Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Top Ten Awesome International Act List from 2010-2012. AWESOME!

I have one more blog in me this fine year of 2012.
I was waxing thoughtful up here in the country...with the hair in braids...and my stretchy waisted thermal sweet husband (who is madly working on a hip hop move...) dogs who whine (even when we walk them a lot sometimes they just can't get no satisfaction) and two seasons of Damages under my stretchy belt (Oh my god...that Patty Hewes is cray cray...Ted Danson is also excellent...and that Marcia Gay Harden is all sexy with a leg on the chair a couple of times, showing the stay-up pantyhose... you go, Marcia!!)
Everyone is doing or has done their year end lists...and in honour of almost 3 full years of World Domination and Touring...152 weeks to be exact... (taking over the world one person at a time is exhausting...there is a lot of ground to be covered and a lot of hands to shake, people) I wanted to put out a top ten list of my own! I have had the good fortune to see and experience some awesome acts, performers and/or artists in the last three years...on Toronto...on TV...and been INSPIRED! Inspired up the wazoo!
And when one's wazoo is should share... : )
In no particular are some of my fave international acts from the last three years...please don't think for one second I don't love Canadian know I do celebrate the work of my awesome country-people...and there are many awesome artists in our country...but these are some acts that inspired me on my travels abroad (fancy words, eh?)...and I HAVE included one Canadian act for my own special reasons....

Camille O'Sullivan
This cabaret chanteuse hails from Ireland and sells out a 800 seat theatre for 27 show shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. My first year, 2010, I finished my show and put on my converse (with my silk party dress and raincoat...fancy) and jumped into a cab and drove across town to not miss this ladies' show. The first vid is from her show at the Speigeltent and the second is from an appearance on the Jools Holland show in the UK.

Doctor Brown
Standing backstage before an appearance on "Best of the Fest" for the Scotsman newspaper in 2011, this American gentleman in a Gilligan hat, with a full beard, and a jacket that was way to small for him walked up to me, stared at my blouse...which was flowery and flowy and asked me if he could wear it during his act...I stared back and told him if I knew him at all I would probably say yes. He then convinced another performer to wheel him onstage in a wheel barrel that he found laying around...while clutching the biggest disco ball I have ever seen. The next 12 minutes were riveting. He has won many awards and performs for sold out houses every year. I took George to see his act this year and at the end, when we were leaving,  Doctor Brown (who ended his act in a speedo) and George hugged for about a minute. And while onstage...Brown never says a word. A clown. Amazing.
Sadly, this vid doesn't do the show justice...but you might get the feel.

Gavin Creel 
About 12 years ago George and I were staying at a pal's house in Brooklyn...while there, our hosts had a party and I hung out for most of the night with a young man named, Gavin. A couple months later George was in New York doing a workshop of a musical based on the movie "Mask" that was supposed to star Anthony Rapp...Rapp was busy with another project...I think it was 'A Beautiful Mind' and they cast the then unknown, Gavin Creel. He was fabulous. All these years later...and all his acclaim later...Ari Weinberg, a young friend of mine put together a vareity night for the Trevor Project at Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto and Gavin happened to be in town...Ari somehow, god bless his tenacity, got him on the show. I saw him perform at this event...and he was just awesome. Oh, and I am sure he had no idea who I was. This isn't the performance he did that night but it is an equally inspired interpretation of a popular song....


Abigail Collins
So, Cooch (Chris Tsujiuchi) and I were standing backstage at our last promo gig of the 2012 Fringe. It was a "Best of the Fest" Comedy show for the Assembly Rooms. We met this tiny lady with a fabulous accent and she chatted with us as she changed (FULLY!) and got into a Swan Lake Tutu complete with upside down traffic cones as ballet slippers. Amazing. And the real amazing thing was that I didn't make the connection till RIGHT NOW (while I was trolling youtube looking for the best vids to show her work)  that she was the same woman we saw at another variety night performing as an American girl named "Peggy Sue" who did a particularly  raunchy contortion act with two audience volunteers...while singing and never touching the floor. I was going to list both women...what an amazingly versatile performer. The first video is of her Peggy Sue character...and the second is of her hula hoop, burlesque artist named, Angel.


