This week we will take a special look at Shazamfest which kicks off tonight with a “pre party” and runs through the weekend. This fest, located in Barnstone-Ouest in the Eastern Townships, is the perfect activity for those looking to get out of the city for a camping weekend.
Trust me it will be a lot more interesting than just sitting around a campfire with that annoying guy and his acoustic guitar that he only kinda knows how to play. You should note that camping is free to anyone with a ticket to the festival and parking is ten bucks, prices vary depending on what ticket package you buy.
No car? No worries. This year they’ve added a shuttle bus from Montreal which leaves Friday at 6:00pm and gets you back Sunday night. Or for those in really good shape you can bike on over and they’ll give you a 20% discount.
Les Deuxluxes + BlackVoid
One of the great things about this fest is that it’s really geared for people to spend the weekend there without having to take time off work. On Friday the shows only start at 5:30 pm and on Sunday they end by 7:00pm with a “D.J afterparty” for those who can stick around.
In order to accommodate weekend travelers but still pack in a full fest lineup they’re putting performances on late into the night. For example, those who arrive later on Friday will still be treated to music into the wee hours in the form of rock bands Les Deuxluxes and BlackVoid who will be on at 12:00am and 1:3o am respectively.
Some forms of music just sound better on a warm summer day in the mid day sun out in the country. One such example is reggae, which is probably why the festival has scheduled Inword to play Saturday in the late afternoon (5:30pm to be exact).
This Montreal based act is the perfect choice to get people into a nice groove and a must see for anyone heading there this weekend.
Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra
With a fusion of afro-columbian and eastern european sounds Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra is musically hard to classify but physically very easy to dance to. You really want to check out their bandcamp page and give their very unique sound a listen.
They’re taking to the stage on Saturday night at 9 and should really set a the tone for the second evening of the fest.
In terms of the facial hair competition there’s seven different categories to compete in (one of them being fake beards, ladies) over $1000 dollars in prizes and a 15% discount off the festival for anyone who enters. Can anyone say hipster heaven? Who knew that this whole time you’ve been growing your ironic mustache it might actually net you some cash.
ShazamFest runs 15th to the 17th of July and is located at 2722 Chemin de Ways Mills, Barnston-Ouest, QC.
On tap this time around: I completely ignore the last few days of the Jazzfest and give you some great date ideas for a rainy Saturday night, tell you the best places to rock out for the next week and feebly attempt deep musical analysis.
Also keep an eye out for FTB’s preview/review of KickDrum Summer Marathon which is a brand new fest here in Montreal that’s six days, seven venues and over 50 bands worth of “100% Montreal-based artists.”
Abigail & Bliss + The History of Gunpowder
At this time of year The Main is usually abuzz with festivals, street fairs and general night time rowdiness. If you’re around on Saturday night I suggest detouring over to Prince Arthur, finding a nice bring your own wine place for dinner (author’s recommendation: Le Square) and then heading to Petit Campus to check out Abigail & Bliss.
This local act has been around since 2010 and have recently released their first full length album. Here’s the track Night Bus which for me brings back memories of taking the 356 home after a big night out. Maybe you took a different bus route but the experience for everyone seems to be the same.
Joining them on stage will be the self proclaimed “six-piece freak out orchestra” The History of Gunpowder. If that doesn’t sound crazy enough they’ve decided to enlist the help of two local burlesque dancers Fifi Fantôme and Sugar Vixen to add to the live show insanity.
Abigail & Bliss and The History of Gunpowder play Petit Campus, 57 Prince-Arthur Est, Saturday, July 9th, 10:00pm (Doors at 9:0pm), $10.
The Cult + The Damn Truth
Certainly the big show of the week will be taking place at the Metropolis on Sunday night where British rockers The Cult will swinging by our fair city as part of a summer of touring. In February they released their new album Hidden City which holds true to the signature sounds that fans of the band have come to know and love.
Heavy guitars, Morrisonesque vocals and a driving rhythm section will be in abundance on Sunday for you hard rockers to enjoy.
If that wasn’t enough you’ll also get to see local rockers The Damn Truth who are coming out with their new album Devilish Folk on July 8th! A couple weeks ago they released a video for the track Heart Is Cold. Does anyone else think the beginning reminds you a bit of the cheerleaders in the Teen Spirit video?
The Cult and The Damn Truth play Metropolis, 59 St Catherine East, Sunday, July 10th, 8:00pm (Doors at 6:30pm), $48 in advance through box office ($53 at the door).
Ashbringer + Vow of Thorns + Spectral Wound
If you’re into either black metal or partying on Tuesdays (or both, cause who isn’t) then I suggest you head down to Casa Del Popolo and check out Ashbringer, Vow of Thorns and Spectral Wound. This show is not for the weak of ear, expect an intense sonic experience from all three acts.
I particularly like the Ashbringer track Oceans Apart which pulls you in, pushes you away then pulls you back in again. Kinda like and Ocean if you think about it… and there’s my terrible attempt at being deep.
Ashbringer, Vow of Thorns and Spectral Wound play Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Tuesday, July 12th, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm), $5.
Grand Splendid + Rust Eden + Das Blankout
For those who were planning on enjoying their Saturday with a nice summer day outside: don’t. It’s supposed to rain and be an overall terribly miserable day, perfect for listening to indie rock at an indoor music venue.
As luck would have it, three local acts of the indie variety (Grand Splendid, Rust Eden and Das Blankout) will be performing that evening at a place with four wall and a roof. Check out the dreamy, intensely eerie track All Good Things for an example of what to expect.
Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!
It’s approaching that time of year, where Saint Laurent Boulevard gets shut down, the theatre folk flock and it’s officially Fringe Festival. Each year Fringe comes by and there are an over-whelming amount of shows to go to. From drag shows to theatre to music to puppetry to burlesque, it’s hard to know where to go with a bevy of great options to choose from. But do not fret my friends because I’m here to narrow down your fringe choices to the best of the best. That way you can spend your cold hard cash on good shows and good times (by which I mean beer).
Here are my OFFICIAL recommendations of what you should check out at this year’s Montreal Fringe Festival:
What’s that I hear? All your favorite characters from The Flintstones have come back with a little more bump n’ grind! Sitcom Burlesque takes you back ALL THE WAY!
We all know and love Bedrock, but what happens when the lights go out? Join all your favorite characters for a night of misadventure, music, dance and, of course, Burlesque. Think strip-tease with pterodactyl wings. It’ll have you shouting YABBA DABBA BOOOOOOOBS!!! (Please Note: The author of this piece is part of the team putting on this show, but then again, who wouldn’t want to be) (tickets)
I personally love any show that’s telling me to drink whiskey and become my inner bitchy self (pretty sure I’m already there). That’s exactly what Jessica Rae does in her one woman show Messy Bitch.
Featuring humour, sass and two disturbing puppets, Messy Bitch is a 30 minute storytelling adventure about learning to give #zerofucks.
So grab yourself a bottle of whiskey, put your bitch face and join Jessica Rae in an extremely messy and all out ridiculous show. You won’t regret it. (tickets)
Do you like to be confused, aroused and a little bit taken aback? Then this is the show you definitely want to go see. Five-time Fringe performer, Maxine Segalowitz is not only the human behind PHACHINAH but also probably one of the silliest performers you’ll ever witness.
