INKbeat*: the review

24 Kitchen Street was packed full of creatives on Thursday night. I hadn’t known quite what to expect, and many people wielded paint brushes, pencils and spray cans, but I decided to just observe this time because I’m rubbish at art.

The night was kicked off by self-proclaimed ‘psycho tropical bubble pop’ threesome Pink Kink, fun loving yet formidable dames.
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                            Pink Kink
Luci4 (the one whose hair I mentioned) was hand picked for his minimal yet heavy atmospheric drum and bass to accompany the body suspension of tattoo artist and nutcase, Norwegian Alex ‘Panda’ Trowell. I’m not squeamish; the only thing I recall ever needing to turn off was a horrific clip of kittens being stomped by Chinese ladies in heels. I couldn’t watch the performance but couldn’t look away either, and won’t be eating beef for a while. Nonetheless, I was fascinated and hope someone less skint than me bought that man a beer.

12039766_1019804691405578_9020597837684015555_nBEAR accompanied the INKbeat* Fantômes as they patiently allowed spray painters to slowly destroy their lungs, before shadow dancing and posing very still is very ambitious poses so arty types could sketch.

Normske’s performance was delivered with her own exciting AV art mix, whilst DJ Paris brought the show to a close.  AV artist TV LUX infused performances with live capture and streaming to analogue monitors stacked in the middle of the performance arena.

Head over to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/KuMTYR87KSk for a live stream of the night, especially the suspension act.

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Heartbrokers: the review

You’ve hopefully already read our previous post about Heartbrokers by the AR-Tea Collective as part of On The Verge festival, showcasing new performances in unusual spaces across the city.

Split into two parts, there were Heartbrokers pop-up events all week where heartbreakers and the heartbroken could donate unwanted items left behind by their ex and cleanse their emotional palette. I went along for a chat with one half of the AR-Tea Collective, Lora Johnson, at 92 Degrees Coffee.

I didn’t have anything to donate (because it’s all buried deep in the attic in tightly sealed boxes, sob) but I was instructed to by Amber Regan get comfortable and close my eyes, guided back to a time when I’d barely left my bed in a fortnight, snot dripping, reaching for a tissue I hoped wasn’t snotty. Handed a pen, paper and Love Hearts, I was instructed to write anything I felt like; what Tom Twat the Second looked like,  a significant object or place that reminded me of him, or a particular memory. Despite being in a good mood and not particularly needing to unburden myself, it was a cathartic experience. I wrote (cringe):

‘Did you really give me fake flowers because they wouldn’t die or because they were cheap?’

We’re often embarrassed expressing sentimentality, but this event said, I care, tell me about it. They wanted to hear about the cinema ticket you couldn’t throw away, and when we’re assured people aren’t being burdened by our troubles,  it seems we can’t stop talking and were looking for a way to express ourselves all along. Groups of friends who’d only come in for coffee would discuss their own heartbreak tales, and I was sad I’d come on my bill.

For the auction half of the event at the Victoria Gallery, I brought along Tom the Third (time lucky?) Guests would be bidding with a chocolate coin currency, each person given two gold coins and 12 silver (extra gold coins could be bought for 50p each, 10p for silver) by an Elvis impersonator.

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Empty Wardrobe: The first listing was a stack of clothes left behind by various break-ups to be bought in bulk. One girl near the front was determined to blow her entire currency – maybe she wasn’t quite ready to give them up after all?

Heartbreak Tango: The bundle contained a framed black and white photograph of a couple, a half empty/full vodka bottle, a copy of the Echo the donator had bought regularly at the newsagents where the pasty object of her desires worked, a set of knives with only one knife left, and a Homer Simpson sock. The woman’s mother in law had taken photos of the couple on Crosby beach, refusing to stop and prompting a hissy fit. She was presented the framed photo on her birthday by her mother in law, then subsequently dumped. Auctioneer Regan devised a fabulous song inspired by the accompanying note, complaining, ‘when we had sex I never came’. My boyfriend wanted this bundle for the vodka, but I thought the sock would have been more useful as he’s missing one after having to … oh … um, never mind.  She sang the woes of girlfriends of the PornHub generation everywhere: ‘I started farting and then stopped shaving… I only had myself to blame.’

