Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012-12-21 Atlanta Xmas Apocalypse

So the end of the world was supposed to happen on Dec 21, 2012...obviously that didn't happen.  To celebrate this auspicious occasion, 7 Stages with The Little Five Points Rock Star Orchestra decided to put together a holiday show hosted by Santa with  Satan, Black Jesus, The Grinch, Scrooge, Mrs. Claus, Krampus singing while there was burlesque, aerials, sacrifices, crucifixions, pericers, suspensions and more Virgin Marys then you can shake a stick at!  This was actually their 4th year of having a blasphemous Xmas, however, with it being the end of the world they decided they were going to step it up a notch!  I was lucky enough to be asked by Heidi Howard, the director, to Stage Manage. I also worked with Dee Dee Chmielewski on costumes (most either she had made for the previous years or she and I raided and altered out of our personal stashes) and some how I let them talk me into performing as well.  And did I mention that we put the whole show together in under a week?

We had some meetings a few weeks before to go over an outline.  The Friday  one week, before the show we had a band rehearsal so they could get familiar with the music.  Monday we had a meet and greet to go over the outline of the show, assign final parts and talk through everything that we needed to do while the band hand one last music rehearsal with just them and the singers in the other room.  Tuesday, we brought in the band and staged the first half of the show.  Wednesday we ran through what we had already staged and then finalized the staging for the end of the show.  Thursday we had our preview show with a modest audience, mostly friends of the performers that couldn't make it out for the show on Friday due to other commitments.  Friday, the most awesome, amazing show in the whole world!

By Stungun Photography

I am always amazed yet never surprised by what this group can accomplish.  After working with most of them during Dracula, we definitely have a comfort level for working together, but A WEEK?  Seriously, everything came together in the amazing cacophony of chaos that only worked because of everyone's dedication, perseverance, and willingness to never say no but always saying "yes, we can totally make that work!" no matter how weird or insane an idea was.  I am honored to get to continue to work with this amazing group of people and I was so glad that I was able to pull in some of my burlesque and circus family into this show.  I keep joking that I am happiest hiding in a dark theater, but really I am happiest being around amazingly wonderful and creative people!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

4 Week Begining Lyra Classes

Sadie Hawkins Photo by La Photographie Nashville  
About a month ago I was done with Dracula: The Rock Opera, I was done with Imperial OPA's Masked Charade and was closing on the end of my semester and had a month before Atlanta Xmas Apocalypse... what was I going to do with my time?  I mean, I had to finish up school but I was going to have all this free time on my hands and we can't have that!  My friend, Sadie Hawkins, (who is an amazing performer with many aerial apparatuses, burlesque and fire) happened to post that she was going to be teaching a 4 week beginner lyra class series at Kinetic Hive that fit perfectly into my month off!

It was both easier and harder then I thought it would be.  I had taken a few classes from her maybe three(?) years before so some of it I had done before, but that didn't mean I remembered any of it.  The class was small, there were only three of us, so with Sadie showing us what to do we each got about 15 minutes on the lyra per class.  That does not sound like much, but as we were all beginners none of us needed to be on my longer than that as it's a very intensive work out that uses all of your muscles. We worked on different mounts, positions, and moved fairly quickly through a bunch of different things in a very short period of time.  So there I was, hanging from the ceiling, sometimes by only one hand and maybe one foot, doing splits in the air, sometimes upside down and sometimes doing flips around the ring.  Yeah, is under a month she had us doing flips and they were awesome!  I will say that I was often sore and ended up with bruises in places that made me look kind of like a battered junkie whore, but they were all worth it!  My word of advice is this: after class, drink about a liter of water (I drink water that has electrolytes in it) and take some Ibuprofen before you go to bed.  This will help keep your muscles hydrated and keep them from getting too sore.

Even at only one night a week I feel a lot more confident about being up on the lyra and I am planning on taking more classes from her in January.  Also, Kinetic Hive has some Aerial Jam time which means that you can come in and spend time with the aerial equipment to work at your own pace with lots of other people.  They also have an aerial conditioning class to help build up muscle and flexibility for aerial skills.  I am seriously thinking of doing some drop ins for those before the classes start back up in January so I don't loose any of my skills or strength during the break and can go further with this.  I am not really planning on performing on lyra, but this is a great time that is way more fun then going to the gym!

