Nick Gilmartin's Weblog

And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Archive for the ‘Art and Culture’ Category

Violet’s Blaze of Glory

leave a comment »

VBlaze 4
Welcome back, and yet again, apologies for my endless absences.  Surviving the recession as a struggling kitchen monkey is always hard work.  But I needed a beak, so I am determined to get back in to some writing.
So, to start strong, I am introducing you to a Burlesque star who has been lapping up applause from Pennsylvania to Valencia.  One of the hottest booty shakers and heart breakers ever to walk in heels.  I asked her a few questions via email and hoped she would be no shrinking Violet.  Just the opposite, I could hardly get a word in edgeways.  She gave her reply in one long pitch.
VBlaze 3
But first, ladies and gentlemen, let me show you her brand new routine, Jealousy
So, Ms Blaze, tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Violet Blaze, I have been a burlesque performer for 2 years, and my has it been a busy time! 
I started out by going to a “Burlesque Siren” course with Missy Fatale, an excellent teacher and stunning performer!
After my graduation ceremony I knew I wanted to hear that applause again… so I decided to continue on my burlesque journey. 
 
VBlaze 5
It really has been the biggest adventure of my life. Burlesque has allowed me to travel not just nationwide ( I’m from the UK ), but also worldwide too! There have been many highlights : 
 
Winning Burlesque Idol UK 2012
1st Runner Up at the Pennsylvania Burlesque Festival
1st Runner Up at the World Burlesque Games ( Newcomer competition ) 
Performing on tour with TABOO in Valencia and Barcelona, Spain
VBlaze 6
 
I have also met some INCREDIBLE performers and have been told that I have inspired many women, including those who are of the more voluptuous frame! Which is great! Because that is what I wanted to do. 
 
My biggest inspiration in burlesque is Perle Noire. Seriously. Go look her up. She is SOMETHING ELSE. I saw her on YouTube and thought….. THAT is the response I need to get the moment I step on to the stage. THAT is the passion I need to bring to that stage. THAT … is BURLESQUE!!!
 
As for CADBURY! Well… 
 
Let me start off by saying that I am not (contrary to popular belief) OFFICIALLY affiliated with Cadbury……. YET. 
I decided to do a routine called “Cadbury’s Queen” simply because of my complete and utter love for the brand itself. It’s not just the chocolate I love, the “Cadbury Purple” is my favourite shade, I love the history, the logo is so simple yet so recognisable, the font… EVERYTHING about this brand I absolutely adore. I have always had a passion for advertising too (coming from a TV presenting background I was always surrounded by stuff like this) so I wanted to pay tribute to Cadbury in the best way I could.
VBlaze1 
Cadbury got to hear about me because I tweeted them, letting them know about what I am doing, mainly because I didn’t want to get into any trouble! They seemed fine with the idea and as time has gone on we have established a great rapport! 
I went to Cadbury World in Birmingham dressed as “Cadbury’s Queen” … I think it’s safe to say not a lot of work got done that day! They absolutely loved it. 
Cadbury recently sent me a package of chocolate and a lovely letter for my birthday, which I will frame and keep for ever. 
 
My goal is to eventually work for Cadbury in some way shape or form. Whether it is for their social media team, promotions team, or ( my BIGGEST dream) to be the face of Dairy Milk!!!! Everyone says it should be me… perhaps I should start a petition?

 And you recently did a performance from Chicago inspired by Queen Latifa’s performance in the movie?  So who want’s to see it?

If all that has got your pulse racing then check out her website www.violetblaze.co.uk or on twitter @violetblaze777

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Written by Nick Gilmartin

February 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Art and Culture

Fabia Cerra has talent (and a plan)

with 6 comments

Britain’s Got Talent has been known for many golden moments, Cher Lloyd’s tantrums, Susan Boyle’s amazing voice to name but two.  But for sheer visual impact one lady always stood out.  Personally I always liked her for making Simon Cowell’s facial expression change from boredom to sheer amazement in less than a minute.

