Jo King Interview

Kingesis, Sexhibtion, Female Form: a Jo King Interview

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Jo King really is a captivating and fun person to interview. As owner of the London Academy of Burlesque and with almost 38 years of burlesque and striptease experience, this showgirl is showing no signs of hanging up her stockings… and I for one couldn’t be happier about it!

Read on to discover what exactly ‘Kingesis’ is, explore confidence coaching and celebrating women’s beautiful bodies at the upcoming Sexhibition

The title of your first Workshop at Sexhibition had me curious… what is ‘Kingesis’?

This sounds very full of myself to say; I designed Kingesis. But umm… obviously my surname is King and you’ve probably heard of the word Kinesis (movement and motion). Well I thought it would be funny if I renamed it and called it Kingesis because it’s my kind of movement, it’s Jo’s movement.

I wouldn’t dare to call it a therapy but it is therapeutic. It’s about releasing inhibitions and finding confidence in your form. Connecting with your feminine energy and your power, the power of being a woman. It’s an incredible power, if only more women were aware of it. If you want to know more… come to a class!

burlesque, london academy of burlesque, jo king

Has the London Academy of Burlesque always been about confidence coaching?

The truth is when I very first started teaching I thought I was just giving performers choreographic tips but what I didn’t know was that I was boosting egos, boosting confidence and making people feel good. I was 19 and you know it didn’t function in my head what I was doing.

Having been a striptease artist for so many years, what I had noticed is that sometimes the most stunningly beautiful women would come into the changing room and look into the mirror and complaining about their bodies. Then they’d get changed and they’d go on stage and you’d see this incredible performer and you’d think, is that the same girl?

It’s funny because actually all those bits of their bodies that they hated, they were actually showing. I always knew that there was something in performance that released inhibitions and helped with confidence. So that’s why I thought if I can bring that to women in the street… how amazing would that be? My ethos has always been about making every woman, regardless of age, shape, weight, height, ability or disability… feel fabulous about herself. That’s it.

So how does it feel to help people lose their inhibitions?

Amazing. I love love love love love what I do. The fact that I help people to feel better about themselves, it’s such an amazing gift. That sounds a bit yuck, but you know, it is amazing.

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How do you think burlesque has changed since you started?

When I started in burlesque attitudes were actually okay because burlesquers in those days were not revered but we were treated very well. And then burlesque kind of faded out and it became striptease, which is fabulous too.

Then it went through a phase of burlesque not being thought of so well because we went from clubs to pubs and in pubs you get a different kind of clientele. Some of my pub clients I actually preferred because they were down to earth and wonderful. But in peoples’ minds they think that that cheapened it. And people think when you are doing something where your body is naked and you’re asking for money that that cheapens you. I’ve never felt like that, I’ve always loved, fucking loved it.

I think attitudes towards burlesque have changed, what’s funny is the attitudes towards striptease haven’t changed enough. There is this kind of snobbery that burlesque is okay and striptease isn’t. But most burlesque involves some form of striptease, and the truth is my darling child, if you are taking your clothes off, if you are a burlesquer or not, guess what? You’re stripping! And if you’re stripping, you’re a stripper. It’s all just semantics.

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Do you think with Sexhibition that there is as much need to celebrate women?

I think it comes back to the thing with attitudes to burlesque and how they have changed. The attitude has only really changed in some areas. People have a preconceived notion of what it is and I still get phone calls from people who say can we have a burlesque show but we don’t want any clothes off or we don’t want any breasts out. It’s whatever is safe or acceptable to them. And then other people you could say the word burlesque and they would run a million miles. It’s the same as the word sex.

The British have a very archaic attitude towards sex. You know the Brits are actually very sexy people, it’s just that for the most part it’s behind closed doors. I think that the problem is that we aren’t really educating people and that people are scared of sex and women owning their own bodies and women doing what they want with their own bodies. Unless somehow they’re introduced to people who are as open and free as I am and many of my peers are, maybe they will never accept it or realise that it’s okay. I still think we’ve got a huge journey ahead of us.

