Archive | February, 2011

Night of the Blue Stockings- Up the Ladder to Success!

28 Feb

Night of the Blue Stockings, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

Be upstanding for the fabulous Night of the Blue Stockings! We were lucky enough to go and see this popular and busy evening of cabaret and burlesque performance held monthly at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club last Thursday night, and what a glittering, fun-packed show it was. A host of  hilarious acts with a warmth and sense of joy that would be hard-pressed to better, captivated their appreciative crowd.

Fancy Chance, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and kink

Our honorary Madam Chairperson for the evening was reigning Alternative Miss World 2009 and London’s Top Tranny 2010, Fancy Chance. Keeping things swinging, with her humour and audience interaction, she MC’d throughout the night between the other great acts on offer. She also delighted us with her own revolutionary act, taking us all the way from North Korea’s national anthem to good ol’ Yankee capitalism via an outrageously funny dance and rhythmic gymnastic display that had the audience on their feet and wanting more.

Honey Wilde, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

First act up was Justin Pants, with his alternative burlesque Action Man strip. If you ever wondered what Action Man keeps under his pants, well, yes, it is a weird, plastic non-penis. A very clever take on male stripping! Next up was Honey Wilde, the fantastic burlesque artist, with an avant-garde, in the most tongue-in-cheek way, musical performance of inventive cover versions of some 80s electro classics. Never before have two (yes, TWO!) toy pianos and a kazoo (!) sounded so good. The crowd both recognised and loved her amusing renditions of tunes by A-Ha, the Pet Shop Boys and others. Laurie Anderson could learn a thing or two.

Misster Blanche Dubois, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

All the way from 1933, Depression era Kentucky (kinda), came songstress Miss Anna Kronist. Playing her guitar and singing quite beautifully, she entertained us with her songs about love, death and a Blondie cover in the style of  down home Americana. A wonderful musical moment.  She was followed by Misster Blanche Dubois, who was somehow able to  blend drag with a lion costume! Singing ‘La Vie En Rose’ in an operatic, lionesque (trust me) chanteuse way, he then transformed into a kinky, burlesque striptease. The audience bellowed with laughter as we were treated to what a ‘naked’ lion can do.

Anna Kronist with Fancy Chance, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

The Madam Secretary of The Blue Stocking Society is Audacity Chutzpah, and, as her name suggests, she certainly had plenty of both and more besides. She amused and delighted the house with a very witty sketch about being stuck on a desert island. It was an inventive and engaging act, which had the audience in stitches. Ending with a sing-along, in which we all happily joined in, this was a fantastic evening.

Audacity Chutzpah, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

With tea and cakes on offer (a nice little touch) and DJ Josephine Shaker playing a suitably impressive selection of retro sounds in keeping with the ambience of the night, a very enjoyable and entertaining night was had by all. The lack of any pretension, the engaging nature of all the performers, and the unique blend of inventiveness and hilarity on offer, makes this a night out I can not recommend highly enough.

Night of the Blue Stockings, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

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Oscars: Black Swan 1, Gay Mom 0

28 Feb
annette benning as one of the moms in 'the kids are all right'. looking sad

didn't win...boo-hoo!

Spare a thought…if you will…for Annette Bening. She’s been nominated four times for an Academy Award, but for some reason the prize statue does not get to be in her hands. The 2011 version of the reason: Natalie Portman’s highly visable and all-conquering performance in Black Swan, which is still hooking up large audiences in actual movie theatres.

And while you’re still thinking… that movie that Ms. Bening was in is called The Kids Are All Right. It was the one with the two moms, two kids and a donor.  In a good year for film making, this interesting independent comedy was always going to be noticed.  Unfortunately, when the prizes get distributed someone has to…lose.

Oscar Summary: almost everybody got something (see above).

Greg in Hollywood on ‘The Kids’ review. The pic is also from there and is a still from the movie.

Friday news is having one of those days…

25 Feb

… you know the sort of day, where you get sucked into the endless spiral that is The Internet and suddenly you find it’s half three and you’ve been compulsively clicking links on wikipedia and you know more about obscure diseases than you even thought you wanted or needed to know. Except being me, and knowing where I work (here, in case you didn’t know), I’ve not been looking at wikipedia. I’ve been looking at the opendildonics wiki, and looking into home-made sex toys.