Step forward Miss Fabia Cerra

If you didn’t catch her act the first time it was repeated on youtube endlessly for the viewing public.  Now, this is the first time a burlesque performer had appeared on BGT so there was some doubt as to what to expect.  Needless to say her performance titillated, stunned, amused and amazed the people of this fair land.

In the wake of the spotlight came huge, and scarily persistent media interest, particularly from  The News of the World (you remember them).

But the fifteen minutes of fame tick away fast and she has been working hard.  She consolidated her success by moving into new areas of business, such as perfume.  A lot of her spare time is spent in charitable works and volunteer projects, such as Abdabs, a youth community theatre project based in Witney.  She has even had a letter from Buckingham palace, but more on that later.

To see Fabia’s outstanding performance please click here

I still love the look on Simon Cowell’s face, it was the only time he cracked a smile.  Lucky that desk was there, eh,  Simon?

So I finally caught up with Fabia for a chat this week.

What drew you towards the Burlesque style of performance?

I was watching BBC Three when my son was a year old, it was Jo King teaching burlesque with Dawn Porter to a group of nurses. They were very scared at the beginning of their lessons but, by the end Jo had them performing as a burlesque troupe in a London club and, their confidence had rocketed.
As I was once a world dance champion I knew I capable of doing this style of dance, so I googled and, found www.polestars.net where they taught burlesque in Reading. I joined a four week beginners class and, loved it! The women were great to be with and, we didn’t take it seriously. Id never had so much fun in years!
After week two, I began to lose a few ponds in weight, my legs has toned up and, I was feeling sexy again! After having a child any new mum would know that you lose your identity and, just become a mum. I needed to find myself again and, burlesque did just that.
Do you have any Burlesque idols?
My burlesque idol is Immodesty Blaze, Ive seen her perform at KoKo in Camden she was absolutely amazing, to be honest I was turned by her and, her routines! I have her book called “Tease” which is fabulous and, her DVD which was filmed at KoKo that very night in Camden.
What happened after BGT?
Since BGT I made more magazines pick me up, just as beautiful and, others to talk about burlesque and, being a carer to my son who has special needs. People were to quick to judge me and, didn’t know I was mum let alone a single mum and, carer for my disabled son. Too many people always judge a book by its cover, Ive grown such a thick skin to the negative and, Ive thrived off of it!
www.modelsofdiversity.org.uk I became the plus size ambassador for 6 months promoting the in Oxford fashion week media articles and, took it Parliament Lynne Featherstone, MP regarding body image. I enjoyed the campaign but, so may projects so little time.
Can you tell us what you are up to over the coming year?
Ive launched my own perfume called burlesque Kiss, what else would I call it? I’m writing a secound book called 2 Follow Your Dreams_ Respect to Mr Simon Cowell. It will be a positive read to the world of reality TV and, the Truth!
I teach a beginners class at Messy Jam dance studios in Oxford to nine fantastic women who enjoy doing burlesque and, other dance styles. Ive just www.raceforlife.org.uk in Oxford 5K walk with my son Leone he was in his buggy. I strolled a nine mile walk on 9TH July 2011 in aid of Sobell House Hospice.I love doing charity work Ive took a leaf out of Mr_Simon Cowells book.  I wrote to HRM The Queen, about him to get him Honoured, as I didn’t know who to contact.
I have a manager for Curvy Models Management UK www.curvymodels.com is going live September 2011 I am a glamour/fashion and, advertising model for this age.
Do the media still follow you around?
The media don’t follow my every move I have a PR manager who sends off press releases when necessary about my latest project. I’m a local talent contest judge for StarCatchers! See facebook for more details. Ive been judging since 2009, and, I love it!
What were your thoughts on the News of the World’s demise?
The news of the screws were a nightmare when they interviewed me over the phone, they kept pushing me and, asked to interview me at home I agreed but, they ended up asking me to lunch and, I said “NO!” They wouldn’t my drive way until they had a hard copy of my autobiography In 2 Minds www.chipmunkapublishing.com
I had to call ITV press office and, the police!!! They soon moved off my drive back to London. I’m glad they shut the paper down they are evil bastards! and, Karma came around a bit them where it hurt! in their pockets…
I feel so sad for the families who were lied to by the paper and, mislead to thinking their loved ones were still alive…
So how is life at the minute?
I love my life now and, I’m so grateful to Mr_Simon Cowell for believing in me, my life has changed as Im doing what Ive always wanted to do with my life now. I’m not rich but, I feel rich because, I’m so happy which is priceless.
To see more of Fabia and her forthcoming projects check out her site    http://www.fabiacerraofficial.com
Or keep up with her on Twitter find her here:    http://www.twitter.com/fabiaburlesque
And special thanks to http://www.blushingboudoir.co.uk for the cover photos.  Check out their work.

