If there’s one play that truly embodies the spirit of diversity and creativity of the Montreal Fringe Festival, Glam Gam Productions‘ Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story is it. If you’re open minded and want to laugh yourself silly, this play is a sure bet.

Greasy is not for everyone.

If you’re a prude who takes offense to nudity and simulated sex acts, don’t come to this play. If you’re homophobic, do not come to this play. If the idea of people being open and free about their sexuality makes you angry, do not come to this play. If you’re the type to have a social media tantrum about a few Catholic school jokes, stay away.

Inspired by the musical play Grease, Greasy is a racier, raunchier, funnier, gayer spoof with all the right jokes in all the right places.

The play starts with Winter, a cute blonde lesbian played by Magenta Haze, whom nine months earlier had rolled around in the snow with Dani, played by the amazing Phoenix Wood. Like in the original play, the sweet naïve Winter finds herself at the same all-girl Catholic high school with her old flame, who shrugs her off to impress her clique of butch dykes.

Many of the character names in the play are riffs on the names in the original. Rizzo becomes Jizzo, Danny Zuko becomes Dani Fuko, Kennickie becomes Kink-Nikki, and the Pink Ladies become the Pink Tacos.

This play is a treat because no topic is off limits. Queer identity, drag culture, gender roles, polyamory, and even mental illness, academic stress, and school debt are all addressed in the piece. What particularly sets Greasy apart from the original, however, is how thoroughly the other characters are developed.

The original Grease revolved around the romance between Danny Zuko and Sandy, giving it an almost nauseatingly sentimental note while leaving the other characters’ storylines superficial. In Greasy all the characters are given a voice and a story to tell, whether it’s Frenchie’s struggles to get into med school, Jizzo’s conflicted sexuality and her romance with Kink-Nikki, or Rummy and Slutzy – played by the hilarious Booze Crotch and her puppet Slutzy – and their struggles with mental illness and love for Tarty.

Even gay male identity is addressed through the play’s two drag queens, Cha Cha and Ta Ta, played by the beautiful Lez Izmohr and Spoopy Patootie, respectively. We also get this through Prince LaFontaine, played by Micheal J. McCarthy, whose outfits consisting of the tackiest suits I’ve ever seen, trumped even the most beautiful drag costumes in the play.

The show has the added benefit of promoting body positivity via its numerous burlesque performances. Few in the play fit the Hollywood ideal of an anorexically thin body and big boobs, but all who took their clothes off for the audience made it sexy through artful shimmies and shakes and the sensuous removal of their outer costumes revealing glittery pasties and thongs.

Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, you may want to give this play a shot. All the singers and band members are talented and never miss a beat even when the venue’s sound system screws up.

This play shocked me in many ways, but awed me in more. If you want to laugh and cheer and dance in your seat, check out Greasy. It’s worth it.

* Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story runs until June 16 as part of the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival. Tickets available through MontrealFringe.ca

* Featured image via GlamGam.com

This week, we’re stretching the classic definition of show at least a couple of times, but for good reason as you will see. So here are this week’s picks for Montreal arts shows:

Keep the Beat Launch

This one is more of a campaign rollout than a show, though there will be readings by actors Jacqueline Laurent-Auger and Denis-Martin Chabot. The main reason we’re including it is because Maison Plein Coeur, an organization that helps people living with HIV/AIDS, is fighting to stay open after losing its federal funding.

As today is World AIDS Day, it is an appropriate time as any for them to launch their Keep the Beat campaign. You can find out more at tonight’s event.

The Keep the Beat Launch is Friday, December 1st from 7-9pm at Maison Plein Coeur, 1611 Dorion. The event is free, but please RSVP via EventBrite

Bareoke

While this one is definitely a show, it’s the audience that bring the entertainment. It’s a strip karaoke show brought to you by local raunchy theatrical burlesque troupe Glam Gam Productions and they’ve been doing it the first Saturday of every month for a few years now.

So what exactly does strip karaoke involve? Well, people sign up and go on stage to sing just like in regular karaoke but are free to remove as much or as little clothing as they want. Glam Gam always provides a safe space. More details can be found on the Facebook event page.

Bareoke is Saturday, December 2nd, from 10pm-3am at Café Cléopatra, 1230 boul St-Laurent (2nd floor). $5 at the door

Cryote

This one definitely is a show, an art show. You’ve probably seen some of Cryote’s commissioned street art around town and now you have a chance to see what he can do in the more traditional milieu of painting, and if you want, take some of it home with you.

His style is surrealist and generally features animals and pastel colours.

Cryote’s art show vernissage is Friday, December 1st, from 6pm to midnight and will also be viewable Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 11am to 8pm at 87 Mont-Royal Ouest. BYOB and art will be for sale

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

I’ve seen Glam Gam shows before. They’re always fun and clever. They always push the envelope while making a point about sexuality and cultural norms. There is always plenty of nudity.

All of that was again the case at their latest Fringe show Peter Pansexual, but there was something more. A few things more, in fact.

