An interview with Kiki Lovechild

Furlesque extraordinaire Kiki Lovechild

With the Hundred Watt Club and Guildford Fringe teaming up again, Kiki Lovechild will be bringing his infamous ‘furlesque’ acts to Surrey. I thought I’d check in with him before the show to find out what ‘furlesque’ is all about!

Watch out Guildford, a lot of sexy fur is heading your way 😉

Kiki Lovechild, hundred watt, guildford fringe
Mr Suave Foto

After reading the word ‘furlesque’ next to your name I was instantly baffled! What exactly does it mean?

Furlesque is my own brand of burlesque puppetry, the ‘fur’ part coming from the furry fabric I use to make a lot of my puppets. As far as I’m aware I’m the only one using this term for burlesque puppetry, which is a shame because in recent years there have been a number of excellent new puppeteers on the burlesque scene. And I am loving the competition – you can never have too many sexy puppets.

How did the furlesque acts come about? They appear to be quite different from your clown acts.

My clown work has been most of my focus for the last 10 years, but about 6 years ago I desperately wanted to get back into puppetry – skills I initially perfected while working in children’s theatre. And I’m really glad I did because it’s been so, so, so much furry fun! Within a matter of months, two of my first Furlesque characters were on the scene: the dapper Frank Little and the infamous Jessica Blue. More have appeared since, but I’ve never quite been able to shake these two! While they are quite different from my clowning acts, the sense of fun and underlying mayhem is just the same!

Are there other furlesque performers to be on the look out for?

There are lots of wonderful puppeteers on the scene, including the brilliant Leggy Pee. And Twice Shy Theatre – although they’re not burlesque – are making waves with breathtaking puppet cabaret routines.

Does furlesque always take the audience by surprise?

Comperes often introduce me by saying something like “I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like this before”. I love that audiences are never sure what to expect from furlesque, and just when they think they’ve got it sussed, I always throw in a kicker at the end!

Kiki Lovechild, Mr Suave Foto
Mr Suave Foto
     
kiki lovechild, Tigz Rice
Tigz Rice

Well done on winning silver for International Triple Crown at the World Burlesque Games for a furlesque routine, how amazing did that feel?

There’s a brilliant video somewhere of the surprise on my face when they announced it. I genuinely thought my routine was so off the wall that it couldn’t possibly win anything in a conventional competition. I loved it, and so did my puppets!

You performed The Hunting Trip for that show, what were the steps involved with creating that act in particular!?

The Hunting Trip came about over three years of experimenting – behind all the silliness there’s a lot of hard work. It merges some old vaudeville skills with modern burlesque, while also creating a satire of the fan dance – burlesquing burlesque. I think I need to sit down … I’ve confused myself.

There are three distinct segments in the routine to keep the crowd guessing what comes next. I didn’t create it specially for WBG, but it seemed like the perfect time to launch a routine that took so long to perfect.

If you had to choose a favourite furlesque act which one would it be and why?

I couldn’t possibly choose between my ‘children’. In all seriousness I love them all dearly, although Jessica occasionally gets on my nerves!

100 watt club, guidlford fringe, burlesque show

Speaking of the gorgeous Jessica Blue, will she have her happy ending?

Jessica Blue is a force to be reckoned with. She always gets what she wants in the end!

 

Big thanks to Kiki Lovechild for answering all of my interview questions; I feel more informed but just as intrigued about furlesque!

If you read the interview and are as curious about furlesque as me why not head to The Electric Theatre on the 8th of May to see Kiki Lovechild perform? He’ll be joined by the international vintage songbird Elsie Diamond, the raucos Dave The Bear, bodacious burlesque 100 Watt Club boss Lena Mae, the statuesque beauty Trixie Kixx and Winner of ‘Burlesque Idol 2014’ Pearl Grey showcases her unique charicatural take on the artform!

Don’t forget to don your vintage finery for a chance to compete in our infamous best dressed contest! Strictly over 18s only. Tickets are £15/£13 concs.

Vintage Magazine’s Maria Layley Interview

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A new Vintage Magazine is coming your way courtesy of Maria Layley

Maria Layley, VIntage Magazine, Maria Layley Illustration

I caught up with Maria to find out her inspiration for creating a magazine in a market of already well established reads, as well as discovering what we can expect from Vintage Magazine.

