Friday, May 28, 2010

A chance favourite: Fionn Kidney

I had the recent pleasure of working with photographer and innovator Fionn Kidney who has been a kind of muse to my interest in and work regarding 'new media'. He took this picture of me during a shoot for the ever playful Midnight Burlectro show in the Sugar Club (12th June is the next show).

The photo is an unexpected new favourite of mine and Fionn even made me a gift of a beautiful print too. I love high legged leotards... Check out that white thigh!

Also, note the similarity to Laura Sheeran's E.P. cover posted here... unintentional of course.

Blackbird's Tattooed Lady

So at last, some explanations! For those of you who hadn't the pleasure of witnessing the live explanation, the big reveal, the circus for sinner's and my own avian debut... (which number debut is that again? haha! A chameleon has many guises and each has it's first outing...)

Firstly, I could not have made manifest this daft idea without the help of three seriously talented artists, one industrial designer, two gorgeous gimps, a generous lady and her fans, a terrific cook, a red-headed critic with a good eye for performance and a host of people to support me along the way.

Here's how it went:
After the initial meeting with artist Sarah Sheil which I posted about here, it became clear that one artist would not be able to cover a body with elaborate tattoos in less than one day. So I recruited two other splendid young talents, Julia Duff and Stephen Ryan Coffee.

We spent all day working, but Stephen had the insight to use tracing paper which saved us loads of time. I think it took about 9 hours in total:

Laura Sheeran was a total legend on the day (and night of the show)! She was a huge support, full of enthusiasm and most generously cooked dinner for everyone after all our hard work.

And of course, the MACHINE. I don't have a photo to show you of the marvelous machine or it's maker at the moment, that will come later.
I met up with Luan weeks before the show, when I was still figuring out if my idea was do-able. I've definitely made some sort of mad-inventor alliance with Luan, he is my ideal technical playmate. The day we met he was preparing to give a presentation on these surgical tools he had been busy inventing, what a legend!

So he set to work on the rotating platform. There were a few technical hitches along the way, and at one stage we weren't sure if it was going to work, but in the end it worked a treat!

I posted about it here: this was the original lid (thanks to my Dad for this one), the rotating pedestal upon which the tattooed lady would be displayed! In the end though, when Luan went to build the machine (underneath the lid) he forgot his measurements so he quickly made a replacement platform, phew!

I experimented with a number of ways to decorate the platform, but in the end I took advice from Mom and her chakra influences: orange is the colour of joy, enthusiasm, and creativity and promotes a sense of wellness, and it's compatible balancing colour is blue for creative identity, expression, communication, faith in oneself and trust in others. And yellow for personal power, abundance, courage and self-confidence. I think yellow and gold are also colours which protect...

The finished pedastal can be seen clearly in Christian Talbot's photo, which captured the event (see below).

Thanks also to my beautiful and gorgeously performative boot boys Mr. Torso and Mr. Legs (or as Armitage Shanks accidentally labeled them on the night, Captain Torso and Captain Legs). I have some great photos of us rehearsing, but I think the anonymity may appeal to the gimps, haha!

Here are some photos that Christian Talbot took of the performance on the night.

Check out the chakra friendly pedestal of wonder! Thanks Luan you genius!

And the grand finale!

We actually managed to convince some people that I was an authentic tattooed lady which was pretty entertaining for me since that was the desired effect: as I dipped into my bucket for the offending sponge I heard a woman exclaim, "no way", and when Julia and Sarah wailed "noooooooooo!!!" from the back of the room I scrubbed with sudden glee as all their hard work trickled away in a mess of paint and water. Oh the pleasure!

Lastly, I conceived of these red pointed pasties (well they were actually inspired by the BBC Underground series "Private London", available from Lazer on Georges St.) especially for this act and had them made by the innovative and talented Ruby DeMure. They are now the Blackbird signature pastie! Very exciting indeed... more to come!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


After a hectic weekend, with Sinner's Circus as absolute success on Friday night (watch for forthcoming blog!), I am just swooping in for a brief update on Avanti Maria!'s UK tour happening this week.

So far the Avanti will be bring our own brand of Catholic noise to Ladyfest Oxford on the 14th and FAG Club in Bristol on the 18th. More dates may be added to the bill so keep watch here on our myspace page!

We'll be joined with the amazing Newtown and Ducklingmonster!

Also, I will have another tape under my belt upon my return, the going to be amazing Avanti Maria! "Catholic Glitch" E.P. / Album with beautiful inlay artwork - some of which I will share with you now:

Avanti Maria!

note: Catholic Glitch was a term that myself and Angeline came up with - that magical mixture between Catholic guilt and kitch... oh my heart!

In the meantime, while you all (I'm sure) are waiting impatiently for our Dublin/ Irish dates to be confirmed for July - that's right July 2010 - here are some appropriately Catholic kitch websites of extreme interest...

Amazing electro pop music by two Australian Nun's - "Songs to Ignite the spirit/ Fire of God's Love" LP with free streaming:

And New Zealand's Virgin in a condom:

Now... let's WROCK!