What do you think it would take to get there?

I was interviewed for a feminist magazine years ago by a lovely reporter and she was saying, feminists are always saying what are you doing showing your body? I’ve always said that I’m the greatest feminist you’re ever going to meet. Surely the meaning of feminism is that a women has the right to be any kind of woman that she wants to be. So whether I want to be a sexy woman, or a masculine woman, or a crazy woman, surely feminism is my right to do what I choose to do? Isn’t that it?

I think we’ve got a lot of problems with religious beliefs, and I’m not a great fan of religion in any form or shape and I think in most religions nudity is considered a sin. But you’re born naked so you know, surely you’d be born with a covering, or a shell like a turtle or something! (She said cheekily!)

I’m not saying that every single person has to rush out and take their clothes off… fucking amazing if they all did! I just think whether it’s nudity, whether it’s religion, ageism, sexism, we just all need to be more accepting of one another. End of.

Jo King, London Academy Of Burlesque, Sexhibition, Jo King at Sexhibition, Sexhibition Workshop

After the Sexhibition Workshops are you around in the evening?

I am producing the After Dark burlesque show, so I will be Mama Jojo. The fabulous Miss Polly Rae is going to be there, she was one of my students, and now she’s an amazing burlesque super star.

I’m really looking forward to Sexhibition, I think the one other thing I’d really like to add, is that I think it’s needed. I think it’s gonna be amazing and I think it’s just the beginning.

Get in touch with Jo via the London Academy Of Burlesque website for classes, hen parties birthday parties or one to one tuition. Plus don’t forget she has Kingesis, Glamour Puss, Strip Teaser and Showgirl Sexy workshops at Sexhibition.

Tease and Cake Magazine

A review of Tease and Cake

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My first flick through Tease and Cake magazine and having fallen on page 6, there was the glamourous Bexi Owen. A blonde bombshell dressed in House of Satin retro styled underwear, she looked totally stunning. Instantly I thought, well this Tease and Cake lark is a bit of me!

Featuring pin up girls, nostalgia articles and the totally balmy Willie Winkleman comic; Tease and Cake is a magazine that celebrates the female form with brazen vintage inspired pin up images.

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Further page turning and I came across Ask Doris, possibly my favourite part of the magazine. Ask Doris is a hilarious read, where Doris uses her ‘vast honest pot of wisdom’ that puts other Agony Aunts to shame. Her advice would make for an excellent drinking game of innuendo bingo because she really does think about ‘your concern long and hard.’

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Having read this far, you’ve probably gathered the magazine is a flirtatious riot filled with cheesecake poses and plenty of word play but what I haven’t mentioned yet is the BOOBS!

I won’t lie; I hadn’t even contemplated the idea of full on nudies. I blame my very prude upbringing. At no point, despite my initial surprise, did I feel uncomfortable. In fact I not only said ‘pwoar’ in my head a lot but had an unexpected urge to strip down to my undergarments too… much to my Boyfriends amusement!

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With pin up stars being featured; including Immodesty Blaize, October Divine and Ava Aviaion it really is a packed out magazine. Not only are some of the most celebrated pin ups in Tease and Cake but also exclusive images, plus the makings of a Calendar each month, which I thought was an awesome cheeky idea.

But tongue and cheek aside, I really enjoyed the more ‘serious’ articles. Take ‘a brief history of pin up’ for instance, which taught me things I’d never even stopped and considered. I also found the interview with pin up artist Andy Hosegood really interesting, especially as I hadn’t been introduced to his amazing paintings before.

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Whether you are an aspiring pin up looking for posing inspiration, a celebrated pin up babe, a bit of a perv or just can’t get enough of the raucous Doris, Tease and Cake truly is ‘the gentleman’s magazine the ladies love to read!’ Also make sure to look out for their Miss Tease and Cake pin up competition.

Check out the Tease and Cake website to subscribe to their magazine.