 

Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm

A Biography of the Devil

leave a comment »

Pentagram

Much invoked, often implicated, always despised.  The Devil is as old as deity worship by humankind.  He is the yang to God’s Ying.  The dark side of us all.

“Having the Devil in you” is an often used phrase for agitated or highly aggressive behaviour.

“Being a devil” would be acting on selfish impulse regardless of short term consequences.

He has been worshiped, appeared in film, in art, in song and he even has his own football team.  Somebody even tried to sue him once.  But who or what is he or it and where did he come from?

Note: for the sake of consistency the Devil will be referred to as a He.

As mankind evolved we developed many rituals, such as burial and veneration of our dead.  That was the start.  Our psychology developed and emotions became more sophisticated and elaborate.  Our violence became less chaotic and more premeditated.  Empathy grew more intense in some, and much less in others.  A greater sense of empathy became the key to raising a family or tribe.

Selfish, devious, scheming and violent behaviour became the prime sources for the breakdown of early human society.  Both empathy and violent behaviour gradually clustered into two tangible forms.  We know them today as God and the Devil.  The two seem to be as old as the other, and they are in some way interlocked figures, we cannot have one without the other.

God, Allah, call him what you will is one of the most sought-after benefactors in history.  But he is not the topic of this essay, I will leave him for another time.

The devil 2

The Devil is an equally ambiguous character, and one much harder to pin down.  While God is generally regarded as a genial, bearded middle age man the devil is a hybrid of humanoid and animal.  This image springs mostly from the palette of renaissance painters and their vivid imaginations.  His form is, theoretically,  supernatural, with limbs of the creatures early man feared or hated the most.  The bat, the snake, and the goat.  (The last one seems a bizarre addition but nonetheless is there)

His powers are said to be great, but little is said of what they actually are.  He seems capable of great violence but there is little evidence of him using this as a first resort.  Instead, the Devil likes to trick, to scheme and to manipulate.

In view of the early church’s irrational fear of all things female it is surprising that the Devil is not imagined as a woman.  Not that the women of the time were any less inclined to devilish behaviour, they just lacked the physical capacity to carry it out in such a spectacular manner.

The devil appeared in early Jewish text first, not as the epitome of evil, but as a form of prosecutor sitting opposite the judgment of God.  The name Satan is a Hebrew version of ‘accuser’.  In some Talmud or Rabbinic versions he is seen as an Agent Provocateur, testing man for sin in the judgment of God.

In Christianity he seems to have been some kind of subordinate being who rose up and led a rebellion.  His exact reasons are hard to figure, but pride and will seem to figure in the case for both the protagonist and the antagonist.  But which was which?

Some kind of supernatural war has featured in renaissance art, fought with swords and breastplates.  It seems that God and the Devil were capable of mustering armies and leading them in armed struggle.  Ultimately God seems to have won and banished the devil into the wilderness where he planned his revenge.

We can reason from this that God is more powerful than the Devil, either physically or mentally.

Although far from universally popular or attractive, some people do worship the devil.  Their reasoning is highly personal.  Some worship his for personal gain, others, quixotically, because they do not believe in God.  For others it is some kind of protest against an over-paternalistic Christian society.  Few devil worshippers are balanced individuals.

