Friday, May 13, 2016

Toni Elling

2014 Texas Burlesque Festival
Featuring the burlesque legend, Toni Elling.

Friday, May 13, 2016
Happy Birthday Toni! 

April 2014, Texas Burlesque Festival, Austin, Texas. 
Toni approached the stage, bowed to our applause and thanking us said, “You are all my angels.”
The night before, on Friday, she performed her signature burlesque routine to “Satin Doll”, a DukeEllington classic composition, wearing her original costuming.

The brunch audience was asked to present questions.

The following are some actual quotes, paraphrases and incomplete quotes. I apologize to those that are not credited with their questions. I hope this provides a picture of what she gave to us during the brunch.
I asked, “Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become a burlesque performer?”
A friend in Detroit, Rita Revere became a stripper. She tried to get me to become one too. I was appalled with the idea. I worked at the telephone company, was there for years, but never promoted because of color.
A woman producer trained dancers, took me under her wing. She asked me what I knew about performing burlesque. I said, ‘The name of the game is Strip Tease and that explains it, says it all. What else is there to know?’
I started at the best club in town. I could have started at a real dive, but thought, ‘if I’m going to do this, I’m not going to go where I’d be ashamed to even walk in the door.’ So, I went to the best club in town. That night, Jackie Wilson was the headliner. He broke me in, watched me perform, was right down in front, then waited for me backstage. He hugged me and I told him he better hold on tight ‘cause I might just fall down. I mean, this was Jackie Wilson!
My first job was in the small town of Lima, Ohio and I shared a dressing room with a singer, Vanilla.

Dulche de Leche asked, “”When you had a creative energy lull, what made you persevere?”
“It was my job. Rita, in talking to me, would encourage me, showing me paystubs. I saw what kind of money she was making and that’s why I got into the business. I wanted to make more money, but Rita, she passed as whiter, as Spanish and made more money. I could have tried to pass as Spanish instead, but I insisted that they buy my talent, not my color. My daddy’s black and I will not be otherwise. I didn’t work much in Detroit, I worked where I could. But, it was my job and I performed my shows whether I wanted to or not, no matter how hard or easy the job was.

“A typical audience, who did you perform for, was it mostly men? Or were there a lot of women like in today’s audiences?”
The audiences were mostly men. Women came in with their husbands. When women liked the show, it felt special. People would bring their children to see me perform. It was a tribute to me, because my act was clean, it was a compliment. I was respectable to my audience. I never flirted with a man that had a woman with him. Don’t fool with another woman’s man.”

“How did you meet Duke Ellington and begin to work with him?”
Duke Ellington and I were the best of friends. We met during a World War II broadcast from a theater, for the troops. We didn’t see one another again for years. It was at the Gotham Motel. It was an all black motel, used by a lot of traveling entertainers. He was in town to play the Paradise. I was going into the drug store in the lobby of the hotel and while I was coming out, he saw me and approached me and said, “Who’s little girl are you?” I was taken back and said, “I don’t know, my mother’s and father’s, I guess.” I made him laugh and he asked for my phone number. He called me that night, late, like around 3 or 4 in the morning. It woke me up! I answered it and asked, “Who is this?” He says, “It’s your Uncle Edward.”
I responded, “I have no Uncle Edward. If you don’t tell me who this is, I’m going to hang up.” He laughs, tells me it’s him, and I about died of embarrassment. I told Duke Ellington I was going to hang up on him. Then he says, “I just called you to say, ‘Good Morning’, and are you going to pick me up and take me to my job?” I didn’t have a car, but I knew of one I could borrow. So, I went that night in this car and picked up Duke Ellington and I took him to work. Over the years, I developed a close friendship with his son, Mercer too. Mercer was a trumpeter.
Duke was my favorite person. When I told him about my name choice, he was so proud. He loved that I was using his name. I was a singer when I took the name, but I didn’t use the name for years after I stopped being a stripper.
I took a job in Japan. It was for 10 weeks, but I ended up staying for six months. Three clubs wanted me to be a singer. I sang during my acts. I started in burlesque to get to know the clubs, the circuit, make some money, get the costumes – all to be a singer.

