Archive for the 'Style' Category

You are currently browsing the archives of .

Adelaide Festival 2013 – UnSound Review – Trinity, Raime & More

I have been dying to attend something at the old Queen Theatre for years – it being the oldest surviving theatre on the Australian mainland, it is a mixture of preserved heritage fighting against the inevitable march of urban decay (not unlike many an old queen…)

What better place to sample offerings from UnSound, the Festival Within The Adelaide Festival showcasing some of the world’s finest dark ambient, experimental, avant-garde electronic artists that I never would have expected to see down here in the antipodeans.

First was duo Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin (the latter also known a Oneohtrix Point Never) who put the structural engineering of the Queens Theatre (and the scaffolding based stands I was sitting on) under severe stress by continually hitting their subharmonic mechanical resonance, risking a potential building collapse. Their weaving of low end frequency drone with sweeping high end attack, oscillating between harmony and discordance was not easily listening by any means – but perseverance brought revelation about the ability to manifest visceral intensity that is not reliant on volume alone.

The term ‘synaesthesia’ is often and easily bandied about when talking of the Laser & Audio show developed by Robin Fox, and I am not going to argue any differently. What this man achieves with a single beam green laser and synchronised sound treatments, diffused and refracted, demonstrates that minimalism is not necessarily synonymous with subtle. He traverses the gap between sound and form, to the point where they are indistinguishable. He is a master of Quantum Musica Universalis – instead of the planetary bodies his music arises from the dance of sub-atomic space, the violent exchange of charge and a confusion of causality.

Raime was a real discovery– noir down tempo techno sensibilities, it immediately invoked memories of my early exploration of electronic acts such as Morthound and James Bernard. With their visual montages of elemental destitution, desolation and resurrection, it was like the Queens Theatre was a natural performance space for them to inhabit, their particular aural offerings birthing renewal from fallen forms.

Lastly we had a rare performance of Trinity, manifested by Lustmord (Brian Williams) & MFO, being a commissioned exploration of the stark emotional space, cold visuals and inevitable dissolution of an old age arising from the nuclear weapons research program in the New Mexico desert . This definitive Atompunk audio / visual manifesto lowers a thick cloud of melancholic reflection over the observer, framing close scrutiny of fine lines between the salvation and destruction of civilization. Mr Williams’ chthonic invocations churn and regurgitate from below, punctuated by sonorific howling wails dropping liking divine tears – unable to extinguish the all-consuming incandescence that eventually erupts behind our performers.

One could not but walk away from tonight a little numb, intellectually and emotionally exhausted. Every bodily sense tangible and metaphysical was tried and tested. Big Kudos to the Adelaide Festival for curating a wheel within a wheel, the likes of which we have never seen.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 15th 2013 | Filed in Art,Culture,Events,Music,News,People,Reviews,Style | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2013 – Fetish For Burlesque

We first reviewed Fetish Burlesque last year, and they got a fair bit of attention amongst the traps and have needed to scale up venue size – great to see a local act evolving and building on success.

Due to an unfortunate mis-reading of the start time I got to Fetish for Burlesque late to miss the opening act by former-Miss Burlesque SA 2012, Dezzie Damned…but more on her later.

Fortunately for me, host Jethro Heller’s sly comedic double entendre laden monologues gave me enough time to slip in to see the remaining proceedings.

Desert Rose has no doubt been reading the Poisoner’s Handbook for this routine as she drugs and does away with some poor soul, all the while swaying and swinging to heavy trip hop electro beats. In fact there is something of the minimalist charm in Ms Rose’s routines, particularly in her follow up Pin Up style tease which she does with restraint, tease and a tinge of dark melancholy over a heavy reverb laden guitar playing “Bang Bang”. Despite the rocked out end of the routine ending with a major pastie failure – she kept a certain composure and continuity that makes me think we will see a lot of good things from her in the future (and I mean artistically, not anatomically, dear reader…)

Roxy L Danger’s first routine had her emerge to stage in Art Deco splendour, like she had just been ripped off a statue mounting. Strutting over an up-tempo version of “Do Right”, wielding a striking pair of scarlett fans, she demonstrated high poise and grace. Being adept in light & shade her follow up routine was a Vodou-Noir tale of esoteric manipulation, seduction and revenge – the victim becoming torturer underpinned by Marilyn Manson’s cover of “I Put A Spell On You”. Woman, versatility is thy name.

The divine Ms Dezzi Damned never fails to impress – a grand entrance and costuming style having a certain Cruella DeVille presence over some impressive dark ambient sounds laying down some gravitas. What followed over screaming metal shredding, was a gorelesque erotica extravaganza as she channelled the very essence of Elizabeth Bathory in all her regal glory. Imagination is what marks good burlesque these days, not just by the numbers routines, and Dezzie showed why she took our last years State crown.

Troupe producer Skye Williams deserves kudos for pushing the production smarts up a notch or ten, and we look forward to seeing what 2014 brings.

See the remaining performances while you can.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 10th 2013 | Filed in Burlesque,Culture,Events,News,People,Reviews,Style,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2013 – At The Movies With Peaches’n’Gin

Let me just say up front that Luna Eclipse & Sapphire Snow are, as far as I am concerned, the Reigning Royalty of Burlesque in South Australia, and while we will have many a deserving Princess crowned annually as part of Miss Burlesque, and rightly should they be held in high Regal regard, Luna & Sapphire hold a hereditary title between them that will only be passed on by retirement or accidental defenestration.

