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Guest Burlesque Contributor: Fanny Devine

Pin-Ups in Pinnies

Pin-Ups in Pinnies

As someone who has recently given up their day job to pursue a full-time creative lifestyle, I thought I would write about it and reflect on how it has changed my day to day life.
I have always been a day dreamer. In school, uni, jobs, etc.. I have always found myself doodling on my paper and dreaming of being in some far off place where I don't have to sit and answer the phone to stressed out lawyers, or listen to someone philosophise on the meaning of the colour blue (just one of the thrilling subjects we discussed during my philosophy degree.)

However, in the last few years the main subject of my day dreams has been getting up and walking out of my job to pursue my dreams of setting up my own business and being self employed in a creative roll 24/7. This always seemed like a pipe dream to me, and a world away from the dull reality that my day job presented me with. However, a few months ago, my dreams finally got the better of me and I decided to stop talking about doing it and actually give it a go! It wasn't quite like my dreams, in that I didn't give a speech where everyone clapped at the end and broke out into spontaneous dancing and singing.. although this would have been a great way to end the day! Instead it was a fairly low key affair where I quietly handed in my notice then went home and worried about how I was going to pay my bills next month and told myself I was making a very silly mistake.

However, with the help and support of my friends and family, here I am 4 months down the line and things are only getting better. I am on a programme with The Princes Trust that is helping me to develop a business plan and tackle all the difficult issues that come with starting your own business. I have a website, some bookings for my cake business and I'm feeling positive about the future! It's a terrifying step to make, but if like me you don't feel that you fit in working for someone else, and you want to make your own mark on the world, then it is more than worth giving it a try. I am currently splitting my time between setting up my business and performing (which is something I very much intend to continue doing.) As before, my weekends are filled with bizarre events where one day I may find myself performing at an Officers Ball on an army barracks, and the next sitting on a steam train dressed as a bearded lady being drawn by children (yes, this was a real weekend for me this month!) But the difference is that now instead of dreading my Mondays I am now feeling positive of what that day will bring my way and how I can push my business to the next level.

So, if you are like me and are living in a dream world, then I say go for it, reach for your dreams as you'll never know unless you try. And to risk sounding like an advert, if you have an event that would benefit from some deliciously naughty baked goodies complimented by some gorgeous 1950's pin-up ladies, then check out my new business venture Pin-Ups in Pinnies - www.pinupsinpinnies.co.uk

Gorgeous hats and head pieces for the summer - 6th May 2011

Gorgeous hats and head pieces for the summer - 6th May 2011

Anyone would be excused for thinking we actually get good summers in England, what with all the great weather we've been getting in the last few weeks. Isn't that literally unheard of over a bank holiday?! As the weather has been so nice it got me to thinking about perfect summer outfits and accessories, so I thought I would write a little blog about Lilly Lewis Millinery - my lovely sponsor who makes my headpieces for my acts, and has recently created some really beautiful vintage styled hats ready for summer.
Lilly Lewis is a very talented Milliner based in Brighton who creates gorgeous vintage - contemporary hats & fascinators using original tecniques and vintage trims & accessories. She makes both custom pieces and sells her work through her website & stockists (such as Topshop & vintage boutiques.)
I was very lucky to be asked to model some of Lillys creations and was instantly in love! Her website showcases many of her beautiful works but that is not where this girls talents end! She created a gorgeous jesters hat for my Jack in a Box act, and recently she made me a large 1920's inspired crescent moon headpiece for my latest act 'By Moonlight.' There really doesn't seem to be an end to this girls talents!
Anyway, I know I may be gushing here slightly, but it's so great to be able to babble the beginnings of an idea to someone and have faith that they know what it is you are after. On numerous occassions I have messaged Lilly a bundle of excitable idea's and within a few days she has made a mock up for me and it is exaclty what I had in mind.
As I mentioned, Lilly doesn't doesn't just make custom pieces, but also sells her creations in the large fashion chain Topshop, and to many other smaller boutiques. Her website is always full of new inspired pieces you can spend your hard earned cash on, so look no further - check out Lilly Lewis Millinery today!