“Tell us about the arc of your career.”
1960 was my first performance, and my last was in 1974. I lost my brother in 1969, and my dad in 1970. I was working in Portland, Oregon and moved back home. I felt like the business was becoming too tawdry.
Sparkly Devil (aka Sarah Klein) wrote an article about black strippers for the Metro Times. She wanted to interview two people. She got connected to me and Lottie The Body. Sparkly told me she was a stripper, had been to Exotic World. Sparkly told me about Dixie Evans. In 2006 Lottie and I attended Miss Exotic World in Las Vegas together with Sparkly. Lottie was a judge and I strutted on stage for legends’ night. I never knew that I strutted. I saw a video during the weekend of me when I was on stage, and I strutted. It made me cry, made me proud. I had never seen what I looked like on stage before. I didn’t know I looked like that. People had told me for years that I strutted, but didn’t realize what they were talking about.

“With newer shows and Neo-Burlesque, what do you think of our version of burlesque?”
You don’t want to know.
Dixie (Evans) asked me to return the next year to perform. She said, “You have a year to prepare.” I replied, “I will do it for you.” Now, it’s my 9th year returning. Dixie would say, “The duty of a legend is to be a mentor. Only you legends know that and can do that.”
I don’t believe screwing a pole is necessary, it’s not entertainment. Vulgarity is not necessary. It takes time to tease. Shows now are more like revues, not burlesque, not entertainment. Vulgarity is what I can’t stand. Don’t put your clothes on the floor. That is your living. Don’t throw that on the floor. That dress has come a long way with me. I can’t defile it. Take care of your tools – your shoes, undies – they are your tools of the trade. I lost a gig once because I wouldn’t toss my costume pieces to the audience. They called me a Diva. I didn’t know what a diva was.

“Do you have choreography?”
Choreography is phony. Listen to the music. It tells you how to move. I do whatever the music dictates at the moment. First, I walk, I get a feel for the audience, the mood. I do what comes to me at the time. Every time I perform, it is different. I don’t rehearse, never did. I do what you (the audience) tell me to do.

Dainty Dandridge asked, “What is it like dancing all these years as a God-fearing woman?”

I am a Baptist. The preacher came to my house one time. I was doing a saloon number. The preacher, he gave me his spats to wear. He wore spats all the time, and he gave me his for my routine, to use as a pattern on my costuming. I went to my brother, who is four years younger, talked to him about my career and my faith. He said, “Be yourself. Do whatever you want. Don’t let anything hold you back.” You can’t please everyone, nor should you try. You have to be happy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I teach a variety of workshops - open to all genders, ages, and regardless if you are a performer.

Welcomed across North America - these workshops have been taught throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Vancouver, Toronto, Columbus (OH), Chicago, Baltimore and in Austin (TX) at Coco Lectric's Academy of Burlesque and in Portland, Oregon. 

Positively Lovely
A workshop about loving our bodies, releasing judgments and falling in love with every inch of you.

Presenting: YOU!
Open to anyone that wants to build their confidence in front of others. Also teaches stage presence and audience contact. Please wear comfortable clothing. We will be moving around.

The Science of Spinning
Teaching Satans Angel's method of pastie and tassel making - and the physics involved in tassel twirling.

Strip For Your Lover
Perfect for a new bride! This class is an introduction to striptease to perform for a partner. Very basic elements, moves, costuming.

Monday, February 10, 2014

RevaLucian Memorial

For Heather, February 13, 2014.
Love, Lady Monster

February 25, 1968 - February 13, 2007 (aged 38)

(Heather MacAllister by Leonard Nimoy)

In September 2005, while touring Southern California and Arizona with Candye Kane, the Fat-Bottom Revue stopped in Los Angeles for a second photo shoot with Leonard Nimoy.

Heather was invited by Leonard, to be photographed for his project Maximum Beauty in late 2004. The troupe had just lost dancer Sunny Perkins (Mia Amore) from a tragic car accident. The troupe was unsure of whether to continue without her. They voted, and decided to push on, holding auditions and doing the photoshoot. He began showing the images in NYC, including having them shown on a TV broadcast by the Style Network in 2005, using the title Maximum Beauty (see below for the link).

He first contacted Heather after Zoe Wiseman saw Leonard at his exhibit for The Shekina Project (an earlier book of photographs). She asked him why he only used thin models, and would he be interested in photographing women with larger bodies. He said, “Yes”. Zoe introduced him to Fat-Bottom Revue.

Heather kept the name of the photographer a secret from the models for the first shoot. It wasn't until they arrived at the gallery that the models realized they were getting naked for Spock! For the second shoot, Heather once again hand-picked who she wanted in the photographs and told us all to keep it very hush-hush. We were also to not ask him for autographs or to bother him about his role as “Spock”.

