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Posts Tagged ‘Kitten Club’


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The Fabulous Delores Deluxe Talks Burlesque

KD: I’m very excited to have the fabulous Delores Deluxe on A Hopeful Romantic today. Delores is the best person I know to reveal to us a little of the delicious mystery that is burlesque.

Welcome Delores! I’m absolutely thrilled to have you as my guest. I have a confession to make; you’re one of my fantasy guestsJ I’m dying to know how did you get into burlesque, how did you get to be Mummy Kitten of the Kitten Club?

DD: I originally trained as an actor and was working as such for about 7 years. I was offered an audition to be part of a cabaret burlesque troupe that was about to be set up. I didn’t really know what burlesque was but I had a feeling I would like it!

I did the audition and was totally hooked – it offered so much of what I really enjoyed doing and obviously the opportunity to wear corsets for a living! I took a decision to turn down a much bigger theatre contract and do the pilot of the burlesque show which I ended up co-running with Kitten Blue and was named The Kitten Club.

Kitten Blue eventually moved to Vancouver with her Canadian Tomcat and I took over the business and show in London and haven’t looked back!

KD: I attended a burlesque teaser taught by one of your kittens, Tempest Rose, over at Sh! Women’s Emporium close to a year ago now, and one of the ideas that I found most striking, that made me want to learn more about burlesque, was the idea of women, not only in control of, but celebrating their femininity and their sexuality. What happens on stage at a burlesque performance seems so much different from what happens at a strip club. Could I ask you to address the differences and your views of those differences?

DD: Burlesque shows and strip clubs, as far as I’m concerned, have very little, if any, common ground.  Striptease is only a small element of what burlesque is but I think many people associate that with stripping and strippers.

Burlesque is an art form which is as wide and varied as any other, while there is an element of striptease,  there is also great emphasis on skill, storyline, costuming,  comedy, message and spectacle. The point of a burlesque act is not how much clothing is removed but rather to entertain, tittilate and even educate!

Strip clubs are traditionally for men. Burlesque clubs are frequented by everyone ; couples, groups, hen parties, celebrations and a large percentage of our audiences tend to be women.

The performers are all in control of their acts which they will have created themselves and are being specifically booked and paid for. Although burlesque is sexy, it is not designed to ‘arouse’ men, nor is it gratuitous or sleazy.

KD: Perhaps this is a good place to ask for Delores Deluxe’s definition of burlesque.

DD: Burlesque is a sexy, sassy and skilled theatrical performance.  Its roots are in variety and music

KD: I’ve only read sketchy histories of burlesque, which I’ve found totally fascinating, but I’m very interested to know what you see as the major differences between early burlesque and the recent revival of burlesque?

DD: There are many different types and styles of burlesque.  British burlesque (traditional burlesque), American burlesque (classic burlesque), neo burlesque – also  there is the Berlin cabaret and even Moulin Rouge. We are very lucky in London to have one of the most thriving scenes in the world at the moment.

Modern burlesque is amazing and unique in that we have so much history to look at and take inspiration from and you will see an astounding diversity of style at any one show, coupled with performers putting their own stamp and creating modern routines with contemporary music and style with ideas inspired by our burlesque ancestors.  Burlesque is very specific to the time it’s created. Traditionally, it would send up high art or make a political statement or commentary which you can definitely see on our scene.  I think the major difference would be the position of women in society now – many of our shows and venues are produced and run by women so it’s a very feminine strain of show business.

KD: What makes the Kitten Club brand of burlesque unique?

DD: The Kitten Club has a very ‘tongue in cheek’ style and the show is fairly quirky – I guess that comes from me and the type of act I find funny! We often describe ourselves as ‘Carry on Burlesque’ in style in that we really like to use parody, send things up and definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously!

KD: As well as performing at Madame JoJo’s and Volupte, you and the Kittens also offer burlesque courses through The House of Burlesque, and one of those course which I’d like to talk more about is a course to boost women’s body confidence. I don’t know many women who couldn’t use a bit of body confidence boosting. Could you share with us how that course came about?

DD: It came out of many things, firstly burlesque made me realise there is no one ideal. Having been an actor for years and often being made to feel like a freak of nature for not being a 5’4’’ size 8, chorus line blondie or just not being seen for certain jobs at all because I was the wrong size or shape. Finding burlesque was a massive confidence boost at the time and gave me the opportunity to challenge what pigeon hole people might put you in.

I found that many of the women who came to our shows would often approach us afterwards to tell us how much they enjoyed the show and seeing a variety of  women with different body shapes. They would often want to talk about themselves and their hang ups ,  ask us about costuming, corsets etc and ask for advice on how they could buy similar. I also found this in the burlesque classes I was teaching – women wanted something more so I set up a body confidence class, which challenges women to look at themselves differently and focus on positive body image.

