A View From The Front Room: Becky Bottoms, Mink Diamondz And The Red Martinis

By Carol McCracken

Two gorgeous Red Heads drinking Red Martinis sat at the bar at the Front Room earlier today. MHN wasted no time in sliding in next to Mink at the empty seat next to her at the bar. MHN ordered a bowl of French onion soup and diet soda. On the other side of MHN was Bobby Lipps, maintenance man at the St. Lawrence Arts Center. (It’s directly across the street from the Front Room on Congress Street on the Hill.) Bobby was eating his French onion soup and sandwich.

Who were these knockouts? Were we being infiltrated by some young beauties -with no fair warning? What was their story – MHN’s need to know went into overdrive. The two Red Heads were getting ready to pick up some items for the (scant) costumes they were making before they headed over to a 3:00 p.m. rehearsal at Genos. But they graciously agreed to postpone their leave taking so MHN could visit with them first. It was a rehearsal for the premiere of their show “Anti-Holiday Burlesque Night” for Sunday, December 28 at about 9:00 p.m. until 12:00. The cover is $8.

Betty, 30, and Mink, 28, (not their real names) perform as the “Atomic Trash” (that’s what they SAID!) with the popular local musicians Lovewhip Band (that’s what they SAID!). This delightful and winning duo has been “burlesquing” together ever since they met about 2 years ago at a show – “Halfway to Halloween Horror Ball” at Genos as well. Since then they have performed at Bubba’s, Brian Boru, and One Longfellow Square here in Portland. New Year’s Eve they will be performing near Boston, since that is home base for the Lovewhip Band with whom they are affiliated.

Mink, the younger of the two is a cocktail server at Street & Co. where she has worked for four years. Betty studied ballet (Russian method) from the age of 5 years to about 25 years. By that time, she considered herself to be “over the hill” by ballet standards and so made a career switch to burlesque. Her husband, Sean, supports her completely.( He was a waiter at the Front Room as well and secretly told me her real first name is Shannon.) Sean does lighting for their shows. He also has his own recording business, V69 Recording Studio in East Deering where the couple lives. Both ladies are Maine natives.

The two Red Heads left the Front Room to do what they had to do to prepare for the show at Genos tomorrow. Bobby left to go back to work. MHN left later after finishing the French onion soup and diet soda – knowing that at 67 years old this Gray Haired Woman had never come across a Red Martini much less tasted one. MHN contemplated how diverse this area is and what fun it is to live on the Hill. This community never ceases to surprise and enlighten MHN in wonderful ways.

Genos is located at 625 Congress Street., Portland. For more information, check Atomic Trash on My Space.