My ‘Big Burlesque Day Out’ fun!

Elle Du Jour at Big Burlesque Day Out 2014

Elle Du Jour with her beautiful purple fans

After Lea Rice’s lovely guest blog post about London Burlesque Festival‘s Big Burlesque Day Out last year, I was very excited when one of my Foxy Burlesque students shared a Facebook message about booking a stall at this year’s event.

Me and my Foxy Burlesque stall

Me and my Foxy Burlesque stall!

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but booked a stall and decided I needed to make sure what I had on offer was different from everyone else. I wanted to promote Foxy Burlesque courses and workshops etc, but decided to sell a couple of things too, so opted for my Foxy Burlesque DVD ‘Take It Off’ and some gorgeous burlesque cupcake toppers care of my wonderful friend Kirsty Low from CakeyBake Ltd.

Chaz Royal & Betty D'Light

Chaz Royal & Betty D’Light

The day was held at Conway Hall in the Holborn area of London, so really central and I have to say, it was a truly lovely way to experience London Burlesque Festival. You get a hall full of gorgeous burlesque stalls with items to browse through and purchase, plus a great line up of festival performers strutting their stuff on stage.

 

Chaz Royal is the man behind London Burlesque Festival and his beautiful Mrs, performer Betty D’Light, is the lady behind The Big Burlesque day Out. It’s her ‘baby’ and she did a fantastic job organising and hosting.

Artwork by Madams Pinups

Artwork by Madams Pinups

My fellow stall holders had some wonderful things to share and sell, from stunning burlesque art by Madams Pinups, Rian Hughes, Saffron Reichenbacker, to accessories and beautiful sparkly pasties by Yurei, Scandalicious, Noir Collective.

Plus vintage clothing and lingerie by Pimp My Pants, through to bespoke costume designers including NIXON Point, Chameleon Couture and Miss Odelia Opium and even the fabulous Burlesque Baking book by Restoration Cake.

And while supping prosecco and spending a very rare day out with my hubby we met some lovely people and sold a good number of DVD’s and toppers and got to enjoy the fab performances too.

Burlesque Baking book by Restoration Cake

Burlesque Baking book by Restoration Cake

There were 10 different burlesque performers putting on the show of which my favourites were:

1) Elle Du Jour, all the way from Dallas, Texas who came on stage in a beautiful blue satin cape which doubled as isis wings.  She then danced beautifully with huge purple ostrich feather fans, before finishing her act doing the splits!

2) Violet Blaze, who is taking the burlesque world by storm at the moment, literally had us all eating out of the palm of her hands.  She was AWESOME!

Colette of Colette & Willy

Colette of Colette & Willy

3) Colette & Willy, a rare duo, were just captivating.  Willy playing the accordion and telling a story of the beautiful Colette as she tantalised us all with her beautiful fan dancing.

4) And last, but very much not least was the wonderful Bruise Violet. We have seen her perform a few times now and she is always a real treat to see.  A proper cheeky minx! So cheeky in fact that at the end of her dance she held up her fans to cover herself and pulled off her pasties and cstring and threw them off!

Pasties by Yurei

Pasties by Yurei

What a great day!

Thanks so much Betty D’Light!  It was a great success!

So if late night London performances are tricky for you to get to and back from, last train panic etc, I highly recommend you look out for next year’s Big Burlesque Day Out. You really can’t go wrong. xx

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Isabella Bliss – Our Modern Day Starlet!

Isabella Bliss burlesque performerI’m sure I was not the only audience member at Cue Tease‘s Summer Striptease who fell a little bit in love with Miss Isabella Bliss.  You may well have read my blog post ‘My 5 Summer Striptease Favourites’ about it, at the time.  For me it was the her classic elegance and glamour that captivated me.  So, intrigue got the better of me and I decided to get in contact with her to find out more and share it with you all!  You lucky things!! 

Tell us a little about your background?