The format for the worship of God are clearly laid down in the Koran, and in great detail in the Bible.  The precise method of devil worship seems to vary greatly.  Animal or human sacrifice, deviant sexual practices and child abuse have all been implicated.    The greater details seem to be a closely guarded secret and accounts of dark masses are rarely reliable.

The devil's bible author

In the late Sixties a man called Anton LeVay wrote The Satanic Bible.  This set down the Constitution for Satanism as a religion.  Those who bought the book expecting a charter for deviant behaviour were to be bitterly disappointed.  Le Vay’s book was more pragmatical in nature, banning outright human sacrifice (boo!), Sexual deviance (hiss!), and any act that breaks that country’s laws (sod this!).  Although LeVay has undoubted terrifying appearance, his is too practical-minded to make any headway with the crazies that his religion attracts.  The Satanic Bible, I would suspect is outsold by Mein Kampf by a significant margin.

The Devil has some symbols.  The most common in use is a hand signal consisting of a punching fist with the first and fourth fingers extended, the ‘horns of the devil’, popular at rock concerts.  So now you know.  In fact not many people knew what the hand signal stood for, I only just found out myself.

His main symbol is the Pentagram, the five pointed star.  The one subtle difference between Satanists and other religions that use the pentagram is this:  Satanists use the one with two points at the top and the three points at the bottom.  The two points at the top symbolize the triumph of the devil (they are the horns) over the three points (representing the holy trinity).  Within the star the face of a goat is sometimes portrayed.  It’s origins are unclear but, like the Swastika, it seems to have been hijacked at some point and used as a hallmark of wrongdoing.  The Pentagram had no association with Satanism at all until the Spanish Inquisition came along and associated the Devil with any symbol it didn’t like.  Somehow the association of the Pentagram and the occult looks set to stick, like the Swastika and the Nazis.

Now about that Goat.  The Goat, in ancient Egypt was a symbol of carnality.  Within some Satanic rituals it was used to procure fertility.  Other religions were already eating Goat only as part of a ceremony.  At some point the idea crossed over but animal sacrifice tailed off.

The Devil has two numbers, 666 and the less well known 616.  Why does he have these numbers?  Why did he want them in particular?  And what did he intend to do with them?  And why does God not have a number?

The answers are highly ambiguous and mostly come down to early Christian superstition.  616 may have been a typo, not as I thought, the devil’s Fax number.  The 666 could be a numerical code for something or other, but no theory has stood up to scrutiny.  Even in the year 666 very little of note happened.  The Devil never appeared, there was no fire and brimstone.  It was the medieval Millenium bug scare.

Al Pacino's raging rendition of Lucifer

Al Pacino's raging rendition of Lucifer

The Devil has been portrayed in several films, the most recent being The Devil’s Advocate, where he is played by Al Pacino.  In the film he is depicted as sardonic, cynical and bitter.  He also seems to hate God but still lives in fear of him, even if he will not openly admit it.  Personally I liked Jack Nicholson’s version better.

Jack Nicolson's understated mischief making devil.

Jack Nicolson's understated mischief making devil.

The Rolling Stones wrote a song about him, expressing their sympathy for him.  The song describes him as a man of wealth and taste, wily and mischievous.

So what does the future hold for the Devil in this brave new Millennium?  At the minute not much.  He has largely been sidelined while radical Islam and their Neo-Conservative enemies seek endorsement from God for their activities.  Nobody cares for the Devil anymore, poor Devil.  But as long as there is light there is dark and if there is a God then we can be sure the Devil will be hiding out there somewhere just waiting for his chance.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

October 21, 2009 at 10:58 am

Posted in Art and Culture

Tagged with , ,

Chrys Columbine Wows Britain and now Ireland

leave a comment »

The mesmerising Chrys Columbine

The mesmerizing Chrys Columbine

Well ladies and gents, in my on-going search to bring you the best of the female of the species, allow me to present the reigning empress of Burlesque, Chrys Columbine.  She is celebrated mostly for her ‘Birth of Venus’ routine, that has won praise from such figures as Dita von Tease herself.  Not only has she been wowing the crowds of London town but she has also taken Dublin by storm, pulling the crowds in, night after night, at Leeson Street’s Sugar Club.