Photo by Sam Fairbrother

London Burlesque Festival - 12th April 2011

London Burlesque Festival - 12th April 2011

For the past 4 years Chaz Royal has been running the very successful London Burlesque Festival and every year I have been honoured to be asked to take part. Back in 2008 I performed in the Newcomers contest with my love story with a rotten twist - "Happily Ever Cadaver!" Not quite to the judges taste, I sadly did not win! But thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the festival. Every year the festival has grown in both size and magnitude and has gone from being a weekend affair, into a full week long feast of burlesque, sideshow and circus delights!

This year I will be taking part in the Twisted Cabaret event at Madame JoJos alongside some truly talented performers. I shall be there in a not so familiar guise as I take on my darker side with my act 'Memento Mori.' It is a haunting but beautiful Isis wings act portraying the closeness of life and death..(very ominous sounding isn't it!?)

I really do love taking part in London Burlesque Festival as I get to meet and perform alongside many performers that I might otherwise never get the pleasure to work alongside. I am particularly looking forward to working with so many International acts in this years showcase.

So, if you're in London in April make sure you're at the correct Royal event and get your tickets now before they sell out!

Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School - 1st April 2011

Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School - 1st April 2011

Now, some of you may have heard about the worldwide phenomenon known as Dr Sketchys Anti-Art School? It is an event that encompasses performance art (predominantely burlesque), life drawing and booze! It was started back in 2005 in the US by Molly Crabapple and since then has spread to 100's of cities around the world, each desperate to get a piece of the Dr Sketchy's experience! I first performed at a Dr Sketchy's event around 2-3 years ago and loved every minute of it! It's such a different experience to your usual burlesque show. For one thing, the crowd are a really eclectic mix of people who may not all be familiar with burlesque, ranging from life drawing students, general creative types & burlesque enthusiasts. I also really enjoy seeing how different people interpret my act & costume onto a piece of paper and make it come to life.

I thought I'd write about this today as last Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited back to Dr Sketchys Birmingham 'Toy Story' event to perform and model. So, I packed up my car with my oversized and impractical Jack in a Box prop, and headed on over to The Victoria pub in Birmingham to get my Dr Sketchy's fix! Run by the fabulous Candee Handful, the event was everything I hoped it would be! Friendly fellow performers, open-minded friendly crowd, fantastic artists & a real overall appreciation for all types of art.

On April 17th I will be taking part in another Dr Sketchy's event, but this time it will be the Manchester based branch. This will be held at the breathtaking venue The Victoria Baths and will suitably be a Victorian themed event. So, if you're in the area, come see me & my bearded lady routine at the Victoria Baths in Manchester on April 17th - don't forget to bring your pencils!!

The Hurly Burly Show - 16 March 2011

The Hurly Burly Show - 16 March 2011

My brother hit the nail on the head this year when for Christmas he bought me and my sister tickets to The Hurly Burly show in London! And last weekend the wait was finally over, it was time to put on our glad rags and go and see Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly girls in action.
So, I packed my bags and headed down to London ready for a weekend of sisterly fun & adventures!

A few days costume shopping and cocktail drinking later, it was Saturday, and my wonderful sister had booked us a surprise vintage pamper session in preparation for the show, at The Powder Room in Shoreditch. Stepping into The Powder Room was like stepping back in time to a perfect pink 50's heaven! It was the ideal addition to our glamorous vintage day and while we sipped peppermint tea out of dainty vintage china, the powderpuff girls got to work on transforming us into perfect pin-ups! I went for victory rolls and classic 50's makeup while my sister went for a more 60's inspired beehive bouffant and oh! did we feel fabulous! One hour later we waved goodbye to the pink powderpuff ladies, took one last look at our perfectly coiffed vintage do's & makeup, and headed back to the house to throw on our dresses ready to hit the town!

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the show itself, as some of the burlesque related entertainment hitting the press recently has been a little off shall we say?? But thankfully I was far from disappointed! In fact, the whole show was completely inspired & went off without a hitch! The Hurly Burly girls were all absolutely gorgeous. However, not only did they have the looks, but the personalities and talent to back it up. This was a group of incredibly talented, very british burlesque starlets! And did I mention the costumes?!! Oh wow...the costumes! There were thousands of swarovski crystals dripping from every corset, luxurious lingerie and very theatrical over the top props.

