Ciao Bella!

Don’t know if you know this, but Maria Bella, “Baltimore’s Sicilian Princess” and founder of Gilded Lily Burlesque, is one of our favorite people on the planet.  (Of course, you are our favoritest person . . . don’t get jealous, I don’t want this to turn into a thing.)  She’s pretty much a superhero-nurse by day (she SAVES LIVES while I’m, I dunno, shooting rubber bands over the top of my cubicle), burlesque dynamo by night.  Actually, she does both of them at night, so I’m not really sure what she does during the day.

That’s not the point.

The point is she’s cool—cooler than us mere mortals anyway.  Oh, and she can hold her liquor.  I’ve never really been much of a drinker [cough], but on that rare occasion I’m feeling a pint, she can be counted on not to let an old soldier stand alone.

Last session was a little hectic—our photographer Jeff had an emergency that Monday night and wasn’t able to make it—so Alexis and I pretty much ran around like mad and did our best with what we had.  We aren’t professionals—well, actually, Alexis is pretty good; I, though, am not.  Unfortunately I’ve been coasting through life on my good looks and never bothered to figure out which end of the camera is which, so if you see a crappy photo or two, I took those and Alexis took all the good ones.

To be honest, I haven’t even looked at the photos yet.  Let’s take a look together, starting with the 1- and 2-minute poses.




Jeff Lance

Jeff Lance

Brian Dugan


Jeff Lance

Brian Dugan


Jeff Lance

Brian Dugan

Elstabo

We took a break so folks could get a drink, smoke, whatever (I don’t pay attention, as far as I know they were fighting with bottles out back), and then it was time for the 5-minute poses, the first of which is the opposite hand contest where, if you’re right-handed you draw with your left hand, and if you’re left-handed you draw with your right, and if you’re ambidextrous you get heckled by Alexis on stage, you freak.

The two winners received mysterious concoctions from Russell behind the bar.  Nope, I have no idea what was in them.  Probably something nasty.

Brian Dugan

Jeff Lance

Brian Dugan

Next up were the 10-minute poses, the first of which was, to go with Maria’s fabulous black widow costume (made by Marla Meringue!), the best incorporation of Maria eating her lover’s head. The winners received sketchbooks and calligraphy pens from Artist & Craftsman Supply which is just down the street on North & Howard.  (By the way, this was the last session A&C was going to sponsor—they’re a great shop and we wish them well. 🙂 )

Jeff Lance

Brian Dugan

Brian Dugan

Hallsi Killian

Marjan Al Hameed

The 20-minute poses were next up on the docket, the first of which was the best incorporation of something J.J. Abrams-related since it was apparently his birthday.  The winner received a gift card from Atomic Books on Falls Rd. just off the Avenue in Hampden.  If you haven’t been there, you’re being silly.  It’s pretty much a geek Mecca.

Jeff Lance

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Craig Hankin

The last 20-minute pose of the evening was an “I Dream of Jeannie” incorporation, with bonus points for the inclusion of Peter Falk or Columbo.  Yes, I know, it’s weird—we blame the alcohol.

Hallsi Killian

Kathy Daywalt

Paul Moscatt

Elstabo

Kilumal

Jeff Lance

Brian Dugan

Craig Hankin

We’d like to thank Maria Bella for an absolute amazing session (and horrible hangover the next day); our amazing sponsors Atomic Books, Baby Tattoo Books, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and our brand new sponsor Flying Dog Brewery(!); Stiger and Fred for helping me with all those pesky chairs; Tiffany, who tried (all the way from Houston, Texas) to find us a last minute photographer; the many folks who let us know they could help in the future if there’s ever another emergency; Russell for slinging drinks & tunes; Little Luna and Lauren Marleaux of Gilded Lily Burlesque for keeping me company at the bar; and Alexis for deftly wielding the microphone on stage.

So what’s next? What’s tonight, July 11th?

Snake-charming flying belly dancer on fire Rio!

Well, no fire.  Russell gets pissed every time I set something in the Windup on fire. But, there really might be a snake!

Snakes on a Dr. Sketchy’s!

How can we possibly top the last two sessions with Marla Meringue and Maria Bella?  HOW??!!  After many pickle back shots, the answer was obvious.  Bellydancing and mutha fuckin’ snakes.

