Did ya miss me…?

March 6, 2009

It’s been a very long Winter indeed, but in the words of the great Miss Dolly Parton I can see the light of a clear blue morning and my darlings it is ushering in a fabulous Springtime just brimming with BurlyQ! But before we get ahead of ourselves I think it best to have a quick blitz through some of the marvellous things I’ve been up to during my unforgivable absence.

  • Watching the marvellous Stella Plumes compere the ‘Wizard of Oz’ inspired evening at Festival Hall last year and meeting the adorable Amelie Soleil in the process. Did you make it along? Entry was free and the performers, sublime!
  • Travelling to Bath on a whirlwind adventure and being fortunate enough to catch the Billy Travilla exhibit at the Fashion Museum. For those of you who don’t know – he was the very clever man that dressed Marilyn in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ amongst others, and created the iconic white halter-neck dress for ‘The Seven Year Itch’. The curator was an absolute sweetheart and gave us all the gossip about the man himself. Did you know the orange dress worn by Miss Monroe in ‘Gentlemen Prefer…’ was so heavily boned that it could stand up by itself?! And the craftsmanship fantastic. As for size 16….? Not a chance!
  • Attempting my first Lindy Hop class and doing none too badly… though I was told by two different partners that I was bouncing first too much and then not enough! What is the right level of bounce required in order to Lindy Hop? That aside it was good fun (though changing partners every two minutes made it tricky), and ultimately the friend I enlisted to come along with me came down with a case of two left feet and swiftly gave up.
  • New Year’s Eve I joined some very lovely people at Madam JoJo’s for the London Burlesque Social Club’s celebration, and got to see two wonderfully talented friends perform; Miss Dolly Blow-up and Miss Ruby Rose. Along with a plethora of equally-talented Burlesque beauties, including Slinky Sparkles and Kiki Kaboom (watch out for her at this year’s LBF, we think she’ll do well!).

*Note the black hair which mysteriously came and went*

*Note the black hair which mysteriously came and went*

Ruby and I

All in all my darlings it may have been a rollercoaster of a year but for every trough there’s been a peak, and those are the things to focus on. I believe Audrey Hepburn had a similar outlook on life; you go through your struggles and once you’re out the other side you get your reward… though pardon me for paraphrasing.

As for what’s next you’ll have to wait just a little longer to find out, though I promise not to leave it so long next time! Yes indeed it seems that Winter is finally creeping back to Narnia and all the beautiful flowers are starting to thaw out in the Springtime sun. Think I’ll go join them.

Tiara x

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Okay, so you all know I wrote a stage adaptation of The G-String Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee… but have any of you seen the film? ‘Lady of Burlesque‘ sees our ecdysiastic heroine replaced with Barbara Stanwyck’s Dixie Daisy (I called my lead Dixie Lee!) who gets up to the same crime solving adventures as our own Gypsy does in the book. Although not the greatest film in the world; it’s a wonderful insight into the world of American Burlesque houses in the 1930’s/40’s for anyone without the time or patience to read the book. As with most risque films of the period (Tod Browning’s classic ‘Freaks‘ as a prime example) the censors went to town and deemed it too racy for contemporary audiences.

If you have read the book then you’ll realise just how tame it is – especially to modern eyes that have seen the likes of ‘Showgirls‘ and ‘Striptease‘! In the book there were inferences of lesbian police officers and the methods required to stop your breasts from dropping – none of that for Miss Stanwyck though! The end of the film, despite its age, still chills me to the bone just as the book does (the book more so… there’s talk of stuffing a body into a dressmakers dummy…) and I have to say it’s worth watching for any Burlesque aficionado.

When talking about BurlyQ films how could I not mention one of my all time favourites? Right up there with ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes‘ and ‘Gigi‘ for it’s feel-good factor and musical score; the wonderful life story of one of my favourite gals – ‘Gypsy!‘ (the Natalie Wood version of course…) Based on her memoirs it recounts the story of Rose Hovick, a very famous stage mother who pushed her girls into the limelight whatever the consequences. The result? Miss Gypsy Rose Lee, who as we all know boys and girls – became possibly the biggest name Burlesque had ever seen. Unless you’re a big fan of Bette Midler and prefer filmed versions of Musicals to actual films – I’d suggest not bothering with the remake – it really doesn’t stand up in comparison.

Of course one thing left out of the musical was the speculation that Rose Hovick was actually a lesbian that shot and killed her lover, amongst other things… but I guess that wouldn’t sell as well in 1962!

My advice? Get dressed up in your favourite frock – pour yourself a glass or two of something bubbly – and indulge in an evening of some vintage Burlesque. It. feels. fabulous!