We’re not sure about you but we certainly had a very busy twelve months.
We published a crazy number of features, interviews and reviews covering circus, burlesque, drag, variety, film and theatre. We lost one editor and gained a couple of new ones. We published more photos than ever before. We brought you stories from all over London but also Edinburgh, Germany, Sweden, the US, Japan and Australia. We’ve given away thousands of pounds worth of competition prizes from tickets to a magic lesson. Verily, if pictures really are worth a thousand words, this year we probably spewed out six figures-worth of verbiage all over your screens. You’re welcome.
We would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts our many smart, witty and incisive contributors who lent us their time, words and pictures. From its first days, this website has gone out of its way to commission writing from a broad range of voices including performers, producers, backstage staff and foreign journalists. Rather than sending eunuchs to review orgies, we prefer to ask those who have more than an inkling into what goes into creating and performing in a show. We embrace the work done by blogs and other websites to cover cabaret and often work with them to raise the general awareness of the variety scene. We believe all this makes us unique and we hope to see more of this attitude spread to other media news sites.
Moreover, we go out of our way to encourage more women into writing. It is a sad truth that, while women make up the majority of those actively involved in stage arts of all hues and at all levels, the media massively failed them in 2013 and their judges (namely, critics, commentators and editors who choose what to cover and how) were invariably male. This year alone, This Is Cabaret has brought on board two new female editors and published articles from over twenty different women, articles which (as you can see from the list below) were not just well-received but loved by a discerning public. That would be you lot.
Some have called us controversial when we spoke out about perceived low standards of burlesque, the shortcomings of the 2013 London Cabaret Awards, Chaz Royal’s social media tactics and Proud Cabaret’s interesting approach to staff retention but we’ve never courted controversy for the sake of it. With Time Out’s almost-complete exit from both covering and producing cabaret, we think this is more important than ever that the scene has its own hard source of news and a forum to discuss the topics of the day.
Finally, a large thank you and tonic goes out to our readers for your eyeballs, your support and your comments. Any and all suggestions on what you would like us to cover in 2014 can be sent to us via Facebook or Twitter.
Enough of the yakking, here are ten of the biggest stories that people read on their mobile phones this year while waiting to get served. Enjoy.
As international burlesque stars, the Folly Mixtures often find themselves being interviewed by magazines, blogs and audience members. Some questions are thoughtful and intelligent posers…and then there’s the other type of question: the stupid kind.
Breaking up is hard to do. Unless, of course, you’re a burlesque producer with access to Facebook and a (shall we say) forthright manner. Cue the social media disaster of the year.
Pessimists and variety fans can at least agree on one thing: there is nothing to look forward to next year. Or, to be precise, fifteen beautiful examples of nothing-in-the-way-of-clothing. A brilliant idea from Double R Club founder Rose Thorne brought together the cream of the London cabaret scene and plonked them in front of Sin Bozkurt’s discerning lens to raise money for two cancer charities. We understand a few copies may still be available here.
The American queen of dark cabaret came a-visiting to London and brought with her a personal message to our very own Daily Mail. See the article for video footage, the lyrics (in case the Mail’s lawyers beat you to the video) and some insights into possibly the most reviled news organ on the planet not owned by Rupert Murdoch. As you may imagine, the video is distinctly NSFW and contains swearing, nudity and a live audience.
One of our very first articles has been read by tens of thousands of people and Liked by around 2,600 people and it is somehow still making waves from Sydney to San Francisco via Las Vegas and, er, Tunbridge Wells. Rumours that the author has since been blown up by glitter bombs or garrotted by a colourful G-string are (thankfully) false.
Lolo Brow is certainly up there as one of the kookiest characters in London. Between producing her Cabaret Derangium, doing the Burlesque Shuffle at gigs like Cabaret Roulette and performing with the frankly bonkers collective the Familyyy Fierce, she handed out some warnings to all those looking to get to know one of her kind a little bit better.
Whether it was over-excited Googlers or discerning sex-positive folk, these photos went down a treat. Information about the 2014 Erotic Awards event will be released in January.
Albeit unintentionally, TV comedian and quiz show host Alexander Armstrong found himself to be one of the most controversial figures of the year. Maybe it was because he was the poster boy for the hotly-debated London Festival of Cabaret* which returns this May. Maybe it was because he tried to revise his own history, telling the press that his November LFOC shows were his debut outing as a cabaret performer (as the above link suggests, one of our ace reviewers would disagree).
Or maybe it was because he gave an interview to the Evening Standard in which he said “I’m convinced that cabaret is set to return. People said it about burlesque and they weren’t wrong. A whole load of old strippers bought themselves pompons and souped-up their sets and are calling themselves burlesque.” Cue social media maelstrom. He apologised profusely on Twitter a few hours after the interview came out.
*not to be confused with the
People’s Front of Judea London Cabaret Festival
Last August may end up marking a high point for the variety scene at the Edinburgh Fringe on three different fronts. After many years of campaigning, the Fringe has only recently given cabaret its own category. For only the second time, Time Out and Soho Theatre joined forces for the TO&ST award, recognising the best up and coming variety acts and rewarding them with their own show while Time Out Cabaret Editor Ben Walters not only helped judge the award but provided some of the most insightful and comprehensive coverage of any journalist or blogger there.
Scroll forward four months and with Time Out pulling out of covering cabaret and letting Walters go, there may well be a very different picture of cabaret emerging from the Scottish capital come August 2014.
Possibly due to founder Alex Proud’s increased media coverage in the Telegraph and on TV’s Four Rooms, there are still people keen to read this story from 2012 about an email which landed his venues in considerable hot water and caused much antipathy from the performing community. Please note that due to legal action taken in mid-2013 by Proud Publishing Limited, a number of the comments have been redacted or removed since the article’s original publication.
Image credits: Sarah-Louise Young / Sin Bozkurt, Lolo Brow / Paul Williams of Fragment Photography,