Conclusions: A poem bidding an emotional farewell to his lover by Joshua O’Brien Attila The Poet in an attempt to enter the new year unshackled by the heaviness of heartache. Ripped out of a notebook, it came complete with tear stains. Blub.

Carly: Carly was a an African grey parrot found on the doorstep of a couple’s flat, having been battered by the local pigeons. The boyfriend and Carly became best mates, and I guess the girlfriend wasn’t happy because they broke up shortly after and she kept the parrot. A grey feather was the only memento left from this 2010 heartbreak, the touching story accompanied by a contemporary dance routine (or maybe not, it’s one of those words I don’t know how to use). A guy at the front desperately wanted it, bidding six gold coins; guess he’s been reading Cosmopolitan?

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The Brook: Two sexual health pamphlets accompanied by a tale of lying legs akimbo for a nurse who instructed, ‘when you see my Scouse brows you’re in the right position’. Informed she had acquired genital warts, out came the complaints about having to pay THREE QUID’S PARKING A WEEK at the Royal on her day off to have her “fanny froze”. A hilarious tale and fierce bidding (note to those who missed out: get down the STI clinic before it drops off/you can’t see the entrance from quantity of moles).

Illinois: A souvenir tin (ironically named ‘Heart Breaker’, once containing sugarfree peppermints). The donator lived in America for six months while at uni, living “with a guy who was a friend, and he was just a friend…” The promise of a story inside for the winner escalated the bidding.

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Lifetrap: A copy of the book Reinventing Your Life: The Breakthrough Program to End Negative Behaviour… And Feel Great Again’ by Jeffery E. Young, Ph.D and Janet S.Klosko, Ph.D. Donated by a kind mystery gent, it helped him “to understand why I was drawn into yet another relationship with someone with a personality disorder”, which I was a bit offended about so didn’t want to reinvent my life any more and ate the coins instead. The auctioneer preached advice via exerts, and the young man next to me (not Tom the Third) told me he loved me, and me being a bit socially awkward I froze and just stared gormlessly. I love you too! Bidders challenged the fifty gold coins with “INFINITY GOLD COINS!!”, a banana, a striptease from a cuddly ethnic man, to a double female striptease. Somehow the infinity gold coins trumped.

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Souls cleansed of broken dreams, the night culminated in a boogie to some golden oldie heartbreak tunes. It was a brilliant evening and the team should be commended for using humour as a tool to delve into own most intimate memories. It was also brave of all who donated, because although they were anonymous (except you, Attila The Poet) it takes guts to lay yourself bare for the world to judge.

Sooo… would the lady who won that knife like to donate 20 (real) gold coins for my fake flowers which’ll look just lovely on the grave of that twat of an ex?

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The Spare Rib Burlesque & Cabaret

When: October 29th 8pm

Where: The Magnet, 45 Hardman St

Next up on our Halloween schedule is the woman-centric Spare Rib Burlesque and Cabaret, founded in 2014 by performers in their own right, Minxie Coquette and Tilly Mint.

According to Minxie,There was nothing like it in Liverpool at the time. We have the Martini Lounge as a big burlesque theatre show and the occasional tour, but nothing feels quite like a small cabaret show, and it allows people to see performers of different levels and experience. First and foremost I wanted to create a platform for women performers to create and show the world their skills and passions!’

Unlike the Martini Lounge where tickets cost upward of £20, the Spare Rib hosts professionals like the queen of comedy Velma Von Bon Bon, to amateurs taking that nerve-wracking first-time plunge into embracing the clunge (ergh, sorry). The Spare Rib is where I performed with the Jazz-esque girls for the second time, the smoky basement providing safe stage for women getting to know their bodies (does that sound rude? My first language isn’t English OK, bah). Not letting the girls have all the fun, Minxie and Tilly often host pre-show classes ranging from drag kings to boylesque, as well as a memorable “twerkshop”.

Proceeds usually go to charity, so it’s fitting that the girls are particular supporters of RASA (Rape And Sexual Abuse) in a world where women are often “asking for it” based on their clothing. The girls have previously had to defend themselves against claims that women stripping is inappropriate when trying to raise money for a charity supporting men and women who have suffered sexual abuse.