I’ve already wondered what would happen if there was an accident and your home-made dildo made from a condom filled with grit split [Vaginal Arts & Crafts] and considered how to explain what I’m doing with a pile of cornflower (also, it needs food dye) [Chinasmack]. Although this homemade fleshlight is still the winner for sheer MacGyver-tastic brilliance. Obviously, if you’re not so keen on getting crafty before playtime, we can help you with that.

I’m a little bit in love with this blog, Post Modern Sleaze.

Oh, and ice cream made from breast milk has gone on sale in Covent Garden [BBC].

Filament’s Suraya Singh Sidu on Dusk, a porn channel aimed at women in The Netherlands [Good Vibrations].

Cambridge University’s Union held a debate on the motion “This house believes that pornography does a good public service” – and the motion was passed. Anna Span wrote her account of the debate for AVN; Cambridge First summed up the debate as well.

February 22nd was Lady Porn Day

an opportunity for ladies of all genders (or however you identify) to open up a dialog: What is feminist porn? What is your history with porn? What do you find hot? And ultimately it’s a dare to share your hot links. Because the more we can openly talk about porn and what we like, the more likely it is that porn for women will continue being made

– there are lots of links to excellent posts on the site, as well as some in-house interviews, like this one with queer porn  actress and activist Jiz Lee.

Talking of porn, you might have noticed the new reviews tab up at the top of the page. If you’ve bought something from CCK, tell us about it! (or if it’s something you bought elsewhere that we sell). And because the 3rd of March is World Book Day, we’ll be celebrating all our favourite kinky books – so tell us what yours are, and maybe we’ll feature them on the blog! (we’ll definitely enter them for the monthly review raffle, where each review is a ticket to the draw for some goodies from the CCK shop).

 

And those were your links! Enjoy – and have a superb, possibly kinky, weekend. I’m off to knit. – Emma

25 Feb

World Book Day is almost upon us, and the end of our monthly Review raffle is coming up too!

So we would like you, our customers, to send us some Book Reviews!

We want to get all our customers reading, and what better way than for you to recommend books to each other! So if you have read any of our books (even if you didn’t buy it from us!), then fill out our Review form and give us your opinion.

And the best part is, not only will you be helping to inform other people about great books, but you’ll also go into our monthly CCK raffle!

So get reading, and then get writing!

Art Wank- Porn, Performance, And A Pleasure!

24 Feb

The London Launch of Art Wank happened last night, and what a happening it was. Curated and hosted by the talented, funny and damned sexy Ophelia Bitz, Art Wank is the perfect night for lovers of classic, retro porn, the curious and those of us who like a chance to dress up, have fun and be enlightened to our kink history. Yes, a pornucopia of entertainment was had by all!

Ophelia Bitz, photo by K. James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Art Wank was held at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, a wonderfully intimate venue that felt just right for the occasion. Ophelia Bitz, our hostess with the mostest and wearing a stunning outfit to boot, welcomed a glamourous capacity crowd who had also dressed for the occasion. The night itself was a glorious mixture of showings from very early porn films (from the silent era up to early 70s ‘lost’ classics), entertaining acts, music, comedy and an insightful mini-lecture on ‘Why sex is fun’.

Kitty Stryker, photo by K.James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Ophelia has spent days, nay months, researching early porn films (so you don’t have to!) to delight a very appreciative audience. From early (mostly French, ooh la la) films, that seemed to have a penchant for outdoors threesomes, up to early 70s football themed gay male porn, with a witty, specially selected (by Ophelia herself) and apt music accompaniment , the films showed how both the aesthetics and content of porn have changed over the decades. The innocence, naivety and lack of camera awareness of the early performers was a refreshing joy, and the audience happily laughed along to the films. Mr Tom Baker provided wonderful musical accompaniment on the accordion to these very early classics, which seemed especially fitting for the French films, in particular.

Kitty Stryker, sex worker and sex educator, who you may know from Kinky Salon London, gave a thought-provoking, amusing, empowering and well researched mini-lecture on ‘Why sex is fun’. Challenging the audience to think about how we view and consume porn, how we should bring the fun and pure joy back to it, even encouraging us to take control and make it ourselves; Kitty reminded us that sex is both fun, and often funny. She is also probably the reason why there were so many clowns in the audience (you should’ve been there).