Not only that but she met with Ireland’s own interviewing legends, the batchelors of Ballydung, Podge and Rodge.

Roll VT Bob:

So we grabbed  a dirty martini and sat down for a chat with this charismatic individual.

What were those two flirty feckers like during the interval?  Did they try and pull you into their dressing room for a ride?

Not at all. They were actually quite calm and well-mannered, almost a little serious – guess they’ve done it so many times before.

Did you like Dublin?  It is great for shopping and drinking

Definitely, I like the way there are so many cool shops and bars located within decent walking distances of each other. And there are several fantastic venues like Lillies and Odessa Club that I would never have known about if it hadn’t been for friends of mine dragging me in!

How did you find the Irish crowd, were they friendly or shy compared to the Brits?
They were incredibly friendly, really sweet and very full of energy – but not too raucous or sleezy at all. I find the Irish have a lot more of a positive outlook on life – they ain’t wingeing bastards like we Brits are 😉 I like the Irish a lot!

Chrys and friend

Where did you stay?

I’ve stayed in various really nice hotels when I’ve performed at Dublin Burlesque Balls, one was The Park Inn Hotel which was fab – very minimalist (whihc I do love),  but had quite a lot of weird art around, of scary faces, another was gorgeous in a completely different way, very period, and apparently quite well-known but i can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called (and can’t find it in my emails). During Podge and Rodge I stayed at The Dylan – again fantastic hotel so I do feel pretty spoiled with regard to places Irish gigs have put me up in.
What are you planning on doing next?
I would like to carry on performing all over the world and delighting audiences. I have in the pipeline, some beautiful new concepts and routines with spectacular props which I hope to get out there, this year and the next. I would also like to help bring burlesque even more into the mainstream. What I mean is that  it’d be great to see more on TV, for instance having it as the closing entertainment for Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, or as an interlude on This Morning, or something. I have thoroughly enjoyed the TV stuff I’ve done and definitely aim to do more. Well, if it worked for Podge and Rodge, can’t it work elsewehere on the screen?

Ms Columbine has been very successful in her career, grabbing the attention of everybody from French Playboy to the Mail on Sunday to, er, me.  The world is the oyster shell for this icon of raunchy entertainment.

Chrys, Mail on Sunday

www.myspace.com/chryscolumbine

Photo credits go to these lovely individuals:

http://www.gothicimages.org

http://www.thecastingcouch.biz

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Written by Nick Gilmartin

September 5, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Art and Culture

The Cannes Film Festival

with one comment

Iz ziz de right way up?

Iz ziz de right way up?

We are days away from the start of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival.  After a false start before World War Two,  it finally made it’s debut in 1946 amid much ceremony.  It is the second oldest film festival after Venice, which was believed to be rigged by Fascist Italy.  So the French started their own.

The first animated or 3D film to open Cannes

The first animated or 3D film to open Cannes

The big star of this year’s show is The Inglorious Basterds, produced by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt.  The film relates a tale of assasinations of Nazi officers in occupied France.

Quentin Tarantino's film looks set to clear the board

Quentin Tarantino's film looks set to clear the board

Their is a jury drawn from actors, directors and technical crew who pick the winners of the many various prizes.  Among this years Jurers are Isabelle Huppert, Asia Argento and Robin Wright-Penn.

huppert

Issabelle Huppert is the President of the Jury

There are fifteen prizes in total.  The most coverted is the Palm d’Or,  or Golden Palm, for which Tarantino is the hot favourite.  Another is the Prix au Certain Regard, awarded for the most audacious works.

Running parallel to Cannes is the Director’s fortnight, which showcases a programme of shorts and feature films as well as documentaries from all over the world.

