I arrived in the city a week before the Toronto Burlesque Festival opened, my first days were spent getting used to Toronto's streets, a fairly easy grid of busy arterial streets interspersed with leafy suburban areas.
Perth expat Agatha Frisky found me loitering on a street corner my first morning and took me on a walking tour of downtown Toronto including Kensington Markets, an area filled with vintage boutiques, cafes, organic food shops, restaurants, print shops and The Toronto School of Burlesque run by a local dancer, Red Herring.
Red's place is opposite Bellevue Square which on Tuesday nights comes alive with fire twirlers and music, it's hard to choose between sitting on her front stairs to watch the fire twirlers or the classes through the plate glass window.
I dropped by the school on the first day of the festival, Red was rehearsing with her horse Illian. Virginian performer Deanna Danger was chilling in a corner and Blaze the cat was being hopelessly cute- until you patted her stomach when she became viciously angry and latched on to your offending hand with claws as sharp as hooks.
|Agatha Frisky with Blaze|
Friday was a warm day which I really felt as I power walked to the Mod Club on College street to do a quick tech run. The stage at Mod Club is mid sized with smooth and polished floorboards. Tech went well although I felt a bit unprepared lacking costumes and back up dancers.
|Tech run at the Mod Club|
|Australia represent! In my ABF 2014 tee|
|Putin on my make up. Yeah. So that's actually Wrong Note Rusty and me making awful puns together.|
|Kitty performed in the early show before joining me in the Late show.|
|And one more with Kitty... being a bat. Or something. You be the judge. Caption this or whatev's|
|Photo by Ruth Gilson|
|Photo by Chris Hutcheson|
Waiting backstage on the stairs she applied a blindfold whence I questioned her wisdom in descending in heels, a panel skirt and with her hands full of feathers... but being an agile creature, she made it steadily and safely to the stage.
|Security guy was super happy with his job that night. Watching performers go on stage in costume and return half naked.|
|The final reveal- Agatha on stage at the end of her act|
|Waiting in a line at 2am outside Lakeview|
I reluctantly took my headache to a pole class at Brass Vixens and coffee at Jimmy's in Kensington.
I had meant to sign up for the classes that were being offered by Dr Lucky, PerleNoire and Inga Ingenue but had neglected to do so in my rush to organise a move overseas.
|Love that the artist passes were customised!!|
The audience loved the backflipping, butt bouncing, sunglass wearing, exotic bird dancing, back up girls samba-ing, high energy act.
|The Great Gadso and his samba back ups including Regina Denata and Agatha Frisky|
Photo by Chris Hutcheson
That night I wore a black flocked body suit and found that by simply extending an arm for others to stroke I was causing a lot of pleasure- should have asked for tips.
At the finale of the Early show we headed up College to Smoke's Poutine where Deanna and I attempted to share a vegetarian poutine. It was gross. Poutine is really awful. (all views expressed in this blog are my own, you may love poutine, it may be your staple diet, your grandmother possibly invented it, I do however love maple syrup. And squirrels.)
|Photo from Bianca Boom Boom|
|It reminds me of school lunch I had in Glasgow when I was 8. Nuff said.|
We walked back for the late show and upstairs in the artists mezzanine I sat with Agatha and Gadso. I filched Gadso's seat but only made it through the first half before my back started cramping and I headed home.
BUT not before seeing Kitten de Ville's Garden of Eden act, loved the track, MIA's Bad Girls and Kitten really doesn't have to do much more than swan around on stage for people to love her, yet she doesn't, her movement is high energy and creative.
I'd seen Kitten's producer's act the night before, it was taught to her by Burlesque legend Dixie Evans who originally performed it in the 1950s.
Backstage on Saturday night the chair was just casually standing on the stairs, it felt wrong to sit in it so I took a picture instead.
|Gotta respect fellow performers props and costumes, never touch unless they offer.|