Find out what exactly her first one-woman show has in store with a whole cast of different character every night. That’s right folks, you might just be in it. (tickets)
House of Laureen: Backdoor Queens
The drag house that brought you Laureen: Queen of the Tundra is back and ready to take you behind the scenes. Enter through the backdoor and discover the secrets of all that’s hidden in the wondrous world of drag. Leave your misconceptions at home and join these queens in a night of pure and utter naughtiness. (tickets)
The Mysteries of the Unseen World of the Clavis Argentum
Think dark theatre, magic, live music and all that you’ve been waiting for…. burlesque. The Mystical order of the Clavis Argentum is ready to envelope you into it’s world of secrecy. There’s a lot of surprises in this show brought to you by Jimmy Phule and Matt Risk. Prepare to be confronted and maybe a little disturbed. (tickets)
Ladies Advice For Ladies
Are you a lady? Are you a gentleman? Are you none of the above/all of the above? Whatever the case come on down to witness the epicness that is Cafe O’Lait Cabaret. Ladies Advice for Ladies is a satirical cabaret for ladies, gentlemen and all who are both or neither. Brought to you by Marianne Trenka, Tessa J. Brown and Kendall Savage you’ll be in for a treat that has more surprises than you’re prepared for. (tickets)
Well there you have it folks, those are my backstage recommendations to all the goodies of Fringe. So grab yourself a beer (or ten) and find out just what this year’s Fringe Festival has in store for you. The mayhem awaits you…
Hello faithful readers! I don’t know if this is going to make me seem like more or less of a narcissist but I am going to be writing a monthly ASK CAT column for Forget The Box.
While I don’t claim to be a real expert on anything in particular, I do know that I am real. I have been through a lot in my life and can use my experiences to help you with any question you throw at me.
I will answer you blatantly and honestly, without a filter, and completely from the heart. I will answer anything from questions about Sex, Dating, Politics, Art, Feminism, Activism, LGBTQ issues, Drugs, Culture, or anything else you can think of.
Email your questions to Cat@ForgetTheBox.net and I will answer them ASAP in a monthly blog entry. (“Ask Cat” sounds like “Ass Cat” when said out loud)
I threw this idea out there to my Facebook friends and responded to the first six questions I received (my friends are f*cked up). Here are the first three, with three more to come next time:
Dear Cat, what are your thoughts on art expression over personal issues with waste? I feel a calling to do a photo shoot in a giant tub full of blue cheese for the sake of art because I feel like the Buffalo chicken wing of life. My problem is I can’t convince myself to waste all of that blue cheese. I recall some of your work with the Wesley Willis song “rock n roll McDonalds” and how you were able to incorporate food into the act. Some of the fries never made it to the mouth. How do we approach artist feats like this and overcome the guilt?
Hi Micheal! As you know I am very much against the issue of food waste in this world, I am a big activist for dumpster diving and Food Not Bombs, using food that would have otherwise been thrown away to feed the hungry. It is also true that I often use food in my performance.
I make comments about greed, consent,corruption, body image, and corporate waste with my art. My vision is to participate in the bad parts of society on a stage so people can become aware of the abject horror of reality, kind of like John Waters. It’s like there must be sacrifices made for the revolution to be a success.
Nobody is perfect all the time, myself definitely included. Of course I feel bad about the fries on the floor when there are hungry mouths to feed. I guess where I was coming from with that is the food I was “feeding” to people is shit food with no positive nutritional value anyways, so I feel less guilty about that.
I fully support the idea of you submerging yourself in blue cheese, make sure it’s the good kind. Buy it, and put yourself in a claw foot tub in the middle of an art gallery. Lay in in naked, submerged.
Have plates full of chicken wings, carrots, celery, pizza, all the vessels for blue cheese. Invite people to dip in your tub, see how long it takes, see how far they will go for blue cheesy goodness. Will they lick it off of your body? People are obsessed with that shit. People also get weird in the name of art.
Document the entire thing. The exhibit ends when the food is gone, nothing is wasted, and you can probably get a pizza shop to sponsor you. I once wore a dress sponsored by Mr. Pizza. It was a collaboration with Melissa Campbell called Upper Crust Punk, we literally bit every slice of pizza. It was a cathartic, gross indulgence in the name of fashion, there was a spittune. I was empowered by food.
When we made the PBR corset, some of the PBRs were dumped down the drain because they couldn’t physically drink anymore damn PBRs and there was a deadline. It was a sin! If I was there I would have shotgunned every single one of those PBRs, waste not want not,bro. Let them eat blue cheese! Let them scrape it off of your flesh!
Dear Cat, what happened last night? I know I showed up at the bar with $1.25 in quarters, the last shot I took made me black out, and I know I fell off my bike mounting on the way home because of a bruise on my arm and a scratch on my face. I think you were there dressed in white.
Hi Daren! I remember seeing you at Nietzsches last night for the Stripteasers weekly bar show, I was dressed in white because we were doing a tribute to Prince and I was a crying dove.
What I assume happened is that people bought your fine ass some drinks, since the bar is cash only. You then were too drunk to bike and should have left your bike at the bar and gotten a ride home or walked.
Or perhaps you were abducted by aliens and drugged, not remembering the experience. The bruise and scratches were from the alien probing, not from a bike fall like you initially thought. Maybe I wasn’t there at all and the “girl in white” was some kind of extraterrestrial being.
I cannot let you know for sure what happened to you, but am happy you made it home safe with minimal damage. Stay safe dude! Use the buddy system in the future. Or be like me and get a trike, I never fall off that thing when drunk riding!
Dear Cat, I think that you are the cat’s meow! Were you always fearless or did you work up to it?
Hi Melissa! Thank you for the amazing compliment, you too are the cat’s meow! I think have always been pretty fearless (sometimes stupidly fearless)! My parents are amazing and taught me to only speak my mind and fight for what I believe in.
As a little kid I was the one who stated the blatantly obvious. I was a little feminist, fighting to play football with the boys. I love myself and fight for those who are afraid. It’s important to be strong and never give up on important things.
I am also a constant work in progress, I know that I continue to grow and learn each day. I can’t say I’m fearless. I definitely get afraid of walking upstairs from basements, that feeling that something evil is coming up after you to pull you down the dark rickety stairs is real.
Got a question for Cat? Ask it: Cat@ForgetTheBox.net
Canadian electronic music producer, singer/songwriter Annie Sama, better known as APigeon launches her new music video for the song Polyday tonight at O Patro Vys. Come hear a unique blend of electronica, pop and folk from a performer who has been compared to Björk, Feist, and Lykke Li among others.
APigeon Video Launch, Thursday, April 14 at O Patro Vys, 356 Mont-Royal Est, Music Video Premier 8:30pm, show 9pm, Tickets $12
Hommage à Amy Winehouse
This Friday night head over to the Rialto where Jazzy R&B singer Andréa Blaze will be performing a tribute to 27 club member Amy Winehouse. Having left us almost five years ago, it seems that Winehouse’s fans are eager to hear her music performed live again.
Anticipation (and ticket sales) for this show have been steadily growing to the point that a larger venue (The Rialto) was required. With a full band and horn section backing up Blaze’s powerful voice and stage presence this show is not to be missed.
In Her Majesty’s Secret Panties – Candyass Cabaret
This Friday you can also head over to Café Cléopatra where Montréal burlesque legends The Candyass Cabaret will be exposing their newest show. Though not actually a music show, per say, it promises to be quite rockin’ so we decided to include it.
This self proclaimed “Ode to the Brits” promises “performers ready to show you their bits ‘n bobs.”
This show also promises the best celebrity cameo of the week as the Queen (a.k.a that lady who’s on our money) is supposed to be dropping by. Which begs the question: are show-goers going to be treated to a royal striptease? All hints seem to lead that way.
Candyass Cabaret is at Café Cléopatra, 1230 boul. Saint-Laurent, Friday, April 15th. Doors @9pm Show @10pm. $10.
