Saturday, 31 March 2012

'The Burlesque Show' Weekender

Friday saw the next stop on 'The Evening of Burlesque' tour, so I travelled with Coco Malone and Kittie Klaw to the lovely little market town of Lichfield to the Garrick Theatre:

Our name on the Dressing-Room door!

The Lichfield Garrick Theatre

The show was hosted by the hilarious and talented Ria Lina and the regular cast were joined for this episode by the gorgeous Vicky Butterfly, and international Dita Von Teese tribute act, Carrie-Ann (complete with giant martini glass and the most sparkling costumes I've ever seen)

Backstage with Carrie-Ann and Ria Lina

The show was wonderful, and everyone from the crew to the staff at the gorgeous hotel were incredibly helpful, which definitely makes all the difference when you're hopping from one place to another each week!

Beautiful hotel and log cabins!

The next morning, we enjoyed a long lie-in, as the Saturday night show was only an hours drive away! After indulging with a leisurely brunch and we even had time for a round or two of crazy golf before heading off! Although I have to say, the first (easiest) hole took me about twelve shots so I gave up - haha! 

Brunch with Ria Lina, Elan and his lovely wife, James, Jim, Kirsty, Glorian Gray, Coco Malone and Fancy Chance
Cabaret Crazy-Golf!

I was excited to perform in Crewe at the historic Lyceum Theatre, as I used to come and watch pantomimes here with my family when I was younger - there are also wonderful ghost stories associated with this theatre (including a ballerina who threw herself from the grand circle, and the ubiquitous 'Grey Lady'!) and the history of music-hall and variety shows in England is woven into the city as it stands on one of the main rail-network interchanges meaning the city was once a crossroads of the travelling entertainment industry: all of which lends a sense of nostalgia yet excitement to this early 20th Century Theatre (built in 1911, I believe)

The Crewe Lyceum

Huge display in the foyer

The show itself was another sell-out and the audience definitely warmed up as the night went on: although I'm sure we had Statler and Waldorf (part of The Muppets Show, for those of you who are confused!) sat in the top right balcony, which led to a few laughs backstage! We also had Elliot Mason and Dolores Delight back for the evening, along with the wonderful Glorian Gray lending a hand with the show management, which was fabulous!

Mirror Photo! With Ria Lina, James Malach, Glorian Gray, Dolores Delight, Elan Koszuk and Fancy Chance

One of the things I love most about 'The Burlesque Show' cast is that, even though there may be different people at each show, because it is a revolving cast, there is always such a wonderful camaraderie backstage...

Jim Devereaux as Elvis, and a gloriously befuddled Elliot Mason

Elliot Mason and Fancy Chance - two of my favourite photos ever!

Ria and Fancy - Bag Ladies: and Fancy asleep on a confused Elliot

Glorian, Jim, Kirsty, James, Elliot, Fancy, Dolores and Ria - a well deserved after-show drink!

**Things I Love This Month**
*Rimmel Gel Eyeliner**Flash Paper**Sunshine**The Smell of Spring**Ice Cream in the Park**Hot Right Now by DJ Fresh**Directions Toners**Lindt mini Chocolate Eggs*

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Vintage Style - Book Review!

A quick blog post, just to share the Vintage love! Mamma Merode recently bought me this fabulous book, and it has become my new favourite thing - especially as the weather has been so lovely recently, I have spent several afternoons sat in the sunshine poring over this gorgeous book.

It is an absolute must-have for any lover of vintage: a handy guide for vintage shoppers or a how-to for vintage stylists. And it looks beautiful on display next to my faux-Victorian mirror on my dressing table!

The book begins with an introduction covering the reasons why certain women were included, and how to make various vintage styles work for you. There is also a handy table of the 'icons' included in the book and which body shapes they work for...

The rest of the book then covers almost a century's worth of style icons, beginning with Louise Brooks and the 'Flapper Style' of the 1920's, and ending with Cindy Crawford and her 'Glamazon Style.' There are the obvious icons - such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy and Jackie 'O' - several less obviously influential women (in my opinion) such as Wallis Simpson, Marianne Faithfull, Joan Jett and Kate Bush - and one or two that I'd actually never considered to be a style icon until now, as they have had such a subtle yet profound influence on modern perceptions of vintage style, such as The Mitford Sisters, Talitha Getty, Francoise Hardy and Grace Slick. There are also many more women featured throughout the book, detailing their style and influence.

