What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Part 2): We Love Lucy

My next installment of What I Did On My Summer Vacation features everyone’s favorite: a baby!  This is Lucy, who has the enviable distinction of being the first baby born to a member of our burlesque troupe.  On a hazy, humid late summer afternoon, she and her husband held a meet-and-greet for Miss Lucy, which of course provided countless adorable photo ops.  Now’s the time to look elsewhere if you hate sweet baby photos…

Lucy and Mama.

Good dreams.

Holding court.


Not too shabby.

She was clearly very responsive to all the attention.

Sweetly oblivious.

Oh, and those FEET.

Obviously, every burlesque troupe needs its own baby.  Which reminds me: I’m shipping off to Seattle for BurlyCon tomorrow morning!  Expect a full report (and definitely at least one or two more summer retrospective posts) when I make my triumphant, glitter-encrusted return to the east coast.


Insta(nt)gra(tification)m: Playing Catch-Up Edition

Man, even my Instagramming has been quiet lately.  These span a month and a half, a trip to Colorado (more on that to come), a burlesque show, apple picking, a wedding, and a few other random things thrown in there too.

1. An oddly intimate moment in the on-flight safety booklet.
2. Lights in Vail, CO.
3. The view from the window at my friend Sarah’s place in Boulder.
4. Rehearsal.
5. Somerville, lookin’ fine.
6. My attempt at drawing the Prince symbol.
7. My in-laws’ dog, Buddy.  So in love.
8. Tech rehearsal sexiness.
9. Wisest fortune yet
10. A burlesque prop cake in the making.
11. Pre-show glitter lips.
12. The mister picks an apple.
13. The setting for the wedding we attended last week.
14. My (mostly) successful apple crisp.
15. What I came home to yesterday.  That’s my husband under an afghan, wearing a straw boater hat.

Excuses, Excuses.

You have been woefully neglected, little blog.  I have many things to write about, and will do so soon, I promise.  I have been super busy and super exhausted, in part because I’ve been preparing for this:

In the Boston area?  Come check us out!  Sept 21, 22, 28 and 29!  Glitter!  Boobs!  Fake blood!  Boobs!  Unicorns!  Boobs!

You get the picture.

Another Insta(nt)gra(tification)m!

For your viewing pleasure, I have Instagrammed views of all sorts of summer things: camping, dogs, babies, sunburn, karaoke, just to name a few.

2. Dressed up as Dr. Girlfriend for our show at the Rusty Gear Con.
3. Buffy and the creature from Alien, before our private gig.
4. Sunday night karaoke crowd.
5. Elmo, is that you?
6. In the back of a windowless van, en route to 4th of July hangout.
7. Nicholas.
8. Lunch break.
9. Me, Paul, and the 87 bus.
10. Karaoke magic.
11. Trying to sell my stuff.
12. Vintage shirt tag.
13. Sam “the Beagle” Sensale.
14. My beautiful post-flea-market sunburn.
15. At the new falafel place in Davis Square.
16. Lucy, the newest human I know.  (Born just about two weeks ago to my friends Nancy and Mike)
17. Definitely the coolest thing that’s happened to me at work thus far.
18. Snacks at our office’s carnival-themed summer party.
19. My current favorite beer, enjoyed on our camping trip.
20. New Kork-Ease sandals that were waiting for me when we returned from camping.  They were on sale!
21. Burly-q rehearsal.

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth.

So apparently*, today is Embrace Your Geekness Day.  In honor of this most sacred of holidays, I give you Polly Surely** in full Hogwarts (Gryffindor, to be specific) regalia.

This was a couple weeks ago, when I dusted off my Ginny Weasley routine for a private bachelorette party.  When I last did this routine, my hair was about eight inches longer, so this time I got to wear this luxurious red wig.  And yes – that tie is official Harry Potter merchandise.  Of course.

I figure everyone, regardless of how cool they may be, has something they geek out about.    I’ve got Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, the Hunger Games, Shakespeare, Lost…to name a few.  What about you?

* That is, according to today’s Etsy Finds e-mail.

** Polly’s my burlesque alter ego, for those of you who may have forgotten.

Insta(nt)gra(tification)m 4

Today’s episode of Insta(nt)gra(tification)m brings us many places, from bars to movie theaters to bars to…okay, pretty much mainly bars, actually.

A classy new desktop image for my Macbook.

Morning in my living room.

Sound advice.

Are they or aren’t they?

Notes from pub trivia.

Outside my office.

Goat cheese brain.

My Little Ponyhead.

Videodrome Discotheque.

Time to go home.

Proof of successful porch wine evening.

Vintage bathing suit I bought at Davis Square Flea Market.

Bela Lugosi.

Living room rehearsal.

Insta(nt)gra(tification)m 3

In this edition of Insta(nt)gra(tification)m, I give you a craft beer festival, a thunderstorm, a tattoo appointment, two burlesque shows and other various things that I (and my phone) have seen lately.


Waiting to get in to the American Craft Beer Fest.

High Horse Brewery from Amherst.

Late-night Lucy.

Slide found on the ground outside the Davis Square Flea Market.

Our friend likes good beer.

Portrait of the artist as a housewife.

One of the few gummy bears I found placed around our neighborhood.

Disconcerting bar decor.

Storm over Boston Harbor, as seen from my office.

Davis Square breakfast companions.

Tools of the trade.

Saturday night dinner for four.

Paul and the thrill of the game.

A little Sunday night burlesque.

“I am fully aware that the camel toe in this outfit is fucking epic.” – Liz Fang, our troupe’s emcee.

More Insta(nt)gra(tification)m

I give you the last 2.5 weeks, as seen through my wonky Virgin Mobile Android:

Prop-makin’ for a new routine.

Backyard fire at my friend Courtney’s.

Idyllic in Somerville.

Allix Mortis changing in the car, pre-show.

Undoubtedly the most photographed sign in Ralph’s Diner in Worcester.

Tijuana Sweetheart, with whom we had the pleasure of sharing a stage.

Day-after-show hair: burlesque is nothing if not glamorous.

Lunch on the patio at my office.

State Street orange line stop.

Hotel Marlowe and a little of my husband.

My dad and Aunt Susan, before my sister’s wedding.

My own wedding shots.

Porch wine, candlelight and the White Album.

A friend we made at Kimball Farm.

Maybe not the best mini-golf shoes.

Kimball Farm and a little more of my husband.


Feeling self-congratulatorily bohemian (and cleavagey), sipping wine and writing out on our porch.

Our friends Hallelujah the Hills’ CD release party.

Beard here.

So did I!

Hazy Memorial Day bathroom self-portrait.



Sorry for the overload.  What can I say?  Life’s been aesthetically pleasing these days.

Emily Meets Burlesque, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Cover Myself in Glitter

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.

Litte gender-neutral Emily and her feminist mama.

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).

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.

Early self-expression.

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.

…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‘s amateur 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.

Taking it off.

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.


Footnote: I actually started writing this because I really want to talk about burlesque and feminism.  It’s come to my attention recently that there is the opinion out there that all neo-burlesque is inherently un-feminist.  Obviously, burlesque is a topic I feel very strongly about, and I really do want to discuss this, but I felt like it was necessary to provide a bit of my background first.  So stay tuned for part two!