Luca lives in Naples, Italy, and has been performing Quick Change for quite a few years now. He has written a book on the topic which I am listing here for your consideration. Translated from Italian with all the wonderful nuances found in that process.
In 1934, Sammy Fuchs opened a saloon at 267 Bowery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Surrounded by flophouses and missions, Sammy’s Bowery Follies catered mainly to the homeless, the penniless, and the generally down and out.
That changed somewhat in the early ‘40s after a surprising customer passed through: a monocle-wearing gentleman who turned out to be a British lord tired of the fussy formality of the uptown clubs.
Sensing a new market, Sammy acquired a cabaret license, built a stage, hired some aging vaudevillians, and began advertising his bar as the “Stork Club of the Bowery,” a nod to the famed nightclub uptown.
The plan worked. Fancy folks, tourists and celebrities began seeking out Sammy’s, looking for a chance to loosen their ties and slum it a little bit in the Gay Nineties-themed dive. It was not uncommon to find a socialite in an opera gown wedged between a sailor on shore leave and a passed-out drunk.
Sammy recognized the importance of atmosphere, and served free food and drinks to some of his more colorful regulars (characters with names such as Prune Juice Jenny, Box Car Gussie and Tugboat Ethel, the “Queen of the Bowery”) to preserve the ambience.
The notable photographer Weegee made Sammy’s one of his regular shooting grounds and even held his book launch parties there.
By the end of World War II, Sammy’s was serving some 100,000 customers a year, as literal busloads of tourists were dropped off outside, eager to drink and sing along with hobos, dwarves and assorted misfits.
Sammy Fuchs died in 1969. A year later, the bar finally closed. The closing ceremony was attended by over 700 loyal patrons.
While I was there absorbing the atmosphere and drinks, a midget walked in… he was about three and a half feet. I invited him for a drink. He told me that he just arrived from Los Angeles, where he had been working for a Browns & Williams Tobacco Co’, walking the streets dressed as a penguin.
The evening had an edgy feel to it when “Stache Novak” showed up to perform his ‘male strip routine.”
Introduced as the ‘bathroom attendant‘ he quickly removed his pants for the audience’s delight.
And then Laurie Lee Anderson (the winner of Miss Coney Island USA 2020) started her amazing act.
Ridding herself of the dinosaur head she immediately titillated the audience. An audience pleaser for sure she got to her basics real soon. Rockin the house with her jump rope routine Laurie Lee Anderson was wonderful.
Entertaining the audience with her unique looks and style.
Bouncing Betties :: by florkhis Opium :: by The Butoh Rockettes Face Your Face :: by Si Golraine, Anjoli Chadha, Erica Chadha Pillow Talk :: by Dimitri She Poked a Bear :: by Wharton Tract Polar Bear King :: by Amos Wengler Durational performance by Jennie Portney, LaReine TheThrill
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THE AUDIENCE TOO is encouraged to come be a part of the performance! Wear your most expressive/outrageous costume/look, and help celebrate the festival’s theme of TRANSFORMATION. An on-site makeover room will stand ready to accessorize willing participants, and photographer Kristopher Johnson will have a photo booth set-up during part of the festival. Expect a pageant & prizes!
International Culture Lab (Nick Fracaro and Gabriele Schafer, Co-Artistic Directors; Brendan Schweda, Festival Producer) is a performing arts company dedicated to providing opportunities for artists from across the world to explore contemporary issues through jointly created projects. Renowned in its earlier history as Thieves Theatre, ICL interrogated the role of the Other in contemporary society with a series of controversial landmark productions: 1982 — Marat/Sade, together with On Our Own, a group of anti-psychiatry former mental patients; 1987 — Fassbinder’s “unproducible” Trash, the City, and Death; and 1990-93 — Nomad Monad: The Making of Thieves Theatre’s Last Stand for which the company’s directors erected a full-sized Lakota tipi replica, handmade from 78 US#3 mailbags, and lived/worked for three years in the then oldest Manhattan shantytown at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. intlculturelab.org
Coney Island USA exists to defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibitions and performances. Presenting and producing exciting new works, the organization’s approach is rooted in mass culture and the traditions of P.T. Barnum, dime museums, burlesque, circus sideshows, vaudeville, and Coney Island itself. Serving both New York City and an international community that includes visitors to Coney Island and enthusiasts of various cultural forms, Coney Island USA’s signature activities include the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the Coney Island Museum, and new theatrical work. coneyisland.com!
Being in the Guinness Book of World Records twice isn’t enough for hula hooper Dunja von K. In between performances and teaching hoops three times a week, she’s in training for her third world record – being suspended upside-down hula hooping with multiple hoops.
She failed by a narrow margin in her first attempt a few months ago. “I can do 10,” she revealed, “but I needed to do 20 with a minimum of 3 rotations. I failed by half a rotation.” She is trying again before April to be in the next book. Out of the 40,000 record holders in the Guinness World Records database, only about 10% are published in the book, and even a smaller number are featured with a photograph. Dunja is in the 2019 book with a photograph and she is determined to be in the 2020 book.
