Smoke & Mirrorcles

Well m’dears after a not so great week with a big cup of anxietea I got the absolute pleasure of witnessing one of the greatest performances I’ll see for years to come!

Sasha Velour is truly one of a kind when it comes to performance and the art of drag.

Her theatrical masterpiece Smoke and Mirrors is filled to the brim with innovative lip-syncs, inspirational conversations – where you feel as though she is talking directly to you and only you and wondrous storytelling that truly does take your breath away.

Like so many others from all over the stratosphere Sasha has been positively my favourite queen since her rise to fame from winning season 9 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. The way she expressed herself through her costumes and uncanny portrayal of Marlene Dietrich on the shows Snatch Game challenge – I knew (again like so many others) she was not only going to win… But she was going to walk sashay away a star!

And that she most certainly is!

Her first lip-sync for Smoke and Mirrors really set the tone for the entire show and my goodness! After one performance I was already floored, not actually on the floor because that’d be gross. She created a performance around one of my all-time favourite Sia songs Cellophane. A song which isn’t released, so it well and truly caught me by surprise! A combination of screens and cleverly timed projections allows her to turn a one-woman show into almost a five women show starring just her. Can you say genius? If not, I can. GENIUS!!

Sasha made it no secret that she’s a dab hand when it comes to photoshop, but seeing someone create an entire show around what they can do with an adobe product. It just shows that the limits are endless! Especially when it comes to creating a show!

Watching her as she bared her heart and soul on stage filled me with elation! Performing a magic trick by sawing a version herself in half, to then appear in the costume that the other version of herself was wearing and seeing the joy in her face as she gathers her thoughts before performing one of the most iconic songs in herstory Come Rain or Come Shine by the immortal Judy Garland; in the same theatre where she once performed that very song. She not only did this with such style but she reminds us that she has exceptional comic timing too, all this whilst accompanied by perfectly timed puddles and storm clouds!

I think it’s safe to say that Judy Garland would have been immensely proud.  

I myself felt spoiled rotten! I was treated to an evening of Barbra, Bassey and that iconic Whitney Houston performance! Yes, it was emotional thank you for asking! (if you know, you know)

Yet amidst all this splendour she takes to the microphone to connect with us. Talking about battling with her own demons, struggling with depression and anxiety and how she found strength through her identity and performance (if you think this all really hit home with me, you betcha’ it did). Opening up about her wonderful mother the extraordinary Mama Velour, a woman who taught Sasha that “life is better when you express your gender with a little fluidity” and her beautiful bald head is homage to her. Mama Velour may sadly not be with us anymore, but her presence was definitely in the room with Sasha!  

The whole experience is therapeutic and stirs within your soul. I’m surprised that my partner hasn’t asked me to stop talking about it yet, to say it left a lasting impression on me is an understatement.  

She graciously thanked each and every one of us for being there and for supporting queer arts and the community, but it’s us who should be thanking you Sasha!

Drag is art and I’m so glad it’s bigger than ever before.    

Sadly due to the corona virus her tour has had to be postponed, however when she returns to conquer Europe please buy tickets! Go; support her, her wonderful show and more importantly queer arts!

As she said, “this is drag. All you need is a little drama.”  

Sasha Velour Image: Photography Copyright Jeff Eason (Source: Billboard)

NYCC, Mr Lee & Me

If you know me and my penchant for all things nerdy, then you’ll know going to comic conventions is the epitome of what I’d call heaven.

Going to New York is also my idea of heaven and my partner knows this all too well.

So imagine my sheer delight when he contacts me at work to tell me that he managed to score Friday and Saturday passes to New York Comic Con (held every year at the Javits Centre), myfirst ever convention outside of the UK! Well it gave us the incentive to return to our favourite city (as if I’d need a reason!) Mr Lee had been to NYCC a fair few times before, so luckily was able to fully prepare me for not only the size of the convention centre itself, but advise me how chock-a-block (apologies, I mean crowded) it could get and believe me, coming from conventions in the UK nothing can prepare you for the vastness of NYCC!

It was strange because the first thing I experienced wasn’t even at the convention centre itself; it was a few blocks away in another venue and I was awe struck. Mainly because the comic con practically takes over the city and I’ve never seen that happen with a convention before. In London, apart from the shopping bags that are a dead giveaway that you’ve been to comic con, for the most part it’s pretty contained. In New York City, the entire of New York City knows.       

So my first taste of comic con in New York brought me to the main stage at the Hammerstein Ballroom, for a panel I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever get to witness.

SpongeBob Appreciation Day, a panel where the cast and creatives of SpongeBob Squarepants not only have a chinwag about how fantastic the show is but also do a live table read of one of the episodes.

Everyday is SpongeBob appreciation day…

Right there, in front of my face.

I died.

Ok dramatic, I didn’t quite do that… But I did cry upon leaving said main stage. Yes, 30 years old me cried because I got to see Tom Kenny (aka SpongeBob) perform the iconic chortle more than once and my 10 year old self was living a childhood dream. Things like that just don’t happen to people like me and that was only my first taste of what was to come, from a jam-packed two days of my nerdy dreamlike state.

Well I proceeded to cry another 2 times, didn’t I? This was over the course of our time at comic con, due to meeting people and attending panels that were making me pinch myself every two seconds, such as my childhood hero Sean Astin and the incomparable Rick Baker (I mean… That right there? GOALS… And that’s just to name a few!)