So, what sparked the idea for starting up a magazine?

From a very early age I was subject to endless Sunday afternoons of movies and musicals. Doris Day was a clear favourite of my Mother and Grandma, as was Mary Poppins, seven brides for seven brothers and Kismet. Thanks to all of these, and more, I now have a clear and at times unhealthy obsession with gingham, large families and men with beards.

As I grew up I was always drawn to the days gone by, in fact my first Halloween costume was Marilyn and her infamous white dress, minus the gust of wind. I had always managed to have a small piece of pinup or vintage style in my wardrobe throughout my twenties, even having a very small stint as a pinup model, but it wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I started to really have it in my everyday life.

I could never find something that encompassed my likes of all styles, so pinup, reproduction, authentic and rockabilly, plus I really wanted to know where to go to meet others that were like me. So I put the idea forward to those that know me and the response was so good that we had to start.

Did the current magazines out at the moment influence what you wanted from Vintage Magazine?

They helped us define who we wanted to be and how we wanted others to see us. They helped us design our style as we wanted to be different and stand out.

What do you think of the popular vintage magazines around at the moment?

I think that we are coming into the scene at a very critical time. It’s starting to sprout and grow and we want to be part of that growth. Its not in its infancy, there are a few other magazines out there, but I feel that there is plenty of room for more. One of my personal favourites is In Retrospective, not only because they are fellow brightonians but also because they have been so supportive from day one. They didn’t see us as competition but as an ally in spreading the love.

What will set Vintage Magazine apart from the others?

I think that the difference between us is that we don’t box ourselves in by just talking about one set time in history or one set style. I started this magazine because I saw a gap in the market and thought I could fill it with my love of the past. I now find that it is far beyond that. I want it to be a platform not just for our style but for hope. If we can band together and make this special we owe it to ourselves to help others that aren’t so fortunate. That way it isn’t just a magazine it’s a legacy.

We, plus our contributors are animal lovers, even to the point where one of our writers volunteers for the RSPCA in the UK and one of our first interviews is with Deidre Franklin who is the President and CEO of Pinups for Pitbull. We are also supporting the award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand and her beautiful pitbull flower power movement. On top of that we are looking to feature some amazing philanthropic work that needs some help to spread the word about their work.

Vintage Magazine, Old is Now, Maria Layley, Vintage Magazine Website
Sneak peak at the Vintage Magazine Website
With the launch of the website, will you be publishing articles up online first?

We will be having articles on both that are unique to each platform, so some articles you will only be able to find on the website, which is going live in April, and you will also find some articles exclusively in print.

Is there anything Vintage enthusiasts can be doing to get involved?

Get in touch, especially through our Twitter @the_vintage_mag and send us photos with the hashtag #fortheloveofvintage we would love to hear form everyone, tag us in photos of animals that need adopting or causes that need help spreading their word. Plus we are hoping to get onto the streets of some cities and start photographing people who are in the vintage style so keep an eye out for us.

Most importantly when can we expect Vintage Magazine to appear through our letterboxes?

Issue #1 is due for print in August, so stand by your doors singing “Stop, oh yes, wait a minute mister postman. Wait, wait, wait, wait mister postman”.

 

Many thanks to Maria for taking the time to be interviewed, I really enjoyed finding out more about the previously mysterious Vintage Magazine. Don’t forget the website goes live in April so get following Vintage Magazine on Twitter to keep up to date!

Screamin Festival: Tips for First Timers

posted in: Events, Interview | 0

Screamin Festival Newbies panic over: I’ve nabbed some tips from the regulars!

Screamin Festival, Screamin Fest, Calella Festival, Rockabilly Festival

Upon coming across Screamin Festival I shrieked with excitement; a rockabilly festival on the beach, in Spain! What’s the catch? Well I will be heading out to Calella where the festival is held each year in June and am confident that I am going to have an awesome time. You might ask why as I’ve never ventured there before, however I have been in touch with members of the Screamin Festival Team as well as enthusiasts and regulars. They each have different stories to tell but share a welcoming and infectious excitement for the event.

