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Va Va Voom’s The Boobie Tube Turns On For The Shelter

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Nostalgia for a simpler time mixed with honest laughter and a bit of coy sexuality was just what a 21st century Friday night in a smoky Atlanta club needed! On Friday, October 7, Mon Cherie Presents Va Va Voom – The Boobie Tube Burlesque Show featured acts that paid homage to the silly, flirty television shows of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Whether you dreamt of genie or wanted to get bewitched, the performers offered enchanting and lighthearted burlesque shows throughout the evening.

Speaking of dreaming, the first act was performed by Kittie Love who evoked blond bombshell Barbara Eden’s “I Dream of Jeannie” in a number accompanied by the song, “Genie in a Bottle.” As luck would have it, there were actually two genies in the club because red haired “Jeannie” number two, Ruby Redmayne, was close to the stage to lend Kittie a hand with her harem pants. Then Kittie danced and twirled as she exposed a sparkly pink bikini fitting for a “Jeannie” and – whether she did so on purpose or not – it was a perfect pink tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness month (October).

The wonders of early American television led us to the va va voom-ing Wonder Woman. At a speculated height of 6’3’’ (and I believe that is without her gigantic heels on!), Tora Torrid was the quintessential Amazon woman and an American one to boot. This foxy Amazonian Wonder Woman strutted on stage in dashing business professional attire, wearing a white button down shirt with long pencil length skirt. The excited crowd could tell it was only moments before her true identity became apparently because she had on knee high shiny red boots with white stripes, not exactly what you wear to a normal day at the office. Getting her rock n’ roll on to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman,” Tora got down to a Wonder Woman themed bustier with a dazzling blue shimmy skirt. I think there were a few men in the audience who wished that she would’ve wrangled them with her lasso of truth at the end of her number.

And about that man wrangling stuff, Catatonic Raucous knows exactly how to bewitch a man in her capable hands. Led by the Darrin Stephens dressed magician Chad Sanborn, who played her hungry stage hubby, Catatonic played Samantha from “Bewitched” in nose twitching style. With what sounded like an old episode on tape, Sanborn started to grouch about his dinner only to try to trick the witchy Catatonic with a magic trick. Guess he didn’t know that you can’t trick a witch! He upset her by making something disappear in her purse only to receive huge giggles from the audience as the witch froze time and left him a little exposed while eating his banana.

When it comes to giggles, Star Trek has always provided a few as did the Vulcan book carried on stage by Ursula Undress titled, Men Are From Romulus, Women Are From Vulcan by Dr. Spock PhD. Off came this Vulcan woman’s Enterprise dress to reveal a beautiful burlesque outfit topped with large Enterprise inspired pasties. Women are from Vulcan indeed!

If Ursula was from Vulcan, then the next performer was definitely from Gilligan’s Island. Gilligan aka New Orleans Jon sang and danced his way through Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea.” Ladies in the audience raved over his performance and one even cooed that he sounded like one of his idols, Frank Sinatra.

The next performer up had a large blue British police telephone box rigged on stage. I’m not too familiar with Dr. Who, but Katherine Lashe apparently is a fan of this television show. Walking out of the box in a trench coat and long scarf, Katherine got right down to business, wiggling and dancing around the stage to the audience’s delight.

For the last assignment – I mean dance – Désiré Èvoquer, Rosefire Sauvage and Tora Torrid played the three burlesque blonde, red head, and brunette versions of Charlie’s Angels. They brought the house down with their unique take on the Charlie’s Angels by dancing simultaneously and alone in a showcase that revealed their sparkly red, silver & purple, and yellow & blue bikinis.

This show was wonderful on many levels. To start with, not every girl stripped down to her pasties during her performance (not a big deal, but the variety and different levels of tease where nice to watch). Plus, the theme was really fun and nostalgic which encouraged others to dress in character – one lady dressed as a second Samantha from Bewitched, Tupelo Honey dressed as Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island, Darbella Knight dressed as Endora from Bewitched, Sunny Midnight dressed as a young Huxtable selling pudding pops, and as previously mentioned, Ruby Redmayne was a red haired version of Jeannie. Another nice night out all around, but the new restaurant on the corner obstructed some club goers’ attendance.

Art

Rain and Fire in Sedona

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Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando

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Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.

 

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Dance

“20/20:Visionary”: Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last weekend (March 18-20) the Atlanta Ballet gifted the city with “20/20: Visionary,” three pieces, including a world premiere, presented at the Cobb Energy Center.

The world premiere, “Playground,” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, belied its name by being a shadowy piece danced between upright, rolling chalkboard set pieces. Prepared for a lighthearted, joyful expression of childhood, I was surprised that the work instead exposed the darker side of childhood memories. There were some light moments, such as the towering billboard inscribed with multiple lines reading, “Jackie must remember the steps” – clearly a humorous aside about Jackie Nash, one of the most capable company members and perhaps the quickest study in rehearsal. There were some easily-seen choreographic devices–a lot of theme and variation, even more pushing around of set pieces–but there were a few exceptional moments as well, including intricate, slow-motion manipulation of a dancer’s body by another dancer.

Pen-Yu Chen & Tara Lee in “Boiling Point.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

The opening work, “Boiling Point,” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, was playfully performed at breakneck speed. Dancers are often told to “make it look easy,” and the company took that concept to heart. Highlighted against the men in black costumes, the women wore bits of metallic fabric, providing splashes of intense color and exposing powerful bodies with long muscles. The piece began with the stage space open almost to its fullest, and the dancers running across like a rushing river. They rolled, twisted, turned, and slid like water itself. The choreography juxtaposed synchronicity with counterpoint, traditional with innovation. There was a gargouillade, rarely seen even in classical ballets. The lines of the bodies were critical to the piece, and often layers deep. The flow was almost nonstop, with only an occasional flick of a wrist or toss of a head to provide momentary stasis. The standout was Christian Clark, who sometimes nearly managed to integrate himself into the group but then something distinctive and powerful in his dancing drew the eye to him again.

“Red Clay” from “Home in 7.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

“Home in 7,” a work by Amy Siewert, closed the concert. A portrait of Atlanta, the ballet was a rich tapestry woven from music, spoken word, and movement. Performed in 7 segments to a libretto written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and an intriguing, haunting string score composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, the dance, too, was a poem, shimmering like summer moonlight on the Chattahoochee. John Welker opened the ballet with tiny explosions of movement “Secrets.” Perhaps the most enchanting segment was “Home of the Braves:” 5 men using baseball imagery, holding their formation as they slid precisely between pitches and catches. “Red Clay” evoked August nights, intolerance, and redemption—Atlanta history, a story familiar to many. I first saw this ballet in 2011, and it has grown in depth as the dancers have matured technically and emotionally. Atlanta loves its ballet company, and never more than when it showcases its home city.

John McFall is ending his tenure with the company at the end of this season. For newcomers to Atlanta Ballet offerings, this will have been a dynamic performance. For long-time supporters, it will have been an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. There are a couple more opportunities to see the company under his watch, and then he will pass the torch to Gennadi Nedvigin, the company’s fourth artistic director. Stay tuned!

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