As the former co-host of The Midnight Rock n Roll Circus (on the late great Alt TV) with my amazing New Zealand based contributor to this blog Dolly DeStory, I was excited to send her along to cover “Midnight Carnival” – the newest collection from the decadently Gothic Nick Von K! I knew she’d love it! With my other amazing friends, pictured above, I couldn’t help be just a little jealous that I was there too.
Have you ever dreamed of a monkey riding on a wolf’s head? Or an alley cat with an eye-patch? Or the eternal battle between the Swan Queen and the Dragon Queen?
Rendered in gorgeous silver and semi-precious stones, Nick Von K’s Midnight Carnival is a banquet of craftsmanship and imagination.
In a fitting dramatic style, New Zealand burlesque icons Leda Petit and Miss Anthropy fleshed out the Swan Queen and Dragon Queen at Wednesday’s launch event on Cross St – complete with elaborately sculpted headdresses to match. Made by Andrea Howes
Perhaps it was the heady mix of 450mL Grolsch bottles and delicious glasses of Giesen Wines, but between the flicker of candles illuminating the new range and the ethereal Queens, the Midnight Carnival was as vivid as the best of dreams.
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You have been in business a while… When did it all begin?
It officially began in Sept 2011 when I first opened the Sideshow Annie shopfront, but I had been dreaming about doing it for at least 3 years before that day. Lots of research and planning on paper was done before I was confident enough to go for it.
What did you do before you began your enterprising endeavors?
I originally studied and trained in fashion design, but after graduating, found that a fashion career wasn’t as creative or hands on as I thought it would be. So I landed a job at a costume hire store and never looked back. In between I have done some stints freelance sewing which has been all sorts of wonderful things and even worked on a job where I was sewing dinosaur skins for giant mechanical dinosaurs.
What tips would you give new entrepreneurs to help them start out on a path to success?
Plan, and research! You can never be too prepared. There are many templates online that will show you how to lay out your very own business plan. Every aspect of a business plan is important and needs to be considered to ensure you know your business inside and out.
If you have never worked in the area of the business you are trying to open- don’t do it! Go out and find some work experience in your chosen industry first. There’s nothing like on the job training.
|Sideshow Annie Headress
|Did you consciously decide not to work in a ‘normal job’ or is this a label you feel is ridiculous and unfounded??
I guess I did, in a way. I find full time 9-5 jobs intensely boring. Office jobs and the like are suffocating to me, I need creative outlets and time to myself. Finding full time creative work is very hard, and it seems it does not exist! Starting my own business was the only way I could see myself making a ‘grown ups’ wage whilst still doing what I love.
Have you ever struggled to get what you do taken seriously?
Not really, most people are really lovely and just plain curious about it. They want to know if I make the costume accessories and how I got into it all. Some even ask me if I need an assistant!
Do you think having a niche market is a help or a hindrance?
A bit of both really. Its great to have a direction and a guide to my products, but it can hinder your sales sometimes. Its a constant struggle between doing only my dream custom made items, or selling retail products that I know are quick sellers but not really the kind of product I necessarily want to sell.
it can be tough, but what I like the most about a niche market is that the customer tends to seek you out, rather than chasing them (Demtel knives anyone?) because you are unique and have what they need.
In your spare time what appeals to you more, a dark underground club, a lounge bar or a large scale events?
Personally I like dark underground bars. I love feeling like you are the only person who knows about a place and you can escape from the world above.
What is the biggest, most exciting project you’ve worked on / are most proud of?
I recently made a custom project for Little Skink, a burlesque performer here in Melbourne. She asked for a Praying Mantis burlesque costume. I love a good challenge 🙂
It was hard work but we got there in the end and I am really happy with the way it turned out. Looks amazing on the stage next to the large mantis prop Little Skink made to use in her routine.
Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you could share with us?
I’ve recently just streamlined the business to make it more workable with my day job. I’ve closed the costume hire section and will become more specific with the online retail items, choosing only those items that are harder to find in the burlesque community.
Alongside the retail sales, I will be creating one of a kind items to sell via Etsy which i hope to have up and running properly very soon. The closing of the costume hire section means its SALE TIME!
Very soon I will be holding a sale in Melbourne to get rid of all the costume hire things i have accumulated over the last 2 and a half years.
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The Black Cat was one of the first places that I really felt relaxed in when I first came to Melbourne. I was in the country for a total of four days initially to get set up. Four days to find a house, get a phone, bank account, job and tax number. Yup that’s me, always attempting the impossible. However the universe smiled on me and I was able to achieve (or over achieve) and got pretty much all done. Exhaustion ensued so I sort out somewhere to relax and the Black Cat did it for me. Delicious on-tap apple cider and lemony grilled halloumi! What could be more perfect comfortable and delicious?!!