I’m pretty new to the rockabilly scene and it is great to feel an instant bond with active members. I thought I’d share the advice I have been given about Screamin Festival, and hopefully inspire you to pick up tickets too!

Willie Storm, DJ Willie Storm, Screamin Festival, Rockabilly Festival
Willie Storm

Willie Storm

If you are coming this year for first time then I have to welcome you aboard. The only thing I can say is that you won’t regret it.

The spirit of Screamin Festival is that everybody is welcome, doesn’t matter which style you like. Guaranteed you’ll make a lot of friends as everybody there is extremely friendly. Beach parties during the day and amazing bands in the evening at a large venue, the entire week.

It’s up to you when you want to come but 80% of the people do the whole week.

Staying? There plenty of hotels in Calella depending on your budget. I wouldn’t take an expensive one but also not a cheap one. Keep in mind that you will only stay at the hotel for sleeping (when you got time haha) and refresh yourself.


Steve Grinster, Rockabilly Festival, Steve Grinster DJ, Screamin Festival, Calella
Steve Grinster

Steve Grinster

The festival kicks off on the Monday & people start to congregate at Santi’s beach bar. On the Monday it’s the DJ’s that get the party started & bands don’t normally start playing until Wednesday. You notice the numbers start to grow as the week goes on, building to the big highlight of the festival which is Saturday night where the main hall gets really busy!

Santi’s is a very friendly beach bar & you’ll have no problem chatting & meeting people from all round the world.

As a first timer, pace yourself with the drinks, it’s always fun at the beach bar, but remember you don’t want to miss out on the fantastic evening & night time entertainment!!

No dress code at the Screamin’ festival, wear what makes you feel happy, the event attracts teddy boys & girls, bikers & rockers & rockin folk from the world over, from casual to very smart you’ll see a whole array of colourful people. Look out for the Hawaiian beach party for a chance to dress & impress in your best Hawaiian!

You’ll get to see some of the very best bands, from original to the latest, from all over the world playing Rock n Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Rockabilly & one of the very best Doo Wop shows you’ll ever see!

You’ll also find hand picked DJ’s to keep you wanting to dance all week long!


And finally some very practical tips from the wonderful…

Screamin, Fabulous TImes
Christine Macaulay – The Fabulous Times

Christine Macaulay

Bring a fan to waft yourself in the dance tent or at the pool party, it gets hot, hot, hot!! And remember to pack comfy shoes for dancing or walking down the beach. Yes stilettos look sexy but hobbling around at 3am or being unable to shake your tale feather sucks.

Hire a bike from the local bike hire place, that way you skip on taxi fare and have the freedom to whizz around during the daytime, be careful though as full circle skirts and headscarves can be somewhat of a health hazard.

Drink plenty of water, seems obvious? It’s so easy to forget when you’re out in the sunshine all day sippin’ cocktails and eating hotdogs, then out in the evening dancing and listening to the bands. Water will help you stay tip-top for the full duration of the festival, instead of peaking too soon.

Don’t feel left out if you can’t dance. My friends and I are pretty useless when it comes to dancing, watching those that are truly incredible dancers though can be just as much fun, call it a spectator sport or whatever but it can be a blast to watch so don’t feel bad if you’ve never been to swing/ lindy/ jive lesson in your life!

Prior to Screamin I usually get my eyebrows tinted and semi permanent eyelashes applied, this means you have the basic makeup on everyday without any effort so when you wake up after a night of partying, all you have to do is shower and hit the beach with minimum effort.

If you usually style your hair with curlers or tongues and this is too much effort for the day time. Pack headgear that will allow you to look fabulous whilst avoiding actually styling your hair eg. Grace Kelly style turban, obnoxiously large brimmed hat, bandana or large flower!

Oh and pack sunscreen!

Screamin fest, screamin festival, rockabilly festival
The Fabulous Times

Many thanks to Willie Storm, Steve Grinster and Christine Macaulay for helping me to create this post and giving me the final push to snap up tickets! I hope to see you on the sand with some sangria soon 😉

Haven’t got your ticket yet? No worries just click here.

