You can read more about the project here.
This past weekend I have been in North Norfolk, participating in an art installation created by Robert Wilson entitled 'Walking.' The idea is that the participants walk alone, and at a very slow pace through the countryside, encountering art installations that juxtapose with the landscape. The walk takes three hours, and crosses streams and fields, dips in and out of forests, takes you along a dune path, and ends on the beach, where each person is lowered slowly back on a large wooden bed frame - a really odd but not unpleasant sensation! I couldn't commit to the whole three week rehearsal period and run, and so I joined as a pacemaker - my role was to lead the audience on the walk, and ensure that everyone maintained the one step per second pace. It was so difficult walking that slowly, but it forces you to contemplate and listen to your surroundings, like an active meditation. The landscape is stunning, I had little idea England could be so wild and beautiful! There was even a little soundscape composed by Tom Waits who is a regular collaborator with Wilson, it was the sound of crickets stretched out over the lifetime of a man, resulting in a strange, etheral choir. I stayed in hostel-like accomodation with the cast and crew, and they were all terrific - I laughed so much! On the second day there was a lighting storm and everyone got drenched as there was no shelter along the walk, luckily the storm cleared before I set out, but it was a very dramatic storm - quite a contrast to the serenity of the walk. Pictured is the positive cone, which was very near the end of the walk. The walk began with a negative cone, which was actually in the ground and surrounded by a wooden box the framed the sky. The whole thing was very spiritual, yet understated, and has shown me just what is possible with art, performance and nature.
You can read more about the project here.
Last Saturday I performed at The Wet Spot in Leeds alongside Des O'Connor, Fancy Chance, Ivy Wilde, Duke de Milo, Vie O'Lette and Cherry and Ruby. The night was brilliantly organised, and the audience were fantastic as always. I have to say also that it was probably the most fun I've ever had backstage at a gig! Des gave me brilliant introductions and I loved Duke de Milo's take on the Susan Boyle BGT audtion - I was crying with laughter during his act! A massive thank you to Terri, Daisy and Adam for dealing with my obscene amount of props.!
I am away in King's Lynn this weekend to see Robert Wilson's 'Walking' and stay with my boyfriend who is in the performance, but the following Friday I'm making a return visit to the Red Light Burlesque in Leicester. I was last here in April 2011, and remember re-working my ATeam act especially for the War themed night. It went down a storm, and contrasted suitably with the other pretty 1940's acts. It was at this point that I learned to love the act and started to embody the 'butch' character, nearly a year after I had devised it. I find it takes at least five live performances for an act to 'bed-in', and I usually perform new acts at unpaid nights, showcases or competitions until I feel happy enough to put them forward for paid events. There have been a lot of disgruntled posts on social networks and forums about promoters not paying performers, and I completely understand the view point of these established performers who make a living from burlesque, and are findng it hard to as so many newcomers will perform for nothing. For me, however, these showcase events are important for trying out new work and reviving old acts, and although I support working artistes (and I'm also self-employed now), I will still do a small selection of unpaid events, just to keep developing as a performer myself.
Make sure you take a look at my 'Upcoming Appearances' page to see where else you can catch me this year!
I've made two new discoveries this week - things that I'm certain others have been aware of for years. The first is podcasts. I'm addicted. I'm currently lapping up 'The Clockwork Cabaret''; a podcast recorded by two sisters from North Carolina who play a range of steampunk inspired music. Naturally, I downloaded everything I could find on burlesque; I've listened to the podcasts from the Decadent Gent on MoB and Lili VonSchtupp on The Burlesque Podcast. The burlesque podcasts have been an amazing resource, and one I'm definately going to come back to. There don't seem to have been any more made since 2010, which is a real shame. I already listened to The Saturday Arts Club, which is an arts podcast made by a well-informed guy called Wes, who went to University with my boyfriend. I'm on the hunt for more of the same ilk - if anyone who reads this has a suggestion...
The other discovery is Contact Juggling. I've seen performers with 'the balls' and wondered what is was called. The first place I witnessed it was of course in the film 'Labryrinth' with David Bowie., and I've just found out that he had a shadow performer behind him during filming to show the moves. The upshot of this was I found myself parting with £6.50 in Oddballs in Camden, and I've been practising. It's fairly difficult, but I find it easier than 'toss' juggling (yes, it's really called that), and I can nearly perform a butterfly palm transfer. I have an idea for an act which is rather cosmic, and I'd like to include the skill within the act, but we'll see, I might just be shit.
Anyway, here's Bowie..
I have an exciting gig this Saturday at The Wet Spot in Leeds. It's my second appearance there, the first being in February of this year.
It's such a lovely night, the audience are so appreciative, and I'm looking forward to finally meeting Fancy Chance and Des O'Connor.
The only other performer from the line up I've previously met is Vie O'Lette - we met over two years ago at Starlett Sta's Burlesque in Portsmouth.
I'll be taking some photos to include here next week.
This is a small segment of my old work colleagues captured in puppet form. I left a 10 year career as a performing arts lecturer a month ago, and made sure I satirised the senior management sufficiently before departing. These puppets starred in a show entitled 'Ubu Arsehole' - he is the two-headed creature far left.
I had a 'hat-phase' when I was a year old. Wore a hat to bed, in the bath, basically everywhere. I'm still in love with hats, but I think my tastes have improved. Unfortunantly I don't own the pictured hat, it is from the National Theatre costume hire warehouse in South London - a veritable wonderland!
The Y, Leicester, February 2012. Courtsey of Johnathon Needham.
Yes..., I'm a burlesque performer, but I see it more as an extension of the clowning work I had been doing for years before trying burlesque. I call it 'clowning with tits.' This is a photo of the first act I made in 2010 - Lolly Poppins - it's still my most popular act.
The stern look I employ as Mary Poppins is well-practised from all those years of teaching teenagers!