Friday 29 August 2014

Blazing Burlesque Stage at South Park Festival

And fifth belated post! I might even end up catching up? :-D
Some burlesque history has been made this year in Finland! (and more on this as soon as I manage to actually catch up). Finland is a country in which in summer music festivals happen literally every weekend during the summer. But this year, for the very first time, a festival had a BURLESQUE STAGE! <3

The festival was South Park in Tampere, and the masterminds behind this were our fellow burlesque collegues Olivia Rouge and Albine A. Dorable, and Petra-Miisa Juusenaho. We had our own tiny cute stage, cozy backstage with views to the lake, and even a Sailor Jerry rum counter nearby! 
I was asked to do my absynth fairy act on Friday, and both my brand new act "Algae" and the kitties duo with Gigi Praline on Saturday. 

Upper left: La Fée Verte, Upper right: kitties duo with Gigi 
Praline, Down: Algae
Pictures by Milla Kouhia Photography

We had such a kick-ass team! Petra-Miisa acted as the MC, and the rest of the line up was composed by Miss Acrolicious, Chrissy Kiss from Estonia, Olivia and Albine, and the headliner: mindblowing aerial, fire and burlesque performer Natsumi Scarlet <3
Besides these amazing ladies, we could enjoy gorgeous Elisa Day as our pick up, Tiina Nevametsä as our DJ and Vappu a.k.a. Stella Polaire, who run from a place to another and made sure that everybody had everything they might need at all times <3
And last but not least, we had our very own lovely photographer Milla Kouhia, who has unfortunately since passed away. Unluckily enough I didn't have the chance to get to know her properly, but she was sweet and definitely had a talent for photography, and I can only imagine the pain her family must still be going through.

Curtain call shot! <3
Picture by Milla Kouhia

The weather wasn't all the best for the first set on Friday, but even in the pouring rain we had some audience, which seemed to be getting bigger with each set and as word spread. So by Saturday it was a full house and big success! And if we certainly had tons of fun on stage, let me tell you that was nothing compared to the fun we had behind the scenes! I absolutely adore these ladies, and it's always such a great party with them. Looking forward to the next one! <3

Backstage fun! ;-D
Picture by Milla Kouhia


And fourth belated post, plus a sneak peak!
Some of you might remember my last post was about the Boylesque Festival Vienna. The reality check after it was twice as hard though, since as soon as I set foot in Finland I had to start packing and move into my current apartment. Moving is always tiresome and rather annoying, but I luckily had the invaluable help of Lassi during the whole weekend, and that of our dear friends Jari and Jac who were kind enough to also lend a hand on Sunday. Besides, the apartment I was moving to was so insanely gorgeous, and in such a breathtaking area of Helsinki that I couldn't be happier about it! I was also going to become the flatmate of the crotchet pattern designer Molla Mills, who also happens to be my dear friend.

Outside of the building, and my new William
Morris mug bought in London last May

The building is from the 1920's, and it's definitely the most gorgeous one I've ever lived in. My room is spacious, and I've decorated it with a mixture of Finnish jugendstil furniture/objects (many of them found by Lassi), with a slight orientalist touch. I have also finally been able to hang some of the gorgeous antique prints and Atelieri O. Haapala's pictures I've been saving for years on the walls! 
The feeling is indeed indescriptible. The peace, the space, the kitchen always clean, and the feeling of HOME which I got as soon as I stepped on it (which I actually never felt in the previous apartment, but that's a whole different story). Bliss <3

Sneak peak of my room at the moment, changes/aditions still to come :-)

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Vienna baby! <3

Belated post number three! The Boylesque Festival Vienna <3
I'm still so full of love when I think about this festival and what a good time we had, that I don't think I'll be able to translate even half of its awesomeness to words. 