KD: If you could give women one piece of advice that would help them boost their confidence about their bodies, what would it be?

DD: Ignore the media  – abandon celebrity magazines!

KD: I think that may be the best advice EVER, Delores! Thanks! That leads me to my next question. The gorgeous costumes aside, what has always struck me most about my limited encounters with burlesque is the unabashed, downright joyous celebration of feminine beauty. Is there something in the psychology of burlesque that just brings out the inner feminine?

DD: Burlesque is very elegant, sensuous and voluptuous. Curves are greatly revered and the syle of performance means that parts of our bodies we are conditioned to dislike are portrayed as sexy, beautiful and perfect.

KD: Burlesque has an amazing history, and is enjoying an exciting revival. Where do you see that revival leading?

DD: Long may it continue! Cabaret is fast becoming a number one night out. Time Out now has its own cabaret section with many people choosing a night out at a burlesque show rather than the theatre. There are so many clever shows on the scene with performers and producers really looking at new, exciting ways to interpret the style

I can only see it going from strength to strength with the wealth of talent and vibrance we have in the cabaret community.

KD: As the New Year begins, what does the future hold for Delores Deluxe and the Kitten Club?

DD: The Kittens are raring to go for 2012. The Kittens themselves, Vixen de Ville, Tempest Rose, Vicious Delicious and Tomcat, Christian Lee, are all also well established, successful solo performers on the scene as well as being part of the troupe. We will be continuing our residencies at Volupte and Madame Jojo’s and are looking at hopefully taking the show further afield later this year for a few one-off dates.

KD: Where can we see the Kitten Club perform?

DD: We work at Volupte – a fabulous dinner cabaret club just off Chancery Lane with an amazing cocktail bar and kitchen. We perform here twice a month – you can see full details of dates and book a delicious night out at www.volupte-lounge.com. We also perform at one of the oldest and most established cabaret clubs, Madame Jojo’s.  We perform here on the second Sunday of every month and details are on our own website www.thekittenclub.com.

Come and join us!

KD: At my request, Delores has added a special bonus to this post, an introduction to that most mysterious and intimidating of all garments, the one that awes and terrifies. Yep, that’s right, the corset.

Corsets for the faint hearted!

There are two main styles of corset – overbust and underbust. They do pretty
much what they say on the tin!
Over bust covers your boobs
Underbust sits just under your boobs (can be worn with a dress, bra etc on
top)

Corsets come in various lengths  – depending on your preference, you can
have a longline which will cover yout hips or a regular length that will sit
just on or above your hips (depending on your height, build and shape)

They are measured by your waist – always read the information from whichever
paricular corsetier you are buying from but as general rule, you would buy
one 4 – 5 inches smaller than your natural waist measurement.

The corset has a front fastening known as busks – these are little steel
clips and the back of the corset is laced with the loops in the middle.

To put a corset on, you loosen the laces at the back and fasten the clips at
the front (I find top clip, bottom clip then the middle ones the easiest
sequence, but again, up to the individual)
The corset is then tightened by pulling on the laces at the back to get the
desired hourglass shape!
You can buy a steel boned or soft boned corset. The soft boned ones will not
give the same shape and waist reduction as the steel ones but are more
comfortable to wear as the boning is made of a firm rubber rather than spun
steel rods.

With the current trend for burlesque, you can now buy corsets in many high
street stores, however most of these are not of very good quality. Never buy
a plastic boned corset unless you are only planning to wear it once  or
twice as the bones will bend out of shape very quickly and ruin the look of
the corset.

I recommend investing in a steel boned one. Wear it at home for a few hours
to get used to it and it will start to mould to your own shape. Never lend
it to anyone else!
Once you get used to them, they are real fun to wear, can totally transform
an outfit and will maximise your shape, regardless of your natural figure to
make you look super feminine and curvy!

KD: Thanks, Delores! It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on A Hopeful Romantic. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing you and the Kittens perform again soon!

 

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Burlesque: Women in Control

Last night I participated in an introduction to burlesque class taught by the fabulous Tempest Rose, one of the famous Kitten Club kittens. A group of eight women gathered at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium off Hoxton Square. Most of us only really knew that Burlesque involves beautiful costumes, sometimes strip tease and stage performances, all done by very sexy women. We spent the evening learning to shimmy, and bump and grind, learning to use our bodies and faces to convey our emotions, and learning about the costumes and props of burlesque. (I’m pretty sure Sh! had a last-minute run on nipple tassels at the end of the evening.) The class culminated in our ‘graduation exercise’ — a glove strip-tease. The glove was the only item of clothing removed during the evening. (Unless you count a pair of VERY uncomfortable, nose-bleed stilettos that got tossed in the corner after a few attempts at bump and grind.)

