Dames co-founders Renee & Jillian are featured in a profile this month in Flaunt Magazine! Check out their interview, along with a sneak peek of our amazing recent photoshoot 🕵️♀️
Thanks Flaunt for this fun feature on our women-owned business!
The 1960s was one of the most revolutionary decades in fashion. A vibrant youth culture, combined with sweeping social movements and an increasingly global influence, created an explosion of new styles and trends, many of which became fashion staples through the years. Because of the '60s wide variety of style, and because many of today's clothes use inspiration from the '60s, it's super easy to create a 1960s inspired look out of your closet. So whether you're a hippie or a square, we've got you covered! Read on for outfit ideas, then put all that newfound sartorial inspiration to good use and join our New Virtual Games for a 1960s night to remember!
Coming out of the 1950s, silhouettes became a little slimmer, moving towards a chic and streamlined look, a la Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, or Jackie Kennedy's incredibly elegant suit sets. To mimic this look, pair a boat neck top in a solid, neutral color with a sleek updo and big sunglasses. Or, pair a pastel suit jacket with a similarly colored blouse - Jackie’s matching suit sets were all the rage in the early ‘60s. For dresses and skirts, think sheath dresses or A-lines - no need for the poofy petticoats from the previous decade!
Moving into the mid-‘60s, the fashion world got all shaken up with a “youthquake” brought on by the increasingly socially active young adults from the post-war baby boom. Combined with the British Invasion of heartthrob musicians and new teen supermodels, the conservative hemlines and color palettes of the early 60s didn’t stand a chance. Hemlines skyrocketed up into the new miniskirts, riotous colors swept the runways, and fashion took inspiration from the Space Race with shiny futuristic fabrics.
To capture the perfect Mod It Girl look, look for bright patterns and colors—the bolder, the better! A-line and sheath dresses took off even more, so look for pieces with less structured waistlines and a bit of a flare. Accessorize with a cute, wide headband, colored or patterned tights, and ankle boots. Or, for a more casual look, capri pants and skinny jeans were both massively popular in the mid 1960s - pair with a comfy striped turtleneck or a blouse with a Peter Pan collar, throw on some loafer or ballet flats, and you’re good to go!
In the late ‘60s, Western fashion adopted a lot of Eastern influences, especially from Southeast Asia. Nehru jackets were a very popular unisex item, and silhouettes became long and flowing, with bright patterned paisleys and beaded accessories. Rock stars like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix proved color and extravagance was for everyone, and men’s fashion quickly caught up with bold suits, lacy and frilled tops, and patterned everything. For a perfect hippie dippie outfit, pull anything with fringe, beads, and frills - layer a pashmina shawl over a patterned maxidress, or pair a cropped eyelet shirt with wide-legged, flowing pants. By the end of the 60s, LIFE magazine stated that “the latest rule in…high school fashion is that there isn’t any,” so embrace the counterculture and have fun with patterns and textures!
You might think murder mysteries have been around for ages (Imagine Marie Antoinette and her court dressing in costumes and playing at palace intrigue), but as a game genre, it’s only been around since the 1930s (the same time period as our Hollywoodland Murder game). Take a trip with us through the history of the mystery, and then join in the fun with our virtual games!
You can’t have a murder mystery game without a murder mystery! Astonishingly, the first detective appeared in fiction before they existed in real life - Edgar Allen Poe created the role in his 1841 story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, a full year before the first detective force in London! From there, the world grew more and more fascinated with the idea of solving a mystery, leading to a brand new literary genre featuring Sherlock Holmes and, later, Agatha Christie’s famous investigators.
But we still didn’t have a way to put the thrilling drama of the murder mystery into a game. By the early 1900s, the parlor game Wink Murder grew popular, where a secretly chosen “murderer” would “kill” other party guests by winking at them, while the rest of the guests tried to correctly identify the killer. The game is still played today, and feels like a spiritual ancestor to the modern games Mafia and Werewolf. Wink Murder introduced the idea of catching a killer, but it still didn’t involve solving clues or gathering evidence, just careful observation.