All in all, it was a breath of fresh air to see Burlesque out in the open for a mainstream audience, staying true to what us British burlesque gals are known for - comedy, expression, satire & glamour.

Joyeous January - 10 February 2011

Joyeous January - 10 February 2011

As we take our first few shaky steps into a new month, I find myself reflecting on the ups and downs of last month. But wait a minute, last month was January - wasn't it supposed to be the month of the 'January Blues'?? The big depressing come down after a gluttonous Christmas and New Year?? Yet I find myself smiling in recollection of 'Joyeous January' (which is what I shall rename it!!) What a positively great month! To start the month off with a bang, I found myself on prime time tv on New Years Day, for the BBC series 'Magicians.' No, I don't have a secret magical life that I have failed to mention, but was in the tv titles as an axe wielding, knife dodging, harlequin! And if you looked really closely, also a green & black bird woman in a cage! What a way to start the New Year?! Although I was aware I was in it, when I tuned in on New Years Day, still nursing a rather hefty hangover from the night before, I found myself ecstatically jumping up from the sofa and doing an impromptu 'happy dance' in front of the tv! Is that something I should have kept to myself?!!
So, January was already doing pretty well in my books, yet more excitement was to come! On the 15th of January I headed to Stuttgart in Germany to perform in a rather quaint little show called Rock n' Tease along with fellow Manchester performers Lady Wildflower & Ginger La Rouge. Despite getting a little lost out of the airport, and none of us speaking a word of German, we managed to get ourselves to the show on time on put on a great performance!
Then, only 4 days after returning from Germany, I found myself hopping on a plane to perform at Taboo! in Barcelona along with the sensational Anna Fur Laxis and Banbury Cross! After a couple of hours of traveling, me and my fiance arrived to find that we were staying in a beatiful hotel right opposite the venue. So, after dropping off our bags, we headed out to check out the surrounding areas and grab some lunch before heading off to the show...and what a show it was!! We began the night with a run through for soundcheck, props and lighting to ensure that everyone knew what to expect. After we had dealt with the technical side of the performance, we all dug in to some deliciously authentic Spanish food prepared for us by the organisers. It was such a lovely atmosphere and the show itself was so well organised and so much fun to be a part of. The following day, we begrudgingly hopped back on the plane bound for Liverpool, but had smiles on our faces and fond memories of our short trip!
So, January has certainly set the bar high for the rest of the year, and my hopes are that the positivity & adventures will continue. Watch this space!!

New Year's Resolutions - 17th January 2011

New Year's Resolutions - 17th January 2011

Yes, it's that time again...when we collect all our positive energy together in one place, and make ridiculous, outlandish resolutions that we all know inevitably we will not/ cannot keep! Or if we do manage to start the year on the right foot, it will only last until the second week of January when those winter blues hit and we are dragging our feet to the nearest takeaway...you know what I'm talking about! Or perhaps you manage to deny yourself the necessary evil of takeaway food and instead last approximately 5 more days until your friend invites you out for "just one drink",,,oh dear...cue drunked night followed by the inevitability of that first January hangover and regret...regret regret regret. Sound familiar?!

Is it just me, or do New Years Resolutions sometimes sound like a bullet point version of war and peace?! Or a 'how to' guide for accomplishing your lifes goals in the next 365 days?
I have a routine where every year I like to look back at the last years resolutions and tick them off one by one while giving myself a pat on the back or a 'tut tut... must do better next year'. But how I ask will I ever manage to tick off 'GET SLIM' or 'SORT OUT MY LIFE' or the big one 'BE HAPPY'?!

Perhaps resolutions are just another tactic to get us to impulse buy on all those items that for the rest of the year have no worth and will be hidden at the bottom of our cupboards (exercise DVDs, self-help books, Gillian McKeith recipe books, pieces of exercise equipment that vaguely resemble torture devices!)

Yet here I am again, writing that list. Why do I bother when I know full well that much of it will be carried over each year for the next decade or so? Well, I don't know about you but I revel in harnessing that positive energy I'm feeling on January 2nd (possibly the 3rd depending on how heavy my New Years celebrations were and how long the hangover lasts...) and will possibly not feel again for another year. And of course, there is always the hope that this year we really will get slim, find happiness and sort our lives out!

