Posts by theburlesqueherald

Martini drinking Editor of a Burly Magazine/Periodical The Burlesque Herald. Also Promoter of The Bollinger Club Burlesque Show, Worthing. UK.

Steampunk…. Seriously?

A learned Lecture by Professor Elemental…..

Airship Ambassador

by Professor Elemental

Being a grown up is hard. Mortgages, illnesses, car payments, credit card bills, parenting and politics; these are not activities for the faint hearted. So it’s no wonder that all of us seek some kind of escape from time to time. There’s the telly and the computer, sports and video games, a cornucopia of exciting drugs and new sexual combinations- all there to help ease the pressure of modern life. Still, some of us like to go that extra mile; for some of us, it’s not enough, to watch science fiction- we want to be science fiction. Why sit around imagining an outlandish fantasy when you could actually go out and live it for a while, or at least a fair approximation of it?

That, to me, is the joy of Steampunk. To don a metal arm, squeeze into an impossible corset or even just pop on…

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The Burlesque Herald reviews The Worthing Wormhole Comic : Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention.

It was time once again to select the reliable and warm Steampunk attire for Worthing’s first Comic Convention at The assembly hall and evening event at St Pauls Worthing. Ticket price in advance from £8 for an adult and £4 for a child made for an excellent day out on a cold miserable day. Car parking  is £2 for 4 hours.

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Sharing a Camera lense with Professor Elemental.

There were the usual guests and display from Steampunk Rapper Professor Elemental. Droids, Daleks, Cybermen, Red Sonja and retail stalls to look at and purchase from. A games room hosted the war games which proved very interesting to the untrained eye. To witness an on board re-enactment of the Battle of Endor in orbit was something else.  A cosy corner for the latest in the video gaming world. Even younger children were catered for with face painting.

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There was excellent food and eatery trailers outside if you fancied tea or Mexican. Inside was cakes and light bites to keep you going for the after party. For a short walk (yes dressed in Sci-Fi) you could reach the many eating and drinking establishments of Worthing.

All in all the this was the Wormhole’s first event. There will always be teething problems with events debuts, but that is of course taking nothing away from it. The Wormhole will grow from strength to strength as organisers will look back and learn on how they will do things differently. It is an event in a grateful city which needs more events like this at its venues as the climate reduces the need for Ice Cream and deck chairs on the beach. The future looks promising as 850 guests passed through the daytime gates and  its advertised it will return in April 2018. Just one fix might be to allow if possible families to attend at the after party. Good luck and We will see you in April 2018 !!

Let the Talent through ! Burlesque Games 2017.

That is the Burlesque Games concluded for another year. We have a new crowned Burlesque Queen for their annual reign. In reality of course this is insignificant. It is probably decided who will wear the crown long before the curtain goes up.

But is that not the same star studded line up as the year before and before that ? The mind boggles, maybe there is a roster of winners. Some have argued that this is the established performers reasserting their regime like Russian forces on Moscow Victory Parade Day. But is it not time to show us something new. We do not have to look to far either. The Grass Root level is where to begin.

It cannot be ignored there is in fact talent that would and in a lot of instances out class a lot of the performers on the weekend’s line up. Performers such as Siouxsie Roux, Dorset, South West England, whose performance as Queen Liz the first (She was in fact a real Queen without question) would certainly bowl any audience over let alone Sir Francis Drake’s bowls at Plymouth Hoe ! But absent. Why ?

Looking at the map from the South West of England towards Wales you could muster the might of the Welsh Dragon. Dorine Chantepie performing to the Caravan club, Lili Del Fleur with Paddington Bear and Flissy Tease. The finest in talent from Wales and not one of them on the line up.

It is also clear that too in the world of Burlesque We don’t have many confusers. But We have Rosie Glow of Portsmouth. The only performing confuser in the UK and not even invited to the king’s court for a chance at the crown. Poor form if you ask me. Portsmouth also has more to offer then diesel guzzling ferries too. The very talented Burlesque by The Sea headed up by Demonica Latex and Loretta Lebonke is very worthy of a place at the games. These performers can change theme like I change my clothes very inventive and creative, yet not at the games ?

At the home counties We have the athletic Sakura Cyanide. This performer has it all and is evident She can charm a crowd. Her height and statuesque alone commands her authority both on the stage and floor. Sakura would bounce off a large venue and throw the audience exactly what it needs for an electric atmosphere.

Now Essex is yet another powerhouse for talent. Scarlet Blossom’s adaptation of Chaz and Dave’s Rabbit Rabbit with audiences thinking about the gaffer tape over the mouth and it’s not so obvious relevance to the act would leave audiences in stitches. With many more such as Sian Trigwell, Lady Blue Phoenix  and more.

Brighton’s Zelda Zemzare offers some Eastern spice with something very alternative for romantic couples in the audience. Zelda a reliable and punctual performer who is willing to travel for the satisfaction of entertaining.