That changed in 1937 with a game called Jury Box, which included six case files with stories, evidence photographs, and sealed envelopes marked “Correct Verdict”. One player was the District Attorney, presenting the cases and evidence to the “jury,” made up by the rest of the players. Each jury member then came up with a verdict for the cases; correct guesses earned points, with bonus points awarded if they correctly described how and why the crimes were committed. Unlike Wink Murder, Jury Box didn’t involve much interaction between players - in fact, jury members lost points if they spoke or made any noise while trying to solve the crimes!
A few years later, a new board game used classic murder mystery characters and settings to create a new kind of game that involved logic and deduction. In 1949, Clue introduced the now household names of Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White, and Colonel Mustard - or, in our loving send-up Murder...Without a Clue: Rouge LeDodo, Maid Blanca, and Colonel Grady Poupon! Interestingly, the creator of Clue (or Cluedo, as it’s known outside the US) said he based the idea off a childhood game: while their parents threw weekend parties, he and his friends would sneak up on each other in the hallways playing “Murder,” complete with dramatic, shrieking deaths!
It was only a matter of time (about 30 years or so) before someone took all these ideas and turned them into the classic murder mystery party game we know and love today. Murder mystery boxes sold in the 1980s included brief character descriptions and simple premises, which became more detailed as the games became more popular. Today, “murder mystery games” can refer to anything from DIY hosted dinner parties to public shows with hundreds of guests and a cast of actors, like our live shows at the Marriott in Anaheim.
We are proud to continue this long history of intriguing entertainment with our murder mystery shows! We firmly believe that the best murder mysteries are interactive, intriguing, and inclusive - equally fun for avid puzzle solvers and first-timers alike. And with 2020’s move to virtual entertainment, we are thrilled to offer a virtual version that keeps all the interactive fun of the live event, for shows of all sizes, from intimate to office-wide. Contact us to set up a private show and be a part of mystery history!
The holidays are upon us! We’re all getting tired of hearing “things look a little different this year,” but it’s still true - the best way you can show your love to friends and family is by staying home so everyone can be safe and healthy. There are a lot of emotions that come with that, and it's important to give yourself kindness and space to process them all. It's okay to be bummed that things are different - but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays without compromising on safety or fun! Here are some ideas for how to stay connected on Thanksgiving Day, whether your loved ones are near or far.
With Your Household
If you have other people living in your household, there are lots of festive ways to spend Thanksgiving Day together!
Board Game Tournament - Get out all your family board games and create a roster! Can the house Monopoly champion unseat the best Scrabble player? And will the Czar of Chutes and Ladders unseat them all?
Gourmet Baking - Unleash your inner Great British Bakeoff contestant and tackle a complicated recipe together! And if the results are better suited for Nailed It...that's okay too!
Arts and Crafts - there are countless fun holiday crafts, for kids and adults alike. Try making a gratitude board, where each family member can fill out leaves on a tree (or feathers on a turkey!) with what they're grateful for this year.
Movie Marathon - Plan a movie marathon around a festive theme - while Thanksgiving-related movies are a little sparse, you could each pick a film that makes you feel grateful, or just give into the temptation and start on your Christmas collection.
With Local Community
If you have friends and family in the area, it's a great opportunity to organize some coordinated, socially distant celebrating.
Potluck-To-Go - decide who's going to cook the entree, sides, and dessert; then pack up portions for each household and deliver them door to door! The handoff is a nice way to see friendly faces on the holiday (masked, of course!), and then when you're home everyone can hop on a group call to compliment each other's cooking.
Delivery Deluxe - if your friendgroup is less culinarily-inclined, then support a local business! Pick a restaurant for delivery - either a group favorite, or a completely new venue - and make sure each household orders at least one adventurous dish. Then organize a videochat to review your new gourmet discoveries!
Volunteer/Donate - helping your community is a great way to feel connected. Start a fund drive for a local mutual aid organization, or organize a craft circle to make warm clothing items for donation now that the weather has turned crisp.
