Toronto Fringe: Sexy, saucy fun times as one young woman gets her tassels on in Becoming Burlesque

Untitled-4It was some cheeky fun times at Toronto Fringe last night, as the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Ave., southwest corner of Bloor St. West and Spadina) was transformed into Babylon, a burlesque cabaret featuring the music of hot local Toronto bands and even hotter dancers. This is Becoming Burlesque, written/produced by Jackie English, co-directed by English and Sebastien “Toro” Marziali, and choreographed by Pastel Supernova.

When a high kick goes awry and a dancer is injured, a helpful female audience member who retrieves a stray costume piece finds herself with a new job when the girls take her under their collective wing. Starting as a kitten (the gal who strikes discarded costume bits), she learns how to walk in heels and work the revealing costume, eventually finding herself in the middle of a dance number. Caught up in the choreography, she’s a natural – and her burlesquification continues under the watchful, supportive eye of her new family until graduation day – and the kitten grows up and gets a feature spot of her own.

Becoming Burlesque features scenes/choreography from Pastel Supernova’s upcoming indie film Love Letters Cabaret (the live cabaret of the same name runs at Lula Lounge). Featuring fabulous and entertaining performances from Kasia Rheann aka Minou, Amber-Kelly Mackereth aka Azura, Knox Harter, Julie McLaughlin aka Revel, Sweet Rosie Me, Thrasher and Liana Lewis aka Petra – and English as the new girl – Becoming Burlesque treats the audience to some hot good times, with scintillating moves, and plenty of opportunities to whoop and woot their appreciation of the performances. These women come in all shapes and sizes – and all are beautiful.

It’s some big, sexy, saucy fun as one unsuspecting young woman gets her tassels on in Becoming Burlesque.

Becoming Burlesque has one more performance at the Al Green Theatre: today (Sun, July 12) at 4:00 p.m. So get yourselves down there and cheer on the girls! The house was packed last night, so if you haven’t pre-booked your ticket, you best get your pretty butts to the venue box office early.

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So much fun coming up!

Thought I’d take a moment to post about some ongoing/upcoming arts events.

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) continues this week with the Week Two program and reading (March 13-17), with Week Three program/reading running the week after (March 20-24).

Quick note on Saturday’s Week One reading of Falling: We had a packed house, with an audience who responded very positively and had some great feedback for playwright Jamie Johnson. Shouts to Jamie, co-artistic directors Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, director Ed Rosing, AD/SM Jake Simpkins, dramaturge Diane Forrest, sound designer Rick Jones, and fellow cast members Carys Lewis, Cora Matheson, Ruth Miller and Kristen Scott! And a big thanks to all the folks who came out to support the play, including friends and family – some of whom trekked in from Ottawa, Burlington and Hamilton. xo

The next edition of The Beautiful and the Damned is Thursday, March 14 – 7 p.m. at Glad Day Bookshop. Host DM Moore introduces feature performers Greg “Ritallin” Frankson, Gerald Hannon and Andraya Smith, and some amazing open mic folks.

The next Songwriters Circle of Jerks is coming up on Thursday, March 14 – 8:30 p.m. at Free Times Café, featuring Brian Cober, Hugh Wilson, Marcus Walker, Nelson Sobral and Nick Verona.

Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival opens Friday, March 15 and runs until March 24 at Berkeley Street Theatre – check out the cool promo vid for the fest.  Features a new play by one of my favourite playwrights: Judith Thompson’s Who Killed Snow White? Also check out Nightwood’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration FemCab on Wednesday, March 20.

Speaking of my favourite playwrights, check out ongoing productions of works by Hannah Moscovitch (Double Bill) at Tarragon Theatre (till March 24) and Theatre Brouhaha’s production of Kat Sandler’s Rock at Storefront Theatre (till March 23).

And while you’re at it, check out the March programming and workshops at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) is coming up hard and fast (March 19-24) – so check that out. Just a selection of some artists I know who will be performing: Angela Saini, blueVenus, Meghan Morrison, Jessica Speziale, Tin Star Orphans

But wait – there’s more! Bella’s Burlesque Birthday Bash: DIRTY THIRTY DANCE PARTY is coming up on Thursday, March 28 at Lee’s Palace – 8:30 p.m. Bella Fox hosts a night of burlesque, music (including High Heels Lo Fi), dancing – it’s going to be a blast. Next day is Good Friday, so lots of you will be able to sleep that one off.

All the more reason for me to get over this stupid head cold, which I’ve had since last Thursday.

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir launch @ Q Space – fun, sexy & smart

Writer/poet/horror aficionado/editor Lizzie Violet launched her brand new monthly cabaret – Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir – at Q Space last night. And what a fun, sexy and thought-provoking night it was.

The cabaret premiere included feature performers Mullet the Clown, David Bateman and Kat Leonard, as well as a very talented line-up of open mic folks. Music, comedy, spoken word, poetry, a zombie clown telling stories and performing card tricks – it was a mix of the ridiculous and the sublime, visceral and cerebral, personal and political, as these talented artists took the stage. Q Space is a casual, intimate, welcoming storefront place, with a cool, eclectic and creative group of folks – and it’s the perfect home for the cabaret as friends, fellow artists and neighbourhood peeps gather to support some incredible local talent.

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir will be a monthly event, the second Sunday of the month, and will feature music, vaudeville, comedy, burlesque, poetry and open mic performances. The next cabaret is set for Sunday, April 14 (7 – 10 p.m) – with feature artists author/poet Brandon Pitts, music by Cry Wolf (Jess McAvoy and Nelson Sobral from Melting Pot), and burlesque performer Bella Fox. Come on by, get yourself a beer or a latte – and enjoy.

Because this is Cabaret Noir, I decided to do this batch of pics in black and white.

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Tash Jolly (aka Super Tash) performs some spoken word
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Duncan Armstrong
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Brenda Clews
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Vanessa McGowan performs “On other Chunks” from her book Divine Cockeyed Genius
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Feature performer Mullet the Clown tells us a story
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Host Lizzie Violet reads “Chlamydia is not a Flower!”
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Feature performer Kat Leonard performed 3 new songs, as well as some Depper Love favourites
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Feature performer David Bateman reads some short creative non-fiction
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Philip Cairns
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Norman Allen
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Brandon Pitts
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Feature performers (left – right) Mullet the Clown, David Bateman, Kat Leonard & host Lizzie Violet