Cementery Wedding - 02 December 2010

Cementery Wedding - 02 December 2010

As I mentioned last week, I recently jetted off to Mexico with my loving boyfriend for our first ever exotic holiday together. And what a holiday it was! Not only did we fall in love with Mexico, but while we were there my boyfriend plucked up the courage to ask me to marry him. It was a complete surprise, but a lovely one and before he'd even finished his sentence I found myself saying yes without a single hesitation!!
We may have only just got engaged, but we're both so excited we've already started gathering ideas for our perfect day, from who we would like as our best men/bridesmaids, what the invites will look like and even what we would like to wear! As every smiling new fiancee will tell you, there is so much consider! Although it is a very exciting time, it can also be a little overwhelming when faced with so many decisions to make and this isn't made easier if you are slightly less than conventional shall we say!
This got me to looking at what is out there for those of us who don't want to walk in to the next bridal shop we see and pick another white number off the shelves. While on the hunt for something a little different, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across rocknrollbride.com. It is a blog dedicated to weddings with a rock n' roll twist! It is really fun to read and has got my head buzzing with ideas! I love that the people featured on rocknrollbride.com aren't afraid to embrace their unconventional idea's and really create the perfect day for themselves, as a wedding should be about what you want, not what your mother in law, or great aunt from Australia would like!! From the cemetery wedding to the vintage English garden wedding, it's all covered! There isn't something for everyone, but that's its charm!! It's not meant to be a 'how to' guide for planning your wedding, but a catalogue of inspirational ideas and stories from couples who have followed their dreams and made their perfect day happen, just the way they want it to.

Dia de los Muertos - 01 December 2010

Dia de los Muertos - 01 December 2010

Having just spent 2 weeks in Mexico for Dia de los Muertos, I decided, what better topic to write about for this weeks blog?! Experiencing 'Dia de los Muertos' (or Day of the Dead) has been a dream of mine for quite some time. The festival orginates from Aztec traditions and involves 2 days of celebration - All Souls Day and All Saints Day. However, the preparation for this festival takes many months and is the most important 2 days in the Mexican calendar. Mexicans believe that during Dia de los Muertos, the dead come back to visit and to once again be with their relatives, and partake in the earthly pleasures of food and drink among other activities. As such the relatives spend days cleaning and decorating the graves with what are called 'ofrendas' or offerings. The cemetaries really are a beautiful sight to behold, and offerings include fruit, tequila, sweets, marigolds & most famously sugar skulls. On the day of the dead itself, families gather in the cemeteries, often holding all night vigils at the gravesides of their loved ones, while recalling fond past times & humourous anecdotes. As part of the celebration, alters are also built throughout Mexico to remember the departed. These alters can be found in hotels, galleries, shops, archaeological sights etc.. They too are dressed with offerings, marigolds, sugar skulls, 'pan de muertos' (or bread of the dead) and candles to remember the dead.
Now I know this all sounds very morbid, but the atmosphere of Dia de los Muertos is quite the opposite! There are constant parades and parties throughout the streets to an endless soundtrack of energetic mariachi bands. The costumes we saw were incomparable to any halloween costumes I have ever seen - some comical, some weird & some just plain scary! It was fascinating to witness how another culture deals with death in such a different, positive way from us. They do not hide the fact that death is an inevitability of life, but embrace it so as to focus on how precious life really is. This was evident from the attitudes of the Oaxacan locals who were clearly embracing life and each other on a daily basis. It was an experience I will never forget and I felt honoured that the locals let us witness their celebration and be a part of it.
'Dia de los Muertos' has been rising in popularity around the West especially in the last few years. The imagery in particular has clearly had some influence in the fashion world - both high street and alternative. Today the image of the sugar skull can seen everywhere from small rockabilly boutiques to high street chains (last year I recall a sugar skull patterned cardigan on Topshop rails!) So, although it is not essential to go all the way to Mexico to have your piece of the celebration, I would highly recommend that if you ever get the opportunity to visit Oaxaca during this festival, you do so. It really was a life changing experience and a real eye opener.

