The unbearable cuteness of Marla Meringue

Sometimes, everything just goes right.  Marla Meringue is hands down one of the best models that poses for Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore.  Yes, she’s pretty.  We all know that.  If you didn’t, you’re either blind or you’ve been the victim of some horrible reverse-aesthetic electroshock conditioning or some such nonsense.  That’s not what I’m talking about though.

She knows how to pose for artists.  That, in of itself, is a rare skill.  But she goes beyond that, purposefully seeking out unusual, PAINFUL poses that make my muscles quake in abject fear.  Look at some of those poses.  You know that hurt.  Not only did she go that far, but she even repeated poses for the camera when my dumb-ass happened to have it pointed the wrong direction because I tripped over something or accidentally turned the fool thing off.

Watch the video.  Not only were Marla’s poses amazing, but her performance was amazing.  Usually when that happens, something else goes wrong.  The lighting is off.  I forget to charge the camera.  I run out of memory.  The cops raid.  Something always fouls up.

Not this time.  Marla was dead on.  You artists got some great sketches.  The lighting was great. Jeff got stunning photos.  The video camera didn’t have gremlins in it.  I don’t think I even misplaced my beer ONCE that night.  It was snake-eyes all night.

Watch.

See what I’m talking about?

On a side note, I probably just jinxed everything.  We are mere days from our anniversary session and I’ve probably guaranteed a Tyrannosaurus Rex attack, a machine revolt led by Cybermen, or Nicolette Le Faye (our next model) getting waylaid on her way to the Windup by Omar or some shit.

We gave away some great prizes – Soft Candy: The Girls of Danni Shinya Luo from Atomic Books and a pair of stockings from What Katie Did, not to mention specials on Flying Dog beer.

Humongous thanks to Marla Meringue of Sticky Buns Burlesque; thanks to sponsors Atomic Books, Flying Dog Brewery, and Baby Tattoo Books; thanks to Russell for slinging tunes and booze; thanks to Jeff for some of the best photos he’s ever done; thanks to Styger for help running the door, shoving around all that damn furniture, and beating the stage into shape; thanks to Alexis for wrassling the mic; thanks to anyone who helped shove a chair around or clean up at the end; and thanks to all of you who came out and twirled a pencil.

Thanks to Christian Tribastone, Fred Oakes, Jennifer Stark, John Schloman, Tim Kelly, and Matt Craft for sending in the sketches below.

He’s got legs—he knows how to use them!

That right there may very well be my favorite pose I’ve ever seen.  If you told me you’ve had the opportunity to draw something like that before, I’d call you a liar to your face.  LIIIIIAAAAAR.  I love how you can see the stars shining though the wings from the back, too.  Fucking beautiful.

Man, if Paco Fish had toppled, he would have taken out the banners, Alexis, everyone in the first two or three rows—it would have been like the Hindenberg coming down.  You have to picture it in slow motion, arms flapping, and someone screaming a deep, distorted, “NOOOOOOOOO!”

Alexis took one look and said, “Oh my God, it’s like . . . like . . . a burlesque Batman!”

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though: first, there were the 1- and 2-minute poses, and a nearly overpowering urge to make some sort of Heroes reference.

Cecilia Strakna

Cecilia Strakna

We took a quick break so Paco could get a breather and folks could grab a beer (hopefully a Flying Dog one), and then it was time for the 5-minute poses.  The first one was the ol’ opposite hand contest, where if you’re right-handed you draw with your left, if you’re left-handed you draw with you’re right, and if you’re ambidextrous you get shivved.  The two winners received a mystery shot from the bar—God help them.

Cecilia Strakna

Cecilia Strakna

John Schloman

John Schloman

After another break, we jumped into the 10-minute poses, the first of which was a best incorporation of “Black Friday.”  The winners received either a Sticky Buns Burlesque t-shirt or a limited edition Ralph Steadman tote bag from Flying Dog Brewery.

We took another break, and then it was time for Paco’s performance.  I’d show you a video, but sadly, the video camera’s battery died, so you’re out of luck.  Here’s a photo or two, though…

Then it was time for the 20-minute poses, the first of which was our last contest of the evening: the best incorporation of  The Exorcist.  The winner received Overkill: The Art of Tomer Hanuka from Atomic Books.

Todd Gardner

Last 20-minute pose of the evening…

Cecilia Strakna

John Schloman

And that was a wrap.  Thanks to Paco Fish for doing a stunning job of posing for all of you; thanks to our sponsors Atomic Books, Flying Dog Brewery, and Baby Tattoo Books; thanks to Jeff for the photos you see above;  thanks to Styger for helping at the door and helping push things around; thanks to Fred for helping push things around too; and thanks to Alexis for manning the mic.

Only ONE Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore left this year!

December 12 with performance artist and contortionist Rebecca Nagle! After this session, we’ll be on a break until January 23, so if you miss tonight’s session, it’s going to be a long, bleak, Sketchy-less winter for you.

(Photos of Rebecca Nagle courtesy of RaRah.)

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!