Tag Archives: wills

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!!!!

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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.

We Are: Proud/Bourne Free/Ready to Party!

13 Jul
we are proud

College Green is the place where we are: proud

The highpoint of the largest Pride event in the South West of England is the annual parade in College Green, right in the heart of Bristol.

“We Are: Proud”  is  the theme of the day on Saturday, July 14 and at the end of the night Pride will take over the O2 Academy.

Organisers of  the event are once again looking forward to welcoming crowds from all over the UK and beyond who will come from across the world to enjoy Pride.

Daryn Carter, one of the organisers of the festival has  said: “As one of the only free Prides in the UK, We Are: Proud promises to be bigger and better than ever.

let's partay

it’s raining men…hallelujah!

“We Are: Proud is a chance for people to stand up and declare that they are proud of who they are, for friends and families to show how proud they are of their loved ones and for the city to not just have a gay Pride but to be truly proud of its LGBT community.

“We are unfunded and will be asking for donations which not only help make Pride happen but will also go to support Freedom Youth, Bristol’s dedicated LGBT Youth Service.”

And guess what? The incoming Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Peter Main is the first openly gay Lord Mayor of Bristol. He’ll be at the parade, no doubt.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Meanwhile in Bournemouth, they will be having a right royal knees-up in honour of the Jubilee. Their parade leaves West Cliff, Monkey Island at noon tomorrow…and finishes  at the Triangle at 1pm.

During the afternoon there will be a great family entertainment in the Lower Gardens, at the Bandstand, with stalls, live music and comedy hosted by Sally Vate and Lucinda Lashes.

From 1pm-6pm artists appearing include: All About GaGa, Lady James, Benjii, Jazz Blaack, Tammy Twinkle, Nicolette Street, Michael Hinch, Wilma Fingadoo, the winner of Bourne Free’s Got Talent, Cindy Hollingsworth and Sheila and the Monster Boys.

this is wright...jess wright

that’s wright…jessie wright

From 6pm-11pm artists appearing include: Jessica Wright (The Only Way is Essex), Rogue Minogue, Envy, Miss Jason, Butchesque, James Bedford, Sandra and X Factor finalists, 2 Shoes who will bring the evening to a close.

Then…on Sunday, The Triangle Tour features a Metropolitan Community Church Service in the Triangle Arena at noon. Miss Jason does her Bingo at DMYK at 3pm. There is a cabaret tea party at 2930 at 6pm followed by Wilmas Mad House at The Branksome at 8pm. At 11pm Sheilas cabaret show & stripper is at XChange. The Bakers Arms is open all day for Bourne Free After party drinks.

WEB.378.Bourne_Pride.jpg

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.

Bright and Brilliant: the Night of the Blue Stockings

3 Feb
brightly coloured female musical double-act pluck and shake their stuff.

The Janus Sisters turn it on. (photo: K James)

You step out of the fresh, cold air that is Bethnal Green on a Thursday night and join the queue that’s just inside the entrance of the local Working Men’s Club. You can’t quite tell what lies behind  the swing doors…but you do start to notice that almost everybody knows what to expect from the evening’s entertainment. And they can’t wait till it gets going.

Inside, there is a warm and welcoming space with a careful plotting of chairs and tables: the crowd swells unobtrusively. The four corners of the hall already buzz with activity. The bar hogs an area in the back, and opposite (in a more contained area) is a delightful cake stand manned by “Hooray Henry”. Small red lights and a mirrorball… a makeshift changing area…songsheets…and raffle tickets.

two elegantly (!) dressed ladies leading the proceedings for a cabaret night

Tricity (Vogue) and Audacity (Chutzpah) have us in order! (photo: K James)

My tickets are sold to me by a handsome, well-dressed lady. When I say well dressed, I mean it. The bandages are a result of this lady’s tooth being removed: moreover, the tooth (and the pliers that removed them) are the first prize in the raffle. What I am trying to say is this: I am in the presence of Audacity Chutzpah, one of the clown lynch-pins of the Blue Stocking Society. And I’m looking at a horribly funny (or teribly witty if you prefer) portrayal of a character to which I find myself particularly drawn.

I haven’t started to tell you about the night of Burlesque and Cabaret itself, but the exchange between Ms. Chutzpah and myself speaks volumes about why the Night is so much fun. It’s about an open, attentive and active audience in league with a group of dedicated and enlightened peformers. It’s not over reliant on technology or a high budget – that’s a good thing. And there is a good mix of music, movement, minimal clothing and mime.

a burlesque dancer as brightly dressed chick: with feathers.

