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Review: The 24 Carrot Show! Fou Fou Ha! Featuring FOU YORK!

Burlesque, Comedy, Culture, Events, Performance, Performance, Reviews, Showcase

July 29, 2017

Last night… I gave a lap dance to a clown on stage while 100 people at The Rio cheered me on… because, in this show, audience participation is its own reward!

Let me explain how I got there.

Earlier this week we did an interview with Maya Lane, creator of Fou Fou Ha! It was great! She is great! Then, last night I went to the show. I went with Miss Dee Twenty because we like to go to things like this with each other.  We also sat near other local burlesque performers. The performers went around the audience and would ask weird questions like, “What agenda items would like to add?” and also, they would catch popcorn with their mouths if you threw it at them.

When the show began there was a lot of prepping for the fact that this show relied on our participation. This is usually not the case with most stage shows in Vancouver… and of course, it isn’t like most shows in Vancouver, because this show is unabashedly San Fransico!

After some banter from the host Jamie Dewolf and lovely tightly choreographed dancing from “The Fou’s” the first contest was announced… they didn’t say, hey who wants to give a clown a lap dance… all you got was beautiful clowns coming into the audience and saying hey you there… get on stage! So, there I was, standing next to Miss Dee Twenty, on the stage of The Rio, when the host assigned us numbers and then said, ok, you will go in order and when we tell you to start… give our “sluttiest” clown Fluffer Fou, a lap dance. In that moment, I knew what I had to do. I had to take off my shoes and limber the fuck up.

I was second in line, the first contestant tried really hard but you could tell that he was extra uncomfortable, but the audience whooped and hollered and went OWW! OWW! OWW! Then, my turn.

I gave a clown a lap dance. I apparently gave him a really good lap dance because he was really liking it and people in the audience were even louder than they were for contestant 1. I actually don’t remember what I did in my lap dance… I do remember that someone told me afterwards that they liked my tramp stamp…

Then, Miss Dee Twenty (professional burlesque performer), gave a clown a lap dance… and well she did the splits.

Then contestant 4 gave a clown a lap dance… unlike the rest of us… this dude gave us some full on Magic Mike style male stripper action.

In the end… the whooping and cheering and applause chose the winner… And surprise surprise our local professional burlesque performer Miss Dee Twenty won!

Even their DJ is Fou-lisicous

After that more beautiful dancing and then… something completely different. The members of the troupe would come on stage remove as much of their clowning attire as possible and give monologues about how clowning and burlesque saved them. How performing, how encouraging others to let their freak flag fly, to let the shadows come out, into the light, was transformative. There were performers who were suicidal until they found clowning, performers who didn’t know where they belonged and felt trapped in a world where they had to hide until they found clowning, and even the creator of the show, a therapist, said that clowning is her therapy.

After more crazy contests including telling embarrassing sex stories that were then reinterpreted in the art of dance! and pretending to make love to a carrot the show ended with everyone being asked on stage to take pictures with “The Fous” and have a big dance party and hug fest.

And this is the type of show The 24 Carrot Show! is.

It is so much more than pretty people taking off clothes and encouraging audience members to give a clown a lap dance, the theme of the night is own your celebrate your mistakes and your weirdness.

They will be in town for one more night! So! Please! Go! To! The! Show! and support them. 

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575

Preview: The 24 Carrot Show! Fou Fou Ha! Featuring FOU YORK!

Burlesque, Comedy, Culture, Events, Interviews, Performance, Showcase

July 24, 2017

Fou Fou Ha! is an ensemble of animated character performers who thrill audiences with over the top shows filled with Circus antics, jaw-dropping dance numbers to high-energy music and audience interactive playfulness. The Fous are a family of enticing, colourful, sexy performers, each owning a unique character that celebrates individuality and unabashed human expression.

Loved by many wherever they go, FFH inspires audiences to celebrate, dance, let out their inner Fool and be comfortable with their shadow. Divine trixters, sexy activators, captivating performers, out of the ordinary show. This is theater at it’s best, and the Fous make sure you have a good time watching and engaging with us.

We had a chance to talk to Maya Lane creator of Fou Fou Ha about the troupe and their upcoming shows on July 28th and 29th at The Rio in Vancouver:

LM: Can you give us a brief but fascinating history of how Fou Fou Ha! came to be.

ML: It began when I was studying dance in Holland and the Cirque culture in Europe became very inspiring and influenced me a lot. When I came back to The States I had the chance to go to Burning Man and those two experiences combined with my love of the club kid aesthetics from the ‘90’s led me to create Fou Fou Ha. The clowning aspect grew organically from there.

LM: How did you get involved with The Rio?

