Bohemian Melbourne: A Modern Retrospective

absinthesalon have received the following Press Release on a very exciting event:

“Opening on 12 December, Bohemian Melbourne will weave the story of Melbourne’s bohemian scenes, subcultures and identities from the mid-19th century until today. The exhibition celebrates artists, writers, poets, performers, musicians and filmmakers who made their mark on Melbourne over the last 150 years including the likes of Marcus Clarke, Percy Grainger, Barry Humphries, Mika Mora and Nick Cave.

Bohemian Melbourne features a cast of colourful characters including well-known Melbourne iconoclasts – like Albert Tucker and Joy Hester, Tim and Betty Burstall, Frank Thring and The Skyhooks – and lesser known avant garde figures like Vali Myers and Val Eastwood. The exhibition also explores modern day bohemians such as goths, punks, burlesque and street artists.



Along with individuals, the exhibition delves into places that have etched themselves into Melbourne’s history such as Heide, Montsalvat, the Savage Club, La Mama, the Pram Factory, the Crystal Ballroom and the Nicholas Building.

Bohemian Melbourne brings together paintings, photographs, prints, books, diaries, letters, costumes, posters and album covers along with a diverse selection of rarely seen film and video from the National Film and Sound Archive, the ABC and numerous independent filmmakers. The exhibition has been curated by the State Library of Victoria with advisor Tony Moore, Monash University historian and author of Dancing With Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians.

Bohemian Melbourne will be a free exhibition in the Keith Murdoch Gallery at the State Library from 12 December 2014 until 22 February 2015.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a summer program of live music, film screenings, art workshops, walking tours, talks and pop-up performances.”

Full details can be found at at 



Posted by Jonathan on Nov 16th 2014 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,Fashion,History,Literature,News | Comments (0)

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Review – Absinthe Reverie by Distillery Botanica


Followers of the site will know that Australia is no stranger to Absinthe production historically, however, it has probably been a little slow in terms of homegrown creations meeting the new benchmarks of commercial production.  No doubt this is probably in part to the enormous administrative burden of getting permission to commercially distill in Australia, a story which has been played out in the emerging Whisky industry, now making its mark in Tasmania.

It is appropriate then that the challenge to produce a high quality domestic absinthe has been taken up by a Master Distiller, Philip Moore, who as been playing with artisan liqueurs and botanical flavours for many years at Distillery Botanica (formally St Fiacres) in Erina, New South Wales.  It is probably a testament to his skill that this new absinthe on the block, Reverie, is already winning accolades at the International Wine & Spirits Challenge and getting some due publicity in the process.


Reverie is 68 % alc/vol and comes in a 500mL bottle with plastic screwcap. Probably the right size for small batch craft distilling, but maybe the packaging production is not as ‘slick’ as other craft offerings.

Opening the bottle, I was greeted with a strong licorice note followed by a pot pourri of herbal aromatics – distinct dried fennel, a headiness like chamomile azulenes, but certainly no unripe ‘green notes’.  Examining a sample poured into my glass I thought it appeared like a very freshly pressed virgin olive oil, a rich golden green.


I set the brouilleur in motion with some iced syrup laden water to watch the transformation.  It was a very slow louche, there was no rushing this creature into revealing her wings.  After stretching out the tease, the performance peaked as a creamy, golden buttery louche emerged within the glass, thick enough to obscure a spoon.  There didn’t appear to be a lot of aromatics being released during the dilution, and it really required a long inhale in the glass at completion to start picking apart the flavours, in particular a high sweet lemon note floating on the desiccated herbaceous layer.


It was a very intense flavour upon first taste – bold on the fennel with the loooong lingering wormwood bitterness that just pleasantly hung around the back of the tongue.  A very comprehensive coating of the mouth, almost tannic but of a more refined kind such as in an older developed wine. The flavour notes were very much on the deep end of the scale – the lighter hyssop chocolate notes I would expect not really coming to the fore.


But if you give the glass a little time to develop, the extroversion in bold flavours pulls back a little, allowing some talc like minerality to shine through in the middle of the palate.

