My last night as Mary at The Slutcracker was super, super emotional... But you know, the first thing that occurred to me when you asked this question--which has nothing to do with performing--I was dressed as Mary, walking the streets of Provincetown, and a little girl--maybe three, maybe four-- broke away from holding her mom's hand, ran across the street and grabbed me around my knees and started saying "Nana! Nana!" I just stayed in the road and hung out with this girl for a couple of minutes. It was one of the first times I felt like "Oh. Mary's real." That everybody relates--a child sees their grandmother. It was so amazing that that happened! Luckily the parents were cool...

SUGAR:  That's way better than the time a little kid ran up and asked me why I was wearing my underwear outside.

PETEY:  Exactly the same! Children will always call it like they see it!

SUGAR:  Do you ever feel weird about having 2 personas? Especially where a lot of people have no idea that Mary is a character played by you, Petey Gibson, and that she's not an actual person? And do you ever feel competitive with Mary?

PETEY:  There's no competing with Mary. Mary has 3 times the amount of Facebook friends that I have. Mary's better in every regard... better in bed, I'm sure.... It is weird. I mean, it's super gratifying that people buy into this person, and I worked very hard to keep [Mary and me] separate on purpose, and then I slowly began to realize "Uh-oh. I'm not going to have a career if nobody knows that this successful thing that I do is some anonymous [person]." But people don't want to know, also.

SUGAR:  It's like telling someone that Santa Claus isn't real.

PETEY:  It is! It's a very willing suspension of disbelief. I told a guy one time, because we were having this conversation about how great Mary was, and I finally said, "You know, that's me." And his face just died. So that was me trying it out and it didn't work very well.



PETEY:  So delicious.

SUGAR:  Mmmm hmmmm. So you're gearing up to go to Los Angeles, to make it in Hollywood, to go to the Groundlings school. How much of this plan has to do with the Mary character? Is Mary something you're looking to develop in L.A.? Do you want to develop a larger body of work? What is your intent with this career move?

PETEY:  So, I'm going to the Groundlings school, and there I hope to develop more depth in more characters. Mary's very well fleshed-out, and then I have a couple of characters which are kind of "there"; I have their costumes, I know their basic points-of-view... but nothing really touches Mary in terms of popularity, or people connecting with them. I'm also looking to figure out how to perform as myself and get my improv chops up. I'd love to start a weekly comedy show hosted by Mary.

SUGAR:  What prompted you to make this move, exactly?

PETEY:  What really got it all started was that Nate Greenslit of Bury Me Standing went to highschool with a guy who now works at CBS, and told him about Mary. He thought it sounded great, and asked that I send him a reel. So Evan O'Television put together this amazing reel for me (embedded above during the commercial break) and when the guy saw it, he said, "When you come to L.A., let's have a meeting." And I was like "Yeah right. When I come to L.A." Then I was like, "Wait a minute. CBS is telling me something. The Groundlings is in L.A." Everything seemed to be going together, so I figured out how to get to L.A. with my partner at the time, had a meeting at CBS that went really well, met with their head of casting, then I got into the Groundlings... it just felt like that right-time right-place moment. And it seems crazy thinking about leaving Boston, but I want more. I want to be on TV. I want to really be focusing on my comedy career. And L.A. is where you go for TV and movies. So hopefully I'll find a bigger stage and, you know, a more mainstream audience. I'm really in love with my underground audience, but I also don't want to just preach to the choir. I would love to be a huge out-queer on Saturday Night Live as Mary Dolan. That would be awesome.

SUGAR:  Have you thought about the repercussions this is going to have on ME?


PETEY:  I have reflected on this. Have you thought about what happens when I get famous and I need a #1 burlesque dancer on my nightly show? Just sayin'.

SUGAR. Awwww.

[making out]

SUGAR: I heard there was this show happening this weekend in your honor called "Happy Trails"? A send-off? What's that about.

PETEY: I have to tell you, I am so excited and also a little scared about this show.  The first half is hosted by Mary Dolan and is a bunch of my favorite numbers from the Boston arts community. The second half is hosted by Liz Fang, and I have no idea what is happening content-wise. Apparently weirdos in the community are doing things...

SUGAR: I have no idea what you're talking about.