Cinderella Review: Perfect Fairy Tale

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

You will go to the preview…

Cinderella, Cinderella Live Action, Cinderella Review, Cinderella press net, Cinderella Disney
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

With the release of the live action Cinderella out this month, it made me ponder when the original animated Disney Classic Cinderella was released?

The answer is the year 1950.

I know Disney has a long history, with its mouse made beginnings, before breaking records for highest grossing film with Frozen. However 1950 just seems an incredibly long time ago! Cinderella is one of the films I watched in the 90s as a child. In theory it taught me glowing morals but mostly just made me upset that mice can’t talk. All in all I had thought it was just a couple of years older than me. What a beautiful and timeless story, one that the new live action one stays true to.

Disney has captured fairy-tale at its best; with a magical dress transformation curtsy of the iconic ‘bibbity bobbity boo,’ from Cinderellas lovably disordered Fairy Godmother.

Cinderella, Godmother, Cinderella press net, Cinderella Disney
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

Oh but the costumes! Cinderella’s ruined dress is reimaged as a beautiful full skirted (and that’s putting it mildly) glittering dress in hues of blue, turquoise and possibly purples? All the costumes are show stopping, designed by the hugely talented Sandy Powell, paying tribute to the original film by reflecting the 40s and 50s. Aside from Cinderella’s mesmerising dress I loved the powerful dresses worn by her evil Step Mother, which mix up the wiggle with a don’t mess with me cape in numerous combinations. The set is just as absorbing and each time I glimpsed a new room I wanted to explore it’s intricate jumble of twee flowers and kitsch.

The biggest highlight for me included the captivating transformation of the Pumpkin, not only as it grows into enormous proportions to become the carriage but when the destruction comes as the clock strikes midnight. In the height of a chase the pumpkin flies around a mountain and eventually meets its demise, whilst gaining actual applause from the audience at the preview I attended! Impressive.

The ballroom dance scene is another memorable moment, with simple and elegant choreography that is accentuated by the camera, making the audience spin and swoon along with the beautiful looking couple.

Cinderella, Step Mother, Cinderella press net, Cinderella Disney
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

If I was to criticise, despite the happy ever after and Disney polish, I’d have liked the songs to have stayed. A big part of my Disney childhood was made up of the sing-a-long CD’s and for me their absence was missed. On the other hand the nursery rhyme ‘Lavender Blue’ that features at the beginning and end of the movie will have you muttering dilly dilly at things for days. Despite the missing musical element I can assure you that I loved the mice, with a very realistic depiction of Gus Gus, who instigated some humour alongside a daft artist.

It is a Disney Classic retold with the same strong messages of kindness and decency associated with the animated version. Don’t expect any changes or challenges to the original, minus an early meeting between the Prince and Cinder’s, this is an old-fashioned story.

Out in the UK on the 27th of March, make sure you don’t miss this one, especially if you are a Frozen fan.
#FrozenFever
Give me snow babies!

The King of Burlesque: Chaz Royal Interview

Chaz Royal Interview: LBF, Madame Jojo’s, Boylesk & exclusive discount code

Chaz Royal is recognised worldwide as the King of Burlesque due to his extensive show roster that has spanned 22 years as well as his collaboration with thousands of performers. With so much experience within the Burlesque scene, he sealed his title in 2007 with the launch of the London Burlesque Festival (LBF). Now into it’s 9th year, LBF is renown as an entertaining and thrilling endeavour that highlights some of the best talent in the scene.

Chaz Royal, Chaz Royal Interview, LBF, London Burlesque Festival, Kind of Bulesque

Could you tell us a little bit about your rise within the Burlesque community?

I had a fascination for pin ups and raunchy burlesque stag reels when I was a teenager in the 1990’s. I launched Chaz Royal as a division in my booking company. I used to represent many punk and ska bands as a booking agent and promoter. In 2002 I launched a tour in North America and just kept going for years. I launched LBF after having done several tours in the USA.

How did London Burlesque Festival come about?

I had already produced festivals in Toronto and Vancouver under the name ‘Burlesk Goes North Fest’ and in late 2006 decided it was time to go back to London with a festival. I had already produced 2 full UK tours and knew the market could sustain a large-scale event that would soon surpass all others at an international level.