I live and grew up in sunny Essex and I am one of four kids, I have two little brothers and a little sister. They love what I do but also think I’m mad!

Isabella Bliss belly dancing

I had a love of dance at a very young age and attended ballet, tap and modern dance. I also became carnival Queen at the age of eight and kept titles for many years from junior queen to senior Queen, which involved attending events and competing in competitions demonstrating elegance by way of curtseys and speeches in front of a judges panel.  This helped me with my posture and poise and I won a fair few trophies.  I was a majorette as well, so I guess you could say I enjoyed entertaining from a young age.

As I got older I took up belly dancing lessons which I loved and I performed in a troupe and solo. I very much enjoy the history and the culture of this beautiful form of dance. It comes in very handy when I travel to various countries where it’s a tradition. I always get up with the belly dancer entertainer and have fun. I believe dancing is a universal language; an expression of women’s empowerment.  Its such a beautiful thing.

Isabella Bliss Face of LondonI have also been a beauty Queen winning various titles including Miss Universe Essex, Face of Essex and I’m the current reigning Face of London.

Being a beauty Queen is not all pretty dresses and titles you get the opportunity to help people, something I am very passionate about. I dedicated a lot of my time to work very closely with various charities including Strongbones Children’s Charitable Trust, Rainbow Child Foundation, and Headway Brain Injury Association. I do fundraising days and hospital visits or volunteer for the day centres.  It brings smiles to people’s faces just spending that bit of time showing you care.

Isabella Bliss charitable work

‘Me with the Handsome Jack’

To date I have raised £7,000 for the various charities also including Cancer Research and True Heroes. I have also competed twice internationally in world pageants where I was placed in the top 10 in the world both times.

How did you get into burlesque?

I got into burlesque through striptease. I learnt to pole dance from my friend Lisa as a bit of a laugh. She had taken it up as a fitness class and we had some funny girly night’s practicing new moves. I wondered what it was like to pole dance in a real club and be a striptease artiste. So, in one brave move, I went to a club and asked for an audition. Although I had good fun and enjoyed pole dancing, I never really fitted the stereotype, I was always trying new looks trying to find myself and be different.

I worked in the striptease industry for a while and it was fun, but I often wondered how we got there. How did this pole dancing and strip tease all start?  It had to come from somewhere.

Isabella Bliss burlesque performer

So I started researching through the decades and found this marvelous thing called Burlesque. That was it ,I felt like I found myself. I spent hours late at night watching and researching the legends online.  I wanted to learn as much as I could about this amazing art form .

I found out that burlesque was having a massive revival and there were now many burlesque clubs in London, so I started going to some shows. I would watch and learn as much as I could and before long I started work on my own style and character, to build Isabella Bliss.

I found it difficult at first, as, at that time, burlesque in the UK was very comical, alternative or edgy and I knew I was non of those things. I liked the old classical style of performing the glamour and the elegance, recreated by people like Catherine D’Lish. I had to be true to myself and what I liked so I created Isabella Bliss around all the things I loved. Taking inspiration from the classic legends like Sally Rand and Lili St Cyr. I also was deeply interested in the Moulin Rouge and Persian show girls. I loved the glamour and spectacle of it all. I remember being a little girl and hearing about the Moulin Rouge and being in awe of it all. I was lucky enough a few years ago to go to Paris and experience the Moulin Rouge and it was simply amazing. Everything I thought it would be and more.

Isabella Bliss MIsabella Bliss My Fair LadyI also grew up watching a lot of all singing all dancing Hollywood movies like ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blonds’ and ‘My Fair Lady’. (‘My Fair Lady’ photo by Chris Ashkettle Make Up by Maddie Robins)

I love the elagance and class of the era.  Everyone looked smart and women really knew how to dress.

I adore Marilyn Monroe for her understanding of feminity and sexuality. She would spend many hours studying body language in her early days. She didn’t just turn up and was a star, she worked hard at it for many years perfecting herself. She showed people of that era that it was ok to be a woman and be sexy and that being a woman is something to be celebrated.

