Tag Archives: gift idea

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.

The End is Nigh!

22 Nov

Here at CCK we’ve been huge fans of Ray’s work for some time – and it seems we aren’t the only ones!

His increasing popularity means that the Open Edition Prints that we stock in the CCK webshop will soon be coming to an end. The last date you can order by is November 30th. With only one week to go, we want to make sure you have time to get your mitts on a signed work of art!

Ray’s work is super sensual, and his strong women show the artists fascination with fantasy and fetish. His leather and latex clad women are beautifully drawn and have been the object for many critics.

This is the last chance to get a piece of Ray Leaning artwork without commissioning a private piece, so don’t miss out! We have a huge selection to choose from so go and have a browse and see what takes your fancy. Support CCK Today!

 

Don’t forget to check out Royston’s Artist Spotlight on Ray Leaning too, to learn more about this incredible artist!

A Surprise for Daddy…

9 Jun
Fred F: an animated version of your Male Parent.

Under the best of circumstances, you get to know your father pretty well. So…how well is that? There are many kinds of dads in the world…not all of them are biological. And where there’s a father figure, there is likely to be some kind of offspring for him to relate to. How are your relations?

Here at CCK, we can help. What with Father’s Day round the corner, your friendly community service provider can supply you in a myriad of ways with presents and messages of fun…of flavour…or other such fanciful things. There is sure to be something in our shop to surprise you… and your parents.
A Greeting Card That Says It All On A Sweet

Get this card for your sugar daddy

Here are a few suggestions.  You could 1) feed your father with Yang, our energy-boosting chocolate from our Feeding Your Imagination Range;
organic chocolate, sensitively wrapped

edible and organic

2) sneakily feed yourself with Yin, a partnering choco-combination which should do for you what the Yang will do for Dad:
bra-lady key ring

Sonia Spencer's Key Ring! Nice.

3) fix him up with a saucy keyring or a set of matching cuff-links,

Mr B: a gift for shiny happy people

Be good to your leather!

4) perform a clean-and- soften-up job with products  for your leathers fashioned especially  for the purpose by the wonderfully resourceful Mr. B!
A photo print by Ulli Richter

Daddy Cool?

5) procure a special print from Ulli Richter, one of the artists we support here at CCK. (note: these are done to order from Ulli in Germany:  so get your order in  by Monday13  and we can get it sent to you in time for the  Big Daddy day).
All right! Let us know how we can add fruit to your fatherly festival. You can count on us to have more to say on this subject in later editions of the blog…

Fishers of Men

25 Mar

Having delighted many a fan of muscular men with previous photoshoots for their clothing ranges, Dolce and Gabbana have not disappointed said fans again. Steven Klein’s photoshoot for Dolce and Gabbana’s spring/summer collection has a Spartacus-come-Sicilian fishermen theme. Grappling with ropes, netting and chains, as well as each other, (which I am sure we are all quite familiar with, in one form or another!) the mixture of smooth, pretty boys and hairy, rugged-type models get all sweaty in their range of warm weather wear.

Fashion photography is reknowned for using kinky, erotica-themed ideas. In this particular shoot the muscular homoeroticism fair ripples off the page! If you are a connosseur of such imagery, you should check out Coffee, Cake and Kink’s selection of Ulli Richter’s photography, which gives a few, hard lessons to any imitators. (Especially my personal fave ‘Hard Labour’. There’s no messing with these men!).

Hard Labour

Hard Labour

Cakes Fit For A King and Queen

23 Mar

Well, Prince William and Kate Middleton (you know the ones..always on the news, something to do with a royal family..), have finally decided on what cake to have at their wedding. The Welsh National Culinary Team have been chosen to bake the cake, to be unveiled on the 29th April. The cake, which may well have Welsh-themed decorations, will then be donated to the Centrepoint charity.

If you want to have your cake (and eat it too!), Coffee, Cake and Kink have a delicious selection of beautifully made and tasty cakes on offer. Check them out, and as you will see from the photos, there are even some serving suggestions!

Poem for a Working Day (at CCK)

10 Feb
a kitchen sink full of dirty stuff: police crime scene designation makes it a no go zone

Crime Scene: who will do the dirty? (pic: http://www.istockphoto.com)

Oh! Nothing says I love you
Quite like Coffee, Cake (and Kink)!
An aromatic atmosphere that brings you to the brink.

With food for mind and gullet,
And toys in red and pink.

But now, if you’ll excuse me
I ‘ve got to go and clean
The sink.

I f you still need a special something for the (extended) weekend…you do have enough time to contact us here at CCK Central. Follow the links!

Would gold do it for you?

14 Dec

Asked what is the single item he has bought that has brought him the most happiness, Sir Elton John said: “Vibrator, definitely. A gold one.” (Evening Standard).

LELO Yva personal massager in gold

Well…we at CCK are capable of finding you a golden toy for your pleasure this Christmas time. In fact…there are are a few that have been made suitable for the season. How about that?

A rubber duck shaped toy

We're not sure Elton was talking about the duck though.