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012-12-08 6th Annual Tits for Toys for Tots Show

Flier by Design Kitty Studios
So last night I produced the 6th Annual Tits for Toys for Tots show for Syrens of the South at The Five Spot.  Each year we've managed to collect a bunch of toys to send home with the marine at the end of the night.  This year his car was so filled that there were still four or five boxes left behind for a later pick-up!  One of my favorite things about our holiday show is that it embraces all winter holidays.  Sure, we have lots of Christmas references, but we have also had visits from the Chanukah Fairy, Solstice fairies, Kwanzaa tributes, or just wintery snow angels gracing the stage and this year was no different.

We opened the show with Good Golly Svengali playing some amazing tunes for the crowd who got there early to ensure seating as we were standing room only again this year.  We did have a special guest MC for the show, Mr Cutty McGill was cracking jokes and introducing the acts for us on Saturday.  He's done a lot of work with 7 Stages over the years and we were thrilled to have him come play with us and he did an amazing job so I do hope he'll want to come work with us again in the future.  This show had a lot of firsts, Victoria Rose, Persephone Phoenix, Tru Bliss and Brie Brioche did their first show since graduating in August and they all did an amazing job!  Bourgeois Betty graced our stage again, but this time as an Atlanta local!  We had some Syrens debuts on stage as well, The Gentleman Callers from Athens did an amazing group boylesque routine that made me smile so much my face hurt and Vivian Kyle graced our stage for the first time with her amazing burlesque trapeze act where she went down to pasties for the very first time and Nipsy Tussle traveled all the way from Salome Cabaret in Knoxville to be a part of the holiday fun.
Photo by Fritz Pietrzak

We also had some of our long time Syrens veterans, Chad Sanborn dazzling the audience with his amazing magician skills, Rosie Palms (aka Kitty Love) doing her Christmas Island routine that has become a holiday staple, Brandy Noir shaking her martini, Ursula Undress debuted an amazing new routine that was tongue in cheek, or I guess I should say tail in cheek!  We also welcomed Burnadette Cinders back to the stage for the first time in almost 2 years!  Her last show with us was when we opened for The Dresden Dolls right before she left for maternity leave, we were thrilled to welcome her back into the family this past Saturday because that's what you do around the holidays.

We did have one bitter sweet moment with D'lilah D'lite as this was her last show with us as a local Atlanta performer.  With the new year she will be starting her new life in NOLA.  She has been an amazing performer, the queen of our pastie sweatshop, and has been teaching vintage hair and pastie making for Syrens for years now and has been a part of our family.  We all wish her the best and though we will miss her I guess this means we'll have to make a point to visit NOLA more and make sure to book her as a guest performer when she's in town!

Thank you again to everyone that came out and brought toys to help us bring some holiday cheer to those a little less fortunate.  Syrens of the South's next show at The Five Spot will be on February 9 for our Vixen's Valentease show and we hope to see you all then!  Charity is TBD, we are happy to take suggestions!

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012-12-05 Whoville Christmas Show

Though most of you know I do burlesque, I also happen to have done years of theater from serious roles to musicals.  Yup, this ecdysiast is also a thespian.  Deeds was asked by Luminocity to put together a cast of around 10 performers for Life University's Holiday party.   The theme was a Whoville Christmas. We rehearsed the choreography, got zany costumes, threw in a little body stacking, and some singing and boom, SHOW!  Dee Dee put the entire show together in about two weeks from digging out the costumes, choosing the music, picking the performers (and replacing the ones that ended up having conflicts) and creating the choreography.  It was a blast to do and the audience seemed to really enjoy it. I know if I thought I was at a boring Christmas party and then people in crazy outfits and insane hair started popping out of wrapped presents I would be entertained!

So yeah, sometimes it's really nice to be on the other side of the stage.  I've been stage managing a lot more lately and not spending as much time on stage.  It was a lot of fun, I got to wear a fun costume, crazy hair and some really silly shoes.  Mostly, this is a yay I got to do something cool post with some pics!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012-12-01 Hillbilly Casino Rock'n'Roll Christmas Show

I really wasn't going to go out on Saturday.  Friday I had the Atlanta Xmas Apocalypse meeting to hand out the info to everyone, and go over costume ideas to see what we already had, which led to chatting, which led to a few drinks, which led to silliness and led to me not getting home until 2:30am.  So on Saturday I was planning on just dropping off some costumes at 7 Stages for Dee Dee to use for an upcoming show and ended up hanging out and grabbing lunch.  Then hung out some more and we ended up running some errands and lost about two hours watching L&O:SVU.  I was going to go home because I had been kind of dragging all day and was pretty sleepy but Dee Dee convinced me that we needed to actually go out and do something that didn't not involve us working on a show.  She threw one of her shirts on me, we slapped on some make-up and went out to the Star Bar.

