Miss Nightingale

posted in: Burlesque and Cabaret, Events | 0

miss nightingale, belgrade theatre, miss nightingale theatre show, matthew bug

I was looking forward to Miss Nightingale, and oh boy she did not disappoint! Welcome ‘to the gay glamour of 1940s London’ it boasted and exceeded that remit with ease. Hoping for a saucy show girl that would light up the stage, the mouthy northern lass Maggie Brown (played by Clara Darcy) transforms into Miss Nightingale and was the singing songstress as promised. However this isn’t a tale just about a war time singer and her shady boyfriend Tom Fuller (Christopher Hogben).

Let’s just come back to ‘the gay glamour.’ Yep, you guessed it but I hadn’t before the show! To my surprise and if the lady in front of us was anything to go by most of the audience’s surprise; this was a tale about a love triangle that included two gay men. ‘Oh my god’ was uttered in the loudest stage whisper from the shocked lady as the loveable Polish-Jewish refugee George (Conor O’Kane) and the tight lipped but enthusiastic Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe (Nicolas Coutu-Longmead) pecked each other. I’m pretty sure the two actors must have heard her gasp and I can’t help but think it must be quite a satisfying reaction.

There was a build-up of tension beforehand but to actually see the kiss on stage in the context of the war when it was an incredibly risky time to be gay was quite the scandal! It was a welcomed shock and it gave the production an unexpected depth to it that I hadn’t been expecting (I guess I should read the press release more carefully).

But romance aside, my favourite aspect of this show were the songs that are simply excellent! Songs executed with perfect tongue in cheek, like ‘the sausage song,’ added great hilarity to Miss Nightingale and had the audience in stitches. I don’t know whether the unexpectedness of the whole production made everyone more involved but the audience really were a noisy lot, laughing out loud at every comedic moment and applauding whenever appropriate to do so.

For your amusement, here is a link to the sausage song, although if you plan to go see miss nightingale at the theatre you might wish to keep it as a surprise!

However the ballads were also beautiful and heart felt, which just goes to emphasise the calibre of the multi-musically talented cast who captured the versatility of the play with a wonderful confidence. Keeping the cabaret club at the centre of Miss Nightingale added a really glamourous side to this entertaining show that was as uplifting as it was engaging.

A special mention needs to go out to Matthew Bugg, who after browsing his website had me in further awe. Miss Nightingale is his first musical and although it sounds like he really has been successful throughout the whole of his theatrical career, from what I saw he has found his true calling as a writer and award winning composer. He is one to follow.

Back to the production, if quintessential British humour is what you are after with a darker war time underlining plot then Miss Nightingale is for you. Here’s to hoping it gets another tour or that Matthew Bugg gets writing something new soon!

Thank you to the Belgrade Theatre for the tickets. Whether you are going in to watch a show or strolling past, make sure you visit their cafe for the most amazing red velvet cake. It makes for a great pretor dinner 😉

Sexhibtion

posted in: Burlesque and Cabaret, Events | 0

From the initial concept of ‘Erotic Event of the Year’ Sexhibition really delivered a racy weekend to Manchester’s Event City.

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To begin with there was enough sexual equipment, yes paddles, toys and even furniture, to sustain the sauciest person you know for a lifetime and beyond. Nothing unexpected there, however what I really enjoyed about Sexhibition was the Fashion Shows as well as Alix Fox’s humorous BDSM for beginners talks.

I was gutted to have missed the What Katy Did and Kiku Fashion Shows (due to awful traffic) but had some serious lust for Lady Alluras Latex in particular. Not only is Lady Alluras Latex really fashionable due to the latex garments it actually creates but some of the designs also incorporated lace for a really unique and beautiful style. Also Masuimi Max graced the stage in an amazing latex winged outfit, which was a total show stopper.

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I visited Sexhibition with blogger and pin up pal Nicole from Coco Von Vintage and together we had a pretty awesome, albeit slightly drunken silly, weekend. We were lucky enough to meet Sukki Singapora, who is just as beautiful in person and lovely enough to allow us to take a photo with her! We also had the chance to meet the lovelies from The Pinup Academy, including Lola Diamond (blog post featuring her amazing Flamingo dress soon) and Frenchie L’amour who is a total babe and a delight to chat with (and apparently a wonderful audience for when I am pulling grossed out faces – still sorry for that).