Beautiful pictures of the icon and their style: ie - Louise Brooks, Flapper or Diana Ross, Diva
Each section opens with a short biography of the icon and their style, along with the context in which they became famous: for example, Bianca Jagger's 'Studio 54' style is placed in contrast to the dominant Punk movement of the 1970's and the civil unrest in New York City as drug barons and gangsters took over the streets.

Each section provides an essential guide to achieving the style: 'The Palette', 'Key Designers' and 'Silhouette and Cut' along with swatches of associated and complementary colours, pictures, and reference boxes of 'Key Looks' and 'Style Tips' to help you create your own versions of each look. 
Garments for each look are given individual mentions (ie: Dresses, or Hats): these sub-paragraphs cover information on the original fabrics used, the way they would have been worn and accessoried, how to make certain garments work for different body shapes, what to 'Shop Vintage For' and the wider influence of each look.  

Alongside garment and shopping information, there are also Beauty Guides and Style Tips to help achieve the overall look associated with each icon, covering make-up, hair and essential features (such as Debbie Harry, New Wave: Smoky Smudged Eye or Lauren Hutton, Simply '70s: Barely There Make-Up) along with a 'Beauty Tips' reference box of key beauty looks for each icon.

Gorgeous pictures throughout are interspersed with interesting facts about each icon or their style: did you know that Diana Ross originally wanted to work in fashion, took classes in millinery, and was the first black employee at Hudson's Department Store in Detroit? Or that the term 'Flapper' was coined by the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and is thought to refer to the fashion among wealthy American college girls for wearing rubber galoshes over their shoes with the tops left 'flapping' open?

There are also mentions of modern-day or alternative counterparts to the original icon: ie - a modern day Elizabeth Taylor: Hollywood Glamour, is cited as Catherine Zeta-Jones or an alternative Kate Bush: Free Spirit, would be Stevie Nicks. This helps see how the essence of each vintage look can translate into a modern context, or how it was interpreted by other icons of the day.

Wonderful quotes from each icon provide a glimpse into their personal lives and style: "Enough is never enough" Liz Taylor: or "I always wanted to be that blonde, glowing woman on film." Debbie Harry: or "You can never be too rich or too thin" Wallis Simpson.

Finally, there is a directory of Hair and Make-Up Services and Vintage Boutiques in the UK, USA, Australia and Canada! There is basic information on each service along with website and contact details - and I was happy to see several names I know among the lists, including 'Burlesque Baby', 'Flamingo Amy' and 'Cherry Pop Pictures'!!

I have spent hours poring over this book - fascinated by the ways in which these women influenced or challenged what was socially acceptable in fashion at the time:

I aspire to Audrey Hepburn: Ingenue, Jean Shrimpton: British Classic and Francoise Hardy: Euro Chic for their classic glamour and pulled-together style. 
I adore Marilyn Monroe: Goddess, Elizabeth Taylor: Hollywood Glamour, Bianca Jagger: Studio 54 and Diana Ross: Diva, for their unabashed love of beauty and over-the-top glamour, 
I admire Marlene Dietrich: Femuline, Twiggy: Ultra Mod and Joan Jett: Rock Chick for turning their backs on the accepted fashion mores at the time and celebrating their own style. 
I have realised, however, that my personal style is a combination of Wallis Simpson: Mistress, Brigitte Bardot: Bombshell and Grace Kelly: Ice Princess which is wonderful, and using the hints and tips in this book, I know what to look out for next time I go Vintage shopping!

What do you think? Have you read this book or are you inspired to buy it for yourselves? Whose style do you admire or emulate?

I also blog about Vintage Shopping Finds!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

La Belle and BurlyQ

Another weekend, another jaunt half way around the country!

On Thursday I was back down in London, on a beautiful Spring day for the penultimate 'Bete Noire' show at Madame Jojo's in Soho.
Madame Jojo's, Soho

I was performing in the early show 'La Belle' alongside the wonderful Abi Collins, Javier the Card Ninja and Dee Riley (we did our 'All That Jazz' double act, which was great fun!) Both the early show and 'La Bete' the late show were hosted by Ophelia Bitz who I was excited to meet having heard so much about her! The show was stage-managed by The Late Night Shop Cabaret who also performed at the late show - and I actually got to stay and watch for once, which was fabulous!