When we got there the show had already started with Cletis & His City Cousins.  They were fun, I wish I had gotten to see a little more of their set, but with showing up late and then running into about 20 people I knew as soon as I walked in, I was just not in a position to pay as close attention as I would have liked. So we grabbed some drinks, chatted and enjoyed the last bit of their set.

Second was Ghost Riders Car Club.  They were fun and the reason that Dee Dee wanted to go out in the first place since she's friends with many of the band members so we wandered up to the front of the stage running into more people I haven't seen in forever.  I've been really bad about going out and seeing people, but I digress...  They were fun, amazing music and awesome to watch on stage.  GRCC made you want to dance around and just enjoy life which was a nice change from the school, work and more work routine that I've been keeping the last few months.  Afterwards Deeds wanted to go back stage to say hi so we wandered back there for a few before coming back out.

Hillbilly Casino were the headliners and there for closed out the show.  They were fun, had high energy and were rocking out.  At that point it was getting pretty late and I was pretty wiped out so we didn't stay for the entire set.  

Over all very fun evening, Rev Andy's next big show will be HollyFest on Feb 2 at The Star Bar.

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012-11-29 Brass Band Blow Out at The Five Spot

So Tuesday we finish up our meeting for Atlanta Xmas Apocalypse and I am checking my calendar to realize that we moved our next meeting from Thursday to Friday so I can now go to the Brass Band Blow Out that some friends are playing.  The problem, when everyone you know going is on stage, who do you stand in the back and drink with while making comments?  Luckily, while talking this out, Heidi said she would go with me, so on Thursday I got my girl date on and went to the Brass Band Blow Out at The Five Spot.  The band line-up was Good Golly Svengali, Black Sheep Ensemble, and Mercury Orkestar.

For those that don't know, Good Golly Svengali is the name of that awesome band you guys listen to when you come see The Imperial OPA Circus.  Yes, they have a name and are a band in their own right, not just the soundtrack for the hi jinx you watch on stage.  They've been doing more gigs as just the band and branching out all of their original music from just what you would expect to hear while watching acrobats balance on each other and then fly through the air with the greatest of ease.  They've added in a lot more guitar and some very funky rifts an even though it was not an OPA show there were improv dancers popping up all over the bar that felt moved by the music.  They were the only band who had guitars, a violin and an accordion   The rest of the night's bands were almost entirely brass.  Wango and Pyramid are super funky and may be my favorites out of the new tunes, but there will always be a place in my heart for Sketchy Gypsy.  I did love the addition of Lorenzo, who plays sax, singing a French folk song.  After four years of High School French I could not understand a word.  Heidi was translating it for me, it sounded pretty dirty but I suppose everything in French sounds dirty.  For the final song Black Sheep Ensemble came out to play along with Good Golly Svengali and that was the most brass I have ever seen played at one time outside of a symphony or orchestra.  The Five Spot was so full of performers playing and dancing around that you could feel the resonance in your entire body.

Black Sheep filled the stage with performers, easily 20 musicians on stage.  They did a great job but I'm not as familiar with the song they were playing.  It seemed more traditional marching sounds, and as I often see them at festivals playing as a marching band that would make sense.  One of the things that I did love was that they all looked like they were having fun.  Did I also mention that Laorenzo also performs with Black Sheep?  So he got to do two sets back to back, but he seemed to be having fun!

Closing out the night was Mercury Orkestar.  They were a little rowdy but were obviously having a great time which made them fun to watch.  I think they were a good choice to close as by the time they went on everyone was a little drunk and since Mercury Orkestar rocked out to some covers it was easy to get a drunk audience into the groove with things they knew.  Most memorable to me was their amazing cover of More Human Than Human by White Zombie, Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire by Jimi Hendrix and a super fun rendition of Conga by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.  It brought the improv dancers back out along with the drunks and was very much a party at the end of the night atmosphere.  Which is how the glasses happened...

Over all it was a fun show and everyone seemed to have a great time!  Highly recommend going to catch any of these bands if you see that they're playing.  

PS.  Good Golly Svengali will be closing out the night at the Syrens of the South 6th Annual Tits for Toys for Tots show on Dec 8th at The Five Spot.