I have little hesitation in saying in Reverie, we have an absinthe that punches in the same weight division of many quality European commercial absinthes, and is an absolute pleasure to have something of this tier produced in the antipodes.  Maybe we will see  more absinthe experiments from Meister Moore in the future, going farther with his botanical daring do, given he has the expected absinthe foundations solidly laid down? Time will only tell. You can purchase Reverie from Absinthe Salon – be aware it frequently sells out quickly.


Posted by Jonathan on Jun 16th 2014 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Culture,Distilleries,News | Comments (0)

Unsound Adelaide Review 2014-Lee Gamble, Cut Hands, Morton Subotnik, Nurse With Wound

After the organised cinematic elegance of Snowtown: Live & Stars of the Lid in rarefied surrounds on the first night, it is a nice contrast to return to the stone & ferrous girder Queens Theatre amongst a motley assortment of our experimental music devotees. Go read Adelaide Festival Director David Sefton’s interview with ABC – I really like this quote:  “There is a definite ‘people coming out of their bedroom’ quality to it. Though I totally empathise – I am one of those people.”  David, there is little doubt you are.

First up producer Lee Gamble enveloped us in a blanket of deep space ambience, while visions of neuronal & synaptic firing illuminated the back drop.  But not satisfied to leave us in a drone driven purgatory, a subtle beat driven subharmony evolves and grows until we find our own physicality unconsciously moving to vaguely gabba-esque rhythms, maybe even some drum & debased if you will. There was an impressive range of creativity here that painted not only in the palette of modern danceable avant-garde but seemed to draw on almost militant elements I associate with the Swedish dark ambient-industrial scene of the late 1990′s.

Cut Hands is the latest brainchild of William Bennett of old school industrial pioneers “Whitehouse” fame.  Immediately the stylistic cues reminded me of the playfulness of Yello (with considerably less Geneva beige) bouncing against flashes of more melancholic Dead Can Dance tribal renderings.  Powerful, danceable rhythms from Haiti, Cuba & Africa with stygian noisescapes tapping into something primal and chthonic.  I need to stress, it is definitely its own thing, it is not a simple recasting of traditional form.   But it is probably the first time I have heard a serious considered electronic exploration of Vodoun polyrhythms since Rodney Orpheus’s side project Sun God. There is a sentiment that William to an extent is experimenting not only with the music, but with the listener and/or dancer. Our Western brains try to process rhythms one way, and sometimes our bodies process them another way. Compelling stuff.

Morton Subotnik , being the only octogenarian on the bill, is as “old skool” as you are going to get given his pioneering work in electronic music in the late 1960’s.  Organic and analogue, his up front unapologetic minimalist opening in Silver Apples of the Moon forced you to shut up and listen, which people did. He may have worked sans drums, but the kids seemed to get it – picking up on the subliminal rhythms, an almost invisible waltz to the ear.  He built his sonic creations in layers, expertly sound sculpturing and revelling in the lux/nox interfaces. The applause he received was only confirmation to me that those attending are not looking for the next wave of dance music, but are happy to look backwards and understand the genesis.

Finally Nurse With Wound addressed us all with an unusual musical violence. Not brutal and physical, but more like psychological stress positions. Implosions of sound, internalised, almost vascular in their journey. Stephen Stapleton promised the possibility of unforseen collaborators on the night and that came in the form of Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar who is here for other performances within the Adelaide Festival.  His delivery of improvised echolalic screeches, intonations and electronically processed vocalisations added fuel to the screened backing film of incendiary near-snuff. The musical metastasis before us differed from some of the otherwise highly programmed acts previously in Unsound in that there was room allowed for error. Being principally improvised means that sometimes a musical passage was but a transition to moments of brilliance when the group telepathy was truly onto something – whether that be in the territory of deep drone or unexpected beat-monologue led guitar assaults in blue.

