BBC and the Bristol Burlyfest 2013

As I’m sure you are all aware by now, I took part in the Bristol Burlesque festival final showcase at Smoke and Mirrors, performing my Gloomy Sunday routine.

It was a huge deal for me to perform here as well as to be booked and perform for the tremendous Cabaret Abattoir later in the month. I had an absolute blast and met/worked with some absolutely wonderful people during these shows and couldn’t have been more pleased with the resulting memories (and photos thanks to, Michael, Josie and TBP).

As part of a project focusing on Bristol life and culture a certain mister Barry Batchelor, took some shots of us outside the Smoke and Mirrors venue post performance and entered them into a competiton which won a motherfucking prize and ended up having myself, the gorgeous Tiger Tiger, Didi Curve, Honey and Jacque Bruxelle plastered all over the BBC!!!

Go have a gander!!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-24938327

Here’s another couple of the shots from the set, I live for this…

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Bloody Beauty Treatments and Twisted Torch Song: Talking Toxic with VINSANTOS DeFONTE

A dark figure has been spotted stalking the streets of San Francisco and New Orleans. A twisted marionette whose sparkly visage is capped by tangled dreadlocks and ghostly white skin. He/she sings songs of twisted brilliance – chanson that spin tales of shadowy humour with wry smiles and lush, expert instrumentation!
Dolls, keepsakes known as ‘Kreetures’ have found their way into the collections of men and women the world over. Audiences have been baffled as he seemingly performs miracles on stage – turning water into wine to the tune of popular music.

But who is this gender-bending creature of the night? And what is the secret behind his ageless beauty?

Ladies and gentlemen-women, I present to you the wonderful… Vinsantos DeFonte!

Photo shot by Austin Young

Photo shot by Austin Young

D) your style of drag blends the masculine and feminine in a theatrical yet darkly subcultural fashion. How did you develop your aesthetic?

Vinsantos) The Vinsantos character is a blend of all of my early influences dating back to my childhood. My parents were big opera freaks. Groupies, really. I was forced to attend countless performances at the War Memorial Opera House and at the same time, when children weren’t allowed, my folks would drop me off at my Grandmothers house for the weekend. She and I had a running date for years where she would make either pizza or soup, and we would stay up late to watch Creature Features, a late night horror movie series on Channel 2. This resulted in many nightmares which to date are my favourite kind of dream. As a young boy, I caught the Rock and Roll bug very early on. KISS was hands down my favourite band. In the 4th and 5th grade, my best friend and I would regularly paint our faces and rock out on our badminton air guitars. Probably the most well known version of the story is as follows… The year was 1979. It was the summer before I entered middle school. I was able to convince my father to take my friend and I to see KISS at the Cow Palace. I’m pretty sure there were tears involved. He agreed but with one condition. We all had to attend the matinee of Madame Butterfly in San Francisco before heading the concert. In a single day, I saw more comedy mixed with tragedy mixed with GLAMour mixed with over the top theatrics and a boat load of makeup. This is where the Vinsantos character was born. Deeply rooted in androgyny and theatre, heart wrenching story telling and frivolous spectacle. When you look at the Vinsantos characters makeup style, you’ll notice that I borrowed my signature lips from Ace Frehley.

SilenceFiction – Lipstique (Feat. fauxnique) starring Vinsantos, Peaches Christ et al.

D) I first became aware of you in the Peaches Christ Madonna Parody, ‘Spin the Bottle’. How did you become involved with the San Fran scene?

V) I became involved in the SF scene from two very different avenues. I have always been in a band ever since I was a teenager. There are too many to mention, but probably one with the most longevity was a band called Agness. This project was heavily costumed and I often ended up drenched in stage blood. We would play anywhere from underground parties, warehouses, theatres, dive bars, and even that Thing they now call Burning Man. This was really my introduction to the freak scene that was thriving at the time in the city. Somewhere along the way, I was invited to a club called Trannyshack because I was told that it was a great place to meet cute boys. I knew that it was a Drag show, but as a musician, that didn’t really speak to me. Then I saw the show! One act after another, these performances were speaking directly to me. It was if I had found my calling, or at least one of them. I can remember seeing a “woman” named Putanesca hit the stage, rocking out to AC/DC, and thinking to myself, “I could totally do that.” Not more than a year after that, I was crowned Miss Trannyshack of the year 2000. It was through Trannyshack that I met all my best girlfriends, including the infamous Peaches Christ.

D) You’ve made some amazing short films of your own that are online and available to stream via YouTube; ’33’ for instance, is HYSTERICAL! SO funny, so wonderfully punk rock. Have you got any more projects in the pipeline? What about a DVD of your collected films?

