Tag Archives: burlesque

Love / Magic

-Lourens Loki Corleone

It’s been too long, faithful readers! Winter has come and- well, it’s still here, so I’m not quite sure where I was going with that. Oh yes! Time.

I’m sure many of you are still grieving over the Eiffel Tower, but make no mistake, the kinship and spirit of adventure that we all held dear is still very much alive. The Summer Season is heading towards us at a rapid pace. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

So, yes… There are many activities (so many activities) planned but while we’ve all been in a hibernation things have started to thaw, and what better way to shake of the chill than a fantastic night at Madame Zingara’s! This year it was time for the Love Magic Tour. I booked two tickets about a month ago for myself and Adele Babyzef Corleone as it was a big date for us. When the day finally came we couldn’t have been more excited.

Our friend and pseudo-sibling Roxy had confessed to us how thoroughly she had enjoyed it and so, naturally, we took her word for it. (I hope she doesn’t mind me stealing a few of her photos, to mix in with a few of ours!)

We arrived at Victoria around 6PM on the night of the show – Victoria being one of the last remaining mirror tents in the world, of course… and what a sight to behold! Built around Victoria was a makeshift shanty-town, complete with a shebeen where we promptly grabbed a drink. It was cold, but the shelter and heating was plentiful. Colourful characters were crawling out of the woodwork, but we didn’t know quite what we were in for until the doors of the tent were parted at 7PM.

Within lay an entirely different world…

Upon walking inside we were greeted by Dame Devina Brown, a woman with a slight testosterone problem and an Adam’s Apple. We were lucky enough to be seated at number 69 (giggidy) right next to the stage. Our table number was announced loudly and with much enthusiasm.

I’m not too sure how to describe the next few hours; what I can say is that I had an incredible night, not just because of the amazing show or the amazing food, but because of the beautiful company I was keeping! I was looking swanky if I do say so myself, so all was good in the world.

Food-wise, everything was fantastic. All five courses (I know right?) were meticulously planned and thought out; most of them I can’t even pronounce. That aside, let’s get to the actual performance aspects of the night.

Half the talent were Proudly South African, while some of the more extravagant performances were a couple of roller-skaters from Moscow (most likely the most amazing performance of the night), muscle-bound acrobats from the Ukraine, three asian contortionists and a hoola-hoop girl with pink hair from Las Vegas. The local acts included a magician and his “drunken” little-person sidekick (who was hilarious), two Cape Town-based acrobats (my favourite performance), and three big African Mamas with gigantic voices, and gigantic personalities.

Madam Zingara’s is a something best experienced first-hand, but hopefully some of the pictures’ll give you a bit of an idea… the word indescribable comes swiftly to mind. The show had ended, but the fun wasn’t nearly over. The stage was opened and people took this as an invite to begin dancing the night away.

Did we dance? Hell yeah, we did.

Unfortunately I’ve come to the end of my brief summary of our Madame Zingara experience and I can’t wait for the next one. If you get the opportunity to go you’d be a fool to turn it down.
Also a big thank you to Ikamva Labantu, a Cape Town-based NPO, as a percentage of the proceeds go to them to build a centre for the under-privileged.

Oh, one more thing, completely unrelated: Our good friend Tecla Ciolfi’s blog “Texx & The Cityhas been nominated for the “Best South African Music Blog” award, so pop by OVER HERE and add your vote.

Until next time… stay classy, Cape Town.

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Eiffel Power

Okay so, it’s been a while. But there’s a good reason for this. More than one in fact. Here are three.

  • Our lease at the old place had passed its live-by date and grown mold and rotted off; as a result of this we saw fit to pack our things and flee what was once The Eiffel Tower, only to stumble upon yet another lucky-as-hell last-minute-deal on Gumtree. The last-minute-deal, of course, was to be our new place. And when I refer to ‘we’ I am referring to Lourens, Ian and myself.
    Unfortunately, leaving the old place proved slightly harder than initially imagined, and not because we’re bad at doing things (although that may have a little to do with it) but because of the sheer amount of useless- for lack of a better noun- SHIT that is accumulated after a year of living in what, at times, resembled a frat-house.
    And so, after many hard-lifting activities, backseat balancing acts and old-school geometry theorem chats whilst trying to figure out how to get a pool table through three rooms and up a flight of stairs without killing one of us in the process, we made it to the new Tower.
  • And as a result of the move, we had the pleasure of having to deal with Telkom again, so it has been a while since we’ve had a stable internet connection.
  • Another reason is that I got Assassin’s Creed 2. So I had to play it. For hours on end.