Now, when I’m creating my costumes, I always put on a good classic film to relax to. They inspire me, help me find my inner Hollywood movie star. Something I try my best to channel when I perform. My inner ‘Marilyn’, as it were.

How long have you been performing?

I have been performing Burlesque for 14 months.

Isabella Bliss Feathered KissesAfter working on my costumes and acts I got my first opportunity to perform through a friend. They run an agency called Actz Entertainment I had asked to go on the books but they said they don’t get any call for burlesque, but I persisted.

I was out for my birthday family meal when my birthday cake came out. I blew out the candles and I wished with every part of me to get my first performance opportunity. Living proof that birthday wishes come true, within the hour our friends at Actz called me and I had my first show. After that there was no stopping me.

That first show was at The Egg in Camden for a charity burlesque show.  I loved it.  I was nervous, as would any one be, but also super excited, to be finally doing something so beautiful that I love.

I’m not nervous about going onto the stage, I get more nervous as I want to get it perfect, and wow the crowd. I’m a terrible perfectionist and I’m always striving to achieve more. I spend many hours and days before shows rehearsing to make sure I’m hitting the beat and giving the best I can.

London Burlesque Festival 2014What’s you biggest ‘burlesque’ achievement to date?

Performing and appearing in the Hit E4 TV Show The Drifters and being selected for London Burlesque Festival 2014.

Favourite performance to date?

Performing for Cue Tease.

Which of your acts do you enjoy performing the most?

Oh god, that’s a hard choice.  I love all of them as they are so different. They are all equally fun to do, but create different reactions. My ‘Feathered Kisses’ fan dance  is lovely as people find it really moving to watch. I think it’s magical when you create something that moves people in a way they do not expect. (Red fans ‘Feathered Kisses’ picture above by the talented Czarina Josef Images. Also on Facebook)

Isabella Bliss All That Glitters

But I also enjoy doing ‘My Fair Lady’ too, she’s a great act. I love the costume and its a honour playing homage to Audrey Hepburn who was sensational on the screen.

I design all my own costumes and love putting crystals on everything. I like to challenge my self to how extravagant I can make each costume.  They are just getting bigger and more opulent. The costume I’m currently working on is based on the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere.

Who most inspires you?

Catherine D’Lish has sex appeal by the ton and makes it look effortless I love that about her. Dita of course, plus she’s a great inspirational business woman. She has achieved so much for herself and for the world of burlesque.

Isabella Bliss as Marilyn MonroeI also adore LouLou D’vil. I did a workshop with her and she is such great woman. Her stage presence is sensational and her performances empowering.

I am however inspired by many people not just those within the burlesque scene. Movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly and of course the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere show girls.  (Isabella as Marilyn – photo by the talented Czarina Josef Images. Also on Facebook)

Cue Tease Burlesque Soiree De JeuWhere can we see you performing in the near future?

In the coming months you can see me at the Latest Cue Tease event ‘Soiree De Jeu‘ and I’ll be performing at The London Burlesque Festival on  Tuesday 20th May at The Hollywood Revue Show. Later in the year I’ll be in a very special show in my home county at the world famous Circus Tavern.

Tell us 3 things about you which very few people know: 

I used to do Jelly Wrestling.

I secretly love Disney Movies and Disney Land.

I enjoy travelling.

Most embarrassing moment

I was doing a charity collection at a boxing show in full beauty queen gear, dress, crown sash, the lot and I was invited into the ring to speak about the charity. I misjudged the distance between the stage edge and the edge of the ring where there was a little gap and I fell into it! Very funny. I got a round of applause and I think it helped raise more to be honest, as I made them laugh. I am a bit of a klutz sometimes. x

Now ladies and gents, if that hasn’t got desperate to get your behind to Isabella Bliss’s next performance, then I despair!  You clearly missed out on the ‘Burlesque Glitter & Glamour’ gene!