V) In the early 80’s and late 90’s, I began to experiment with making short films. I took a few classes at a community college and ran with it. My emphasis was on Super 8 silent film narratives. At the time that I was becoming involved with the Drag scene, Peaches was also starting to make her own shorts. Along with Putanesca, she and I started a Halloween Drag weekend in Guerneville Ca called the Russian River Massacre.  The weekend would start off with a scary movie in the woods and end up with a big show at the local nightclub. We decided that we would each make our own horror films to present to the crowd as an added bonus. This is where 33 was developed. The weekend of the premiere, I pulled a publicity stunt gone wrong. I made up flyers of the missing children characters in the movie and pasted them all over town. It was a real inside kind of joke. As it turned out, people that weren’t on the inside, didn’t find it funny at all. They were disturbed at what they thought was the reality of these posters. Suppositori Spelling was a wrecked by it as were the towns people. Not until the movie was shown, and the same flyers appeared on screen did people get that it was just a stunt. Suppositori was especially relieved. To date, this little gem is my favorite film project of mine. I have others on various discs and tapes and even film reels. Yes, it’s on my list to compile them on to one spectacular DVD, but the truth is, I will probably be dead first and a loving fan will have to take on the project for me. Any takers?

D) You made a big move and swapped SF for New Orleans, what prompted this decision to leave? Also, how is New Orleans treating you?

V)  About 5 years ago, our son was grown and off to college. He was headed to New York. For the first time in 18 years, I was free to move about the country and world as I pleased. My husband Gregory had lived in New Orleans as a teen for a bit and had always had a desire to move back. We had visited some years before that for a LOST weekend. There was a lot of booze involved and I remember distinctly saying as we departed from New Orleans on our plane, “I will never set foot in that fucking town ever again”   Never Say Never.      

The move has been life changing. I went from having a day job to being a full time artist. I started making and selling my visual arts. I have become not only a drag artist and a musician but also a storyteller. I have found new families both in the drag and music world. Currently I am in two troupes that have monthly shows. The Dirty Dimestore Peepshow is a Burlesque type of show where I flaunt my Drag Arts. At Freaksheaux to Geaux, I work with a band or as a solo performer and tell stories mixed with live songs. The audiences have been very welcoming as well as the performers and producers. It’s especially fun to be newer in town and reach an audience that isn’t already used to my unique and sometime tragic style of performing arts. This town definitely has it’s challenges. Growing up in a progressive city like San Francisco definitely spoils you. You just assume that the rest of the planet is as advanced and as PC as what your are accustomed too. Not the case! It’s also a lot smaller of a city than I’m used to. I think it works somewhat to my advantage in the respect that I spend most of my time focusing on my art and home life. There isn’t an amazing party to go to every night of the week, so it’s easier to focus on what’s important to me right now. Mainly making arts and being on stage often enough to stay sane. Oh, and laundry.

Courtesy of DeFonte's cousin Diane

Courtesy of DeFonte’s cousin Diane

D) You’re an extremely talented musician – your full length release, ‘Light Awake Inside’ blends Chanson with dream pop and gothic chamber music to brilliant effect! Your wry sense of humour permeates the album wonderfully – what drives you to create in this fashion and how did you get your start?

V) As a child, I was forced to take piano lessons by my parents. I have always been a great music lover, but it seemed like a chore to me. In hindsight, it was the  best thing that they could have done for me artistically. That’s really where I got my musical start. I have been in bands since my teenage years. I have served as a bassist, guitarist, vocalist, producer and songwriter. Moving into adolescence, the piano was replaced by things more Rock and Roll. I didn’t re-discover the piano until much later. We were working on material for the second Agness album and really into experimenting with different instruments and sounds. I found a piano that someone was giving away on Craigslist. I moved it into my garage, and instantly fell in love. It was so familiar to me and made me feel so nostalgic. It was during this time that I wrote my first solo song, AFTER ALL. From there, more songs started to materialize, and I felt more connected to the process and it just snowballed.  In my later years, it just became harder and harder to have a “band.” Adults seems to have a lot of responsibilities and distractions that make it hard for a group of folks to stay focused, much less be able to all meet in one room together on a regular basis. 

As much as I have loved the collaborative process, especially in my two favourite projects, AGNESS and EVOLUTION RAINBOW, I found it was better for me mentally and emotionally to break out on my own. ‘A Light Awake Inside’ deals a lot with that struggle both to tell my own story and to stay connected to the people around me. I’m super sentimental and family oriented, but at the same time have always had a fascination with fame and fortune. At least the glamorous aspects of it. When I was young, and writing music, I was really less willing to let people get to know me, and my subject matter was quite ambiguous. I guess I considered it poetic. When I joined Agness, I was co-writing with my best girlfriend AGNESS TWIN and she had a real knack for being honest and telling it like it is. She’s really the one that got me to tear down the walls and just get real. From there I started to find my own voice and write based on my own experiences of love, life, success and failure. You know, human stuff. During this process, I had developed a pretty solid body of material. I was introduced to David J from Bauhaus through a mutual friend. He took an interest in what I was doing. Without his support, I’m not sure A LIGHT AWAKE INSIDE would have ever been fully fleshed out. I had never worked in a professional recording studio, or with a producer (David). He really was instrumental in guiding me through the process and helping me get my act together and organize my thoughts and material. I’m not really sure that I even knew at the time that I had it in me. I’m really proud of the work on this album, and all of the people involved. I continue to write songs here and there, when I’m feeling inspired. There will no doubt be another album or two before my time is up.

