Kinky and Quirky

Kinky and Quirky are a Devon based burlesque company, and Razz reporter Stephanie Cross was lucky enough to see their latest performance in Exeter, ‘Burlesque and Boogie,’ as well as catching up with the founders of Kinky and Quirky- Sarah and Mark.

kandq1

Why the names ‘Kinky and Quirky’?

The names Kinky and Quirky came out of a conversation with a friend who was describing himself and Sarah. It had a great ring to it, could be applied to different things and was memorable. The names the just got knocked into one and became ‘Kinky & Quirky’, they don’t apply to each of us individually!

What inspired you to start ‘Kinky and Quirky’?

K&Q was started in July 2007 by Sarah as an online idea. She built a MySpace page hoping it would become a community for people to exchange ideas, stories, art, and music. About 2 weeks after it went live.The evening events started as a party idea in November 2007 and it was obvious right from the outset that we had a great formula for an alternative night of interesting entertainment to share with like minded people, it grew very quickly!

How do you select the performers for your show?

We start with a headliner and build the show around that performer, taking into account seasonality or special themes. As we are one of the most respected burlesque nights in the UK we are lucky in that we can cherry pick from the thriving burlesque and cabaret artistes on the scene. We always try and mix up the variety in each show and we’re very conscious of the type of performer that our audiences love, but we like to throw in some surprises too!

Has there been a particularly special or stand out show for you? If so, why was it memorable?

There have been so many amazing shows over the last 5 years. We love that every month our customers tell us “that was the best show yet” and the following month they say it again! The first time we did a show at the Corn Exchange in Exeter it sold out about 4 weeks in advance, so that was exciting for us, as was selling out the Pavilion in Exmouth last year for the opening night of the Festival. But a really stand out event for us was when we organised a 3 day vintage event called The Retro Romp in early 2011 in Torquay. There hadn’t been anything like it in Devon before or since, it was a real celebration and coming together of different scenes, which was reflected in music, clothes and styles. It was a fabulous event and both the Friday and Saturday night’s events sold out, it stands out for us because it symbolized what K&Q was about for us, a melting pot of real people who loved their own scene but appreciated others too, so it was very inclusive and not cliquey – it was lots of fun.

kandq2 (1)

Have you thought about taking to the stage yourselves?

No we don’t perform – Good grief no – we leave it to the professionals! We know what we are good at and where our strengths are as organisers and producers, but not as performers. We do host the events, we welcome guests on the door and chat to everyone, Sarah comperes, Mark selects the playlists, but we leave the stagecraft to the people with the skills.

Where do you see ‘Kinky and Quirky’ heading in the next five years?

No idea! We just finished our first 5 years and wrote ‘Mission Accomplished’ at the end – who knows what will happen next!

If you could sum up your show in three words, what would those words be?

We decided to ask our customers this question on Facebook, here are some of the answers: – Best Night. EVER! -Glamorous, funny, welcoming.- Fan…Bloody….Tastic!! – Fun, Fabulous, Fashionable – By ‘ek luv – Not enough words? – Fab night out! – Almost another planet! – Kinky and Quirky – Amazing, entertaining, fun! – God, damn, awesome. – Truly memorable experience – Words Fail Me -old school fabulous!

Modern day burlesque is enjoyed by both men and women. Do you think they have different reasons for coming to the shows? What are your spectators’ reactions to your shows?

I think that initially they ‘may’ have different reasons to go to burlesque shows but a good burlesque show should keep both men and women coming back for the same reason: because it’s entertaining. A good burlesque show will have a real mix of performers, a dress code, a musical style and will create a unique ambience – at least 60% of an audience is made up of women which surprises many people. 9 times out of 10, new audience members are completely blown away by our shows and say it’s one of the best night’s out they have had for years – we aim to amuse, amaze, entertain, excite, bemuse, challenge and interact and we generally achieve those aims and exceed expectations!

KandQ3

What do you want your audiences to take away from your shows?

Fun times, smiles, good friends, phone numbers of interesting, like minded people, happy memories, ridiculous songs that are stuck in their heads for days, little silly thoughts that pop up whilst they’re at work, blisters from dancing, a sense of community…..

