Tag Archives: kink

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.

I Envy the Rose…

18 Nov

It was a dreadfully grey winter’s day in 2006, dull and drizzly and damp enough to guarantee we wouldn’t be warm until the third class of the afternoon. The wind howled down around us, though none of us really noticed it; we were transfixed by the song being thrown out of a friend’s mini speakers, the tinny voice ensnaring us and causing us to cry with laughter. That was the day I was introduced to Tom Lehrer and the amazing Masochism Tango.

My best friend had stolen her father’s mix CD, and we could hardly contain our mirth when the erstwhile Lehrer warbled lyrics such as ‘your eyes cast a spell that bewitches/ the last time I needed twenty stitches/ to sew up the gash/ you made with your lash/ as we danced to the masochism tango’. Incredible. Invincible. Immortal.

Tom Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, mathematician and polymath. A Harvard graduate, he went on to lecture at MIT, Harvard and Wellesey. To say he is a genius is an absolute understatement.

Years later, this song still brings a smile to my face. A truly timeless tune: I urge you all to take a few minutes of your day and watch this video. I assure you, you will never regret it.

Skin Two at Arousal – 24th September 2011

8 Sep

Just a head’s up on another upcoming event this month, Skin TWO at Arousal in Dunstable is taking place on the 24th of September.

Hosted by Dungeon Mistress Ms Rebekka Raynor, Arousal is a friendly alternative sex club that caters to everything from Fetish and BDSM to Clubbers and Swingers.

Tickets are £15 in advance, £18 on the door. The nite goes from 10pm til 12.30pm, dress code is black and smart, with a preference for fetish wear.

Skin Two at Arousal – Saturday Sept 24th, Dunstable UK

Kinky Salon Amsterdam – 10th Sept 2011

25 Aug

If you happen to be in Amsterdam around the 10th of September, you might want to check out the Kinky Salon event. Its a artistic gathering open to anyone with a kinky side, be they straight, gay, bi, or tri!

There will be performances at the Kinky Salon Theatre by such names as Cherise Noir, Rachel V, Lilly Mae Lovitt and The Iron Queen.

The dress code is Love Dolls, Naughty Bunnies, Flower Power, Bonnie and Clyde, Lollipop Girls, Groovy Cats, Shagadelic Babes…the list goes on!

http://kinkysalonamsterdam.nl/

Upcoming Events – July and August

25 Jul

Here’s a list of upcoming kink and LGBT events:

Thursday 28th July – Sunday 31st, Tampa, Florida: FetishCon
www.fetishcon.com

Friday 29th July, London: Salon Fetish
www.thefclub.com/events/salonfetish

Saturday 30th July, London: The Gate
www.thegateclub.co.uk

Saturday 30th July, London: SM Gays Celebration Party
www.smgays.org

Wednesday August 3rd, London: Sweet Wednesday
www.sweetwednesday.co.uk

Saturday August 6th, London: Subversion
www.clubsubversion.com

Saturday August 20th, Sunbury, West London: Swish
www.theold-hellfireclub.co.uk/FetishNight.htm

Tuesday August 30th – Monday September 5th, Montreal Fetish Weekend, Canada
www.fetishweekend.com/news.htm

‘Dude’- Trans Male Zine

20 Apr

Well, I was distracted for rather a long while (!) checking out the blog for the new trans male zine ‘Dude’. Launched in February this year in Australia (which, from the U.K., is a mighty long way to go to pick up a printed copy. So yay to them that it should soon be available on download!), those hot off the press Antipodean folk are hoping to keep up the printed version as well as making it available to us Northern hemisphere types on download.

The blog page for ‘Dude’ will help to keep you informed of all the latest news on the zine. It also features a picture of the cover of the first edition, how to get hold of a copy, and how you can help to keep it as good as it, so clearly, is. Originally intended as a ‘How to play with transguys guide’, it hopes to open up to cover more info, help, advice, relevant articles and hot, hot pics for future issues.

Judging by the cover (my, some of us transguys are well fit!), and what’s inside, we can only hope it’s a success. Zines on transmasculinity, that are not afraid to cover our sexuality, are a much needed resource. The more widely this zine is seen the better for our community, our understanding and, let’s face it, our libidos. (Really, the cover pics are very sexy..am I stressing that enough??)