But there’s something so sensual and empowering about burlesque; rather than stripping to arouse men, it celebrates the female form, and you’ll often find the majority of attendees at these shows to be women. Burlesque is about women supporting women on their journey towards self acceptance and love.

So! On to the good stuff. Your compere for Thursday evening will be the whip-cracking Diva Hollywood, who has headlined the best burlesque & cabaret clubs from New York to Milan. We’ve already seen a clip of Minxie’s Wednesday Addams inspired act, and it’s very cute.

There will also be burlesque from Lola Rogue and Tilly Mint. Debuting at the Spare Rib will be Little Peaches, the best thing to come out of Australia since a whole country losing its prime minister by letting him wander into the sea then naming a swimming pool after him.

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Little Peaches by Tamlyn Lee Magee

When you’re bored of boobs (wtf?) there’ll be magic from Ashleigh Goodwin and music from Jodie Anderson.

For the chance to win some cheeky goodies bring some extra pennies to enter the raffle. Girl on Purl Action will also be selling their knitted wares.

For the chance to win 2 x FREE entries, head over to http://www.facebook.com/BossLiv to share the relevant post and tell us what makes YOU feel sexy. Best answer will be chosen Tuesday 11pm.

Fancy dress encouraged!

Tickets £8 on the door or £6 from http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Liverpool/The-Magnet/HALLOWEEN–The-Spare-Rib-Burlesque–Cabaret/12534611/

http://www.thesparerib.co.uk

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The Secret Circus – The Rocky Horror Circus Show!

When: October 28th 8pm

Where: Studio 2, Parr St

The Secret Circus is a monthly variety show hosted by performers and soul sisters Eve Howlett and Chanel Samson.

Each event is themed, ranging from ‘Pirates Ahoy!’ to ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’. It’s where I did my first performance with the Jazz-esque troupe in front of the most supportive audience you could ask for.

Notable acts have included comedy trio Legion of Doom, a dance lesson from Mersey Swing and the most, err…memorable… burlesque ever, by Dorothy Krueger & Monkey.

Dorothy Krueger & Monkey
Dorothy Krueger & Monkey

Proceeds go to back to the acts, leaving limited funds to create the Circus itself, but the girls always create fun themed décor despite limited resources.

To begin next week’s Halloween festivities the event is Rocky Horror themed, welcoming sweet transvestites, PVC and gold hot pants. Check out this cracking line-up:

Spoken Word: Izzy Sowley, Rikki Wiley

Burlesque:
Tilly Mint

Comedy Ghost stories:
Thaddius Bent of the Legion of Doom

‘Disturbed’ Turkish belly dancing:
Helen Nasheeta Rawlinson

Comedy:
Alastair Clark

Horror Burlesque:
Daria Lee – Horror Performer

Comedy sketches:
Jim Alsbalstian’s Human Zoo

Music:
Felix Hagan
Indigo Moon

The Secret Circus is one of my favorite events and an absolute bargain at £3. Get down early for a good seat – see you there!

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Breakout: the review

I’d been keen to visit Breakout since my friend April got a job there as the Saw-style narrator dropping hints on how to escape. I pre-booked the Facility room for our group, based purely on the eerie photo. I hadn’t paid attention to the difficulty rating, and the Facility turned out to be the second-hardest. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIFFICULTY RATING.

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“You arrive at an unknown location for a once in a lifetime opportunity; a conference held by the critically acclaimed, Dr. Andrews. His work is widely known throughout the research circles, but he has remained hidden in the shadows for years. What you don’t know, is that Dr. Andrews has gone mad, creating a string of tests that have gone disastrously wrong. He has brought you here for his final experiment. You have one hour to escape his maze of tricks and games, before a deadly virus kills you all.”

First, one member of the group was locked in a cupboard. Group puzzles included combination, directional and even digital padlocks, switchboards, electric safes, puzzle boxes and recorded clues on dicta-phones. The staff member responsible for the group (April had the night off so couldn’t give us the answers, bah) watched via CCTV, posting clues on a screen at the centre of the room.

Puzzles are entirely logic based and quite number heavy – people who enjoy puzzles like Sudoku will likely enjoy themselves, whereas those whose parents spent £2000 on maths tuition so they could get a B at GCSE level because numbers give them a breakdown may feel quite lost and lose interest and want to take a walk to the toilet to waste time. Puzzles require more common sense than intelligence, according to the website, so it makes sense that I was hopeless (Huh?Why can’t cutlery go in the microwave?)

