Fifty-five years ago, there was no such thing as a Renaissance Faire. People didn't even spell fair with an e at the end. It was a dark and dreary time with no giant turkey legs, no jousts, not even a tightly laced bodice. If not for Ron and Phyllis Patterson's love of teaching, the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale would never have been born. Now it is a sprawling 20-acre, 16th century–style party with 20,000 patrons attending every weekend between April 8 and May 21. We visited during this year's opening weekend and documented revelers partying like it's 1599.
On Saturday, April 8, Peepshow Menagerie brought Hamiltease, a burlesque parody of the Broadway smash musical Hamilton, to Fais Do-Do in West Adams. The sold-out show featured performances by Tas DeVille, Nox Falls, Sgt. Die Wies, Kitschy Koo and others, as well as a Hamilton sing-along featuring members of the Hamiltunes L.A. Cabinet.
Performer DeVille has wanted to put on this show ever since she listened to the Hamilton soundtrack last year. Shortly thereafter Peepshow Menagerie offered her the opportunity to co-produce Hamiltease, and she jumped at the chance. The mission of her company, Vamptastic Productions, is to present audiences with beautiful and thought-provoking performance art that features performers who are typically less represented in the arts world. Tas DeVille, herself a plus-size woman of color, put together a cast for Hamiltease that was as diverse as it was skilled.
On an otherwise mundane Thursday morning, I’m staring up at the ceiling in my living room. But instead of the usual generic popcorn ceiling of my apartment, I see this giant, tessellated 3D alien structure that’s undulating like a set of Hydra heads on a mountain of extraterrestrial bosoms. “This...
"What's the difference between facts and insults, right?" Jibz Cameron asks a small class of teenagers inside UCLA's Hillel Center on a recent Thursday afternoon. Cameron, better known as the performance artist Dynasty Handbag, has given a small group of students a deceptively simple task: one volunteer will describe a...
Just off the 10 freeway, in a blighted, heavily industrial part of downtown, there exists a growing paradise in disguise as a nondescript warehouse. The Galactic Garden was on display Tuesday night for a fund-raising party; the goal is to make the Galactic Garden a nightly affair in a 36-foot geodesic dome. The dome will serve as a fully interactive collaboration of the psychedelic arts — live music, dance, theater, burlesque and circus arts — while still holding community activities and parties sponsored by independent vendors.
The Garden's creator, Faeryn Rose, has the potential to create something truly unique in an area of the city that could use some rejuvenation. The outside patio served as a relaxing vendor space, while a stage inside the warehouse hosted a mix of live music, circus, burlesque and various performance arts. Revelers could even grab one of Mondo Med's THC-laced lattes outside.
The stage was a feast for the eyes, featuring a mix of blacklight and projections along with set pieces. It opened with producer-singer Kelleia performing alternative electronica, then moved to more circus acts by Shakti Circus with neo-burlesque (including aerial) by the Rebel Angels. It was the cure for the average Tuesday night.
All photos by Daniel J. Sliwa
The performers of the Hollywood Jane Revue has proven themselves to be masters when it comes to themed burlesque. The revue takes the classic performance cycle format and integrates a new concept for the performers to play out onstage. At Burlyquest on Tuesday, the troupe flexed its creative muscle in terms of routine conception, song pairing and flexibility in tone.
The show opened with musical parody duo Library Bards turning modern pop hits into nerd anthems; for instance, Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" became "PokeBall." But the show that followed served up more obscure '80s fantasy. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were obvious inclusions, but the surprise was in seeing sendups of Highlander and Legend (an underrated Ridley Scott classic). Even Artax's horrific death scene from The Neverending Story made it into the mix.
The troupe demonstrated a new level of maturity, taking on Tolkien with one performer as Smeagol and producer Blanche Bourgeois as Smaug, performing a fiery fan routine. Two different interpretations from one writer's catalog, both handled expertly.
All photos by Daniel Sliwa