There also seems to be a real distinct lack of the performers from minority groups . Whom can all be found at grass root level. We have already mentioned some of those very talented individuals, but again Pixie Rider who is no stranger to the stage is not performing. Pixie Rider’s act is a story of overcoming the struggles of disability and her desire to be a performer in Burlesque is worthy alone of being in the line up.The gesture of her inclusion would be seen as a transparent acknowledgement from the Burlesque games promoters that  ‘Disabled’ ‘People of Colour’, ‘LGBT’ and ‘Queer’ are welcome in Burlesque.

Alas We have a show that turns its back on grass root talent and minority groups.It is about time these very deserving performers who are the real grafters of burlesque are given a break. It’s not to late as there is next year and the year after that and the year after that…………

Editorial Comment. Burlesque Games 2017.

Looks like the line up for Burlesque games for 2017 has been announced. A star studded line up is confirmed albeit a few exceptions, with that a few exceptions are missed too. Many grass root level performers who could easily have made the cut sadly have been left out.

Of course We will let our readers decide on whom they think should have been allowed to enter for a chance of winning the crown or indeed whom they think should be crowned the Burlesque Champion. Email your thoughts to us here at The Burlesque Herald.

However, it must be clear to all that the firm favourite just has to be without question the very creative Smashlyn Monroe. Smashlyn has gone from strength to strength and has over come all the odds in making herself an absolute success in Burlesque. From El Rico to her tour of Cirque Le Soir Dubai says enough here at The Burlesque Herald !!

Readers watch this space as Smash Smashes the stage.

Putting the record straight….An exclusive interview with James Bollinger.

In July 2017. The Bollinger Club made a suggestion via Social Media for feedback about a registration fee for shows. Little did The Bollinger Club know that this was the evening there was a conspiracy to kill the club. We interview James Bollinger for his story….. 

Many promoters/performers were talking about how sad it was that shows were being cancelled because of low ticket sales and how slow things where. Questions were being asked for ideas on how promoters could keep the money flowing and the shows alive.The less well known performers (as I refuse to refer to them as Newbies) need a hand up in getting stage experience and promoted. It is these people that are the very back bone of Burlesque. They perform for passion and fun. They come from all walks of life, some struggle for that much needed stage time and The Bollinger Club gave them the opportunity.  But on the 6th of July 2017  The Bollinger Club floated the idea similiar to other events of a small fee (admin/registration fee) being paid by Performers no more than the audience ticket price which would would be refundable upon ticket sales hitting targets like other promotions charge with no refund The Bristol Burlesque Festival. Ibiza Burlesque Festivals.The Great Western and Cabaret Festival.

A few contacted the promotion privately giving their views some in favour some against. Fair enough and no hard feelings it was just an idea on how Burlesque could be saved for the many !!! Things were very sensible up until then.

Many of our readers would ask what would you do with the extra funds raised from the registration fee ?

That is a the golden question nobody has asked ! The idea is the registration fee may be refundable and only up to an audience ticket price. For example a registration fee of say £2.50 or £5 per performer would raise funds for advertising. The audience We attracted at Worthing was made up of fifty new people who lived locally and they had never seen Burlesque before. We had fifty people in attendance at the show, my aim would have been to attract another fifty and the registration fee would have been used to pay for advertising to achieve one hundred guests in attendance. If We had another fifty, that would total one hundred guests and raise £500. Now, for example deduct £100 for venue hire, £50 for advertising. That would leave £350 for a door split. So if you had ten performers that gives them £30 door split per performer plus £5 refunded registration fee. Nothing for the Promoter !!

It’s interesting earlier in the interview, you reject the term Newbie. Why ?

The term ‘Newbie’ is often used about performers who are new. But, I also found that a ‘Newbie’ is used to fill a gap in the schedule in a show or is sometimes an individual performer who does not get paid or receives financial compensation. I am not sure where the term comes from, but I am of the opinion it is used to apply to someone to categorise or suppress an individual from headlining or charging a fee in line with a performer who who can charge a fee because they have been on the scene longer performance abilities disregarded.

I think it is a complete nonsense, I have seen new performers who have performed as well as their contemporaries. So for me a ‘Newbie’ is manipulation of a performer. The general public will not know the difference. A ‘Newbie’ is there to assist in keeping more ‘senior’ performers safe from losing their fees, but at the end of it all no individual performer is bigger than Burlesque !

There are promoters in absolute denial about their business situation.”  