PETEY:  Content-wise I think the show is going to be amazing. It's all my favorite talent from the last 7-8 years. I think it's going to be a celebration of where the community is at, too, because we all push each other in new and great directions. We all built this together. That sounds cheesy.

SUGAR:  That's fine. I totally agree.

PETEY:  I'm afraid I'm totally going to cry.

SUGAR:  You are totally going to cry.

PETEY:  I'm gonna get hammered at intermission.

SUGAR:  Me too.

PETEY: Oh nooooo. No more threatening me!  ...This sandwich is so good....

Comedian and character actor Petey Gibson is the creator of beloved 86-year old character Mary Dolan.  As Mary, Petey has hosted Boston's hit series, Bent Wit Cabaret, for two years; originated the role of Auntie Drosselmeyer in bawdy ballet satire The Slutcracker;  and performed stand-up at Gotham Comedy Club, NYC's Comix Comedy Club, Mottley's, ImprovBoston, and The Women in Comedy Festival 2010-2012 among many other venues. As a member of the award-winning comedy troupe All The Kings Men, Petey has traveled internationally and brought a whole cast of characters to diverse audiences.  In Boston, Petey has produced, written, and performed in countless shows, including the sold-out smash The Mary Dolan Show.  This summer, Petey heads to The Groundlings School in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday! Odyssey of IMMODESTY!

All their bags are packed, they're ready to go.

Rogue Burlesque is putting on a show.

They'd hate to wake you up to say--

WAKE UP! Check out Rogue's newest adventure: Odyssey of IMMODESTY

These lovely ladies plan to take you on a journey across the globe (and maybe beyond?) all from the comfort of your cabaret table at Oberon. Can you say "table service"?

The show promises
"Quiz show blood-lust!"
"Yes-we-can-can girls!"
"Hot BOYlesque surprises 
from the men of Sirlesque!"

Want in on this gorgeous madness?

The Rogues will board the stagecraft
Sunday, April 29 at 8PM (doors @7:30)
(Red Line to Harvard Square)

18+. $15 standing. $20 seated.

 Get your tickets in advance* HERE.

Good luck with that.

Don't delay your trip any longer. Get your tickets while they last. You deserve it.
Here's to the semi-naked stay-cation of your dreams! Bon voyage! XO!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DREAM WEIRD / FIND ART HERE: World Domination through Art? We're Trying!

by UnAmerika's Sweetheart Karin Webb and Rich Burns
You may have seen Find Art Here and Dream Weird floating around Facebook these days, and for good reason. Two Hubba-Hubbers, Karin Webb (All the Kings Men and Axe to Ice Productions) and Rich Burns (as seen in The Slutcracker and Boston Tease Party presents Beaver), are creating a new chapter in the book that is the Boston arts scene. They plan on taking Boston flavor burlesque, music, art, dance, theater, (and beyond) to the International stage. Find Art Here and Dream Weird are two parts of the same company. Here's how it works:
Dream Weird is the name of our theater company.  This company consists of performers who travel to different cities (National and International) to collaborate with artists from those cities.  They collaborate and perform with a "Host" performer during their mission out of town.  And, beyond just creating art, these performers also document their trip, attend art events and blog about what they see, they also interview artists in the community they are working with, and network with as many artists as they can during their stay.  When the Dream Weird performers come back home to Boston, they create a performance for the Boston audience in reaction to their travels.
Find Art Here is the internet location where all the information collected by Dream Weird artists will be shared.  It is the virtual "Lonely Planet" for Artists which will endeavor to aid artists and art lovers in connecting with each other all over the world.  On this site you'll find ongoing blogs about art we've seen and the artists we've met, as well as documentation from each city we tackle.  You'll also find, city by city, a listing of all the artists we think you should know about based on who we meet and who they think the world should know about. The goal is to make Boston live up to it's moniker of being “Hub of the Universe”.
First stop on our whirlwind art-venture?

We're really excited about spending some time this summer in Berlin and a couple of other cities in Europe! We are fortunate enough to have connections out there and are working on securing the artists we'll collaborate with as you read this!