Ginger Blush goes to work in an egg (photo: K James)

The  opening act on this particular night was a new routine devised by Ginger Blush, featuring herself as a newly-cracked chick emerging from…an egg. It’s quite bright, very feathery and leaves a miniscule area of mess.

Kate Lucas is an up-and coming comic: she filled her spot with songs about stalking, loathing  (a cheerful number called ‘I hate you, Bastard’) and self-advertising. I like musical comedy a lot, so this went down well.

burlesque artiste Lambchop Magoo presents herself in a suitable attire

Here we present Lambchop Magoo presenting herself. (photo: K. James)

Ms. Lambchop Magoo’s act was next. This was a  popular routine given by a very determined performer: when she sets her mind to what her actual routine will be, it always amuses and works out well. On the night we got both mathematics and burlesque: and when Ms. Magoo shows her hair off to crown her moves it was rightly greeted with cheers and calls.

Shirley Windmill’s big British marrow was another hit of the night. This was partly because  the routine grew to an unusual length, surprising everybody (including Ms. Windmill herself). Never mind though: she stretched herself to new heights, and with the crowd’s support left the stage triumphant. The marrow was not damaged.

Then there was Hannah Ballou, who delivered a small set of stand-up comedy from an American perspective: nice. Also the Janus Sisters, a musical double-act joined at the (one) hip, seemingly put together by an all-knowing theatre God.  Creating their laughs  by turning, revolving and revealing their instrumental dexterity, here was another success.

a cabaret artiste with her legs on show!

Show business: our guest host (or is it?)

The Blue Stockings’ honorary host for all of this was the delightful Kiki Kaboom. Hers was a busy night: she appeared in a number of guises and fetching costumes (most of these are reproduced here in the gallery), led the audience in a nonsensical bout of ‘Military Fitness’ and (best of all) sang in a commanding voice about the needs of her ‘pussy’.

All this…and I still haven’t quite covered (if that’s the word) the raffle, the surreal sing-a-long and other incidental jollies. And I’m not sure that I’ve done justice to the small group of artistes led by Tricity Vogue (Madam Treasurer, chanteuse, order keeper) who made the night as sharp, bright and brilliant as it was. I do know it was well worth the journey east.

I went back to the Bethnal Green air much the warmer inside: my mind a fizz of names and props, and my hair thrown back covering the patchy spots. I can recommend that you take the Blue Stocking Society to your hearts yourself by reserving that last Thursday in the month, taking a bus or a tube to Bethnal… and paying them a visit.

Tricity Vogue on the origins of the Blue Stockings

Coffee: got to get some!

18 Jan

a pair of high heeled carvela boots. purple, studded, and a brooch

Here’s a clue to what I’m talking about: it begins with C, ends with an E… goes into your mouth and seems to end up almost everywhere! It’s coffee!!! You can get this miraculous stuff from places called…shops. And even if you’re going to purchase it from our marvellous online store…you’ll need legs to get to the phone.

If you’re thinking of getting some in for your Fetish Friday feastings, how about geting to them shops in these rather lovely carvela boots. I nicked the pic from the folks at Stylehive.com because…well just because…well look at them!

Walking!

A New Year’s Eve: San Francisco

20 Dec

happy new year!

Two shows of Gay Comedy by Marga Gomez: laughs and balloons to be had, for sure.  The rhino!

Film: Burlesque (and a competition)

16 Dec

There has been a steady rise in activity for the variety of entertainments listed under the term of ‘burlesque’. Good news, you might think, from local reviews of such things as La Soiree and La Clique Even better news for those of you who like a little sassy glam in your knicker drawer.

Now there’s a movie from Hollywood…and a soundtrack to boot. Christina Aguilera and Cher are a dream coupling that will guarantee a mainstream audience for the film, and there’s added interest with roles for Stanley Tucci and Alan Cumming. But Aguilera’s the lead character, and this is her first major movie assignment. Will she reveal a presence every bit as large as her music videos or CDs?

This video of “I’m a good girl” from the movie starring Christina Aguilera has certainly got the  team grinning, and we’re looking forward to seeing if the rest of the film is as good!

Competition time! Here’s a picture of Cher and Christina on set. But what exactly is Miss Aguilera saying? And is it printable? Best caption as judged by the team (put it in the comments) wins a CCK goodie bag! The goodie bag contains some FYI chocolates, a few seasonal cards, and a special something from our shop.

on-set still of Cher and Christina Aguilera.

Burlesque is released in UK  cinemas on Friday; we suggest checking your local listings.

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.