Whether you can be there or not, I think you will all agree with me when I say ‘what a lovely lady’.  It really has been a pleasure dealing with her and I certainly wish her every success in her future career.

If this has inspired you to give it a try yourself, we have new Foxy Burlesque beginners burlesque courses starting first week of April. Click here to find out more and book your place.  Don’t forget if you can’t get to one of our venues, we can always run an intensive course for you in your area, if you have a group of ladies interested, or we also do private lessons and hen parties.

You can keep up to date with Isabella Bliss on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and through her website.  Enjoy!!  Lxxx…

Foxy Burlesque at Madame Jojo’s for ‘Up Yer Bum’!

Up Yer Bum logoMadame Jojo's SOHO LondonFoxy Burlesque have performed at a number of charity events over the years, but never before have we been invited to perform at Madame Jojo’s in SOHO London! YES, I did just say Madame Jojo’s!  The one and only!!

So, as I’m sure you can imagine, I jumped at the chance.  The fab event we are going to be part of is ‘Up Yer Bum’ a very aptly named event raising money for the very worthy charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

So, what is ‘Up Yer Bum’ in the words of the organisers:

‘We hold the “Up Yer Bum” Charity Cabaret as a fun way to raise awareness of bowel cancer and to provide entertainment in the process. The Acts are amazing quality, the compere great fun and the event offers many “oooh’s and aaah’s”. We have stupendous singers, dazzling dancers, cracking comedians and brilliant burlesque. All Acts are kindly donated by some smashing people who are willing to give their time and talent to a good cause.

Originally planned as a “one off”, we were delighted with the success of 2011 and on the night many people wanted to know the date of the next event… Which made us realise, we should do it all again and again!’

So, how did ‘Up Yer Bum’ come about?

Beating Bowel Cancer logoDeborah Puxty-Ward does a lot of volunteering for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity and has done so for over 5 years now, following a diagnosis herself at only 29yrs of age.

Please take the time to click and see Deborah on You Tube explaining how Beating Bowel Cancer helped her.

When you’ve done that, I know, like me, you will feel passionately about supporting this wonderful event and charity.

Foxy Burlesque nipple tasselsMy gorgeous Foxy Burlesque girls are rehearsing hard, so the seven of us would love to see you there!

PS: Yes we will be twirling our tassels for you! 😉

The event details?

Up Yer Bum event flyer‘Up Yer Bum’

Madame Jojo’s, 8-10 Brewer St, Soho, London, W1F OSE

Sunday 16th February 2014

4.30pm Doors Open, 5.30pm Show

TICKETS

Check out ‘Up Yer Bum’ on Twitter and drop by the ‘Up Yer Bum’ Facebook Page and Event, if you get a moment.  All likes, shares and mentions, greatly appreciated! 🙂

See you there! xxx…

Foxy Burlesque student’s open letter

Alison Jeffries photographed by Terry Mendoza of Retro Photostudio

My gorgeous Foxy Burlesque student (and now friend), Alison Jeffries recently wrote the most lovely letter about me and her experiences as a Foxy Burlesque student and she asked me to share her comments with you.  So, here goes:

Alison Jeffries doing Foxy Burlesque Seven Veils dance‘Yesterday I changed my Facebook profile photo for a snap taken by Laura at the finale of the Seven Veils dance, a new course at Foxy Burlesque.

I love the photo.  I look so relaxed and totally enjoying myself, in the moment.

Laura commented on the photo I posted saying “Beautiful Lady” which was such an amazing compliment, but what I have been thinking about since was this…

Laura is the most wonderful teacher and lady.  She absolutely sees the real beauty in all the ladies that she teaches, despite all the lumps, bumps, wrinkles and scars we carry.

She sees the true beauty and specialness in every single one of us.  She is an inspiration and an amazing teacher.