If the two Unsound Festivals to date are but scratching the surface of avant-garde musical ingenuity, then I say it is time to dig in the fingernails and draw blood with a third year.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 10th 2014 | Filed in Events,Music,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Unsound Adelaide Review 2014 – Snowtown Live (Jed Kurzel) & Stars Of The Lid

In stark contrast to the colonial decay of Queens Theatre that seems an ideal crucible for much of the Unsound line up, tonight’s first Unsound performance is instead within the more regal splendour of the Adelaide Town Hall. Pristine decorations, pipe organ, a reminder of days of Empire and our ties to Monarchy, it is almost ironic then that Jed Kurzel’s “Snowtown:Live” provides the undercurrent for a movie principally set in the suburbs of Salisbury North, in the boundaries of what was once the City of Elizabeth, named in honour of Her Majesty in 1955 as an experimental satellite town.

There is in fact a strange resonance to this unique performance of Snowtown: Live, here as part of the main arts festival in the city that housed the individuals that committed the Bodies in Barrels murders, as it is all closer to home for us.

Classic analog synths, live percussion & cello combined with a rich wall of layered guitars from Jed Kurzel’s ensemble, ambient feedback treatment reminding me strongly of Michael Brook but with considerably more isolationism. Images of housing commission homes, the corroding corpses of cars scattered on front lawns, the sickly sweet pastel shades of cheap lilac paint lining the interiors of dwellings.  How much is really a projected middle class distaste for a blue collar heartland, and how much is truly an awareness of the banality of evil given the events that transpired there?  It is a question I keep asking myself later in the interval amongst the glitterati of Adelaide arts personalities.

Musically there are themes that rise and return, one which reminds me of an unhinged reflection of Receurdos de la Alhambra, all melancholic tremelo, while another is underpinned in percussive panicked heart beats that switch between sequencer & skin.  Projected on the screen on the long road to Snowtown from the northern suburbs are the metal grain silos that appear like upright bullet casings, sentinels to the violence inflicted upon the eleven victims.

If Jed Kurzel & company’s sonic brilliance picked at a wound, then drone-ambient meisters Stars of the Lid were possibly the countering Balm of Gilead.  Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie weaved a most unquiet void that combined with the projected visuals gave rise to feelings of time running out to some uncertain end.  The wave wash of harmony felt like an unsung polyphony of Gesualdo-proportioned interplay. Treated guitars gave rise to a crescendo of sound synonymous in puissance to that of a pipe organ, otherwise laying silent in the background. And supporting this structure, and sometimes rising above it, were the Zephyr Ensemble, who we last saw at the 2013 Unsound Adelaide weaving their stringed alchemy under Demdike Stare.

I looked around and saw some slumped in a soporific daze, not in boredom, but as in a methadonic anaesthesia. I myself re-emerged several times into lucidity from this beautiful catatonia, awakening into a sound as though I was at the heart of a hornets nest.

If this is what it means to be Unsound of mind, then may this musical madness never stop.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 9th 2014 | Filed in Events,Music,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Festival 2014 – Unsound Music Festival – Interview with Nurse With Wound

One of the most exciting developments of the Adelaide Festival has been the inclusion of the Unsound Music Festival within the program, to be held over three nights – an experimental electronic music & related visual arts festival traditionally held in Poland, but  making a welcome presence in the antipodes for the second year.

One of the major name acts secured for the Australian performances is pioneering avant-garde soundscapists Nurse With Wound, primarily led by Steven Stapleton, whom have over forty collected releases under their name over more than thirty years of creativity. were fortunate to spend some time with Steven to learn more about his approaches to the experimental music genre.


There was a considerable absence of live performances up until 2005 but there hasn’t been a lack of creative output. Do you have a preference between studio versus live performance, and do you see them as very different medium for different purposes?

They are completely different. Both are fun in their own ways and both are creative and rewarding, but the experience is very different. I prefer studio work, but recently in the last 4 -5 years we really got together as a band and enjoyed each others characteristics – it’s actually working out quite well now. The little bit of telepathy that happens between us makes it interesting, and we’ve done about 50 gigs now. We’re quite a hot little combo.

Is there a major change in approaches to improvisation as used between the studio and live performance?