When we arrived at the Hammer Gallery in Los Angeles, we realized this large, modern art museum was closed to the public for us. We had the entire space to ourselves. We spent a few minutes in the bathroom, finishing up hair and make-up, then undressing. Leonard and his wife Susan and two photography assistants were there. At the photo shoot the models included:
Jukie Sunshine
Ginger Virago
Lady Monster
Anita Martini (Roni Gallimore)

Our first pose was Nude Descending A Staircase, modeled after Marcel Duchamp's cubist painting.

Music was turned on, we began to dance and we were photographed.

It warmed us up, and got us feeling comfortable with what he was going after.

He took some of the models (Jukie, Ginger and Sita) aside to create The Three Graces image by Raphael.

We were photographed upstairs for the second pose in front of the large mirrored sculpture by Patty Chang, titled Shangri La. He wanted us to be primitive, as if we were seeing ourselves for the first time, circling the mirrored mountain. This was more serious, not a lot of laughing or giggling.

When Leonard was finished getting his shots in this setting, he said, “Alright ladies, let's all go downstairs for one more pose”. I forget who it was that began the song, but the moment will always stay with me. Six naked fat women prancing around the staircase, cascading down, singing at the top of our lungs, “Whatever Leonard wants, Leonard gets!”. He definitely enjoyed hearing that and was laughing.

We stood at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for Leonard and his assistants to finish upstairs and get set up downstairs again. The sun was starting to set and the marble floors of the courtyard were getting cold. Heather was not able to keep her body temperature up and she asked us to huddle around her. We were rubbing Heather with our hands to warm her up. Then, Leonard saw this gathering as a new shot. He practically sprinted up a large ladder to peer down on us, using available light. As he wrapped his arms around the ladder and peered through his camera, he shouted, “Yes Ladies! Rub! Rub Rub!”.

Hearing his iconic voice, with carnality and humor, the tenderness of our helping Heather suddenly burst into bawdy laughter. Ginger began to vigorously rub Heather with her booty. I turned around to shimmy against her too. We were all just dying laughing while he took a series of photos. It made him blush.

Then he asked us to begin to dance in a circle, holding hands, to fulfill his last pose, reinterpreting Matisse' Dance I. The joy and affection from the previous pose spilled into our dance, and Leonard chose this pose to use on t-shirts. These t-shirts were sold in galleries, prior to the book being available.
Before we met with him, he sent Heather an email with some ideas of poses. She forwarded to us the DeChamps, Matisse and Rafael so we were familiar with the images when we posed.

At last, Leonard felt he had his photos and Heather spoke up and wanted us to do a kickline. Heather LOVED a good kickline, especially with her troupes. Group numbers often incorporated it for a big show. Here she is counting it out and providing direction. I was scolded for bringing my leg up too high, and not in line with the other dancers.

When this shot was captured, Heather said that Leonard should join us for a final photo. Then Ginger spoke up and said, “Only if you're naked though” and someone began to chant, “Strip!”.
His wife, assistants – all of us began to chant, “Strip! Strip! Strip!”. Leonard turned three shades of red, waving his hands back and forth, saying, “no, no”, “no no”, laughing. We relented and let him join us.
I wish I had that photograph, the image of Leonard with his arms around us, his legs flying high in the air. I like to say, “I had my naked body pressed up to Leonard and our legs were flying up into the air.” He stood right between myself and Jukie.

Heather did not tell Leonard about her cancer until I produced the event, BENEFAT on January 14, 2006 to raise money for Heather, and to raise her spirits when she had a serious infection. (Flyer by Pam Doré, aka Mr. Pam)

When Heather passed, the others from the photoshoot voted for me to take Heather's place as a spokesperson for the book. This resulted in me being featured in a very cheesy segment on EXTRA TV with Leonard. The footage was taken at his home in Beverly Hills, July 2008.

Here is the EXTRA TV segment:

Here is the Style Network segment:

This footage includes a small clip of Fat-Bottom Revue performing at The Dark Room in San Francisco.

Here is a telephone interview I conducted with Leonard for a radio program I hosted about The Full Body Project. I was a speaker at the Full Body Symposium at the R. Michelson Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts in November 2007.

