Sunday, August 1, 2010

GAZM Preview

Last night I had the opportunity to perform at CafĂ© Metropolitan with the boys of GAZM, Seattle’s premiere boylesque troupe. With the exception of the no-show-host, the show went down without a hitch, and was well received.

Guest artist, Jinkxs Monsoon stepped up to the bat and hosted the show on the fly with a mixture of wit, and charm that the audience took to very quickly. As a performer, Jinkxs blends stellar cabaret pipes, and energetic style of dance, with a touch of musical theater camp that I enjoyed greatly. Her rendition of All That Jazz was amazing, and I want to be her back up boy sometime!

The remaining guest artists included Jack Hammer, and Captain Jakalof, two fantastic performers with very different styles. Jack Hammer is a solid bit of beefcake, tall, broad shouldered with classic All American good looks. His Private Eye number is an excellent story, which he tells start to finish with finesse, and sex appeal. The Captain, or in this case his cousin Aspen Switch, is a chic geek with some killer dance moves. His pop and lock routine as Aspen Switch is a clock-work precision piece of comedy, equally pleasing and teasing to the audience.

The four boys of GAZM performed next with Jean DuJour starting the set. Jean combines natural grace, Raver sensibilities and mouth watering sex appeal. He will take you on a bizarre journey that can leave you feeling good, excited, sleepy or at times slightly nauseous (like any recreational pharmaceutical one should be prepared when you experience Jean). His costumes are imaginative patch work pieces that could be described as haute or hot depending on your point of view, his prop use is equally imaginative, and his daringness often crosses the line of propriety. Art is risky, and Jean will gladly take those risks.

Paris Original, the Balletic Burlesque Performer presented a gorgeous piece en pointe that would be equally praised on both the classical and the burlesque stages, and set both the blood and heart aflame (and is apparently “SO Creole”). Capturing the ecstatic energy of mourning, Paris de-clothes first to tease and then to show respect for the departed. This piece is on YouTube but as one audience member noted last night, it can only be fully appreciated in person.

The Luminous Pariah offered up a piece of dystopian delicacy, a post apocalyptic themed number that combined fantastic costuming, a concise and interesting story, and a breathtaking physical mastery. It is his ability to balance his intensely creative imagination with a supreme self-control that makes the Luminous Pariah one of the top performers in Seattle. I have said it before, but he WILL go far.

EmpeROAR Fabulous!!! The creator of GAZM and the brains of the operation closed out the show, with an exercise themed number that spoke of many a skinny boy’s desire to get in shape, bulk up, etc. and the frustration with the process. EmpeROAR is a versatile performer, a talented singer/songwriter, a skilled EMCEE, and an utterly devoted artist with an unashamed and fearless stage presence.

Last night’s performance was a fund raiser for GAZM’s upcoming World Tour Show at the Re-Bar in mid September, and as an appetizer to the main event, was very promising. Merde mes amis! Stick with it and you will do well.

Love, Fosse Jack

Lustfully Legendary

Sinner Saint Burlesque’s current show, Lustfully Legendary is a collection of pieces paying homage to those women in history (and fiction) who have inspired the performers. SSB is my favorite burlesque troupe, and the women who are part of it are all beautiful, talented and smart performers; that being said this is not the strongest compilation that SSB has presented. The concept behind the show is almost too broad, and at times it felt like a mash up of two different shows, one legendary and the other mythical. Criticism aside, there are some very strong performances that deserve recognition.

Lolita “Tatas” Valentino presented tributes to two legendary lusty ladies of history; first, Betty Grable and then, 60’s burlesque performer, Sandra Storm. As Grable, Lolita personified the playful energy of the early pin-up girls, teasing the audience and helping us remember those sexy pioneers who bared their midriffs for the good of the country. As Storm, she played up the comedic aspect of burlesque. Like Storm, Valentino is known for her facial expressions and the homage was both entertaining and sexy.

As Mata Hari, Evilyn Sin Claire was chillingly beautiful, and moved me to the brink of tears. For those of you who have not experienced Evilyn’s belly dance, it is a spiritual experience. Her movements stoke the fires of heart, her moments of stillness catch the breath and the undulations of her body coax the audience into a state of physical excitement. Later in the show, her performance as Sakhmet, the Egyptian goddess of vengeance and war once again evoked in me a state of awe (boarding on fear) that would have me bow in reverence. I must admit that as I was leaving the Noc Noc I was nurturing a fantasy of being a leashed harem boy….don’t tell Evilyn, I’m pretty sure she’d eat me alive.

Polly Wood paid homage to Hollywood beauty/legend Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Polly capitalizes on her acting chops, telling stories with her acts. A frustrated Liz Taylor, takes a break from getting into character to indulge in her favorite obsession…diamonds. Later on, Polly shares her love for a childhood heroine/damsel in distress, when she performs as her favorite fairy tale princess. Funny, beautiful, and precise, Polly is a master showman.

Jesse Belle Jones performed first as her musical namesake, though I am at a loss to figure out which historical beauty she was referencing... more research is needed, she also performed a new act based on another fairy tale. I will not give away the surprise but allow me to say that even unclothed Jesse possesses a regal bearing, and poise that puts most real royalty to shame! My Otter and I are both crushing on you a little Jesse!

Like most of her comrades, SSB newcomer Dona Dei Cuori presented one historic figure and one mythical entity. Her tribute to Amelia Earhart was well done, though I would have liked to see more done with the ‘wings.’ I especially liked the strip-tease, dress-tease, strip-tease progression, I like it when performers can make getting dressed sexy. As Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of Choral Dance, Dona is cute and funny. My one criticism and Dona please take this in a positive light, but there was no reason for you to take your clothes off. The number would be funny, and effective fully clothed… maybe you should add some classic stripper music into your mix? The addition would also differentiate your act from the “History of Dance” video that was all the rage a couple of years back. If your purpose was to emulate that video, rethinking the points where you remove pieces might be a good idea. That aside Dona has, and continues to show a great deal of potential as a performer and I am excited to watch her progress.

I also want to give special recognition and props to host, Nicole Lucas who dealt with a VERY rowdy crowd with professionalism and comedic grace.

With a little tweaking Lustfully Legendary could be an awesome piece of theatrical burlesque. As it is, SSB presents a very enjoyable evening that is sure to entertain. I do, very much encourage my readers to check it out, and I will continue to look forward to seeing more of Sinner Saint and there works.

Love, Fosse Jack