Burlesque in the Blitz – a CoppaFeel! Charity Event

Here I am, flaunting my amazing feather fan!

As I unravelled my exquisitely styled hair (Alex Wand sure did groom us to perfection), carefully peeled away the elaborate Eyelure false lashes that my friend Helen had so delicately applied, and baby wiped the remnants of my rouge lipstick, I felt complete and utter serenity when reflecting on the lovely evening that had been enjoyed by all. Burlesque in the Blitz could not have gone more perfectly, and I can’t wait to tell you all what happened.

Me and my friend Lisa - another charity dancer - before the show, after Alex had worked her magic on our hair!

Upon arriving at Blue with a bare face and casual hair, Alex Wand, a southern hair stylist that has recently relocated to Liverpool, worked her magic and transformed my loose blonde locks into a retro accessory all of their own. Within moments of scooping and manouvering small sections, Alex managed to create an elegant up do that was loose and sexy but secure for my performance. Keeping to the 1940s theme, she included lots of swirls and loops at the front and sides and gathered the remainder of my hair into a sweet little bun at the side. A friend of the Pillbox Vintage ladies, Alex is such a lovely girl with a good sense of humour, and I would recommend her to anyone that is looking for an extra special style. (And for any students that may be reading, her prices are very reasonable too!)

From left to right, these are my friends Jess and Kelly. Jess kindly came along to help us all with our make up, and Kelly was a charity performer who can belt one hell of a tune! She wore this cute Pillbox Vintage nautical number for the first half of the evening before resuming her hosting/singing duties.

With help and reassurance from the Canary Cage’s Kelly, we welcomed our acts as they arrived and began to chat away as well all squeezed to find a spot in the nearby mirrors. Having reserved us a lovely section of the venue with a chic curtain divide, the stockings and bras that flew around the place were carefully concealed from prying eyes.

Myself and Twinkle Starr finding a quick moment to pose in between sound checking!

First to arrive was the lovely Twinkle Starr, a burlesque dancer who’s chic style has resulted in her upcoming appearances in seasons of Britain’s Got Talent and Got to Dance. She was here to perform her Nazi Spy act, and obliged cheerily as I enquired about how she got into the burlesque scene (by ‘enquired’ I mean sought advice and guidance eagerly)!

Gem and I pre-show, channelling our burlesque alter-egos.

A little while later came the cheeky Gem de la Creme. After meeting her outside and proceeding to take her downstairs to the venue, the ice was instantantly broken as I fell flat onto my knees after having missed the bottom few steps. (I’m fairly positive that any of you know me well will have a hilarious visual. For those of you that don’t, this is the kind of CLASSIC situation I manage to land myself in all the time). Whether it was down to this moment or not I could not tell you, but my evening with Gem was full of laughs galore and I really enjoyed her company.

The ravishing Danielle and heavenly handsome Paul, mixing up the costumes and bringing some Vogue to the blitz

Amidst the chaos of performers getting ready upstairs, our models and 1940s starlets began greeting guests downstairs. Clad in the finest Pillbox Vintage garments, they added to the blitz atmosphere and were on hand to serve with a smile.

"The sun is shining, come on, get happy..." Heather adding some sparkle to the stage in her Stop Staring dress

With moments to spare, the beautiful Heather Marie arrived in time to start the show in style. After I had welcomed the audience and told them all about CoppaFeel! and founder Kristin’s journey, she brought her bubbly persona and warm aura to a smooth and soulful performance. Performing 1940s classics, she set the tone for the entire evening, and by the end of her sweetly sung numbers everyone in the room had been transported to times gone by. Heather is truly lovely girl with a voice to die for.

Gem missing the plants with the watering can...

Next up came Gem de la Creme who was premiering her Landgirl routine. Taking to the stage in a navy boiler suit, she performed a playful skit that began with her watering some flowers and naughtily splashing herself. Pretty soon Gem was embracing her curves and had teased us all the way down to a tiny pair of knickers and a pair of nipple tassles. She really encouraged all of us to love our bodies.

"We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when"...

