Lady of the Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour

(The outline of the following article was in my "drafts" file since late October of 2013, when I first made contact with Mary Jean Dunsdon aka "Watermelon" and "Weed Diva" [and I'll show you here how she got both of those nicknames], the owner of Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour in Vancouver, Canada. 

While doing research on Tristan Risk for her July 2013 interview, I learned that her "day job" at that time, was as a sexy sugar baker at the Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour. Seeing the shop is/was owned and operated by an all-female staff, I made note of it at the time for a future article to be entitled "Ladies of the Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour." When I first proposed the idea Mary Jean, she said it sounded like a "sweet & salty idea."

Initially, I got answers from Mary Jean to a couple of my questions for her, but I had more, for her as well as Tristan and the other ladies who worked at her shop. So, I again contacted Mary Jean, keeping Tristan in the loop, in January of 2014 for a follow-up Q&A session. Hopefully, one that would include some of her colleagues. In short; it didn't happen and this article sat in the "drafts" file, which I don't intend to be a permanent home for any article I start. I contacted Mary Jean again in June of this year, to try to get together with her and complete this piece, but that again, ended up not happening. So, what follows is what I got from Mary Jean and what I dug up myself.)

Vancouver's locally-famous Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour is owned by the equally locally-famous Mary Jean Dunsdon. Also know as "Watermelon" and "Weed Diva," (and I'll show you why here) Mary Jean employs an all-female staff. She jokingly told me she considers herself a criminal mastermind because she read somewhere it was illegal to only hire smart, gorgeous, and reliable girls. The ladies creating the goodies at her shop include burlesque queen Tristan Risk, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for this site in July of 2013.

Korean Belly Dance Team, "Butterfly"

Above is Korean belly dance team "Butterfly" at the Ninth Golden Belly World Belly Dance Art Carnival, which was held in July in Xaimen, China. The 10-member all-female dance troupe, most of whose members hail from Seoul, is directed by Sujee Choi, who's one of Korea's premiere belly dancers and instructors. The ladies competed against 60 other dance teams, from China, Korea, Russia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Argentina. There were also approximately 140 solo performers, one of whom was Butterfly's own Hye-kyoung Lee, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing in February of last year. I spoke with Hye-kyoung after her return to Korea from China and asked her about her group's preparation for and their experiences during the competition.

Ageless Actress Donna Marie Beard

Idol Features editor Chris Charles has graciously invited me to guest-write for this site. Chris previously did an article on my film Remake, or more correctly on The Ladies of Remake. As a debut, I was going to do an article on the ladies of my own film Not Quite Lyin’ Eyes. However, I’m going to start with an interview with my friend Donna Marie Beard (pictured above in a very recent photo), the star of that film. I may cover the rest of the actresses in a subsequent column.

Whatever Happened to the Texas Cowgirls, Inc.?

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are arguably the most famous cheerleading squad in the NFL and have been since the early 1970s. They debuted in 1960 as a co-ed squad called the "CowBelles & Beaux," and by the late 60s, the Cowboys' then-general manager decided an image makeover for their cheerleaders was needed to boost game attendance. The male cheerleaders were dropped in 1969 and in 1970, the outfits were redesigned. Two years later, another outfit modification was made and that design is pretty much what is worn by the ladies today, save for a few minor alterations over the years.

Besides cheering on the Cowboys on game days, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders make personal appearances at shows and events all over the world. Yours truly has caught some of their abbreviated touring squads during their USO tours of military bases in South Korea and Japan. I could go on at length about the DCC, but this article isn't about them. This is about the Texas Cowgirls, Inc., a long-defunct Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' faction formed by ex-Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Tina Jimenez, that first gained (in)famy in the late 1970s. Above is the (in)famous shot for their poster, that ran in the December 1978 issue of Playboy magazine.

Hilary M. Smith

Cal Polytech alumna Hilary M. Smith is primarily a behind-the-scenes person. She's a sound engineer, but does have one notable acting credit on her resume and that's in Patrick O'Bell's 2011 slasher Client 14. Her friend and co-producer of that one, Mo Whelan, asked her to be in it because they "needed a tall chick to kill" and, at 6' 2", Hilary sure fit the bill.

Of course, a lady of considerable height is also bound to have some modeling credits on her resume, as well. She's been on the runway for several LA area shows and events and has also been on stage as one of the most impressively statuesque female versions of the Rocky Horror Show's Frank N. Furter, I've ever seen.

What's even more impressive however, is how Hilary bounced back from a late-2011 car vs. pedestrian (in which she was the latter) accident that would have taken most people a good year or more to recover from, and even then, not fully. Hilary was up and looking as good as new in just four months. She tells about that in my very recent interview with her that follows. Above photo of Hilary at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden courtesy of Hilary, herself.

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