The Sexhibtion Expo was a great way to spend the day. I visited the stalls, different rooms and even signed up to a shoot with Andrew Wood Photography so watch out for my return to Manchester! There was also the opportunity to attend workshops covering burlesque, belly dancing and pole dancing and from peeping through the windows, they looked like a lot of fun. The Pin Up and Pornstars Party was slightly disappointing as there wasn’t a lot going on, however Sexhibition: After Dark provided just the debauched soiree it promised!

old is now, old is now vintage, sukki singapore, sukki sexhibtion, sukki singapora sexhibtion, blaire amy

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Each of the Burlesque artists featured in Sexhibtion Supper Club were really impressive but my obvious favourite has to be Sukki as she was a big pull for me to attend the event in the first place! She performed her glamorous diamonds routine with a glistening and wet finale on top of a huge ring, of course 😉 Total superstar!

Compere Miss Polly Rae was also on fine form and kept the entertainment flowing, mingling around the candle lit dining area, as well as demonstrating her amazing singing show girl persona.

Elsewhere at Sexhibition there were pole and lap dancers (it was great seeing topless men on the pole – just saying). The only thing that slightly let the side down was that unfortunately Event City had miscalculated how much Sexhibitionists would like to drink. The bar queues were insane for most of the evening, which resulted in me ending my evening drinking Cider… something I now know to be avoided unless I am looking for a hangover the next day… but it was worth it for all the hilarity.

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With the drag stars, burlesquers, weirdos and just risking it all for the evening attendees (or all of the above), I like to think that everyone who did visit, helped make Sexhibition the toxic and fun night it became!

We are all Sexhibitionists and I look forward to even bigger and better next year.

blaire amy, pinup blog, vintage blog, old is now, forbidden furniture, sexhibition

Jo King Interview

Kingesis, Sexhibtion, Female Form: a Jo King Interview

jo king, mama jojo, sexhibition, mama jojo burlesque, burlesque queen

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.

jo king, london academy of burlesque, burlesque jo king

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.

jo king, sexhibition, kingesis, jo king sexhibition, sexhibition workshop

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!

tease and cake, slinky sparkles, tease and cake magazine,

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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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.

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London Burlesque Festival Review

posted in: Burlesque and Cabaret, Events | 1

London Burlesque Festival – Opening Gala

LBF, London Burlesque Festival, Master Cameron Eric Leon, Chaz ROyal

So the London Burlesque Festival is currently in full swing. Living outside of London can really take its toll sometimes but it is good to venture into town when you are confident that a good night lies ahead.

The Opening Gala was held at Dingwalls in Camden, a venue I hadn’t visited before but seemed fine enough, if slightly lacking grandeur. Having got to the venue in good time, after a couple of Kraken and cokes, we chose our seats and benefited from sitting at the front of a tier. Our unobstructed view was excellent and we were far enough away to not get accosted by the performers!

London Burlesque Festival, Kiki DeVille, Chaz Royal, London burlesque, opening gala

First up let me say that the billing was packed with recognisable and award winning performers; including our hilarious hostess Kiki DeVille. Last year Kiki won Vintage Personality at The National Vintage Awards, a well-deserved title, as within a few sentences she had already asked an audience member why she was wearing a dressing gown (which turned out to be a baggy cardi) as well as questioning if someone was carrying a baby or a basketball! Not only this but she was wearing a gorgeous hot pink silky number and met my Boyfriend at the bar; referring to him on stage as the cute geeky guy – something he was baffled and a little bit chuffed with 😉

With a strong set of performers I’ll focus on my favourites…

London Burlesque Festival, Lady Myosotis, Lisbon Underground, London Burlesque, Chaz Royal

Lady Myosotis is a Burlesque performer and singer, both gifts in which she excels. In case you weren’t in the know, Myosotis is a plant family that includes the forget-me-not; something no one in the audience is likely to do, as she was my firm favourite act of the evening. Not only is she a gorgeous and petite lady but she has an unexpectedly powerful singing voice. As she sang ‘whatever lady wants, lady gets’ I was under no illusions that this was not the case! Every bit a singing showgirl in her glistening costume, she demonstrated just how in charge of the audience she was by slowly teasing off her stockings in a heavily seductive yet cheeky manor. This was all rounded off with a fan dance, which was classy and sexy with luxurious plum coloured feathers.

