LONDON BURLESQUE WEEK 2011 from Boris Conte on Vimeo.

Only a limited time to go before Burlesque Week hits town! Head to their website to see the full line-up and pick up tickets.

International performers, top London venues, the best-dressed audience and a guarantee that you will have plenty to whoop and cheer about. This will be my 5th London Burlesque Week (formerly the London Burlesque Festival) and already I’m getting excited to see what’s on offer. From the Opening Gala (this year on a boat!) to the talent filled Finale, April 26th-30th will have the best variety of Burlesque you’re likely to see in the UK until next year! This year there’s even a Boylesque night for the ladies (or gents) who’ve tired of glittery bosoms and prefer their performers with a little more hair. The only question to ask yourself now is what to wear? Well dress + heels + stockings + vintage up-do is a favourite (perhaps a suit for the gentleman? although both options I would say are not gender specific!) corsets, wiggle skirts, fascinators and stoles are all in abundance so feel free to embrace your glamourous and truly fabulous self for what could be the best night out you’ll have all year!

(c) Master Daivd @londonfetishscene.com

(c) DJ $uave

Oh the memories!

See you there,

Tiara x

Full Shimmy Ahead!

June 18, 2008

Well my darlings, how’s tricks? I don’t know about you – but I have been busy busy busy! First up I’ve been getting together my Myspace so please come and add me as a friend as it is a very slow business! Still need to work on the aesthetics but it’s just somewhere to direct people to for now… And more pictures coming as and when I perform!

As for that, I will be performing my act ‘Billet doux’, which had it’s premier at The Amersham Arms; as part of the Cabaret and Burlesque Meet-up on July 3rd on Brick Lane. Of course, no Smooch Rocks this month so you’ll have to miss out on the PVC for a little while… Here’s a little teaser of what to expect on the 3rd though:

So what can we deduce from these pictures? Well there’s a glove and a man and a chair involved… but I won’t say in which order… Expect a couple of differences though… namely the man (I just get bored once the presents wear off!) and a couple of changes that come with time and practice. So if you want catch my act or catch up with me about some unpaid bills(!) then I will be performing and generally loitering around the Vibe Live at the Truman Brewery on BrickLane on Thursday the 3rd of July!

Right then – enough plugging out of the way… Although I must add I will be in possession of my fab new MOO business cards, with a different picture on each (I like to think of them as old-school cigarette cards… Adelaide Adams anyone?) and all with my contact deets for potential bookers and promoters. If that sounds like you then be sure to get there sharpish and choose your favourite!

In other news I have completed my degree in Acting for Stage and Media… entering the big scary world of actual proper jobs (which are harder to find than you might think!) so if you don’t hear from me for a while I’m probably out on the streets somewhere singing torch songs for cash… Ah the joys of being a penniless performer!

As promised to all those lovelies that voted for me (click here and vote if you haven’t already!) here are some pictures of last night’s performance – which you should have all seen by the way!:

Me and my man… ahhh… So we arrive on the stage so I can show off my new outfit and he goes and sticks me with a bill for it all! Of course with no cash in my wallet I have to give it all back to him. Just as well he prefers me without my clothes on!

So a couple of weeks ago I get a call from one of the guys who run a fab Burlesque night; Ska Burlesque, asking me if I’d come along and do some flyering in return for free entry to their night at the Macbeth on Hoxton Road. Free Burlesque?? Why of course I’ll come help! With the amazing added bonus that the lovely Millie Dollar was performing, then how could I refuse?

Ska Burlesque

It was a mission and a half to make it to Hoxton Road; meeting the organisers at Old St. tube station we high tailed it across East London getting lost along the way and eventually making it to the Macbeth. The venue is really quite nice with a roof terrace upstairs for smokers and definitely room and a half to swing a cat. The only real problem that emerged later was with the stage… with Ska bands performing there were a whole load of instruments taking up all the room so when it came to the turn of the Burly-Q babes there wasn’t that much room for them to move. The true professionals that they were, I have to say all of the girls performing carried on regardless and shimmied on through.