With sexy spring weather being forecast for this weekend it’s time to stop making excuses and start heading out again! Why stay home this Saturday when you can head over to Barfly where you can check out Street Rhythm, a night showcasing some of the best local indie music.
So come check out The Strange Perception, Attics&Alleys and Keystorm all for the very reasonable price of $5.
Street Rythm, Barfly, 4062A St Laurent, Saturday, April 16th, 8pm, $5, 18+. Tickets at the door.
British Indie Pop/Rockers The Subways will be bringing their mix of catchy riffs and power chords to the Fairmount this Monday in support of their new album’s North American release on April 16th.
After four albums and more than a decade this power trio shows no signs of slowing down.
Check out their newest video for the track Dirty Muddy Paws:
The Subways play Théâtre Fairmount, 5240 av du Parc, Monday, April 18th, 9pm (doors 8pm), $20, 18+. Tickets available through the Théâtre Fairmount website
Featured image: The Subways via Instagram
Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at email@example.com. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!
Dita Von Teese, surely you’ve heard the name before, after all she is the most famous burlesque icon of our day and age. However, Dita wasn’t always an icon. She started as a lingerie saleswoman, fetish model and stripper, transforming into the world famous Dita Von Teese, goddess of burlesque. On February 21st this burlesque queen graced Montreal with her presence headlining Le Grand Cabaret amidst some of the top burlesque performers in Montreal.
For those of you that have never been to a burlesque show, you’re probably thinking who goes to these shows? Probably a bunch of blokes ready to ogle “naked women.” But you would be wrong. The majority that are going to these shows are women.
“A lot of women are finding empowerment out of seeing various kinds of beauty and sensuality and seeing eroticism in a different way than what you normally see,” tells Dita Von Teese.
It’s no mere coincidence that Dita Von Teese showed up in Montreal to perform for a packed audience this past Sunday. Even though burlesque has long been an underground art form, it’s resurgence as of late has been breaking down cultural barriers of what it means to be a burlesque artist in 2016. Dita is just one of the many influences breaking down these barriers.
Burlesque comes from the Italian word “burla” meaning to make a ‘mockery of.’ So what exactly is burlesque mocking? The male gaze on a woman’s body? How our society views sexual freedom? Standards of gender and forms of beauty? It’s a little of all of the above and a whole lot more. Dita defines it as “ a powerful message of self-creation…showing people another form of beauty.”
So what does Burlesque look like on stage? And what did it look like the night of February 21st when Dita Von Teese and a troupe of Montreal’s finest performers let loose on stage.
After a strikingly seductive, classic showgirl number by Lavender May, the night was followed by a number of breathtaking performances, one of which was by Shy Shy Schullie. If you’ve never heard the name before look this songstress up. Performing on La Voix, this talented beauty has a voice that can be unparalleled by no other. Wearing a strikingly seductive dress and tearing the stage down with her voice Shy Shy was followed by Montreal’s “tall glass of badass” Lady Josephine.
Lady Josephine is a notorious performer in Montreal and most notably founded Arabesque Burlesque, a burlesque school to teach new-comers and experts-alike the art of burlesque. She performed alongside two of her students (Aria Delanoche & Sugar Vixen) who flourished within her school and have now become starlets within the burlesque scene.
Her piece of the night was Miss Sheath, a badass sword-fighting femme fatale supported onstage by her accomplices. The three of them danced a prayer to the warrior goddess before Lady Josephine prepared for battle. Removing her clothes with her sword, Lady Josephine stole the stage and the hearts of the crowd for one of the top acts of the evening.
The finale of the first act came when Dita Von Teese took to the stage for a supremely classic burlesque number. Donning a fishtail gown the goddess slowly removed her gloves before twirling them around her head. She then proceed to slowly lift the dress down her shoulders uncovering a sleek, black corset that gave her that famously elegant waist. Teasing the audience like only Dita can, she removed the bottom of her dress showing the audience just a glimpse of her butt. Effortlessly removing the rest of her gown and finally bra she covered herself with a fur boa before anyone in all of the L’Olympia could catch a glimpse of her body.
Once again hiding herself she picked up two feather fans while dropping the boa, showing the world that she is the queen of the tease. Finally she revealed herself for just a brief moment before once again covering herself with the feather fans for the grand finale. Overall a classy and delicate number closing the first half of the show.
The second act was brought to life by the infamous The Foxy Lexxi Brown, who not only has made a huge name for herself in Montreal’s community but all over North America. This bodacious bombshell was brought onstage as Cleopatra, the Egyptian Goddess, carried a-top a throne by her backup dancers. The number was a magical one with a super seductive climax when her dancers poured milk all over her body and fanned her giving this queen of the nile an unforgettable milk bath.
There was another stand-out in the crowd that night who goes by the name of BonBon Bombay. If you’ve never heard the name you probably have never been to a burlesque show. This whimsical entity has been blowing up the burlesque and circus scene since 2007. She has a huge international reputation and is known for her mix of circus and neo-burlesque characters.
On the night of Le Grand Cabaret BonBon Bombay created an entrance like no other. Blowing open one of the side doors of L’Olympia the little fiery fox stormed through the audience blaring air horns. Dressed like a circus master she pranced through the crowd toying with the audience. Her playful energy was lapped up by the crowd as they were left drooling at her feet. She offered her glove out for one lucky audience member who jumped at the chance to tear off her glove with his teeth like a ravenous dog.
After toying with the audience throughout the whole performance her finale was done on-stage as she raised a toast to the audience. Just as she placed her lips on the glass she wagged her finger before dipping her tassels in the glass. Before anyone knew what was happening she had lit both tassels on fire and was spinning her way into the audience’s hearts with her flaming tits.
The evening only continued to get more fiery when Dita Von Teese brought the night to full tilt with a grand finale. She ended the show with her infamous Martini Glass number proving to all of Montreal that her acts will remain iconic throughout time. This icon’s presence and performance on February 21st just goes to show how big this underground art form is becoming.
She has carved a path for a lot of burlesque artists that is changing how they’re viewed in society. What some view as objectification, others view as liberation, and burlesque is challenging this societal gaze.
“One of the last taboos to be liberated is to revel in being objectified,” Dita explains. “ you can’t decide for someone what is degrading or empowering, because some people could look at my show and say, ‘Oh that’s so degrading to women,’ but then you’re thinking, ‘How is that degrading to women when there’s all the women who are supporting it and they’re getting inspiration from it and they’re happy to see a different version of sensuality?” Take a note from the diva herself, and let yourself be liberated.
* Featured image of Dita Von Teese and all photos by Coulton Photography. Click on the first image to open gallery
Lemmy Kilmister’s Death Was Announced on my Birthday.
I always loved the way Lemmy just did not give a fuck. He lived his life on his own terms, was fully responsible for his actions, and was finally killed by death. He was a deviant dirtbag other worldly swamp creature who knew how to growl, masterfully.
Why should he care what anyone thought of him? Why should I?! He lived to be 70 years old, that’s like 200 in rockstar years. Most people who live and party at his level don’t make it past 26. He was a dirty dog that partied the hardest, pickled liver, coal tar lungs, full of all the wrong substances, except for rock and roll. He has fucked over 1000 women.
Diabetes, cigarettes, alcohol and speed. The cancerous tumors in his brain and neck were the nail in the coffin. He died two days after being diagnosed, four days after his 70th birthday. His friends joked that he would outlive us all, only the good die young, and so on.
He was all about that bass, an explosive personality, a beast of a man, a next level human, I wish I could have partied with him. Run my fingers through his black wiry mutton chops, mustache and mountainous power moles.