Photo courtesy of Kook Teflon

Photo courtesy of Kook Teflon

D) Kreeture New Orleans, your beautiful bespoke craft project is absolutely stunning! I love the little wonders you create and sell – how did this practice begin?

V) Kreeture New Orleans began shortly after my move here. I was working in a place called the French Market which is like an open air flea market type of thing. There were other artists there selling their cool stuff and making a living of it. This concept turned me on right away. I had been a mosaic artist in San Francisco for many years, so I took those skills and started making little miniature things to sell. I was almost immediately bored with it, having worked in that medium for so long. I came up with the idea of taking the broken shards of glass from my mosaic projects and creating little characters out of them and putting them in scenes around town. During that phase, I began to notice shiny and rusty things littering the grounds around me. These random pieces made their way into the characters and scenes as accents. Eventually, I stopped using the glass all together and was working primarily as an assemblage artist. I would use these little porcelain Mardi Gras masks as the faces to bring the characters to life. It was pretty cute, but not exactly where I wanted it to be. Through a good friend and fellow artist, Kook Teflon, I was introduced to Sheri DeBow at a group doll show here in town. I instantly fell in love were her stuff. I never pictured myself becoming a doll maker before this. I asked her to teach me her techniques so that I could create the faces that I was seeing in my head. I spent a weekend with her at her home in Napa, Ca and it all fell into place. Now my assemblages have been brought to LIFE and I even dabble in making proper dolls as well. It’s truly addictive. I think it’s the variety of techniques in the work that keep me so engaged and inspired. It’s sculpting, painting, hair, makeup, costume design, assemblage, and overall presentation all rolled into one. To date, I have created and sold literally hundreds of pieces. Custom creations are my favourite thing to work on. Clients will come to me with an idea for themselves or a loved one and let me run with it. They can also submit their own personal mementos to be featured in the piece. The most rewarding of these commissions are the MEMORIALS. My clients will put together a box of treasures from loved ones no longer with us and send them to me along with stories and photos about their dearly departed. It’s always an emotional experience and I often have to sit with the items and stories and really meditate on them until I fell compelled to take these precious items and start manipulating them into something new and beautiful. I’m not wholly superstitious, but I get the sense that I’m actually channelling these people through their collected items and histories.

Memorial piece for Phillip Wellford

Memorial piece for Phillip Wellford

D) Returning to performance, you’re hardly one to shy away from controversy! I will never forget howling with laughter at your slightly blasphemous Christ, water into wine performance. What compels your character to perform and what material resonates with you to the degree that makes you decide to construct a performance out of it?

V) As a songwriter and story teller, I draw my material from personal experiences. As a drag artist, it always starts out with the song. They just speak to me. I think after you do just one lip-synch, you start to listen to music in a different way. You are always trying to make a story out of it. Some of those stories are worth pursuing and others are just fun fantasies that fall by the wayside. I think the number one rule for me when it comes to my Drag work is that there is a story being told, no matter how subtle or conceptual. If there’s one thing I can’t stand from a performer, it would be self indulgence. You get plenty of that just being up on the stage. I like to connect with my audience and give them what they came out for. In my live performances, I like to reach people on a really personal level. In drag, there is a little of that mixed with A LOT of entertainment. Sometimes, just a gown and a wig and a great song are all I need to get my point across. Sometimes, it’s more about a specific character, like Christ that really drives the story home. As far as the turning water into wine thing, well, who doesn’t like magic?

D) Silencefiction featured yourself along with Fauxnique, Kiddie and Peaches Christ donning maquillage in the single ‘Lipstique’. How did you get involved in this?

V) The Lipstique project was created by the real life power couple of Silence Fiction aka Marc Kate and Fauxnique aka Monique Jenkinson, or as I like to call them, “the Fiercingtons.” We are all good friends and Sisters on the Scene. Shortly after they had recorded and performed the track live, they approached a few of us with this idea for the video. It was met by most of us with some trepidation. Most performers that I know do not like being portrayed out of character, and especially not mid-character. Being that it was the Fiercingtons asking, saying no wasn’t really an option. As a result, it is one of my favourite projects to date. I think it exceeded all of our expectations and made us all really proud. When I moved to New Orleans, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was playing up in the gay bars. Of course, I used my new found celebrity to work a few free drinks out of it. After I was able to convince people that it really was me up there on the screen!

D) ‘Manicursed’!!!! Where can we get our copies??? I as im sure many. have been tantalised by the possibility of this tranny-horror epic for some time now! How did it happen, where can we see it and is there more to come?

V)  Manicursed is one of my favourite little gems. It was created for another Drag weekend event up at the Russian River called Pipstock hosted by the “lovely” Pipi Lovestocking. I do have a copy on DVD that I promise to transfer and release soon. VERY soon. I could go into detail, but I think the trailer tells enough to get you interested. Keep on me about this one. It has some epic moments featuring Phatima, Metal Patricia, Fatsantos ( my BEAR alter ego) and even Cookie, my black cousin from Detroit.

D) I know that you have the Freaksheaux to Geaux performance coming up, what else do you have in the pipeline? Films, music, star studded world tour?