"Any time there is a fat person onstage as anything besides the butt of a joke, it's political. Add physical movement, then dance, then sexuality and you have a revolutionary act." - Heather MacAllister, aka Reva Lucian

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sex Advice Columns

The Columbus Free Press has a list of my recent columns published in their weekly paper at the following link:

If you have a question or a topic you would like to have covered in this column, please go to: and click on the link for the Google form.
Or, call (614) 636-0936 and leave a message in my Google Voice Mail Box.
Both options are 100% anonymous. Thank you.
* * * * * * * * * *

Here is a listing with a brief description for all that have been published this year:

December 19, 2013
Losing My Erection
Erections vary, they are not a constant. They are affected by emotion, visual and mental stimulation. If an uncomfortable emotion, thought or image comes into the picture while erect, you're going to have a variation – no matter your age or record of virility.

December 12, 2013
December 17th is a Red Umbrella Day
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence. During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations will be staging actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end.

December 5, 2013
Genital Piercings
Genital piercings are a very personal choice. Ultimately, the choice to receive them is for extra sensitivity and pleasurable sensations during sexual activity.

November 27, 2013
Interview with Fonda Lingue
In honor of last week's Trans Day of Rememberance and Trans Awareness Week, I asked International Dancer and Burlesque Performer, Fonda Lingue some questions.

November 20, 2013
How Can I Ask My Wife For Sex?
All of these questions and many more that I haven't come up with could provide insight to her discomfort, mistrust, and fears for not wanting to share her most intimate gift with you.
The length of your marriage shows you are committed. It’s important, though, to not take each other for granted.

November 13, 2013
Memorial for Carlos Batts
On Tuesday, October 22nd, the sex-positive community lost a fearless leader, Carlos Batts. This beloved artist passed away at the age of 40. His work and spirit touched many of us, leaving us stunned and saddened by his sudden departure.

November 6, 2013
Public Displays of Sex and Sexuality
During the Halloween season, there is a lot of flesh being exposed...Let’s think about some things that may have come up, for the next time you choose to be sexy in public.

October 31, 2013
HEAD: Let's Get Down
An Intimate Experience
Giving head is so pleasureful and intense. There are few things that can compare with the intimacy of this sexual act. Placing your mouth into the heart of sensitivity and sexuality to cause arousal, manipulating the movements of your tongue, lips, face, hands all at once, concentrating so many nimble movements - solely to give your partner pleasure. Think of all the variations of sensations that can be applied. It is a personal decision and a beautiful expression of intimacy.

October 24, 2013
Depending on how you choose to define orgasm or “good sex” - the possibilities of sexual pleasure are limitless. It is how each of us limits ourselves, and where we choose to go.

For more insight and inspiration for your orgasms, and the various types of orgasm that can be achieved, I recommend reading this brand new anthology of erotic short stories, The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories by prolific erotica writer/editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. Each story is about achieving orgasm. Short, hot and steamy revelations. An excellent bedside companion for yourself or story time with a partner. You can find this book through Cleis Press.

October 10, 2013
National Kink Month
How does one define “kinky?”
Is it merely anything besides “vanilla?”
Who says what is vanilla and what is kinky?
How is the boundary established and how does one cross that imaginary line into the Land O'Kink?

October 3, 2013
Anal Sex
Thanks so much for posing a wonderfully intimate question.
You are being cautious and smart, asking the best way to make anal sex pleasurable.
In the words of Nina Hartley, “You must earn butt, you cannot be given butt.” You obviously feel your husband has earned butt. This should be a great moment. Let me provide some tips.

September 27, 2013
Female Ejaculation
Every woman has very different experiences with her urethral sponge. Some women do not ejaculate. Those who do, vary a lot. For some it's like a squirt gun, creating a sexual fountain effect. Some women gush like a flooded river, soaking through a thin mattress. Some create a “wet spot” with a few drops of fluid. Some have found penetration is the key, others have the experience exclusively from clitoral stimulation. It happens to some before orgasm, and others afterward. Some find stimulating this area very irritating or even painful because of its sensitive nature.

September 20, 2013
What Is Ecosexuality?
Reader Question: What is Ecosexuality?

Thank you reader for your question. I would like to introduce you to my friends, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, the founders of the Ecosexual movement.
“We're changing the metaphor from 'Earth as Mother' to 'Earth as Lover'”, Elizabeth Stephens, Artist, Ecosexual, Professor.
“We aim to make the environmental movement more sexy, fun and diverse.”, Annie Sprinkle, PhD, Artist, Ecosexual, Sexologist.