If this idea floats your boat, we'd love to hear about it.  If you are an artist or someone who'd like us to come to your city, or just plain want to get involved in other ways with this project, please contact us through our website.
And then there's always financial support. In order to create art, travel far and wide, and produce a full show for our home team when the time comes, we need to raise a pretty big chunk of change before the end of May. We have started an IndieGoGo campaign to aid us in these endeavors:

Please donate if you can, we appreciate all the help we can get.  From $5 to $5000 we have great incentives and we encourage donating at whatever level you can!

Aside from monies, please spread the word!  If you find our idea compelling, please tell people about it.  And THANK YOU. We hope to cross your path again on our journey around the world and back again.

Vive la Liberté dans l'Art,
Karin and Rich
Twitter: @FindArtHere
Facebook: Friend us!
Facebook: Like us!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hubba Hub Welcomes "Wicked Pole Dance and Burlesque"

Do you ever find yourself bumping and grinding and flipping your hair on the subway? Have an irrational love for firehouses? Baby, you've got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE POLE.

You want to learn to pole dance? Allow us to introduce you to a budding new member in the Hubba Hub:

Wicked Pole Dance and Burlesque is a fusion of aerial arts, attitude, and sexy striptease. The company's main focus is to provide venues and performance opportunities to local entertainers who want to practice or show off their skills, be they hoop, aerial, pole, comedy, drag, belly dance, erotic performance art, or classic burlesque. All members of all local troupes are invited to be a part of Wicked's performances representing themselves or as representatives of their own companies. More on that later...

Philip Deal, artistic director at Wicked, is also actively building a class schedule geared toward those who wish to learn exotic, burlesque, and circus arts--and oh yes, this includes the mighty pole. You may recognize Philip and his pole dancing expertise from Boston's holiday smash hit The Slutcracker.

Philip will be starting his "Level One Pole" classes this Tuesday, April 10. The six-week session is designed to not only teach you gorgeous and sexy moves on the pole, but is also a sexy and super fun way to gain strength and improve overall fitness. You can pre-register for this six week session at Wicked's website. There are only a few spots left in this workshop, so act fast!

6 Tuesdays, starting April 10, 2012.
7:00-8:30pm in Central Square Cambridge

Please contact or call 617.899.9237 for further details.

From Wicked's website

Level One Pole:
"In this level you will have a full introduction to how to prepare your body for pole with a floor warm up and strength building exercises on the pole, learn all of the basic spins, how to climb, and learn simple choreography to weave what you learn together on “static” pole." 

Philip has also set up a regular performance showcase at the Dark Lady in Providence, RI. Read on if you're a seasoned performer or even an aspiring star! This could be a perfect outlet for you! 

Philip writes:
"The Dark Lady in Providence RI has graciously provided their club every third Thursday of the month to host our monthly event. If you have an interest in being part of one of our events please email Once again this venue is a great place to start if you are new to burlesque and are seriously trying to have real performance time on stage with an audience."
Here's to hoping we see you on a pole or on a stage in the near future! Have a great weekend!
The Hub

Friday, March 30, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Cover Myself in Glitter

by Polly Surely, Rogue Burlesque

Little Polly in her gender-neutral overalls
with her proud feminist mama
From the moment I had any say in the matter, I was a girly girl.  This was actually quite a feat, in light of the way I was raised.  Those of you born in the late 70s and early 80s may remember the gender-neutral child-rearing that was popular with many baby boomer types.  I was no exception; at any given time you could find me in the corduroy overalls and primary colors with muted browns and beiges that were de rigeur for any self-respecting hippie parent.  I didn’t have any strong notions of femininity forced on me; for instance, I have no memories of my mother putting on makeup or perfume.

However, as early as I can remember, I wanted to be pretty and feminine and adored.  As I got a little older, this became more specific: I was totally in awe of the bombshell, the femme fatale.  By the time I turned ten, I’d discovered – and idolized – Marilyn Monroe and Jessica Rabbit (who I tried to emulate by draping my hair over one eye – I suspect the effect probably wasn’t the same).

Early self-expression
The thing is, I was never fed these images.  If anything, it was quite the opposite: I sought them out. I wanted to know everything there was to know about how to be feminine and seductive. My early make-believe games centered around scandal-ridden movie starlets and prostitutes (no, really).  And don’t get me wrong: I’m pretty sure this was met with a healthy dose of parental feminism (and well-concealed raised eyebrows, no doubt). But still, they let me be me. It’s not that I wasn’t given the opportunity to choose for myself between pink and blue or Barbies and Legos. It’s just that Barbie almost always won. And then I’d take her clothes off.