Carnival Divine! - 7 October 2010

Carnival Divine! - 7 October 2010

We really are spoilt in the North West as there are so many fantastic burlesque nights to choose from, and each night has it's own personality. There are nights like The Cherry Lounge on The Wirral that mix burlesque with rockabilly bands for that fun-loving 50's atmosphere; The Wet Spot in Leeds that is renowned for it's high caliber of neo-burlesque and classical burlesque acts from around the UK; and Burly Q in Sheffield that has a very friendly, cosy atmosphere reminiscent of the golden age of burlesque.
Back in 2007 me and my partner set up a night called Carnival Divine, that was to run monthly in Manchester and incorporate burlesque, music, sideshow, circus and all things in between! From it's humble beginnings, Carnival Divine grew in size and popularity and with that we moved to a new, bigger venue in Manchester and begun running monthly events in Chester, annual events in London and in December 2008 we got asked to put on an event in Brussels as part of an arts festival. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to take our show to Europe and show them what we'd got! All in all it was a very successful trip and it was an honor to take burlesque back to Brussels for the first time in decades.
Carnival Divine is now a quarterly event that takes place at Matt & Phreds Jazz Club in Manchester, and promises to provide a variety experience like no other in the North! With our regular adult puppeteer Puppetual Motion, our high caliber line up of UK and internationally acclaimed burlesque performers, and our revolving line-up of music, comedy and sideshow all held together by our charismatic compere Joe Sparrow, we can assure you that there is not a dull night to be had at Carnival Divine!!
So if this all sounds like your cup of tea, then join us at our next event on 12th December for a slightly dark & twisted Christmas! Check out www.carnivaldivine.com for more info

Finding The Perfect Costume - 9 September 2010

Finding The Perfect Costume - 9 September 2010

So, you've got your performer name and your head is spilling over with idea's...but there wouldn't be much of an act without a costume! It really depends on the type of act you are doing as to what style of costume you go for. For example, if you are doing a classic fan dance you may opt for just a rhinestoned bra, thong & pasties. If you are plotting a comedy routine then costumes are often themed and very varied.
What you wear isn't just about what looks great, but what works on stage. It is important to consider how you are going to get your costume off on stage i.e. do you need a corset with a zip? a skirt with velcro? tie-side pants? etc.. You want the striptease aspect of the act to be as smooth as possible, minimising any problems that might occur. A burlesque wardrobe often contains staple items that are easy and effective to remove on stage for example: stockings & gloves. I'm not saying every performer uses these items, or in fact that every performer should use them, but they are often utilised as you can really accentuate their removal and put in some snazzy moves while doing so! If you are going to be removing stockings, then you will also need to consider what shoes you're going to wear and how you will take them off. I would recommend shoes without fiddly buckles and straps as this will just complicate things and if you are nervous they will seem twice as fiddly!
This week I started a dressmaking course for beginners. I'm hoping that I can apply the skills I learn to help me create more of my costumes myself. At the moment I tend to customise costumes myself, however I generally get someone else to put my idea's into action when it comes to corsets and underwear from scratch. My favourite boutique to order costumes from is right here in Manchester and is called Kiku. It is run by the lovely Lynn and Sean who are both happy to go out of their way to help you get exactly what you're after. Lynn makes some of the items herself and is a very talented dressmaker so it is easy to discuss design idea's with her. Sadia Bashir is the behind the scene's dressmaker who creates most of the corsets and costumes. Last year she re-created 3 stunning outfits from Ray Caesar artworks that myself, Lola Pops and Daison Merriere modeled at the Ray Caesar art exhibition here in Manchester (see picture).
There are of course many costume designers out there, but if you are based in the North West and want face to face consultation on costumes, and a finished product you will be over the moon with then look no further than http://www.kikuboutique.co.uk/

Throw out those diet books and get baking! - 22 August 2010

Throw out those diet books and get baking! - 22 August 2010

We've all heard the saying "You can't have your cake and eat it" - well ladies, if you own a corset..then eat away!! A corset will hide a multitude of sins, including mass cake consumption! I am rather partial to cupcakes myself and love to bake the tasty, colourful little cups of joy! Unfortunately being wheat and dairy intolerant doesn't help matters but luckily for me recipes do exist for those of us who are challenged on the food front...phew!