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

So besides being relocated and slightly wary of how cold the air is up here on the mountain, what else is new? Well this coming Saturday night, Akelian Circus will be hooking it with Stack Shot at The Nameless Pub. If you’re feeling adventurous perhaps extend a visit to The Purple Turtle in Long Street, Cape Town.

dfrost

The 357’s, Boombox Troopers and DFrost will be laying the vibe on thick. Not up for that? Then take a gander down Lower Main Road, Obz at Obz Cafe and catch the Black Orchid Burlesque Troupe doing their thing. So don’t let anyone tell you there’s nothing to do, m’kay?

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

On another note, I entered a competition with Cape MIC a while back and got selected. We have been given the task of arranging and organizing a festival of sorts, be it a evening event or a full-day festival. Cape MIC hooked up a fat sponsor and is now leaving it up to us to develop concept, date, theme, marketing, logistics, bookings et cetera. So I thought: why not just ask people for ideas? After all, it will be the same people who are likely to attend the festival anyway.

So I’m asking all of you to send ideas my way. You can e-mail me, tweet me, comment here or whatever. Any ideas for a festival you’d like to attend. Something different and fresh and inspired. Originality is encouraged.

That’s all for now. Peace.

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Corsets & Orchids

(I used a few photos taken backstage by Roxy as well as photos and a video from Caryn – I hope you guys don’t mind, great job!)

Lourens Loki Corleone

The last week went by really quickly, ladies and gentleman. I think that Mr. Frost might need to do a follow-up to his Guide to Surviving Ramfest entitled “Guide to Surviving The Week After Ramfest”. I know I barely made it through, and I’m still exhibiting scars from that weekend madness.

Predicably, we discovered it was Friday again – sans the music festival. We had something a bit different planned this time though.
As you all remember, a few months ago, Roxy entered the Black Orchid Best of Burlesque Competition and came second. She had my vote, but the judges ruled that (the also brilliant) Kitty Fay should take the gold home.

Two weeks ago Rox told me the news: Black Orchid had asked her to join the troupe as an official member. It seemed like Tenille (AKA Lady Magnolia) had decided to go her own solo route, so Roxy was chosen as the new 4th member of the troupe. She decided that she didn’t want to join the Beasties side of the troupe; she prefered focusing on the classic burlesque rather than the darker, edgier side of The Beasties, in fitting with her choice of character.

Asking her brother’s help with the music, Nick quickly mixed a few songs together for Rox’s routine. All she had left to do was practice, practice, practice.

Her first show with Black Orchid Burlesque would be “Taking It Off On Broadway”, and the night had come to paint Cape Town red. There were limited tickets but, luckily, ours were arranged for us. When I say “arranged”, I mean that we gave someone else money to buy tickets for us because we are known for our slight tendency to procrastinate.

Not long after I get back to Somerset West after work on Friday we hit the road to Observatory, Cape Town. We were joined by cousin Andrea and the rest of Rox’s girl gang (the Pop Tarts), would meet us there.

I have to admit that I was quite excited. I love the burlesque scene. Besides agreeing with the empowering aspects of it, it is largely entertaining to watch, especially when the girls are as beautiful as the Black Orchid girls (my slight star-crush on Scar-Lit Hearts not having anything to do with it of course.)

Observatory is definitely one of my favourite parts of Cape Town. The vibrant characters that inhabit it, in contrast with Observatory’s slightly seedy reputation prove to be a very potent cocktail. Pun intended.
You can almost taste the energy in the air. For those who don’t know, Lower Main Road in Obz is home to infamous establishments like Gandalfs, Roots (formerly Cool Runnings), Obz Cafe, the Armchair Theatre and a treasure trove of other little pubs and hole-in-the-walls. Driving down the narrow road, it is easy forget that you are in South Africa.

The best thing about Obz would be the people. Think: bohemian revolution with a heavy dose of alternative. You might get the picture. We parked the car under care of an enthusiastic car-guard named Bessie (officially the strangest name for a male) and headed towards the venue. The back room of Obz Cafe hosts a small theater where Taking It Off Broadway was preparing to start.

As we walked in, I happened upon someone I hadn’t seen in years. Christopher (who’s surname escapes me) has got his heart set on stand up comedy, and God knows we need some fresh funny-men in our current South African slump. Good luck mate! He introduced me to the person standing next to him and a Jagermeister later, and we were all friends.

Having met up with the Pop Tarts, we made our way to the seats and waited in anticipation for the show to start. We didn’t wait long.

Roxy de Light

The theme was “Broadway”, obviously, so most of the numbers for the night had a similar feel; many were taken from Chicago, Cats, Cabaret and other famous productions.
First up was the entire Black Orchid Troupe doing a short dance number and giving the audience a chance to get to know them. Fantastic! I knew that Roxy didn’t have much time to rehearse it but nonetheless I think they all performed exceptionally well and in full character.

Diva DisaStar, Scar-Lit Hearts, Roxy Delight, Kitty Fay

A few minutes later Diva DisaStar was up. Interestingly enough, she started out scantily clad but strategically covered-up and acted out a girl getting ready for a night out on the town. The crowd still, as the show had just begun, but being a pro, Star soon rectified the situation with her temptress demeanor, strutting her stuff on stage with gusto. A true diva if I ever saw one.