For some reason I was just totally fascinated by the idea of that femininity and sexuality could hold their own innate power.  Somehow, I understood this from a very early age (and yes, I knew about sex from a very early age).  I don’t know if I’ll ever really know why.  But for whatever reason, it seems to have been nature – not nurture – that made me into the flirtatious, glitter-loving, attention-seeking creature I am today.  All my parents did was let that person run free.

Of course, it wasn’t always that easy.  Like (far too) many women, I grappled with body image issues throughout my adolescence and most of my twenties.  Suddenly my body wasn’t my friend, and I didn’t feel like that powerful, sexy persona was attainable anymore.  After years of ups and downs (on the scale and in my self-esteem), I had a life-changing moment: I saw my first live burlesque show

Sure, I’d heard a bit about the neo-burlesque scene, and was secretly fascinated by it.  But the idea of doing it myself?  No way.  That felt wrong, almost narcissistic. Maybe if my body was “better.”  You know: flatter stomach, smaller chest, fewer scars, longer legs, all that.   But that all went out the window when I saw a show for myself.  I saw women of every shape imaginable on that stage. Women who looked how I thought I was supposed to look, and women who looked how I actually look. And they all looked beautiful and sexy and so very happy. And that’s when I knew I had to to get up there too.

Taking it off.
…and so I did!  I took classes, I volunteered, I did my research, and I bought my first pair of pasties (red sequined stars, for those who are curious).  By the time I entered Rogue Burlesque‘s Lucky 13 Amateur Burlesque Competition, I must have done something right, because, lo and behold, I won.  Somehow, after years of self-doubt, I found myself comfortable in my skin again.  It took a long time, but I could finally be the confident, sexy, powerful woman I’d been so fascinated by when I was young.  A year and a half later, I’ve joined the troupe as a full-time member.  And I’ll share a secret with you: I’m pretty sure I weigh the most I have ever in my life.  And yet, this is the happiest I’ve been in my body since I was a kid.

I’m not saying the only way to self-acceptance is to get up on stage and show off your ta-tas.  But it was certainly what I needed to do to remember that whatever my body looks like, it is a miraculous, magical, beautiful thing, and it is mine.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Tax Man Cometh: Burlesque & Taxes

By SPECIAL GUEST Lexa Lusty (Dallas, TX)

This article was originally printed in Pin Curl Magazine.

Lexa Lusty by Oblivion Images
It’s tax time.  The time of year you act like all those burlesque shows, DJ gigs, and emcee spots were just for fun.  No need to report anything, right?  Many people think that as long as they are receiving cash or not receiving a W-2 or 1099 they are not responsible for filing the taxes owed on that income.  This is untrue. Filing your taxes isn’t just about obeying the law or contributing to the fiscal health of our country. It isn’t something to fear and avoid either .Let’s take a look how and what you need to file, and, of course, those exciting questions about what you can write off.

First, let’s determine if you have a business or a hobby.  The IRS requires you to report all income regardless of the classification! Uncle Sam considers the following when determining if you are in it for fun or if you have a business:
  • Do you spend enough time and energy into the activity to indicate an intention to make a profit?
  • Do you rely on income from the activity?
  • Have you changed methods of operation to improve profitability?  Did you build a website to promote yourself?  Did you take classes to learn new skills or refine the ones you have?
  • Did you make a profit in any three of five consecutive tax years?
If you answered “No” to all of these questions, then you probably have a hobby and a tax problem.  Unfortunately, hobby losses are limited to the amount of the reported hobby income and if you don’t itemize then you can’t write-off any of the expenses unless your adjusted gross income is less than $16,000.  If your adjusted gross income is less than $16,000, then you probably have more things to worry about than taxes- like trying to put food on the table.  I know.  Don’t kill the messenger!

If your adjusted gross income is greater than $16,000 and you itemize then you can deduct the hobby related expenses up to your hobby income but, they are subject to a 2% floor of your adjusted gross income.  For example, if your adjusted gross income is $50,000 then you must have miscellaneous deductions greater than $1,000 ($50,000 x .02).  The first 2% of miscellaneous deductions don’t count so to speak.

