Here’s Looking at You Podcast #5 Why Burlesque Needs Rubyyy Jones

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Image of Rubyyy courtesy of Matthew Kitchen. Shot at The Cat’s Pyjamas ‘Thanks For The Mammaries’ tenth anniversary, farewell show. Copyright

A little later than anticipated, but well worth the wait, here is podcast #5 ‘Why Burlesque Needs Rubyyy Jones.’

In this podcast I chat with the award-winning queerlesque star about how she defines herself, as a performer and persona, where the three yyy’s comes from, her roots and role models, her early performances, how her style came about and her experience as a promoter.

We also discuss burlesque audiences and their role in the form, the sense of responsibility she feels as a performer, promoter and activist, the current social context and where she hopes burlesque will go in the future.

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Whilst we will return to the notion of the carnivalesque in the next podcast, it is also useful term to apply to Rubyyy.  When I talk about the notion of the carnivalesque and the unruly woman in the podcast, Continue reading

Coming soon, podcast #5: You’re Welcome! Why Burlesque NEEDS Rubyyy Jones.

 

Award winner, burlesque performer and producer, and self-proclaimed ‘professional loudmouth’ Rubyyy Jones was kind enough to chat with me recently, about her star persona, her performance motivations and the politics of burlesque. This conversation will be available as Here’s Looking At You podcast #5, next weekI thought it was therefore appropriate to talk a bit about what it is that makes Rubyyy so very special as a performer. To do this I am going to talk a little about the act through which I first experienced her.

Working as a promoter and producer between 2006 and 2016, I was constantly on the lookout for acts that enthused and excited me and that I thought would enthuse and excite our audience too. A conversation with the fabulous performer Diva Hollywood prompted to me seek Rubyyy’s work out on YouTube. I’d heard rumblings, but never actually seen her but I liked the sound of what she was doing – namely, ‘queerlesque.’

I understand queerlesque to be burlesque Continue reading

Here’s Looking At You Podcast #4 Wondering about Wonder Woman

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A film depiction of  Wonder Woman acting as a role model for young girls.

Welcome to the fourth Here’s Looking at You podcast.  In this podcast I talk about Wonder Woman with Dr Rayna Denison, senior lecturer in Film at University of East Anglia and editor of the Eisner award-nominated Super Heroes on World Screens  and Melanie Adams, pin-up artist at Madams Pin-Ups and Wonder Woman expert.

We discuss Wonder Woman’s various iterations over the years, her feminist roots, the politics of her costuming, how she’s marketed in different national contexts and what we liked and disliked about the recently released origin story, directed by Patty Jenkins.

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Now the world is ready for you… ?

First we discussed Wonder Woman as a recuring, and changing, cultural figure and how she reflects and reacts to the times.   While there are many  Continue reading

‘I’m Ready For My Close Up’: My blog for the IAMHIST website on the Hollywood Glamour Photograph

 

dietrichA few months ago Llewella Chapman, PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia, asked me would I like to write a blog for the International Association for Media and History website. Its a cracking organisation so I excitedly agreed.

The International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST) is a scholarly organization which brings together media historians, media scholars and professionals with an interest in media history. You can find them on Twitter at @iamhist

My blog on the Hollywood Glamour Photograph appeared on  the IAMHIST website last week and can be accessed here:

http://iamhist.org/2017/05/hollywood-glamour-photograph/

But it is also reproduced below:

Considering Hollywood’s reliance upon photography between the teens and the 1960s, as a means of promoting, shaping and altering star images, the photographic representation of stars remains a peculiarly underdeveloped area of star studies. This is a real missed opportunity, as these images can offer considerable insights into the construction of film stardom and the pleasures Continue reading

Coming soon, to a device near you: Podcast #4: Wondering about Wonder Woman

WWTweet 2So after a year of tantalising trailers, the Wonder Woman movie is finally out.  Not surprisingly, as it’s a film based on an active female protagonist (gasp!), it has drawn a mixed reaction.

If you want my thoughts, here they are. Whilst the finished product is a cut above the usual superhero fare, and it is ground breaking in that it is directed by a woman (gasp!), personally I think it still doesn’t live up to the historical promise of the Wonder Woman character, or the film’s own promotional expectations. It was ok, but it could have been so much better.

