Archive for the News Category

Vaudeville Vignettes: Moulin Rouge

Posted in News on February 2, 2016 by joie

Moulin Rouge Photo by: Oliver Brucchez, Wikicommons

Over a century ago, a small cabaret was built in Paris. Located in Montmartre, this artistic landscape gave rise to what is now known as the world famous Moulin Rouge. Widely considered to be the birthplace of the Can-can dance this spot also gave inspiration to many artists. Painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned to make a series of posters for the venue and in exchange he was given a reserved a seat for the nightly shows. He continued to paint the dancers, the patrons, and the endless entertainment of those evenings. His vivid paintings still stand the test of time and provide a small glimpse of what the nightlife was like in the turn of the century.  (

The success of the Moulin Rouge is owed in large part to its founders, Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler, who envisioned a way to create a unique performance venue while attracting patrons from multiple social levels. The building was designed to accommodate multiple changes to the interior over a short period of time which allowed for a continuous flow of entertainment. When renovations to the building were conducted, the innovative design of the interior was at the forefront of the architect’s minds. In 1962, a giant aquarium was installed leading to Moulin Rouge presenting the first ever aquatic ballet.

Everyone from famous classical dancers to the Queen of jazz have graced the stage at the Moulin Rouge.The Moulin Rogue is still in operation today and maintains itself as a entertainment venue like no other. At over 125 years old, there is still life and energy in the walls. Performances run nightly and with a constant need for entertainers, maybe you too can one day grace the stage.

During a visit to Paris, a Dark Follies troupe member was able to attend a show in the famous cabaret house. Below, they reflect on their experiences.

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When a boa constrictor slithers out of a tank three feet away to look you right in the eyes, the typical response usually isn’t laughter and childish delight. This is just one example of how a show at the Moulin Rouge is unlike anything else in the world. Not only is there a woman who swims in a tank with boa constrictors, there are ventriloquists, a roller-skating duo with death-defying stunts, miniature ponies, comedy skits, and of course, the spectacular sequin-adored dancers. While the Moulin Rouge is a high end entertainment venue these days, the more humble variety show style and often bawdy origins of the show and venue are not forgotten, which gives the shows at the Moulin Rouge the uniquely anachronistic entertainment value which we Dark Follies seek to embody in our performances.

Back on his Feet: Silent Auction Items

Posted in News on August 19, 2015 by joie

We have some amazing items up for bid at the Back on his Feet benefit for Stephen Carpenter – take a look!  There is more to come…

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Back on his Feet: A benefit for Stephen Carpenter

Posted in News on August 3, 2015 by joie

There is a magic maker in need of our help…

Date:  August 21, 2015 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Location:  Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo Street, Portland, ME

Tickets:  $20.00 – Click Here to Purchase

event

Stephen Carpenter, Dark Follies’ music director, talented musician & carpenter, friend and person of generous heart was struck by a motor vehicle while out running on July 30th.  He was rushed to Maine Medical Center with life threatening injuries.  He has always been there to lend an hand, share his knowledge and extend his friendship.  He has touched so many in the music and dance world and now he needs our help.

On August 21st musicians, artists, dancers, performers, and more from around New England are coming together at Mayo Street Arts to host this fundraiser to help cover his medical bills and lost wages.

Come for an evening or art, music, dance and a silent auction to support this amazing man.

What a night this is going to be:

6:00pm – Doors Open! Get your first silent auction bids in!

6:30 – 7:15 (Act 1) – Some Acoustic, Some Eclectic

Emma & Laura – Argentine Tango
Jonathan Cooper
Anabee – masked dance
Eddy Dyer – acoustic awesomeness
Skatha – dark theatrical belly dance

7:15 – 7:45 Break – check on your bids! Have a drink! Munch some tasty treats!

7:45 – 8:30 PM (Act 2) – Middle Eastern Journey

Naya’s Trance Belly Dance
“We Love Steve!” Percussion Ensemble w/Rosa Noreen
Belleme – Cabaret Belly Dance
Spoonmakers Diamond w/Baseema
Zapion w/Heather Powers & Nabintu
We Got This (Joie & Stephen student belly dance troupe)

8:30 – 9PM- Break – Get those final bids in!

9:00 – 9:45 -(Act 3) Dark Follies

With performances by:

Calamity Cait, Miss Polly, Lord Maxwell, Solange. Madam Sinclair, Moria
Magdalene, Lady Selcouth, Bella Lisa and the Dark Follies (not just) Rhythm Orchestra!

9:45 – 10:00 – Announcement of Silent Auction winners

 

“Steve is always there with a smile to help–in fact he’s helped with ALL of the Bright Star studio moves, installed our mirrors multiple times, made our dressing room, put up our ballet barre, and more… As a musician, he always helps make the dancers’ jobs easier, being a welcoming presence who knows how to make a dancer shine. So let’s shine bright for him!”  – R. Noreen

Steampunk: A brief history…

Posted in News on May 4, 2015 by joie

You may have seen Steampunk elements around and not been entirely sure of what you were looking at. Maybe you saw a person dressed up in goggles and a top hat covered in gears and thought it looked cool, but didn’t know more than the look may have been aesthetically pleasing to you. The style is heavily inspired by the steam powered machinery found in the 19th century. Many of the gadgets, outfits, and stories revolve around the idea of steam power being used to power the objects the way electricity is currently used. Instead of machines being plugged in, Steampunk crafters redesign common items imagining them being powered by alternative means.