The French take their festival seriously.  There is a whole page on their website dedicated to just to how you use their logo.

The festival is very popular with journalists, especially papparazzi.  It is a celebrity mecca after all, and a one-stop-shop for film star gossip.

The other thing it is famous for is the ‘Eurotrash’ that turn up like a bad penny.  Leather skin, bouffont hair, skin tight pink dresses, and thats just the men.

So the carnival du Cannes kicks off next week and it will be very intersting to see how it all ends up.  It is a shame I couldn’t get over there myself like a ‘proper’ journalist but maybe one day…

I will keep you posted on how it is all going.

Ciao dahlink!

Nick

Written by Nick Gilmartin

May 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Presenting the Queens of Burlesque

with 3 comments

ib3

For several years now the appearance of Neo-Burlesque has been raising eyebrows among regular clubbers. A throwback to the glamourous era of the late forties and early fifties, this combination of tease, comedy, and performance art has made a welcome return to club-land.

Lydia Thompson the Bucaneer of Burlesque

Lydia Thompson the Bucaneer of Burlesque

Burlesque has been around since the middle of the nineteenth century. Apparently it is a British export, taken over to America by Lydia Thompson and her troupe of British Blondes. Their act included erotic dancing, some stripping and teasing, comedy, and minstrel shows. From there it evolved into it’s various forms, which gave us the modern day pub strippers and pole dancers.

But neo-burlesque is a lot more elaborate, focusing on style and performance than raw arousal and very little stripping actually goes on. It is rare to see a bare nipple, much less frontal nudity.

And who goes to these shows? Well it isn’t baying packs of lads on the lash. More often in a groups of young women and couples. Could you take your mum to a show like this? Probably. She might have a go, knowing my mum.

immodesty-blaize

It’s current leading lights are Dita Von Teese in America and Britain’s own Immodesty Blaize, both of who earn huge sums from their performances.

Not only that but it has become the new craze among regular women who are looking for an entertaining way to spend their evenings. Pole classes took over from learning Belly Dancing and Burlesque was the next progression. Most of the ladies who take part are very healthy sizes, curvy as women should be. This is a relief to see in the current size 8 obsessed world.

So I went online to meet a few of the average girls who had stuck on the nipples tassles and wiggled for all they were worth.

So ladies and gentlemen please give a warm wordpress welcome to…..

The Stunning Stella Plumes

The Stunning Stella Plumes

The delectable December Charms

The delectable December Charm

The gorgeous Glorian Gray

The gorgeous Glorian Gray

And the gravity-defying Geisha Go Disco

And the gravity-defying Geisha Go Disco

So Girls, do you have a strict fitness regime?

Stella – Yes, I eat cake and drink wine. Actually, Burlesque is a great fitness regime, especially if you dance in 4 inch stilettos like I do – that takes some muscles!

Glorian – Burlesque, ideally, is not about looks from the point of view of being slender and scantily clad, but is about talent and stage presence, and therefore welcomes and embraces all varieties of image and body type. Health is its own reward!.

Geisha Go Disco – I’m a bigger girl and i don’t really watch what i eat, but i do go to the gym at least twice a week and take weekly dance classes to stay in shape. A lot of people tell me after shows that it’s nice to see bigger girls on stage. However, there is a certain amount of responsibility in accepting your body type and that means looking after it as best you can.

December Charm – The quick answer is no. This isn’t like other forms of dance where you have to be very disciplined in order to keep your body in perfect form. (What is perfect?) In burlesque all body types are celebrated. ALL! Male, female, big, small, black, white… the list goes on. We don’t care!

Take a look at Dirty Martini and Immodesty Blaize- two amazing successful performers and neither are a size 8. In fact, I’m 12 stone and a size 16 myself. And proud!

How would you answer your critics that say Burlesque is just elaborate stripping?

Critic: “Burlesque is just elaborate stripping”
December: “You’re right!”