I had conversations with a number of people about the film and generally my friends think it’s great, particularly because they felt it had a strong feminist message. This got me thinking, I probably needed to think through why I was disappointed and maybe have a more in depth chat about Wonder Woman; a figure I know relatively little about.

So I’m just in the process of arranging said podcast and my guests will include Dr. Rayna Denison, editor of Super Heroes on World Screens and lecturer in film studies at UEA and Melanie Adams, Wonder Woman aficionado and pin-up artist. Continue reading

Rubyyy Jones wins ‘Most Innovative’ at Burlesque Hall of Fame

RubyyyFeatured in my last couple of podcasts (podcasts #2 and #3) is the wonderful queerlesque performer Rubyyy Jones, who has recently won the ‘Most Innovative’ award at this year’s prestigous Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend event.

Rubyyy received this award for her hard-hitting, taboo-busting act Pottymouth Princess. This act is about sex discrimination, body image and sexual violence against women and was the last act ever performed at my regular Burlesque show, The Cat’s Pyjamas.  I can tell you, sitting at the side of the stage, as she performed this act, and watching the women in the audience’s reaction – tears, anger, exhilaration, punching Continue reading

Here’s Looking At You Podcast #3 – ‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Phwoar!’ Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival Panel Discussion Event (Part Two)

I Am Woman Hear me Phwoar!

(L-R) Sadie Sinner, Heidi Bang-Tidy, Rubyyy Jones, Dr. Ellen Wright, Dr. Jacki Willson, Dr. Claire Nally.

Welcome to the second and final half of the #DMUEngage panel discussion event ‘I am Woman, Hear Me Phwoar!’ which took place on the Sunday of the 2017 Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival.

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Here performers, promoters and activists Sadie Sinner, Rubyyy Jones Continue reading

Hawks Edited Collection Shortlisted for a Prize

9ddd6ba7e3a8066d4cbc2a65141fbb32_3574_0My chapter on Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell ‘A Travesty on Sex’: Gender and Performance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ appeared last year in an edited collection called Howard Hawks: New Perspectives. I recently discovered that this book has been shortlisted in the top three for this year’s Kraszna-Krausz Book Award in the category of Best Moving Image Book.

The Kraszna-Krausz award celebrates excellence in photography and moving image publishing, with prize for the Best Photography Book Award and the Best Moving Image Book published each year.  The shortlist was announced last week and the winner will be announced on Thursday, at this year’s  Photo London, exhibition at Somerset House where there is a display of material from the shortlisted and winning books this week.

It was my long standing interest in pin-up brought me to the project, and naturally it is through the lens of Monroe and Russell’s pin-up personas that I investigate their roles and Continue reading

Here’s Looking at You Podcast #2 – I am Woman, Hear Me Phwoar! Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival Panel Discussion Event (Part One)

I Am Woman Hear me Phwoar!

(L-R) Sadie Sinner, Heidi Bang-Tidy, Rubyyy Jones, Dr. Ellen Wright, Dr. Jacki Willson, Dr. Claire Nally.

Welcome to  the first half of the #DMUEngage panel discussion event ‘I am Woman, Hear Me Phwoar!’ which took place on the Sunday of the 2017 Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival.

Here performers, promoters and activists Sadie Sinner, Rubyyy Jones and Heidi Bang Tidy and scholars of burlesque Dr Jacki Willson and Dr Claire Nally joined me and a room full of interested members of the public to discuss the politics of female performance.

Continue reading

Windmill Girls, tableaux vivant and the Eagle Women’s Institute

Following the unveiling of the We Never Clothed exhibition at the Hebden Bridge Burlesque festival, the Windmill Girls exhibition is now available to go on the road.

My first post-Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival exhibition was on the  Wednesday after HBBF. I took a scaled down version of the exhibition, a talk about the media representation of women of the Windmill and a fan dance demo to Eagle W.I. in Lincolnshire.

I love giving talks to branches of the W.I. I have been doing it at various branches for a couple of years now and always find it extremely rewarding. Incidentally the Women’s Institute is so much more than just jam making. It’s a fascinating movement which celebrated its centenary in 2015. The Eagle branch is a small but friendly, enthusiastic and engaged group and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. They were extremely kind and welcoming. Continue reading