Motörhead music is a war cry. Lemmy sang like he had rocks in his throat. It is about fucking women and getting wasted, fast, loud, a grimy version of punk and metal, it is powerful shit.
I heard the news of his death while I was at my drag/karaoke/taco birthday party. My wine drunk mother just got done lecturing me on how I am not leading a good “christian” lifestyle and handed me a bag of pink daisy razorblades and deodorant. I shoved a taco down my gullet, strapped on my mustache and mullet, painted on a 6’oclock shadow, and partied on. I drank so much whiskey and sang so hard that night. A friend of mine did a great rendition of Ace of Spades.
Lemmy was not a typically “beautiful” man, but neither am I. Just like a John Waters character, Lemmy personified trashy lush wonderfulness. He was a perfect kind of filth, often on the “ugliest celebrities” tabloid lists.
People like him make me feel better about my flaws because we are ALL flawed. He looked great in cut off jean shorts, a ragged band shirt, bolo tie, shades, bullett belt, and crossbones cowboy hat, though. Nobody can deny that.
I had to pay tribute to him in my most recent burlesque show. The best part is that I already owned the whole costume. I jumped on the bar and tore layers of grimy costume off of me to The Ace of Spades.
The denim shorts were riding up my vagina. The long black wig itched, the pubey looking fake chest hair was falling off in clumps, my chops and stache were smudged, my rhinestone moles were still on, I smelled like yesterday, my hangover was strong. It was the right way to do it. Chugging beers and shooting Jack Daniels all night with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.
I regret nothing. Except the fact that I glued the moles on the wrong side of my face, and I was called out on it INSTANTLY. I was impressed. Well, my name is Hemmy, Lemmy’s lesbian cousin.
It was an incredible show, all of my friends did crazy performances in my honor. We were celebrating my birth and the life of a legend in the same night. To celebrate birth and death simultaneously is interesting.
I think about life and death often because it is something we all have to do, it is certain. Who would come to my funeral I wonder? Do I make as much of an impact as I think? Will people think that I was an asshole or remember me fondly?
I want to drink that bottle of whiskey and eat the greasy steak sandwich, stay up all night dancing and screaming, loving, living, not regretting a moment. We may live till 70, or 100 even, but we might also die today of a brain tumor or a gun shot or a car accident or even drown in our own fucking cereal bowl. You never know. We are all lucky to have gotten this far. Each year on my birthday I really step back and think about how far I have come and what I need to do to keep evolving.
I often abuse my body with alcohol and drugs, bacon over veggies, party time excellent over eight hours of sleep. I’ve never enjoyed the gym. I once went to a gym where the women’s fitness room was facing a McDonalds. Running toward the high calorie shitty food that will eventually be my slow cholesterol filled demise. Lovely.
I know so many people, myself included, that pay for gym memberships and don’t even use them. Jump on the yearly fad of this year, I will be different. Wishful thinking that they will become healthier versions of themselves. Less fat, soft, and shitty.
My mom’s ass hangs out of her jeans, rolling over the top like a perfect little muffin. I’ve worked in a plus size store where women had unrealistic visions of what they looked like in their clothes. I have always felt fantastic and proud in my body, the only time I felt moments of self consciousness were when someone else mocked me or told me how I looked was abject or wrong. Fuck those people, they are jealous of the way I look, I am just myself, just like Lemmy was unapolagetically himself.
YOLO. Another year has passed. “Maybe this will be MY year,” magically all the shit that went awry the year before will be wiped away. I am now 29 years old, 2016 is my last year before turning 30, it’s like a power hour, and I have still never had a New Year’s midnight kiss. Not that passionate one that people write about, daydream about, make movie moments about.
So I wonder if the new me I want to be is just more assertive version of what I am now. Less pathetic longing and more doing, grab the face I want and kiss it, embrace the lips I yearn for, or move on and find a new driving force of lust. This year I want to take charge of what I want. My happiness is up to me. My art and success are up to me. I have no control of others, I should not become consumed by selfish notions of true love and that be all end all kind of life affirming passion.
I need to open my eyes and have new years REVELATIONS not resolutions: I need to be more dramatic, make it count, be more like Lemmy. I am going to find myself by traveling and making art because I must. I am going to own my desire. This is a year of sexual awakening.
I am sick and tired of unrequited love and being held down by gender normatives and societal standards. I want to open up my lifestyle and try things outside of my comfort zone.
My life is nowhere near perfect, it is a constant work in progress. I want to take advice from those who are already doing it, and those who have already left their mark on this world and have left us. The art you make will never die, even when your body rots.
“Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good.”
– Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister (1945-2015)
Art imitates life, art changes lives, art fights, art stands up when everything else is silenced, art is the representation of frustration, art is everything. I am an artist and I say what I believe in.
I either have to totally love or despise something passionately for it to make it into my performance or painting. Politically charged performance is what I have based my entire burlesque career on. I scream my political agenda at the top of my lungs because its important. It is my air.
I was sitting in the lobby of every woman’s worst nightmare. There were young girls with their moms for the first time, women who have been there too many times before, single moms with no other choice, victims of rape, victims of society, victims of being born with a vagina between their legs.
Life giving creatures waiting in line to just make it all fucking stop. Proof that you can never be too safe and it can always happen to you. Boyfriends that didn’t want to be there, one night stands who had no clue, lovers with no real grasp of whats going on, best friends, and sisters all along , literally, for the ride.
I sat there thinking how necessary this place was, how many people have fought and died for it to exist. I thought about Demi Moore in If These Walls Could Talk and I thought about dead teenage girls with bloody coat hangers and basement butchers. This is how far we have come.
12 hours. The whole process took 12 hours. Sitting in torment. One doctor to 50 patients. Women who are already in pain having to endure that long of a wait was atrocious.
“How long she gonna take, she was in there for an hour” ignorance. “It’s never like this, the other times I have been here I was in and out” sadness. And then a woman burst in to the office with the biggest attitude I have ever seen. She was pissed off that security was so strict that she had to put her ID up to the camera. Her friend had been waiting and could not be admitted for her procedure until her ride had arrived.
“I’m going to be late for my hair appointment, if I miss it you are going to pay for it” and then went on about the heightened security. The girl behind the counter answered with one of the most grim things I have ever heard, “Because three people died in a shooting at an abortion clinic in Colorado, THATS why!” Dumb bitch who wanted to get her hair did “Well, this ain’t Colorado, this is Buffalo.”
What the fuck is wrong with people? I’ve never wanted to choke slam someone so hard in my life. This woman represents a kind of deep seeded ignorance that I cannot even fathom. I bet she is too inconvenienced to vote too. It pisses me off when someone doesn’t even understand that where we are had to be fought for.
It seems like it sucks, but its still much better than it was. The right for a woman to vote and female reproductive rights are monumentally important. I remember being 18, voting in the Democratic primary, my first time in the booth. My candidates included Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama, a woman and a man of color, holy shit. I wept. There was a time not so long ago that women and black people could not even vote, now they sat here on the ballot.
I stood there in that booth and cried because I knew what kind of moment this was. I knew that people fought for this and that there was so much more fighting to be done. I have a lot of work to do. We all do. A change is a coming.
I literally had to go home and transform myself into Donald Trump for a burlesque show later that night. Don’t even get me started on that asshole. He represents next level evil, the uber scary kind that gains power through the dumb masses of Wal-Mart shopping, Bible thumping (not reading, just thumping), television obsessed drones that take up precious space in our dying world.
He is not as smart as Hitler was. I can’t even believe that it has gotten this far. Of course I have to imitate him. I often dress up as the worst kind of man, mullet wearing, ignorant, American, alcoholic, misogynist man, but at least Cock Sinclair is lovable, there is hope for him. There is no hope for Donald Trump or anyone who supports him.