There is something so very indulgent and glamorous about sparkly, colourful cupcakes. When you consider how cupcakes are wrapped up in their delicate casings and dressed with lashings of icing, sparkles, flowers and fruit etc... then it's no wonder that cupcakes and burlesque are the perfect match. Not only does every burly girl love to give into the temptation of the buttery, cakey goodness but some even create whole acts based upon their love of cake! From acts that involve emerging from a giant cake, climbing into a giant cake, eating cake, baking cakes and dressing up as cakes - you name it, the burlesque world has it! I mean, what could be more delicious - a gorgeous woman dressed from head to toe in glitter and glamour, confidently strutting the stage while indulging in one of life's little pleasures - a big slab of cake....perfect!

If you want to add a little extra glitz to your cakes then why not try edible glitter? You can purchase edible glitters from this website - http://www.edible-glitter.co.uk/. The tiny pots of glitter really do go a long way and could brighten up any dreary work place, sugar coat bad news or just bring a bit of added sparkle to your day! The website also sells other cupcake goodies including cases, other toppings and cake stands.

Photo Credit: Sherry Trifle

What a weekend! - 15 August 2010

What a weekend! - 15 August 2010

Wow..what a weekend! I crammed as much burlesque busying as I possibly could into my 2 days of freedom!! To kick it all off I taught my first ever burlesque workshop on Saturday morning. Vintage Pamper Box run by Betty Bee and Lilly Von Pink is a fabulous girly pamper day where ladies get the chance to learn how to do 50's hair and makeup, learn some burlesque moves and end their day by taking part in a real pinup photoshoot . I was honoured to be asked to teach the burlesque workshop and I enjoyed every minute of it! The ladies all picked up the moves so fast, they were sliding their stockings off like they'd been doing it from day 1! I think we have some budding burlesque starlets there and it's wonderful to think I may have pointed them in the right direction. I'm pleased to say I will be teaching more workshops at future Vintage Pamper Boxes, for more information on the pamper days go to http://www.bettybeevintage.co.uk/pages/vintage-pamper-days.php

From teaching on the Wirral I hopped straight in my car and headed to Edinburgh to perform at Va Va Voom as part of the Edinburgh fringe. Well, it was my first trip to Edinburgh and it was love at first sight! What a gorgeous city - stunning architecture, quirky shops, mouth watering food...what more could you want?! It literally blew me away. I felt myself falling into another one of my daydreams where there is cabaret on every corner and glitter lining every street - but this time it was true! You name it, the Edinburgh Fringe has it! From well known comedians, to one woman shows, to musicals, to cosy pub stand-up, to big circus shows; the talent really is overwhelming and inspiring. One night really wasn't enough to make the most of the infamous arts festival and I wish I had had more time to take in the shows and sights. However, I am already plotting my return so watch this space!

The Festival Season is Here! - 2 August 2010

The Festival Season is Here! - 2 August 2010

Yes, it's that time of year again - when we throw on our patterned wellies, spf 50 and drink cider in a field - you know what I'm talking about, the festival season is here! As a lady who likes the finer things in life this time of year always poses some difficulties for me...for example how do I keep my fringe neat and straight after 3 days of not washing my hair (or probably brushing it), how to balance practicality with style & glamour and how to look ladylike while covered in mud, wearing a 'pack a mac' and drinking wine from a bag..
I'm not suggesting that I wear corsets, false eyelashes and stiletto's to festivals (although wouldn't that be fabulous!) but I'm not the type of girl who could go prepared with just the 1 pair of knickers, the dress on my back and a dodgy festival hat. Oh no.