The term “Steampunk” was coined in the 1980’s by a science fiction author named K. W. Jeter to describe his work. Other authors began working with the term and the word began to pick up steam, pun intended. For those familiar with the works of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne, both of those classic authors are often referenced as steampunk ideals. Before they even had the word, both wrote of fictional and fantastical machinery now common to the genre.

Steampunk is also an all encompassing term which can be narrowed to specific niches. When it comes to time periods and setting, steampunk can transcend limits. There is everything from Western influenced steampunk to post-apocalyptic. Although rooted in science fiction, steampunk has also crossed into both the horror and fantasy genres. Common elements uniting different aspects of steampunk involve using metals such as brass or iron. This helps give steampunk a certain “look” of being polished while still having a gritty edge to it.

Recently, there have been events popping up all across the globe to celebrate Steampunk. Events boast everything from steampunk musicians, vendors and artisans inspired by the era, different activities such as balls or facial hair competitions, to professionals trained in classic sword-work. Dark Follies is proud to join in the festivities at Watch City this coming weekend in Waltham, MA. This all day event returns filled with interactive activities and entertainment for the whole family. Dark Follies will be performing at Embassy Park at Noon, so brush off your top hat and come say “Hi”. More information can be found at http://www.watchcityfestival.com/.

 

 

~ Madame Sinclair

May 16th – Dark Follies Community Variety Show

Posted in News on April 2, 2015 by joie

Photo – Dr. Payne

Date: May 16, 2015 – 8PM

Location: Mayo Street Arts, 10 May Street, Portland, Maine

Tickets: $15 advance/$20 door

 

Dark Follies is emerging from its winter hibernation to bring a new show to you!  We’ve been working very hard through those long, cold and dark nights. We are delighted to share this community variety show with you.

Joining us will be special guests:

Lexi GoGo

The Mighty Scavenger

Nabintu

Vivian Vice vintage belly dance

Musical guest Barbara Truex

And of course some of your Follies favorites Lady Selcouth, Solange, Madam Sinclair, PJ Buster. The Dark Follies Fairy Tale Players and music by the Dark Follies Not Just Rhythm Orchestra.

There will be flow, comedy, swords, choose your own fairy tales, dance, juggling and more of what makes Dark Follies the show you have come to love.

Vaudeville Vingettes: The Original Rabbit’s Foot Company

Posted in News on March 5, 2015 by joie

The Original Rabbits Foot Company

        A very specific Vaudeville show toured the south in Vaudeville’s golden age. This company toured all throughout the south and was responsible for paving the way for future entertainers. Pat Chappelle was an African-America performer and businessman from Jacksonville, Florida. With his background in entertainment, he opened the first black-owned theater in the South which was called Excelsior Hall and sat 500 audience members.

With his partner R.S. Donaldson, they came up with an idea to create a traveling vaudeville show

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

with all African-American performers. In an age where hotels would sometimes not allow a person of color to stay the night even if they were a member of a traveling show, this was a bold mission. The partners commissioned a writer, Frank Dumont, and set to accomplish this feat on their own terms. What they hoped to accomplish was also no small show.

With up to 75 performers of all ages, the company traveled with their own train cars and performed both on stages as well as in tents across the south. The traveling circuit ran between 12-14 weeks a year and would sometimes draw parades in the cities they visited. The shows later would include week long performances in a major cities and also created another traveling company called the Funny Folks Comedy Company. Performers would flow between the two shows leading to variety for every show.

The performers included a wide variety of acts and skill levels. From opera singers to aerialists to dancers, there were acts to entertain everyone.

The show encountered several setbacks in their years, including an instance where a horse’s stray kick began a fire destroying several carriages. With the show traveling from the southwest all the way to Coney Island, The Rabbit’s Foot was a resounding success. The traveling show lasted until 1911, when Chappelle passed away from illness.

An Evening with Shayfer James, Dark Follies & Friends

Posted in News on February 25, 2015 by joie

ShayferWhen: Monday, March 9th at 8:00pm (doors 7:30)
Where: Bull Feeney’s, 375 Fore Street, Portland
Cost: No cover. Donations to support independent artists will be gratefully received

RSVP

We are absolutely tickled to announce that Shayfer James is coming to Maine and will be making a stop in Portland to share his music and charm with all of us!!!

The evening will also feature performances by members of Portland’s street vaudeville troupe Dark Follies and spoken word by Portland poet Samuel Hunter Mercer. There may a few more surprises too!

This evening will have something for everyone!