So Very Montreal

Peter Pansexual is as much a story about Montreal as it was a critical parody of Disney’s Peter Pan. The Darlings, in this show, are from London….wait for it….Ontario and the Neverland that Peter (Adrian Mal Au Nez) and Twinkerbell (Meander) transport them to is Montreal’s underground art and late night party scene.

The operatic song You’ll Get By beautifully performed live by Stella Von Stein was not only a fun way to accompany the Darlings’ trip to their new home, but an excellent introduction to a world that many of us, myself included, know or knew all too well, though one that has never, to my recollection, been represented through drama (or comedy) before.

There’s the precarious job market for unilingual transplants, the guestlist as payment economy, the abundance of less-than-legal party favours and, of course, the pansexual orgy that is just around the corner, “second loft to the right” with a light on all night.

Neverland feels real. Sure, an over-the-top fantasy version of reality, but at its core, this is a world many Montrealers are familiar with.

This is definitely the type of show that’s good enough to tour with, though, if Glam Gam decided to take it anywhere beyond Laval, they would have to re-work some major portions of it for each city it played in, because a good chunk of the references are hyper-Montreal specific.

A Unified Story

One of the hardest thing to do with burlesque-inspired theatre is incorporate many divergent elements and different performers into a unifying throughline. Glam Gam and director Sam Sullivan pull it off wonderfully.

The pacing is solid, the transitions make sense and even the most random of all elements, guest performers (they had a different one each night of the Fringe run, Honey Lustre wowed the audience night I attended) fit into the story by way of being an act the characters are watching on stage at an underground party following an attempted Michael Jackson impersonation by Rachel Dolezal (Glam Gam veteran Booze Crotch who also played Dad Darling and blueman Periwinkle) that intentionally got the crowd riled up.

It’s like the play within a play from Hamlet if people were getting naked (note to Glam Gam: naked Shakespeare, just think about it for the future). It’s also close to how David Lynch incorporates his musical guests into the new Twin Peaks without leaving the story (no, that’s not a spoiler for Twin Peaks).

Yes, it was a play, with a beginning, middle and an end. But it was also, at the same time, a burlesque show, with the audience cheering as the performers removed clothing and got raunchy with each other.

Character-Driven

Amidst all the nudity, Montreal references and clever puns, there are the characters who move the story along. Obviously modeled on the characters in Disney’s Peter Pan.

We’ve got Peter who, while the instigator of the story and cool at first, turns out to be kind of a di…um, no, wait, don’t use a body part we got to see, he’s kind of an as…nope, same problem, got it, he turns out to be self absorbed and not a very nice person, but someone anyone who has been on the party scene has met.

Twinkerbell (or Twink) is that contact you have for the party favours that never disappoints but rarely sticks around. He helps Peter seem cool, like a wingman with actual wings.

The pair work really well together as Peter’s too-cool-for-school bravado juxtaposed with Twink’s very practical approach to everything made them quite the team for comedy. Like a pair of entertaining though always horny tour guides.

You could see the young Darlings as stereotypes. However, since they’re representative of people in the audience or people those people know, I’d go with archetypes instead.

There’s Wendy (Glam Gam veteran Super Sherri), a funny though quite sympathetic take on the Social Justice Warrior. John is the bro homophobe closet case (played by troupe co-founder Michael J. McCarthy, so if you’re familiar at all with Glam Gam, that’s some serious acting, folks). And then there’s Michael (Lolipop Bob) who is, well, an exhibitionist.

The most in-your-face character is clearly Captain Hooker (Tessa Brown). For me, that was literally true. I was seated in the section of Cafe Cleopatre where she made her first appearance on top of a bar. Up close she was intense to say the least and that intensity stayed with her wherever she went in the room, a real comedic tour de force performance with some of the funniest reactions in the show.

Erik Leisinger (Radical Raven and pianist), Misty Portugal (Pearl), Seth Scheuner (Smee), Tristan Ginger (Door Bitch), Mish Chartier (Turqoise) and Alex Brault (Flaming Fox) round out the ensemble cast with choreographers Debbie Friedmann and KungfuPaul de Tourreil and stage manager and tech Fiona Ross helping behind the scenes.

This show was all about the ensemble. They worked together to do so much more than guide us from point A to point B, they made the journey fun provocative.

As the show wrapped up with the same song that was near the beginning, I’ll do the same and say that with Peter Pansexual, as with Montreal, you’ll do more than get by, you’ll find something truly unique.

 

The 27th consecutive edition of the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival is in full swing. With just a week to go, there are still hundreds of theatrical performances coming up, not to mention daily outdoor concerts at Fringe Park.

It’s still not possible to catch all of it. FTB’s Ellana Blacher will be reviewing shows in the days to come, but for now, here are a small handful of performances we plan to catch:

Peter Pansexual

Glam Gam Productions are back! The team behind previous fun, debaucherous and thought-provoking Fringe hits If Looks Can Kill…They Will! and The Little Beau Peep Show, not to mention the monthly strip Karaoke series Bareoke are offering a queer interpretation of the classic fairy tale Peter Pan.