V) In the future, you can expect more of the same from me. I would like to get back into a little film-making. I will always be performing. The Kreetures will hopefully continue to pay my bills. I will move other places. I will adopt more Drag daughters. I will release another album. I will most likely finally finish my screen play. I might get another puppy at some point, but only if I have a nanny to take care of it. I will grow old and die. Or I might just get hit by a bus. In that case, see you all on “THE OTHER SIDE.” XOXOXOXOXOXO

Vinsantos DeFonte

Assuming Vinsantos hasn’t been mown down by a careening cab on the streets of New Orleans, I would like to issue him with a massive thank you for Talking Toxic with me today! It has been AWESOME!

If you would like to see more of Vinsantos’ work you can do so here:

facebook.com/vinsantos

Buy his Kreetures, here:

facebook.com/kreeture

etsy.com/people/kreeture

And buy his amazing album, ‘Light Awake Inside’, here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-light-awake-inside/id359762400

Talking Toxic with SQUEAKY BLONDE!!!!!

SB for Austin Young

The seed of drag was planted firmly in my head a number of years ago when I stumbled across something shocking. Something that rocked my visual aspirations to the core. A living art object whose striking grotesquerie sat balanced within the midst of sublcultural legends in LA’s most famous dive hotel, the Gershwin. This creature, this blood bitch whom I now consider myself lucky enough to call sister sinister, SQUEAKY BLONDE is the very reason I learnt to conceal my brows and don my wreckage… urm, maquillage.

This staple of ultra-chic L.A. We-Ho clubland and alternative rock Ruffhaus DJing, is mother to the latest generation of subversive drag miscreants. Her career has spanned varied projects including short films such as ‘Nightmare on Castro Street’ by Peaches Christ and the upcoming Austin Young collaborative project ‘TBD’, regular performances for Heklina Heklina’s touring Trannyshack shows during which Ms. Blonde has cast spells over the audiences (or is that Hexes?!) gathered by re-interpreting songs as diverse as Bowies’ ‘Wild is the Wind’, Dionne Warwicks, ‘Walk on By’ and Billie Holidays ‘Strange Fruit’. Further collaborations with drag documentarian, Austin Young, have also yielded performances within LACMA for ‘Fallen Fruit’ and the uber-successful ‘Tranimal Workshops’ alongside her equally subversive daughter, Fade-Dra Phey. A range of clothing, 23 Bloody Knuckles, and experimental industrial noise recordings also fall within Squeaky’s repertoire.

666 dick

So where on earth did this inter-disciplinary demon of drag come from? What does it take to make a Blonde, Blonde?! Read on my darlings, it’s time to take a step, into TRANIMALIA!!!!

D:

Hi Squeaky, I’m gonna jump right in here, brace yourself… How do you describe your interpretation of drag and what has inspired your take on the art form?

SB:

Initially my descent into thee world of drag was based on my life long fascination with thee Manson family, I  grew up with and was raised by bikers and biker sluts – I married one straight outta the gutter in my late teens… she was my first love and mother to my only child. I lost her in the late 80’s in a tragic trick gone wrong. We were hookers and I showed up too late one nite as we were polishing off a couple johns and I walked in to find her dead. I lost my mind and in an effort to take my life I became her and “Squeaky Blonde” was born. Mind you, I already had a penchant for this darkness, as I was also born to replace my dead sister who coincidentally died in her crib at 6 months old while my parents were on acid and as luck would have it, I came next and was raised in the crib and clothes she died in… so therein lies my history with death and drag. Meeting Squeaky Blonde as a small child left quite an impact on me and I fell in love with her strength, brutality and the slight nod to femininity that I lacked, and, as the story goes, I became a dark bastardized version of her, my wife and my sister rolled up into one hot mess.

Squeaky Blonde for Austin Young 2

So, I never chose this, it chose me. While I fought it for years as a young lil goth queen I had no idea what path this was going to take me on and to this day… when I walk onstage and look at the crowd, all I can do is stomp my heel and look to the sky and call upon these iconoclastic memories from my past and sometimes I don;t know who I’m channelling or dragging from heaven and hell but It is what it is and I have finally learned to own it.

D:

You’ve had a long history in the alternative music scene, working with a variety of musicians such as the now sadly departed Gidget Gein (Ex-Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids) to create music that spans a surreal blend of genres. Can you tell us a little bit about the music you’ve been known for in the past and if there are any plans to release more of your back catalogue?

SB:

Over the past few years I’ve started writing a lot of music and usually from a bad place, hence the deathly overtones. Drag as I just mentioned was used to heal a place in my heart and head that I could never understand and while it’s officially run its course spiritually it is through that medium that I came to start making music. my only regret is that I hadn’t started earlier in life, but then again I never expected to be here very long. I started making recordings on my mini cassette recorder in the early 90’s and was obviously inspired by the operatic Schrei of Diamanda Galas and learned everything I know from listening and learning how to shriek and howl from that lovely genius. Once I realized that I didn’t need to kill or be killed and learned that I could scream as though I was being fisted with razor blades… I knew I’d be ok.

