Monday, 10 March 2014

Helsinki Burlesque Festival Week 2014 <3

I'm back! The whole festival was once again so absolutely mindblowing, that it took me this long to catch up with everything else and be able to write again. I can begin by saying that even though every year feels like the festival has already reached the top of awesomeness, producers Bettie Blackheart and Frank Doggenstein, and the whole Helsinki Burlesque crew manage to put together an even more epic show, and this year was no exception!

Although the actual events are only on Friday and Saturday, many of the talented international performers are invited to teach workshops in a wide variety of subjects, so the whole festival craziness actually lasts for about a week. This year my "festival week" started on Thursday, when I had the honour and pleasure of attending Perle Noire and Kitten de Ville's workshops. 
Perle totally blow my mind, both during the workshop and her acts! I don't think it's even possible to get the actual feeling of awe and energy she projects unless you see her live, but I can tell you that when you do you know you have a real force of nature in front of your eyes! <3
Kitten de Ville aka The Queen of the Quake definitely deserves this nickname, and she had us all sweating our bums off even before we were through with the warmup! I think her class was extremely useful for me because, after having been studying tribal fusion bellydance for the last year and a half, I have noticed that I really needed a reminder of how to really shimmy and shake burlesque-style, and this lady definitely knows what she's talking about! <3

after the workshops with amazing Perle Noire and
Kitten de Ville <3 (pics by Cherry Turrrbo-Cherry D
and Sandy Jungle)

After the workshops we headed for the hotel for a little meet & greet with some of the performers that had already arrived. It was so much fun! We got to both see some very dear friends again after a long time and make a bunch of new ones. It actually felt so cozy that it was difficult to leave and go to sleep, but I had to wake up early and go to work the following morning! 

with some absolutely amazing ladies! Mama Ulita from 
Germany, my gal Sandy Jungle and the lady with the
perfect hair, Koko la Douce <3 (pic by Sandy)

Two of the new friends that I'm extremely happy to have met are Mama Ulita and Lada Redstar <3
Mama Ulita has such a crazy positive and contagious energy that I just wish she moved to Finland and could go for a coffee with her everytime I have a bad day! I'm so so extremely happy I'll get to see her again soonish, since we're both performing on the same night of the London Burlesque Festival <3
I've been looking forward to meeting Lada for a long time now, so I was delighted when it finally happened! This lady isn't only drop dead gorgeous, but she is also intelligent and the kind of vintage enthusiast I can totally relate to, so chatting with her was a real pleasure! As was watching her on stage again, this fierce lady is definitely a source of inspiration <3

with Lada Redstar, Lassi, and the head of the
HBF photographer team Tuomas (pic by Gigi)

After a long day at work on Friday, it was time for the real party to begin! My gal Gigi Praline and her husband Aatu (who was this year working his bum off driving all the performers back and forth between the hotel, workshops and venue) live in the countryside some 45mins away from Helsinki, so they booked a hotel room and were kind enough to invite us over for etkot (aka pre-party). The festival's theme this year was Tropical Tornado, so we ended up wearing swimwear on Friday! I got to wear my dear 1930's yellow woolen swimming suit, of which I'll post better pictures at some point in the near future. Just a bit before we left for the venue we were joined by our dear Pepper Potemkin from Stockholm, who is a real kick-ass rocker lady and a lot of fun to hang out with! She was on stage on both Friday and Saturday, and I'm delighted that she's also performing on the same night of the London Burlesque Festival as Mama Ulita and me <3

etkot! <3
(pic by Pepper Potemkin)

Friday was a blast! Such a blast that we only left the venue at some point after 3am, which meant just some 4.5h of sleep before Saturday morning's workshops, but it was so worth it! <3

with our dearest Scotty the Blue Bunny, HBF is
not the same without this humor and wit <3
and the combination of him and Minna Kivelä
must be my favourite presenters ever! (pic by Gigi)

Saturday was my birthday! And I couldn't have wished for a better one <3 (ok, I could have gotten a couple of hours more of sleep :-D). It started with the workshops of super creative and extremely inspiring Imogen Kelly, and one of the most respected photographers in the burlesque scene, Neil Kendal. 
Imogen's workshop was specially interesting because this lady has a background that is a bit more unusual in the burlesque scene; her roots are in the theatre and the circus and has been a theatre director for over 20 years. Her approach was extremely useful to me, since I am mostly interested in developing my acts and characters in a theatrical way, and having a storyline has always been vital to my performing style. 

After Imogen and Neil's workshops, my man treated me to absolutely mindblowing and delicious food in Juuri, which is a restaurant in Helsinki with food so unbelievably tasty that makes me feel like I'm back in the Basque Country. All the ingredients they use are organic (even the wines), and one can really tell since regular food from the store would never reach such intensity of flavours. After dinner, and with a very happy belly, it was time to head to the venue again, for another evening of awesome performances. 

My Saturday's outfit was partly inspired by Tribal Fusion bellydance, which itself uses different ethnic styles/adornments as inspiration sources. I will elaborate a bit more on this outfit also in the near future, but I can say that the facial decoration was inspired by a facial tattoo of a Berber tribe from Algeria, and the shawl that covered my head was a new Assuit shawl made in Egypt. 

with my dear Tiitta and Laura, tribal sisters <3
(pic by Laura)

The rest of the outfit had little to do with tribal inspiration, but I've had this crazy dress for years now and I only got to briefly wear it once (for obvious reasons) at a friend's birthday party! But hey, as my dear Gigi says "This year's festival was all about bums".

found a friend-in-outfit on Saturday :-D
(pic by Gigi)

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