Laura Lawton of Foxy Burlesque by Terry Mendoza Retro PhotostudioHer enthusiasm and passion to bring the very best to a class and to make us all feel special, is simply wonderful.
I had not been to a class for quite some time, having been busy with other things for around 18 months and I had completely forgotten quite how absolutely inspiring uplifting and amazing dancing is and how being taught by Laura has brought me confidence and empowerment that I will cherish for ever.

Laura you are an inspiration to us all and for anyone wondering if they would not be able to dance because of nerves or confidence, I urge you to give it a go, you will not be dissapointed by how amazing it makes you feel.

Much love A xxx’

Well, I have to say I was rather speechless, when I read this (a rare thing!) and a little emotional.  I was so touched by the fact that she had taken the time to say something so lovely, but also that she felt I helped make a real difference to the way she was feeling about herself.

I guess the thing is we all have our hang ups and the bits we don’t like about ourselves and sometimes it takes someone else to remind us just how beautiful and special we are.  I am so pleased I got to be the person to remind Ali, as she really is a true lady. Beautiful inside and out.

Much love back Ali.

Lxxx…

(First and third photographs by Terry Mendoza of Retro Photostudio)

My experience with Brazilian Blow Dry to relax very curly hair

Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton after Brazilian Blow DryI have naturally VERY curly hair!  So curly, in fact, that if it’s just left to be it’s natural curl, my hair would never grow past my shoulders as the curl just seems to get tighter and tighter.
Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton pre Brazilian Blow DryMy solution for a long time was to have it relaxed by having perming solution combed through it, which was fantastic the first time, but as the process was repeated to relax new hair coming through, the already relaxed hair would end up treated again.  Over time this resulted in hair that would just snap if I scrunched my hair in my hand.
I remember vividly the horror of being told my hair was in such bad condition I would need to have it short and grow out all the treated hair.
It took a very long time growing it again as it grows in such tight spirals, but I eventually got there, I think about 2.5yrs down the line, if I remember correctly, and it was at this point that I was told there was a new relaxing product I could try which would be much kinder to my hair.
…And so the cycle started all over again.  The good news was, it was much kinder to my hair, but it was still being re-treated all the time which meant I ended up with nicely relaxed hair at the roots and straight hair at the ends, which I would then spend my time trying to scrunch into some kind of curl to match the top.  It was a mess…
I then had my two babies and through pregnancy and post pregnancy I had huge amounts of hair loss, so my hair was actually a whole lot more manageable and it gave me plenty of time to grow out the treated hair once again.  Thankfully without the need of a drastic cut.
The last thing my then regular colourist in London said to me after my last relaxing treatment was, make this the last one, grow it out as long as you can bare it for and then no more relaxing.  I think you should try having a Brazilian Blow Dry on it instead…
So after my babies, I decided I needed to find a more local hair dresser who could do this ‘Brazilian Blow Dry’ or ‘Brazilian Blowout’ for me and I was recommended Yasmin Brockbank at RUSH in Tunbridge Wells and I have not looked back since.
I have now had this treatment done a few times and learnt a lot along the way, so I thought I’d share the findings in a hope that it would help anyone out there with really curly unmanageable hair, who wants to stay curly, but with manageable curls.

The Brazilian Blow Dry theory:

Foxy Burlesque Laura Lawton's hair before Brazilian Blow DryWhen hair is dry, frizzy and/or damaged the hair cuticals are raised like fish scales. The keratin used for a Brazilian Blow Dry goes into the gaps and works like a polyfiller which smooths out the scales and dramatically improves the condition of the hair so it is much easier to manage.  Many people don’t even need to use conditioners afterwards due to the huge improvement made.

The Brazilian Blow Dry process:

1) Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton Brazilian Blow Dry process just washedYour hair is washed with clarifying shampoo to remove all oils and product so it is properly clean
2) Your washed hair is brushed/combed through (I’d recommend brushing it through before washing it, as well, as this makes the brushing through after the wash a little easier)
Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton Brazilian Blow Dry after rough dry3) Hair is rough dried with a hair dryer
4) Next taking small sections of hair, the lotion is applied and combed through root to tip. The lotion is pure manmade keratin.

