Friday, November 18, 2011

Sinner Saint Burlesque Presents: DARK MATTER

Sinner Saint Burlesque’s current show DARK MATTER is an exploration of the darker side of the soul; a journey through the “cosmos” in search of something that cannot be found externally because it only exists within our minds. It features a variety of burlesque acts, a few old favorites and several new pieces. Last night Evilyn Sin Claire, Dona Dei Cuori, Jesse Belle-Jones, and Polly Wood performed (Sorry I missed you Tatas!) with internationally known belly dancer, Delilah as host.

As a host Delilah is charming, if a little scattered. She approached the audience with good natured humor and shared some interesting “dark matter” facts. I would have liked a little more introductory info with certain acts, Dona’s especially could have used some extra set up (I thought the Alistair Crowley bit and “the beast” would have been great to elaborate on!). I would have also loved for her to play more with the “woman of the night” and less with the pirate captain schtick, but I have never been able to share Seattle’s obsession with pirates. I also feel that in act three when she let the piratic-affectation go to talk of life and death she seemed the most natural and comfortable. More please! Also more dancing, I very much enjoyed watching you!

Jesse Belle-Jones’ acts, her “Straight Jacket” number and her “Cycles” act (not sure what she calls it) were both exquisite. She explored and embraced the 'dark' aspects of femininity such as the strictures that society and psychology put on the female mind and the fact that women’s bodies rebel against them once a month. I have long believed that by embracing the difficulties pressed upon you, the evils so to speak, rather than fighting them, causes them lose their power over you. These were excellent and beautiful examples of embracing these trials and finding empowerment in them.

Polly Wood’s acts, the “Whore of Babylon” and “Soldier’s Wife” also explored the dark aspects of the soul. In one she delivers death to the “faithful” and finds pleasure in their blood, in the other she prepares both herself and her love for the death that is inevitable. I would have really liked to see a 'body' in the first act, but I'm not sure if thats in the 'sweet hearts' job description.  (Hey Polly, let me know if you want to kill me on stage!)  The Soldier’s Wife is especially powerful and I am glad she brought this one back. It makes me cry every time I see it.

Dona De Cuori explored the dark side of spirituality (or perhaps spiritual identity?) and the transformative power of death. In her “Beast” act she portrayed a shamanistic revelry or ecstasy as first, she was the beast, and then found her passion in the beast. Her “Black Feathers” act featured a fan powered ‘inferno’ and showed the dark, bestial, side of her being burned away to reveal her humanity beneath. I would have liked for her to take her head piece off, and complete the transformation.

Evilyn Sin Claire showed us the dark side of everyday life, specifically the extent to which our society will seek excuses for ‘illicit behavior’ in this case, Ambien. Fortunately Evilyn doesn’t need the excuse of “the pills made me do it” to tease and tantalize us with those vivacious curves! Her final act, embraces “The End”. An exploration of Mayan eschatology, and the movement toward the end of that calendar and the birth of a possible new age, this act is (and leads into) the piece de resistance of DARK MATTER.

As a whole DARK MATTER is an entertaining, and thoughtful revue. The individual acts are of SSB’s usually professional quality and with some polishing and streamlining of segues the show could be among their strongest.

In case you didn’t know SSB will be leaving Seattle for spell in January 2012 (to grace London with their presence!), so DARK MATTER will be the last run most of us will have the privilege of experiencing till they get back in early March. Check it out folks, this one makes you think! (I also have it on good authority that when Lady Tatas is back, she will be reprising her "Toddlers and Tiaras" act... which is one of these creepiest things I've seen on stage!)


Fosse Jack

Monday, November 14, 2011

Academy of Burlesqe 202 Recital

I don’t normally do write-ups for shows that I perform in, but my classmates deserve the recognition! On Saturday night I joined Man Johnson, Piston Chambers, Summer Lovin, Rip Curl, and the Rhinestone Stud, Sir Eddie Van Glam, on the stage at West Hall for the Burlesque 202 Graduation Recital. Our host? The Man, the Myth, the Mustache, Ernie Von Schmaltz!

Man Johnson: Few recital acts receive standing ovations, but Man Johnson rocked it with both of his numbers. Fearless on stage, he goes places that would make most performers blush. His Leather Daddy Subverted act was superb. His self-confidence and command of the audience made clear at the beginning made his total submission to an iconic Japanese chibi-cat all the more amazingly funny. His act (I will dub) ‘Love Sucks’ was so over the top and committed that our classmates joined in the uproarious laughter every time we saw it. SuPURRRRb, I bow before you sir!

Piston Chambers: You can’t help but love this incorrigible and precocious boi when (s)he busts out his signature, mischievous grin. His first number, which I like to call “It’s F*ck and Bake and I Helped” is a solid piece of burlesque comedy. High energy, and multi-layered this piece will never allow me to look at raw chicken the same way again! Piston’s “Drumline” act was daring, and fresh. It focused not on the strip tease but on the abandon of an artist truly loving what they do, the passion of which lead to the shedding of clothes. Piston always makes me really happy when he performs! Love you!

Summer Lovin: With grace and confidence, Summer Lovin dived head long into this nearly all boylesk group, and I believe made her Seattle debut in the process! Summer’s acts walked a fine line between classic and neo-burlesque. Her “Not in the Mood” act took an anti-glamour approach, and allowed her to focus on a very well played, back and forth tease with the audience. Her “Milk Maid” act likewise was a gift to the audience. Summer Lovin took stereotypical scenarios and turned them on their heads, in a fun and fresh way. I really look forward to seeing more of Summer and what she comes up with!

Rip Curl: Rip is a walking, talking, geek of a teddy bear and I love it! His ability to play a crowd is truly impressive. He asks the audience if they want him to ‘take it off’ and happily obliges when they enthusiastically say ‘Yes!’ His Firefly inspired dinosaur act is high energy, fun, and a definite crowd pleaser. His final reveal at the end made me SO happy and proud! His “Occupy” themed number was likewise popular. Channeling strength and determination, and more than a touch of outrage he both praised and chided unbridled protest. Very nice balance!

Sir Eddie Van Glam: I am particularly proud of the Rhinestone Stud, Sir Eddie Van Glam. Having had the opportunity to serve as friend and mentoring peer, I am truly thankful that he has continued in the art form and hope that he sticks with it for a long time! Van Glam’s first act was truly HOT. A very masculine take on a classic chair dance, Van Glam allowed himself to be sexy and stunned the audience with his strength and control. Later he ‘hammed’ it up with his celebrity crush act, implementing crisp and committed choreography and over the top, cartoon-character bravado. So good, Bud, I am immensely proud!

As a whole the show was amazing, and more than one person said it was one of the best recitals they’ve seen come out of AoB. With such talent as those artists above, and the expert guidance and unconditional support of our teacher, Waxie Moon, it is no wonder that this group rocked it!

I would personally like to say thank you to Waxie Moon for all of his work, and his amazing encouragement, to Miss Indigo Blue for her wonderfully frank feedback, to Ernie Von Schmaltz for an amazing job hosting, Solange Corbeau for being an awesome SM, Lisa for the AMAZING lights, Polly Wood for being her crazily dedicated self (Love you!), and to everyone else who made Saturday night possible.

To the community and amazing audience that showed up on Saturday night, we could not have done this with out you!  Thank you for allowing us to share our hard work, and for giving us the energy we needed to shine!

To my classmates, it was truly an honor and a privilege to work with you, and I sincerely hope that we do so again. Each of you posses fabulous talent, and dedication, and I will be endlessly thankful for the encouragement and support you showed me over this course.


Fosse Jack