Next up was the troupe’s songbird, Miss Melody, performing “Fever”. Her voice is amazingly full and within seconds she had successfully mesmerized the crowd.

Following Miss Melody was our Wild Wester, Roxy de Light. We  whooped and cheered as she played the cabaret vixen, dancing around the stage with grace and flair and then eventually turning the skit into her own version of “strip” poker. As her choice of song suggested: “The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be…Roxy!”
She may have been nervous a few days before the big night, but in true Rox fashion she was in her element once she set foot on the stage.

Roxy de Light

Roxy De Light

After her routine there was a brief intermission. We stocked up on drinks and nicotine and returned to the theatre area just in time for Kitty Fay to do her thing. She had put a lot of effort into her routine: It was definitely the best sequence I’ve seen her do, especially keeping in theme with the night. She showed her flexibility with some high kicks, and the crowd loved it. These girls were made to perform!

Kitty Fay

The second last act was Scar-Lit Hearts with her Marilyn Monroe tribute…the “red-head” version. Sporting a sexy white corset, she made sure the guys had their jaws on the floor and probably the girls as well. A playful personality clearly shines through on stage, and definitely adds to her already sultry performance.

Scar-Lit Hearts

Last up was both Diva DisaStar and Scar-Lit Hearts performing a number from “Guys & Dolls”. They delivered the number with an overabundance of sass, and the audience (us included) were delighted at their tongue-in-cheek portrayal of girls having to give up their material things. When they were done, the rest of the troupe appeared on stage and continued to captivate the crowd while Star thanked everyone that contributed to the success of the show.

Kitty Fay
The night was truly a success! I eagerly look forward to the next one. Girls, keep up the good work. Roxy, congratulations from your Wild West fan base for a successful debut. Black Orchid Burlesque is sure to make waves.

After the show we decided not to join the Pop Tarts at Ponchos but to head to back to Somerset West. We made it home in record time, but then it took us a further hour to decide what to do next. Phil, who was honing his gambling skills playing online poker, decided to join us. We headed towards town to pick up Jess Johnstone who was out partying.

Diva DisaStar, Scar-Lit Hearts, Roxy De Light, Kitty Fay

When we found her she was accompanied by Esna Strydom, Julian Bach and Jan Spies. They jumped in their respective cars and followed us to our next destination. Gordon’s Bay… (ominous music)

Kaygan Britz had invited us to join a party they had going on at Mark and Jade’s house, and, eventually after getting horribly lost on the way there, they came to the rescue and found us.

What happened next was spur-of-the-moment insanity. The music was good and the people were friendly. I remember sitting at the table at one stage, Jan sitting next to me, looking up at the group of girls dancing enthusiastically on the table and thinking: good times! A fist-bump emphasised how much we enjoyed this kind of behaviour.
At some point Esna and Julian decided the roof would be a good place to make noise. It was about this time that the Police showed up to break the party up; which was a pity as we were having mad fun. But that is what the Police do. And to be fair, it was some ungodly hour of the morning).

We drove back to Somerset West and the moment we crawled into the front door I headed for my bed and the hangover that was sure to follow the next morning.

When I woke up there were people passed out on the pool table and bodies all over the couches in the lounge… and everything was calm. For a while.

For a video of the Black Orchid girls doing what they do best, take a look at Caryn’s awesome mini-documentary OVER HERE.

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Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

Lourens Loki Corleone

So, readers, last Thursday night was quite epic.

Let me start at the beginning, though:

Roxy Delight [Frost]

Roxanne, sister of Mr. Nick Frost, is quite the talented dancer. Besides being a professional belly-dancer, she is also an expert at side-stepping making me breakfast on my birthday and can make platters of snacks disappear into her car with the grace of a ballet dancer. All these qualities are why we love the famous Miss Roxanne, and she is definitely like a sister to me.

In any case, recently Roxanne entered the “Black Orchid’s Best of Burlesque” competition in Cape Town, and approached me to help her brainstorm on the idea in general.

Black Orchid's Best of Burlesque

Not too much later, and Roxy De Light was born…and the world held its breath in anticipation of what will happen. All except Mr. Frost, of course. He skillfully avoided ever having to talk to his sister about the competition (except for perfecting the song that she was going to dance to) and it took even more convincing to get him to go along for the event…which is fair enough, haha!

I am getting ahead of myself though, so let me start with what burlesque is. As a genre, Burlesque (aka Travesty) is a theatrical parody associated with the risque nature of a striptease. Imagine a mix of cabaret, bawdy humour and a good touch of the macabre. This translates fantastically onto the stage and while being quite racy it stays classy. Apparently, female empowerment is a dish best served in gothy lingerie.