Squeaky and the dearly departed, Gidget Gein

No one in San Francisco (my hometown) ever paid me mind. It was only here in Los Angeles that I came to know and work with such amazing musicians. My dearly departed brother “Gidget” and I started working on gorgeous witchy soundscapes while outta our gourd and we played some really bitchin shows together and made some magic before he left us. Some of which is documented in his final release, ‘The Law Of Diminishing Returns’ in 2007. After his departure I came to know and love working with some of the most amazing and prolific spooktards known to man… not gonna drop names but lets just say, it felt good to be loved and respected by the men whose musick shaped and formed my dumb ass…

D:

Your latest project seems to focus more on industrial and noise experimentation, what has driven your focus into this area? Also, when is your full length release to be unleashed upon us?

Squeaky's EP, Xerxes

Squeaky’s EP, Xerxes

SB:

A certain someone taught me how to use Pro tools and not having to commission tracks from assholes anymore was a welcome reality. Therein lies much of the experimental shit I’ve been working on for the new album this past year… I must admit …I don’t know exactly what I’m doing , but I like whatever is happening so far and once I nail this thing it’s on!

D:

Recently you have been involved with the Machine Project alongside Mathu Anderson, Austin Young, Jer Ber Jones and Fade-Dra Phey to create ‘Tranimal’. A movement seems to have been coined now, how do you feel about that? Is it something you encourage?

Applying finishing touched to Detox Icunt at the Tranimal Master Class

Applying finishing touches to Detox Icunt at the Tranimal Master Class

SB:

All I will say about “Tranimal” is that it is magick and a gorgeous “fuck You” to the establishment. It was originally based on and inspired by the likes of certain geniuses that came before us and in part most of which happened to be an homage to their iconic beauty and prolific madness. I happen to actually be in love with the beauty and trans-formative power of the whole idea… which was really loosely based on the glamorous element of gender non-specific ferocity and, as luck will have it, bitches that cant paint only hate! so fuck you!

D:

Your work with the well-known L.A. based artist and drag documentarian, Austin Young has produced many iconic images, how did you begin your collaboration with Young?

SB:

Austin young is my long-time collaborator and dear friend… we’ve worked together since I opened my store/gallery “FILTH” in 2001. He is the only reason I chose to continue making any of this art as his love and passion is so inspiring and the magick we make together is unparalleled and it’s taken us to great places and while I never expected any of this to be brought into the mainstream , let alone “LACMA” ,”The Hammer Museum” and “Berkeley Art Museum” its a welcome surprise and I’m thankful to know, love and work with a beautiful man like her!

Thank you so much for your time and your fantastic answers Squeaks, I can’t wait to catch up with you again! In the mean-time, feel free to take a gander at Squeaky’s Website here: http://www.squeakyblonde.com/

Squeaky Blonde can be caught regularly for the Boulet Brothers in Dragula, DJ’ing for Ruffhaus. Hosting, drowning the locals in alcohol or hexing the residents of WeHo at any number of LA’s infamous clubs such as Mario Diaz’s BFD and Brutus!

Watch Videos of Squeaky singing here:

Transforming legendary club kid, James St James, here:

Advertising Absinthe for Lucid:

And buy merchandise with the Blonde brand seal of approval here:

www.squeakyblonde.com

Bile and Bruises everyone, I promise it wont be so long before I update again…

Dis-Charge

x

‘Busy, busy busy my name’s Lois….’

Peek-a-Bitch

Afternoon dearest(s)

It’s been a little while since my last update but I can tell you, there is a LOT going on right now! I’m currently working flat out with the Psycho:Drama team following the success of our Alice in Psycho:Land event featuring Lous Leigh Blue, to prepare for our re-launch – yes that’s right RE-LAUNCH!

Psycho:Drama is entering a new phase of being, much like a caterpillar that becomes a poisonous moth or a happy healthy child into Elizabeth Berkley. There will be lots for you to feast your eyes and ears on very soon I promise.

To tide you over, here’s a sneak peak at my Jabberwocky look inspired by the legendary Fade-Dra Phey…

BODY

Bile and Bruises
Dis-Charge
x

The Freak Show is coming, the Freak Show is coming!!!!!

Wow!!!! It’s been three years since the Psycho:Drama explosion first struck Bristol leaving a scar of classic alternative anthems, exciting future standards and a declaration of commitment to a truly subversive dynamic. We’ve had some incredible performers spanning a wide variety of genres; from performance art to burlesque, dubstep to queercore and witnessed our friends and fellow party goers revel in the universe that has developed and continues to develop with each event.

DeadPunkBoy and ANT conceived of P:D and asked one of my earlier incarnations to help with Dj’ing and hosting – I like to think that the makeup I smeared on our patrons has never truly been washed away. Our friends Dj Str8, Lee of Duchess fame and Bit Phalanx record label founder One Little Spaceman as well as the phenomenal Dirty Filthy Sexy founders Dj’s Heathen and Glitterhawk have all been supporters of the creation that is Psycho:Drama. It has been an honour to work with such wonderful and talented people.

The spectacles have continued to evolve, our themes have varied and our core supporters have always been there dancing, singing and pushing us on throughout our various endeavours to provide a space in the south-west where the true gay alternative can not simply survive but THRIVE! It’s been a lot of work but I’ve loved every second of it and December 14th will see in our 3rd year of shining existence.