This isn’t Disney’s version, though it is clearly aware of the 1953 film, which their press release describes as “wholesome fun for whole family, with women pitted against each other, marginalized groups exploited and gender stereotypes reinforced.” Given Glam Gam’s history, this promises to be the exact opposite.

Here is one of the many video character teasers they released:

Peter Pansexual runs until June 16th, info at montrealfringe.ca

The Ballad of Frank Allen

Montreal Fringe veterans Shane Adamczak (Trampoline, Zack Adams and Greg Fleet’s This Is Not A Love Song) and St John Cowcher (The Red Balloon, Farm and The Adventures Of Alvin Sputnik) star in The Ballad of Frank Allen, a musical about a janitor who, due to a scientific accident, has to live in another man’s beard.

There’s even a soundtrack available on Bandcamp. Here’s a taste:

The Ballad of Frank Allen runs until June 18th, info at montrealfringe.ca

Poet vs Pageant

Melbourne, Australia-based performer, writer and poet Telia Nevile is bringing her one woman show Poet vs Pageant all the way to Montreal after being named Best Emerging Writer at the Melbourne Fringe.

This show promises an Epic Poetry treatment of an awkward outsider’s journey into the world of beauty pageants. Think Homer’s Odyssey “with extra sequins.”

Poet vs Pageant runs until June 18th, info at montrealfringe.ca

PERISCOPE

This is the story of one night where Megan takes a shortcut back to happiness with a pill. It’s a comedy show about first-hand experience with mental health.

Vancouver-based writer and performer Megan Phillips was named one of the top artists to see at the 2016 Edmonton Fringe Festival. She created this solo show with the help of Fringe veterans TJ Dawe and Jeff Leard

PERISCOPE runs until June 18th, info at montrealfringe.ca

* The 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival runs through June 18th, for tickets and info: montrealfringe.ca

Forget The Box’s weekly Arts Calendar is back for its early November edition. The chill has definitely returned to Montreal, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock ourselves indoors yet! Take a look at these excellent events if you’re looking for fun and inexpensive things to check out!

As always; if you’re interested in going to one of these events and want to cover it for us, send a message  or leave a comment below.

Bareoke presented by Glam Gam

No stranger to performing in local strip clubs with the burlesque troupe Glam Gam, Lipster’s organizers realized this type of venue would surely allow them to transform their karaoke show into Stripster!

Now you can find them the first Saturday of every month at the historic Café Cléopâtre, which comes equipped with a large stage, a smoke machine and crazy lighting which allows people to take their performances to the next level.

Glam Gam’s organizers have made an important step in making the space open for everyone, according to their Facebook event page : “We are thrilled to have performers of all different backgrounds, ages, body types, gender identities and sexualities. Some people will take off just a sock, others will get down to their skivvies and a lot of brave souls prance around in their birthday suits! The best part is that everyone respects and encourages each other’s boundaries with little to no policing on our part.”

Come see what all the fuss is about!

Bareoke @ Café Cléopâtre, 1230 St Laurent, Saturday, November 5, 10PM, $5

FTB is no stranger to Glam Gam!
FTB is no stranger to Glam Gam!

Fishbowl Collective Presents: An Anti-War Art Pop-up

The Fishbowl Collective will be occupying a studio space in Griffintown and filling it with art of all kinds against war/militarism of any kind!

At 8:30, the space will be taken over by anti-war Pierrots in an hour-long version of Theatre Workshop’s Oh What a Lovely War!

From 9:30-11 the space will act as a showcase for local artists to show their work!

Local anti-war organizations will be tabling in the space.

Oh What A Lovely War's Theatrical Poster
Oh What A Lovely War’s Theatrical Poster

Using songs and documents of the period, Oh What a Lovely War! is an epic theatrical chronicle of the horrors of WWI as presented by a seaside pierrot troupe. It was collectively created by Theatre Workshop in 1963 under Joan Littlewood, and over 50 years later remains unique in its innovative satiric way of looking at the difficult subject of war and its futility. Its dismissal of sentimentality and its distinct anti-war-agit-prop flavour highlights the oppression of the working stiff turned common soldier and points to the absurdity involved in war.

141 Rue Ste Ann, Pay What You Can (All Proceeds go to Actions Réfugiés Montréal)

Pride Screening presented by Socialist Fightback!

Socialist Fightback is screening Pride (2014) at McGill University’s Shatner Building in Room 202 this Wednesday. Entrance is FREE, and a spirited discussion is sure to follow. Curious about what “Solidarity” means to the LGBT community? Check this movie out.

Pride offers an excellent example of solidarity along class lines. Between 1981-1984, the British government under Margaret Thatcher had closed around 20 mining pits and coal mining employment continued to fall. The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a major industrial action to shut down the British coal industry in an attempt to prevent colliery closures.

Also victims of Thatcher’s bigotry and conservative policies, gays and lesbians came together to collect funds and sustain the miner’s strike. Although reluctant at first, the miners accepted the support from the LGSM.

