Continuing our retrospective of Bluestocking Lounge, we now hit 2011, which was a changeable year in many ways – good ways! We saw four venues in one year and by December had found our ‘home’… We also had our first showcase and ‘launched’some new performers from our courses!
February – Twisted Love
This was to be our last show at the monkey and we bowed out with FooFoo LaBelle covering the audience in cream with her Marie Antoinette act (yes, she did let them eat cake!). We also had Tuesday Laveau weaving a bit of magic with her Voodoo Queen act and Geisha Go Disco (now known as Gemma Sheree), Barbara Cartland was out in force, as was DeeDee DeLa Rouge’s beautiful La Plume Noir act, plus this was the first show that our Boris and Doris came out to play – and they’ve been a permanent fixture ever since! We love them! Of course, the Bay Belles opened the second half with a character led act featuring a wheelchair – What Ever Happened To Burly Jane? After the show, with Nik and Darren now on board on the production side and keen to ensure everyone who comes to the show can a: see properly and b: get a seat if they wanted, we put our heads together and went on a serch for a new venue. The Monkey had been brilliant, and Kate especially supportive, but we needed to move up…
April – Girls On Film
After a search across Swansea, we found a the Milkwood Jam and owner Carol was looking forward to being the new home. The venue was big, light and airy and the bar was in the same room as the show, meaning you didn’t have to miss any of the action if you got a thirst on. Our first show here was brilliant – even if we do say so ourselves! We welcomed back RedSarah, who brought her Miss Piggy and (convincingly manly and great!!) Casonova to town. We also saw Lady Wildflower in action, with her spectacular Dragon act and Penny Bizarre kept everyone in line with her school teacher. The Bay Belles went on the hunt for Pink Panther and again asked What Ever Happened To Burly Jane? The best thing about our move? That everyone could now see the performers without a (bloomin’) post in the middle of the stage! The lighting was also fantastic and really did enhance the show, plus the Gas Station Bop boys had their own corner of the stage to provide the soundtrack to the rest of the night – we loved getting up and having an apres-show dance! The move also meant that Kirsty, who had been doing the door for us, mostly in the cold, downstairs in the Monkey, could now warm up and actually see the show! We also saw our lovely Dawn join the team as rather excellent stage manager… We needed her to keep all the naughty performers in line, making sure they get to the stage in time, setting ans striking all props and costumes and generally being the lovely bird she is.
May – Summer Special
So in May we hit the Lyric in Carmarthen for our annual theatre show and introduced headliner Domino Burlesk (now Domino Barbeau) and her breathtaking acts to the audience. We also had acts from Ally Katte and sing and fling from the beautiful vintage vocalist Luna DeLovely. The Bay Belles debuted their ‘Vanity’ act and Lily Belle came back to host for the night…
June – Magical History Tour
Another of our favourite shows, we had acts spanning from medieval times (DeeDee’s Rapunzel act), Revolutionary France, Victorian times, the roaring 20s, the 50s and 60s and Justin Harris was on hand to snap the event for Swansea Life. Our headliner Fifi Fatale was just stunning in her portrayal of art deco 20s – think Mucha paintings but with a dark edge! We also loved her Magnolia Dying act. The naughty Lily Belle gave us an hilarious interpretation of the Ziefield Follies and we just loved her tequila act, complete with rocking wedge of lime and salt pour (genius!), Queen Victoria was not amused at the amount of cleavage on show, while Deedee DeLa Rouge’s Rapunzel managed to escape from the tower by tearing her dress into strips! The ’60s were taken care of by Delilah Galore’s Jackie Kennedy, then Boris and Doris took us to the 1950s via the 1970s in their nod to Grease – so funny!
July – Our first Showcase
So we decided, with the success of our first course at Revue Studios and many of the ladies just itching to hit the stage – even if it were for just one night – to hold a showcase. We opened up the casting to performers from across the country and saw an array of creative and inspiring acts, all very professional in nature. Performers included Violet Vayne, Velveteen Hussy and her brilliant ode to a CLockwork Orange, Bella Rouge, Missy Lectric, Luna C Fur, Ditty Von Bloom – who played the violin, Ruby De La Rouge, Lacey La Basque… We also had a tremendous performance from the girls of the Bluestocking course who will remember Shivas Regal forever (lol!) and saw the debut of a certain Bella Bambina (who would soon become Tickety Boo and skyrocket on the scene), Primrose Proper and Bunny Bon Vivant. DeeDee and Lilly had the night off to proudly cry into their frillies with pride at all the performers on the stage. We also had burly bingo complete with ‘booby prizes’, and a cracking guest headline slot from professional performer Kitty Kane who gave all the girls – especially those who had never performed in their lives before – excellent support and advice backstage.
August – Beautiful Creatures
We got a bit animalistic for August’s show when we invited Darkteaser back to Swansea. Her acts are always a decadent joy to behold, compete with bespoke fans and heavily adorned costumery. And her cheeky face! Glorian Gray, herself a legend of the North West of England burlesque scene as she has done so much to inspire other performers and cultivate creativity across the country graced the stage with her Cat act – and she also brought a mini version of her trampoline… Emerald Ace captivated us with her characters, including the spookily good The Last Jackalope and we can never look at sushi again without thinking of her cannibalistic octopus lady chopping off her own tentacles! Mrs Lovett backed the Worst Pie In London and Primrose Proper ensured all was safe with her cute fire warden act. We didn’t know it at the time, but this show was to be our last at Milkwood. We had planned a ‘Bluestocking Goes Pink’ charity show, raising money for breast cancer charities for September but unfortunately the venue had to close down and we were told less than a week before the show. Nik and Lilly frantically set on a search across the city for a suitable venue so we wouldn’t have to cancel the show but without compromising either the stage, the audience or the quality it was just not possible to find a venue with under a week’s notice. The good news is, word got out that we were looking for a new home and venue owners and programmers got in touch to ask us to bring the show to them, so in September we signed on the dotted line and made The Grand Theatre Arts Wing our new home.
December – There’s Nothing Like A Dame
In celebration of our new home (and with it being panto season!) our december show set the tone for what was to follow. We celebrated woman-hood, we had a laugh at panto and we had the first Bluestocking appearance of a certain performer who would go on to be crowned British Queen Of Burlesque the following year at the World Burlesque Games in London. Unfortunately with the move to the theatre, we had to compromise our lovely Gas Station Bop boys, but we still run the show on Gas Station nights, so if anyone fancies an after-show party, head up to Mozarts, as that’s where you’ll be able to dance (even longer into the night!!). We also saw some changes in the comper department with The Marquis DeRita departing and December saw guest comper The Wonderful Dee who asked, ‘would you like to see the Crack Of Dawn?’ (yep, that’s D showing the audience the crack of dawn in the pic!) – which has now become an important part of our shows. We also think her entrance to the restrain ‘Good evening lords, ladies and lesbians’ was legendary. We welcomed back Domino Barbeau to headline and saw Eliza DeLite’s just totally captivating Like a Prayer act. You loved this act! Betty Blue Eyes was hypnotised by Dracula, the awesome Nanny Dora was just, well, awesome and Bella Bambina went looking for her prince… (you should see the re-vamped version of this act – it’s tremendous!) We also waved goodbye to the Bay Belles as their Vive La Revolution and ‘Vanity’ acts were performed for the final time when DeeDee hung up her tassels and had Christmas off to prepare for her new role… It was this show that we met the wonderfully talented Miss Moth who is a permanent fixture at our events, capturing the acts, the mood and the excitement of the evening in her shots. If you see her, say hello!
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at 2012, when things stepped up a notch and DeeDee stepped up to the mic…