Holiday Walk - the post-dinner walk is one of the easiest traditions to safely maintain this year (with just a couple extra precautions). Meet up with friends for a masked, distanced walk - you'll want to keep your face nice and toasty anyways as the temperature drops!
With Distant Family and Friends
Thanks to the internet, there are more ways than ever to stay connected with your distant loved ones.
Communal Cooking - choose a cherished family recipe, and arrange a time when everyone can video chat while making it. This is a great way to learn how to create beloved foods on your own, while still being able to ask Uncle Al how he gets those perfectly golden brown biscuits.
Online Board Games - there are tons of classic board games online, so Thanksgiving Game Night can still go on! Consider designating a couple tech-savvy family members as digital support so they can help troubleshoot for the less internet-inclined.
Gratitude Round Robin - randomly assign each person a participating family member to send a grateful email. Encourage loved ones to write what they love about the other family member and why they're grateful to be in the same family. Then put all the emails together so everyone can reminisce and share the love.
Host a Virtual Event - sometimes the best way to cope with missing old traditions is to start new ones. Gather your friends and family online to spend quality time together with a virtual event - like our interactive murder mystery! Having an organized event can take the pressure off of coming up with Zoom small talk, and our family-friendly show brings loved ones together with hilarious results.
What are your plans for the holidays? However you choose to celebrate, we hope you stay safe, healthy, and surrounded by love.
As we enter the spookiest season, thoughts turn to ghostly visitations, mysterious noises in the night, and other signs of that horror hallmark: the haunted house! And while there are plenty of unassuming homes with unexplainable phenomena (like that spot in your basement that’s always chilly, no matter the season?), when you combine excessive wealth with a tragic backstory, you really get that special, luxuriously Gothic vibe. Here are three of America’s most haunted mansions, each incorporating a haunting blend of power, money, and death.
Speaking of those power, money and death - they’re perfect ingredients for our virtual murder mystery, which just so happens to take place in a mansion as well! Read up on these bone chilling buildings, and then join us for an evening of the luxurious and the macabre.
The Winchester House (San Jose, CA)
The Winchester Mystery House is such a quintessential haunted mansion that Disney used it as inspiration for their Haunted Mansion ride! Starting as a humble 8 room villa in San Jose, the home was purchased in 1886 by Sarah Winchester, widowed heiress to the Winchester firearm fortune. Sarah immediately started construction on the house, which continued for the next 36 years until her death in 1922. Rather than hiring an architect, Sarah directed all the additions herself, which led to unexplainable features like staircases heading to nowhere and hidden windows which never saw the sun, all culminating in a sprawling, labyrinthian mansion that at one point reached seven stories tall! Popular legend says that during a seance, a medium told Sarah the only way to appease the ghosts of everyone killed by Winchester rifles was to continuously build them a new home. The unsettling architecture, combined with Sarah’s fascination with spiderweb motifs and the number 13, creates the perfect spooky environment, and it’s no surprise that visitors tell tales of mysterious figures and disembodied voices.
Franklin Castle (Cleveland, Oh)
Apparently, in the late 1800s elaborate home renovation was a common way for the beleaguered wealthy to distract themselves from their grief. At around the same time as Sarah Winchester started her ceaseless construction, Hannes Tiedemann began expanding Franklin Castle, for much the same reasons - and with the same spooky results!
Initially, Hannes built the ornate Victorian estate to celebrate his prosperous banking career. At first, life seemed idyllic. Then, in 1891 Hannes’s 15-year-old daughter tragically died, followed closely by his mother. To distract himself and his wife, Louise, from their grief, Hannes starting adding onto the house, incorporating multiple turrets, gargoyles, and an increasingly maze-like sprawl of new rooms. Tragedy continued to beset the Tiedemann family, with their next three children all dying in infancy, culminating in Louise’s death in 1895. By this time, the continuous train of deaths, combined with the increasingly eerie Gothic architecture, sparked rumors of hidden passageways, secret torture chambers, and familial foul play. Though Tiedemann sold the home shortly after Louise’s death, visitors told tales of mysterious flashes of light, spectral visions of a woman in black, and the disembodied cries of babies wailing through the walls.