So in the end of May I had the great honour of being part of the mindblowing lineup of the Boylesque Festival Vienna, which happens to be the first Boylesque Festival in Europe! So you might be wondering, "Wait, boylesque? How come your performed there?". Well, as it happens, the organizer Jacques Patriaque decided to have a Queerlesque Teaser Party the day before the main even, for which he aimed to get a collection of as many and varied burlesque acts as possible. The next piece of amazing news was that not only did I get into such a fun event, but also my gal Gigi Praline with her leatherdady/Lucia act, our charming gentleman Sir Willy Waterlily and our dearest Drag Queen Lola Vanilla. Finland was well represented! <3

We rented a room with Gigi and Lola, and on the day in which we were performing we had the crazy idea of walking all the way to the venue with our suitcases! Which might not have been that bad of an idea after all, since due to unexpected *coughcoughhungovercough* circumstances we didn't really have the chance to see much of the gorgeous city that is Vienna. 

The lineup was EPIC! And When I say epic I really mean it, I have never performed in an event with so many performers, and I barely stopped laughing the whole time we were backstage. I have probably also never been in so many backstage group pics, but I'll try to be nice and not spam you too much :-)

before the show shots backstage!
[upper pic by Sheila Wolf, lower pic 
by Lola Vanilla]

Since our tech rehearsals happened to be pretty early, I decided to sneak out before the show to try and check a vintage store that one of our lovely stage kittens Philippe had recommended. The store did indeed have some gorgeous items, but unluckily enough out of reach of my current money situation :-D
Nevertheless, that trip allowed me to again see a little bit more of Vienna, and most importantly, to discover the Majolica House. I stumbled upon this drop-dead-gorgeous building on the way back to the venue, and I literally spent five minutes staring at it WITH MY MOUTH WIDE OPEN. This unbelievable piece of art noveau awesomeness was built in the years 1898-99, and is named after its facade, which is completely covered in painted ceramic tiles (majolica) that form the biggest art noveau pattern I have ever seen in my life. The poppy-like flowers climb all the way up to the roof, and the balconies are decorated with something reassembling lotus flowers. Of course in that moment I had no clue of what that building was, but a bit of googling provided the info I needed, and let me find out that the beauty continues in the inside. I'm in love <3

The Majolica House! <3 <3 <3
[upper left pic by, upper right pic by and lower pic by]

After my little escapade I headed back to the backstage, and I had the chance to meet the whole bunch of amazing performers with whom I'd be sharing the stage that night. I was performing about half-way through the second set, which meant I wasn't able to watch anybody else's act *sniffsniff*, but we had a hell of a time backstage anyway! We also had the chance to share the stage with the non-burlesque headliner artist of both nights, 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst! And I'm afraid that's the one picture I should have taken and did not, but I'm shy! :-D
The stage was huge, and the audience outstanding! I was a real pleasure performing in such a huge and gorgeous old theater, which was sold out!

Big stage! And one of our stage kittens, plus absolute
sweetheart and perfect assistant Philippe <3
[upper picture by Philipp Lipiarski,
lower picture by Bernie GoGo]

After performing, and while waiting for the curtain call, it was time for more pictures! I couldn't be happier about having been able to see World Famous *BOB* again (who was the festival's MC), and tell her how useful the workshops she tought in Helsinki quite a few years ago have been <3

left with World Famous *BOB*, and right with Polish 
boylesque performer Jimmy Bottle
[first picture by Gigi Praline, second by Jimmy Bottle]

At this time, I will use the chance to introduce you to the mastermind behind the whole event, who worked very hard in order to make his dream come true! Ladies and gentleman, Jacques Patriaque! I think none of us can thank him enough for the wonderful experience <3

The mastermind behind Boylesque Festival Vienna, 
Jacques Patriaque!
[picture by Bernie GoGo]