But she adds: Burlesque is not all stripping. The origin of the word burlesque is “to satire”. Spitting Image, the puppet show, is burlesque. Scary Movie is burlesque. There are many burlesque performers who do not strip at all- they sing, dance, tell jokes, mime but don’t strip. It is important to remember that.

Geisha Go Disco – I would say “Perhaps, but without the elaborate pay packet!” Seriously though, stripping is not involved in every act. Further more, when i do it, i end up wearing more than your average beach goer! Jacqui Smith may term this as legally “offering a sex encounter” but that’s a WHOLE other interview!

Should every woman learn Burlesque?

Stella – Every woman should learn to be free with herself. Burlesque did it for me, but every woman is different. Whatever you can find to liberate you!

Glorian – Burlesque is not female specific! There are many talented male performers, and many twists on gender within both male and female performances. I would encourage anyone who fancies having a go to do so, it can be incredibly fun, creative, wonderful and empowering, for everyone involved!

Geisha Go Disco – No more than they should learn Egyptian dance or Ballet or rock climbing or Tennis. I would love to say yes but sadly, i think the answer is no. Personally, performing has made a world of difference to my own sense of confidence, but it’s not for everyone.

Is there much of a Burlesque scene outside London?

Glorian – There is indeed! It seems that burlesque is everywhere these days, and not just in the larger cities, but is making its way to smaller towns. Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Edinburgh all have good scenes, but then so do smaller places like Stoke on Trent, Aberystwth, Huddersfield!

Geisha Go Disco – Yes! The West Country is a-buzz with Burly shows and there is a thriving scene in Melbourne and Sydney too, where i first started seeing it about 5 years back.

December Charm – I live half an hour from London. I’ve performed 10 times. Two of those were in London.
There is a bigger scene in other parts of the UK. The Midlands in particular have so much going on it’s hard to keep track. Definitely the heart of the burlesque scene! Generally speaking, I have to travel at least 2 hours to get to a performance as it is all around the Midlands.

What is your favourite music to perform to?

Glorian Gray – This can be difficult. The crowd loves it when you pick a track everyone knows well, which can be great fun. Some performers prefer to be more traditionalist, using vintage tracks, big band, jazz, rock n roll etc, some use modern tracks, anything from Britney to Metal music! I tend to be inspired by a song then build an act around it, rather than the other way round, so it just depends what sparks my ideas off! So far I have used Prince, Heaven 17, 1950s Doowop, celtic fiddle music, Debussy, gothic cabaret….so yep, it can be really varied!

Geisha Go Disco – Although i am inspired by a lot of the old girls like Lili St Cyr, I never use vintage tracks. I do an act to Adam Ant’s “Prince Charming” and i plan to use a lot of funk and disco in the future, even a little trip-hop!

December Charm – Something fun and upbeat that people can sing/ clap along to. At the moment I am using Andy Williams “Can’t Keep my Eyes Off Of You”, “Oom Pah Pah” from Oliver and a mix of “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse with “Monster Mash”.

Finally do you have any horror stories to share?

Stella Plumes – Hands down, the worst show of my life was at a venue where the microphone didn’t work. I perform a mixture of poetry and strip-tease, the poetry always informs the strip-tease and in some cases the strip-tease cannot make sense without the poem… especially in my Nazi Spy routine! The poem is a grossly satirical comparison between a barking mad stripper and Adolf Hitler, but without the poem to set the Satirical tone… well perhaps you can imagine… I made it out alive but it really spoilt the act for me and I didn’t enjoy doing it after that.

December Charm – Nothing major. The very first performance I did, I started lying down on the floor. I got on stage, lay down, the DJ played the cd… and I had no idea what song it was! He had managed to lose my cd and play the other performers instead. Luckily the girl organising it was right in front of me, so I told her and in the meantime the other performer ran around the back to grab my spare cd. I was so terrified that they would play the wrong song, but when it happened, I was actually remarkably calm!

If you are interested in experiencing, or even learning Burlesque yourself the hub of their operation is http://www.ministryofburlesque.com It is free to join and you get to work with the best performers in the business.