Before I get on with the show I’ll tell you a bit about my adventure in flyering as much of East London as I could muster. The aim: Get to Brick Lane and back before 9 O’Clock. Having got a little lost on the way we asked for directions to Brick Lane… not the wisest move as it turned out… tottering around in my heels and seamed stockings (is there another way to flyer?) we managed to trek half way across London in search of Brick Lane only to end up walking down some scary looking side alleys where people didn’t seem too interested in a Burlesque night. Just as we were losing hope I heard a woman on her mobile; “Yeah… we’re just on our way to Brick Lane now” Success! So, after some subtle following we reached our destination and there was the occasional cry of ‘Oooh!’ which told us the job was done. Aside from a run in with a crack-whore and a few other suspicious looking characters the people we were most thankful to meet were some lovely London cabbies who pointed us back in the direction of the Macbeth, ten minutes to nine!

Having thought we wouldn’t make it back alive we declared the mission a success and set about ordering some well-deserved drinks. So who do I bump into looking absolutely gorgeous? The wonderful Foxtrot India who performed at the Tiger Tiger night of the LBF who had come to watch the show. And first up was Lydia Darling performing a double act with I believe Amanda Mone – but don’t quote me on that! Two girls on a tiny stage wasn’t quite so easy but they pulled it off all the same and I gave a hand with the pick-up as there was a lot taken off between the two of them. When I’d heard earlier that the Ska bands would be playing 45 minute sets I wasn’t too convinced that the whole thing would work… 5 minutes of Burlesque followed by an hour or so of music until the next – but the first band – Number One Station, were brilliant, and people were up drinking and skanking away quite happily and wait for the next act of the night, Bella Besame. Bella was a performer that I was aware of but hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing perform, and by golly she is one sexy lady!

I’d been able to introduce myself in the break to Millie Dollar who is absolutely lovely, and she came to the front with Foxtrot India and I to get the best view (and of course to have room to dance once Bella’s act was finished!) it really was a wonderful atmosphere. I disappeared a couple of times as I just got chatting to so many different people about Burlesque and what it means to them. Was nice to hear some different perspectives from the eclectic crowd that had gathered there; all in one room you had the burlesque fans, the ska fans and everybody that had just come along for a good time. And what a good time it was. By the time Millie Dollar took to the stage the party was in full swing, and her powder puff routine was just gorgeous. Having seen her stuff online I was blown away at how good it was in the flesh (so to speak) and what a top-notch performer she is.
Thanks Millie for getting me to the tube station in my rather drunken state!

So all I can do is whole-heartedly recommend a great night with friendly people, fab performers and cool music.

AND what’s more, I will be performing at their other venue, The Amersham Arms in New Cross on June 6th, so come along and join in the fun!

More about the LBF later… but for now I want to share some pictures from my first performance at Madam JoJo’s as part of the Hee Haw! Whore House for Finger in the Pie Cabaret…

(c) Flavia Fraser-Cannon

Images 1 and 3 (c) Flavia Fraser-Cannon
Image 2 (c) Darrell Berry

For all those that missed it, we had a brilliant time. I spent the following two hours afterwards flitting between Madam JoJo’s and Soho Revue Bar to catch some of the LBF’s topless revue – though I have to say the crowd over there didn’t seem to be going for it like the Finger in the Pie crowd! Mariella Harlotta and Ruby Corsette were wonderful – though I’m sorry to say I was backstage for the first half so didn’t get to catch Aliens Ate my Schnitzel or any of the other lovely acts.

Will say one thing though – after working tirelessly backstage at the festival, it was so refreshing to just turn up as a performer, get ready and do my thing… something I hope to be doing a lot more of in future… so watch this space my darlings, Tiara Diamond has just begun!

LBF 2008 – Tiger Tiger

April 12, 2008

Ok, so it’s taken me this long to write up because it’s taken me this long to recover! The London Burlesque Festival is over for another year, leaving behind a trail of feathers and glitter in it’s wake… And what a festival it was this year! For those of you at Tiger, Tiger and Bush Hall, there’s a very good chance you would have seen me – as I was the lady dressed like this:

(c) Master David @londonfetishscene.com

(c) Master David@ London Fetish Scene

By the third night I gave up on the heels and changed into some flats! Still – I managed a different hairstyle for every night so I didn’t do too badly. First up – Tiger Tiger…

