Archive | Arts & Culture RSS feed for this section

Telly Vision: The Hit Factory – The Stock Aitken & Waterman Story

6 Aug

my name is pete. her man. hit.

A month ago, they were planning to celebrate 25 years of the Hit Factory at Hyde Park. But it rained.

But where real life and heavenly nature fails, Telly can succed. And as A-Ha said in that song: the sun always shines on TV.

And you can bet’cha life on it that for sixty minutes this evening, ITV 1 will actually worth watching.

Mike. Matt. PETE, of course. Kylie. Jason. Rick. Bananarama. Mel and Kim. Sonia. The other one that’s not Sonia.

And PETE BURNS. Ohyeah!

hit man.

my name is pete. hit man. not her.

Here’s a blast from the past…      nine of the clock tonight!watch it!!!!

Talk Show: The Musical by WILLS MORGAN

2 Aug

IT HAD TRASH TALK performed by opera singers . It had a musical score which boasted some some actual tunes. It had a whole first act and a bit of a second act. And it had a big black man in a clean white nappy. This is the story of how JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA became the hit show a decade ago today at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  NOW READ MORE……

IN AUGUST of 2002, a modestly staged entertainment was to become the hit of the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. An indication of what was about to hit the city appeared on the cover of the weekly guide to Fringe events: the LIST magazine.

 

All undressed…and nowhere to go.

 

In small letters: Edinburgh stripped bare. In capital letters and in a larger font: NAPPY DAYS. And the picture? A big and beautiful Black Man. Wearing a Diaper and With a Dummy In his Mouth. And Nothing Else covering his Modesty. Apart from the strategic placing of a TV talk-show cue card which bore the following legend:

 

JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera.

 

Note the title of the Legend. JERRY SPRINGER: a man who has had many careers. A lawyer, politician and an Emmy-Award winning news anchor. And, in 1991, the host of what was called a ‘talk show’ called (naturally enough) The Jerry Springer Show.

This show started in a lower case font. As un-sensational social commentary of the kind that Mr. Springer was already known for. The viewing figures were not good. (This is a polite way of saying those same viewing figures were shit. Really quite shitty.)

A new producer was brought in; his name was Richard Dominick. He’s responsible for Jerry Springer becoming the character that we know we love to hate to love: JERRY SPRINGER.

The new show was pretty much like life itself: full of surprises. Low lives. Unhappy marriages. Perverse behaviour. The Ku Klux Klan. The odd prostitute. God. Romances with animals. You know what I mean. There was heckling. There was fighting. There was people throwing things. There was people throwing up. But most of all…importantly…most especially…there was people having themselves a good, good time. It was trashy. It was ‘bloody funny’. It was made for TV. But equally…it was…and is…opera.

So how did JERRY SPRINGER get attached to The Opera in its lower case sense? Here’s how: with one man with a piano.

Lore Lixenberg. She sings. And then some.

A glamourous, voluptuous mezzo-soprano singer named LORE. A couple of crates of John Smiths bitter. ASDA lager, as well, just for a bit of contrast. In a small studio in Battersea, South London, In England, that itty-bitty island off the coast of Europe.

The Brixton-based composer Richard Thomas’ workshops were called ‘How to write an Opera about Jerry Springer’. The flyer for the show was an apology: ‘Have an idea. Think it’s a shit idea. Despair. Do it anyway’. It was done: and the Legend was born.

In August 2001, Mr. Thomas’ London cabaret group, known as KOMBAT OPERA took to the stage in multiple guises. Serial seducers. Trailer Trash. The Ku Klux Klan. And right in the middle of it all…an anti-chorus every bit as fierce as the crowd of Jews as portrayed by JS Bach in his Matthew and John passions.

The Indepenent on Sunday journalist Anna Picard wrote of ‘the first opera to take television as its subject’. She is 50 percent correct. As I know only too well, the subject matter of JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera is both Tele-Visual and Opera-Tic.

The word was spread that this was a show to see. In January and February of 2002 anybody who was anybody came to the second run of performances. Germaine Greer was there. Nicholas Hytner visited daily. Tim Rice came. Harry Hill, Chris Morris, Mel and Sue, Frank Skinner, Soo from “The Sooty Show” and much of the cream of British comedy saw what had inevitably become JS:TO.

Journalists wrote about it unbidden. Lyn Gardner of the Guardian came, saw half the show and wrote a review of the whole that was not polite. How we in the cast laughed at her. She should have gone to Specsavers, we said.

Fortunately, there was enough good press to secure an investment from TV mogul and celeb hairdresser Allan McKeown for a rewrite: the cast and newly-expanded company of 20 reconvened in Clapham to prepare to take JS:TO to the comedy Mecca that is the Edinburgh fringe.

Thomas and Lee in 2002

Stewart Lee became director of JS:TO as well as co-writer. This was to be both a happy and unhappy accident for him. Richard Thomas continued to de-compose. International ABBA expert Martin Lowe urged and inspired us on. Dance expert Jenny Arnold helped to cover cracks that were still evident in the concept.