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Dots n’ Bows Interview

posted in: Fashion and Beauty, Interview | 0

Zanna Li Tjärnström is the woman behind Dots n’ Bows

Having been introduced to Dots n’ Bows through Atomic Amber and her amazing custom order I thought I ought to get in touch with them. Whilst ummming and ahhhing over which bag to get, I am thinking flamingos wearing sunglasses, I thought I’d find out a little bit more about Zanna Li Tjärnström the lady behind Dots n’ Bows.

Zanna Dots n bows, dots n' bows, dots n' bows creater
Zanna Li Tjärnström

How did you get into designing and creating bags?

Well, I’m an educated seamstress. When I went to school we learnt how to sew clothes, knit, crochet crochet and so on. A few years after school I started to work for a company that made flags so my job was to sew them.

After I quit my job there I got pregnant at 23 and started to make children’s clothes. Later I started a children’s clothes company. But to make clothes takes time and the fabrics are expensive so it’s hard to make a living of that kind of work.

A few years later I started to sew bags at my home. I love bags, I rarely use them, but I love them. I ordered fabric and vinyl from the states and would sew every night (all night) when my boyfriend and son were sleeping. I guess you can say that I’m a real entrepreneur and I tried a few different thing before I found my true calling!

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What’s involved with creating a typical bag?

That’s hard to describe! The first thing I do when I design a bag is try to imagine how it should look when it’s finished. I then draw all the parts with their measurements on paper and try sewing the design after that. Most of the time the bag design is finished after my first try, sometimes I have to make a few adjustments.

How long does a typical bag take to make?

Well it depends on what kind of bag but the standard handbag named Sue takes about 4-5 hours to make, sometimes more.

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They all have a retro feel, where do you take inspiration from?

I don’t think it was intentional, although maybe in the back of my head? I made the first bags after my own preference and still do.

I ordered sparkle vinyl because I wanted to try to sew in that material and I loved it. The material fits the retro and vintage style great! So I guess it just happened.

Do you enjoy working with custom orders and if so why?

Yes I do! I decided early on that I didn’t want to mass produce bags. I want each one of them to be unique so that every costumer can have their own bag. Plus when I get custom orders I don’t have to design all the bags myself.

dots n bows, dots n' bows, vinyl sunglasses case

Do you have a favourite item?

I have lots of favourite material things. But the most precious must be my mint green 1950’s singer sewing machine that comes with a beautiful teak table! I found it in a flea market about 3 years ago. And it works!

Are there other products you’d like to add to the range?

Oh yes, I have lots of ideas but not much time to make them. I designed an eyeglass case the other day for example. I have some free time coming up and plan to spend every second in the studio creating fun stuff!

dots n bows, dots n' bows, vinyl rockabilly bags

Thanks Zanna it was great to find out more about the woman behind Dots n’ Bows. Now if I could just choose how many flamingos to add to my bag 😉

Check out more of Dots n’ Bows over on their store or instagram @dots_n_bows.

Dragstalgia Review

posted in: Events | 2

Read up on my time at Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia

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Santa Pod boasts being the home of European Drag Racing, something easy to support with the various championships, and events as well as the drag racing elite that it attracts. With an increased interest in cars, due to my love for the rockabilly scene, I thought attending one of Santa Pod’s retro events would be a great first trip.

I went to the Saturday of Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia weekender and had a frickin’, deafeningly awesome time!

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dragstalgia, santa pod, blaire rowland, blaire amy, old is now, old is now vintage

With no previous experience of watching drag racing, I quickly recognised that the christmas tree was in fact the lights and realised the addictive excitement for both speed and elapsed time (some of them were scary fast). I enjoyed choosing who I thought would win, a scientific approach of the best paint job, and with the beautiful weather it was a great way to pass a saturday. The bikes were particularly impressive, with my Dad being an avid motorbike rider. Not only was there lots of drag racing, as one would expect, but also Sarah Doo Wop’s hair salon, WWII Flypast, plus a large show car area and the Demon Drome Wall of Death.