So here are 8 festival must haves for the glamorous festival go-er out there:

1) Babywipes & makeup remover wipes - essential for that daily shower!! All over body mud mask is not a good look!
2) Batiste - dry shampoo that will leave your hair smelling pretty and looking a good deal cleaner than it did previously
3) Perfume/body spray - you need something to mask the smell of portaloo
4) Faux fur coat! Mine is an old faithful that I bought from Primark about 6 years ago! But is perfect to add a little vintage chic to any festival outfit
5) A stylish pinup hat such as a sailor hat, army hat etc.. looks very cute and will also protect you from getting sunstroke which is a high risk when you're out in an open field drinking all day.
6) Cordless gas curlers or straighteners - tame that tent hair!
7) Sparkly sunglasses - Great for protecting yourself from the sun but they will also hide a multitude of sins!
8) A headscarf - Once your hair goes past the point of no return, this will make you look less greasy teenager and more extra from the film Grease.
9) Plastic wine glasses - so that you can eat your pot noodles and sip cider while pretending you're dining at the Ritz
10) Ear plugs - so that when you are all partied out you can get some beauty sleep ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Boost your confidence - 25 July 2010

Boost your confidence - 25 July 2010

Burlesque is a fantastic way to boost your confidence, meet new people and have some fun! For many burlesque is a hobby and a glamorous one at that! But for some it is much more, it is a business. Every business needs to promote itself and advertise to get work and burlesque is no exception. There are various tools for doing this, for example: social networking, websites, showreels, business cards, press releases and promotional pictures (this is a non-exhaustive list).

In many ways we are very lucky to be establishing ourselves in today's burlesque market as there is so much out there in the way of help. There are sites dedicated to burlesque, burlesque nights popping up all over the country, burlesque societies at university, a plethora of books and DVDs on the subject and of course social networking is at a high with more people connecting than ever before on websites such as Facebook. All of this makes it much easier to get our names out there in the burlesque community and beyond. However, although it is much easier to get our names out there to begin with, it is also much harder to make an impact as a performer and become established on the circuit. This is largely due to the high volumes of burlesque performers out there today, it seems that everyone is giving it a go! Which, don't get me wrong, I think is fantastic! However, it does mean working that little bit harder to remain individual and memorable to your audience. It also means that in the first stages of your performance career it is advisable to take on as many bookings as possible to build on your experience, and making the most of the promotional tools out there. There is no substitute for stage experience and it will teach you the most valuable lessons you will learn in burlesque. So my advice is, once you have your persona and you have 1 or 2 acts in your repertoire, get up on stage and give them a whirl! See what reactions you get and use this to build on your performance and find what sort of acts and costumes suit you best. It is also a good idea to get some good promotional pictures early on that you can use on business cards, press releases, social networking sites etc. to get your face and name out there. So what are you waiting for!

Image- Lola Pops by Katie Catfish

Variety is the spice of life - 18 July 2010

Variety is the spice of life - 18 July 2010

They say that variety is the spice of life and I would certainly agree. This week I've been a busy burly bee, performing at a variety of events around the North. On Thursday I shimmied the night away at 'Rock n Hula Burlesque & Boogie' in Liverpool, on Friday I titillated an audience at a 50th birthday party and on Saturday I lounged around the Lowry Hotel for a photoshoot with the very talented Juninho. I love weekends like this! I can daydream that I am a full-time glamour puss who spends my days relaxing in the sumptuous surroundings of exclusive hotels, and my nights doused in glitter and jewels bumping and grinding my way across the continents!

And then it's Monday again, and I find myself somewhat conservatively dressed at a desk typing away to the sound of silence. Yet at the back of my mind I am still day dreaming, still plotting routines and costumes and leaving the tell tale doodles of new costume ideas strewn across my desk!

So maybe I'm being a little over-dramatic..but what did you expect?! My day job isn't quite as mundane as I paint it, in fact this week to keep me entertained while I work I have been downloading the Ministry of Burlesque podcast 'Tassel Time.' It is an inspiring collection of interviews held by the Decadent Gent with some of burlesque's best known personalities of today. There are interviews with Missy Malone, Leyla Rose, Kitten DeVille, Dirty Martini and Immodesty Blaize, to name but a few. I have found them truly motivating and inspirational. I think they are a must for any budding burlesque performer who is about to embark on their own burlesque journey, or in fact anyone who is interested in making their way in the entertainment business as it really gives you a fantastic insight into the industry. You can download them now on itunes or from http://www.tasseltime.net/.

Photo: Missy Malone & Leyla Rose

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