I don't know about you, but August and September are big birthday months in my extended family. Since giant, in-person birthday celebrations are still not in the cards, online birthdays are the (virtual) place to be! But how to avoid the dreaded Zoom fatigue and conversations that inevitably spiral into the same commiserations about how "2020" everything is? Try our "Murder...Without a Clue!" virtual murder mystery! Two of our professional actors will guide you and your friends and family through an evening of puzzles, witty banter, and even an in-home scavenger hunt! Here are some additional tips to improve any virtual gathering and create a memorable night together. Read up for ideas, then Contact us to book your private event!
1. Encourage guests to dress up
Let's be real, some of us have been wearing the same rotation of sweatpants and old band t-shirts for the last five months. Give your loved ones a chance to move out of their "comfort zone" (get it??) by encouraging fancy dress, whatever that means to them. in our "Murder...Without a Clue!" event, everyone plays a guest at a billionaire's charity auction, so that tuxedo that's been collecting dust is definitely appropriate! But even those who naturally veer a little more informal will welcome the opportunity to break out their favorite outfit. Plus, at the end of the night we award the title "Best-Dressed," for a little extra motivation!
2. Plan a shared menu
The "dinner" part of "murder mystery dinner theatre" is a little more challenging these days. But with a little creative thinking, you can still recreate the experience of a delicious shared meal with your guests! If everyone is culinarily inclined, consider sending out a recipe in advance for everyone to make on their own. Make sure to provide the recipe about a week in advance, so everyone has time to grocery shop. For a more pampered experience, pick a restaurant for everyone to order takeout! Dainty Dames Events is partnering with local restaurants to offer special menu items, so stay tuned for more information on how to support multiple small businesses at once!
3. Design a signature Cocktail
For your guests over 21, a little booze goes a long way towards getting everyone past the initial awkwardness of talking into your computer screen. And where would classic mysteries be without goblets of deep red wine, dry gin martinis, or flasks of cheap whiskey? Bring a little extra class to your gathering by creating a themed cocktail for the evening - plus, who knows? It might help you gather clues - in vino veritas! And for those who don't imbibe, there are tons of delicious mocktails to add to the mystery vibe.
4. Decorate your space
Throwing a virtual party means you only have to decorate one corner of the house, not the whole place. Plus, if everyone contributes, then you get a whole screenful of festive backgrounds! Consider getting a party-in-a-box as an easy way to get a bunch of supplies. Or, if the thought of actually getting all the laundry off The Chair (we all have The Chair) is too daunting, just slap a fun virtual background on your Zoom call, and voila! Instant party!
5. include pets
Everybody loves pets. This is a no brainer. Got a cute puppy? Get that lil floofer on the screen. Got a cat who's far too dignified to be held? Try it anyways, everyone will enjoy watching the resulting fireworks. Got a colorful lizard or bug friend? Hold 'em up close to the screen for an instant zoology lesson! (Maybe give people a heads up first, though...you don't want your arachnophobe aunt fainting away!)
6. Personalize for the Guest of Honor
Celebrations are, at heart, about people. And even though we can't all get together in person right now, we can still make the guest of honor feel special and loved. Get a cake or favorite dessert delivered to the birthday house, and support a local bakery! Personalize your zoom backgrounds with your favorite silly photo together. And when planning a Dainty Dames virtual event, be sure to tell us about the guest of honor so we can celebrate them in style!
August 18, 2020 marks 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women in the US the right to vote. (Theoretically, this applied to all women. However, women of color, especially Black women, continued to be disenfranchised by racist voting qualifications that remained legal until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and disenfranchisement and voter suppression of marginalized communities is still happening today.)
In honor of this major milestone in women's rights, we're featuring some real-life lady detectives that blazed a trail in the male-dominated world of crime fighting and undercover work. Feeling inspired? Put on your best Kate Warne impression and join the Dainty Dames for a virtual murder mystery event! Email email@example.com to book tickets today!
Kate Warne - The Lady Pinkerton Who Saved PResident Lincoln
In 1856, the recently widowed Kate Warne showed up at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency asking for a job - to be the first female detective. Arguing that she could get information from places where a male detective would stand out, Kate convinced Allan Pinkerton to take her on, and quickly became one of his best detectives.