FUCK REFUGEES, FUCK WOMEN, FUCK THE PLANET.
He spews hate and fear, stirring the pot with no filter, and no common sense. How can you feel right about what you are saying when it causes you to be banned from parts of the world? Promoting violence against Muslims and a culture based blind hate and mass ignorance.
Becoming him was an easy task. I needed a navy blue suit and a red tie, a stupid trucker hat, a shit load of fake money and the worst combover ever. It was fun to transform into this abject monster.
I dressed up my friend Juicy Lucy as Bernie Sanders with a terrible old man mask and a hat with pot leaves on it. She wore pot leaf pasties and undies and came out smoking a bowl with a sign that said FEEL THE BERN on it.
I wrapped myself in a Christmas box that to America from Santa then crossed it out and wrote Satan. I burst out as the song began, the crowd erupted, they were dancing and screaming, it was such a perfect moment, everyone in that room was mad at Donald Trump.
I felt like I was the bad guy at a wrestling show. I personified evil. This show was like GWAR without the blood. Trump made it rain dollar bills as he stripped and ejaculated American flags. Bernie then pulled a pride flag out of his pants, hog tied Trump, and gagged him with money. It was one of the most glorious moments in my life.
I wish someone would have caught it on on tape, even a shitty cell phone video would do. The whole performance was to an original song by my favorite local band Folkfaces called Freedom Fries which they are about to release as a single:
I have pulled many flags out of my very American penis to this song. Protest music is so necessary. The voice of a generation, the momentum of the movement, the beat of a fight song, the power of good energy and important words, saying what people are too afraid to say. Loud and clear. We need it.
My art is either about love or politics and atrocities. To make a comment against police brutality I once wore a pig face and a cop costume and had women smash donuts on me to Fuck the Police and I once wore a Cosby sweater and had people dump pudding on me to protest rape culture and talk about consent. My Kitty Porn series combines cats and hardcore porn to showcase the most exploited things on the internet.
I made a painting the night I found out about the Ferguson riots, I just had enough, I could not sleep until the image was out of my brain:
I also did a piece about the dangers of Fracked oil being transported on dangerous bomb trains across the United States. I have made art about food waste, animal abuse, child abuse and more.
Everything I do must have a purpose, it’s like an insatiable urge to make things right in the world. I just hope that I can spark inspiration into others like I have been inspired by my fellow artists, both peers and past revolutionaries.
FUCK RACISM. FUCK REPUBLICANS. FUCK FEAR.
Someone has to say it. Propaganda is a different kind of art, paving the way for every war. Protest the propaganda. Stifle hate with beauty and truth. Make the world a better place to live in by taking an active part in its reconstruction.
Start with the dust on your own hands. Art is the only true voice. The clearest sound heard when there is nothing but muffles. Don’t let your art be quiet. MAKE IT YELL.
Today I woke up in a cuddle pile with some of my all time favorite humans in the world: my soul friends. They inspire me to new depths of creativity, I want to travel the world with them, love and respect them forever, and always have time to meet them at random times and places and sit down to reminisce about their adventures and our conjoined memories. They are my roommates, my longtime friends, my inspiration to pinup culture, the girl who inspired my Monroe piercing and lust for travel, the people who create my favorite music, new friends, and past lover
The patterns and techinicolor of the John Waters movie made me feel like I was tripping, we were in the movie. His films have inspired the people and art that has influenced me. It was fucking magical. I even made spontaneous plans to go see him in New Orleans in December, I will meet John Waters and finally be discovered, it’s my new life plan.
Last night was also one of the best and most inspired shows I have ever had, The Stripteasers and I danced our hearts out, leaving the frustrations of our daily lives at the door and truly transforming for our audience. I performed in raunchy drag to Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song and it was epic. I spent way too much money on the most epic turkey hat and made some pretty adorable turkey pasties (get it, “turkey breasts,” ahhh). Cock Sinclair was in a fantasy land.
I did a live version of the song and the laugh track from the live audience made me feel so empowered. It was perfect, I almost want to add a laugh/clap track to all of my songs. That way even if nobody likes the show I will still have positive vibes. There have been only a three or so times where I have felt the total roar of an audience like Adam Sandler felt during that live show. On the bar in the red glow of Nietzsches I pulled a turkey baster and a very phallic turkey decoration out of my plush penis and seductively t-bagged the unsuspecting onlookers.
Buffalo LGBTQ Pride 2015 was one of the best days of my life. I stuffed a gas station apple pie full of magic mushrooms while I was wrapped up in a giant rainbow pride flag attached to my adult tricycle that was parked literally steps away from a police officer. I rode around that day feeling like the parade was for me.
The highest point of the day was performing in the tent at the main event. I was sandwiched between fabulous up and coming local drag queens. I danced to the Backstreet Boys’ Larger than Life and pulled my infamous rubber fist (her name is Ivana Punishu) out of my pants.
The crowd converged on me. It was a feeling like no other. There was a moment of panic when I realized that I did not remove my swamp ass bike shorts before the show… I took them off and there was definitely a wet spot, but nobody noticed because the rubber fist distracted them. I thought I was going to be lifted up to crowd surf like at a Warped Tour. During the climax of the song I took a magnum condom out of my pocket and put it on the giant rubber fist.
I was told right before the performance that the show was supposed to be PG-13… well clearly I was more NC-17…. and it was perfection. I enjoy pushing all of the boundaries that I can. It was an incredible moment in my life.
Some other moments of greatness involved three becoming one… lets just say there was a lot of alcohol and heavy petting involved. It was incredible for me to finally have the two people I wanted most.
I had known that I was bisexual since high school (even sooner than that really, just not acknowledged, maybe even as young as kindergarten), but I had never had the opportunity to have both genders at the same time. It was fucking magical.
I had just gotten out of an emotionally abusive long term relationship and was brand new in the burlesque scene, I drove a van, I was an assistant manager at my favorite clothing store Torrid, and in art school at the University of Buffalo. I was inspired to create some of the most prolific and large scale art of my life.
It changed me as a person. I grew so much that year artistically and sexually. I have not explored a relationship like that since. I realize that it’s all I want, the right person to take on the world with. I need a man that I can pick up women with, a woman I can pick up men with, or even one of each.
I don’t think that’s greedy, I just see other people doing it and then I remember the happiest time of my youth. I was at a party out of town last week in a similar cuddle puddle.
The real best day of my life was during a fashion show called Mass Appeal. The whole reason for this blog is partially because of Facebook’s new “memory” feature. It showed me a photo from two years ago when I was wearing a corset made out of pizza crust, a grease sheet skirt and pizza box train.
I had a giant mohawk with extensions and epic glittery shoes that easily put me over six feet. I was the only plus size model in the show. I remember wearing this corset and feeling like a greased pig. I walked to the end of the runway and took bite of a slice and the crowd ignited. I felt like I was at a Bills game and not a bourgeois fashion show.
I got what I wanted that day. I have always fantasized about having a mohawk. It was my power. I was invincible. I remember walking through the sea of perfect tiny models after taking off my costume. I was practically naked, wearing only small red “pepperoni” pasties, my blatant imperfections and a thong as I made my way to the bathroom after the runway. I had never felt as beautiful as I did that day.
Tonight is a full moon. It is also the anniversary of the best day of my life. I am working, but I have some amazing things lined up for this evening. My boobs look great in this dress. I am going to dance, laugh, and love like today is the new best day of my life.