To learn more about the history of the art check out http://www.musicals101.com/burlesque.htm

Geisha Go Disco is performing at the Velour Palace in Gloucestershire on 28th June

Photo credits for the article go to:

Gareth davies

Stuart Phillipson

Dinesh Patel

Sean Carty

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Posted in Art and Culture

Jack Vettriano

with one comment

What were they watching?

What were they watching?

Maybe I am just getting older but I have recently developed a bit of an interest in the art world, particularly portraits.  I have no time for high art, such as dissected cows and silly lights flickering on and off.

“It’s art!” Says floppy haired artist.

“Nay lad,  it’s a dodgy plug.” Says I.  Honestly where do you get them from?  Then you have Tracey Emin with her unmade bed as an art show.

“Why is it art?”  She was asked at the opening of her new gallery.

“Cos I say it is.” She huffed.  Well hark at lady muck.

Thank heavens that a fellow from Fife in Scotland has taught himself to paint and set out to save us all from the machinations of the Tate ‘set’.

Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano, born Jack Hoggan, taught himself to paint relatively late in life.  He never attended an art college or gained any major artistic diploma.  But the images and characters he has depicted has made our nation take him to it’s heart.  He was recently named as Britain’s favourite artist, much to the chargrin of the London based art world.  For that reason alone the guy is a hero.

Does anything feel better than dancing with a beautifl woman?

Does anything feel better than dancing with a beautiful woman?

He changed his name to Vettriano in honour of his Italian Grandfather.  I think he wanted to sound a bit more exotic or he wanted to appeal to the art world.  Either way, it worked.

Jack captures well the older male's idea of feminine beauty.

Jack captures well the older male's idea of feminine beauty.

Jack’s art is very retro and is mostly set in the fifties and sixties.  Women are wondrously glamorous, usually dressed in stockings and cocktail dresses.  Men are smart and well dressed, and the cars are very sporty.  This is why his art appeals strongly across the sex divide.  It also transcends class boundaries.  You are as likely to see his art on a calender on an office wall in Slough as you are to see it on the wall of an art lover.

The frustration of an extra-marital affair is illustrated well here.

The frustration of an extra-marital affair is illustrated well here.

He works on a number of topics particularly  relationships between men and women.  The way he depicts   His main tool is the use of body language which he uses as a tool of expression.  He knows how to depict pleasure and pain, love and loss.

If you don't know how this feels you have not truely lived.

If you don't know how this feels you have not truely lived.

He drew some criticism for his more racy paintings, depicting scenes of light bondage, the prospect of group sex and bloodsucking.  I doubt there was much in it, people need to remember that he is a relative newcomer to the art world, and he is still finding his style.

The atmosphere is both naughty and delicious

The atmosphere is both naughty and delicious

More recently he collabarated with motor sports legend and friend Jackie Stewart on a series of paintings.  He related well the sometimes strained relationship between Stewart and his wife who would mark his timings within a heartbeat of widowhood.

jackie-stewert

How fast her heart must have been beating

How fast her heart must have been beating

Vettriano shares my love of motor sports and speed, and it inspired him to work on a rendition of Bluebird.  As you may remember she was the car driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell, another Scot known for his love of speed and iron nerve.  Campbell and his little blue bullet set many land speed records in the thirties and forties.

The famous Bluebird at Daytona beach

The famous Bluebird at Daytona beach

Even the South Bank Show, ITV’s cultural flagship, has paid homage to this fine artist, dedicating an hour long special to his work.  The programme is available to watch on Jack’s website which I enclose below.

Shaken or stirred?

Shaken or stirred?

And I leave you with a picture that may have proved the inspiration for an L.A. based magazine editor’s cover shot.  Long may Mr Vettriano’s career continue.

V x?

V x?

To learn more about Jack and his art I recommend his website:

http://www.jackvettriano.com

Written by Nick Gilmartin

February 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Art and Culture

Tagged with , , ,