Yes, its completely different. Live it is always improvisation and I have very little control over the direction of it – we have guests with our gigs, one to two persons per night, and they are usually people that I meet an hour or the day before the concert. People come up and we get talking and they tell me they are a performance artist – a poet or juggler or whatever, and they usually end up on stage with us. So hopefully the night or day before the gig in Adelaide I’ll meet some interesting people and they’ll come up and do some stuff with us. Take us off into a different direction.

Because the history of the band has been significantly marked by collaboration, is it just good synchronicity or is it something you actively seek out?

No, I really enjoy working with somebody. Again, I get fun out of doing it myself, and other people always bring interesting aspects to what you are doing – sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees yourself. I love collaboration, recently I have been collaborating with a lot of people. In fact in the last few years there hasn’t actually been a purely Nurse With Wound album, they have all been collaborations. But working with Andrew Liles is a real treat. Eberhard Krannemann from Neu! and Kraftwerk, working with him has just been a wonderful high, because I have always been such a fan of those bands.


So what music was significant in your own younger formative years?

Before I discovered the German electronic music scene I was into English psychedelic like the Pink Fairies, and bands like The Groundhogs. Stuff like that.

There used to be a club just down the road when I was a teenager, and it was a hard rock place called The Lord Nelson, just a pub but it used to have amazing bands playing there – in one week I would see Judas Priest, UFO, all these bands which are now really huge would be playing there before they had their record contracts. I really grew up on early heavy rock before I heard the first thing that changed my life and that was a German album, a Kraut Rock album called Psychedelic Underground by Amon Duul which just blew me away and still does blow me away to this day.

So what sort of music catches your attention these days?

Nothing. Really, I have tried, I have people around all over the world who send me anything new that they think I might like. I just eat CD’s, I just go through so many. But no, I can’t think of anything in the last 10 years or so that I’ve enjoyed.

I keep going backwards. Like for the last few months I’ve just been listening to Frank Zappa because I realise there was a point in his career that I lost interest in what he was doing and blanked him out. But I love his early records, they are a great influence on me in Nurse With Wound. Things like “Lumpy Gravy”, and “Burnt Weeny Sandwich” and those amazing records, and I discovered there were over 50 records of Frank Zappa that I had never heard. So that’s what I have been playing for the last year really.

I certainly relate – I used to be doing a dark ambient radio show in Sydney and my introduction point to Nurse With Wound was “Soliloquy for Lilith” , but having lost contact for a while and coming back and realising everything of Nurse With Wound that I have missed in the meantime.

I personally think the stuff I am now doing keeps getting better and better, but you know, I can’t really be objective about it!

Considering how many decades you have been going, how have you viewed and experienced the issues of copyright with regard to sound samples – how has this issue impacted you artistically over the decades?

Well, it hasn’t at all really, because it used to be called ‘stealing’ and then it became ‘sampling’, and it’s exactly the same! You know if a sample if used artistically,  I have no problem with that. I’ve never bothered to think about it to be honest.

Music that touches on surrealist and avant-garde expression, is arguably cyclic and may be even geographic – certainly here in Adelaide, having something like the Unsound Music Festival as part of Adelaide Festival wouldn’t have been on anyone’s radar until probably the last few years and it certainly  has found a receptive audience. Have you found that over the years that there seems to be a right time and right place for experimental music?

I have noticed that, that certain areas in countries become hotspots for a little while, and then the activity moves elsewhere, certainly. But we as Nurse With Wound, and certainly me, as I don’t have a computer and I don’t access to the internet I have never seen the Nurse With Wound website and I have never looked at the Brainwashed website. Indeed, I have never seen the film that John Whitney made of coming over to my house – I’ve never even seen that film. So I don’t know really much about what is going on out there, but I do have a whole bunch of people sending me interesting things continually. But I kind of like to live a very private life, out here in the country side.

How much of your work do you consider to be moments fixed in time, are they works you are happy leave as they are when they were composed, versus resurrecting them in a live context or reworking/remixing them.

It’s all down to whim, you know? One day I will say one thing, and I’ll mean it, but the next day I’ll change my mind. I just look upon my back catalogue as  ‘that’s what it is’ – I’m not going to fuck around with it, I might put a release with an extra disc or something, but I’m not going to remix anything.

