Costuming: Luck Be A Lady

I mentioned in my last post that I am revamping some old routines for my solo show, and I just made a new costume for my routine “Luck Be A Lady”. I first performed this routine in 2010 at the first Miss Burlesque SA competition. I performed it for a while but the costume pretty much fell apart – probably because I made it primarily with a hot glue gun and a stapler!

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Performing at Miss Burlesque Australia 2010. Hahah that guy 😀

After the costume fell apart I kept meaning to remake it, but just never got around to it. So the act sat in pieces in the back of my wardrobe. I recently decided I wanted to pull it out again, so I set about to make a whole new costume.

My crappy drawing haha! My sketching skills have never been the best

My crappy drawing haha! My sketching skills have never been the best

The first costume I made had a tutu covered with cards, which was pretty cool but a bit impractical really and I was never happy with how it turned out, so I decided to go a different direction with a poofy tulle skirt!

Tulle skirt in progress

Tulle skirt in progress

I had fun painting the fabric – it was actually the first time I had done stencilling. I think I’m hooked!

Painting!

Painting!

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I haven’t got a picture of the full costume yet, but if you want to see it in action stay tuned! I’ll be releasing the details of my show very soon! Eeep! Just quietly I’m freaking out a bit. 😉

See you next time!

Aghhh! I’m doing it!

Today I’m submitting my application for my very first one-woman show. It will be debuting as part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival at La Boheme. I am equally excited and terrified! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a couple of years but I’ve finally decided it’s now or never!

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Stay tuned for tons of behind the scenes panic attacks, glitter explosions and general cray cray craziness. Agh!

I think it needs saying again.

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Click to enlarge. By the very talented Jessica Hische. http://jessicahische.com

I posted this on my Facebook wall in August last year, and I feel like maybe it stands to talk about it again. I’m hearing of pretty appalling pay rates during Adelaide Fringe. Variety nights and small capacity shows are one thing, but I’m hearing pretty shocking pay rates for shows that have large capacities and are selling very well. Don’t be afraid to demand what you’re worth.

21st August, 2014

“I don’t normally write this sort of thing but I feel compelled to do so: I am hearing about (and being offered) lower and lower pay rates for shows in SA. This is just my opinion – but if a show is being billed as a professional show with professional performers then those performers need to be paid a fair rate. Shows billed as amateur in my opinion are a different matter because they are being promoted as such and there are different expectations from both the performers and the audience. 

The more that performers continue to accept sub-standard pay rates the more this will be taken advantage of, and rates will go further down as new performers come in and accept even lower rates. In my opinion if a producer can’t afford to pay the performers a decent rate they shouldn’t be producing the show. Accepting low pay rates also means that performers who make most of their living from this (such as myself) can’t get any work as I refuse to lower myself below my minimum pay rate.

Performers, I implore you to really consider what your time is worth. It’s not just the three minutes you are on stage. How much did your costume cost you in time (if you made it) and money? How long does it take you to do your hair and makeup? How much does your makeup cost? How much will parking cost you? How many hours did you spend conceptualising and rehearsing your routine? How much have you spent on training? A rate of $20 (this is the lowest I have heard recently) for an act does not even remotely cover those costs. (edit – I’ve been hearing of $50/$60 rates for several performances in a show during Fringe. Maybe it’s just me but I think that’s horrendous)

We need to stand together – your time is worth more. I know it is the love of performing that drives most of us and not the money, but I have seen this happen in other scenes where now there is next to no work and sub-standard shows because everyone is performing for next to nothing. I love the SA scene and I want to see it grow and prosper. How are we supposed to continue to innovate and create if our work is undervalued?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and even if you don’t agree with me I hope this can prompt some discussion about this issue. Love Luna x

PS – of course, I understand there are some exceptions to the rule and if performing in the gig benefits you in a real and tangible way then sometimes a lower pay rate is warranted, but I think this is about 10% of the time.”

Top picks for Adelaide Fringe (no. 3)

I have pretty much finished up my shows for the Fringe – I have a small spot this weekend in The Rhythm Spectacular: The Music of Beyonce doing some swing and charleston (it looks like a really fun show – check it out!), but apart from that I am commencing my usual final week marathon to squeeze as many shows as humanely possible in before it’s all over! Here are some of the great things I’ve seen in the last week.

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Paul Currie: Release The Baboons

This is one of the most ridiculous and absurd shows I’ve seen,and you have to go in ready to accept that absurdism to have a good time. No one is safe and even those hiding in the back rows had to “kiss the duck”! Paul’s onstage presence is excellent – unfortunately we had a very irritating heckler in the audience but he handled it hilariously. I really don’t want to say too much because it’s one of those shows you just have to go and check out. Take a sense of fun and a touch of ridiculous and you’ll have a great time.

Paul Currie: Release The Baboons plays until March 15th at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. Buy tickets here

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Hot Brown Honey

Unabashed and unapologetic, the Hot Brown Honeys proceed to smash apart stereotypes and tear down privilege, all backed by a sweet hip hop soundtrack. The Honeys mix burlesque, music, poetry, dance and comedy to create a piece of work that is hilarious, thought provoking and inspiring. If we weren’t all made to stand up and dance at the end of the show, I would have stood up to give them an ovation anyway. Top stuff.

Hot Brown Honey plays until March 15th at The Croquet Club. Buy tickets here.