Backstage with Apple Tart, British Heart, Dee Riley and Ophelia Bitz

Apple Tart and Allota Bounce of The Late Night Shop

On Friday I was back again at the beautiful Proud Cabaret in the City - the show was hosted by my High Tease partner-in-crime Dolores Delight, and since we hadn't seen each other since Christmas, we definitely had a lot to catch up on!

Dolores Delight backstage

Also performing on Friday night was another of my favourite cabaret performers, Mat Ricardo, along with the beautiful Missy Fatale and Ruby Luscious, visiting from Stockholm!  - I adore performing at Proud as the staff and management team all get into the spirit of the night so the whole night feels like a step back in time to a decadent Speakeasy or Weimar cabaret!

On Saturday I journeyed back North-wards for another of my favourite shows: BurlyQ in Sheffield:

BurlyQ cake!

The show always sells out, and the audience raised the roof! They were treated to a stunning line-up: including Red Sarah debuting her unique 'Betty Boob' act, and Fred Bear performing his signature 'Flashdance' which almost brought the house down! I was also excited to meet Dinah Might (who is so beautiful I couldn't speak for a while!) and the hysterical Kiki Lovechild, whose 'Jessica Blue' act had me in stitches! As if that wasn't enough, Mr. B was headlining the night, and he gave me a copy of his new CD 'The Tweed Album' !!
With Dinah Might, Mr. B and *so* much luggage!

After a hectic weekend, I took advantage of the beautiful weather to visit friends and family in Chester: the best way to revive is with an ice-cream and a stroll through Grosvenor Park and onto the River Dee... followed of course by a lovely meal and a couple of drinks as the sun sets!

Sunset over Chester meadows - Town Hall and Cathedral in the distance

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hundred Watt Weekend

What a glorious weekend I've had! Shows, shopping, nights out and a couple of lovely surprises thrown in - I'm tired and happy, and glad to be home with a cup of tea at last...

On Friday I joined the regular cast of 'The Burlesque Show' for another stop on the tour - this time at the beautiful Civic Theatre in Darlington
The Civic Theatre, Darlington

The show was as fabulous as ever: we were joined this time by Flixx Demontrant (who definitely lives up to his moniker as 'the Johnny Depp of Burlesque'!) and Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer who's 'Chap-Hop' style has me in stitches: and the audience were very appreciative! We also received this wonderful review which made me smile, and blush!

We were also lucky enough to be staying in the grandest hotel afterwards! So we took the opportunity to relax in the lounge with a couple of drinks and share chat and gossip, and of course take a couple of photographs!!
Our beautiful hotel for the evening

Fancy Chance and Jim Devereaux!

Mr. B - Lord of the Manor (edited with iDarkroom)

On Saturday I took a road-trip south with Jim Devereaux and Mr. B, who kindly dropped me off near London to enable me to get to me second show of the weekend: and what a show! A movie-themed edition of 'The Hundred Watt Club' in Hampshire, hosted by the wonderful Tempest Rose and headlined by international showgirl Cherry Shakewell - the show was a sell-out and a sensation! I especially loved Sandy Sure's Beetlejuice act - perfectly revolting!
Mirror Picture!! With Tempest Rose, Sandy Sure, Miss Jones and Cherry Shakewell

What it takes to make me presentable on-stage! (Edited with iDarkroom)

After travelling half way around the country in two days, I was exhausted, so I was grateful for the opportunity to rest, relax and be thoroughly spoiled for a couple of days: including Sunday Dinner and a shopping trip to Camden Vintage Market (can you believe I've never been shopping in Camden before?!) where I purchased a lovely 1920's style dress and fur stole for half price!: visiting a beautiful subterranean African-themed bar: birthday drinks in Brixton for the darling Abi Collins: ice-cream and deer-spotting in the sunshine of Richmond Park, and ending a blissful couple of days with a beautiful meal beside the Thames... I am a lucky lady.
Sunday Lunch in Camden

Seen around Camden and Stables Market

Lots of wine with Abi Collins!



Seen around Richmond Park and Isabella Plantations

The view from the restaurant - the Thames at sunset