Crimson Skye, photo by K.James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Ophelia Bitz held the night together with both wit and aplomb. Charming all who were there, she added her amusing asides to accompany and introduce the films, performed a very funny take on the song ‘Falling in Love Again’ (with an apt change to the lyrics) and held a competition that had the crowd hooting with laughter. Performance artiste, Crimson Skye, also entertained the crowd with her sassy, sparkling (in more ways than one!) act. She had the audience whooping for more, and added to a brilliant night’s entertainment.

Ophelia and contestants, photo by K.James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Art Wank is a magical amalgam of  a night out. Educational (though not in the way that our education system works. If only school was like this, I would’ve paid more attention!), fantastic performances, fabulous films, humour and the chance to socialise with a charismatic crowd, it was all very enjoyable. There will be another Art Wank next month, and if the popularity of last night’s event is anything to go by, I recommend you get your tickets early. Trust me, you will love it!

What we’ve been drinking…

22 Feb

Label for Shilcho coffee roast, from Monmouth Company

CCK is happy to pronounce that the specialty coffee Shilcho produced in Sidamo (southern Ethiopia) is one of the best we’ve ever tasted. And we should know: that particular brew is the current favourite fix favourite in the office.

…Shilcho has an intense fruity flavour combined with a heavy sweetness… this derives from leaving the cherries to dry on the tree until they are a deep red before picking…and drying naturally on raised screens in the sunshine before hulling to gather the green beans for roasting

Shilcho is one of a number of roasts we provide for sale here at CCK, via those folks at the Monmouth Coffee Company. You’ll be able to learn earn more…and get some…’cause we will be making it available soon in our coffee zone in the online store.

Coffee: come and get it!

21 Feb
lady in coffee shop in uniform which leaves little to the imagination.

coffee on sale: uniforms provided

In this country, you can get your favourite tipple from something called a coffee stand. Mmm, nice. They have the same sort of things across the pond in the United States…but with added pep.

I suppose that if you call your coffee stand ‘Dream Girls’ you kind of have an idea of what you are selling. But there are laws; and the officials up in Yakima, Washington like their hot drinks with less froth.

How do the Dream Girls deal with spillages, I wonder? Full Story Here (pics come via the Yakima Herald: ta!)

coffee stand in Washington. Sign plying for trade!

Here's where your beans are baked...

Exhibition – Keith Pattison: No Redemption

19 Feb

With a collection of photographs taken during the miners’ strike of 1984-5 around the Easington Colliery area in Durham, this exhibition is an insightful reflection of a working class community and its struggles in the era of Thatcherite cuts. The 55 photographs by Keith Pattison, showing at King’s Place Gallery until 4th March, evocatively captures a piece of recent history, with stunning representations of place, people and conflict.

Throughout the collection there is an impressive use of subject, light and framing. These beautiful black and white images have a wonderfully textural look, whilst capturing what are often quite bleak and hard-hitting subject matters. In terms of reportage, the photographs give a sense of what it must have been like to live in these communities, with depictions of the day-today lives of those who lived through it.

The struggles of the miners and their families, whether it was the battles with police and scabs, the constant pressure of having their town overtaken by outside forces, the need to provide some feeling of escapism and joy for the children or the hardship of getting enough money and food to survive are  shown graphically throughout. The faces captured in the photographs, from both sides of the divide, show the range of emotions felt. From the defiance, hardship, yet sense of unity and pride of the miners and their families, to the determined, hardened looks of the police, these are wonderful studies of portraiture.

The depiction of the Easington area itself, with its rows of terraced houses, scrubby grass verges and stunningly dramatic coastline all dominated by the colliery and its industrial architecture, is made all the more poignant yet relevant to viewers today. These images may only have been taken 25 years ago, yet, with the loss of the mining industry in the area, they allow us to see what is now a lost landscape.

While those of us who remember the miners strike, and the images from the media at the time, might feel a sense of familiarity with the photographs of the conflict between strikers and police, what makes this exhibition even more worthwhile are the shots of the miners and their families at home, at play, at meetings, in the canteens and welfare halls or in the streets. This exhibition takes the audience on a journey from the hope and determination of the earlier days of the strike, to the division, despair and bitter acceptance at the end of the action.