You also run a shop and studio in Torquay, called ‘A Kick up the Arts’, could you tell us a bit more about it?

Yes of course! Mark is a painter, and the shop is an outlet for his work and other young designers and makers. His work is very much inspired by his love of vintage and retro iconic images as well as classic styles of painting, and he wanted to find ways of creating art that was unique and gorgeous but still affordable. So in addition to painting portraits on canvas he also upcycles pieces of furniture and found objects – this is not shabby chic though, there is no chalk paint in pastel colours, it’s statement pieces for people who enjoy bold works. We also stock other people’s works that we think work well together so the shop has homewares, bags, accessories, cards and other awesome bits and pieces. It’s a real visual assault of colour!

What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative business?

Be as true to yourself as you can be, be the best you can be, be prepared to be ripped off, work hard and be nice to people. But don’t think the money will come rolling in because you are talented.

So, what did Stephanie think of the show…?

I had high expectations for my evening of burlesque with K&Q, as I had not heard a bad word about them. Intrigued, I went along to the Corn Exchange in Exeter to see what all the fuss was about. And Razz readers, I was not disappointed

Half an hour before the event had begun, the person I was due to go with cancelled! This meant I was going solo. Going alone was not something I was looking forward to, yet I needn’t have worried, as the lovely Jayne on the door ensured I was on a table with others rather than sitting on my own. So I joined in with a hen party who were great company and even led to this reviewer getting a free drink as well!

Hotcake Kitty

Before I digress further, I will inform you lovely blog readers of what performances took place. First up was a performer known as Hotcake Kitty, who entered the stage covered in balloons and teased the crowd by allowing some of them to pop the balloons, which was a great opening piece to the show and had the audience engaged from the beginning. After Hotcake Kitty’s eye-popping performance, it would be a tough act to follow, but Shirley Windmill held her own with her ‘Antonio’ act, where she is mourning over the loss of her lover. The act provided lots of laughter as she seamlessly went from singing to swinging her nipple tassels to the audience.

After this, we were introduced to Ginger Blush, who has recently been nominated for Best Burlesque Act at the London Cabaret Awards 2013, and surprised the audience by entering the stage in a hard hat, builders high-visibility jacket and tracksuit bottoms, which is not the first outfit you would think of for a burlesque performance. But Ginger Blush worked the outfit and had the audience eating out of her palm.

Ginger Blush

The final act of the first half was Kiki Kaboom, who describes herself as part clown and part sex kitten. She was also recently voted as one of the top 30 Worldwide and top 5 UK based performers by 21st century burlesque.com 2012. Her performance showed why she is deserving of such recognition as she provided an amusing and entertaining perspective on a Christmas hangover, and even managed to incorporate a sneaky drink of an audience member’s glass of wine in her performance!

The only thing I would change to this show is the length of the interval. It seemed particularly long, and I was itching to get proceedings under way and watch the next performance! However, during the interval I had the opportunity to cast my eye over the audience, and what struck me as unusual was how well dressed the audience were. Women wore vintage dresses and the men were also suited and booted in retro apparel. There was a vibrancy of colour, sequins and feather boas, which made the audience seem like they were part of the show as well.

Kiki Kaboom

If you want to know more about Hotcake Kitty, Shirley Windmill, Ginger Blush and Kiki Kaboom, then I suggest that you look these ladies up online! Also, a mention needs to go to the master of ceremonies, Sarah, who managed to entertain and control the crowd in order for each segment to run smoothly.

The show ended with the Original Street Dancers who weaved through the audience and performed a group dance, which managed to incorporate some Morris dancing; for the first time it seemed Morris dancing suddenly got sexy! Leaving the crowd wanting more the performances had ended, but the night had not yet finished, as it was time to don the dancing shoes and dance the remainder of the evening away with retro tunes blasting from the Corn Exchange’s speakers.

Shirley Windmill

If you are looking for something different to your average night out of clubbing or pubbing, Kinky and Quirky are the answer, as you will leave feeling that you have been entertained and a smile on your face.

Kinky and Quirky’s next show is at the Exeter Corn Exchange on April 13th 2013. To find out more information visit their Facebook or Twitter.

Written for Razz by Stephanie Cross.

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s