I stood on the roof and smoked a bowl as the sun set on my beautiful city and breathed in the crisp fall air (warmer than usual) and felt that same invincibility that I felt on stage two years ago. I came into work at the hostel and two guys from Indonesia checked in and immediately wanted to take a selfie with me. I guess Im looking memorable today. I can’t wait to take on the night.
Tomorrow I am going to have my entire family over, this is my time to go nuts and be free. It’s hard to be happy when all we see in the world is pain and despair, there is so much evil that we must cherish our moments of bliss, it may not last forever.
Halloween is here once again, it is hands down my favorite holiday. Actually no, fuck that, Halloween is everyday! I wear my freak flag proud 365 days a year.
For most “normal” people, Halloween is the one day of the year that it is socially acceptable to dress up like a weirdo and live their freak fantasy. Sadly commercialism and an oversexed media has turned it into a money making skank fest.
There are literally slutty versions of every costume (even in the kids section): slutty nurse, slutty referee, slutty cop, slutty witch, slutty vampire, slutty pirate, slutty prom queen, and the list goes on. These costumes seem to be invented with pedophiles in mind. Men and young boys seem to have it a little easier and can just put a mask on it , become their favorite action hero or movie killer, or slip on a dress and be a bearded lady.
Stop the trend. The only way you can break out of this is by making your own costumes for your children. Halloween costumes you buy are very expensive and poorly made anyways.
More gore and less whore. Being a bloody zombie is an easy and fun way to celebrate this holiday season. Instead of being a slutty version of something be a bloody zombie version instead!
It was funny, the other day I went to a costume party with my friend Erik and he doused himself in blood and called it a day for his costume. The cab driver asked us like ten times if it was real. A person covered in real blood is every person’s worst nightmare, so I get it when people freak out over a gory costume. Its all about shock value.
Haunted houses are insane, filled with passionate actors willing and ready to scare the shit out of anyone who walks through the doors. I am a pussy when it comes to stuff like that.
I remember being a pretty young girl and going into a Haunted Catacomb and when the actor wielding a chainsaw came after me I kicked him in the shin and ran. It was fight then flight, I felt like I was going to die. Now it’s a little different, as an adult I realize that I am probably not going to actually die. It’s all entertainment.
People have always had a certain blood lust when it comes to being entertained. Grand Guignol is a form of theatre that is graphic, amoral, and horrific in nature. The most famous theatre of this kind and a huge target for censorship was the house of horror known as Le Theatre du Grand-Guinol, The Theatre of the Grand Puppett, in Paris France open from 1897-1962.
Everyone from royalty and celebrities in formal apparel to the common man would enjoy blood soaked plays about prostitutes, criminals, insanity, and grotesque mame and murder. People came to the shows to feel something, they wanted to be entertained and disturbed by the natural looking horror shows. The same crowd attends modern day slasher films and gorelesque recitals.
Most audience members became belligerent and boisterous. Others could not hang, often the special effects were so realistic that audience members would vomit or pass out during the performances.
I am part of a Gorelesque troupe called The Zombettes, we give a whole new meaning to Blood Lust. Once after a show I picked up a guy and left bloody handprints on his wall.
Gorelesque is exactly what it sounds like: Burlesque covered in blood. Dark, occult, horror, zombie, and gore added to the classic striptease based performance art. We have done everything from act out the ear cutting Stuck in the Middle With You scene from Resevoir Dogs to the opening scene from Scream or a reenactment of Friday the 13th.
Once we did a show dubbed “too soon?” where my friend The Creeping Beauty dressed up like Amy Winehouse (literally two days after she passed) and I dressed up like Anna Nicole Smith to welcome her to the afterlife while the song Rehab played. Maybe that was utterly tasteless, but it certainly was memorable.
Classic horror/slasher movies are a huge inspiration to my art. Dramatic music and imagination are important in horror flicks. It’s what you don’t see that can scare you the most. Same with burlesque, it’s what you don’t see that invokes the most titilation.
Everybody has nightmares and everybody watches the news. We all know that the world we live in can be a scary and evil place. Sometimes people go crazy and slaughter the innocent , war is happening while you read this, limbs being blown off, random acts of torture and violence are rampant, people are being raped, and there are unspeakable horrors happening in every city. Horror movies are just the artistic representations of these very real atrocities.
It’s the time of year that I re-watch all of the Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Hellraiser and other various horror movies on repeat. The scariest of these flicks are the ones that are plausible. A real person can lose their mind and torture me.
It seems that there is a formula for these flicks that involves large breasted women or beautiful young virgin babysitters running around in white t-shirts covered in blood and being victimized by a male psychopathic sadistic monster.
Why are there rarely any sexy men in leading roles of horror movies? When a man dies in a horror flick it is quick. Scream Queens sell tickets. Misogyny rules in this genre. These women must fight to survive.
It reminds me a lot of porn to be honest with you. Young women cowering and screaming just as they do from being pounded by the twenty throbbing mega cocks being rammed down their throats in hardcore porn movies. Yes, I am a feminist who watches both horror movies and gang bang porn. Im more terrified by watching the Republican debate.
“Why aren’t we getting finger banged in a church parking lot right now?” I asked my burlesque dancing brethren.
I walked into a restaurant in full glitter makeup with another performer, Max Darling. The cashier started talking to us because she recognized that we were Stripteasers. A few minutes into our conversation she said “Thank you!” I asked for what?
She explained that the first time she watched one of our shows she also happened to be on her first date with her current boyfriend. They were both so turned on by our show that they ended up getting dirty in a church parking lot afterwards.
I was jealous, I never get any action due to my show, I just end up tired and eating dinner at 3 am alone. I want to get finger banged in a church parking lot, dang nabbit!
We are sex facilitators
People are always having more fun than me. I feel like it’s nearly impossible to have a bustling sex life when you are a burlesque dancer. Our confidence scares the shit out of most people. It seems like the only people who have the balls to hit on us are absolute creeps or fawning fans that are just plain doing it wrong.
I am in the business of making everyone else horny, which is great, but by the time I change into my street clothes and count my money the party is over. We are sex facilitators.
It feels good to go to an event and not be performing, hosting, or volunteering it. Just to let loose and enjoy yourself for once. Generally, I will go to a cool art event once and then be like “omg I have to be part of this! I have so many ideas” then that’s it, I’ll never really enjoy it the same carefree way ever again. That’s how I became a burlesque dancer and festival organizer.
To serve and entertain
I am also a bartender. Again, being paid to bring the party to the people. To serve and entertain. Midnight. New Year’s Eve. Everyone else is about to have their kiss and I’m pouring champagne. Missing the party cuz I am the party. Someone needs to stay at least sort of sober to make it all run smoothly.
July 3rd parties at my parents house were always my one big shin dig of the year. It was tough because I had to stay sober enough to keep shit under control. The neighbours and my mom still got mad, half my friends would be naked in the pool and the other half passed out drunk on good times and strong as fuck jungle juice.
This year was the first year since high school that I did not throw the party and my friends were shocked. It was bittersweet. I went to a music festival instead and got crazy and enjoyed myself fully. I mean it was cool to have an annual party that people looked forward too, but I couldn’t hang anymore.
One day it might be nice to step back and let someone else take the stage
I’m either too tired to party or ready to party when everyone is too drunk. I recently hosted and performed at an art party called Peepshow. The end of the night was approaching and our show had killed it. The peenyata (giant phallic piñata) was smashed and the keg was nearly kicked over. People were dancing their faces off, smiling and cheering. Then, over in the corner on the squishy beanbag-like tentacles, was a pile of tired and heavily glittered burlesque dancers. We had once again given it our all.
Work to live not live to work. Working during shows or family outings is the worst. I love my job, don’t get me wrong. I do all of my jobs with absurd passion or I don’t do them at all. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.