Cerise Mae ( Real Name:Natasha Jade Rothwell), Promoter of   Cerise May Productions started the derogatory remarks around queuing up of performers and asked her ‘Facebook’ friends what they thought. The knives came out and the friends tagging came into force with further cyber-bullying of what was just an idea and for feedback. The Bollinger Club found all the comments coming in overwhelming as more and more of the so called community ‘weighed’ in. The Bullies’ post reached in excess of fifty six thousand people, 100 shares and 200 comments. We asked James what would be her motive ? ‘I am not sure as We have chatted privately and I have assisted in promoting her events. I read on Facebook She has suffered from mental health issues before.It may have something to do with her company Cerise Burlesque Ltd being dissolved on the 6th of June 2017 Companies House . It is another piece of compelling evidence that makes the case clear not only is the Burlesque industry in trouble, there are promoters in absolute denial about their business situation.’

“Every member of the audience was guaranteed a seat and a view.”

Next up with the cyber-Bullying comments was Dawn Gracie . The self proclaimed ‘Worthingite’ who by her own admission has lived in Chichester for twelve years running a bed and breakfast Northleigh Cottage made her opinion known to The Bollinger Club about using google images to promote an event on an open Facebook thread. We asked James Bollinger about the advice offered by Dawn. James said ‘ Of course Dawn can offer her advice, but it is not set in stone on how you promote yourself. We like to get our events out early so other shows in the area do not double book. We don’t necessarily book performers at the same time.

Dawn made references as with other facebook bullies that the Bollinger Club was ‘laughable’, do you agree with her ?

‘I don’t find it funny at all. The Bollinger Club offered a show that was accessible to all at £5 per head for a ticket in the heart of the Worthing community which is a charity run community centre.  And We were proud to book performers from all areas including Disabilities, Queer, LGBT and POC. How many Promotions can make that claim ? Every member of the audience was guaranteed a seat and a view. ‘If She had any sincere advice to offer She should have arranged to meet us. I think Dawn needs to look at her shows as I have read reviews and know guests that have paid five times as much as my ticket price, don’t get a view and don’t get a seat, now that’s laughable !!’

The third instigator was Madeline Soleil (real name Sandra Shawyer)  who did not delay in cyber bullying the suggestion, who can be quoted in Facebook’s South Coast Burlesque Society as ‘it’s been so disheartening the past few weeks hearing of shows having to cancel due to low ticket sales.’Of course I read this statement and took it seriously. Let me explain to the readers that We attended Madeleine’s Rock with the Foxes shows regularly. Two of the performers successfully applied to perform at our shows and just for the record Madeleine Soleil did not even show up to any of our shows to support her own performers !! Instead She elected to go to one of Dawn Gracie’s events on the same night. She even went further by making derogatory remarks on her profile page, which one individual asked her not to do .

 

The Herald noted also other ‘Foxes’ joined in with the bullying. James went on to explain ‘Clare Oram went on to making remarks, but I put this down to her not being selected to perform at one of our shows in her hometown of Portsmouth.’ However, She did attend our event in Portsmouth dressed inappropriately and watched our line up in awe. She also made a comment that I handed out flyers at one of the Foxes’ events, it was agreed prior that We would bring some to their shows and We would take some foxes’ flyers back with us to hand out at our shows and media.’

‘It is Ironic We attended a Rock with the foxes Newbie Event last year held in a Public House in Portsmouth and spoke to the Landlord. He told us about how unorganised they are under the stewardship of Madeleine and that on the very evening He had no prior knowledge if there was going to be a show. In fact He went on to explain there was no promotional flyers or posters on display in the pub in advance. I would like to clarify that this was an event where guests would make a donation after the show and then the money is divided up between the performers. It was evident that the promotion was poor as there were more performers then guests in the pub !  At the end of the evening a donation jug was passed round the pub for the show, I donated £20. They could not have raised much to pay the performers as the promotion was so poor !’

I cannot remember which charity it was for, but there was no declaration online…….

‘I even attended a Foxes’ event at Christmas time at The Buckland Community Centre in Portsmouth. There was a charity event being run and naturally I purchased some raffle tickets. I cannot remember which charity is was for, but there was no declaration online as to how much was raised. I find this odd !!’

James told the Herald, that He felt now He had seen the industry in its true colours. ‘I am so pleased that this is not our only income. Imagine if it was and just on one Facebook comment your business is discredited .My comment was conveniently taken out of context and organised into a drive against us on social media.  I think these and other individuals need to take a long look at themselves and their behaviour. Not only have they damaged our brand ,they have not exactly put themselves in any great light or moral high ground. There are more cyber bullies and I have records of all of them, but these three are only some of the main instigators.’

…the cheek of it….

‘There was even a performer We had paid, who claimed We did not. Lady May (real name Natalie Booth) Lady May made the allegation during the viral thread.  James said ‘I emailed Lady May explaining We had paid her fees to her agent even though She did not perform because of the show being cancelled.’ I offered in the email that I would meet her in London and show her the evidence that She was paid and whom it was too. Lady May needs to take her issue up with her agent.’How did you feel ? ‘I thought The Cheek of it !!! To date She has not replied to my email sent on the 8th of July 2017.’