Here’s a little bit of info on snakecharming-flying-bellydancer-on-fire Rio from her page

Rio is a certified yoga instructor whose style is ‘prana flow gone orientale’ following the trifecta method of YogaWorks that combines Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Viniyoga methods into a well rounded cohesive practice. She has studied and practiced with Anne VanValkenburg, Eddie Modestinni, Nicki Doane, Elise Miller, Roger Cole, and Natasha Rizopoulos with continuing education around the US and Canada…. Her style is driven by an anatomical approach to individual alignment and creating a personal experience and path for students, no matter what background or experience. Her experience focuses on degenerative joint and tissue disorders and rehabilitation, mobility limitations of EDS, fibromyalgia, MS, and Minears, with restorative yoga and dance for anxiety and depression, prenatal and early childhood bonding, and empowerment through women’s outreach.

All that, AND mutha fuckin’ snakes.

Can you picture it?  (Are you picturing what I’m picturing?  Flaming scenery crashing to the stage, Alexis flailing about with a snake on her head, me screaming in abject terror, Samuel L. Jackson firing warning shots into the foam tiles overhead right as Rio cold-cocks him?  Is that what you pictured, cause, God damn, that’s what I’m picturing.)  I mean, really, how many of you have ever had a chance to draw a snake?  Don’t raise your hands, I can’t see ’em.

Before you ask, I don’t know what type of snake it is.  To be honest, I’m pretty well-versed on snake-lore but most of that info comes from watching SyFy Anaconda movies.  Basically I’m picturing something like this.

Keep in mind that if things get out of hand, they always eat anyone in high heels first, so if you’re wearing those things, for God’s sake kick that shit off if it starts bursting through support beams and gobbling up people like it’s a high school graduation or something.

Oh, and I should point out that snakes are fickle creatures.  If it gets sick, decides to shed, or hijack a plane, we’re just plain out of luck, at least snake-wise. 

What else can I say to convince you?  Oh yeah, Flying Dog Brewery is now a permanent sponsor!  Hot diggity-damn!  Apparently you sweet-amazing-sexy people made a hell of an impression, cause they’re here to stay!  Not only that, but prizes from the coolest-Indy-bookstore-on-the-planet Atomic Books and the “everyonewantstobepublishedby” Baby Tattoo Books. 

Doors at 6, start at 7!

[This message was not approved by Alexis.]

Marla Meringue and 3 years of boozy drawing bedlam!

Best.  Session.  Ever.  Normally, I’ll shy away from saying things like that, even when I know it was, just cause I really don’t need a stiletto to the back of the head one late night out behind the Ottobar or wherever.  If you were there, though, you know it was, I know it was—so why lie at this point?

Why was it the best session ever?

First, it was our 3 year anniversary, which is pretty amazing in of itself.  Hell, I’m pretty sure next session is our 60th session in fact.  (It’s not, it’s the 59th. – Alexis) That’s a LOT of sessions.  Second, Marla Meringue of Sticky Buns Burlesque must have been sore for days afterward cause her poses were downright Herculean—I can’t imagine even attempting one or two of them, much less three hours of them.  Third, Flying Dog Brewery had an amazing special on its Raging Bitch IPA—that, uh, definitely warmed the crowd’s cackles (more on that later). Fourth, Jeff Abell of Fox45 News stopped by and filmed an amazing segment for the 10 o’clock news.

If you didn’t click that link, go back and click it, this page will still be here when you’re done.

Yes, they accidentally forgot to mention the name “Dr. Sketchy’s”, but there’s some amazing shots and interviews in there.  We are eternally grateful to Fred Zeleny, Kerry Brady, Charlotte Bunting Floyd, and Craig Hankin for talking to them—ESPECIALLY for not saying something like, “Did you know I once saw Alexis dropkick a baby through a plate glass window?” or “I’m pretty sure this whole thing is a cover for a counterfeit cigarette operation.  Did you see the bartender’s beard?  That’s obviously shady. I bet he hides knives in that thing.”

Let’s get to the pictures, cause I know y’all aren’t reading this shit for the articles.

Elstabo

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Shawn Adomanis

Elstabo

We took a quick break after the 1-minute and 2-minute poses so Marla could change and folks could refill on beer—which reminds me, don’t know if you noticed, but our friend Eliza helped out at the door.  Eliza actually helped out at the very, very first Dr. Sketchy’s way back in the day at Dionysus where we had only 9 people show up, 4 of who were friends.  We were a little nervous having her this session just in case we triggered some sort of cosmic symmetry a la “I was there for the first one….and I was there for the LAST.”  Luckily, at least of this writing [knockonwood], that seems to not have happened.

While Alexis and I were talking to Jeff Abell, I overheard the following interaction from the door,

Eliza – That’ll be 8 dollars.  By the way, Flying Dog is one of our sponsors tonight and you get a Raging Bitch, the first pint for $4 and all the subsquent ones for $2…”

Someone I didn’t see – What?  What’d you say?