She wasn’t born with a hoop on her hip. Hailing from a small town in northern Germany, she didn’t pick up a hoop until after she moved to London. There, she got involved in theatre to improve her English, but this didn’t entirely satisfy her penchant for the weird and unusual. Through a workshop at the Roundhouse, she discovered that cabaret was more her métier. Then she saw that the Roundhouse was offering a hoop workshop by the legendary Marawa the Amazing. “I took the workshop for fitness,” she confessed, “I never thought I could do any hoop tricks.”With the encouragement of Marawa, she persisted in hoop training and her efforts resulted in her becoming one of the original members of Marawa’s Majorettes. She performed at the Olympic Games in 2012 and then at Glastonbury Festival, Bestival, the Secret Garden Party, and at Kensington Palace.
As part of Marawa’s Majorettes, Dunja was one of the ten women who collectively rotated 299 hoops and set a World Record for the Most Hoops Spun by a Group. Then she decided she wanted a World Record of her own and got one for spinning 43 hoops on multiple body parts. She has since broken her own record by spinning 59 hoops.
After nine years in London, she decided to move to Berlin. “I felt like I couldn’t go any further in London. I wasn’t really growing anymore,” she stated and adds with a laugh, “I also wanted my own flat.” In Berlin, she teaches hula hoop workshops three times a week and performs at burlesque clubs and major events. “If I would’ve known how great the scene was in Berlin,” she said, “I would have moved earlier.”
Her acts are different than other hoopers who create routines to show off their skills, “I come from a theatre background and a cabaret background,” she explains, “Usually, my hoop acts tell a story. It’s not just amazing tricks.”
Most of her storytelling has a sense of the macabre that fits well with Berlin. In one act, she is a bloody Jesus with barbed wire wrapped around a hoop. Another act is a frenetic hooping homage to Pulp Fiction complete with a tray of cocaine. Though she can spin 80 hoops at once and simultaneously keep hoops going on all four limbs, she continually looks for ways to expand her skills. She started training in aerial silk and now has a silk-and-hoop act where she is a spider.
But one of her favorite activities is hula hoop training. “I love teaching beginners who never thought they can hoop, because I felt like that,” she said, “It took me three months to keep the hoop up. I was really shit in the beginning.” From one beginners class in Berlin, her workshop series has now expanded to three classes per week and the addition of an intermediate hoop class.
Back in London for Full Moon Cabaret at the Vault Festival this past weekend, she strutted on stage with heart-shaped hoops in her high-energy Summer of Love act. Then she picked up four LED hoops and the audience went wild as the lights went off, leaving nothing other than the psychedelic flashing pink, yellow, and green lights of the hoops. For a grand finale, she picked up a massive stack of hoops and gleefully flung her arms up, wildly gyrating all the hoops at once. Revolutionary in more ways than one, Dunja von K is sure to set several more world records.
In the spirit of rebirth, renewal, and the resurrection of the spirit, curator and host Nicky Paraiso addresses the current political and social climate in a serious attempt to investigate and celebrate the origins of cabaret.
Although the 19th-century French definition referred to any business serving liquor, a cabaret in the early 20th century was an informal salon or safe place, as it were, where poets, artists, and composers could share ideas and compositions, present new works-in-progress and decry the political ills of the day. Exemplary writers and performers extraordinaire are invited to respond to recent life-changing and transformational events while songs continue to be sung with entertaining consequence.
ERIN MARKEY’S RAINBOW CAVERNS: GREATEST HITS OF ALL TIME INCLUDING THE FUTURE!
Erin Markey’s show is so much fun! From her stories to her songs to her antics on stage – the audience was enjoying every minute of this “Greatest Hits”.
Luckily I was in the front row leaning on the stage. Here are some shots for this wonderful show.
Erin sang many wonderful songs from her shows.
The other woman in (Girl Group) the show sang a chorus with beautiful voices.
The emotions that she evokes during her songs are so heartfelt.
Becca Blackwell and Erin Markey singing a fight between them.
Notes from the Program:
What we’re trying to say is that Erin Markey and co-composer Emily Bate will present musical excerpts from their critically acclaimed musical A Ride On The Irish Cream (2016)*, slow-jam cabaret funeral Boner Killer (2017), and in-development Beach Boys/Spice Girls inspired energy concert Little Surfer (2019). They wouldn’t dare do it by themselves, though. With them are a rock band, a girl group, infamous schmerm/lover Becca Blackwell and many disgusting exceptions to Markey’s no-sequins rule in the costume department. The audience is invited to watch as Erin’s comedic storytelling melts into gorgeous harmony-driven music, but guaranteed: Erin will turn her wild eye on you and give you a slumber party command you don’t dare disobey.