Spotlight on: Flaming Tease!

20130629-204909.jpgphotograph by Angie B Photography

I first came across Flaming Tease when I was asked to provide cakes for a show. It was in a teeny tiny pub in Stirling called Whistlebinkies and the event was only open to ladies, due to an outdated and silly bylaw that stated burlesque could not be performed in front of mixed gender audiences. It was an intimate and fun show, and I left knowing I would be back! Since that night, Scarlett Flame, performer extraordinaire and organiser of Flaming Tease, smashed through the bylaw and Stirling’s only burlesque show was open to everyone! Today, Flaming Tease has a new, bigger home in 20 Rocks and is growing more popular with every event.

In the meantime, I finally starting performing myself (but that’s another story!) and Flaming Tease is a great favourite of mine to perform! Of course, I still provide cupcakes and cake pops, it’s a long running joke now that I wouldn’t be allowed to come without them! I asked Scarlett, killer of silly bylaws, a few questions about Flaming Tease and what’s next for this fantastic show.

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Why did you want to start Flaming Tease? Was it important to you to host it in Stirling?

I wanted to start my own shows because over the years I have performed at so many – some good, some great- but what was important to me was holding the kind of night I would want to go to, which bring together performers and friends. I wanted to run a show with a happy friendly atmosphere for everyone!
Hosting it in Stirling was always the obvious start, because so little happens here and because I love bringing burlesque to new audiences. We have always wanted to start here and expand, taking the same mix of quality burlesque and a brilliant atmosphere with us. I wanted to do a show in my adopted hometown, and I’m really happy that there is a market for it!

What drives you to hold these nights?

Enjoyment. Its brilliant to see so many wonderful performers on my stage and knowing that I had a hand in making sure that they have a great time. It means a lot to me to bring opportunities to my friends, and people who have become friends through the shows. Its great to get the feedback that we get from our audiences who all love the shows and love the performers involved.

What do you think makes Flaming Tease so successful?

Hard work, and the commitment of everyone involved. All of the performers work incredibly hard to make sure that they do a great job, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate them – the shows wouldn’t happen without that!
Also, we really value the feedback that we get from our audiences, and do make a point of collecting both verbal and written feedback so we can make our shows even better.
Finally I think part of it is that we approach it as a full package – performers, traders, cake, drinkies, its really a proper night out and our audiences throw themselves into it!

What is your favourite story involving Flaming Tease?

There are so many… We’ve done 6 shows in Stirling, and all have been filled with some of the things people assume I make up. Ringmistress dislocating her thumb onstage, Favourite Sin shaving her head, two of our audience members starting a relationship at the show, some of the laughs backstage.. there really are so many, and so many more to come I am sure.

Has there been a time you felt like giving up doing Flaming Tease? Or did difficulty strengthen your resolve?

There are always times when its hard and when it all gets really stressful, but no I have never really thought about quitting. The hardest show was the one I missed when I was in hospital, and that made me so much more determined to make the next show even bigger and better!
Given the amount of obstacles (from venues, to money, to divas) it would be easy to quit, but I think I need to keep doing it to prove I can!

You have a great reputation for encouraging new acts from performers, has there ever been a time you were nervous about or refused a proposal of an act?

I have, and thats a really hard thing to do. I always worry about asking for too many new acts from performers because of the expense and commitment involved for them. There are a few that I have been nervous about, but thankfully almost all seemed to be a hit when they were performed! Its really rare for me to veto an act altogether, usually its a minor tweak that’s needed.
Its fab as well that we can use Flaming Tease as a platform for new performers (students from my classes are offered their debut spot at the show) and for performers who are new to the burlesque scene, perhaps more cabaret or other performance art. Its lovely to see people using it as a chance to network!

Flaming Tease is very obviously a team effort, did this team evolve over time and start with fewer ‘Teasers’, or was the group together from the start?

Team Tease! The Team has really been around over the whole incarnation of Flaming Tease, and again we couldn’t do it without the hard work and dedication of everyone. We have the best stage manager that I know of, and the best soundman in the biz too – he even rearranges his holidays and proper job (he’s sound crewed some of the biggest names in rock and pop) to be with us. Our raffle machine and decorator was the force that got Flaming Tease to happen, she talked me into it!
I am hugely proud of the whole team, performers and crew, they are all a really talented bunch and make Flaming Tease an absolute pleasure to put on!

Burlesque in Scotland is a growing and vital industry, with performers coming from all over to grace our stages. What do you think makes Scotland so attractive to performers?

I like to think its a combination of things; great shows, great performers, great audiences, friendly atmosphere, and a huge amount of variety.

Finally, what’s next for Flaming Tease?

More shows! We have lots of plans afoot… so do keep up with us on Facebook, and through my website. Our next show is the 7th Sept for Stirling, and maybe we’ll arrange something before that too! Flaming Tease is more than just a show, we are all friends too. Under the heading of Flaming Tease events we are booked for other places, and can take a full show to pretty much anywhere! (We are available for hire or reward!)

Anything else you want us to know?

If you have never tried burlesque before Flaming Tease is great, because we have so much variety – you are bound to find something that you like! What our audience think is vital, so please do let us know what you think!
My final thought has to be a big thank you to everyone who has been involved – performers, traders, crew, venues and audiences.