I. Am. Not. Complaining. (For another description, probably a better one, go and read the fantastic Tenille Lindique (Lady Magnolia)’s description on her blog, here.

Now, its important to remember that this isn’t a strip show…there is no actual nudity involved, and the rules only state that 2 items of clothing have to be removed. Even gloves count! The idea is to be sexy, but to be strong and empowered on stage, leading the audience along by a string.

The contestants, backstage.

So on this particular Thursday we gathered some of the troops, and headed towards Gothams, in Observatory. Attending was myself, Nick Frost, Andrea Chapman [Frost], Ian K and Cara. We took Cara’s car, as my clutch cable snapped earlier in the day, luckily not on the way to Observatory.

We arrived at the venue somewhere between 9 and 10pm, and discovered that for R40 (or R20 for girls) we could get a glass and then the bar is OPEN. Yes. R40.

We knew…this was definitely going to be a long night.

We entered Gandalfs first (which is right next to Gothams) and I felt at home instantly. I can’t really explain it, but standing in Gandalfs I can’t help but feel a little thrill of excitement. The creatures of the night come out and play and the people that frequent this particular establishment are quite colourful indeed. The music is always fantastic, and I don’t think I’ve been there a single time when I haven’t walked about with my neck sore (too much headbanging) and my throat hoarse (too much screaming), my wallet empty and my face smiling.

When we arrived, we met up with brethren Richard Kuiper and Marc Frost, as well as Nikita, Tracey, Tessa, Claudine, Pierre and Tazz.

With a drink in our hands, we were ready for the night and we headed towards Gothams. The show was about to start, and the boisterous announcer…well, he announced, now didn’t he? Interesting how “Shut the fuck up!” goes down well in Observatory. Hmmmm.

We also regrettably heard that there were 6 drop-outs from the competition due to stage fright. Go figure!
In any case, as an opening we were treated to a duo dance number by ‘Diva DisaStar’ and ‘Scar-Lit Hearts’, two professional burlesque dancers. Shortly after, the competition started.

Contender #2

The first girl did quite well, but didn’t seem to capture the audience as she would have wanted. Girl number two did a very brave cabaret-esque piece, but she was so nervous her legs kept shaking. Third up was Roxy De Light and the crowd went wild. Absolutely wild. Even Nick, who was adamant that he was not going to watch his sister’s performance, was clapping and cheering as she was REALLY that good. Her skit was “Red Riding Hood”, and she danced to “Teddybear picnic” that was made slightly more haunting, by Mr. Frost.

'Roxy Delight' aka Little Red Riding Hood

'Roxy De Light' aka Little Red Riding Hood

The fourth girl performed “grotesque burlesque”, and was quite different. Imagine Tom Cruise’s Risky Business dance, but with a cute little blonde girl that can spin her boobs in different directions. Entertaining, but I coudln’t help but be disappointed that she didn’t follow the similar style as the other girls. It just seemed to trashy.

Roxy Delight

There was a short intermission afterwards for the judges to decide on the two finalists, so we refilled our drinks and headed back to the stage. It was at this point that myself, Marc and Ian met Hai, a gorgeous Gandalfs regular and all-round cool person…and a Roxy supporter, so all was good.

The first runner up was the first girl that danced (I can’t remember her stage name), but the clear winner was Roxy – and the crowd exploded with cheers and applause! She was a very good sport, and seemed to console the other girls who didn’t make it to the next round. Oh, and Diva DisaStar did a short number with some feather fans. Gorgeous girl, that.

Diva DisaStar, Runner Up #1, Roxy, Risky Business Girl

We all knew one thing though: It was time to celebrate.

Oh, and did we celebrate. We all hit the dancefloor like bats out of hell, and way too soon it was almost 2am in the morning. I started gathering the gang together, and we decided that it was a good time to leave. I sneakily stole a poster off the wall (see second pic above), and it now graces our memory wall at the Eiffel Tower (aka home).

Ladies and gentlemen, I could tell you more about those few hours of partying but for the most part it was generic Gandalfs partying. Many drinks, many cigarettes and loads of dancing…but that pretty much summarizes it. Don’t let that fool you though – it’s the vibe that gets you.

Marc Frost, Nick Frost and Andrea Chapman

All I know is, I had a fucking fantastic time.

I hope to see you all coming Thursday for the final, where Roxy will be competing against the other finalist for a chance through to the big leagues!

Lourens & Nikita

Oh, and I would like to thank Nikita for taking pictures – too bad the lighting was terrible to work with, we will make sure to get better quality ones next time! Oh, and even better: Go and check out the blog post and pictures on Roxy’s page as well, for more detail on her outfit, and how she felt the night went.

All I know is, I am definitely a fan of the whole scene now – burlesque is the new black.

Much Love,
Lourens Loki Corleone

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