If you answered” Yes” to the last question, then you definitely have a business.  Sole proprietors report the income and expenses of their business on Schedule C of the 1040.

Finally, you’ll need to keep receipts for your expenses in the event that you are ever audited.  It’s also a good idea so you don’t have to guess how much you’ve spent in the last year.  Being audited is not as scary as it sounds when you have receipts to support your case.  To do it right the first time, let’s take a look at some common expenses that you might incur.  You might be surprised what the law allows and doesn’t.

Yes, you can write off the business portion of the following on Schedule C:
  • Photo shoots
  • Business cards
  • Accounting fees
  • Alterations
  • Amounts spent on exercise (i.e. gym memberships and class fees)
  • Props
  • Cell phone bills
  • Agent commissions
  • Rent for storage
  • Mileage or Actual Auto Expenses
  • Parking
  • Travel
  • Advertising
  • Computers & Equipment
  • Insurance
  • Interest on credit card charges related to business expenses
  • Festival Fees
  • Legal & Professional Fees
  • Office Expenses
  • Rent
  • Office Supplies
No, you cannot write off:
  • Clothing that is adaptable to everyday wear
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Interest on your credit card related to non-business expenses
  • Manicures, pedicures and other personal care expenses
Be careful with:
  • Lunches that have a business purpose – Yes you can write them of, but not if it is lunch with coworkers or considered a meal for yourself while working late.  It’s good to write on the receipt what was discussed and who was present.
  • Bar Tabs/Entertainment.  These have to pass the Directly-Related Test.  These are deductible (up to the 50% Meals & Entertainment limit) if the *main purpose* of the entertainment/meeting was to conduct business, you did engage in business during the meeting, and you expected to receive income or some other business benefit in the future.
For the most complete resource of allowable deductions and assistance in navigating your return, it is a good idea to consider the use of a tax professional especially considering their fees are deductible.  Feel free to contact me for a referral at

By day, Lexa Lusty has worked as an accountant since 2007, has prepared taxes for all business types and has experience in operations management, internal audit, and fraud. 

This material does not constitute tax, legal or accounting advice and Lexa Lusty is not in the business of offering such advice. It was not intended or written for use and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding any IRS penalty. Anyone interested in these topics should seek advice based on his or her particular circumstances from independent professional advisers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feeling Fabulous! Burlesque Pre-Show Rituals

We all have our daily habits: a cup of coffee, a quick bite to eat, maybe a morning meditation.  These activities put us in the right frame of mind to start the day and tackle whatever might come. But transforming into one’s burlesque persona and getting ready for a performance can be a process in and of itself…one that apparently requires a lot of glitter!

We asked Boston’s burlesque beauties, “How do you make yourself feel fabulous before going on stage?”  Here’s what they said: 

Johnny Blazes puts on hir face
I listen to Salt n’ Pepa’s “Body Beautiful” while putting on my face. – Johnny Blazes

Giant eyelashes! – Femme Brulée

For me it's all about the hair and makeup.  How can I not feel otherworldly and magical and sexy when coated in glitter?  Oh, and about half a glass of wine helps too. – Polly Surely

I love makeup, and I love the time I get with it before a show.  I will specifically set aside an hour to really take the time and pamper myself, hair and makeup wise.  I hate that rushed feeling even if you are running number to number, so the time I have with my mirror is my own personal time. It's where I transform from "me" to Victory Rolls and it's the key to my psyche, not to separate the reality from the persona, but to merge the two into something powerful, brave, and sexy on the inside. – Victory Rolls

Usually good music helps create or maintain my mood, gets me excited for a show, or helps calm the nerves if I am feeling anxious.  – Malice in Wonderland

Mary Widow puts on a wig cap.
Photo by Albie Colantonio
I apply tons and tons of foundation, put in my contacts, and practice twirling. There’s something about twirling tassels that makes me feel so amazing. – Allix Mortis

When I get into costume and people tell me how they “Can’t wait” to see what I’m about to do, [that makes me feel fabulous]! – Mary Widow

The transformation to Dixie is not complete until the shiny red wig and glitter lipstick is in place. Once those are on, I’m ready to tackle the world! – Dixie Douya