We asked James what will happen to The Bollinger Club ?

I think there is no community for the concept to operate and it’s one more show that has gone to the wall and for the wrong reasons really. Many Promoters and Performers are in denial. They don’t want to look at the financial balance sheet and address it. They wish to ignore it. They know they are running at losses and their promotions are running financial losses. The demand from the public is not there. So instead of collectively looking to save Burlesque they look to save themselves. However, We have proved you can put on a show for a fair price with a guaranteed seat and view.Our Worthing show attracted fifty guests who had never seen a Burlesque performance before and our second Performance in Portsmouth attracted a similar number of guests who had never seen a Burlesque show before. We had 5 star reviews left by these guests too.  We proved despite who you are you can perform without prejudice. But that did not wash with the establishment, who are only interested in the few and not the many.

 

 

The Burlesque Herald Reviews….

The Burlesque Herald reviews The Sub-Aquatic Steampunk Weekend, The Submarine Museum Gosport, Hampshire. As We had toured in the earlier part of the year the Historic Dockyard, We decided it would be an ideal time to take in the education of the Submarine Museum. The added bonus was The Gosport Steampunk Society was holding their Sub-Aquatic Steampunk Weekend at the venue. What an opportunity !!

 

So it was on with the Tweed and the reliable Bowler hat with the two tone shoes for an excursion to Gosport. A group ticket was purchased in advance for £28 with single and whole weekend tickets available which included access to the museum and acts.

 

The headline act was Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer singing his very finest of chap hop tracks.  There was also readings and tea duelling and walkabout story tellers too on the stage and around it , as well as in the tent stage. It is also worth mentioning parking was free.

 

The usual car park was taken up by Fast food outlets, a cocktail bar (I would recommend The Pain Killer Cocktail) and a Gin Citréon bar. We were warmly welcomed and there was stalls scattered in and around the Museum, as well as models by the Steampunk community and the Museum as one strolled further around the museum.

 

Many people were in Steampunk attire and looking Super !! In the main building opposite HMS alliance was more stalls selling various Steampunk paraphernalia, I purchased a rather interesting  bottle of Honey Rum. There were other stalls selling canes to pistols to ear rings to hats and even a photography stand.

Next door was the Turtle submarine owned by the museum one of the first subs ever constructed, this was surrounded by a large selection of Steampunk Models such as the Nautilus (featured above).

I understand that this was The Gosport Society’s first Weekender and I can see the potential. It was situated on a great venue. The Gosport Society provided great entertainment. The parking was free and there was plenty to do. HMS Alliance is well worth a look in itself. The Steampunkers all looked awesome in there attire. The Stalls where reasonable priced and had a large choice of goods. One stall had two very eccentric Steam Punks outside HMS Alliance that kept the crowds entertained.

The Aqua-Sub Weekend come highly recommended and I can see it’s potential and The Gosport Steampunk Society will only grow, so here it is until the next one which no doubt will be bigger and better.

Credit to Mark Winterford and RN Museums. National Museum of The Royal Navy.

Burlesque in Decline ? Editorial Comment.

Burlesque in decline seems to be a subject matter grabbing the Burly threads of debate so far this summer.We constantly read show cancellations, as promoters and producers struggle to pull in the punters. But is it around to stay or a seasonal blip ? Some promoters have appealed to their peers to kick start the slump in ticket sales to support each others’ gigs.

Paid performers perhaps need to command less of a fee ……..

Arguably the Burly family by making visits to other promotion’s shows will help, but promoters are the forgotten lot. Frantically making bookings and finding venues acceptance and tolerance to Burlesques is a thankless task leaving promoters out of pocket.

 

Also and this is the contentious part  performers fees can also stretch the promoters budget into deficit  following on from advertising and promotions. Paid performers perhaps need to command less of a fee or assist in promoting their worthy presence at a show regularly in advance instead of leaving it to the ever last minute. In comparison to a performer who charges no fee, but advertises and brings a following are more appealing to Promoters budgets in breaking even.

…the general public may be put off by anything more than £5……

Attracting audiences is a strategic importance. Promoters having to be diligent in thinking to ticket price and location. The austere whipped general public are looking for a cheap night out on their doorstep. A low ticket fee is favourable and makes shows accessible to the many not the few. Of course a plush venue is attractive, but the general public may be put off by anything more than £5 for acts they know little about and sometimes not announced until the last minute. On the other hand venues at the heart of the community may be more in tune with the general public and with an night out accessible to all filled with performers from all over the country who are genuine Burly performers simply for the love.

Only time will tell if Burlesque is in decline, possibly dictated to by a hot summer as the public prefer to be outside instead off in front of their devices finding something to do . Choosing BBQs, festivals and holidays over shows.  A hot Summer may prove to long for Burlesque.