Brazilian Blow Dry manmade keratinThe one used on my hair is ‘Nanokeratin System Hair Therapy Treatment‘.

5) The lotion is then kept on the hair for 45mins to absorb into the hair cuticles

Brazilian Blow Dry keratin soaking into hair

6) Taking small sections at a time the hair is then blow dried straight using a medium round brush. This dries the lotion in to the hair. The steam at this point, which I think some people mistake for smoke, is just residue from the product. This steam from the product used on my hair doesn’t really smell of anything, though apparently some people don’t like it. Maybe different makes smell different. There are many different ones.
Brazilian Blow Dry blow drying keratin into hair7) Sections of the hair are then straightened.  Each section being straightened for up to 7 times to make sure it is as smooth as possible. This seals the product into the hair. Special straighteners have to be used at this point. They have titanium plates, not ceramic, so the heat stays in the plates.  They are also extra hot, getting up to 230 degrees and are used on the hottest setting.
Brazilian Blow Dry straightened hair8) At this point your hair salon experience is finished and you leave with silky dead straight hair, but the hair now has to stay straight, using no hair clips or bands and you must avoid any humidity and damp environments for the required period of time (3 days if you are wanting a straight hair result. 1 day if you are wanting a relaxed result, so hair is still curly but not as tight a curl as previously)
9) After the required time (see above) wash the hair and style as normal.

The result:

Brazilian Blow Dry resultSo, I washed my hair after a day and a half and I am so pleased with the result.  My hair is shiny and silky.  It feels and moves like hair should, whereas naturally my hair is so curly and dense, is just doesn’t move like hair.  It is now a much more manageable and more attractive curl.  Plus, when I want to create a vintage style for a Foxy Burlesque performance or shoot, it is much better to work with.
The reason why this works so well for relaxing curly hair, is it lasts for three months (depending on how often you wash your hair), so when you have the treatment redone, the entire length of your hair needs the treatment again, rather than just the roots.  So, no repeatedly treating the longer sections of your hair.
The other great news is, it doesn’t affect you having your hair coloured you just can’t have it coloured in the first week following the treatment.

A little bit about Yasmin Brockbank and RUSH:

RUSH Hairdressers Tunbridge Wells Yasmin BrockbankYasmin started out in an apprenticeship and has now been hair dressing for 7yrs and for the last 4yrs, she has been at RUSH. Yasmin trained with RUSH to do the Brazilian Blow Dry. They give 1 day salon training and then have refresh training and updates 3-4mthly. For RUSH this treatment is very popular and growing in popularity all the time. I was surprised to hear it even works for people with fine hair to help it feel thicker.
I think the thing that says it all is Yasmin has Brazilian Blow Drys herself! It always fill me with confidence when someone practices what they preach. For Yasmin it works really well reducing frizz, and it reduces her hair styling time from 1.5hrs to 45mins! That’s a selling point for any Mummy, surely! Basically, it’s brilliant!!
So if you are frustrated with crazy curls and/or frizzy hair I couldn’t recommend having a Brazilian Blow Dry more.  If you are also fortunate enough to be in the Tunbridge Wells area, you should definitely get yourself to RUSH to see Yasmin.
(RUSH pricing is £150-£200 depending on the length of your hair.)

Cutty Cargo! Your chance to see Miss Polly Rae for free!

Cutty Cargo

Miss Polly Rae

Well that has certainly got your attention hasn’t it? Yes, that’s right, I said you could get to see the amazing Miss Polly Rae for free.  All you have to do is apply for tickets to the only place you should want to be next Thursday evening (12th Sept);

CUTTY CARGO

CuttyCargo PosterSo what’s it all about?

Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky launches Cutty Cargo – a tour of the world’s major cities including London, New York and a city in Spain yet to be revealed, to discover some of the best home-grown creative culture and talents.

First stop is London on Thursday September 12 2013, where the hottest talent from across the city will be brought together in one place for one night, inside a giant reproduction of a wooden cargo crate, used to smuggle Cutty Sark whisky into America 90 years ago.
JessieWareMercurySinging sensation Jessie Ware will join London’s finest from across food, art, design and photography as part of an evening designed to inspire people to discover more.
Jessie Ware comments: “London is my city.  It constantly surprises and gives me pride to be a Londoner.  There is always something new and exciting popping up, whether it be a new culinary / pop up restaurant venture, a new night in some hidden gem that you may have passed many times before, or an emerging artist in any of our brilliant galleries, or even on the streets; London always surprises me.  There is always something to inspire around every street corner and that’s why I’m so excited to be part of the Cutty Cargo event, people can expect to experience the best sounds and sights of the city all in one place.”

Performances taking place inside the Cutty Cargo crate include:

  • South London born soulful songstress and Mercury Music Prize nominee, Jessie Ware. Jessie will return to her London roots as she headlines Cutty Cargo, singing tracks from her outstanding debut album Devotion.
  • London based DJ and producer Duke Dumont. The man behind the popular house hit Need You (100%) will be dominating the dance floor with a high-energy set.
  • Pioneers of the current London restaurant scene, MEAT Liquor and creator and star chef, Yianni Papoutsis will be serving up their famed burgers. The hottest restaurant in central London will be in attendance giving people a diner-style treat, which is hugely popular among the capital’s foodies and celebrities.
  • London’s hottest cocktail bar, situated in north London, 69 Colebrooke Row, will be creating Cutty Sark bespoke 1920s inspired cocktails in the secret Speakeasy in the Cutty Cargo crate venue. The UK’s pioneering drinks creator Tony Conigliaro, founder of the bar, has developed the cocktails, using the latest Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky ‘Prohibition Edition.’
  • MissPollyRae FanPerformances will take place from Burlesque sensation Miss Polly Rae, best known as the star and creator of West End and international burlesque cabaret extravaganza ‘The Hurly Burly Show™’.
  • London based international music photographer Tom Oxley will be showcasing his groundbreaking exhibition of moving video portraits of prolific musicians. Each moving portrait is accompanied by a music track chosen by that artist. The exhibition will allow the audience to get up close and personal with influential artists including Liam Gallagher, Jake Bugg and Azealia Banks.
  • Art lovers can marvel upon an installation of mini Cutty Sark crates that have been customised by a collective of up and coming artists recommended by ‘It’s Nice That’, a leading online blog magazine dedicated to modern design.
  • The Shanty Theatre Company, a group of famed storytellers who are regulars on the London theatre scene, will take the audience on a fantastical journey as they perform a bold, love tale laced with iconic images. Mysterious twists will dazzle the audience as well as immersing them as the plot unravels.
  • Flat-e, a London based design studio, will be utilising the latest developments in technology and realtime programming as part of their immersive light installation. Their design will stretch across the roof of the wooden cargo crate creating a unique visual display unifying the creative space.
So, if that alone has not convinced you, WATCH THIS VIDEO (Cutty Cargo launch video)!
…and then WATCH THIS VIDEO of Miss Polly Rae (Miss Polly Rae prepares for Cutty Cargo London).
So, now you are desperate to go and hugely envious that I’m on the guest list (sorry, just had to drop that in there!), you need to know how to make sure you can be there too.
To find out more about the Cutty Cargo London event and how to attend visit www.cutty-sark.com/cutty-cargo
Hope to see you there!  🙂

The wonderful Amber Topaz!