Shayfer James: 

“Shayfer James weaves surprisingly genuine musical landscapes that evoke the gauzy, sweaty sexuality of gulf-coast barrooms but also the fantastical, narcotic mysticism of a Lewis Carroll-inspired three-ring circus. The swill and splashy barroom pound of the ivories is central here, along with clattering percussion, and of course, James’s own wildly theatrical vocals..” – Never Learned To Swim – 2/2012

Dark Follies: 

Dark Follies is an award winning vaudeville style variety show based in Portland, Maine. Family friendly while still keeping an edge, Dark Follies features the live music of the Dark Follies Rhythm Orchestra, dancing, juggling, side show acts, fire performers and more.

Born of a love of street theater, vaudeville and a desire to create a space to showcase the performance talent present in Portland’s goth community, Dark Follies began bringing its special brand of street Vaudeville to life in the dark hours of Portland’s summer First Friday Art Walk nights in the Autumn of 2008.

Sam Mercer: 

Sam Mercer is an Ohio raised, Maine based poet. He writes about depression, superheroes, and sobriety. He drinks too much coffee, smokes too many cigarettes, and dreams of dinosaurs. He has competed at the National Poetry Slam with Slam Free or Die and Port Veritas, and represented Portland at the 2013 Individual World Poetry Slam. He’d love to talk to you about nuclear bombs, dragons, or the expanse of nothingness that is the universe.

 

Vaudeville Vignettes: Working Through the Winter

Posted in News on February 3, 2015 by joie
DFSmiles
Photo by Dreamcatcher Photography ME

Vaudeville Vignettes: Working Through the Winter
by Madame Sinclair

Through the magic of winter, i.e., stuck inside because of a blizzard, we’ve been busy working on new material for our upcoming performances. Some members of Dark Follies also made time to work on a variety of interesting side projects during these frigid winter months. Let’s take a peek behind the veil and see what some of the Follies have been up to.

Nikki Starcat Shields is three-quarters of the way through writing an urban fantasy/mystery novel called “Patterns in the Void.” It’s about what happens when members of a performance troupe begin to go missing…

Solange traveled the world in 80 days!! She got hung up for about 40 days in Spain. It’s a long story…..

Stephen Carpenter spent the winter doing facial hair intensive workshops. With daily practice, his facial hair is now able to play the Dumbek by itself allowing Stephen to play a second instrument at the same time.

Miss Polly‘s cousin Bunny the Stage Mime made a couple appearances with Vivid Motion’s Burlesque shows.

Scavenger may or may not have sailed aboard a dirigible into the jungles of the hollow earth. He is currently looking for sausage recipes and eyeing his meat grinder lovingly.

Madame Sinclair traveled great distances in her time machine/Prius this winter to meet up with the wild kittens of the Midwest.

Mistress Selcouth spent her winter in a far away arctic artist’s retreat writing new acts for the show, learning to shiver in rhythm and contemplating the sound of one zil ringing.

Mar 13 – Friday the 13th with Dark Follies!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2015 by joie
Photo by Dr Payne

Photo by Dr Payne

What: Friday the 13th with Dark Follies!

When: Friday, March 13, 8PM

Where: Mayo Street Arts Center, 10 Mayo St, Portland, ME

Cost: $15 advance/$20 door Get Tickets !

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Dark Follies is emerging from winter hibernation to bring a new show to you. While we can’t guarantee that it will lift a curse or banish the evil eye, it certainly will make you forget your troubles for an evening and leave you feeling thoroughly entertained.

Join us on Friday, March 13th to see an all new Choose Your Own Fairy Tale, a pirate romance with a twist, flow delights, comedic adventure and soulful serenades. All with live music of the Dark Follies (not just) Rhythm Orchestra.

Performances by Lady Selcouth, PJ Buster, Scavenger, Miss Polly, Lord Maxwell, Solange, Lady Maxine, Bella Lisa, Madame Sinclair and Kait-ma!

 

Facebook Event

Friday the 13th with Dark Follies

 

Oct 3-5 – Dark Follies @ Harvest Ball

Posted in News on October 2, 2014 by joie

Kait-Ma2012What: Dark Follies @ Harvest Ball

When: Oct 3-5, 2014

Where: 45 Abijah Hill Rd, Starks, ME

Cost: See registration for details.

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Join us on Harry’s Hill during this weekend of fire, Follies, and freedom. We’ll be supporting our fire-spinning friends, offering inspiring classes, and parading with our vaudeville flare. Make sure to share an “OO-SKA-DUR!” with all your Dark Follies favorites.

Born of a love of street theater and a desire to bring together the talent in Portland’s goth community, Dark Follies began bringing its special brand of street vaudeville to life during Portland’s First Friday Art Walks in Autumn of 2008. Over the next six years we have produced multiple stage shows and have performed around the northeast at the Cape Cod Festival of Magic, The Steampunk World’s Fair, The Watch City Festival and the Shelburne Museum. Dark Follies has won Best Street Performer in the Portland Phoenix Best of Portland Awards three times (2011, 2012, & 2014).

 

Facebook Event

(10/3) Introduction to Flow Fans with Brigid of Dark Follies at Harry Brown’s Farm

Facebook Event

(10/4) Freedom Belly Dance with Selcouth of Dark Follies at Harry Brown’s Farm