London Burlesque Festival, old is now, aurora starr, surrey burlesque, chaz royal

Aurora Starr came out in a dark outfit with a fierce gladiator performance. She wore a very sexy costume, with leather paddles across her chest that would have made Xena Warrior Princess increadibly jealous. I also think that in a fight Aurora would wipe the floor with Xena. However the most thrilling aspect of her tease was the sword swinging that went on amongst rolls and aggressive kicks. I want to see more of this woman.

Ivizia Dakini, London Burlesque Festival, Burlesque Portland, Chaz Royal

Ivizia Dakini closed the show with a seductive fire display. As the lights went off and she walked on stage, the audience grew tense with excitement. We were rewarded with a dramatic display of dancing fire as she skimmed her own body with the flames, swallowed and blew fire and sashayed the lit batons around the stage. However the really exciting part was yet to come. Fire poi, fireballs at the end of chains, were whizzed around the stage and were skilfully used to command different quick spins. The audience were held in rapture as the fire was bounced off of her body and around her own head – a highly thrilling performance to watch.

London Burlesque Festival, London Burlesque, Mimi Amore, Chaz Royal, Opening Gala

My final mention is Mimi Amore. She has a fierce act titled ‘Egyption,’ which features a red beaded costume and billowing fans. It is an impressive performance and I think her crowd interaction and the many faces in which she pulls to entice a reaction are particularly entertaining. Last year, when she won Best British Newcomer, I saw her perform and was blown away by her. This performance was just as good however I had already seen her perform the act. Personally I think, knowing that you are performing at a similar burlesque night for the same producer, that it would be good to switch it up and deliver a different performance. I was disappointed not to be able to see what else Mimi has to offer.

This was the same with another performer who also repeated her performance from last year’s festival from the same night; it would have been great to see something new from at least one of them.

London Burlesque Festival, Chaz Royal, Mexican Masked Man,

Overall a strong performance from all, the audience atmosphere was friendly, fun and in most cases very drunk. Next time though I’ll be sure to pick a festival night that only has performers that I haven’t seen before. Multiple repeat performances, however amazing they can be, can be annoying to sit through for someone like me who has made such an effort to get into London! Despite this I was kept wildly entertained by a huge mix of acts including tease, fire, comedy, feathers, a Mexican Wrestler with Dorito’s in their pants as well as a juggler.

London Burlesque Festival, Blaire Rowland, Blaire Amy, Burlesque Blogger

If you are looking for award winning international performers, London Burlesque Festival will always have something to offer you. Just don’t be afraid to visit your local shows too!

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.

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

What to expect at your first Burlesque show

posted in: Burlesque and Cabaret, Events | 0

The unexpected would be a good start…

Bettsie Bon Bon, Pocket Circus, Burlesque, Appleton Productions, Leanna Bruce
Bettsie Bon Bon by Pocket Circus

Following on from my ‘Why I like Burlesque’ Post, is what to expect at your first Burlesque show. Now this is an almost impossible question to answer in the first place, as a Burlesque show can involve numerous kinds of strange and wonderful things, but getting over simple stigmas is a start. Things like yes you are going to see some boobs this evening, no not all of the performers will indulge you by being a size that you necessarily can relate to and understanding that audience participation is rife will be a big help.

Below is a short and definitely not definitive list of what to expect at your first Burlesque show. But the hope is to open your mind and get you excited for the evening performance ahead or inspire scaredy cats to go!