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Sex Idiot By Bryony Kimmings

As soon as I saw Fake It Till You Make It, I knew I wanted to see Kimmings’ other show Sex Idiot. It’s a completely different show (as one would expect) but what it still has is an honest and heartfelt narrartive that is at times funny, sad, and ridiculous. Kimmings’ physicality is great as she parades around the stage in feathered finery, imitating the mating patterns of birds. There is some audience interaction too (I’ll leave you to find that one out yourself), crude stories, and the more vagina synonyms than you can poke a….well, you know.

Sex Idiot By Bryony Kimmings’ plays until March 14th at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights. Buy tickets here.

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WOMANz

I saw Tessa Waters do a spot from her show at Fringe Club one night and I thought “Bam! That’s my kind of show”, and boy was I right. Tessa plays “WOMANz”, who combines excellent dance moves, clowning and physical theatre with a sharp wit and large dose of self-love. This is only the second time I have cried with laughter at a show  this Fringe (the first time was Briefs), and my stomach muscles were sore at the end from laughing so hard. A must see!

WOMANz is playing from until March 15th (except Wed) at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. Buy tickets here

Top picks for Adelaide Fringe (no. 2)

I haven’t seen a huge amount over the last week as we’ve been pretty busy with Big Band Burlesque, but I did get to see two phenomenal shows that I have been telling anyone who will listen to go and see.

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1. Fake It ‘Til You Make It

This is probably the most heart moving and touching piece I have ever seen. The play tells the true life story of the actors, Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn, and their struggle as a couple with Tim’s chronic depression, which he has hidden for most of his life. It sounds as if the show would be really, well….depressing, but it isn’t. There are plenty of dark moments which had me welling up, but the story overall is inspirational and uplifting. I encourage everyone to go see this who has ever struggled with depression or knows someone who has, or even if none of those apply to you see it anyway. This is really honest and important work and I applaud Bryony and Tim for bringing something that is often hidden away out of the shadows and into the light.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It plays every day except Monday until March 15th at The Croquet Club. Book tickets here.

Briefs

2. BRIEFS: The Second Coming 

I was so excited to see BRIEFS as they haven’t been back to Adelaide in 5 years (and I didn’t catch the show then), so when they announced their Fringe season I almost wet myself. I’ve seen two of the main cast perform quite a bit – Captain Kidd and Fez Faanana, as well as one of their newest cast members The Evil Hate Monkey, so I knew it was going to be an amazing show. However, nothing could have prepared me for the absolute roller coaster spectacle that is BRIEFS. The gents open with a fan number that made my heart melt with love at the absolutely perfect lines and formations (trust me, you’ll get it), followed by the most amazing lira performance I have ever seen. It was at this stage of the show that I started to get an inkling for what was going on – absolute quality, trashy, camp, magnificent performances. The ticket price is so reasonable for the show (which is 80 minutes) – $40 (or $35 if you’re cheap like me and go on a Tuesday!). It might be on the higher end of the price range but it is worth every cent. I’m going to stop fangirling now and end here: if you don’t see this show you will be “jealoussssssssss….”.

BRIEFS: The Second Coming plays every night except Monday until March 15th at The Croquet Club. Click here to book

We need innovation

The other night I was wandering around Fringe with a friend who introduced me to someone. When asked what kind of performer I was, I answered burlesque. The person I just met then said, “Oh, you do this thing” and made this motion:

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Now I’m sure he didn’t mean anything in particular by it, but it brought up a wellspring of feelings that have been dogging me for the last year or so. Is this really what people see burlesque as? Is this what we’ve been reduced to? The movie Burlesque created a wonderful boom for the industry which gave a lot of us work and got a lot of new people interested, but it has become so “mainstream” now – tits, teeth and feathers. This stuff is great, but there is so much more to it than that. Granted, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If audiences are no longer interested then it pushes us to create work that is exciting, engaging and captivating to the crowd. We need innovation to survive – not just in terms of getting full audiences, but also to propel ourselves. I found The Gin Sisters so fulfilling for this reason – it wasn’t necessarily innovative but it was something new for us and has opened up the world for me a little bit more. I’m going to focus on new work this year that is personally challenging and exciting.

To cheer myself up after this….

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here are some of my favourite innovative burlesque routines – specifically from Australian artists.

Imogen Kelly

You can’t say “innovative burlesque” without thinking of Imogen Kelly. Imogen’s performances are always exciting and fresh – and it was her show “The Undressing Room” that I saw in the Adelaide Fringe in 2009 that opened my eyes to all the things burlesque can be. Here is one of her latest routines – performed at the New York Burlesque Festival.

Betty Grumble

I first saw Betty Grumble when she entered the Miss Burlesque Australia competition in 2011. She pretty much parodied the entire competition with hilarious and thought provoking results. Betty challenges the sexualisation of children through beauty pageants, as well as standards of beauty for women. I think her work is phenomenal – and it’s not for the faint hearted!

Mema Sifa

Mema Sifa is a local Adelaide performer, and I’m proud to say she started off in the Peaches ‘n’ Gin Burlesque Academy. Mema has a unique brand of “nerdlesque” with her acts referencing pop culture and nerd icons. She produces a show called “Bazinga Burlesque“, now in it’s second year at Adelaide Fringe and I just think her ideas are fantastic. Her Game of Thrones act that she performed at Miss Burlesque SA 2014 completely blew me away. Unfortunately it’s hard to get the full feel of the routine from a video so I haven’t posted it. I’m pretty sure she’s performing this at Bazinga – so get tickets! 

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Photo by Steamkittens

There are still more artists I’d like to include – Lillian Starr, Vesper White, Glitta Supernova, Becky Lou, Sina King….perhaps in another post! And just for one last time…

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