I’ve never been in a wall of death before and hell are those riders gutsy. Not only did they ride their bikes around with their hands in the air and flip around in their seats but they also took a kart around too. I won’t lie I did slightly fear for my life as it rumbled around the wooden planks and shook the stadium.

hot rod, santapod, santapod dragstalgia

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The closure of the racing track for the evening was celebrated by a Cacklefest and fire burnouts. The Cacklefest was as loud as I thought it would be and it was great to see several slingshots lined up together. It was the fire burnouts that I thought were the most thrilling. Two cars had the back sections of their car doused and then set alight. They then jettisoned up the track extinguishing the flames with their own smoke. It was amazing to see them lit up, and particularly hilarious when the commentator mentioned that one of the men in their car was being set alight by his father, but watching them ‘escape the flames’ was particularly exciting.

hot rod, santapod, dragstalgia

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With our two hour ride home, the burnouts signaled our time to turn home. However many of the campers appeared to be making use of the fact that everything was still open and that a couple of rockabilly bands would be performing at the Fuellers Bar, kind of gutted that I missed that.

Despite not knowing much about cars, I had an excellent time at Dragstalgia and would recommend it for all. I particularly liked the fact that I could ‘drag’ my Boyfriend to a retro styled event that was actually aimed more at him than me!

Collectif Penny Dress

posted in: Fashion and Beauty | 3

#OOTDSocialClub with the Collectif Penny Dress

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Hands up if you love Collectif? Probably a bunch of people reading this post will have raised a hand, or most definitely considered doing so. I bet a small bunch of you were also a bit disgruntled though. I have a total love hate relationship with Collectif. Maybe I just committed blogger suicide with that comment, we’ll see.

First of all the love affair… I love the Collectif designs, the patterns on the materials they use, the cute pinup styled dresses they make, as well as their pencil skirts.

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What I am less enamored with is the fit! I understand that my measurements mean I am in between a 10 and a 12 at most shops however on ordering Collectif clothing I find myself at a loss for how an item will fit me entirely. In one instance it was too tight across my waist and the other it was being swamped with material.

For this reason I only buy Collectif in the sale these days. I’m not knocking the clothes, I have a crush on so much of the latest range, but for me the dresses never seem to fit quite right. I hope you are one of those people with a normal body and find Collectif quite agreeable. Unforunately that just ain’t me.

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With the red, and black Collectif Penny Dresses available now, I thought I’d share photos of the red and white gingham one I picked up in the Winter Sale… way back when I started to forget what sunshine was! I took the garment to Zipyard, my local alterations shop, and then tada I was back to being in love with Collectif.

As you can see, that is not England in the background. I took my Collectif Penny Dress to Spain with me for the Screamin’ Rockabilly Festival. Teaming the dress with a mini belt, espadrilles and adding some hair flowers, my look was complete.

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In this outfit I get to feel like the perfect pinup! What an awesome feeling.

In short, by no means am I saying don’t buy Collectif in this blog post! If anything I am venting about my inability to maintain a mainstream frickin size damn it! I couldn’t be happier with my dress, and it makes me feel sexy as well as classy which is the ultimate combination. I would just love it if I didn’t have to wait around for the sale so I could justify making amendments at the seamstresses.

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Penny dress, Collectif

Espadrilles, Tesco

Lily hair flower, Lady Luck’s Boutique

Red rose hair flowers, Claire’s Accessories

Earrings and belt, hand me downs from my Mama

collectif penny dress, blaire rowland, old is now vintage, old is now, old is now blog, vintage inspired

Unique Vintage Swimwear

posted in: Fashion and Beauty | 0

Feeling like a total pin up

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So month’s ago I was lucky enough to be one of Unique Vintage’s winners of their swimsuit sharing competition over on Twitter. Not only was I delighted as I was able to choose from their gorgeous range of vintage inspired swimwear, but also because I never win anything and that is totally exciting! Naturally I chose the loudest colour and print combination on offer, opting for the very cheeky looking Unique Vintage Red & White Gingham Loren Retro Two Piece Swimsuit.