Pride is a great demonstration of how class unity is the best and most effective way of fighting against all types of oppression.

Pride is screening in the Shatner Building Room 202 @ McGill University, November 9, 7pm, FREE

 

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

I remember the first time I ever saw Hairspray- it literally changed my life. I was young and had already seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Toxic Avenger, so I was familiar with Transvestites and Drag Queens, Mutants and Creatures of the Night, but this was a whole new level.

I was always a big girl, and the way Tracy Turnblad just killed it in that roach dress and got the hottie was just inspiring. The higher the hair the closer to god! Perfection.

At that point Ricki Lake was a talk show host, it was awesome to see her in that role John Waters has a way of capturing the completely insane in such a viceral and glamorously realistic creepy way. I love it.

My art and fashion has been transformed because of these films. Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, Female Trouble, Multiple Maniacs, Cry Baby, Pecker, A Dirty Shame and MORE! are showcasing the fucked up ghetto strangeness of Baltimore. It’s beautiful and in Technicolor.

I visited Baltimore once in my life, it wasn’t all that different from Buffalo. As soon as I arrived I got out of the car and the first man I spoke to was (in his southern gay hospitality voice) like “Darlin’ don’t be offended by this but you remind me of a John Waters character.”

I almost cried, hugged him immediately. I AM! I thought to myself. I feel like I just need to camp out at Atomic Books and wait for him to pick up his mail. I relate to his movies so much because they are SO offensively real.

Cat as Divine
Cat as Divine

I am far from perfect, I am downright gross sometimes, I have shit my pants, I have dry shitty skin, I get like a weird smegma under my flappy fupa, my stretch marks have stretchmarks, I have blead through a tampon, I have pissed on church steps, I have been covered in pudding, I have had people eat sushi off of me, I have pulled American flags out of my cock, I have fucked a wide array of human creatures in some very strange and unusual ways, I have seen drag queens pull shit tipped beer bottles out of their ass in NYC, and recently saw a girl fuck a cake at an BDSM Burlesque night in New Orleans.

My life, friends, crazy family, and all the other happenstance interactions I have with people feel like they are right out of a John Waters movie. My life is like a crazy queer acid trip, and I love to see Edith Massey and Divine on screen being the fucked up things I see in my mind. I would love to get inside the mind of John Waters.

On a whim I booked a trip to New Orleans to see the John Waters Christmas Special with a meet and greet. THIS WAS MY CHANCE! I was finally going to meet the man who inspires my insanity. I even brought him a painting. My best Kitty Porn.

I put on my worst Christmas drag, the original mullet wig (now dreading) and mustache (so stiff that when it was on the floor my friend thought it was a cat shit) of Cock Sinclair, a beautiful patch of chest hair, two ugly sweater vests, assess zubaz and a shit stained santa hat.

I was ready. I was in NOLA for the first time with a great friend, we arrived at the venue, and instantly my dream was crushed, the music in my little heart melted, I fucked up. By the time I had ordered the tickets I guess the meet and greet had already been sold out, but it didn’t tell me that, just let me choose the meet and greet option and then charged me for a general admission. I felt like a Make A Wish kid who got the wish taken back.

I literally wept on a street corner in New Orleans in drag smoking weed. I wished that John would have driven by in his Buick and had mercy on my wretched soul. I’ve only cried in drag twice before. Once was when Barack Obama was elected president, I walked up after doing a very politically charged show and watched the announcement in real time. It was incredible. The other time I was being a little butch bro bitch.

But anyways. The Christmas show was incredible, I loved being in the same room as him an listening to him go on about Christmas and other fucked up shit. My dad literally texted me during the show and asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I respond with CHA CHA HEELS. By far the best Christmas scene in history.

I had a magical adventure in New Orleans, at the end of the day it didn’t matter that I did not meet John then. I explored a new place and got the filth on my own hands, I lived it. I probably would have been disappointed when meeting him, like nobody can live up to that kind of pedestal.

Ok, I’m lying to myself to make me feel better. I just have to go back to Baltimore to meet him someday drunk randomly in a gay strip club. Until then I will get my fix from the Montreal troupe Glam Gam‘s homage to the Pope of Trash.

Their event reads: “Just when you thought Glam Gam couldn’t get any stinkier, they have saved their most rotten performances for the last hour of 2015. Put on your best polyester frock, douse your do with copious amounts of hairspray and join us as we pay homage to the beloved Pope of Trash, John Waters! We will eat shitty food, drink shitty champagne and basically put on the most Divine shit show you’ve seen all year!”

I was lucky enough to be able to interview a couple of the sexy hosts of this monstrosity, Julie Paquet and Michael J. McCarthy. They gave me a little insight to what inspired the show and are even offering FREE TICKETS to this event On December 31st 2015 at the historic Cafe Cleopatra (which I had the extreme pleasure of performing drag and burlesque at once with the fantastically subversive Candyass Caberet superstars). All you need to do is write your favourite John Waters movie in the comments and share this post.