Amber Topaz at Showzam festival 2012 by Thomas R Grady

‘An explosion of charisma and stage presence unmatched, between music and songs, comedy and seduction’ GQ Magazine

 

The first time I saw Amber Topaz was early 2010 on a night out at Proud Cabaret with my Hubby.  She came out on stage wearing a stunning red evening dress with sparkly red shoes and sang Jessica Rabbit’s ‘Why Don’t You Do Right?’.  She had the audience completely captivated as she worked her magic around the room.

Part way through her song, she placed one of her beautiful shoes (still attached to her foot, might I add) on our table right in front of my husband as she sang to him for a few moments, before leaving him to find her next victim.

The next time I saw her we were both walking out of the Leicester Square Theatre after watching Miss Polly Rae’s ‘Hurly Burly Show’ and I decided to be brave and speak to her and tell her how great she was at Proud.

I next saw her at ‘An Evening of Burlesque’ and this was the first time I had actually seen her do a burlesque act and take her clothes off!  WOW!  She has SO much energy and is a proper cheeky minx.  She is great at getting comedy into her acts as well.

I was then completely bowled over to be given a two hour masterclass with her as a birthday present from my hubby who was probably still cooling off from his encounter with said smouldering songstress.

It was so great to meet her properly and spend time throwing about ideas for acts and picking up lots of great tips.  Unfortunately the two hours flew by, but it was a hugely inspiring session and I will always remember it very fondly.

Soon after a group of us went to see her in her own show at Volupte Lounge in London and had a fantastic evening.

So, it’s fair to say, I am a big fan of not just a fantastic performer, but a truely lovely person as well.  So, I asked her if she would answer a few questions for us.

Here are her answers. Enjoy!

Amber Topaz pin-up by Neil KendallHow did you get into burlesque?
I was pin-up modelling for photographer Neil Kendall back in 2002 (see right lingerie shot) and he suggested I perform burlesque.It was a few more years & shoots later before I took the plunge.

Who is your biggest burlesque inspiration?
Amber Topaz performing in the 'Miss Exotic World' pageant 2008I first attended & performed at ‘Miss Exotic World’ Burlesque Hall of Fame weekender in Las Vegas in 2006. This was a master class in burlesque. I witnessed every type of burlesque, classic striptease to comedy & circus, from the bizarre to the ridiculous. British comedy & Musical Films have massively  influence my work too.

What has been your favourite job to date?
I have had so many wonderful experiences, they are incomparable. I’ve been fortunate enough to perform a couple of times at the historic ‘Blackpool Tower Ballroom’ (see top photo by Thomas R Grady) it’s such a magical venue a true home of variety.

Also, I was Sir Terrence Conran’s 80th birthday surprise from his wife Lady Conran.

Amber Topaz by Lorenzo Paxia Mary Quant was one of the guests who was screaming with delight. This will stay etched in my memory forever. (Black costume worn for Terence Conran photographed here by Lorenzo Paxia)

Where can we see you in the near future?
I am currently working on some new projects including my one woman show ‘Storm in a D Cup’.I always keep my website up to date with up and coming shows www.ambertopaz.co.uk

Tell me 5 things about you that most people (especially fans) don’t know?

  1. I am intolerant to many foods including wheat, dairy & tomatoes. I often perform in Italy so as you can image this being their staple diet it’s tricky to feed me so I always carry many snacks in my luggage.
  2. I meditate. It keeps me grounded & sane.
  3. I am amazing at manifesting. For example, if I am creating a new act, I will literally be guided to go somewhere, and I will find what I need. I often get upgraded in hotels with out requesting it.
  4. I love to travel unrelated to work,though I can’t do beach holidays apart from the fact I turn into a lobster, I actually get bored. I love an adventure.
  5. Amber Topaz Milan stage dive by Marco KascoOn my birthday last year I headlined ‘Royal Burlesque’ produced by Voodoo Deluxe in Milan. At the end of the show I did a stage dive. Something I’ve always fancied doing. It was hilarious. I was so full of adrenaline I couldn’t sleep. (Stage dive photo by Marco Kasco)

Thanks Amber! x