Benet Brandreth
The same day I met Doctor Brown, I saw this fabulous monologuist. It turns out he is the son of an MP in London and actually works as a barrister...but he also tells a fine story! This video doesn't do him the justice he deserves but I loved his act and I wanted to include it here. During his gig I laughed and laughed and when it was over I turned to Cooch (who does not have an acumen for accents) and asked him how he liked him...Cooch said he didn't understand a word. :)
I loves me some Cooch. (Give this vid a second to get started!)

Storm Large
I loved the reality show, Rockstar...they did two seasons and cast a lead singer for INXS the first year (didn't take) and for a super group called, SUPERNOVA (assy name) the second year (also didn't take)...but while the groups didn't work out there were some amazing performers on the show...and one was a six foot rock singer named, Storm Large. When I saw the ad for her one woman show in the Edfringe program the in 2010, I booked my ticket for my last day...the club was grotty...the ceiling was really low...she had her hand on the ceiling for most of the show...being so tall and could hear water dripping in the corners of the room...and she was dirty, crazy...and kinda scary...I dug the shit outta her. This wasn't my fave song but it captures her spirit. This lady can sweat.
She also has a song called "My Vagina is 8 Miles Wide". Nuff said.

The Wau Wau Sisters 
I have never seen these ladies live...but I have watched their vids a lot. They are legendary around the fringe and burlesque world. Comics? Trapeze artists? Gymnasts? Actors? Lovers? Sisters? 
And I love that their whole aim seems to be the same as Will Ferrell' get their clothes off. They are naughty.
The first vid is an act they do to "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger.
And the second is one of their Trapeze acts. Both Awesome. 
There are some fearless. 

La Gateau Chocolat
My first night of the 2011 Edfringe, my producer and I went to a fancy party in a huge venue that was an old vet university. Every room had revolving entertainment in it...we went into an operating theatre and there was a very tall, very broad gentlemen in a full beard, headband, rainbow eyelashes and thigh high tube socks and heels and a feather minidress. What an amazing character. He sang in his act ...but when Cooch and I went to see his show it was more about the spectacle of it all...he was something else...I really liked him...felt inspired by his great spirit...which was very "Puck" like...yes, from Shakespeare...don't tell anyone I used a Shakespearean reference...I will lose my street cred.
This year his act played the Menier Chocolate Factory in London.

Jann Arden 
I have had the honour of working with Jann Arden on Canada Sings for the last two years...but have never been in the position (whether it was schedule or funds) to see her live show. In 1994, I played her cassette tape, Living Under June, until it was so stretched out that all of her song keys were a least a step lower than the recorded key. 
I sang "Good Mother" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over ....
This year, while shooting the show, Jann very kindly gave me tickets to her tour when it hit Massey Hall in Toronto. I was so excited that I drank a bunch of wine beforehand. I was a bit tipsy...people.
She was so awesome...a fabulous storyteller, song writer and hysterical joker...and at the end...when she sang "Good Mother" I sang every word with her!! Every and 1500 other people.
I love both of these vids...the first is of "Leave Me Now" haunting and beautiful and the second is a musical monologue put with the song "Is That All There Is"...funny and smart...loves. Both are audience vids from her tour last year...don't hate me, Jann, for using bootlegs!


Chris Green
And last, but not least, a friend I made while working in South Africa this past October. Our shows were at the same time every night so I didn't get to see his act until we did a big variety gala at the beautiful Baxter Theatre. As his character, Tina C...and American Bible Belt Country and Western Diva...he made an audience of 1000 get up and line dance...every last one. They laughed and were taken by his storytelling and his extremely sexy long creative ground breaking and he pushed the envelope, people...pushed it! Love love love.
The first vid is Chris as the aforementioned  Tina C. 
The second is a short HD film of his 80 year old rap artist, Ida Barr.
Again, so creative.


There you have it, peeps!
What a list!! 
I spent hours on it (while drinking wine and watching the end of Season 2 of Damages over the top of my computer!) I hope the awesomeness of all these artists come across in these vids...but, please, if you are not convinced look farther...they all have a bunch of work online...and then there are vids that are recommended beside while you are killing your hangover on New Year's Day...get lost in the YOUTUBE, people!
And I hope to see you all at "The Happening" on March 11th and May 12th at Buddies in Toronto...I will set up some amazing Canadian artists to shock, amaze, thrill and make musical love to you.
OH! And come to my "Cabaret Residency...Cabaret", while I embark on a new musical journey of wonder and...oh lord....hahahaha!! 
I am gonna work on some new stuff, my peeps.
Oh...the fun we will have.

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