You cheap dirtbags better get in on that before its too late. This show will sell out and can’t be missed. Unspeakable acts of violence and pure mind fuck awesomeness will ensue. And there is booze.It’s an incredible venue, the most magical hopeful glittery sequins drunk sex with strangers night of the year, and all of your favorite Dreamland cast alive and in your face with a variety of “talents.”

I have an art boner for this show. It is the only place I want to be at midnight. But who will I kiss? I hope they are truly filthy. Maybe it will be you. Enjoy this interview, trying answering the questions yourself if you are a fan. See you at Cleo next week! I’ll be the one in disgusting drag…. *laughs maniacally* My body is ready.

odorama

1) What was the first John Waters movie you ever saw? How did it make you feel? Life changing?

Julie: I saw Hairspray when I was about seven years old, I loved dressing up and dancing along with the characters. Later, when I was a teenager I saw Pink Flamingos and was severely traumatized…in the best way.

Michael: For me it was Desperate Living. After seeing Grizelda suffocate Bosely Gravel with her ass and later get crushed in a rickety old shack in Mortville, my life was never the same. I was hooked.

glam gam waters22) Who is your favorite Dreamland actor? Which is your favorite of their characters?

That’s a tough question. While every dreamland actor is iconic we both agree that Mink Stole takes the cake for outrageous delivery, style and comedic timing. You gotta love Edith Massey’s snaggle-toothed eccentricity; while she’s a terrible actress, her awful delivery is incredibly endearing and hilarious. And obviously when you think John Waters, you think Divine, without her contribution and killer aesthetic, Water’s films would not be the cult classics they are today.

3) How would you compare John Waters to someone like Andy Warhol or Lady Gaga?

First of all, we think John Waters is in a category of his own; there’s no one quite like him. While both Warhol and Waters parodied American culture, Warhol focused on Manhattan city glamour where Waters preferred Baltimore suburban grit. John Waters defined the aesthetic of trash in a way that was never seen before. As for Lady Gaga, sure she had a few catchy hits but there’s really no comparison. She has done nothing original; crtl c, ctrl v.

4) Who do you think is the current filthiest person alive? (mine is Donald Trump)

That’s a tough question especially since the Pope of Trash himself is still alive. However, people have left our shows shocked and horrified, demanded refunds and then sent us their dry cleaning bills.

5) John Waters revolutionized queer radical film – what inspires you most about his work?

He glorified poor, fat weirdos like us. He paved the way for queers, queens and social rejects. Waters films were revolutionary satirical masterpieces. His work was not only hilarious, it made social commentary on subjects that were taboo and untouched.

glam gam waters16) Tell me about the show. Is it just a tribute or more of your own interpretation?

A bit of both. There are classic John Water’s skits that are untouchable which we will pay homage to, but in classic Glam Gam style we will definitely put our own silly spin on things as well.

7) I’m excited that it’s Odorama, what kind of fucked scents should we expect?

Well we are creating our very own odorama cards with delicious fragrances such as shit, fish and grandma to represent each character. Unfortunately though, unlike Water’s original version, our cards are not edible so please save your appetites for our complementary trashy buffet.

8) Did you hate the newer John Travolta Hairspray as much as I did?

Yes. Hairspray was already one of Water’s most mainstream movies, it did not need to be made more mainstream. That’s like making a dance remix of an Aqua song…unnecessary. The original cast featured powerhouses like Debbie Harry, Ricki Lake, Mink Stole and Divine and the remake features John Travolta in a fat suit…please. There are plenty of fat queens out there who could have paid proper tribute to Divine; she would be rolling in her grave.

9) John Waters will not make a film for under a million dollars and talks about wanting to sell out – when he used to make classics for no money. How does that make you feel?

He’s done his time; artists deserve to get paid for their work. We keep on producing shows because we love what we do. We put our heart, soul, sweat and tears into each production yet we can barely afford to take the bus. After all Waters has accomplished and at his age, why get out of bed for less than a mill?.

10) What is your favorite John waters quote?

“The world of heterosexuals is a sick and boring life.”

Glam Gam Presents ✖✖✖ ODORAMA: A Baltimore Ball Drop ✖✖✖ starts New Year’s Eve at 9pm (doors 8pm) at Café Cléopatra, 1230 boul St-Laurent. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Win a pair of tickets by telling us your favourite John Waters film in the comments and sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter and tagging @forgetthebox and @glamgamproductions (FB) or @glam_gam (Twitter). We’ll pick a winner and announce who it is next Tuesday!

* Please note: If you don’t have your 2013 Halloween costume together yet, please feel free to participate with a photo of a previous costume

Two questions:

1. What’s your Halloween costume this year?

2. What are your plans for Halloween this year?

If you answer the first question by sending us a picture, we’ll answer the second question for you with a prize. Forget the Box and Glam Gam Productions are proud to present Disguise for Prize 2013, a new Halloween costume contest.

