Sorry about the title, I’m probably a bit sleep deprived. I’m at my friend’s working on a new book while he does art stuff.
From next week I’ll be posting a spooky themed video made by myself each Tuesday of October, but I thought I’d start Halloween early by sharing other people’s videos of burlesque performances. I like any kind of burlesque but if it has a Gothic twist, or twenties, or circus sideshow it’s even better.
I’ll start with Missy Macabre, partly because I once interviewed her for Bizarre magazine and partly because she manages to combine the twenties, Gothic and sideshow all in one human:
Next is Obskyura, who is basically a modern Josephine Baker in this act:
It’s here! Later tonight I shall be watching Derren Brown and stuffing my face but until then here is something to amuse all you weirdos out there. It’s like that programme An Evening With, where the star shares charming anecdotes with the audience, except in this context it involves burlesque, horror, trash and cult cinema and fetishes. It’s very funny.
BE WARNED: Much of this is NOT for children. Do not watch if you’re under 18 (or whatever age you think it’s OK). Happy Halloween!!
Where can you make things out of clay, or sew your own toy, watch a two person short play and a monologue about the Marquis De Sade before toddling off to the Cabaret tent to watch burlesque? The Chelmsford Fling in Essex, that’s where! Have a look online here. And the best part? No children!
In the cabaret tent Desmond O Connor (who’s popped up as MC for Bizarre Magazine’s Ball more than once) serenaded us with increasingly rude songs on the ukelele and Ginger Blush engaged the crowds in burlesque bingo (like normal bingo but with corsets), all punctuated with lovely ladies dancing about and removing items of clothing. Oh, and one man, he was quite nice too.
Elsewhere in the Make Do And Mend tent you could create your own toy, or watch two professional actors in a short play in the Storytime tent. If that’s not enough you can make things out of clay or your own hat if you don’t mind looking really stupid, or watch experimental films whilst drinking refreshing smoothies in the Psychedelic Film tent. Oh yeah, and somewhere there was some live music playing.
Obviously it’s already happened this year, but make sure you get to the next if you can and buy advance tickets as the price goes up considerably on the door. Now here are some pictures to highlight the experience:
I’ve had to interview various unusual and creative ladies for magazines and it got me thinking about a few that people may not have heard of, but would like to.
I’m on some pretty heavy painkillers (have a read of my post on endometriosis) so forgive me if I don’t make much sense…
The first two are musical. I like ethereal music ladies such as Bat For Lashes and CocoRosie, and two singers/musicians I came across in the last few years have caught my interest.
Anneka Snip lives in Brighton and has collaborated with electronica artists like Milanese, Blue Daisy and Ital Tek.
Kid A (or Annie T) is an American lady who is currently on tour with Scroobius Pip. Have a listen:
Next up is a cabaret artist known as Missy Macabre. A one woman vintage burlesque freak show, I interviewed her about a short comedy/horror film she appeared in called Annabelle’s Tea Party. Have a look at her in action:
Well, by golly they raised those funds and now they’re having a wrap party in London (have a look at their facebook page for more info). There’ll be performances from the likes of Veronica Valentine and others.
There’s no ‘right way’ of doing things. No one should read how one person lives their life and follow it strictly, and of course there’s no point in doing something purely for affectation. However, for me, I love Jeanette Winterson’s outlook in her introduction to ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’:
“Dinginess is death to a writer. When Keats was depressed he put on a clean shirt. When Radclyffe Hall was oppressed she ordered new sets of silk underwear from Jermyn Street.”
This has always worked for me and ever since I can remember I’ve been drawn to colourful things; clothes, decorations, and any bath products (baths are important to me) that are jolly or immature in any way make me ecstatic – Lush Cosmetics and Soap and Glory are the best for this. Soap and Glory’s packaging is fifties vintage which makes me feel like a burlesque queen, while Lush’s colours take me to a fantastical place.
How can you not love a ‘bath bar’ shaped like a mushroom? In order to remain able to think up bizarre and silly stories it is vital that I never grow up.
I found these articles I wrote back in the mists of time (2007) and thought they were sufficiently entertaining enough to include.
I go into further detail on how to write for magazines in this post here and in my blog Swann’s Shack on The Focus Project. As well as the articles below I’ve reviewed a freaky sideshow, interviewed and written about burlesque dancers, film-makers, tattooists, church renovators (yes, church renovators…for Essex Life) and new hip replacement technology (for a medical magazine…not Just 17).
Needless to say these were for Bizarre. I also collected the voodoo doll ingredients from Camden (I knew pink sparkly beads would look terrifying). Click on them twice to enlarge:
T’was recently my 30th year and to celebrate it my friends and I went to Proud Cabaret on Mark Lane, Tower Hill (very close to Liverpool St).
The place looks amazing. You have to be well dressed to go in and I was pleased to see all my friends in vintage wear as Proud Cabaret itself is decked out in 20s style, and the gothic candles and mirrors on the walls were beautiful. One friend arrived in upper class Victorian wear and another in working class Edwardian, so obviously the Victorian had to beat him and wave money for photos.
The acts themselves were lively and fun, mostly performed by a group of ladies with a single man. The compere Coco Dobois was a lady with a lovely voice and great sense of humour. The theme of the shows change and that particular night was ‘decades,’ with each new performance taking us forward in time from the 20s to the 90s. Personally I would have been happy to remain in the 20s but it was still very enjoyable.
Highlights for me included the compere coming over to speak to me, the birthday cake staff brought over, lovely ladies and entertaining juggler Mat Ricardo.
I liked the way the stage had a long area in the middle that allowed the performers to come forwards.
The only troubles came with a rude waitress, the price of the food (at around 45 pounds you’d probably do better to look into a show only ticket) and Marilyn Monroe-esque Banbury Cross not being present. I also wasn’t too keen on the male solo dances (sorry lads, very talented but we were in it for the ladies).
However, the rest was great and much fun and laughings were had by all. I’d like to go back to see a more vintage orientated show but that’s just my personal preference. Recommended!
It’s my birthday today and I’m editing my novel before going off to pose nude. Later I shall be watching a documentary about sideshows and then Derren Brown. Woo! Saturday I’m off to a burlesque night, I shall go into detail for my Alternative Travel series.