Steampunk is a fictional retrospective, futuristic design style that exists in movies, role-playing games and books more than it does, or ever did, in reality. But the image of anarchic inventors in a steam-powered automobile with precision ocular devices is too good to just ignore.
“Clockwork Butterfly” described itself as a “steampunk extravaganza” combining musical hall vaudeville, burlesque and a fashion show. Miss Ixia, the mistress of ceremonies and graphic designer, had the extensive lexicological vocabulary of the musical hall. The acts were enjoyable especially the illusions and prestidigitations of Madotti and Vega, Missy’s pole dancing, Antonia belly dancing, and Sarina Del Fuego’s “time in motion” burlesque act was the perfect end for a clockwork butterfly.
Miss Ixia introducing the Clockwork Butterfly
Interspacing the acts were parades of fashion. The clothes started with daywear and beachwear (something that you would never see at a goth fashion show) and moved on into eveningwear. Alex Chambers, assisted by Courtney Webber, designed all the clothes including the costumes of the performers, which give the spectacle consistency. The models showed great personality and professionalism. The whole show was a bit like I imagine an Alexander McQueen fashion show would have been like, a beautiful, visual circus of theatrical clothes.
The venue of the Thornbury Theatre provided an excellent backdrop to the “Clockwork Butterfly” with its arched ceiling complete with chandelier and gilded Victorian plasterwork.
Steampunk, for Alex Chambers, is like a neo-Victorian version of goth fashion with a different colour palette and different accessories. Toffee, caramel and umber replace the black, emerald green and ruby of the goth palette. Goggles, parasols and top hats replace the gauntlets, chains and studs of the goth world. Brass replaces chrome steel. And button-up boots with Louis heels replace platform boots. Cotton, linen and leather replace PVC.
The fantasy of steampunk style in constructing a futuristic Victorian era is informed by the time lags in history where people can live in the past, the present or the future. And every era creates its versions of the past, present and future.
1 Comment | tags: burlesque, fashion show, Goth, Melbourne Fringe Festival, neo-Victorian, steampunk, Thornbury | posted in Culture Notes, Fashion
“Post No Bills” is a small exhibition of posters from the City of Melbourne Art & Heritage Collection at Melbourne City Hall. It features two large art noueveau posters for electricity, posters for WWII food appeals, a poster from a WWII brothel and an appeal to “Kill that Rat”. It was mostly a history exhibition but did have a slideshow of contemporary posters. And it completely ignored the paste-up street-art posters.
“The Streets of Melbourne” was a three-day program of street performances mostly around Fed Square. I saw a bit of Circus Trick Tease and other acts, the usual street circus acts, with a big build up to a rather ordinary acrobatics.
“The Streets of Melbourne” had a small program of public art installations. Sugar Art by Pip & Pop (Nicole Andrijevic and Tanya Schultz) was typical of many installations that I have seen in the last year creating a scatter of miniature island worlds, this time in sugar candy and plastic toys. “IMAG_NE” by Emma Anna was proving popular with people taking snapshots of friends sitting in the “I” position. (I have previously reviewed her “Dear Indigo exhibition at BSG in 2008.)
This official festival was ignoring the other art and entertainment on the streets of Melbourne the buskers, the street artists and the protesters. The Anonymous protest against Scientology’s tax-exempt status was certainly entertaining and visually appealing. What they lacked in numbers the masked Anonymous protesters made up for in style. Guy Fawkes masks copied from Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta” graphic novel and Goth clothing were the de rigueur. A protester carried portable amplifiers playing music. It is important to be more entertaining and better dressed than the cult that you are opposing.
Anonymous Anti-Scientology Protest Flinders St. 10/1/09
It was also the first protest that I have ever seen that provided a 7-minute, free DVD to explain what their position. I happily signed their petition and watched them proceed on their merry way. No cult/religion/business deserves tax-exempt status just because they have some unprovable beliefs and a militant membership.
Leave a comment | tags: Goth, Guy Fawkes, Melbourne, posters, protest, public art, Scientology | posted in Culture Notes