As a collection, Keith Pattison has brought together some stunning, powerful imagery. There are particular photographs I loved. One with a miner collecting sea coal at the beach, with a smile of conspiratorial cheekiness; a miner and his family at home watching Arthur Scargill on TV in a room of typical early 80s decor, a Turner reproduction and a poster of Karl Marx on the wall; riot police lined up outside a house as a mother holds her baby and looks out from an upstairs window. There are more, but it is the collection as a whole that makes you feel moved, informed and heartened. In these times of recession and cuts, this exhibition of Britain’s recent history is both relevant and palpable. I highly recommend it to everyone.

 

Cover of "No Redemption" - published by Flambard Press

 

 

Pattison’s photographs have been published in the book accompanying the exhibition; his images are introduced by writer David Peace, who interview three of the people caught up in the strikes. There isn’t really a better way to explain the effect of these interviews than the words of the publisher – “their memories, still freshly felt, make explicit the anger, pain, resilience and warmth captured in the photographs.

Keith Pattison’s images have also been used by Sunderland band Frankie and the Heartstrings on two of their vinyl releases; they played at the book launch.

 

7" single "Ungrateful" features the work of Keith Patterson

 

 

Friday News is multitasking in a meeting

18 Feb

It’s Friday, which is the traditional everybody-in staff meeting day at CCK towers – lots of talking about the things we’re doing, Kiera is taking photos (we might show you – we know they’ll be good, but will they be flattering?) and you’re editor here is trying not to consume the entire loaf of ginger cake. So I’m writing the links we’ve loved!

As always, these links are external to CCK, and may not reflect the views of CCK. Some links may not be suitable for work, small children, or the easily offended; they might be triggering.

 

Strange Fruit – the first great protest song [The Guardian].

Hipster or Gay? How to tell [Themostcake].

A short clip from a documentary about the 2009 Berlin Porn Film Festival; that year, the focus was really on female-made erotica:

You Know You’re Trans* When… is a brilliant tumblr blog.

Forget feminism, it was Agony Aunts who liberated women [The Daily Mail] (ed: I know, I know, but the article is good and I have linked to it via istyosty)

Faces of Fibromyalgia is a new blog from Fibroduck – have a read, see if you can spot a familiar face, pass it on, and if you have fibro, contribute your story.

9 Stupid Myths about Bisexuals [Alternet]

Opera: ‘Anna Nicole’ makes her first big appearance

17 Feb

Anna Nicole Smith (pictured above) is the latest in a long, long  line of  operatic femmes fatales. She’s not the first real character to have (a version of) her life fashioned into an art as supposedly grandiose as opera: but even the briefest of online searches can demonstrate why this face could fit alongside such legendary leading ladies as Carmen, Lulu,  Delilah and Salome.

It’s not just the face that fascinates. Popular appearances in a well-known men’s magazine led to Ms. Smith’s crowned as the 1993 Playmate of the Year. She followed that up with her first big movie role (in The Naked Gun 33 and 1/3) marriage to a much older (and richer) man, celebrity status, reality shows and a number of tragic deaths…including her own.

Hot on the heels of tube adverts advising us of ‘extreme language’, ‘drug abuse’ and ‘sexual content’ the initial run of Anna Nicole will begin today at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The culturally interested and the curious bystander will flock from far and wide to see what happens. The omens are good: many of the biggest names in contemporary opera and music theatre are involved.

Another of the tag-lines from that tube poster is The Party Always Ends. My guess is that many folks will turn up for the party bit… but it’s the Ending, and the agony that surrounds Anna Nicole’s life that draws focus for me. Can the British writing team come up with words and music that will allow her character to seduce us again? Will we want to remember her…spend more than an evening with her? And even if we know why, will we keep on asking that very question…why her?

profile pic of Dutch soprano Eva Maria Westbroek

Eva Maria Westbroek  (pictured) leads the cast in tonight’s premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera ‘Anna Nicole’, produced by Richard Jones at the Royal Opera.  Also: Alan Oke sings as Old Man Marshall, and Gerald Finley as Lawyer Stern. The libretto is by Richard Thomas: Antonio Pappano, MD of the Royal Opera conducts the performance. More performances on Feb 21, 23 and 26/March 1 and 4.

Tags: Non Fiction