After rehearsals on Thursday I went into the dressing room, plugged in my tongs and attempted (somewhat successfully) to barrel curl all of my hair onto the top of my head and smoothed my make-up on so I’d be as ready as possible when I arrived at the venue. When I got there I stood about a bit, not knowing what to do with myself and feeling like a bit of a lemon. But then I met the lovely Earl Okin who had just finished a sound-check and made me feel right at home. When Agent Lynch came in a second or two later I knew I’d be fine. We’d met before after a performance of hers at Volupte but I didn’t want to come in with ‘Hello! Remember me?’ as I was sure she wouldn’t, so I kept my mouth shut. In the toilets putting my false eyelashes on I bumped into her again – ‘So what act are you doing tonight?’ ‘Barbarella…’ ‘Oh great! I haven’t seen that one yet!’ ‘Didn’t I meet you before…?’ last time we met I was saying how much I wanted to see her Barbarella routine, and turns out she did remember me! Next up I was introduced to Alaska Blue who was doing the pick-up with me, who had on a fabulous flamingo hat, and turned out to be equally as lovely. Sean from ‘Beyond the Cabaret’ filled me in on my duties for the night and we began sorting out the reserved tables for the guests. There was a slight hiccup at the sponsors table (not enough seats!) but with some re-jigging we were able to get everyone sorted out in time for the show. And by golly we were packed!

It was a great line-up; Agent Lynch, Dangerous Dolly, Stella Plumes, Roxy Velvet, Chrys Columbine, Foxtrot India and the amazing Vicky Butterfly (now there’s a performer worth seeing!) and more! I must admit I was a little star-struck. Watching in the wings I got to see some first-rate burlesque dancers, and I was increasingly pleased with myself for having offered to help out. Aside from a few disgruntled patrons that weren’t able to see the show properly (bearing in mind the place was packed!) we had an incredibly successful night – with all items removed being returned to their rightful owners ūüôā

The midnight show meant I got to see Vicky Butterfly’s Peacock Act plus a whole lot more wonderful performances, and for ¬£5 entry, the audience most certainly got themselves a bargain! With the club not a particularly renowned venue for burlesque we got the occasional few asking what on earth was going on downstairs as they got a glimpse of some sparkle and skin; but more than a couple of them went off to buy their tickets to get a better look… it would seem that with burlesque taking over London on the 3rd of April, there was no escaping it for the general public. So why not give in and be fabulous for an evening? You’ll have a whole lot of fun!

Tournament of Tasties…

March 10, 2008

What a lot of lovely ladies! My friend and I were both Bethnal Green virgins, having always intended to, but never actually got around to seeing what all the fuss was about. Thursday night was our chance to do just that. I arrived disastrously late to meet my friend (apologies again!) wearing a black and white polka-dot dress and a fab white fluffy shrug (not pictured) that I picked up in Germany last year. Why is it that no matter how much I rush to get ready I still wind up late? Oh dear…

polkadot.jpg

Me wearing said dress at an LBF fundraiser last year.

So, back to the matter at hand. Arriving late I meet my friend (whose Victory rolls you could tell looked great, but had suffered from standing around waiting in the wind for half an hour…) and we walked from the tube station cautiously down the high street, looking left and right until we found Pollard Row, which we ambled up even more cautiously just in case we’d taken an ill-fated wrong turn. If I could make one suggestion to the management it might be that outside the building they have large neon signs with the obligatory arrows and ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ flashing on them, just to make the place a little easier to distinguish.

I’m not entirely sure of the history of the Whoopee! Club at Bethnal Green, or how it came to be that a little burlesque haven was tucked away in a working mens club, but I can only imagine (as in… this is a complete stab in the dark) that it’s in some way down to Jo King, as Goodtime Mama JoJo was certainly the heart and soul of the show. Although she reminded me somewhat of my Mum which was a little disconcerting, (my Mama was certainly one for a good time…) it was lovely to see her looking out for the girls when the judges gave them a hard time.

The acts were surprising good (having not known what to expect); we came to take a look at the competition and certainly saw that in the girls that performed. First up was Goldie May, whose clockwork doll routine was funny, sweet and sexy. You’ve got to hand it to a girl that can look good, dance, sing and make people laugh. Poor thing had lost the key from her key-hole… but luckily she could be “manually operated”! It was really very good. Other acts that stood out were the ‘Flapping Tappers’ who did a brilliant comedic dance routine, a geisha act and a surreal toreador who fought a plastic sheep then seduced a bull by taking her clothes off.