Eliza – Umm, Flying Dog has a beer special tonight on their Raging Bitch beer . . .?

Someone – Oh, whew, I thought you called me a Raging Bitch.  Thought I was going to have to whoop ya.

That’s paraphrased by the way.  Like, a lot.  But it was something like that.  Pretty sure I saw some brass knuckles flashed too, but it’s a little hazy now.

Anyway, the first 5-minute pose was the opposite-hand contest where if you’re right-handed you draw with your left and if you’re left-handed you draw with your right.  If you’re ambidextrous, you can go home cause no one likes you.  The two winners got mystery drinks from Russell behind the bar, who by the way, was kind enough to show up an hour early that day to let us set up all this crap.

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Craig Hankin

Shawn Adomanis

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Shawn Adomanis

BTW, this was the point where the pint glasses started to hit the floor.  Two managed to escape from their table-tops in under five minutes.  I didn’t pay it any mind at the time—shit happens, especially when you’re maneuvering in a mine field of art boxes, book bags, sketch boards, beer, and other artists.  Little did I know this was the canary in the coal mine, the first pebbles of snow bouncing past your nose right before you turn and look up the hillside and say, “Oh shit!”

Jeff Abell and his camera man (who was apparently quite popular with the ladies, whether he knew it or not—“I’ll let the camera guy mic me any day.”) filmed an interview or two while everyone stocked up on pint glasses (ominously in retrospect) and it was time for Marla’s performance, bits of which you can see in the Fox 45 news segment linked above.  Jeff (our Jeff) got some pretty good photos as well, which are honestly amazing for the facial expressions alone (something you don’t often get during static drawing poses), so I’ll toss a few of those in here too.

The 10-minute poses . . .

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Craig Hankin

Shawn Adomanis

Lisa Doll

The second 10-minute pose was our second contest of the evening, which was the best incorporation of Marla in Las Vegas.  The prizes were an issue of Retro Lovely and Jim Silke’s Pinup: The Illegitimate Art from the bad-ass Atomic Books, which is in Hampden on the corner of the Avenue and Falls Road.  (You can see Marla perusing Silke’s book while Alexis explained the contest.)

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Craig Hankin

Another break and it was 20-minute pose time, with the first being a random noun contest, which, uh, someone called out the adjective “edible” for.  Don’t judge, we were approaching pint-glass armageddon.  The two winners received a giant stack of art supplies from Artist & Craftsman Supply right across the street on the corner of North & Howard.  There were paints, pads, pencils – a whole mess of stuff.

Elstabo

Brian Dugan

Shawn Adomanis

. . . and we broke for the last break of the evening, which unleashed a storm of pint glasses upon the Windup’s floor, the like of which I’ve never seen.  I’ve done door at the Blarneystone in Fells Point during Fells Point festival and I’ve never seen so many spilled drinks in my life.  Everyone was having fun, Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch was flowing like a river (with eddies around our feet, apparently), and, well, it’s the most fun I’ve had at a Dr. Sketchy’s (or while mopping).

The last contest of the evening was another random noun contest, which ended up being “twins” or “Gemini”—I *think* because Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore would have been a Gemini if it were a person and the anniversary was its birthday.  Or something like that.  The prizes were John Watkiss’s Sparrow #11 and Visions from Within Mechanism: The Industrial Surrealism of Jeffrey Scott from Baby Tattoo Books, who runs the LA branch of Dr. Sketchy’s as well.

Craig Hankin

Shawn Adomanis

Tons of thanks to Marla Meringue of Sticky Buns Burlesque for being the star of our anniversary session; thanks to our wonderful sponsors Flying Dog Brewery, Atomic Books, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and Baby Tattoo Books; thanks to Russell for slinging drinks and tunes; thanks to Jeff for the amazing photos; thanks to Paco Fish and Maria Bella for being on hand to answer any questions about burlesque for Fox 45; thanks to Jeff Abell and Fox 45 for the great segment they did on burlesque in Baltimore and your humble Dr. Sketchy’s branch; thanks to Eliza for being our menacing head of security and door guardian; thanks to Alexis for what has to be one of the best hosting jobs she’s ever done.

When’s the next Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore?  Oh shit, it’s tomorrow, Monday, June 27th!  And it’s with Maria Bella of Gilded Lily Burlesque!  Maria posed for our anniversary session last year – which means this year, it’s like getting two anniversary sessions in a row!

Doors at 6, start at 7, AWESOMENESS at 7:05.  Dollar off your alcohol-esque drinks between 6 and 7!