Five Years of Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore!

Photo by Alexis de la Rosa
Photo by Alexis de la Rosa

We took off the month of May since our Dr. Sketchy’s date fell on Memorial Day, and though everyone swears the opposite, we learned a long time ago no one shows up on Memorial Day. ūüôā ¬†Our June session, though, was the fifth anniversary of Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore and GiGi Holliday of Gilded Lily Burlesque helped us ring it in.

The video below is a little different than the normal ones—in the early days, years before we started making these videos, first Bill (our first door guy), and then I, filmed a lot of the sessions, but when we tried to assemble the footage into something watchable, it just plain didn’t work.

I mean, let’s be honest here. ¬†No matter how gorgeous or talented the model is, they’re just sitting or standing still for twenty minutes. ¬†How do you make that into something interesting? ¬†It took a long time to figure out, but eventually we did. ¬†Sadly, that left mountains of footage from Dr. Sketchy’s early days that never got used.

So, for the anniversary, I cobbled together a bunch of clips from any older sessions that never got to be assembled into a video and made a little opening reel for the fifth anniversary session video.

Five years, technology-wise, is a pretty long span as well, so some of it’s a little rough. ¬†Still, the sprint down memory lane is pretty neat. ¬†Take a look.

Most Dr. Sketchy’s sessions go off with only minor hitches. ¬†You might not know this, but for whatever damn reason, our past few anniversary sessions have been cursed. ¬†Last year, the City of Baltimore towed my Zipcar with the stage and all the stage props 45 minutes before start time—it cost $300 to get it back.

This year?  Freaking tornados over the Inner Harbor.

I mean, REALLY?

Not only that, but the battery in the video camera failed (permanently), which almost stopped there being a video record of it at all.


Hopefully the curse doesn’t apply to our 100th session in a few months. ¬†Oh, did you know that? ¬†In February, we’ll have our 100th session.

You might want to go to that one.

Back to the fifth anniversary—GiGi can get anyone out of a bad mood. ¬†Watch that video again—I swear, she’s laughing and hamming it up in every clip. ¬†The clip at the end cracks me up every time. ¬†She put on a hell of a performance, too.

We had drawing contests of course, too, where brave souls in the audience won weird concoctions from Russell behind the bar and the truly blessed won books from our generous sponsor Baby Tattoo Books, who happens to run the LA branch of Dr. Sketchy’s besides being an awesome art book publisher.

Humongous thanks to GiGi Holliday for being a hell of a model and a hell of a performer (not only that, she put on our wedding after-party just a few months later); thanks to our generous sponsor Baby Tattoo Books; thanks to Russell of the Windup Space for slinging booze, tunes, and drunks; thanks to Maeve for doing door and helping do all those behind-the-scenes things that make everything work; thanks to Hot Todd Lincoln for helping me get the second half of the striped stage to the Windup with his car (we ended up not using it this session but, Lord, did it come in handy at the Comic-Con session a few months later); and thanks, of course to, Alexis for emceeing.

Lots and lots and lots of thanks as well to all the folks who sent their drawings in, which you can see in video above.

I’m never hanging out with Maria Bella again.

Photo by Jeff Schock
Photo by Jeff Schock

Maria Bella of Gilded Lily Burlesque is not only one of our best models and performers, she’s one of the best out there in our opinion. ¬†At any one time, she’s got more heart for her craft, and the world in general, than most folks have in a lifetime of striving. ¬†She’s clever, kind, funny, and strip-the-paint-off-the-walls sexy.

Here’s a dollop of advice with your Dr. Sketchy’s blog, though. ¬†Don’t talk to her.

“What?” you say. ¬†Let me tell you how it’ll go. ¬†You’ll talk to her, and because of how cool she is, you’ll become friends (if you’re not an ass, mind you)–and once you become friends, then the calls will start. ¬†It’ll be, say, 1 am in the morning, and your phone will ring.