The venue was a little smaller than I think we were expecting but there was certainly room enough to swing a cat (not to mention nipple tassels…) and we even managed to find ourselves a seat for the second half. I think one thing that would put me off performing there would be the regular staff of the club; standing at the bar sipping our drinks a big long haired man came and stood in front of us to get a better look, and for some reason, his ogling, rather than appreciation, seemed to cheapen what the girls were doing. I didn’t like that much. Burlesque tends to draw a particular crowd, unlike ordinary mainstream stripping, and when there are people in the audience that wouldn’t care if the girl was wearing a neon g-string and nothing else, then it isn’t as much fun anymore. I completely understand the nature of the game, Burly-Q wouldn’t be where it is without men paying to see some naked flesh; but nowadays it’s the women in Burlesque that define what they do as an art-form – be that as performers or audience members. Without respect of the art you may as well head down to some sleazy club, where the girls will take their clothes off quicker and you’re likely to see a whole lot more. I know I’m acting like a purist, and I really have no right to, but this thing that I love, I hate to see tainted… and now I’m off my moral high-horse I’ll finish what I started.

Tournament of Tease: If you want to see good quality performances from rising stars of the Burly-Q then I thoroughly recommend a visit – especially if you’re on a budget (entry ¬£8, drinks approx. ¬£3 each), Burlesque Bargain ladies and gents, what more could you ask for?

Where do I begin?

March 3, 2008

Saturday morning I packed up a little green suitcase with a contents that made it the most fun thing I have ever had the experience of packing. It contained:

  • A white shirt
  • A red polka dot skirt
  • Red peep-toe heels
  • A red and white dotty head-scarf
  • A faux fur stole
  • A red paper parasol
  • Long black gloves
  • A bustle
  • A bra
  • Suspenders
  • Stockings
  • A red feathered corset
  • A red lipstick
  • Black eye-liner
  • Nipple tassels

Yes ladies and gents, I was packing for a weekend of fun at the BWI‘s (Burlesque Women’s Institute, for those of you not in the know) Ultimate Burlesque Workshop in London; hosted by the fabulous Ruby Rose and the infectiously energetic Venuss Envy. And I cannot begin to describe the amazing time I had there. Though having said that… let me give it a go!

I joined the BWI’s fab forum¬†last Summer (a very lovely place to hang out, talk about hair, make-up, burly-q and more) and having heard how much fun the workshops had been, I put my name down for their first London workshop of 2008. And boy am I glad that I did! It was like coming home to be honest, a course that seemed to cover all of my favourite things!

On day one we looked at different styles of dance with Venuss Envy; having worked as a professional dancer she led us through a thorough warm-up (we ended up using muscles we never knew we had!), and we got to grips with the can-can. I don’t think I will ever forget the fun we had running round with our skirts hitched, screaming our heads off! We weren’t perhaps the greatest can-can dancers the world had ever seen, but by golly we were enthusiastic!

The afternoon saw us looking at characterisation, which luckily involved us all looking at clips from seemingly every single one of my favourite films! Can you imagine another course where you get to watch Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot for inspiration? I loved it!

On day two we started with hair and make-up (evil rail replacement buses made me an hour late!) – so I missed victory rolls and barrel curls and arrived just in time for head-scarves and quiffs. I feel like, combined with the make-up element, I learned so much about where I can take my own style and develop it further – make everything bigger! Was really inspiring, and I’m sure a lot of the girls came away with new¬†ideas and tricks up their sleeves, just as I did. And absloute darling that Miss Ruby Rose is, she went through with me what I’d missed, later in the day, how’s that for dedication?!

To think that one day you can meet a room full of strangers, all dressed, all a little nervous, maybe even shy… then to reach that point on a Sunday afternoon where you’ll quite happily stand there half naked, tasseling away to each other with no-one so much as batting an eyelid, you can see the journey you’ve gone through, and where it’s taken you.

tassles.jpg
My home-made tassels and pasties!

I think¬†I’ve given you some¬†insight into¬†the wickedly wonderful things that¬†we were getting up to… but as one girl said to me;

“What happens in class, stays in class!”

So if you want to see for yourself just what you’re missing, then do try and get along because you will have so much fun. Venuss and Ruby are so accomodating, and I could not have asked for better teachers. (Hence me putting my name down for the intermediate course before details are even published!) I met some really lovely people this weekend, and had such an amazing time. It has to be burlesque for me. Because I know now, there is nothing else that I could love this much!