 

So what can you really expect from your first Burlesque Show:

Elsie Diamond, Pocket Circus, Appleton Productions, Burlesque, Cabaret
Elsie Diamond by Pocket Circus
  • Burlesque can be hilarious. Believe it or not, for people who have no experience of Burlesque this can be the biggest shocker. You are going to laugh. If you pick the right show, Burlesque is as much about comedy as it is about tease and personally that is why I enjoy going so much! Although a heads up for newbies, I am not sure if Gorelesque uses hilarity in the same way? (I have yet to see a Gorelesque act so I cannot advise.) But a classic show always seems to feature humorous acts in it as well as the usual bump n grind, singing, dancing and tease acts.
  • It’s not just a strip. To get on in Burlesque it appears you need to have multiple strings to your bow or some kind of niche. I have seen wonderful magic tricks performed by Delores Deluxe, lots of singers, ballet dancers and some amazing hula hoopers.
  • There will be eye contact. During a ‘serious tease’ there can be eye contact. Personally I find this really unnerving as I am about as sophisticated and comfortable with my body as a toddler who has just learnt that legs can be walked on. But you know, other people prefer a serious tease. Don’t be scared, just remember to look at the performer’s really gorgeous… hands?
  • Boylesque is a thing. This isn’t just a cabaret routine. Boylesque really does refer to a tease act. I have seen the performer Equador the Wizard swan about in a patriotic routine which left little to the imagination and received quite easily the loudest, appreciative reaction of the evening. Whether you are a girl loving every minute of this change up, or a guy who is appreciating that the man on stage really does have some serious balls (metaphorical they shouldn’t be visible!), I am sure you will love Boylesque. It’s not uncomfortable, in many ways it is just wacky. The couple of Boylesque routines I have seen have been awesome. Sure they took me by surprise but hey this is Burlesque, anything is possible.

 

Eivissa Rose, Joust Photography, Burlesque, Show girl, Appleton Broducts, Tease Bar
Eivissa Rose by Joust Photography

What not to expect at your first Burlesque show:

Dolly Rose, Appleton Productions, Burlesque, Tease Bar
Dolly Rose, Appleton Productions
  • Strippers. These ladies have class and you won’t be tipping for extra privileges. Also shouts like ‘what would your Mother think?’ will not be well received by the performer or the audience… consider yourself warned.
  • Nipples and downstairs. From the beginnings of burlesque there has been one rule… and that is not to show nipples or your downstairs. In many ways this keeps up the pretence that they are playing coy. Although slips can happen, they aren’t on purpose. Also although you will have read this, pants seem to be getting skimpier and skimpier. Well I guess the less material, the less expensive rhinestones needed? Some performers show so much arse you’ll be surprised they are wearing pants, fortunately this isn’t a concession being made up the front – although I recently got a flash of a seriously unkept garden. Looking at you Rubyyy Jones!
  • Places to hide. I have seen Burlesque performers crowd surf, get onto the stage by climbing over audience members, come out to tell jokes on viewers laps and just general walking around and poking fun at unsuspecting victims. This can be enjoyable and horrific in equal measures but a part of the show that will not be going away any time soon.

 

So that is the round up. If you want to celebrate the human body through slightly pervy whoops and cheers, then take that bold step and get yourself to your local show. Most Burlesque venues have a bar, so if you need a bit of courage, prop yourself up there! You honestly will be rewarded by a great performance and an infectious excitement that leads to Burlesque audience addiction!

Make sure you let me know how your first show goes, I look forward to hearing all about it 😉

 

Lady Catalina, Appleton Productions, Tease Bar, The Tea Bar, Burlesque
Lady Catalina, Appleton Productions

Many thanks to Leanna Bruce from Appleton Pin Up Girl for letting me use photos from the Burlesque shows she puts on at The Tease Bar in Basingstoke.

An Interview with Burlesque Bible Editor, Helene Phillips

Burlesque Bible is an international magazine for all things Burlesque

Burlesque Bible, Burlesque website, Burlesque Bible Website
Burlesque Bible Website

Helene Phillips is the Editor of Burlesque Bible and I am delighted to say that she took the time to answer some of my questions about the Magazine and the Burlesque scene. Having been first launched in April 2011 with Dita von Teese as the cover girl, Burlesque Bible was always destined for great things. However it is with hard work and regular appearances on festival judging panels that allows Helene to boast a global circulation and a firm place in the hearts of the worldwide Burlesque community.