“Hey, what are the two of you doing?”

“Umm, going to bed?”

“You should come have a beer with me. ¬†It won’t be too bad, the bars close in an hour.”

“We can’t. ¬†By the time we get a cab and get wherever, it’ll be 2 o’clock.”

“I’m outside your door.”


And so you go, and you think, “Oh, this couldn’t go too badly…” and [wiggles fingers and makes the Wayne’s World ‘twiddley dooo! ¬†twiddley dooo!” sound]….and you suddenly come to, butt-ass naked, covered in glitter and someone else’s blood, wearing Maria’s pasties, standing in a wheat field in the middle of Georgia surrounded by an ATF SWAT team with a helicopter circling overhead.

And no Maria.

That’s how she rolls, folks, that’s how she rolls.

While you dwell on that thought, let’s watch Maria do her thing.

Was that a bulldog? ¬†IT WAS. ¬†That was the friendly and eternally sleepy Preston the Bulldog, favored ward of one Beth Rainier, a good friend of ours (who you should never drink with either, btw). ¬†Doesn’t he clean up nicely? ¬†I don’t even think I have a tie that nice. ¬†Though it turned out doggies don’t do too well at sitting still for ten-minute poses, Beth gets mad props for bringing Preston by so we could give it a shot.

One of our sponsors this session was Canine Clique, Baltimore’s leading positive reinforcement dog trainers, run by Debbie Shepardson and our good friend Kiely Kyte (Don’t hang out with her either. ¬†Actually, don’t ever bend an elbow with ANYONE (past, present, or future—especially any of those shady mf-ers on the door—associated with Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore. ¬†They’re all a bad lot, to the core. Well, that’s not entirely true. ¬†I’m a fairly good egg, I’ll keep you on the straight and narrow.) ¬†In any case, the amazing Canine Clique donated a gift basket for one lucky soul who won one of our weird contests.

Our other sponsor for this session was Atomic Books, probably the best independent bookstore on the planet (and we’ve been to a lot of them). ¬†If you live here and you haven’t checked them out up in Hampden on Falls Road just off the Avenue, you’re doing one of those “Oh, I live in Baltimore but I’ve never watched The Wire” things.

Thank you to Tim Kelly and Craig Hankin who sent in the drawings below (which in my opinion the videos would suck without) .

Special thanks to¬†Baltimore’s Sicilian Princess,¬†the spectacular Maria Bella of Gilded Lily Burlesque, for being an awesome model and muse; thanks to Preston the Bulldog and his super-cool owner Beth Rainier; thanks to our generous sponsors Canine Clique and Atomic Books; thanks to Holly of the Windup Space for slinging drinks for our merry artists; thanks to Jeff Schock for taking some of the pretty pics you see below; thanks to our hula-hooping helper Maeve for holding down the door and helping with the hellish of all Dr. Sketchy tasks, the setup and takedown; thank you to my perty fianc√©e Alexis for being our emcee; and last but not least, thank you to all the folks who came out that night and bent an elbow (drawing or otherwise) with us.

Sophia Sunday on a Saturday.

We’ve gotten a little behind with our blog posts – busy, busy, busy, but we’re catching up. ¬†Sophia Sunday’s session was amazing, and her Fever act is easily one of my favorite burlesque acts. ¬†The video and Alexis’s photos do a lot better job backing that up that my silly words could, so take a look.

We’d like to thank Matt Craft, Tim Kelly, John Schloman, Fred Zeleny, and Hannah Levasseur for sending in their drawings, which you can see in the gallery below.

Super duper thanks to Sophia Sunday of Gilded Lily Burlesque for being our muse for the evening; special thanks to our generous sponsor Atomic Books for providing prizes for the various drawing contests; thanks to Maeve for holding the door down and helping do all the setup and takedown stuff; thanks to Russell for slinging booze and tunes; and of course thanks to Alexis for the beautiful photos you see before and running the mic for the whole hootenanny.