Here’s how it works:

1. Dress up in the best Halloween costume you can think of and take a picture of yourself.

2. Tweet the pic to @forgetthebox using the hashtag #disguiseforprize or email it to forgetthebox@forgetthebox.net

3. We’ll be posting the images to our Facebook page. Encourage your friends to like your pic on FB and retweet it on Twitter. Our jury will pick the winners and factor in likes and retweets when making their decision.

First prize:

* A pair of tickets to Glam Gam Productions’ Tales from the Crotch, a Halloween burlesque play produced in 24 hours at at Café Cleopatre (1230 St. Laurent) on Thursday, October 31st at 10pm.

* Two free drinks at the show

* A profile piece on you, your costume and whatever you want to plug on Forget the Box

* Bragging rights

Second prize:

*A pumpkin

* Bragging rights

Third prize:

Candy and bragging rights

Now here’s the fine print:

The contest is open to anyone but FTB contributors and staff and members of Glam Gam can’t win any of the prizes except, of course, bragging rights and maybe some candy.

We reserve the right to disqualify and not publish any image but we’ll only do this if your costume is racist, sexist, homophobic or culturally insensitive.

If your image violates Facebook’s terms of use (nudity for example) we won’t publish it on our page (so it doesn’t get shut down) but you’re still eligible for prizes.

Group costumes are fine, but just one prize per pic (hint for FTB contributors and Glam Gam members: do a group costume with someone who can win).

Deadline for entries is October 30th at 11:59pm.

Best of luck from FTB and Glam Gam, now send in those pics!

It’s been three years since Glam Gam took to the stage on Halloween, a holiday that is perfectly suited to our special brand of ridiculous burlesque. It was in that show that I made my solo debut as Jizzika Unklean, birthing an alien baby to Ace of Base and devouring it onstage while painted green from head to toe. This year we’re reaching back into the freakiest parts of our twisted souls for Tales from the Crotch, a 24 Hour Halloween Cabaret that will put a smutty spin on the beloved Tales from the Crypt franchise.

Let’s clear one thing up first: it’s not a play that’s 24 hours long. We do like singing, dancing and taking our clothes off, but even we need to sleep sometimes. Rather, it’s a production that is cast, rehearsed and staged, all in 24 short hours. In order to pull off such a feat, we’re seeking vampires, serial killers, demons, witches, mummies…. Oh wait, I mean actors, singers, dancers, theatre geeks, circus freaks, burlesque performers, musicians, artists, set builders, costume wizards – you name it. We want you! Come to Café Cleopatre at 9pm on Wednesday, October 30th to pick your role, get your script and start rehearsing.

Maybe you haven’t been on stage since appearing as Tony in a high school production of West Side Story the better part of a decade ago. Or perhaps you’d be popping your stage cherry, gracing the worn floorboards and facing a live audience for the first time. You’ve always been a bit of an exhibitionist, now it’s time to explore. If the stage isn’t really your thing, you could always just lend a hand with props or costumes and watch the actors sweat down to their skivvies from the trap door.

We’ve broken the roles down to three categories: Luscious Lead (*may require full or partial nudity), Scantily Clad Chorus, or a Camel Toe Cameo. Our call is open to professionals and amateurs alike, all roles are up for grabs. Be forewarned though: you could have to sing, you might dare to dance, but above all else, you must be prepared to be ridiculous.

And as completely insane as it sounds, ready or not, the curtains will be drawn 24 hours later and a play will be performed. For more information or to fill out a registration form, visit Glamgam.com… actually you should probably check it out anyway because there are lots of sexy pictures of past shows.

Finally, please cum and check out the show on Halloween night, Thursday October 31st at Café Cleopatre (1230 St. Laurent). Doors open at 9 and the show starts at 10 sharp. It’ll cost you a mere $10 to witness the spectacle, or $15 if you dare to come uncostumed… but who goes out on Halloween without a costume? This show is a fundraiser for our 2014 Montreal Fringe play. Will we succeed in pulling off this seemingly insane undertaking? Or will we fall flat on our naked butts??   Either way, it’s entertainment!

You can find out more on the show’s Facebook page

Sad face time everyone; another Fringe Festival has come and gone.

I am thrilled to have just completed my second year of covering the Montreal Fringe Festival. I may not have been able to cover as much as say our creative director here at Forget The Box, Chris Zacchia. Then again, that man is a ball of frantic energy and just thinking about all the shows he runs around town catching makes me want to take a nap. I did though manage to see a bunch of shows of varying style and quality. The whole Fringe experience yet again made me happy that I live in this kooky, cracked out and wonderful city.

Just like last year, I began my Fringe Festival experience by heading down to Café Cléopatre to see my friends at the burlesque troupe Glam Gam productions. This time those naughty folks were putting on a fairytale-themed show entitled Little Beau Peep which amongst many things included a horny Pinocchio.

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Since the show had stolen all my close friend Jessica Klein’s free time the past couple of months, I wanted to go support her on opening night and see what all the fuss was about. Now, I admit I’m extremely biased when it comes to Glam Gam and have never really given them a bad review. But this year they really outdid themselves focusing on costumes, glitter and taking off their clothes. You know, because when it comes down to it, boobies are one of life’s most important things. And those folks sure know how to shake ’em.