I did notice a couple of years ago you did a ‘Sleep Concert’.

I’m still doing them!

It’s a format I’m more familiar with the likes of artists like Robert Rich and his album Somnium, with that deliberate intent to manipulate brain states. And while your music is often driven to trigger cognitive dissonance anyway, is sleep state & brain function manipulation something you are really interested in musically?

It is, yes, and I love doing those gigs. There is no better way to just space out to music then to be in a nice warm bed with 100-150 other people all going through a similar experience. And being able to just sit there and manipulate sounds, to even point them in different directions to think or dream, it’s fascinating, I love it. It’s a bit of a gruelling thing though, after about 5 hours I am really failing, so normally end up doing them for about 6 hours.

I’ve got one coming up in Ireland – it is the first sleep concert in Ireland, that’s in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to that one. And also its great to have them in unusual environments you know, an aquarium, or a train museum recently in Berlin – just all kinds of very relaxing environments. I would have loved to have done one in Australia, that would have been so good.

Perhaps the good folk at Adelaide Festival will take note for future possibilities!
Who will be in the Nurse With Wound line up for the Australian concert? 

Me, Colin Potter and Andrew Liles – just the three of us. But as I said, hopefully if we meet anyone that shares a spark and would be interested in doing  something with us, if I meet them they might end up on stage with us.

I noticed that Duplais Absinthe released an absinthe with some of your artwork on the label  – how did that come together?
Yeah, they did – and in return I got crates of absinthe!  In fact they did a presentation box, maybe 50 or something, and they gave me a half dozen of them. I’ve spent months painting these things up and I’m going to put them on Ebay soon, so anyone who wants an elaborately customised absinthe box with Nurse With Wound CD’s and a bottle of absinthe – look out for them!


Nurse With Wound play the Queens Theatre, Friday 7 March 2014 with Morton Subotnick, Lee Gamble & Cut Hands

The program  for Unsound Festival, part of the Adelaide Festival can be found by the following this link.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 2nd 2014 | Filed in Culture,Interviews,Music,People | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Blues and Burlesque


The patrons shuffle into the boutique opulence that is La Boheme, all velvet hangings, art deco wallpaper and subdued lighting.  The little diablo on my shoulder informs me a suitable potation is called for, nay, demanded to properly accompany this evenings entertainment, and the barman indulges my need for something period with a mighty fine Sazerac, made with a Kubler absinthe wash.


The ivories begin to tinkle under the dancing digits of ex-Dexy’s Midnight Runners pianist, Pete Saunders, whose banter and bluesy growl led tunes on the topics of ne’er-do-well showgirls started to invoke the atmosphere of a smokey speakeasy (albeit without the actual smoke thanks to the health lobby).




Then like a pure white peace dove released from the bow of the ark – the delightful Sarina de Fuego glided onto the stage. Pearlescent, bearing fans that beat with angelic grace, she gave an elegant & graceful performance full of seductive smiles, possibly lulling us into a false sense of security unaware of the maelstrom to come.


Cranking up the heat, Pete applied a blow torch to the cabaret crucible by introducing our pair of Femme Fatales, Scarlett Belle and Vicious Delicious, into a manic but classic call response jazz singing and dancing frenzy.


Getting to know Ms Vicious Delicious a bit better, she may put on gallic airs and graces when it suits but she’s really a lovely down to earth chav lass at heart with a potty mouth and all the subtlety of a brick through a Bimmers front windscreen. Glorious. Engaging in a hilariously awkward audience led strip tease she climaxes with a fetish checklist footstomp tune.




This is followed by starlet Scarlett Belle returning to sing about the Art of Tease, a bingo tick box as you go lyrical litany of burlesque technique, all the while adorned like seductive villainess Poison Ivy.


Bringing us some decent blood on the tap dance floor as a duelling duet, they easily revert into powerful vocal ménage a trois action with the good Mr Saunders, where they sing of high ambition thwarted. Indeed, though they may be looking up and wishing upon the stars, they remind us well with the inverted sentiments of Oscar Wilde that we all sitting together in the gutters.