Chaz Royal, Mimi Amure, London Burlesque Festival, Burlesque Performers, London Burlesque, Burlesque Festival, Chaz Royal Interview

There are more dates this year… is there a particular reason for expanding?

Each year the event has increased it’s days, venue capacities and standard for burlesque. We book only the best artists for each signature show.

Having held events at Madame Jojo’s do you think the Burlesque scene is changing in London with it’s closure?

To be honest I think that this venue had not been managed properly for years and was over saturated with low quality shows. When LBF appeared there it was special. The scene needs to continue branching out to districts all over the city and from what I can see independent production is still at an all time high. There’s also the introduction of dinner cabaret running non stop in the city and that alone hurts some of the smaller one off productions. The thing about LBF is that we help push through all of that and regenerate the industry not only in the UK, but also around the world.

Could you tell us a little bit about your struggles with the name Boylesque, or Boylesk as I noticed it was spelt for one of the events?

A month ago we were served a cease and desist letter to stop using the word Boylesque but that’s not why we spelt it differently. I’ve put on all male shows for years and another promoter decided best to trademark it and come after just LBF. Unfortunately people only read or listen to what they want to hear and think nothing of it, or spin it to make LBF look bad when we try to oppose it. The usual drama for us.

LBF, london burlesque festival, burlesque festival, burlesque fest, LBF 2015, london burlesque festival 2015, Chaz Royal Interview, chaz royal

You’ve added some new evenings to the roster, what surprises can London Burlesque Week regulars expect?

A couple new shows like the Tattooed Revue and Nerd-lesque, but we are bringing back many annual favourites and some that we tried out in 2014 proved to be a success. Burlesque, Gin & Jazz is the top seller, with the Opening Gala & All-Stars next. Most of the shows sell out in advance and 50% of people book before the performer schedules are even announced. People have come to know LBF produces great shows and continue to come back from all over the world.

And finally, on stage everything is a performance, what happens back stage?

A lot of fun times amongst regular performers but like any performance industry there’s drama on and off stage. I work non stop to make these shows happen, I put in up to 60 hours a week in the run up. So many established names from all over the world are coming, and it’s all very exciting!

Thanks Chaz Royal for taking the time to answer my questions, it will be great to see some fresh faces this year as well as the more established names.

Get your tickets here and don’t forget to use the code: ROYAL to get 25% off!

burlesque-discount

Spring #WednesdayWishlist

posted in: Fashion and Beauty | 0

Spring #WednesdayWishlist time

Springtime is upon us, with Easter coming up early this year. To celebrate I thought I’d get my act together early put together a midweek post featuring some of the accessories and dresses that I am lusting over at the moment.

Personally for me Easter means chocolate, cute animals and family time – preferably in that order. Spring on the other hand signals being able to go outside without being blown away, Pimms becoming an option, as well as getting my pastel shades fix for the year. So whilst you browse over my Spring #WednesdayWishlist just think of me being that awkward person who is ordering a Pimms from a begrudging bartender (sorry).

spring #wednesdaywishlist, #wednessdaywishlist, sprint season, ss15., spring picks, easter picks

Seventeen Gel Colour Range, Boots

‘Paloma’ Double Lily and Strawberry Hill Piece, Lady Luck’s Boutique

Lammie, Irregular Choice

City Bunnies, Hotel Chocolat

Round Small Pot With Animal Face Set Of 4, Sass & Belle

hell bunny, voodoo vixen, tiger milly, #WednesdayWishlist, vintage dresses, spring vintage, Spring #WednesdayWishlist , reproduction brands

Hell Bunny 50’s Bloomsbury Chiffon Floral Summer Dot Dress, Tiger Milly

Chelsea, Voodoo Vixen

british retro, voodoo vixen, british repro, Spring #WednesdayWishlist, #WednesdayWishlist, vintage reproduction, 50s

‘Sunday Girl’ Vintage 50’s Style Dress, British Retro

Selena, Voodoo Vixen

And that’s the Spring round up, rounded up! Just a short introduction into what’s on offer this season from established high street brands and vintage reproduction companies. Now I just need to wait for payday 😉