Joshua Ward House (Salem, MA)
While this stately brick building is indeed historic - George Washington stayed there on a presidential visit to Salem - like many classic horror movies, the hauntings come from the property the house is built on. Almost a century before the Ward House was built, the property was home to Sheriff George Corwin, who personally oversaw the executions of 19 people during the Salem Witch Trials. Rumor has it that Corwin tortured suspected witches in the basement of his home. While there’s no evidence to support that claim, the truth is grisly enough: Corwin led the execution of Giles Corey, an accused warlock sentenced to “peine forte et dure,” or being slowly crushed to death. Visitors to the Ward House say they have felt ghostly hands strangling them, or come away with mysterious scratches on their arms and chests. The House is widely believed to be haunted by Corwin and Corey themselves, as well as the ghost of an accused and executed witch. Skeptical? The Ward House is now a hotel, so feel free to stay the night…if you dare!
Picture this: You get on your weekly Zoom call with your parents and grandparents. For the first 5 minutes, Gramma can't figure out how to turn her audio on. Once that's solved, she's still not sure where the camera is, so all you see are Gramma and Grampa's foreheads. Meanwhile, Dad's making dinner in the background, so the conversation is punctuated by pots and pans clattering. And after all that, in this, the sixth month of COVID, the conversations tend to be: "What have you been up to?" "Well...you know...not much. We left the house once this weekend."
Many of us have turned to the internet to stay in touch with family and friends during this time. And while the ability to see our loved ones safely at a distance is a blessing, it's also fraught with obstacles, especially for the less tech-savvy among us. While it still may not be safe to see our far away fam, here are some suggestions to make your virtual hang-outs a lot more satisfying.
Give Tech-Averse Participants a Walkthrough in Advance
Just because someone struggles with new technology doesn't mean they can't take part in virtual hangouts in a meaningful way. If one of your friends or family is new to video chat, set up a one on one video meeting with them beforehand so you can walk them through the process. That way, they get a chance to explore and ask questions without ten people all sharing their two cents at once. Useful things to point out include: how to connect to audio, how to turn video/audio off and on, how to use a virtual background, how to access the chat, and how to share their screen.
Participate in a structured activity
With every day seeming to blur together into "COVID-time," it can be hard to come up with new conversation topics each week. Try mixing up your weekly call with a specific activity or game! There are tons of ways to play games online, including board games and trivia. If your group isn't into games, or if the learning curve is a little too steep, you could plan an in-home scavenger hunt, organize a show & tell, or take turns asking interview questions about each other's lives. Now is a great time to learn a little more about your friends and family, and planning an activity with some amount of structure creates the opportunity for people to share and interact beyond talking about the weather.
Set Group Guidelines
Remember in kindergarten when you passed a talking stick around at circle time to show whose turn it is to talk? If your virtual hangouts turn into a jumble of cross talk, it may be time to bring back the talking stick. While it might seem a little formal, setting guidelines can help your hangouts run much more smoothly, with less frustration for everyone. Consider guidelines like: everyone muting until it's their turn to talk, using the "hand raise" or other reaction button to signify who goes next, and asking everyone to put their phones on silent during the call.
Pick a Theme
Even varying the little details like your background or your clothes can make a weekly call feel more fun! Choose a theme, then have everyone pick an outfit and a virtual background to correspond. Themes can range from super simple (a specific color or pattern) to outlandishly fabulous (a black tie gala, a Halloween extravaganza) or anywhere in between!
True crime podcasts tend to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing. For avid listeners, the very best true crime podcasts create an escape from the day to day, and a reminder that whatever your personal problems are, they could always be worse. These podcasts certainly accomplish that, and each also provides an extra dimension to take the listener beyond the initial morbid details. From a mental health care perspective to underrepresented stories of marginalized communities, these podcasts are a must listen for any true-crime fan.
Caught up on podcasts, but still looking for a macabre escape? Try our interactive, virtual murder mystery event! Put your investigative skills to the test in our hilarious and engaging show. Who knows? Maybe the murder was you all along! Contact us for tickets today!
What Did You Do?!
Missing & Murdered
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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