This wonderful demonstration of solo prowess and lethal artistic stiletto heel jousting continues with songs about beard bingeing hirsutophilia (yea verily, and/or pogonophilia) and faux- Piafian vengeance upon gormless lovers. This was topped with an infernally flirtatious and smouldering burlesque strip tease from Scarlett Belle that well appealed to the Devil’s advocate within us all.

There is little wonder why Blues & Burlesque has won one of the coveted weekly awards for the Adelaide Fringe 2014.  There are only very limited performances left – do yourself a favour.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 28th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe 2014 – Peaches and Gin Big Band Burlesque Review


I like to think there comes a time, hopefully, in many a burlesque dancer’s life when the hard yards achieve a critical speed and trajectory to put them into a whole other orbit.  Adelaide’s own Peaches’n’Gin, I think, are a permanent twinkling satellite in the night sky with their ever escalating production values evident in Big Band Burlesque.


Regular Ceremonial Mistress and powerful vocalist Lady Cara is such a natural in front of a genuine band of highly proficient performers, Capitol Swing, that it all underpins what should be a benchmark standard for Australia‘s burlesque intelligentsia, that in-piped music from a mixing desk is just not enough anymore for those hungering for something bigger.


This was most evident with Sapphire Snow’s opening act, looking stunning as always in a sexy diamante accentuated dress, with an intensity of interplay between the band and the audience that just seemed to magnify every twist of a wrist, unplucking of a button, the decent of a zipper.  The viscerally felt squeal of a live trumpet to underpin a dramatic flash of flesh takes on a heightened sensation to the observer. And she worked every accent and note flourish to bend the audience into adoration.


Miss Burlesque Victoria, Becky Lou emerges in a sleet-white coat ,and then proceeds to move like a soft snow drift on stage, the hidden winds of creativity pushing her into poses of desire and decadence. But when the pace changes, and the drums beat hard, she erupts into a Richter scale shimmy of earthquake proportions. Without revealing more, she has a distinctly comedic side with her follow up act involving certain vegetables and kitchen knife play which culminates in more grinding than seen in a mortar and pestle.


American visitor Russell Bruner from the wonderful land of the weird, “Portlandia”, punctuates the otherwise pleasing feminine overload with some polished vaudevillian Boylesque moves, fashionable dandy flair, accomplished top hat acrobatics, jazz jiving swing singing & beat poetry and genuine intimate audience interaction.  Can I say, RAdelaideans, that I was pleased to even see the guys in the audience get in the spirit of this performance – reflecting that maybe local audiences have come a long way in appreciating the beauty and aesthetics of good burlesque performance, regardless of who may be performing it.


Vesper White is a burlesque tour-de-force who summoned the hungry jungle spirits of Conga lines and Latin grooves under the protection of a ridiculously large hat, while teasing us with a laced derrier. Shedding her skin to a devil-may-care scarlett, she was wound as tight as a rubber band as her hips seductively swung like maracas but struck like a whip. Her second performance took a different tone with a traditional Cabaret strip adorned in tops & tails, but with Germanic Weimar sensibilities that cast away subtlety – instead exuding overt danger & seduction. Almost a dare to the audience to withstand her onslaught, as though she was saying “You know what you came here for, here it is…”


Strawberry Siren, Miss Burlesque Australia 2013, is a chameleon, a shape shifter on stage moving between animal forms as fancy takes her. She may dance with fans in a peacock strut but each step becomes more feline, culminating in hungry prowling the stage. She wields her fans like weapons, the wrist and upper arm strength making delicate props deadly and accurate. Every muscle and tendon being a dance on its own when she performs. Later ,when adorned in peridot Belle Epoque finery, her graceful moves transform her into a stunning La Fee Verte I would be happy to have dancing over my absinthe glass any night of the week.


Lastly, but never least, is the celestial Luna Eclipse, who rather than being ephemeral in her performances, always reflects a very down to earth approach to burlesque – filled with humour, audience encouragement and most important of all, unabashed in your face fun.  Adorned in frills, and dancing a twisted Charleston seemingly highlighted with some Latin flourishes, her energy is as infectious as the Spanish Flu and leaves you with a fever.

