I am a neo-burlesque artist, drag king and freakshow artist. I am sometimes known for my frantic antics on stage, but mostly for my love for distorting myself. I am often asked by audience members: ‘You are not bad looking. Why don’t you do classic?’ Firstly, I love classic; it’s graceful, elegant, sexy, but most importantly it’s simply not for me at this moment in time. Doing classic burlesque is not about being good looking, the same way neo-burlesque isn’t about making oneself ugly; that’s scrumptiously ridiculous. They are both about engagement with the audience. So, scattered amongst my screaming, lizard tongues and throwing of bras, I am here to assure you of the method in my madness: Lolo Brow’s Five Steps to Deranged Disrobing!
I believe every performance deserves 100%, so I throw myself into each act. And by ‘throw’ I mean literally, so I am not afraid to fall over and I do fall over. A lot. On purpose of course (rubs bruise on my knee nervously…) Note to self: get knee pads; the power slide isn’t kind to one’s body.
4: No Stage Big Enough.
I don’t tend to stay on stage much and usually I say it’s because ‘No stage can contain me!’ (Lolo impersonating The Hulk whilst sipping a poor audience member’s drink.) But actually it’s not because I want to steal punters’ drinks, but because I feel performance is a two-way street. The audience should feel involved, and I feel the best way to do that is to break and invade ‘The Fourth Wall’.
3: Story Glory.
Narratives or motives are painfully important in burlesque. As artists our heritage is in comedy and parody. I say with every item removed you should ask yourself: ‘Why am I taking this off?’ Even if the answer is as simple as ‘Because I bloody want to’, or as bizarre as ‘I have fleas’, it’s still important. If you know the reason then the audience will know. This way they can engage with your character in all its charm. Flesh out the flesh! Give them more than they bargained for. Give them thought.
2: If You Don’t Ask…
Some audiences are poor shy, quiet winkles. So yes, I might shout at them to encourage their darling wee vocal cords in order to feed my ever-inflating bulging ego. Some audiences, especially burlesque virgins, understandably are scared of interrupting or insulting the performer with cheering. So my rule: if you don’t ask… you don’t get.
1: Who are you calling Ugly?
Someone recently said to me: ‘It’s weird; I found you so erotic on stage, but you make yourself so ugly.’ Body pride is such a key factor in a burlesque artist’s work, whatever shape or size you are. Empowerment of the body can be felt by enhancing what one loves about oneself, but for me it’s more about distorting and confronting the body in all its glory. Don’t get me wrong, I love to feel sexy with slinky hips and poised back, but from the bottom of my heart I prefer to make people laugh, hence the bizarre faces and prosthetic work. Your body is a tool in your performance and if deforming myself into a reptile for the sake of political content is ugly, then call me Coyote!
“Lolo Brow’s Cabaret Derangium is an interactive night of rapture and raunchy hullabaloo which boasts a fabulous mixture of comedy, art, music and burlesque. For only one night in the glorious month of March, the Marylebone Gardens will be crawling with some of UK’s brightest and sauciest artists. After the beautiful success of the previous Derangiums, the fourth promises to be even more raucous and devastating than ever before! This event truly whispers loudly to the excitable and devilish souls of London.”
The international superstar Marnie Scarlet.
The musical comedy genius Laurence Owen.
The award winning burlesquer Coco Deville.
The rare and outstanding skill of The Mighty Moustache.
This is Cabaret’s “Must See”, The Family Fierce.
Plus Many more…
27th March 2014
Marylebone Gardens, 35 Marylebone High St.,W1U 4QA
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.