Following these lovely ladies was Twinkle Starr and her ‘Nazi Spy’ routine – a cheeky number in which she stripped off her swastica clad costumes to reveal that she was secretly on the other side of the battle. She finished her routine with a jazzy rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

L-R: Lisa, Twinkle Starr, the Swingaroo Sisters, Kelly and Me

Before we knew it the interval had arrived, leaving myself, Kelly and Lisa with only moments to spare before our performances! After a quick costume change and a lot of 7up (we were wild up there, weren’t we?) we welcomed the Swingaroo Sisters who had travelled from Preston to be with us and headed downstairs for their performances.

A cheeky pic of the Swingaroo ladies mid warm up!

Clad in beige military skirt-suits, complete with adorable army hats, the ladies belted out a number of war-time tunes and their impeccable harmonies were true to their claim of as being ‘tight as a girdle’. Energising the crowds, they performed old time war favourites and mixed it up with modern numbers such as Christina Aguilera’s Candyman.

Erdington's Finest!

Drum roll please… It was time for Lucky Eustace and Goldie Daly to take the stage for the penultimate performance. Lisa and I, having used a complicated burlesque-name-finder that we could never possibly reveal, fanned our feathers and strutted our stuff to a little Dita Von Teese number.

A superstar in the making...

Finishing the show with sass and class was everyone’s favourite American export Kelly Jenkins. With a beautiful rendition of ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, Kelly even managed to bring a little bit of The Notebook to the evening, which incidentally mirrored Kristin’s interview answer of citing Ryan Gosling (aka Noah) as her dream husband! 

And now for a very long thank you list…

·Katy and Nadia Moussaada at Pillbox Vintage for a coffee that turned into a brainstorm!

·Kelly at the Canary Cage for all of her help in finding our burlesque acts and providing technical assistance on the evening – don’t forget her Jingle Belles extravaganza on Tuesday 7th December.

·Nicki from Off My Cake for providing delectable treats that tantalised the taste buds of all present.

·Lisa McNicholas and Kelly Jenkins for bravely selling their souls in the name of CoppaFeel!

·Alex Wand for providing all of our acts with electric hairstyles and a few giggles along the way.

·Emma Huckerby and Helen Weatherhead for so gracefully and glamorously attending to their front of house duties.

·Jess Akino for her expertise in the make-up and cosmetics.

·Danielle Caveney and Paul McEvoy for bringing their ravishing good looks and impeccable style to enrich the atmosphere of the evening.

·Sarah Smith for her innate retro beauty and charming way with the guests.

·And finally to Kristin Hallenga, founder of CoppaFeel!, without who’s incredibly catchy charity ideals we may never have been able to confabulate such an extravagant evening.

Thank you so much to all of our friends and family who were in attendance, and I hope very much that we see you at more of the events!

 Please remember to spread awareness for www.coppafeel.org!

Here’s what the PRESS had to say about Burlesque in the Blitz…

9th November 2010

CoppaFeel’s official Facebook fan page – many thanks to Kristen.
10th November 2010
Burlesque in the Blitz on CoppaFeel!

Click Liverpool
10th November 2010

Liverpool Magazine Online
10th November 2010

LSMedia, the University of Liverpool’s student magazine
11th November 2010

The Canary Cage
11th November 2010

Seven Streets
17th November 2010

Liverpool Daily Post – Girls Behaving Stylishly
19th November 2010

It’s BIGGER than Hip-Hop Radio
23rd November 2010
Listen live to this radio show by Kieran Flynn and Lorenzo Squire every Monday from 2-3pm

The University of Liverpool’s LGoS Daily
24th November 2010

Lifestyle Magazine
Due to feature in January 2011

Vintage Life Magazine
Due to feature in January 2011

“It’s important to me to make people realise that having breast cancer isn’t the end of the world. For me it was the beginning” – Kristin Hallenga

Burlesque in the Blitz – A CoppaFeel! Charity Event
Interview with founder (and budding burlesque starlet) Kristin Hallenga

Grab your diary and be sure to cancel all prior arrangements for this evening, because I have organised a chic and sophisticated breast cancer fundraising event with Pillbox Vintage and your attendance is kindly requested.