ML: We were introduced to Corrine of the Rio by Jasper Patterson and  Jamie Dewolf who is a well known performer in San Francisco who happens to do the annual Game of Thrones Live show, Corinne from the Rio came to see our show last year in SF and invited us to bring it to the Rio. This meeting made it so that we could do a yearly show at The Rio.

LM: Do you feel yourself to be a burlesque troupe that happens to clown… or a clown group that happens to also do burlesque?

ML: We didn’t start as either. We are a dance company who likes theatrics. But eventually, the aesthetic went to clowning and satire. Burlesque performance was also added later on as well. So, as a pure tracing of the genealogy of the show, we are clown troupe first.

LM: How many are in the troupe that is performing in the Vancouver show?

ML: 10 from San Fran and 4 from New York

And now.. not so serious questions we used to get to know people…What are your top 4 road trip songs?

LM: What are your top 4 road trip songs?

ML: My road trip songs are

  1. Alaska Thunderfuck – This Is My Hair
  2. Balkan Beat Box – Habibi Min Zaman
  3. Edith Piaf  – Padam Padam
  4. Tricky – We Don’t Die

LM: Victor/Victoria or Cabaret? Cabaret

ML: Cabaret… gotta love Fosse!

LM: If you were early to get to your plane and you had 20$ what would you spend it on?

ML: A dry martini and an Italian Vogue

For a peek of what Fou Fou Ha! Is about please feast your eyes on the video below! Tickets and show information is here!

 

 

 

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1281

Preview : Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret

Culture, Events, Interviews, Showcase

July 5, 2017

We recently interviewed Katie Sly of Too Queer: A Visibility Cabaret which will be at The Fox Cabaret on Friday, July 7

LMM: Can you give us a brief but fascinating history of how Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret came to be?

KS: Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret is an arts-based community engagement project I created in Toronto in 2014, in response to an absence of community events organized for and about bisexuality and pansexuality. Back in 2014, I knew only a handful of other bi/pan folks. On a message thread with the small group of bisexuals, I did know, we were sharing and complaining about perceptions of bisexuality. On that thread a friend of mine mentioned that someone should throw a performance event about bisexuality– and I immediately realized I had the requisite amount of know-how, rage, and connections, to actually make that happen. I contacted my friends William Ellis and Jordan Tannahill, who were running a storefront, independent performance venue called Videofag, told them I had no budget but a lot of passion to curate a performance night celebrating bisexuality and pansexuality, and luckily for what would become the Too Queer cabaret series, William and Jordan understood the bi and pan community’s need, and donated us their space. 

In 2014 when all of this started, I felt completely disconnected from a bisexual community and wondered if one even existed. At the same time, I encountered biphobia in my day-to-day life and in designated queer spaces, where I often saw that the B in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans) was only welcome if it was silent. So in curating the first Too Queer event, I only expected a handful of people to show up. What happened instead was that the performance space was so packed, it was standing-room only about an hour before performances even began. I was shocked by just how many bisexuals, pansexuals, and our allies had been waiting for an event like this– had been waiting for a space where we felt welcome. There were people standing 4-deep outside the windows of Videofag’s storefront, trying to see the performances. For the first time in my life, I saw how large our community actually is. Immediately after that first event, the bi and pan community I had just discovered asked me, “When’s the next one?” 

That’s how this bi visibility cabaret series was born.

Since 2014, Too Queer has held four widely-attended multimedia performance events in Toronto, showcasing photography, illustration, storytelling, dance, burlesque, spoken word poetry, and music, among other artistic disciplines. In 2016 Too Queer held a day of free-to-the-public arts workshops, all led by artists who identify as bi or pan, working around the question, “How do we make bisexual art?” That day of workshops was followed a week later by another hugely successful performance event at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (the world’s oldest and largest queer theatre). In the words of Buddies’ Artistic Director Evelyn Parry, “There’s no project like Too Queer in Toronto. It’s time to expand the definition of what we think of as queer.” 

Now, with Too Queer’s first Vancouver event coming up this Friday, July 7 at 8 pm at the Fox Cabaret, Too Queer is the first and only bi-coastal (pun intended) bi and pan performance series. 

LMM: What are your goals with this event?

KS: Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret has three goals: combat biphobia, create a safe container in which bi and pan culture can develop and evolve, and serve as a cultural focal point around which bisexual folks, pansexual folks, and our allies can meet each other and form friendships, relationships, and community.

Biphobia, a form of discrimination distinct from homophobia and transphobia, takes many different forms. For example, a frequent form of discrimination bisexual people face is the assertion that bisexuality (physical, sexual, and/or emotional attraction to people of the same gender and of other genders) simply doesn’t exist, and is either an expression of confusion over sexual orientation or greed. Another form biphobia takes is the stigma that bisexuals spread HIV to the straight community. Biphobia also manifests in violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bisexual women experience a significantly higher rate of being stalked, attacked, or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner than women of other sexual orientations.