But aside from the guests, what amazed me about a convention that I suppose from the outset can be seen as someone’s worst nightmare if you have anxiety; it is insanely busy and there’s no  real quiet spot to take a breather, the queue’s for the toilets are constant and the food can be very expensive.

But you know what? I have never felt so at home.

Honestly. There was this feeling of radiating joy from everyone I came into contact with. Everyone around me was extremely kind, polite and so happy to be in this place of utter happiness! I got to meet new people and connect with friends, such as my pal Andre who I’d not seen in a while because he lives so far away. Also, the amount of people who asked if I was going to cosplay whilst there… Now there’s a good reason why I didn’t do this, because THE COSPLAY’S ARE FLIPPING INSANE!! Are you kidding me? If I want to even contemplate cosplay somewhere such as NYCC I seriously need to up my sewing game and soonish! The level of creativity and detail to people’s costumes is quite simply put- something else; it’s on a whole other planet and I just thoroughly enjoyed marvelling (ahem) at people’s hard work. It was beautiful to witness what people had created in person.  

I already know that Mr Lee and I will be returning to NYCC without a shadow of a doubt, and I’m already looking into it for next year.

Some people may say that Disneyland is the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’, but I think it’s fair to say New York Comic Con might be mine.  

I’m nerdy & I Know it!

Afternoon darlings!

Now something I’ve not really gone into detail about on this blog (yet) is that I’m a MASSIVE nerd (and very comfortable with being called such) and right now one of the greatest annual events known to humanity is currently taking place, San Diego Comic Con (SDCC for short). I do realise that by just simply stating I’m a nerd that it can sound quite generic, as I geek out about many things! Fashion, musical theatre, movie scores and Liza Minnelli – just to pick out a random few! However, my love for comic book/sci-fi/fantasy nerd culture is something that’s been deeply rooted in my soul for as long as I can remember. Watching classic Wonder Woman with the iconic Lynda Carter and discovering my love of Patrick Stewart as none other than Jean Luc Picard with my mum, my utter obsession with The Goonies and Beetlejuice (both of which are still going strong by the way, thank you for asking) and as I got into my teenage years I fell head over heels in love with The Lord of the Rings.

(Not to mention everything else, this is merely the cusp of my geekiness!)

But I know what you’re thinking “Quinn, are you feeling ok hun? You seem to have left Star Wars off the list” Heck no! It’s common knowledge that I bloomin’ adore Star Wars.

As always I digress! As I was growing into an image conscious teen, I don’t know about you but I began to notice the lack of clothing options available especially if you were like me and knew you were different. At this time (as you may recall me mentioning) I was an alternative teenager with a penchant for Tim Burton inspired stripes and a severe lack of colour within my wardrobe. I had to make do with jeans (with the widest legs I could find) from Tammy Girl and an array of HMV t-shirts that were extremely ill-fitting and although unisex definitely weren’t meant for shapely hips like mine (do remember that in the year 2000 there was no Primark m’dears!) In my hometown the only other option was a shop called Kinda Majik, and no there’s no spelling mistake. This was your goth/alternative store, and I frequented here as again there was not much else available. A case of needs must!  

Fast forward to now, 2019 and nerd girl clothing is much more than just a galaxy far, far away! Most importantly we have brands such as Her Universe and Loungefly. These brands truly understand what it means to be a nerd, a geek and a fangirl (if you will)! You can be all of these things and do it in style; it’s exactly why the amazing lady behind Her Universe developed the brand in the first place. Ashley Eckstein is a wonderful actress both on screen and in the voice-over booth. Every year she holds the Her Universe fashion show at San Diego Comic Con unveiling new geek couture and uniting those that want to transfer their love of nerd culture and put it in their everyday wardrobe.

Like Her Universe, Loungefly is nerd chic through and through! However they specialise in accessories. I first discovered this brand in early 2015 (instantly fell in love, obviously) but soon learned I could only buy their items if I ventured to the US, which lucky for me I did and made my first purchase without hesitation! They basically had me at “Star Wars purse”. Their bags and purses are now available everywhere from Disneyland Paris and the Disney Store, and websites such as Zavvi and Truffle Shuffle. Her Universe has yet to make the bigger transition to the UK and believe me; I’m waiting for the day with my star wars purse in hand.

Its brands like these that can make you feel empowered and truly represented, because I believe how your able to freely express yourself is important. Although I identified as Goth and wore that very much on my sleeve… and the rest of my body for that matter, underneath that veneer was my true self bursting at the seams. I chose hide that part and lock it away in my teenage bedroom, where it was safe. Yet that’s the part of me that has always remained a constant, as the Goth exterior surely enough faded away as soon as I left high school and entered college. I suppose I hid that huge part of myself away to not give kids another hundred reasons to bully and tease me; especially when those ‘things’ meant so much to me and helped me to escape. Although teasing me for whom I was and things I couldn’t change hurt, weirdly I knew teasing me for what I had utter love and admiration for would hurt so much more.

Now I wear my favourite movie properties and cartoons as a fashion statement and a symbol of just how proud I am to be a nerd.

Chinwag time! Are you a little bit geeky about something? If so, let’s have a geek out together!