Another one of the highlights of the Boylesque Festival Vienna was that I got to see a very dear friend again, after over 3 years! We met in Helsinki almost 8 years ago, when we were both metalheads (I still am, I just don't look like one anymore! :-D), and hadn't seen since Marisha moved to Cologne in Germany quite a few years ago. As luck has it, she happened to be visiting the city around the same time, so she came to see our show and we could do a bit of catching up afterwards <3
Before we left the venue, we were invited to the afterparty in a legendary rock club in Vienna, that, if I understook correctly, belongs to the husband of lovely Austrian performer Kitty Willenbruch. Marisha joined up for the afterparty, and we were able to share some more fun until yours trully and the rest of the Finns (except Willy) decided that we might be "a tad" too tipsy and should leave to the hotel. Btw! My friend Marisha is an excellent seamstress specialised in reproduction historical clothing, so please do check her facebook page out while the official website is under construction! 

upper pic with Marisha at the venue, and
below with Gigi at the afterparty
[pictures by Marisha]

As you can probably guess, the next day we woke up to the hangover of the year! We barely made it to breakfast before it closed, and I really had to make use of all my stubbornness in order to be able to go see Vienna on the only free-ish day we had. So I had some painkillers, gathered myself, and dragged Gigi and Lola out with me, since I was told there was some paintings by Klimt in a museum called Leopold Museum. My convincing skills weren't strong enough to drag Gigi and Lola into the museum with me, so I visited it alone while they had a coffee nearby. I loved it! Not only did it have some of Klimt's art, but it was full of gourgeous jugendstil, art deco and arts & craft paintings, illustrations, furniture and several other kinds of items. 
After that we went back to the hotel and got ready for the mindblowing succession of world-class boylesque performers that was the main evening of the Boylesque Festival Vienna. Omg! Used as we are to get just a few boylesque performers per event, getting one after another, after another, after another, was unbelievable! And Gigi had booked us tickets in the very middle of the second row, so we had a perfect view! (may I say that maybe even too perfect sometimes? As Gigi put it "I don't think i've ever seen so much testicle hair before")

After the main event, with Lola aka Bent van der Bleu 
and Lady Francesca <3
[picture by Lady Francesca]

After the main event the party continued in another club, but unfortunately we had to leave early due to our early flights the following day. 

What can I say? Vienna, you and your charming people stole my heart! I want more! <3

Monday 4 August 2014

Sinsational Spring Awakening 2014! And premiere of my new act "Algae"

Second belated post! This time about the Sinsational Spring Awakening, which usually happens around half-way through May, and is one of the major burlesque events in Helsinki. The theme this year was the animal kingdom, and the weather joined up by providing us real jungle weather! It was insanely hot and humid, and the room that was our backstage had been in the sun the whole day! Result: I have never seen so many pasties and tassels fly away on stage before :-D

We performed our Crazy Kitties act with Gigi Praline (unluckily enough a sudden pneumonia stole Sandy from us for the weekend), and besides that we both had the chance to premiere our latest solo acts. 
My new solo act "Algae" was born when I was aiming for a bit of an "unusual" feather fan act, and got inspired by the beauty of the mysterious coral reefs and algae. I made my costume from scratch (except the headpiece), and the main inspiration for it were some gorgeous wild silk and beaded Indian textiles I found in ebay. I was also happy to experiment with an unusual colour combination! :-)

Some pictures of my Algae act
picture by Jari B. Miettinen

As I said, I wasn't the one to make the headpiece. I'm actually so lucky when it comes to headpieces, that I have several friends who are professional costumers and hatmakers! And the decision is always a pretty tough one, let me tell you :-)

This time I decided to pay for the expertise of my friend Tiitta Räsänen, who has several years of experience working at Helsinki's Opera House. She's specially talented when it comes to beading, and that's exactly what I wanted for this costume! So as I usually do with my talented friends, I showed her a couple of pictures that inspired me (in this case mostly Art Noveau style), and let her do the rest. I'm in love with the outcome! By the way, she does of course takes orders and I absolutely recommend you check her website Tiisin' Design ;-)

Algae headpiece by Tiisin' Design
picture by Hanna Erkinjuntti