The denial of the existence of bisexuality manifests in the media through an absence of portrayals of bisexual characters and narratives, which in turn enforces the belief that bisexual people don’t exist. Through art, Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret attempts to combat biphobia by increasing the visibility of bisexuality, pansexuality, and polysexuality, and by creating an opportunity for art that addresses the bi spectrum to develop.

LMM: Can you give us a rundown of the artist you are working with and why they are in the show?

KS: Vancouver’s first instalment of Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret has a tremendously diverse line-up. We have, from Vancouver:

Video art about what it means to wear a Cochlear implant and thus, be a human cyborg, from bad ass deaf Asian warrior Jessica Leung.

Poet and virtual reality investigator Doctor Ray is looking at the intersection of art and technology, bringing us an art piece he will (literally) attempt to control with his mind.

Ruthe Ordare, Manda Stroyer, and Shane Sable of Virago Nation will be performing with us. Virago Nation is an all-Indigenous collective of burlesque performers on a mission to reclaim Indigenous sexuality from the toxic effects of colonization.

Keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse, bi pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa will be performing compositions by a bi composer, and in so doing explore an awareness of global bi+ culture.

Dominique Wakeland, Alexa Fraser, and Matt Winter of Devil’s Threesome, a devised theatre performance ensemble emerging out of Simon Fraser University, will be sharing a hilarious and strangely sexy performance examining objects of desire.

From Toronto:

Queer and trans solo multi-instrumentalist Rory Jade Grey will be sharing their storytelling musical work on guitar and loop pedal. Rory has been a fan-favourite of Too Queer in Toronto.

We’ll be projecting visual art by Caitlynn Fairbarns. For our show on July 7, Caitlynn has taken stills from film and TV, of queer and bi characters, and has used paint to edit out their surroundings, so that the focus is brought to these queer and bi characters, whose identities are so often erased.

And last but certainly not least, joining us from across the border:

Los Angeles’s multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and LGBTQ activist Monique “Honeybird” Mizrahi will be performing. Honeybird has toured Europe, and her previous performance bookings have included Obama’s White House. Honeybird was part of the Obama administration’s summit on health and policy issues related to bisexuality. (The Obama administration is the only government in the world that has held such a summit). This will be Honeybird’s first time performing in Vancouver, and Honeybird’s music often explores themes of bisexuality. She is an important international advocate for our community, and will not only share her music but her stories as a bi activist.

The artists I’ve programmed for this event, I’ve selected because they are extraordinarily talented and daring artists who either self-identity on the bi+ spectrum or their work addresses themes relevant to the bi+ community. 

LMM: Do you have a mission statement or commitment to the community that you would like to share?

KS: Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret is an arts-based community engagement project, which has been making and holding space for art addressing bisexuality, pansexuality, and polysexuality since 2014. For the purposes of this project, bisexuality, pansexuality, and/or polysexuality are sexual orientations that describe attraction to persons of more than one gender. 

Too Queer stands in solidarity with trans communities, and believes that, to paraphrase bi poet and activist Lani Ka’ahumanu: bi folk, pan folk, genderqueer folk, trans folk, and non-binary folk– we are the sex and gender border bandits, and we need to have each other’s back. 

Too Queer gives the middle finger to viewing gender and attraction as an either-or. Every washroom at Too Queer is open to everyone.

Regardless of one’s sexual orientation, everyone is welcome to attend Too Queer. Too Queer is a space where you can be who you are, and be loved as you are.

LMM: Do you have any more events planned in the future? 

KS: In September 2017, there is a weekend-long Bi Arts Festival being organized by, among others, my colleague, bi activist Catherine Jones. Catherine and I are looking at putting together an edition of Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret for the Bi Arts Festival in Toronto in September. https://www.facebook.com/biartsfestivalTO/

LMM: Name a famous bi/pan performer that you would love to have as a guest performer in the show.

KS: It’s a real thrill to have an international artist like Honeybird joining us. Honeybird is an artist I’ve been trying involve in the Too Queer project for a year now.

Next on my list of artists to have work with Too Queer is a music act called Witch Prophet, who I almost managed to snag for this first Too Queer event here in Vancouver, before Witch Prophet got booked for a gig in Tokyo. So my chase of Witch Prophet continues.

One day, I’d love to have columnist and speaker Eliel Cruz be part of a Too Queer event. Eliel is one most vocal bisexual activists I can think of, and his work has been published in the Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, GQ, and Rolling Stone, to name a few media heavy-hitters.

And then, I’d like to have Anna Paquin perform at Too Queer. 

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