But one day it might be nice to step back and let someone else take the stage. Let them entertain me. Let someone else hang their art, dance to their own beautiful beat, and most importantly, serve me drinks.
But that day is not today. The show must go on and it will be fantastic. It’s what I breathe. It’s my life and inspiration.
Censorship at every level is difficult and feels dirty and wrong. Artistic freedom is taken away daily while over sexualized children and extreme violence are plastered on billboards and ads without remorse. Yet a woman cannot be topless? What’s so gross or wrong about that? Every human had nipples, I just can’t figure out what the fuss is all about?!
Recently in Saskatchewan at the Lyric Theatre’s Chautauqua Theatre Festival a burlesque performer called Rosie Bitts was censored during her performance about censorship! It is currently illegal to strip in the province of Saskatchewan. She did a non-striptease performance involving audience banter. She does her number in pasties and a g-strip to show how ridiculous the laws are.
When Ms. Bitts brought a male audience member on stage to reveal his nipple, she pointed out that revealing her female nipple would be completely illegal. Quickly the president of the Lyric Theatre shut the show down and the burlesque performer gracefully left the stage.
She was basically told to shut up and dance like a nice girl. The audience was left shocked, some thinking that the stoppage was all part of the act. Sadly it was not.
Are all nipples created equally? Guess not! I love how on Instagram there are women who are photoshopping men’s nipples over their own to talk about how silly it is that the female nipple is so sexualized and the male nipple is just fine. Women are fighting against this absurd double standard with a loophole that makes Instagram look like an a-hole.
Artist Micol Hebron created a digital male nipple pasty template. Celebrities such as Courtney Love and Sarah Silverman have even used this app. Currently the only female nipples allowed on Instagram are of women breastfeeding and post mastectomy scarring. #freethenipple is the hashtag used for this important feminist movement.
I’m not afraid of public nudity! My dad was arrested for streaking in the 1970s, so it’s in my blood. Besides baring it all on stage I walked in the first NYC Slut Walk, rode my trike in pasties in the Buffalo Naked Bike Ride (nude not lewd is the slogan), and have done many street performances wearing nothing more than body paint or pudding in some cases.
The best art causes a conversation. I’m an organizer of the Buffalo Infringement festival. With organization comes making venues and artists happy. Luckily I’ve only dealt with artist censorship a few times.
Once was during a show about addiction. There were plenty of pieces about drug addiction and other realty dark shit. But as soon as my friend hung a painting about sexual addiction the owner of the gallery got pissed.
He let the artist hang her work and then as soon as she left the building her work was fucking ripped off the wall. Can you say coward?! I fought the good fight. We never used the venue for visual art again.
This was a simple painting of a girl masturbating. No realistic interpretations of genitals. It was black lines on a yellow canvas. I couldn’t believe that THIS was the piece that was too controversial.
Only a few years before this same gallery was under different ownership and I showed my own graphic sexual paintings (it was actually my first time hanging in the Buffalo Infringement Festival).
This guy would have shit a brick if he saw my stuff. It included a 5 ft painting of a vagina dentata with grillz that said CUNT in rhinestones, an even bigger painting of two beautiful obese women feeding each other cupcakes, and a painting of my vagina cumming out frosting made of pink tinted caulk.
The same painting was torn off a wall by a teacher while I was in college. He took it down during a foundation art class for being too lewd. The students in his class defended me and the painting remained on the wall. Fuck you buddy!
My Kitty Porn series was torn down off a wall during the Montréal Infringement Fest two years ago by an employee who found it lewd. The art was later reinstated by the venues manager, but was now slightly damaged.
I was happy with how it all worked out, my work is now slightly more infamous knowing that it can offend someone so deeply. That girl must have had some issues with her own sexuality to want to destroy someone’s art like that. I put a slash in the win column.
I would be a hippocrite if I didn’t share this story. There is one case of censorship that I was involved in: An artist was not allowed to show their cartoon because it showed all of the worst things including violence towards trans women. This particular venue is a safe place for any and all people who are queer or transgender.They also allowed a full on X rated art show during the festival, so they didn’t care about nudity.
So in this case I understood why censorship occurred, it was not for sponsorship reasons, not because the venue was prude, but instead because showing this cartoon would take away the safety of the space itself. You always have to see things from every perspective. The cartoon was not banned from the festival, it was just moved elsewhere.
I’m happy I live in a place where stripping is legal and I can swim topless if I want. I’m not happy that my male burlesque counterparts do not have to cover their nipples with pasties.
Freedom of speech is everything in the art world. Women need to take a note from Rosie Bitts and the boobies of Instagram and smash society’s stupid standards of nipple censorship by letting it all hang out without consequence or remorse.
Featured image of The Stripteasers Burlesque troupe, Buffalo, NY
Today I wake up knowing that in only a few short hours I will be in a kitty pool covered in chocolate pudding and living out my every fantasy at an erotic art show called Wet Dreamland. Last year for this event, I rode my pimped out tricycle from Babeville to the Wet Dreamland show wearing mutton chops, a beard, a tie-dye wolf shirt, and an adult diaper. Once I arrived, my friends and I stripped and painted canvases with our boobs. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is a sweet escape from reality. It is my Christmas, my bliss, my safe haven, my pride.
Its roots run deep and start in Montreal over 11 years ago. Infringement rejects corporate sponsorship and the oppression and censorship that goes along with that. It is about artistic freedom and breaking free from social norms. Infringement excludes no one. It is a state of being. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is in its 11th year.
We take inspiration from the Montreal Infringement festival started a year before us as a direct protest to the corporatized Fringe festival. Infringement is a non-profit ,non-hierarchal, grassroots art festival. It is a revolution that brings together independent, free spirited, and often controversial and experimental visual art, performance art, dance, film, theatre, and music. Everyone is accepted and celebrated in this 11 day art explosion that hits Buffalo from the last week of July to the first week of August. Art can happen anywhere, anytime, with no restrictions, and for free!
11 days of art under the radar has evolved into an all encompassing artistic free-for-all that spans the entire city. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is my favorite part of the summer and makes me proud to live in Buffalo. It revitalizes my soul and the city I live in. All of the artists and hardworking organizers and venues inspire me beyond belief.
We are now in day 7 and it’s very bittersweet. So much incredibleness has occurred already and it will all be over soon. Then I can finally sleep. But not yet. On my agenda: Wet Dreamland tonight, Sex and Body Positive night at Ol’ Wondermoth tomorrow, Wam Bam Thank You Slam at The Gypsy Parlor on Saturday, and a big block party on Allen St., and the Iffy Awards on Sunday.
I’m also really excited for Car Stories, the show that inspired this whole movement. It is interactive street theatre where the audience becomes the show by traveling from car to car. It is the show originally rejected by Montreal Fringe for being too political. Donovan King is the man who started it all. I always look forward to seeing him during both the Montreal and Buffalo Infringement festivals.
Some highlights so far include The College St. Block Party and Kidfringement. I love making art with children. They are so open and free spirited, the ultimate inspiration. I also loved the first annual Purple Sparkly Unicorn Potluck Party which turned into a Hooked on Casiophonics dance party that felt like an acid trip. The ice dragon Erica Wolfling has continued to blow minds this year. Lazy Ass Destroyer never ceases to amaze me. My pride and joy was The Worst Show Ever at Nietzsche’s, a satirical variety show filled with satire, comedy, music , and burlesque. I did burlesque as both Ronald McDonald and a creepy old man.
The street performance and open busking has been on fire this year,taking the city by storm. The other night I walked out of a bar to see two girls dressed like angels singing beautiful music, it was magical. I can’t wait for the rest of the weekend. Bring it on! Infringe Everyday!