Day one of rehearsals was a bit nervy. Mr. McKeown came to the first sing-through with his wife, the artist formerly known as Tracey Ullman. We were a cast member down, as Andrew Bevis (a talented Australian singer) was voiceless. I was given the job of filling in Andrew’s part whilst Andrew had to endure listening to me rip his role to shreds!

Mr. Auf Wiedersehn, Pet with Miss ‘I had “The Simpsons” in my show first’

Allan McKeown takes up the tale: “In the car on the way to the first ever sing through of JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera my wife asked me how much money I had invested in the show. I told her. ‘You must have loved the script’ she said. I told her I hadn’t read it. ‘Oh you loved the music?’ I said I hadn’t heard it. ‘You idiot’ she said. Half way through the sing-through she whispers to me ‘How much of the show do we own?’ ‘50%’ I told her. ‘You idiot you should have bought the lot.’”

There were two major additions to the cast. I had played Dwight, the serial seducer who was always ‘seeing someone else’. I exchanged that for the role of Jesus (a higher calling) whilst Benjamin Lake took the role of Dwight. Richard Thomas was so impressed with Ben that he wrote in an extra role for him: that part was the biggie… that of God Almighty himself.

from Rocky to Satan: David Bedella.

But the major find was David Bedella. David had scored major theatre credits which included singing Fran-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show alongside Meatloaf, La Cage Aux Folles with Gene Barry and Caiaphas In Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neely and Carl Anderson. Credentials enough for the dual roles of Devil and Warm-up Guy.

Returning members of KOMBAT Opera were Valda Aviks in a myriad of roles, including a Superior Mother: also Lore Lixenberg as Valda’s vocal and comedic foil…and of course the play friend of Diaper Man. I was Montel, the guy revealed to be the Man of Diaper, who was to return as Jesus in the second act.

this is a wierd pic. get over it. talk to the haynd.


The Canadian funny-guy Rick Bland reassumed his true characterization of ‘The Springer’. Andrew Bevis played Tremont, the Chick with a Dick. The distinguished actress Beverley Klein had a go at being a pole dancer. David Birrell was Klein’s Hillbilly husband.


To say the casting was ideal was not completely true: but enough of the pieces were there for the show to succeed up north. Most importantly, the writers insisted on colour-blind casting in all areas of the company. Later…much much later…the entire chorus of our little show was to win an Olivier Award for their outstanding contribution to a Musical.

JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera wasn’t the only thing happening at the 2002 Fringe Festival. The other big ticket was for Derevo, the theatre ensemble from St Petersburg. Omid Djalili and Ross Noble made the cover of the List magazine alongside that picture of me in the nappy. But there was only one show that had low lives, unhappy marriages, perverse behaviour, the Ku Klux Klan, The odd prostitute and God in it. You know the one I’m talking about.


Word spread that this was a musical event that should be seen. Many, many people saw it. Including the man himself: Jerry Springer. On a lovely Saturday afternoon. ”The Theatre was packed. The producers didn’t want to scare the cast, so they didn’t tell them which day I was coming – that was the plan at least. When I walked into the theatre though, everyone started chanting ‘Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!’ I think the cast caught on pretty quickly.’”

his middle name is norman

Afterwards Jerry met the cast and shook my hand. He admitted he wasn’t sure he should shake it, given my casting as the Diaper Man.

I said ‘It all right, I’ve wiped my hands.’

(c) Wills Morgan 2012: published first in CCK.

Unhook Yourself with Marc Almond

9 Jul

So. It’s No Bra Day today. It’s up to social enterprises like CCK to rise to the occasion and say something (ahem) uplifting. Fingers at the ready…

icon at 55

chest a song at twiliiiiiiiiight…..

Marc Almond returns to the O2 Shepherds Bush (fnar fnar!) Empire five years after his triumphant gig for his fiftieth birthday. I guess that would make him fifty-five then. Anyway, the show’s at 8pm; doors open at 7: and it should be a good place to unhook your bra whilst nobody is looking. (best to do it in the ladies loos…don’t tell anybody it’s my idea!)

Ticket prices are 19:50/27:50 plus the usuals. You can pay in cash at the door from 4pm. Or online at www.ticketweb.co.uk

MARC ALMOND at the O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE

Shepherds Bush Green, London W12 8TT  tube: Shepherds Bush bus: lots of them

Parking: between 6pm and 12 midnight at Westfield Shopping Centre…just £3 for O2 customers. Check for entry and exit points and read up on the rules..

Drinking: 21 and over. Bring and ID.

day on bra

surely you can see this is a responsible adult

Younger ones welcome, but bring a responsible adult. Like what you see pictured above. You know it makes sense…don’t you?

2012 Pride Day Poem by Wills Morgan

7 Jul
ANTHEM

for the children

of our time

Image

HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF. This is what I say.
HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF each and every day.
HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF. Keep your troubles at bay.
Whether straight or bisexual, or if you’re gay


Lesbian or Transgender, this is what I say:
HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF each and every day.
At home or your work. When you rest. As you play.
Stay in the right track if you were born that way.


HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF.
EACH.
AND.
EVERY.
DAY.

Contributing Artist Wills Morgan is pictured sitting behind the map at the Island bar and restaurant in north west London in 2010. Photo used with kind permission of the photographer, Mr.Tyson Sadlo.

This photograph is one of a series of five portraits entitled A CORNER OF COLLEGE PARK.

Skin Two’s latest

27 Mar

If you’ve not already got one, now’s the time to buy your copy of Skin Two’s latest issue! The longstanding glossy style magazine is available for £10.00 from their online webshop, or you can download digitized versions of all – yes, all – their issues for £2-£3. Postage is free in the UK, and costs just £3 for European deliveries, or £5 to everywhere else.

Issue 62 is another fabulous offering, providing more hot new content ‘for the thinking fetishist’s coffee table’. Inside its striking cover lurk the following: an interview with burlesque legend Dita von Teese; retro photography from Terry Mendoza; features on the Australian fetish scene; plus coverage of the top fetish events, including their very own Skin Two Rubber Ball.

 

You can snap up your own copy here, so what are you waiting for?

Starbucks music video

17 Feb


An interesting music video by John Wesley Harding, a solo artist with a unique way of writing songs. This video was filmed in front of twenty-eight different Starbucks locations in New York city in less than five hours.

Harding said about the song: ”Starbucks isn’t the real target. To me, its a song about gentrification. It could be Starbucks, it could be The Gap, it could be Barnes and Noble. It could be anyone. It just happens that Starbucks – its like saying ‘God’ or  ‘the Devil.’ People know what you mean.”

Harding has a sort of split-personality in that his other job is as a novelist. He says, “I think that novel-writing is kind of taking care of a lot of the fictional impulses that I have. Now, when I think of an idea for a song, I often think, ‘Oh, no — that’s a terrible idea for a song. But it’s a great idea to put into a novel,’ ” It has changed the way he produces music too: “Suddenly, I find myself writing rather more personal material — which, of course, is what a lot of people do use music for. I’d just never really used it in that way.”

Kylie to Join Mardi Gras Parade

27 Jan
The Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Australia, will have a special guest atop one of their floats this year. The Australian singer Kylie Minogue will be making her way back home to participate in the event, which is a celebration of the Australian LGBT community.

She said in her YouTube video announcing her return to Mardi Gras, “Your support over the years has just been phenomenal and I can’t wait to come home and share that with you. So see you in March.” This will be her third time attending the event.

Kylie began her career in showbiz on the popular soap ‘Neighbours’, before moving into the music industry in 1987 with the launch of her first single, ‘Locomotion’. She will be celebrating a career milestone – 25 years in the music business – with a community in which she has always had a strong fan base.

You can find out more about the Australian Mardi Gras by visiting their website here; it looks like it is going to be a very exciting, special day!



Feature: Pistachio Dominatrix Advert

10 Jan


Dominatrix does it on command! A clever little advert for lovers of S&M and nuts! (the food, not the other thing you were thinking!)  Wonderful Pistachios has come up with a clever little advert which puts an interesting spin on how we look at food advertising!

Nutcracker!

10 Jan
photo credit to Alistair Muir
A Christmas classic with music that is recognisable by all, the Nutcracker has long held a place in our hearts as one of the most famous ballets. Some characters, such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, have passed into cultural legend and advertisers frequently assail our ears with a multitude of variations on the same four bars, used in almost every TV advert that pretends it’s not playing Christmas music.

However, Matthew Bourne OBE has cast his magic over this classic and turned it into something entirely new and different. Often noted as Britain’s most popular and successful choreographer, Bourne is the only British director to have won Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography.

You may recognise his name from the bill of Swan Lake, where instead of the dainty Odette and her accompanying ballerinas, we were presented with male swans, bare chested and in feathery pantaloons. Bourne’s genius is no less apparent in Nutcracker! where Act One starts in a Dickensian orphanage rather than the sumptuous settings of previous incarnations. The pas de deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy has changed – there are four people on stage, and none en pointe. It is different, it is sassy and it is utterly charming. Expect techno colours and cheeky grins!

I shan’t spoil it for you; suffice to say, the plot has changed enough to entice and captivate every audience member from ballet veterans to those who go along for the sake of their date. This irreverent and utterly genius interpretation is not to be missed. There are performances running until the 22nd January at Sadler Well’s Theatre and tickets are still available.

Art Show – Deicide by Helen Gorrill

24 Nov

Helen Gorrill has been researching Feminism and Theology for 4 years, and her art show called Deicide is a showcase of her findings.

Going into the ideology behind female submissiveness, Helen’s research explores such connections as post-feminism and biblical references.

Deicide is running from the 3rd – 28th of November.

http://www.skintwo.co.uk/deicide-art-show-by-helen-gorrill-3rd-28th-november/

http://www.helengorrill.com/