Our FreakShow bash taking place in the Queenshilling at the heart of Bristol’s gay scene will feature some incredible talent – Burlesque dancers, performance artists and controversial onstage exhibitionists. All this and extra special guest spots from LGBT alternative nights from across the country. It’s a major event and a milestone in our development.

This third year has witnessed the departure of one of our longest standing Dj’s  – Dj Str8 who has begun the adventure of raising his beautiful family (who we are so proud and elated for) as well as the induction of Dj Tini Von Doom, who many of you are aware, is my sister. DeadPunkBoy and ANT continue to inspire and drive this mad machine onwards and upwards, forever in the pursuit of the goals they established P:D with – namely to create a space in which the alternative LGBT community and its friends felt comfortable and safe to express themselves and enjoy the MUSIC that keeps us moving. I couldn’t be prouder of their achievements and for all they’ve done for the scene in Bristol! Seriously, none of this would ever have happened if it wasn’t for them and the incredible patrons who have created the Psycho:Drama family and provided us with such amazing support!

So before I get all misty eyed – sign up to the event and get your glad rags together – this December 14th the Freak Show is in town!!!!!

Bile and Bruises

Dis-Charge

xxxx

https://www.facebook.com/events/220582744742058/?fref=ts

Talking Toxic with Tiger Tiger

Welcome to the first installment of Talking Toxic, my new interview segment! (Stop cheering, I’m gushing!!!!)

This time around, we’re doing the nasty with Tiger Tiger, Bristol burlesque legend and creator of Burning Brightly events. We’re talking really dirty things here, we’re talking Hula, we’re talking Feminism and we’re talking Lilo and Stitch… Oh yeah baby! Read on…..

Tell us a little bit about Burn Brightly Events, how did you get started?

I’ve been running events professionally and as a volunteer for about a decade, so when I started performing burlesque I knew eventually I would want to get into running burlesque shows. I didn’t want to assume I already knew what I was doing, as running events doesn’t necessarily qualify you to run burlesque shows and a lot of people just jump in and do it and run really poor shows as a result. I knew I wanted to run something big and theatrical, so I didn’t put on my first burlesque show until I had been performing almost two years and I was confident I knew what I was doing. As it was, that show was a massive success – we sold out and had to turn people away on the night. It was a charity show and we raised over £1500 for the charity. It was after that I decided to put on an annual charity show, and run other shows throughout the year to help bankroll the charity event.

Your shows are infamous in Bristol, I was lucky enough to get a seat at your Jungle Fever event. Have you got any projects in the pipeline?

I’m glad you enjoyed it! Jungle Fever was an awesome show, it was such a pleasure to work with everyone involved from the performers and crew to the stall holders – it all came together to make for an amazing atmosphere.

Our next show will be our November charity show, Girls Girls Girls! A Charity Night of Elvis-themed Burlesque. Beyond that, because of my other commitments my plans for 2013 are a commercial show on June 1st which will help bankroll our November charity show. I can reveal, exclusively, that will we be having a Latina theme to our June show and the line up is pretty much already confirmed. I’m really excited about it, there will be people on the bill I’ve wanted to work with for a long time. I’m also hoping to have the time to start running smaller shows as well to fill the time between the theatrical shows – what we like to call “down and dirty” shows, the kind above a pub or bar, that sort of thing. I’m currently planning one for December 20th – with an end of the world theme, as it’s the eve of the (supposed) Mayan end of the world. I’m hoping to have more details available on that show very soon!

As a performer you are quite multi-faceted, where do you get your inspiration and what drives you to perform?

My inspiration as a performer comes from a lot of different places and is as varied as my personal interests. I have acts that have been inspired by the song I use for it, I have some that have been inspired by films or literature and others that just come from an idea that’s popped into my head and grown from there. Some inspiration can come from unexpected places – one of my first acts, which is now my signature act, Too Hot To Hula, was actually inspired by the film Lilo and Stitch! I wanted to bring a Hawaii hula routine together with an Elvis song and it just came together like it was meant to be.

I’m a creative person, I have performed on and off since my early teens in one way or another and I’m also a writer – so I can’t explain what drives me to perform – the need to create perhaps. It’s just like my writing, it’s something I have to do, because something inside me will wither if I don’t.

What has been your greatest moment performing or otherwise in your career so far?

Every now and then as a performer, you have a great show and those are the ones that really stick with you, I’ve been really lucky to be on the same bill as many performers I admire greatly. So I have so many good memories from performing and when I’m 80 I know I will be able to look back and go “wow that was me, I did those things” and remember the good times and I’m hoping to have many great moments ahead of me. But looking back now, I think it has to actually be the charity show I put on last year – Who Wants To Live Forever: A Charity Night of Queen-themed Burlesque in aid of the Mercury Phoenix Trust. I was compere at the show and I led the audience in a singalong to Bohemian Rhapsody, to have so many people really enjoying themselves really rocked. The atmosphere was sensational and even now I have people tell me that was their favourite part of the show.

How do you perceive the contemporary burlesque circuit, has it changed much since you started out?