Dude cover by Sam Orchard

Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)

3 Apr

Showing at the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival,  ‘Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)’  is a documentary about the sex positive feminist movement, as seen by the activists, sex workers and performers. Virginie Despentes (director of the film ‘Baise-Moi’ amongst others) has interviewed a wide-range of pro-sex performers, academics, film makers and activists across the U.S and Europe, notably France and Spain. With clips from various porn films and performance pieces interspersed throughout, this winner of the CHE ‘Derek Oystan Film Award’ at this years’ LLGFF, is thought-provoking, entertaining, sexy and informative.

The list of interviewees is extensive, starting with Annie Sprinkle, who always manges to raise a smile and challenge prejudice in an enlightened and humourous way, Carol Queen and other women from the early days of the pro-sex feminist era. We follow the changes, growth and expansion of ideologies from the early 1980s to the present day, demonstrated by the views, activism and porn produced by the punk porn movement’s new radicals in France and Barcelona. The way the shift in feminist thinking has occurred over the decades shows how there is constant change as our understanding of gender, femininities and masculinities and sex itself is constantly challenged and built upon.

This refreshing, provocative film has many instances of humour, politics and what the pleasures and limitless expectations of sex is all about. It will leave the viewer with much to think about, as well as the memory of some hot films, which I am sure you will want to remember the titles of. Some of these clips have not been widely seen before, and will leave you wanting to seek them out to view in full. It also helps you rediscover some lost classics; I, myself, had forgotten the joys of Lydia Lunch’s fishnet clad ass as well as Tribe8’s ferocious BDSM influenced live performances. Strong, intelligent women, with a pro-sex, ethical feminist stance and aesthetic, that will hopefully counteract what is unfortunately an often misogynist porn industry, can only be a good thing. Let’s hope we get the chance to see more work from the punk porn feminist movement, and open up all our eyes to what is possible.

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

From A Top Writer – ‘Boy In The Middle’

3 Mar

Patrick Califia is one of my all-time favourite writers. He is an incredible wordsmith, able to write both fiction and fact in a way that both draws the reader in and informs you. His erotica is some of the hottest writing you will come across. Boy In The Middle is another of his compelling, sexy short story collections of polymorphous perversity and hardcore, sexually charged scenes. Califia has a way of taking the reader right into the story. He has the ability to describe place, character and atmosphere so well, you can’t but help feel a part of it.

cover for "Boy In The Middle" by Patrick Califia

Boy In The Middle has such a collection of differing characters and set-ups that I defy anyone not to get some pleasure from it. Whatever your kink, fetish , gender or sexuality, Califia caters for you in this book. His writing will  surprise you, in being able to turn you on to a story, scene or character you may otherwise not have thought you’d be interested in; such is the power of his imagination. I recommend anyone who enjoys erotic fiction to read this book. Allow yourself some time to indulge and immerse yourself  in it, because it will be hard to put down. Oh, and if you’re reading Boy In The Middle in public, be aware that its effect may leave you needing to find somewhere, for a ‘quiet, private moment’!

Fantastic Sacred Pleasures Workshops – Places To Be Had

2 Mar

There are still some places on a couple of workshops coming up soon at Sacred Pleasures. ‘Plug ‘n’ Play With DK and Luisa Leather’, this Saturday from 16.00-23.00 hrs, has just a few places left. DK and Luisa Leather are experienced BDSM and Tantric practitioners, and this workshop looks perfect for anyone interested in breath control, especially its tie-ins with Tantric/kink and energy practices. After the workshop there will be a play party too! If you are interested you can find out more and book places at:
http://sacredpleasures.co.uk/events/plugnplay/

On Saturday 19th, from 15.00-22.00 hrs, London Faerie will be holding ‘Whipping Up A Storm’, which is a workshop designed to teach you the basic start up points in BDSM and kinky play, including consent, safe words and a ‘how to’ of the  various toys you may come across. If you are keen to discover what kinky play is about, or would like instruction from an experienced practitioner on how to use some of the equipment you may not have had experience in yourself, this is the perfect workshop for you.