A blog of published editorial ( Tatler, Mail on Sunday, Life Magazine, Londoncalling.com and more.) Some behind the scenes shots from fashion shoots, travel and lifestyle articles and images. This blog written by me - Sara Colohan. I work in London as a writer and producer of London's longest running cabaret company Cirque du Cabaret. I am also a huge raw food fan and have started a company called londonmaker.com A social enterprise where people learn, teach and produce plant-based treats.
Banbury Cross is one of the most recognised and significant performers in contemporary burlesque. She exploded onto the London scene in 2009 and has enjoyed global recognition and praise since the 'Bullet Proof Blonde' brand took to the stage. From May 31st, she headlines Cirque du Cabaret's string of shows as part of the London Wonderground festival. London Calling caught up with her to find out what makes this particular bombshell tick!
London Calling: How did the character of Banbury Cross come about?
BC: Completely by accident, It was at a time in my life where I wasn't sure of my direction. Having graduated with a Theatre degree that was the path that I was trying to force myself down. Burlesque came along and swept me off my feet quite unexpectedly and I have never looked back. The onstage character itself is a mash-up of Marilyn, Mae West and Dixie Evans.
LC: Where's the most amazing place you've performed?
BC: Anywhere in the US is pretty spectacular to perform at, The stages are HUGE, the crowds are rowdy and the performers are so supportive and complimentary! I hope to spend a lot more time there in the near future. The vintage Spiegeltent in the round is also a favourite.
LC: You are a vintage pin up model and burlesque star - surely you have some time out from the glamorous image . Do you ever have a day off lounging in a track suit?
BC: I’ll dispel the myth, yeah I spend the majority of my time in jeans and a t-shirt, or workout clothes, especially since it's been a long winter and I don't fancy dolling up. In the summer, though, I love to 'pin-up'… Most of my vintage and sex kitten wardrobe was made to be worn in the sun!
LC: What music makes you want to dance?
BC: Anything and everything! From 20’s jazz, classical opera, dub step, metal, rockabilly, I’m not fussy. I even dance in silence
LC: I'm sure you have influences - and it’s impossible not to recognise your remarkable resemblance to Marilyn Monroe - but in the world of burlesque is there a living favourite star you admire?
BC: Kitten Deville, Dixie Evans and Catherine D'lish (to name a few). I'm lucky that so many legends from the 50s are still alive and I have had the pleasure of meeting them and talking to them about the heyday of striptease!
LC: There's a real synergy between cocktail culture and burlesque and I’m sure you have a favourite but if LC was going to make a 'Banbury Cross special' what would it be?
BC: I suppose anything topped off with Champagne in it is a winner, not least because it’s my signature act– I strip and cover myself with champagne! I also LOVE tequila so perhaps a variation on the margarita!
LC: You are really going global in the last couple of years- What's next for you?
BC: I am incredibly honoured to have performed at several prestigious burlesque events including the fantastic New Orleans Queen Of Burlesque pageant and Viva Las Vegas. I have developed a little fan base state side now and hope that I keep getting invited back as it is such an exciting scene and I’m incredibly thrilled to have been invited into it. I’ve also been performing with Cirque du Cabaret since the start of my career so it’s nice to be coming back as one of their finale acts in the Spiegeltent this year.
LC: What is your most treasured possession?
BC: My engagement ring, a deco inspired platinum set 2 carat emerald and diamonds. It's perfect and I couldn't be more proud to wear it on my finger (though it’s currently being repaired so I feel a little, if not MORE, naked)
Burlesque performer Banbury Cross stars in a series of Cirque du Cabaret shows on the Southbank this summer. See her perform with Cirque du Cabaret HERE
TICKETS are available here for performance dates on May 31st, June 28th, July 19th, Sept 20th and 28th: Prices range from £17.50 EARLY BIRD, £19.50 and £22 for wonderseats
To enter our competition to win tickets to the show on May 31st and to meet Banbury herself then please click here.
These French electro swing DJs will be getting you on your dancing feet at The Book Club!
Dressed in tuxedos and top hats, Parisian electro swing and vintage mash up DJs Bart&Baker certainly cut a dash. They are not the norm, by anyone’s standards and their homeland of France is certainly rather proud of these chic exports, christening them ‘The Godfathers of Electro Swing’. Bart&Baker only started to DJ professionally back in 2005; prior to that they had very different career paths but the love of music lured Bart from his marketing executive job and Baker from his medical profession. They haven’t looked back since.
The London club scene was quick to embrace their quirky Frenchness back in 2005 and they’ve been performing all over London since, including performances at Cirque du Cabaret in The Pigalle Club, White Mink Club, Love Box Festival 2010 and Bestival last year. This year they make a return visit to what they call their second favourite city, London (second only to their home town of course, Paris) and will perform at The Electric Swing Club at The Book Club. With lots of other DJ talent and some live performances, this internationally famous club night will create a unique fusion of Paris/London Swing.
We spoke to Bart about his particular style of production and taste in music: “We love reinvention, using elements that already exist like vintage music, performance styles and costume so we are able to please or uncover a love of swing with both vintage fans and modern kids. We’ve always been huge fans of London and it’s cutting edge club culture so to be accepted and given such support from so many people has just amazed us. We work with electro swing clubs, vintage themed burlesque clubs, the best of your festivals and it’s thanks to all our UK fans and collaborators for making our journey so exciting so far”.
Bart&Baker have released six mixed compilations on French music label Wagram since 2005, and to coincide with their London trip they have just released their first album of self produced tracks. Their recent collaboration for the album with founder of The Puppini Sisters, Marcella Puppini, resulted in a single Stop Googling Me which will be performed live with Marcella Puppini at The Book Club event. Bart&Baker describe the song as a “feelgood mixture of Rock Steady & New Orleans sound blessed by some wonderful jazz vocals”.
Marcella Puppini says, ''The most delightful thing about Bart&Baker is that they are genuinely old school. Like Bertie Wooster, they know which hotel bar serves the best Martinis, and which club has the best swing dancers. I always look forward to spending time with them.”
Stephen Tuesday Weld aka DJ Clerkenwell Kid seen as the first electro swing specialist in the UK and also famous for some of today’s biggest film scores will be joining Bart&Baker on Saturday April 20th at The Electric Swing Club. The upstairs area will house the vintage music legends from Shellac Collective and More Auntie Maureen’s headphone disco. £5 after 8pm, £10 after 10pm
If you don’t make it to their party in The Book Club, and you find yourself in Paris some night, looking for ideas – Bart&Baker have their own monthly residency at the world-famed Parisian club La Machine du MOULIN ROUGE. See more about the vintage loving duo on their site.