It has definitely changed. I first saw burlesque in the mid 2000s but didn’t get into it myself until early 2010 after taking lessons in 2009. At the time it was changing, I was one of many girls getting into it at the time as it was starting to come into the mainstream. But since then the Burlesque movie and the rise in available classes has meant a massive influx of new performers. Some are amazing, but unfortunately some aren’t and many are willing to perform for free so it’s making it harder for those of us trying to get paid shows.

The burlesque scene has become greatly popular especially with the meteoric rise of such performers as Dita Von Teese or the Porcelain Twins – how do you think this has affected the art form?

As an art I think it has become a lot better known and more accepted in the mainstream, which has opened it up to a bigger audience who might not have seen a show previously. Alongside that, burlesque is now wider known in the general public so this has meant that there are lots of different shows on offer now with a really varied audience. It also means that performers are coming into the burlesque scene from other art forms, enriching it with their backgrounds in performance art, ballet, tap, bellydance, fire and circus skills.

Quite a few burlesque performers have come under heavy fire for calling themselves feminists, personally I think that the larger portion of the burlesque scene embodies an empowerment structure, what do you think?

Everyone that knows me knows that I am a feminist, and I have written a couple of articles on feminism and burlesque for the website CoochieCrunch.com (http://coochiecrunch.com/2012/ 05/12/burlesque-feminism-and-superheroines/ and http://coochiecrunch.com/2012/09/11/ burlesque-as-a-feminist-act-revisited/). And you’re right – although I shy away from using the word empowerment, there is a strong argument for burlesque being a feminist act. I know some feminists don’t sit comfortably with the idea of burlesque – which is something I’ve tried to address as a feminist who performs burlesque. To me, the fact that women in this country have the freedom to perform burlesque if they so choose, is feminist. I think that the very act of burlesque itself can be feminist. In my second article I have addressed feminism within the industry of burlesque and really I think it’s just as feminist (or not) as any other walk of life. Women who perform burlesque are not being exploited, they are not being objectified, they are taking pleasure in their bodies and passing that pleasure onto their audiences – what can be more feminist than that!

Now, where can our readers see you in the coming months?

Locally, I will next be performing at my own Burn Brightly show – Girls Girls Girls! A Charity Night of Elvis-themed Burlesque on Saturday 24th November at the Trinity in Bristol (http:// burnbrightlyevents.co.uk/burnbrightlyshows/upcoming-shows/). This show means a lot to me because we are raising money for St Peter’s Hospice who nursed a friend of mine last year, I’m sure she would love the show and I’m honoured that so many of her friends and family will be coming to it.

Beyond that I will shortly be updating my diary with new bookings so readers can check back for more gigs in the future! – http://tigertiger.me.uk/burlesque/diary/

Massive hugs and kisses to Tiger Tiger and don’t forget to check our Burning Brightly and the Burlesque diary for further info 🙂

Bruises and Bile

Dis-Charge

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http:// burnbrightlyevents.co.uk/burnbrightlyshows/upcoming-shows/

X-RAY SPEKZ

Sooooooooooooooo many of you will know that over the past 3 months I have been working my leopard-print ass to the bone putting together an EXTRAVAGANZA now known as X-RAY SPEKZ. An evening of burlesque celebrating B-Movie and sci-fi culture in association with Nice ‘n’ Naughty Bristol, Psycho:Drama and Alias-X MUA with proceeds from the door going to the SAFE foundation.

Producing pop-up nights to fit with a specific theme needs a great deal of planning and the perfect team. Luckily I have worked with a number of performers, Dj’s, photographers and very supportive friends over the years who I could count on to help me bring this idea from inception to completion. This was also the case when we put together our first event earlier this year, Speakeasy in February.

Let’s talk performers. Initially, we had 8 performers (1 of which would not be revealed until the show started) Screaming Keating, Lou Leigh Blue (both veterans of Speakeasy) Ruby Roseblade, Tiger Tiger, Penny Bizarre, Pariah Circus and Venus Noir and a wonderful fire breather; Janey Hayes. Due to circumstances beyond their control, unfortunately Pariah Circus and Ruby Roseblade were unable to perform but still came along to support the event.

Before I go further, it is worth note that Ruby Roseblade is the reason this event truly came together – she was the inspiration for the whole thing! Ruby, AKA Sophie Mangham, earlier this year did something amazing – she flew all the way out to India with the SAFE Foundation to support their wonderful work as a volunteer. When she arrived back we talked for a long time about her experiences and decided then and there that our beneficiaries for any future event would have to be SAFE.