Although I should have thought a little harder about which game to book, the boys became totally absorbed. My other chum Alex found the puzzles quite inaccessible – not because girls are slow, obviously – this was just an unfortunate coincidence. Even with the team reduced to only three useful members, the boys got us out with a couple of minutes to spare, making ours one of around 4% of groups to succeed.
A lot of thought has gone into creating these games, and puzzles featuring fancy padlocks and safes don’t come cheap. So it was a little jarring to see other, cheaper props; a critically acclaimed scientist would not keep a tiny microscope on a dentist’s chair next to a budget Halloween sawn-off hand. It made the whole thing feel like Fort Boyard.
Likewise, the speaker system emitting ambient music was simply left on the floor – presumably so groups were able to turn the sound down if necessary but which made the place feel less like a facility and more like student digs.
Our group of five had the maximum amount of players, but we found that everybody was scattered about with minimal interaction. If I were to book another game, I would take a maximum of four people.
At around £60 a game, the price of Breakout is hefty. However, I would still give it another go, maybe choosing an easier option like the Shipwrecked room. Split between five people, the cost works out around £12 each, and is cheaper between Monday 10am and Friday 5pm.
Breakout is a unique experience and would be particularly memorable as a birthday celebration or hen/stag party. Students would also enjoy it a lot, and it would be an interesting team building corporate event. Kids are welcome, though under 16s must be accompanied by an adult; the website advises that ages 10+ can play, and I can’t speak for the easier Shipwrecked room, but I would imagine children struggling.
To attempt your escape visit https://breakoutliverpool.com/rooms.

Salsa Under the Palms

When: October 23rd 7pm-12.30am

Where: Sefton Park Palm House

If burlesque isn’t your thing, why not give the equally saucy (well, almost – bring along your nipple tassels and we’ll call it even) salsa a go this Friday? A quarterly event bringing together the best in Latin music and dance under one stunning roof, you’ll experience it all, from salsa to Cuban, bachata to kizomba (nope, we don’t know what/where those are either).

Tickets include a 45 minute salsa lesson beginning 7:30pm for everyone from absolute hopeless cases to seasoned dancers.

Advance tickets are £7 and may be pricier on the door. To book visit www.wegottickets.com

Kazimier Winter Garden Festival

Where: Kazimier Gardens

When: October 24th 2pm til 2am (last entry 10pm)

Aaahh, the Great British Festival. As the Kazimier enters its own winter prior to closing its doors one last time on New Year’s Day (although it’s very much still Autumn until December, just sayin’), Scousers can come together this weekend for some summer nostalgia, dancing in the rain and hideous toilet queues.

After the sold-out Baltic Garden Festival in June, Hot Plate and Dot & the Wonder Pot are bringing us a follow-up across the Kazimier club and gardens, an idyllic city center haven. Expect boss grub, boss art, boss drinks and boss tunes from the likes of Detroit SwindleDark SkyTrojan Sound SystemShanti Celeste and Bradley Zero.

Last entry is 10pm, but headline acts start from 7pm so arriving before then is strongly advised (if you’re hanging on to avoid blowing ££ on alcohol, these should do the trick):

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Find tickets at at http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Liverpool/The-Kazimier-Garden/Winter-Garden-Festival/12527222/

An evening of burlesque

When:  October 23rd, 8pm

Where: The Empire Theatre

If you’re feeling flush this Friday and don’t don’t fancy wining and dining a girl to get her clothes off, head down to the Empire for an evening of old school glamour.

Burlesque legends from around the world will unite onstage to titillate and tease with couture costumes (which hopefully won’t stay on for long), a steamy score and specialty acts to make this a real spectacle, as seen from Zurich to Helsinki.

For tickets visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/an-evening-of-burlesque-2/liverpool-empire/#overview_tab

I-HAPPY-I-GOOD

What: I-HAPPY-I-GOOD

Where: 13e Devonshire Road, L83TX

When:  Thu 22, Fri 23, Sat 24 3pm-9pm, Sunday 25 12pm-3pm

How much: £3

I hadn’t intended on writing another On The Verge post, but I’m really keen to check out I-HAPPY-I-GOOD if time and funds permit.  Taking the festival to south Liverpool near Princes Park, one audience member at a time is given blackout goggles and ear defenders and guided through the everyday experiences of a woman living with deafblindness.