Unique Vintage Red & White Gingham Loren Retro Swimsuit, old is now vintage, old is now blog, calella, spain, beach, pinup

The only catch? Well living in England means that despite getting the Unique Vintage Swimwear at the start of the year… I was only able to wear it out on a holiday to Spain last month! Fortunately summer appears to have arrived for the UK and I anticipate that it will be joining me on the beach a lot over the sunshine months. Another catch with being in England is the FedEx charge I got, despite it being a competition prize – but all in all a very small price to pay for a bikini I love!

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The fit was great, and I’d say if in doubt with the measurements ask! They want you to get your order right first time so if you are stuck on fit then drop their customer services an email. That being said I’ve felt good in this bikini when I was the top end of a 12 and then at my current 10/12 limbo land. I also think that the vertical red panels that break up the gingham on the bottoms make them really flattering.

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This was a fun ‘shoot’ (and I use the term loosely), having suckered my Boyfriend into playing photographer. It was a hot day, which meant that no one was paying us any attention as I hopped on and off of the boats. I really enjoyed pretending to be a pin up! Thanks again to Unique Vintage for selecting me as one of your winners.

I promise more beach frolics are on the cards! Fingers crossed I can book up another summer holiday and get myself some more Unique Vintage Swimwear.

calella, spain, beach, beach couple
Cheeky photo with the photographer ;)

Red and White Gingham Loren Retro Swimsuit, Unique Vintage
50s Vintage Cat Eye Diamond Sunglasses in Tortoise, Top Vintage

An Interview with Esquire De Lune

posted in: Burlesque and Cabaret | 0

Esquire De Lune, Guildford Fringe, 100 Watt Club, Proud

Esquire De Lune is a sensational contemporary dancer who has become a well established boylesque performer, famed for dark and seductive routines. He talks to Old is Now about becoming Esquire De Lune but if you want to see him perform why not attend his performance at the Hundred Watt Club and Guildford Fringe Festival on the 25th of July.

Could you tell us about your performance background?

I started performing when I was 17. I’ve been a professional commercial dancer now for nearing 20 years doing many things such as pop tours, TV shows, movies, commercials, hair shows, fashion shows, festivals etc etc. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world doing these things, not to mention perform with some of the biggest stars in the world… I feel very lucky!!

How did you first get involved in Burlesque?

I fell into burlesque kind of by accident really. I had met Tempest Rose several times through a mutual friend and she has a yearly competition called Burlesque Idol.

One day on Facebook I saw that people had dropped out of one of the heats and that she needed a replacement. For some strange reason I just decided to message her and say that I might be interested, I had the opportunity to potentially win some money so I thought why not? I threw a number together in my lounge and luckily enough went on to win it! Since then it’s just gone from strength to strength and I’ve realised this is obviously the path I’m meant to be on and I’m loving every minute of it, especially the creative side of it!!

Esquire De Lune, Guildford Fringe, 100 Watt Club, Proud

How has your persona changed from you first steps into Burlesque?

I started as ‘Bambam Le Bang’ but only for that one night and performance. It was all so rushed on my behalf, as it was last minute, and the number I did was a bit redneck rockerbilly so it kind of matched the act. But as I started creating my new numbers they were all very dark, dramatic, moody and stylised so I thought I needed a new name and persona, hence Esquire De Lune was born!!

Is there anything you haven’t done in a performance that you would like to try?

Well I’m actually in the process of learning fire breathing and transferring. I also have a specific number I want to do involving silks, so that’s also on the tick list! I’m also wanting to do a male and female double act which I think would be super sexy, that too is in the pipeline!!

Esquire De Lune, Guildford Fringe, 100 Watt Club, Proud

To anyone who hasn’t experienced boylesque what would you say to them?

Hold on to your knickers or get yourself a mop!! Lol

Thank you so much to Esquire De Lune for this interview. I can’t wait to see him perform at the Guildford Fringe Festival with Sadie Sinner, Miss Glory Pearl, Tabitha Taboo and Natalya Umanska! Check the flyer out below for more details.

Guildford Fringe Festival, 100 Watt, Guildford Burlesque