I have worked for the past three years with two amazing men, DeadPunkBoy and Dj ANT who run Psycho:Drama. Tini Von Doom; alt. model extraordinaire, MUA (Alias-X) and now Dj also recently joined their ranks after the departure of the wonderful DJ STR8 who is having a little’un! It was a natural choice to work with them all on X-RAY SPEKZ. DeadPunkBoy is not only a fantastic DJ, he is also an incredible photographer and it was his shots of Ruby Roseblade used for the all the promotional material; flyers, posters and FB/Venue event listings. These guys are great – professional, wonderful to work with and partners in toxic crime! They were with me every step of the way, re-blogging the event, flyering and of course playing the music that kept our patrons dancing all night. ANT even drove my colleague and I down to the venue on the night with our stock and decorating materials and Tini, whilst also DJ’ing, was beating face for the performers. Not at the same time I should point out, that could lead to some unusual accidents :p Bristol resident and DJ for the now sadly passed Dystopia, Frozen Napalm also joined our DJ line-up. Fantastic! He even played an old favourite of mine, Olive’s ‘You’re not Alone’. He and his lovely partner Bridge were instrumental in the set-up of the night, lending a hand to decoration and balloon preparation along with the wonderful Michael Hill and Rich Barakat (who were AMAZING!!!! I couldn’t have done this without you guys!!!!!)

Dirty Filthy Sexy, Nottinghams legendary gay alt. night were also booked to travel down and work with us on X-RAY SPEKZ, but due to factors beyond their control, were unable to make the journey – personally I blame Kathy Griffin, I don’t know why, I just do!

Camrakaze AKA Chris Banfield AKA Daddy Dis-Charge played paparazzo for the evening, he took all the shots for Speakeasy and did a wonderful job – this time around was no exception (look at the bottom of this post for links). The lovely Michael also took some incredible shots during the course of the evening whilst running around to help me out (seriously I may rename the guy super Michael especially after he dashed out into town with Barakat to find drawing pins… which I already had but misplaced only to be found shortly after they arrived back at the venue… my bad! Sorry!)

Now, let’s talk about Machete Rose! The girl kicks ass, she’s got pins for days, is an amazing performer and one hell of a compere – she did all the emcee’ing for Speakeasy. This time around she took up duties with myself introducing the acts and was a bit of a rock for me up there (if I haven’t thanked you properly yet I send you massive hugs and lipstick kisses!!!!) She’s also going to be performing with Screaming Keating for a bloody halloween performance in the coming weeks. We were even accessorised accordingly – black and silver, so hot I was gushing, I nearly flooded the top floor!!!!

And now to the performances…. Kicking off with Screaming Keating’s Bela Lugosi’s Not Dead a macabre, sexy and sizzling strip-tease featuring church bells and Bauhaus, the house… fell… DOWN!!!! It was AMAZING!!!! Last time, he performed this incredible tap routine to Putting on the Ritz, it was so good – if you missed it, where were you??? Lou Leigh Blue was next up, unfortunately she had died in the backstage area so we had to rely on the power of crowd sourced voodoo to resurrect her from the grave! SHE’S A MUMMY!!!! Bandages everywhere, dust and dervish spins, hip movements that no corpse should perform and gyrations that its said, woke further creatures from the dead. Blue NAILED IT! What else could you expect though, she’s a bit of a legend in these parts, recently she was event part of an exhibition, rendered in oils for People Like Us on Park street. Tiger Tiger, curator of Burning Brightly events is an ANIMAL! I had recently run a stall at her Jungle Fever event in Trinity, she’s such a doll to work with and hell, can the girl rock a trench coat monkey mouth ensemble!!!! I’ve never seen a planet of the apes strip-tease before, HOW COOL IS THAT!!!! The show was nuts, it had everything, Banana pasties, pictures of apes, prosthetics!!! Seriously, if you missed this I bet you’re kicking yourself now, better get yourself down to her BB show in November then. Penny Bizarre graced our stage next and after a problem with our decks (handled expertly by ANT) and handled like a pro by Miss Bizarre, we were set to go with her homage to Blaxploitation – referencing Coffy, Cleopatra Jones and all those phenomenal films from the seventies where flares were stylish and ‘fros were big enough to count as cloud cover! OUTSTANDING! Our headliner, Venus Noir, is a knock-out! (BTW: Turn this post into a drinking game – each time I use an exclaimation mark or capital letters have a drink – you may need a stomach pump by the end of this) A fetish model, and runner up in the Burlesque games earlier this year, she represented a dark glamour this evening – a true MISTRESS OF THE DARK (Drink up now). That’s right, Venus performed a soon to be legendary Elvira routine, I COULD HAVE DIED!!!! So amazing!

Once the stage was cleared we did our curtain call and a tearful Miss Roseblade was brought up for a tearful bow for inspiring the event. I couldn’t have been happier, such an amazing evening, despite little technical hitches. We had torrential rain to contend with as well, still managing to raise a nice chunk of money for SAFE – I still need to count through it but if I remember correctly by our lovely doorman, Psycho-Andy’s count, it came to just over £180! It was now announced that our lovely fire performer Janey Hayes would be breathing fire outside – ready to light your cigarettes and set fire to the unnattractive!

The night was fantastic, and my head-dress was GORGEOUS! You know it!! After we danced and drank for a couple of hours with our performers and patrons at the Hatchet, it was time for the after-party so we headed over to the Queenshilling. Time to unwind, dance around to songs from Grease with Sharon and talk taking over the world!

Thank you guys for doing such an amazing job on X-RAY SPEKZ and for all your support!

Here’s an excellent teaser video my gorgeous partner Luke made of the performances:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivj2m01rBXg

Open sores and gutter mouthes

Dis-Charge

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