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My first OCC Lip Tar!

I love this product. I need more! After deciding not to continue purchasing from Illamasqua, I’m getting my bright colours kick from Sugarpill and OCC from now on. Obviously I already adore Sugarpill but this is my first experience with OCC. And I’m overjoyed I finally bit the bullet and combined that with helping an incredibly brave woman. That they donated the Lip Tar as a perk for her campaign shows how wonderful they are. I can’t wait to try out the rest of their line! As I’m in the UK, I think I’ll be getting more OCC though this UK stockist.

January Hunt is amazing, and I’m so happy she reached her goal. I’m happy that I was able, in my own small way, to contribute to that. Read more about her inspiring story here.

Disclaimer – these guys don’t know me from Adam, I bought this item with my own cash and decided to review them. I’m sure they’re glad I like them.

The Marilyn Meme

originally posted on Jan 28 2012 on Delicious Tacky (my old blog)

 

I’m fat. I’ve wrote several times about how ‘this time’ I’m going to do it, ‘this time’ I’m going to lose weight dagnamit! I’ve not been happy with the way I look for a long time. Basically, I’m every woman I’ve ever met. Because even if you’re not overweight, there’s a little troll sitting on the shoulder of every woman who tells you you’re not perfect the way you are. Too fat, thin, tall, short. Your nose is crooked, your legs are stumpy. Sound familiar? Some lucky women can ignore that little bugger, but we’ve all felt the troll’s influence from time to time. The only person that hurts is you, right?

There’s an awakening right now on the internet, women like Gala Darling or Super Kawaii Mama who celebrate themselves and encourage that same love in their readers. If When I feel crap about myself, I jump across to these websites and read their heartening words, mottos and hard won truths and I start to feel pretty damn comfortable in the skin I’m in. It doesn’t stop the urge to be fitter, an urge I’m taking control of and positively acting on, but it comes now from a feeling of loving my body and protecting my greatest asset, not of loathing the skin I’m in. It is a combination of mind and body, accepting my strengths and weaknesses and moving forward with my life.

Part of that is a greater acceptance of other women and their differences. No longer do I judge on how I see their weight. I can not abide the way I used to instantly view women as ‘skinny’ or ‘fat’. I wasn’t supposed to do that. I thought I was better than that. Growing up, I was very close to my cousin’s girlfriend – a girl who even to this day has to justify her small frame to complete strangers. It made my blood boil every time she had to say ‘I eat like a horse, honest’. How dare people feel it’s appropriate to question the eating habits of someone else? And yet, I’ve done it too. Keira Knightly was ‘obviously’ anorexic. Cheryl Cole looked better with ‘meat on her bones’. Two complete strangers I judged and thought it didn’t matter because it wasn’t as if they knew that’s what I thought. Big NO. It may not have affected them, although with the amount of articles dedicated to the weight of the rich and famous, it would be remiss of me to assume they aren’t affected by how the public see them – but it did affect me. Which, to be completely and unashamedly selfish about, is my main concern. Me. My biting comments and unfair assumptions made me a cold and hard person, and I’ve decided I’m not down with that. I want to grow into a nurturing and open person, and it’s a difficult admission that I wasn’t the nice person I always thought I was. Live and let live has always been my motto, being a staunch supporter of LGBT, disability and religious rights, but I didn’t see the pile of unfairly treated women growing in my brain.

Whenever I seen a picture saying ‘curvy is better’ or ‘what man wants a lollipop’ floating around, I reposted it, on my high horse like YES! CURVY IS BETTER SO THERE. You’ve all seen a picture of Marilyn Monroe V random ‘skinny’ celebrity. On one hand its great women find Marilyn’s figure empowering and want to celebrate their own bodies, but why does it have to come at the cost of another women’s figure? Why does it have to be versus? Women against women? Why can’t we enjoy Marilyn’s iconography as well as the celebrity she is pitted against, the ‘skinny’ subject to ridicule and judgement by women who want to validate their lifestyle choices?

I say iconography deliberately. Marilyn Monroe’s life is a sad story, and when women see her, they want to look like her, but they never want to be her. I think Marilyn would be saddened that even in death, she is viewed as a figure, a sexy body – and not as the woman she was. Men have viewed her as a sex symbol for years, and now women are using her image to put down a fellow human being. When you think about it like that, isn’t it a little shameful? I know I feel ashamed. Not only for using Marilyn the way she always was, as an object, but for unfairly dismissing the still nameless celebrity as a figure of ridicule to make me feel better about my own shortcomings.

I’m not saying changing my viewpoint was easy. Even today, practise and history has conditioned my mind to jump to judgement. But knowing I’m taking an active step to stop seeing other women as the enemy helps. I suppose the moral of the story is; image matters. It’d be fake to say it doesn’t. How much it matters is up to you, but when you look at images of other women to further your own prejudices, that image mirrors the ugliest thing about you. Those images are women, not icons. With feelings, dreams, hopes, strengths, as well as weaknesses and flaws. And I’m done pretending its ok to objectify them by saying they’re beautiful or imperfect, because it’s all negative. Beautifully imperfect, and altogether human – women are awesome at any size.

Fin.