There are shows that may have more glitz, expensive sound and light shows, and military precision routines. But what they often lack is humour & comedic timing, creativity, intimate audience connection, and when it counts, an unabashed sensuality – my friends, the Peaches & Gin crew consistently offer this in spades and serve as a benchmark by which I judge much other Burlesque.

At The Movies, hosted by Lady Cara & Rowan Watts, is becoming something of a Fringe tradition, and glad I am that it is an evolving beast, and not a static act replayed annually.

An introductory Gentleman Prefer Blondes number, all ablaze in red sequins and to the tune of the country number “Little Rock” was show girl strut at its finest.

Lady Cara threw in a clever cover of Kate Miller Hiedke’s Facebook song “Are You Fucking Kidding Me?” just to show that cabaret can evolve past dreary renditions of Mein Herr. (Hooray).

Call out routines include a highly erotically charged, and funny, Predator Burlesque performance that will stir confusing feelings of xenophilia amongst the geek set. The ante was upped even further when “Harry Potter and the Love That Must Not Be Named” takes to the stage, all phallically Freudian with wands at the ready.

Like the sacrilegious Mary Poppins routine, the girls offered up spoonfuls of sugar, and not only did the medicine go down, like a hormone filled teenager abusing dextromethorphan cough syrup I’d happily go back for another bottle.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 4th 2013 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,News,People,Reviews,Style | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Anything Goes

It was a delight to see the thoroughly undead Weimar cabaret transvestite Blue Angel materialise back on Earth again as MC. She got the crowd in mood quickly, and with her opening number of “Cigarettes and Chocolate” she captured a later observation of hers “Maybe it is better to be led by our depraved unconscious”.

Cherry Lush was ripe and ready with cabaret standard ‘Mein Herr’ – but rather than have it stand as a cabaret museum piece it was personalised and woven amongst her own tales of rampant teutonic lust.

The guilty pleasure of hardcore stiletto and leather nazi fashion chic was manifested through an imposing Venus Vamp, who like one of Blue Angels lyrical chocolates (with cigarettes!) slowly shed the hard shell over an adagio 1920’s German piano tune to reveal a silky sensuous centre of pure erotic movement.

I never had considered the possibility of Weimar-styled Noh theatre, but Paloma Negra gave an emotionally raw calisthenic performance that projected an energy disproportionate to the minimalism, all over the aching tunes of ‘Wild Is The Wind’.

This was then followed by Mathias the Libidinous who put on the Ritz and put out in a high energy Boylesque strip tease number, that was just as Dandy as his attire.

A good Cabaret needs a good dose of the funnies, and taut and terrific cross-dressing Boylesque performer Lolita La Tex took it to another level by singing a wonderful filk on “Fever” who scratched that itch with the decidedly filthy “Beaver” that left one reaching for the Canestan.

If Jim Morrison were still alive (besides being a DJ in Ibiza) he would no doubt regularly accompany Blue Angel as she showed the that musical poetry of The Doors was lacking until you introduced tap dancing, on “Been Down So Long”. God Damn indeed.

Showing you can’t keep a good man down, especially first thing in the morning, Mithias the Libidinous was back “Feeling Good” with a scarlett silk sheet bed routine that provided the slower sensuality counterbalance to his earlier energetic manifestation on stage, confirming him a performer with good light and shade in his repertoire.

I don’t doubt for a minute that what Cherry Lush wants, Cherry gets – again she personalised the song of “What Lola Wants”, made it hers (unlike some mimed versions I’ve seen this Fringe…) Combined with a gorgeous burlesque disrobing & tease she provided all the necessary sass & fun in bosom loads.

Music choice, people. Nothing shits me more than a bad burlesque musical selection – but I was filled with awe and respect when Lolita La Tex returned resplendent in a funereal noir fan dance done to Tori Amos’s cover of the Joe Jacksons “Real Men”, it worked on so many levels, one of the stand out performances of the night.

Paloma Negra then gave us an intimate performance with Henri, her trapeze bar, herself adorned in a painfully intricate shibari body harness, becoming as one with her hanging companion. A bonded aerial dance, exposed and somehow intimate and private, that made us as voyeurs to something very introspective and soul felt.

Again I was captured musically by Venus Vamps choice of Einsturzende Nebautens “Silence is Sexy” as an embodiment of neo-Weimar sentiment – the nod to the old cloaked in the new. Adorned in stylish, ubergothic vintage splendour, her Dance of Dementia connected to the emotional anguish and swings of emotion of a mind cycling between a violent cacophony of memories and stillness.

As Blue Angel finished with the Brecht/Weill “Alabama Song” – I decided I could do with a whisky or two. My demands for something cutting edge that met the definitions of “Fringe” performance were sated. Show me the way to the next little dollar indeed, Ms Angel – for I am spent.

Anything Goes will be performed 13 March, 14 March & 15 March 2012 at Fowlers Live, 9pm, $23.00.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 13th 2012 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,Music,News,People,Reviews,Style,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Next »