It’s all about finding that right prop or gimmick or movement that allows me to fully inhabit the character or the spirit of the act; whether its having one shoe on in my zombie acts, turning on all my LEDs in my Robo-Antoinette act; my prosthetics for Ereshkigal -- just those little elements that flip a switch in me so I can live in the moment of the act. Devilicia

I dance (wiggle and squirm really) in front of the mirror - but then again, that’s how I make myself feel fabulous before leaving my bedroom in the morning, or the dressing room at a store, the table after lunch, or at a sunglasses display on the sidewalk. – UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb

Polly Surely and her glitter
Photo by Julie Gelfand
So whether you wiggle, squirm, coat yourself in glitter, or rock out to your favorite jam, developing an “I’m so f’ing fabulous” routine can make you feel like a million dollars.

What are some of your favorite ways to pump yourself up, whether you’re going on stage or out for the night?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Side Effects - Breast Cancer and Burlesque

By Cyndi Freeman

This week we bring you a very special article from guest writer Cyndi Freeman and illustrator Tammy Stellanova. Cyndi shares her story about being advised by her doctor to have a double mastectomy "as a precaution," and how it inspired her to take up burlesque! 

If you have boobs...or just enjoy them...this story is for you! Below is a sneak preview -- to hear Cyndi's story in its entirety (and to see all of Tammy's awesome accompanying illustrations) go to The Story Collider, which originally published the story, Side Effects.

For the rest of Cyndi's story go to Story Collider. There's even an audio podcast!

Story by Cyndi Freeman. Ms. Freeman is a two-time FringeNYC award-winning performer and playwright. She performs burlesque as Cherry Pitz and is a co-producer of and performer with Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, New York’s only ongoing monthly burlesque soap opera. She is also co-producer of and a performer with monthly burlesque, storytelling, and comedy show And I Am Not Lying. In addition to burlesque, Ms. Freeman is frequent performer of live storytelling in NYC and a recipient of a grand prize playwriting fellowship award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (with collaborator Ellen Groves). Her other credits include HBO, Comedy Central and Showtime Television.

Tammy Stellanova is an illustrator and comic artist who splits her time between the big island of Hawai’i and Berkeley, California. Tammy is the author of a number of self-published comics, as well as an upcoming book featuring her nature illustrations. You can read more about Tammy and see her work at, as well as at, a site that features her illustrated natural history jewelry.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Breaking Into Boston’s Burlesque Scene

By Dixie Douya, Rogue Burlesque

So you’ve bought (or made) your first pair of tasseled pasties and now you’re ready to twirl them on stage for the entire world to see! But how do you go from dancing alone in your living room to performing for a real live audience? Here are seven steps to begin your burlesque career:

1. Go see live burlesque! There is so much burlesque in Boston, and the tone and style of each show varies considerably (check out the calendar of events on the Hubba Hub home page for listings). Whether you are into gore and horror, goofy storylines, fabulous costumes, incredible dancing, political satire, weird characters, high glamour, comedy, or the grotesque and macabre, there is quite literally something for everyone. By seeing what already exists in the scene, you’ll find what style of burlesque you gravitate to and what most appeals to you. Knowing what you like and don’t like is the first step in identifying your own persona and style.

After shows, spend some time thinking about which performers and routines you most enjoyed and why (or didn’t enjoy and why). Watch shows not just as a fan, but also through a critical lens. 

2. Start thinking about your persona and skills. Are you naturally funny and goofy? Have you been dancing since you were young? Do you like acting and being a different character on stage? Did you love playing dress-up as a child and want to do it again? Whatever your skills or desires, know what they are so you can play to your strengths. Start to develop a burlesque persona that highlights who you are now or who you want to be on stage. This will help you find your niche in the larger scene and will help you later when you pitch yourself to producers, trying to get that first gig or audition.

Ms. Sassypants & Polly Surely
teach boa moves to beginners
Photo by Julie Gelfand
3. Take a class. You can home your dancing skills, acting chops, or comedic timing through classes on each. But if you’ve never done striptease before, taking a beginner’s burlesque class is worth doing.  Learn the lingo, identify your best assets, strengthen your persona, and learn the basic moves and removes. The Hubba Hub’s own Rogue Burlesque teaches both a beginner class (Sassy, Classy & Brassy: Burlesque for Beginners) and one about developing a narrative for your routine (Burlesque Fabulousness: Taking Yourself to the Next Level).