It’s hard to be a diamond in a world full of home shopping network cubic zirconia. You have to do much more than sparkle to stand out here. You need talent, a gimmick, unspool ferocity, and a team full of fellow freaks and performers to pull off being famous.
The world is uber intense and will spit a bitch out within the bat of a lash. So many techno centric kids are just not amused anymore because they are so emerged in technology and content. Art is created by computers, it is a counterfeit culture. People think they have seen it all, but really they just googled it or saw a video of it on their phone.
In order to be famous you have to be completely you, a total original. Fame on the “household name” level is virtually impossible to achieve, it’s all based on luck. Right now a different kind of fame is emerging based on social media and the internet. You get intimate with your audience and let them into your tender, private moments.
I think in order to reach true success you need to give people more than just a show, you have to give them a complete visceral experience. You need more than a band or a dancer, you must be a variety show, a circus of sorts. They must feel like they are on another planet for the time you have their attention.
Think about GWAR, they are absolutely and unapologetically terrible musicians. But their showmanship is absolutely on point. Where else can you get squirted with green alien cum slime and blood out of mutant dicks and boobs? The costumes and props are absolutely fantastic. I love the political satire as well.
To me GWAR is an example of a movement more than a band. Alice Cooper is another one that has been using major theatrics including a guillotine for decades, he is a real trailblazer.
I also really adore The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer’s original band, this was before she changed the world by using crowd sourcing to fund her album.
I saw them several years ago. They used local performance artists in their production. This is genius because your fan base instantly grows. People will come out to see their friends perform.
You get the local flair as well as having a unique show each night. The combo of theatre and music was mystifying and sensational. It inspired me.
Of Montreal is another band with an incredible live show. They really go all out with crazy costumes, projections, and props. All of this creates an atmosphere of loveliness and energetic bliss.
I am a burlesque dancer. My favorite thing to do is perform with live bands. My dream is to one day have a rainbow bus and travel the world with my circus, a band of friends, performers and fellow weirdos with unique gifts to add to the experience.
It’s all about combining efforts, we are stronger and more interesting together. We need lights, projections of cool old cartoons, crazy costumes, original music, and theatrical storylines to really make an impact.
Art made with heart out shines all copies. Fight the fake and virtual reality with real live entertainment. In a world built on faux plastic perfection the only way to reach pure super stardom is to be your own beautiful original self.
ShazamFest celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a great program full of music, skateboarding competitions, wrestling, burlesque, circus, laughter, workshops and so much more. The festival starts Thursday July 9 and runs until Sunday. Camping is available on location, at one of the first certified organic farms in Canada. Also, you can join the fun on Sunday for free, a little gift to the public for the 10th year anniversary.
What is ShazamFest?
From the road, the site doesn’t look like much, just a simple field. But once you get in, you arrive at a magic place. A place that apparently has been a meeting point for a very long time. The site, located in the Eastern Townships, about 20 km South West of Magog, in Barnston West (roughly a 90-minute drive from Montreal) was an Abenaki meeting spot many centuries ago.
Ziv Pryztyk, the festival’s founder/director, explains that the idea behind the festival, more like a carnival, is to bring together a community, for people to interact and build networks with people that might not be from their regular social circles (or even age group, as it is a multi-generation event).
In its first year, the festival attracted about 400 people. Since then, the party has now grown close to 2000 people, with three generations embracing the fun of camping on the grounds. The festival is free for kids under 12 and you will never be charged for water.
Shazamfest is an eco-conscious festival, meaning local food is provided. This year’s beer of choice comes from Beau’s All Natural Brewery in Eastern Ontario. This craft beer company has been invading the Quebec market for the past five months and is now available in over 70 bars in Montreal, as well as in IGA stores and depanneurs that carry craft beers.
Many acts will be performing during ShazamFest this year. On the musical side of things, there will be Buck 65 on Friday, Lemon Bucket Orchestra on Saturday and Mike Goudreau on Sunday, to name only a few. Miss BonBon Bombay will be hosting the Burlesque side of things.
There will be a skateboarding competition on the famous Shazam ramp, which gets bigger every year. There will also be wrestling events and a laughter competition held by Albert Nerenberg. Circus, forging and other workshops will be given each day of the event.
Want to attend ShazamFest for free? FTB and Shazamfest are giving away a pair of day passes for Saturday. Since Sunday and camping at the fest are free already, this will get you two days and one night of Shazam for free.
To win, just share this post on social media and leave a comment below, letting us know what aspect of Shazam you are most looking forward to.
Montreal is where my grandparents went on their honeymoon 60 years ago. I always remember my grandmother talking about it with stars in her eyes. Now that I’ve been here, I can see why. Just a six and a half hour drive from Buffalo was worth it, I fell in love with this city instantly.
It is a place full of quirky wonderfulness, freedom, beauty, oozing with art and randomness. There are so many festivals going on at once it’s almost overwhelming! Last year was my first time. I came up for the Montreal Infringement festival, started by Donovan King as a protest against censorship and corporate sponsorship, especially the Fringe Festival. Infringement festivals are about true art and causing a stir, not about money, more about politics and revolution. The Car Stories interactive street performance is always my favorite part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, it is the reason for everything.
I loved the red light district tour I went on last year, it really moved me. Knowing that people fought/are still fighting to save an important piece of their history. I performed at the historic Cafe Cleopatra with the Candyass Cabaret. The lovely Velma Candyass welcomed us with open arms and gifts. We met our current host, Nat King Pole, at this same event. It’s incredible to think that a whole year has passed and, now, Fifi Laflea and I are back and treated as if we were family. Make sure to check out their world class monthly burlesque show!
My kitty porn art (collages of cat heads on hardcore porn bodies) was ripped off the wall of the venue by a staff member for being too lewd, people painted on me, I performed burlesque during the day, and took a walk in my underwear for a Forget the Box interview in old Montreal. That is actually how I landed the sweet gig of writing this very blog. All in all I felt bad ass and privileged to be part of this incredible festival.
Montreal is an artist’s dream. I was astonished by the incredible street art and the Fresh Paint Gallery. The busking musicians were plentiful and fantastic. All the food was cheap and delicious. Every person I met was good looking and so incredibly nice. I felt like Montreal loved me.
A year later I am back in Montreal, this time not performing because well I dropped the ball. Unfortunately we arrived late and missed the night of radical anti-establishment poetry at Cafe Jarry but I look forward to checking out the night of folk music tonight. The Soirée Folk is happening at Kafein at 8:30pm and I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Check out the June 18th programming.
Even though the Infringement happenings were missed, we caught dinner at an Irish pub called McCarolds, where we had the cutest tattooed waitress and some great burgers and beers. After the feast we headed over to Cafe Cleopatra. The strippers were so much fun! Nothing better than some beautiful and confident women strutting their stuff. I was happy to see a variety of women dancing, not just the plastic stereotypes. I even felt like a couple of strippers’ buttholes winked at me. It was glorious.
After we left the club I witnessed several cop cars stop in front of another adult establishment, the officers left their cars, hugged each other, and went inside. One lady cop was even wearing pink camouflage pants! It was amazing. I found out that the police have been donning camouflage pants and jeans for almost a year to protest changes in their pension plan. This city is just so cool, even the police are protesting injustice and hanging out at strip clubs.
I am so inspired by every breath of Montreal. I already wish I was staying longer. For those of you that will be around all weekend I urge you to check out the remainder of the Infringement Festival, it will change your life or at least inspire the hell out of you. Check out the schedule at infringemontreal.org
Featured photo by Chris Nautics from last year’s Candyass Cabaret.