Helene Phillips, Burlesque Bible Editor, Editor Helene Phillips
Helene Phillips

 

What first interested you in Burlesque?

I’ve always loved dancing and performing. I came across a burlesque class and I fell in love with it straight away. I loved shimmying and I enjoyed myself while being sexy.

How did the magazine first come about?

Burlesque got bigger but there wasn’t a single magazine about it. There were websites, blogs, Facebook but no printed ’guides’ where you can find everything including the latest news, tips, reviews and interviews. I am still a big fan of magazines. You can hold them and discover something new and exciting every time you turn a page… Does that not remind you of what burlesque is about?

You launched with Dita Von Teese as your cover girl, how did that feel?

It was fantastic of course. It just made sense to have this fantastic performer on the cover of our first ever issue. It’s like a symbol really.

Burlesque Bible, Burlesque Bible Magazine, BB, Burlesque Magazine
Burlesque Bible Issue 1
Burlesque Bible has gone from strength to strength, with an international audience, do you think that reflects the increased interest in Burlesque?

Yes, I like to think so but it is also the fact that the magazine has been travelling intensively over the past few years and has participated in many shows. We are heavily involved in the worldwide burlesque community and our hard work is paying off.

Is appealing to an international audience difficult?

I wouldn’t say difficult but sometimes it can be tricky. Whatever their country, our readers love burlesque. They love being able to read all about the latest news and upcoming festivals, the ideas for making their own costumes and reading interviews from worldwide performers… which is what Burlesque Bible does.

However BB is not just about known performers, we like supporting the whole burlesque community so we do reviews, we interview performers who maybe aren’t internationally known (yet!), but there is only so much we can cover about a foreign country when we aren’t there.

So what is it that keeps you so interested in Burlesque?

That’s a good question. I have never asked myself that question. I guess it’s because I keep on meeting new people. When I think I know all about the burlesque scene, a new performer pops along and surprises me. Each year, a new festival will emerge, a new performer becomes the Reigning Queen of Burlesque and some more fantastic outfits will be created… it’s all I need!

Is being involved in a Burlesque magazine as glamorous as it sounds?

As a matter of fact, it is! I am very lucky to be invited to various shows. I am always very well looked after from the organisers and it allows me to meet fantastic people and discover fabulous new cities. But don’t get me wrong, it is still a very challenging job not because it is related to burlesque but because it is a magazine and at the end of the day we always have deadlines.

Burlesque Bible, BB issue 10, Burlesque magazine
Burlesque Bible Issue 10
What can we expect from Burlesque Bible this year?

We’ve just launched our brand new and improved website which contains more news, cheaper shipping prices for foreign countries and a blog for readers to post their latest news on. This year, we are publishing 4 issues instead of 3 last year and 2 the previous years: January, April, July and September.

Any advice for others who would like to write for a Burlesque magazine or just get more involved in the Burlesque community?

Well funny you say that, we are always looking for contributors to get involved with our printed copies but due to deadlines and size of the magazine we cannot accommodate them all. This is why we’ve come up with a brand new blog on our website called ‘Community’ where people can publish everything related to burlesque: a new costume they’ve come up with, new shows or festival, for newcomers, anything really. All they need to do is email contactus@burlesquebiblemag.com with the story and pictures.

Do you have any Burlesque performers or trends we should be on the lookout for this year?

It all depends on your style really. We try to have the burlesque performers we think everyone should know about on each of our covers. What I would say is go to festivals and just embrace the flow of talent.

 

Big thanks to Helene for the Interview. If you are a burlesque performer eager for some inspiration, an enthusiast looking for the latest news or a newcomer hoping to get your first step into burlesque – this magazine is for you!

Visit www.burlesquebiblemag.com and subscribe to Burlesque Bible’s newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

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