Over the next days I caught other shows like Single Black Female and Zack Adams: Zack to the Future which, despite their problems, I thought were great and some other shows which were not so great. I’m not going to name names here, but I can imagine if you were out at the Fringe Festival you know which shows I’m talking about.

I also learned a few valuable lessons this year that I will make sure to remember for future Fringe Festivals. First off, whenever you want to find No More Radio co-founder Paul Aflalo, you never have to look much further than Fringe Park. And, more importantly, when you want to see any show in the first couple of days, especially highly buzzed about shows, make sure you get to the box office EARLY! Unlike every other show in Montreal it seems, Fringe shows start on time and sell out quickly.

I would have loved to have written a post last weekend to help promote Dan Bigham‘s show Now that I have your Attention!  but twice when I showed up I was sadly turned away. I am thrilled though that this past Friday I was able to catch one of the last performances.

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It’s very rare in life when your expectations are not met but surpassed, and Bigham’s show is without a doubt my favourite of this year’s festival. The show was a brutally honest but comedic look back at his romantic history. Dan this is an official call out; please do another performance of this show in the future so I can give you a proper article devoted completely to your awesome self.

I want to thank the folks at the Fringe Festival, especially anglophone press coordinator Cam McKinnon and festival director Amy Blackmore for giving Forget The Box the chance cover the festival again this year. Now that the Fringe Festival has come to a close, I can sit back and enjoy a calm, laid-back summer without much else going on. This is Montreal and the summertime after all. Oh wait a minute….

Glam Gam photos by Iana Kazakova. Dan Bingham photo by Chris Zacchia. 

How do you review a group that has already impressed you three times? Do you talk about what’s new and then link to your old reviews? Kinda lame, and not something deserving of a highly original troupe like Glam Gam Productions.

Got it! Bring someone along who’s never seen them before, let them be the judge of what you’ve experienced before and then report on the new stuff. So, for the Little Beau Peep Show, I drafted my brother Joe.

Let’s start with the new stuff. Troupe founder Michael J. McCarthy kept his clothes on for the entire show! That may or may not have had something to do with his mother coming into town from New Newfoundland for the first time to see him perform.

I’m not joking. In fact, he wore more clothes than everyone else combined. Dressed as the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, we didn’t even get a little leg or someone screaming “off with his clothes!”

That’s not the same with the rest of the cast…and what at cast it was. It seems like the Glamily grew over night. For what’s been said about inbreeding, maybe it’s not all that bad.

Seriously, though, it seems like the already ample Glam Gam cast from the last show is even bigger. Not only that, they’ve changed the dynamic, too.

This is a group known for a non-traditional, all shapes and sizes approach when it comes to what’s considered sexy for women. Now, it appears that they have extended that philosophy to men, too. Nice touch.

This cast spent their time on stage raunching up classic fairy tales, or moreover bringing those fairy tales back to their very sexualized and often quite violent roots. We get a male red riding hood and wolf tale, a carnivorous teddy bears’ picnic and the aforementioned and soon-to-be re-mentioned Alice among others.

What’s also new this time around is that instead of relying on just one emcee or pair of emcees as they have in the past, they rotated the characters doing the hosting duties throughout the show. And it made sense story-wise, too.

The first act was informally hosted by a brother and sister who can’t get to sleep after their babysitter Auntie Lipstick strips while singing, pretty much freaking them out.

Stripping while singing is an impressive feat on its own, it wasn’t the only live music in the show. There was an intimate choir, inspired by barbershop, comprised of Les Blow, Phoenix Wood, Rae Ocampo and Estelle de Pierre, that appeared throughout the show. Also, from my side-stage vantage point, I could see what looked like a small orchestra pit.

Anyways, when the brother gets taken away in the middle of the night, hosting duties switch to a witch played by Ellen Cherry Charles. She captures Eugene and, as she is preparing her brew, or rather preparing to add him to her brew, she starts telling stories.

These stories segway nicely into scenes like the comedy act of Blow’s Pinocchio (guess what grows when he lies) and McCarthy’s Gepetto (or GePedphile). We even get a puppet show. Yes, a puppet show telling the story of Rumplestiltskin performed by none other than Jizzika Unklein, Booze Crotch and Skyler Boushel.  Nice touch.

The third act saw brother and sister reunited and then some…more on that later.

Now, for the elements I’ve seen before, I turn to Joe. To sum up his experience, he was impressed.

He was amazed at the whole scene. I heard “bravo” and “yes” many times throughout the show. He told me that he was mostly impressed with how the narrative elements combined with the nudity and the way the whole cast seemed to be really enjoying performing the show.

After seeing some of the violence, namely in the red riding hood bit and the teddy bear’s picnic, he commented “they’re not fucking around!”

Indeed they weren’t. Joe noticed what I noticed the first time I saw this troupe: their no holds barred approach to performance and their outright love of what they were doing. A combination that is both rare these days and a hallmark of a Glam Gam show.