Big Band Burlesque has a limited number of additional shows – get your tickets while you can to see one of the most well produced burlesque shows this Fringe.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 26th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Pretty Peepers


Before seeing Pretty Peepers, it is worthwhile knowing a little bit about the history of the Theatre of the Absurd, and in particular the Surrealist manifestations such as the conceptual Theatre of Cruelty by Artonin Artaud where the intent is visceral physical impact upon the audiences sensibilities, where the body is a canvas for transcendence in performance.

If this seems like too much artistic wankery for your stomach, then a dose of mind-altering chemicals is your other option prior to setting foot in the Peacock Performance Tent and subjecting yourself to the cabaret apocalypse of Kira Carden, Glitta Supernova and Betty Grumble.


The first act I can only describe as Janus-headed Disco Mouseketeer Chorus Line Terrorism.  Go on, let your imagination go crazy – it would still not be on the money.


This was followed by a distinctly bedlamesque prose reminiscent of the most heavily medicated nursing home residents having a psychotic reaction, and don’t-you-know-the-nurses-are-stealing-my-money.


A sexy-school girl incarnated with feminine smiling Robin Gibb impersonating Zhu Bajie performed a highly political burlesque number that demonstrates why the Rudd-government alcopop tax achieved very little public health outcomes.


A Lolita-cross-Raggedy Ann then stripped down to barest black essentials and delivered a scorching hot hula hoop routine that mixed hot sass and contortionist stretches, that I’m sure also had an important socio-political commentary, but I was a little too captivated to jot anything down.


We also got a delightful home movie about an aspiring pornographic actress with a Watership Down fetish demonstrating root vegetable fellating and other highly popular German acts guaranteed to stick a carotenous product up the conservative Family First fundament.


There was more hulahoops by swamp things, exhibitionist carnivorous vegetation, funky fecophilia-driven footwork and creative use of porterhouse steaks in an Avon-lady curated vaginal monologue.


Obscene, vulgar, lewd, anarchic, sexy as all hell and a goddamn hoot.

Remaining shows this weekend only!  Take the whole family…and await a visit from Community Services.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 22nd 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Miss Fortunes The Beautiful & The Damned

Adelaide Fringe appears blessed with a number of international burlesque tourers and all the better when they converge in once place with some local talent. Thankfully, it appears the scourge of ‘corporate entertainment burlesque’ evident in previous years has taken a backseat this Fringe with some more heartfelt performances taking the stage.  Miss Fortune‘s “The Beautiful & The Damned” is one such production.

The delightful Sarina del Fuego, international showgirl of mystery who bounces between Australia & UK, commenced the evening under the shadow of double bass driven swagger in a cool black lace and nicotine routine where understatement and subtlety paradoxically inverts into a visual converation about sexiness sans flamboyance. Her follow up performance continued the point about minimalism with a slow sensual strip tease adorned in sugar white.  Certainly not saccharine, and undoubtedly very bad for those with a sweet tooth for charm & seduction.






Pantherian local Leopard Lass hit us hard with frantic flapper jazz electro beats with a sharp androgynine sass, gymnastic street dance moves and strip tease.  Not one to stand back from the audience, she broke out the filthy jazz number in her follow up routine making us just as much of the furniture in this most raunchy unpeeling.




North Country UK, Raven Noir emerged onto the stage like a Tarot High Priestess card – hard corseted, adorned, resplendent in corvine sable with matching headdress. The reverb cranked high over feedback screeching guitars as belly dance hip swings invoked a most dark psychedelic unveiling.  The second number was underpinned by dirty & desperate blues rock which had her bloom in elaborate black & purple extravagance like a underworld Brazilian Carnival showgirl – a performing Pompa Gira extracting her dues from those who would dare to tangle with her.