I had no idea a simple glove could be such a sensual tool, nor that it could convey so much. Tempest told us that though strip tease is often apart of burlesque, a burlesque performer never takes off everything. In fact, a burlesque performer views the items of her costume as props rather than clothing. She said she begins a performance with some props, and by the end of the performance, she has less props.

The literal meaning of burlesque is to ‘send up,’ or to make a joke of. Its literary forms can be traced back to Chaucer’s bawdy Canterbury Tales. According to Wikipedia, Burlesque is a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration. Burlesque sometimes parodies the higher performance arts – ballet, opera, poetry. It often, parodies the male and female relationship, and usually at the expense of the blokes. The form is often associated with a variety show and striptease.

What makes burlesque unique, according to Tempest, is that female sensuality and the female form are always at the centre of burlesque. What I found most striking about the evening, as I did the first time I saw Tempest introducing an audience to burlesque at Sh! Portobello, was the sensual female power that is the driving force of burlesque. That power was the reason I wanted to learn more. Tempest told us that in burlesque, the woman is always in control. It is in her power to reveal or conceal what she chooses in her own time. When curves and female sensuality are emphasized, the result is not only beautiful, but also very powerful.

Tempest demonstrated to us how female control in burlesque is shown in the stances and the movements of the performer. She showed us how the angular, sensual stances emphasized in burlesque showcase the female form, emphasizing sensuality and curves. The result is an art form that is 100% female powered. And the sense of that power appeals to both men and women.

She contrasted that to what a stripper might do at a strip club, where the stances are open and straight on, emphasizing what is between the legs. The movements suggest the sex act itself, and emphasizing a man’s point of view.

It was a girl-powered evening, with each of us showcasing our own unique female sensuality. There was pink fizz, silky gloves, corsets, lace, and laughter, and at the centre of it all we were in control. As a woman writing erotica for women, I like that a lot.
 

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Sh! Portobello Store launch — Holly’s First Public Debute!

Thursday night was the big launch of the long awaited Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium Portobello Store, and it was even more fun than anticipated! If there was a theme to the evening, I’d have to say it was girl power. It always amazes me how strong and appealing women are when they’re comfortable in their own skin and comfortable with their own sexuality. And Thursday night’s launch was definitely a gathering of powerful, sexy women.

It was great fun browsing the latest and coolest toys and books and chatting with my fellow erotica writers as well as the actresses and burlesque beauties. The who’s who of girl power extraordinaire also included Suraya Sidhu Singh, editor-in-chief of Filament Magazine as well as Sarah Berry, Editor of Foreplay Magazine, formerly Forum.

The amazing, Kay Jaybee read her hot story, ‘Searching for Her,’ from Violet Blue’s award-winning erotic anthology for couples, Sweet Love Definitely an anthology to add to your collection. The fabulous Scarlet French read her story, ‘In the Garden of Eden ‘ from the anthology, Fantasy: Untrue Stories of Lesbian Passion , a sexy fantasy inspired by her time working as a Sh! girl. I hear Scarlet is about to launch her exciting new website.

In addition to hot stories read by hot chix, we all got to enjoy Delores Deluxe and Tempest Rose from the fabulous Kitten Club Burlesque Cabaret I have it on good authority that Delores is going to be teaching classes for Sh! very soon. Definitely sign me up! Three words -ostritch feather fans!

Of course, for me, the highlight of the evening was my chance to give a titilating taste of my novel The Initiation of Ms Holly It was exciting to finally share a little bit of the story that I’ve been living with in my head for the last year, and to such an appreciative audience. It was my chance to proudly parade Rita and Edward and introduce them to some really good friends — all of whom seemed to agree that chocolate and sex are definitely a good combo. Remember, you can pre-order your copy of The Initiation of Ms Holly on Amazon now.

Sorry there are no photos of all the fun at Sh! Portobello, but as with any new venture, there are always a few glitches. Just as Kay Jaybee was starting her reading, the lights went out — only downstairs where the entertainment was. Upstairs where people milled about browsing the hot selection of books and sex toys and corsets and boas and whips and…sigh, well you get the picture, the lights were fine. As it turned out, an evening’s entertainment of sexy stories, and burlesque by lamp and candle light was very atmospheric — especially when accompanied with lots of fizz and cup cakes!

Also beautifully present at the Sh! launch were the cast from the fabulous play, Five Clever Courtesans, written by the very talented Sarah Blake. Raymond and I were lucky enough to catch the Sunday night performance at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane just before the ladies all head off to the Edinburgh Fringe, where the play is already rated number nine out of the top forty Fringe acts. No trouble seeing why! The play is witty, educational, sexy and very moving. Break a leg in Edinburgh, Courtesans!

Every time I visit Sh!, I make new friends and have a really great time. Thursday night was no exception — with or without the lights. Thanks Sh! Chix, for a great time!
 

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