4. Google and watch burlesque online. Get to know who the big players are nationally and what makes them so fabulous. Hint: Avoid clicking on links to Burlesque: The Movie or The Pussycat Dolls; these may show up first in your search but are not representative of most actual burlesque. Instead, search for performances on YouTube from Viva Las Vegas, the Burlesque Hall of Fame, the New York or New Orleans Burlesque Festival, or Tease-o-Rama. Once you find someone you like, Google that performer and see what else he or she has done. Seeing the breadth of what is out there at the national level, you’ll soon realize that burlesque can be subtle and sexy, or crazy and over-the-top. But first and foremost, it aims to be entertaining and unforgettable.

Note: Watching burlesque online can be a great way to pick up new moves or get costuming ideas, but be very careful not to imitate your favorite performers too closely. Choosing songs that others are known for, lifting choreography or storylines wholesale, or imitating someone’s character without acknowledging it is not paying homage to these performers – it is stealing. Consider it the industry’s version of plagiarism. It is not looked upon kindly and will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons. Find ways to develop a persona, style, dance moves, character, and storyline that are unique to you!

5. Start working on a routine of your own. You’ve done the research, you’ve taken the classes, and now it’s time to actually DO it. You’re ready! Start with something that inspires you – a song, a story idea, a character – and begin to build a routine around it. Map out your choreography and write it down (seriously, write it down!). Ask friends and roommates to watch you and critique. Borrow a video camera, film yourself, and watch the results (watching video of ourselves is incredibly difficult but super, super helpful!).

Your first burlesque routine should be a solo, and should highlight your strengths as a performer. While duets and group numbers are fun to watch, they’re typically not allowed for auditions or amateur competitions.

6. Volunteer at shows. Volunteering is not only a great way to see lots of shows for free (all those ticket prices can add up!) but is also an important way to network with producers and performers and see if their scene is right for you. For example, stage kittening allows you to be backstage with performers but also get a little bit of face time on stage, too.  By getting to know performers on- and off-stage and developing relationships with them, you can learn backstage secrets (like where to shop for costumes), find out about upcoming auditions/opportunities, and build a rapport that will allow you to ask for advice.

Ask first if it is a good time to talk. Some performers will surprise you and say, “Sure, I’ll answer your questions while I put on my face.” Others would much rather talk to you outside of a show. Be respectful of these boundaries. Remember that show days can be hectic and stressful for even the most veteran of performers; the dancer who seems aloof and hard to approach may not really be a bitch, but may be calming her own nerves and trying to mentally and physically prepare to go on stage.

While there are plenty of exceptions, most people don’t land auditions or get hired to be part of a troupe from a cold call. In almost every case I can think of, producers and troupes hire whom they know or have gotten to know over time. Volunteering backstage is a great way for producers to know your name, overall vibe, strengths, professionalism, and personality. In the case of troupes or large casts who spend a lot of time together, backstage fit is at least as important as on-stage skills. So get to know us and let us get to know you!

Liz Fang announces The Bon Vivant as winner of the
November 2011 Lucky 13 Competition!
Photo by Lee Kilpatrick
7. DO IT! The best way to improve as a burlesque dancer is to get the hell out there and try it. There are regular annual auditions (such as for the Slutcracker), random auditions that pop up (you’ll need to keep an ear out to find out about them), and amateur competitions such as Rogue Burlesque’s Lucky 13, which happens 3-4 times a year.  Between the guest judges and the local producers who come to scout new talent, Lucky 13 is a terrific way to get stage experience in the eyes of Boston’s burlesque community. In addition, you’ll come out with a video of your performance, something that will significantly increase your chance of getting a response when you contact producers as a performer.

As with any new venture, going from enthusiastic hobbyist to paid professional can take time, talent, and patience, but the Boston burlesque scene offers many opportunities to get your first big break. Now get out there and, as we say before shows, “pop a pastie!!”

* Dixie Douya is the co-founder and director of Rogue Burlesque, and has coached dozens of first-time performers into Rogue’s Lucky 13 Amateur Burlesque Competition.