British born Doll-I-Am skipped onto the scene like a tragic Spring Queen, floral and innocent and yet suffering the tragedies of bad footwear. In a welcome comedic twist, the procurement of Forbidden Red Shoes climaxes in a satanic tap dance routine to Iron Maiden, such a mix of stylistic cues I have not yet encountered elsewhere.  Further invoking her penchant for child hood fairy tale allusions her Wind Up Toy routine mixed ballet technique and 80’s moves in a clever combination of genres.




Silk Desire, from Italy, was a beautiful wave of technical expertise – belly dance, contortionism, ballet & burlesque – her creativity knew no bounds as evident in her two performances. Manifesting initially as a twirling hip swinging sequined disco ball on an endorphin high, to delivering a classy Renaissance striptease that started on ‘pointe work’ and then busted out to some  sassy jazzy Eine Kliene Nachtmusik.

The Beautiful & The Damned have a long Fringe season, so there is plenty of opportunity to get yourself a ticket and treat yourself to some class performances.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Fetish For Burlesque

One of the advantages in seeing certain performing troupes in Adelaide Fringe over successive years is you get to map the growth of individual performers who make their debut, develop and (hopefully) leap into new endeavours.  One such company we have followed over recent years is the Fetish For Burlesque crew who have consistently provided a platform for new-to-burlesque performers in Adelaide getting their feet grounded in the traditional styles, as well providing a testing ground for edgier experiments in neo-burlesque performance.


Friday night’s performance at The Producers Hotel provided a range of ‘old favourite’ performers and some new faces that already seem to be making a mark with their individual styles.




Briar Rose is a classic Rock’n’Roll starlet but with edgy Suicide Girl adornment who struts the stage on a knife’s edge of swagger & sweet fragility.  Her fan dance routine comprised the right measures of concealment and tease, always remembering to connect with her audience just enough to draw them through the feathers.  Her second number had her glide out in elegant evening attire to a slower 50’s R&B number and looking considerably more relaxed.   Playing the sultry siren to its limits she synchronised her slow tease, every bump and gyration in flow with the music.


Chanel DeVine kicked off her belly dance technique led entrance resplendent in an azure diaphanous veil, giving more an alluring introduction rather than the less subtle drum slap bravado that could have been the more obvious route. A transition to a bluesy caffeine fuelled Sunday breakfast striptease had her clearly enjoying herself and projecting invitingly to the audience.




Spy-in-the-house-of-love Luscious LaRue slipped through the audience concealed in a sassy trenchcoat homage to espionage to the sounds of Jack White’s 007 soundtracking. Ms LaRue is like burlesque’s Gwendoline Christie – something of an imposing force, but her delivery contains softness & restraint, especially through a slow evening glove removal. But when she turns the volume to 10 under psychedelic reverb guitars she delivers the full clip of her Beretta with no hesitation.




Always in demand, Dezzi Damned, reminds us why she was Miss Burlesque SA 2012. Adorned in a long black evening number with 30’s flair, moving to the tunes of the Cab Calloway favourite “Minne the Moocher” , she was high on poise, very deliberate and direct in her technique. Overall, ‘disciplined’ is the word I probably feel compelled to use, but never cold or removed. The right wink or raise of an eyebrow ensures she never constructs a barrier to her audience. Why is she still in RAdelaide and not traipsing the stages of Europe & the US? Promoters, pay attention.


Lastly was Desert Rose, probably my favourite of the evening, who made her debut to the troupe at last years Fringe.  I could see good things in incubation back then, but tonight she delivered a performance that shows just how hard she has been working in mastering her craft over the last 12 months. Statuesque and unrushed, tonight she really worked the audience in a cycle of tease and retreat. If they wanted to see more, then damn, they better show some appreciation (and they did). Like a precision airstrike, she knew when to lay down some explosive moves and when to pull back to safety.  The sooner we see her in a Miss Burlesque State or National competition the better.

We will be interviewing Fetish For Burlesque producer, Skye Williams, in coming days to gain some insight into her vision for the troupe.




There is a rotating cast of performers this year, alas some of whom I will not get to see, including Roxie Elle Danger’s farewell performance before she heads off for big opportunities overseas.  The next performances of Fetish For Burlesque are on the Fringe booking page, get along while tickets are available.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 16th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People | Comments (0)

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