September 13, 2013
Hello, I'm Lady Monster
Regardless of the questions I receive in this column, I will respond with positive, non-judgmental information. My goal is to provide educational, progressive and provocative insight to one's most primal of urges, and shine a light into our bedrooms to bring us all closer together.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I write a weekly sex advice column for the free weekly, Columbus Free Press.

My weekly column appears at the URL:

If you have a question or a topic you would like to have covered in my weekly Sex Advice column, please fill out this anonymous form linked below, or call (614) 636-0936 and leave a message in my Google Voice Mail Box.

Both options are 100% anonymous.

Click on this link to fill out the online form with your question:

It shows up in my Google Drive, without knowing who sent it.

I promise to provide non-judgmental, sex-positive and informative answers.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Doo Dah

This has been a summer of feeling accomplished and getting shit done. I'm still out of work, but personal triumphs are coming in on a regular basis. This month I'm having a lot of fun doing some special events. Kind of like a summer break, but I'm certainly not idle.
I'll be adding more to this blog later, but I wanted to get it down where you can find me out and about.

Thursday, July 4th
30th Annual Doo Dah Parade
Parade begins at 1pm in the Short North
*I will be marching with Miss Theresa for the Columbus Burlesque Collective contingent.*

Saturday, July 6th
Stars & Strips
Short North Stage
1187 North High Street, Columbus
Box office: 8pm
Show: 9pm
Tickets: $10
*Annual USO benefit produced by Mon Cherie Entertainment*

Friday, July 19th
Fetish Foreplay Friday
The Princeton Club
425 South Princeton Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43223
Doors: 7:30pm. Class: 8pm.
Entry fee of $15.00 includes the class and playing at Princeton all night. BYOB and condoms.
*I will be co-teaching a class on burlesque with Venom Vamp.*

Thursday, July 25th
33 1/3 --- 45 --- 78
Ace of Cups
2619 North High Street @ Duncan, Columbus, Ohio 43202

Featuring: The Dirty Biscuits, Fort Shame, Fes and the Black Panthers
DJs Shirley Tobias & Andrew Patton
Special birthday treat presented by Lady Monster

Friday, July 26th
Viking Fest
The Shrunken Head
Doors: 8PM
Music: 9PM
Age: 18+
Cover: $5
*Miss Theresa and I will be appearing together.*

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I love finding community - people of a like cause and purpose, creating bonds and filling a space in our environment with love and goodwill. Without community in burlesque, there is just ego, a lack of creativity and purpose. Coming to Columbus, I have had to search out my burlesque community, and I have found a core of extremely supportive and loving people.

Antoinette Seducteur, Kitty Mystique, Miss Theresa, Krista Kitty and myself are the founding members of the Columbus Burlesque Collective. I designed and created a logo, then we created the Guidelines together. On May 31st, we launched the website and made the announcement, asking others to join us, with love.

I want to thank the Texas Burlesque Festival (Coco Lectric, Imogen Kelly, Dirty Martini and Lynn Raridon), Rena LaMarr and Tiger Roxx for their inspiration, assistance and support in creating the Columbus Burlesque Collective.

Please join me on the following dates, to feel the love of burlesque, performance and community. Especially at Community Festival. Since 1972, this festival has been run by volunteers and maintained by vendor and beer/wine booths, only. Everyone donates their time and performances, filling 6 stages from Noon to 10pm Friday through Sunday in Goodale Park, near Downtown and the Short North. Take a moment to check out how much there is to offer, the variety of community and the abundance of love available.

Saturday, June 8th
Babylon Rising
French Lick, IN
Camping Fee: $15.00
*I will be performing fire tassels with a live band, Mayan Ruins*

Friday, June 14th
Creme de la Femme
Columbus, OH
Doors: 9:30pm. Show: 10:00pm
Cost: $6.00
*I will be twirling fire tassels*

Saturday, June 15th
Hal & Al's
1297 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH

Saturday, June 22nd
A Night of Burlesque, featuring trivia and amateur tassel twirling
The Shrunken Head, 251 West 5th Avenue @Neil, Columbus
Doors: 8pm
Cover: $7
*I will be twirling fire tassels*

Friday, June 28th
Columbus Burlesque Collective
Community Festival, Live Arts stage, Goodale Park, Columbus, OH
7:45 - 8:05pm
*I will be twirling water tassels*

Saturday, June 29th
Circus of Cool
Community Festival, I Wish You Jazz stage, Goodale Park, Columbus, OH
4:00 - 5:00pm
*I will be reading my own poetry with live jazz music*