Burlesque in the Blitz will be an evening filled with the most glamorous local and national burlesque stars and war time singers galore. Acts will be entertaining the crowds with well known and exclusive routines, and- in addition to the professionals- three local ladies (including me) will be mastering the art of burlesque and performing sponsored routines to raise money for CoppaFeel!, a breast cancer charity. Authentic 1940’s cakes will be provided by the most delicious cake company in Liverpool, Off My Cake, and the beautiful Baby Blue at the Albert Dock will be the ambient venue of choice for this indulgent and classy affair. The tantalising team behind The Canary Cage have brought in the greatest talent from the burlesque scene…

Performers are as follows:

  • Heather Marie, described in one review as an ‘absolute delight’, is a solo war time singer.
  • The Swingaroo Sisters, a vocal trio who’s harmonies are described as ‘tight as a girdle’.
  • Gem de la Creme, a burlesque beauty who will be debuting her ‘Landgirl’ routine.
  • Twinkle Starr, a pin-up and burlesque star set to feature on the next series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Unfortunately, the lovely Kristin will be unable to make tomorrow’s event, so I caught up with her to see what cheeky charm she would have brought to the evening and to learn more about the charity that will soon be benefitting from our hotpants and feather fans…

Now that CoppaFeel! has become well known and is established as a fun loving organisation, what would you like to do next to spread the CoppaFeel! word?

There will always be more girls reaching the age of needing to know to be boob aware, so as long as there are girls and boobs, CoppaFeel! will be shouting about boob awareness, whether that’s at universities, out on the street, through corporate relationships or at festivals, we’ll be there, trying to change the attitude towards breast cancer.

Since founding CoppaFeel!, what would you say has been the most rewarding part of your work?

Actually getting through to girls my age that checking your boobs could indeed save your life. The copious amounts of emails thanking us for the work we do because it’s made someone find out they have breast cancer makes everything worthwhile. It proves that without a fun, young campaign like CoppaFeel!, young people just wouldn’t be aware at all. More needs to be done and we need all the help we can get!

You’ve had the chance to meet and work with lots of other people that have been affected by the disease, such as journalist Dawn Porter who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was younger. How does it make you feel to know that you are helping and inspiring other people who have been in a similar situation to yourself?

I knew when I was diagnosed that I would have to use my experience and my story to help save others. As well as making people boob aware, I am glad that I am inspiriting fellow fighters to not give up hope. There is ALWAYS hope. It’s also important to me to make people realise that having breast cancer is not the end of the world, for me it was the beginning. It was the start of the most rewarding and fulfilling adventure I could ever hope to go on and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

We’re ever so sorry that you can’t make Burlesque in the Blitz and know that you would have been an incredible charity burlesque dancer! What would your burlesque name have been if you were to have taken part, and why?

I am SO sorry that I can’t be there! I am not so sure I’d be such a great burlesque dancer but I would have definitely given it a go. I have never been asked this question before so I’m stumped to know what to say. However, since my mastectomy last year my friend’s gave me the nickname of ‘One Tit Wonder’ which seems to have stuck. Despite being one boob down, I still feel like my femininity is intact and don’t feel any less womanly than I did before. Just goes to show, boobs don’t define a woman. Be sexy, be healthy- with one boob or two.

Imagine the scenario: you’re in the midst of the blitz and you have to seek shelter IMMEDIATELY. You’ve got enough room in your hideaway for three small items. What would you bring with you and why?

TEA!! Can’t live without tea. It’s my vice in time of need. So I guess I would need a kettle too. And my i-pod. I would stick on some great tunes and dance until it was over.

If you were a war time housewife in the blitz, pining sadly for your husband at war, which celebrity would you love be married to- staring at his black and white photograph every day?

Probably Ryan Gosling, in particular when he played Noah in the Notebook. He is my idea of perfection. 

What are your ultimate words of wisdom for fellow CoppaFeelers?

Live and live well. Stay in tune with your body and heart and never ever let your doctors tell you they know your boobs better than you! Make sure you keep passing the message on to the next person you meet because you never know; you could be saving someone’s life.

If you want to support this amazing charity and have lots of fun on the way, come and join us tomorrow evening. Tickets are priced at £8/£10 and will be available on the door. The high kicks begin at 7.00pm until late. If you require any further information, feel free to contact me. For further inspiration, click here to see Kristin winning her Pride of Britain award last year.