Just thinking about writing this post for the last couple of days has made me uncomfortable. Unlike the classic getting-to-know-you question, ‘Would you rather be deaf or blind?’ Amy Conway’s piece makes us question: how do you get to know someone living with deafblindness?

‘Enter Fiona’s world of darkness and silence. Inside it is bright and noisy. It is a world where the domestic is wild, the pedestrian and everyday, hostile. Where the ordinary will confound and delight.’

I-HAPPY-I-GOOD forces us to experience life robbed of our two major senses and consider everything we take for granted:

How do they communicate wants and needs?

Must they rely mainly on instinct for danger?

What are their relationships like?

How independently can they live?

How do they spend their day to day lives?

Disabilities are occasionally referenced in the media; maybe a film will have the token wheelchair user. There’s also increased pressure for the media and society to acknowledge mental illness. Paraplegics were even given a look-in with Million Dollar Baby. But the only mainstream reference to deafblindness I personally can think of are some vaguely offensive lyrics by the band 3oh!3:

‘Shush girl, shut your lips,

Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.’

Until now I hadn’t even heard the phrase ‘deafblindness’ and shamefully would have referred to someone as “deaf and dumb”. On learning that Keller was an author, political activist and lecturer, I was faced with my ignorance, having assumed sufferers kind of sat in a room all day waiting to be fed, bathed and put to bed. Keller insisted, ‘Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.’

This brave piece of theater forces us to acknowledge and experience the unthinkable – a mysterious, and arguably the worst, disability. Intimate and immersive, I-HAPPY-I-GOOD ‘seeks a greater understanding of the problems faced by some the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society. It explores the difficulties inherent in the provision of social care and challenges our interaction with the world. You will grapple with a world not designed with you in mind, as those around you attempt to communicate and accommodate your needs.’

Amy Conway is based in Glasgow and dedicated to creating new works that speak for the voiceless and under-represented; women, minorities and the vulnerable.

Though booking is essential, at 30 minutes, this performance can easily slot into your day.

Find tickets at http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/ihappyigood.html

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Retro Sundays at Leaf

What: Pillbox Vintage retro & vintage fair

Where: Leaf, Bold St

When: 11-5pm, free entry

Gone are the days of turning our noses up at charity shops; re-label goods as vintage, and old school becomes cool. Unlike fashions out of date by next week because Vogue says so, thanks to the vintage craze, it’s fashionable to be unfashionable; the further it pre-dates popping out of your Ma’s loins, the more appealing – and usually, pricier.

So we’re looking forward to checking out the vintage & retro fair at Leaf this weekend, hosted by mother and daughter duo Pillbox Vintage. The pair are passionate about the past, hosting events at interesting and unique venues where guests can grab timeless pieces at affordable prices. They source and stock only the best vintage and retro clothing and accessories, hand selecting choice pieces from across the eras, spanning the 1920’s.

We at Boss Liverpool enjoy trawling through vintage shops for about five minutes, but are often dismayed by the prices, and although one of a kind is great, it’s only great if it actually fits. The clothes are sometimes garish, and we rarely find anything we’d ever actually wear, but nonetheless they’re fascinating to trawl through.There’s something intriguing about vintage; did someone fall in love wearing that dress? Get her first period in it? Die in it? There’s a morbid fascination in knowing there’s a very good chance the person who once owned the piece is long departed, much like canned laughter.

There’s also a sweet sentimentality in that pieces are hand sourced; it’s one of the few reproductions to survive all these years, and it’s being handed down especially to you (preferably not to ruin with your first period).

Thanks to Pillbox Vintage, on the last Sunday of every month you’ll find a treasure trove of vintage & retro goodies from a selection of stalls offering everything from reworked vintage designs to collectibles and retro homeware.

For the perfect retro Sunday, have vintage afternoon tea (booking is essential: 0151 707 7747). We at Boss Liverpool won’t be joining in (irrational fear of tea – what if it burns and we can’t talk ever again?) – but you’re welcome to toss some cake our way.