Sunday, August 19, 2012

Perth International Burlesque Festival

Pickled sharks, retro markets, a tour of Perth's suburbs and a variance of burlesque, the first Perth  International Burlesque Festival was a welcome invitation to perform and visit the sunnier side of Australia.

I arrived late on Friday night after spending hours in transit and was picked up by Anne, one of my hosts for the weekend. She cast amazed judgement at my small suitcase and shuttled me to the home she shares with her partner, Ben and a friendly street cat, Chat. Home is a low slung, art filled bungalow in the rejuvenated suburb of Maylands around the corner from a strip of cafes and antique shops.

Saturday started slowly, a warm day with clear skies. After helping me stow my suitcase in the boot, Ben and Anne took me on a driving tour of Perth ending with lunch at Ootong & Lincoln in Fremantle which has an amazing gluten free and vegetarian menu as well as meat for the carnivores. I had pumpkin and Parmesan soup and a soy flat white which was glorious. The cafe was furnished with retro furniture, old school tricycles and had some incredible photographs of Antarctica on the wall, printed on glass plates.

Photo from
We still had a couple of hours to spare before the tech run so we visited the wharf with its submarine docked near the maritime museum which housed amongst the yachts a large pickled shark in a tank.

A quick drive took us to Fremantle's Fly by Night Theatre, a wooden hall with a good sized stage and bar that ran the length of the back wall.
We had two green rooms to use which were quickly filled with props, costumes, hair rollers and wine glasses. I snagged half a couch for my costume pieces, Sirenes doesn't require much in the way of costume but the beading tangles. Once ready, I spent the evening trading stories with the interstate and local performers- Danica Lee, Silla Black, Agatha Frisky, Renee Pilkington, Coco Poppin and Adora Derriere-  the usual backstage gossip, primping and teasing of hair and egos.

Silla Black and Renee Pilkington backstage in the Green room

Fuelling up backstage

'Sirenes' Photo by John Leonard

'Sirenes' Photo by John Leonard
Onstage felt great, one of those performances where you finish and want to dive back on and do it all again. The audience was welcoming and appreciative and the performers were able to watch the other acts from the wings.
We finished late and ended the night with tea in Maylands, a very proper evening.

Saturday night curtain call
Photo by John Leonard

If Saturday started slowly then Sunday started with a whimper. Chat needed breakfast and I required the warm embrace of a barista brewed coffee. I piled Chat's bowl high and walked around the corner to Chapels on Whatley, a busy cafe that refused me table service as I wasn't ordering food. I hung back with the extensive range of teas and teapots on display until I could escape back to my temporary home's sun drenched front veranda and soak in some vitamin D.

Anne and Chat

A couple of hours later saw Anne, Ben and I brunching at West End Deli. I had an omlette, Ben the duck and Anne stuck to traditional bacon and eggs.

Sunday brunch at West End Deli

We returned to the Fly By Night to check out the Retro fair before heading back to Maylands to change for the closing party, The Swing Soiree, an evening of swing dancing, cocktails and cold fries.

Swing dancing at the Sunday Swing Soiree
Swing Soiree with Silla Black, Becky Page, Agatha Frisky
After a quick change into something more comfortable, Melbourne performer, Ginger Leah Raye and I  made tracks to the airport to catch the same delayed flight. With hours to wait, we welcomed the airport bar, tended by a make up artist who had been backstage on Saturday night. Cue free drinks and happy smiles from Ginger and I from Perth to Melbourne.

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