Unfortunately Joe had to leave before the last act, and what an act it was. Almost all of the cast were now playing cards. Their costumes were great, actually all of the costumes and sets in this show were professional and fantastic, with a real attention paid to detail.

These cards had one parody-tastic mission: “We’re painting the pussy red!” Seems the Queen’s spouse, facial hair-clad drag king Paquet , isn’t a real ginger. While that may have eluded McCarthy’s real redhead-obsessed Red Queen on their drunken wedding night, the cards weren’t taking any chances.

“Who’s been painting the royal bush red? Off with their head!” I’ll leave it at that.

This was a great Glam Gam show, and an amazing first-time encounter with the Glamily as it was for Joe. To be completely honest, though, my fave by them to date is still If Looks Could Kill, They Will. Guess there’s just something about a burlesque murder mystery that hits me the right way.

Good news is if you missed this show the last time around, they’re playing a few more dates at the Fringe Fest. Details and a few video trailers are on the Glam Gam website.

* Photos by Iana Kazakova. See all the photos on our Facebook Page

With a glitz Hollywood musical starring pop tart Christina Aguliera and the legendary Cher, burlesque is back with a vengeance!   Well, I suppose it’s a bit of a misnomer to say that burlesque is back, since it’s been around in one form or another since the late 19th century, in smoky cabaret halls and dimly lit back alley bars.

Burlesque shows were brought to America from England way back in the 1860s.   Since then, the form has assimilated vaudeville, comedy, cabaret and striptease to become the dominant type of “follies” entertainment, lampooning every facet of society while titillating its audience with the once-forbidden near nudity it became famous for.

A burlesque act can take many forms.   There’s the voluptuous dancer in fishnets that can hypnotize you with her nipple tassels, the leggy blonde with the voluminous ostrich feather fans and barely there pasties, but then there’s also melodrama, dance and even stand up comedy.   I was lucky enough to get my first taste of burlesque performance in October with Montreal’s grotesque burlesque troupe, Glam Gam.

Glam Gam was founded one year ago by newfies Michael McCarthy and Sarah Murphy and Montrealer Julie Paquet.   As they put it, “We all knew we loved to perform, but we were not satisfied with existing platforms, so we made our own. We categorize ourselves as ‘burlesque’, because this is the genre that best describes what we do. However, we also struggle with the term since the general population’s point of reference is now a Hollywood high-budget film that shares the same name yet has nothing to do with what we’re about.”

Burlesque is about more than just taking it off the delight is in the tease.   But it’s also about living in a world where you get to make the rules.

One of the main reasons I find burlesque so appealing, other than delight in the sheer pleasure of exhibitionism, is that it allows us to reclaim images of sexuality and shape them however we choose.   We are constantly bombarded with highly sexualized images, from the moment we leave our houses and glance upon the giant ads in the metro to the moment when we turn off our TVs at night.

Instead of allowing ourselves to be objectified on someone else’s terms, we get to stand up there and demonstrate our own personal definition of what’s sexy.   In keeping with this aesthetic, Glam Gam welcomes performers of varying genders, shapes, sizes, colours and sexual orientations.   After all, it wouldn’t be a burlesque show without a little drag!

You never know quite what to expect at a Glam Gam show.   At Halloween, people were witness to such diverse acts as yours truly dressed up like a pregnant green alien birthing then devouring her newborn child onstage to a hilarious send-up of Disney characters from our youth, to a hauntingly beautiful photo collage in a cemetery followed by a dance with Death that, spoiler alert, didn’t end so well.   In between, there was something for everyone tits, ass, penis and, I’m proud to admit I was one of the first to flaunt the female form, full frontal.   One thing’s for certain, everyone always leaves with a smile on their face.

To celebrate their one year anniversary, Glam Gam is putting on a Christmas-themed burlesque show called Tits the Season 2… Be Naughtier, at one of the city’s oldest venues, the storied Café Cleopatra.   Situated at the corner of St. Laurent and Ste-Catherine, this hundred year old landmark stands in the former red light district.   Gentrification is threatening the demolition of this venerable performance space, so catch it while you can.

As Glam Gam put it, “We always put on our shows at Café Cléopâtre because they have been so good to us and allow us to express ourselves in a way that no other venue will. We consider this venue our home as it  has allowed burlesque to flourish in Montreal for 35 years (in a building that has hosted this and other alternative art forms for over 100 years) and embraces our spin on it. We find the city’s plans to demolish our home devastating!  From the beginning we have aimed to break down barriers of what is considered sexy and we also want to entertain everyone. Many events are targeted to one specific audience, but we’d like to think we have something for everyone and love bringing people together! We are an entertainment utopia, wherein all shapes, sizes, genders and sexualities are represented on stage and in the crowd.

In the day and age of Christina Aguilera and Cher, visuals speak louder than words. So check out the teaser for our show!”

Expect the unexpected – this ain’t your grandma’s burlesque!   If you leave a Glam Gam show dry and frowning, then we didn’t do our job properly.  Bring on the mess and bring on the titties!!

If you want to check out pics from the last show, take a look at these!