Right off the bat, Kate cracked an enormous embezzlement case by befriending the main suspect's wife. Through the information she gained, Kate recovered $40,000 in stolen funds, the equivalent of more than $1.25 MILLION today!
As if that's not enough, Kate also played a critical role in saving newly-elected President Lincoln from an assassination attempt on his way to taking office. By going undercover as a flirty Southern belle, Kate insinuated herself into secessionist circles in Baltimore, where she was able to confirm rumors and provide specific details to the Pinkertons as to the nefarious plot. Using that information, Lincoln avoided the would-be assassins by disguising himself as Kate's invalid brother on a train trip from Philadelphia to the capital, arriving safely under Kate's watchful eye.
Kate continued to crack cases during and after the Civil War, at times disguising herself as a fortune teller or confidante to gain critical intel. Allan Pinkerton regularly called Kate one of his top operatives, and placed her in charge of training a new generation of female operatives as head of the Female Detective Bureau.
Maud West - London's Lady Sherlock
Expert of disguise, larger-than life, self-promoting author, and fearless lady detective, Maud West founded her own detective agency in London in 1905, at age 25. For the next 34 years, Maud investigated countless cases of blackmail, abandoned wives, stolen inheritances, and missing persons. To assist in these cases, Maud used her top-notch disguise skills, posing as a lady of the night with "heavy earrings [that] make me look frightfully common," a degenerate gambling businessman, a harmless old lady, or a mysterious fortune teller.
Most of the details surrounding Maud's daring exploits come from Maud herself, as she wrote weekly accounts of her cases in tabloids of the time. While these accounts are of questionable veracity, she certainly knew how to tell a thrilling story! And whether or not she actually infiltrated an enemy spy ring or took down a Brazilian drug cartel, she certainly did run a successful detective agency for over three decades, forging a path to independence and adventure.
Frances Benzecry - the most doctored woman in new york
Like Maud and Kate, Frances Benzecry used the societal dismissal of women to gain information from unsuspecting criminals. Rather than focusing on blackmail, embezzlement, or even assassination, Frances had a different goal: to defend the public from medical malpractitioners - that is to say, from quacks! At the turn of the 20th century, New York City was filled with snake oil salesmen attempting to pass themselves off as licensed medical experts. At best, these fake treatments fleeced vulnerable populations, and at worst, they actively endangered people's lives and health. In 1905, Frances worked with the New York County Medical Society and the NYPD to gather evidence against unlicensed practitioners and regulate the medical profession.
How did she gather proof that unlicensed treatment was taking place? By receiving the treatment herself! For ten years, Frances went undercover as a patient suffering various ailments, getting dubious treatments all over the city. Once the treatment had been administered, she reported her experience to the Society and the police, who fined the offenders and officially labelled them "quacks." Frances' methods, and the media's fascination with this lady medical detective, earned her the title "the most doctored woman in New York."
Our murder mystery events come to life thanks to our talented cast of Dainty Dames and Gents! While you can read about their illustrious professional credits and background on our Cast Members page, we wanted to catch up with our cast and get a more personal profile. Last up was Terence Leclere (meet-the-cast-terence-leclere.html). This week, the multi-talented and hilarious Katy Foley!
Social media handles: @ktdidwhatnow (YouTube/Instagram) and @kateflix (Instagram/YouTube)
Time involved with Dainty Dames: 1.5 years
What have you been doing during quarantine?: Painting my house! And filming one woman famous scenes from movies for my channel Kateflix
What’s your Zoom aesthetic?: dogs as props to impress people: I zoom with my dogs! (who are ADORABLE)
Favorite DD character to play: Rouge le Dodo
Favorite Mystery/Detective media (book, movie, show, podcast, etc.): Murder Mystery on Netflix
Favorite weapon in Clue: candlestick
Secret Skill: I’m a marathon runner
If you turned out to be a murderer, what would your neighbors say about you in their evening news interview?: we knew she was wacky, but...??
Anything else you'd like to share?: I love deep dish pizza