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Maybe I should have been born in the 70’s because I LOVE bright colours, patterns and odd ball clothing. So when I walked past this store I couldn’t help but to be stopped in my tracks and dive into the colour, sparkle and wonderment that Shag contains! See these for yourself and believe me its better IRL!!
I’m pretty sure I “Squeeeeed” with excitement when I stumbled upon this store. I found it completely by accident when trying to find an address in Collingwood and getting lost and heading the opposite direction to Fitzroy instead. Ooops! This place is bright colourful and totally amazing and the ladies that work there are just as lovely!! I’ve even followed the store’s Instagram profile to get more photographic goodness! I immediately bought something that was ridiculous and totally worth every expensive cent! I cant wait to show you more photos of my purchase in the near future!
Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, the Daylesford boasts the highest concentration of mineral springs in the country together with an equally large array of therapists. Holistic health services, cuisine, cellar doors, award winning day spas, spectacular scenery, natural mineral springs, romantic hideaways, country resorts, historic streetscapes, horse trekking and trout farms all make this glorious wee spot a top destination when you’ve had enough of the city and need an escape. For me it was an beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable romantic get-away. Although being a little saddle sore for the next few days I’d do it all again in a heart beat with a big dinner and massage at the end of it!
Some of my new friends in Melbourne said that I’d “HAVE” to visit the Butterfly Club. Surprised to hear a place come so highly recommended I decided one afternoon to seek it out randomly to check it out. Looking up at the photo above from the day we went horse riding, that surprised face is exactly what I did when I walked it. Quickly it changed to super excitement!! I can’t wait to go back here more often and even put on shows in the cute wee theater!!
“The Butterfly Club, a glorious small theater and temple of camp kitsch in the heart of Melbourne – here you’ll find an intimate showroom, an award-winning foyer bar, and a truly enormous collection of kitsch. Take a seat in an improbably old armchair, try a sip of your Thai Butterfly, then move to the theater and forget about the world outside.”
Kiwis if you are familiar with DressSmart then this is the Australian equalent. Cheap, factory outlet, end of line stores but in a HUGE f***off mall. Its amazing and overwhelming. But I walked out last weekend with a gorgeous “Bird of Paradise” faux fur coat that I saw weeks ago and couldn’t get out of my head!! I had to go back and get it. As soon as I’ve worn it I’ll take photos to post up.. I just keep thinking how wonderfully it will match my Mermaid dress. It looks a little like this, but more fluffy and two tone.
The ultimate Hipster /Alternative shop. It has everything. Its the “Target” for anyone with a little bit more of a ‘different’ style. From “David Bain” ugly jumpers through to cute cardigans or goth pants or tie-dye. There is a store on just about every shopping street or mall and even an outlet on the top end of Brunswick street if you are trying to find something cheap.
China Town (Spicy Hut and Shanghai Village Restaurants)
Spicy Hut does HUGE meals full of flavour and lots of spice that if you order four dishes it will feed you for a week and not be too dear. They are happy to give you take away containers if you cant finish a meal. Off Lonsdale street close to Chinatown.
Shanghai Village is also in Chinatown (112 Little Bourke street and ‘cool’ restaurant in town!) and is the closest you can get to the hipster filled Barrilla Dumplings back in Auckland’s Dominion Road. A HUGE two level restaurant it is busy, delicious and most of all VERY CHEAP. A big group can pre-book and organize a flat fee per head. RECOMMEND!!
Being a fan of the supernatural and all things ghostly we trekked to Williamstown, the otherside of Melbourne harbour in the early evening, had a lovely dinner then head over to the old fountain by the shore. A lady with a lantern took us out around the town and showed us the creppy allyways, haunted tower and old mortuary. Brilliant, if I get tingles up my spine, and my hairs standing on end – You will too!
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Thanks to Mark Hoffman photography. This was a quick off hand studio play around and I love the results. Cant wait to do another more serious shoot.
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Last year I attended the very fist Very Vintage Day out, run by the most amazing Miss T Pin-Ups! It was huge rip roaring success. Check out come snaps I took at the event HERE! This year it rolls around again this weekend! EXCITING!! I’m more involved this year, performing and I’m on the Judging panel for the now annual Miss Pin-Up competition! (I really need to sort an out-fit out asap!)
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You can check out all the contestants here, and you are also able to VOTE for your favourite, in the “People’s Choice Award!” Go do it now, there are some very, very gorgeous ladies who would love a to win this special prize! HERE
I will be performing later in the day to a couple of my favourite old school burlesque tunes… You might recognise them. I hope to see you all there! Here is a little of what to expect!
The VVDO is a celebration of vintage culture and an entertaining day out for young and old.
Taking a nostalgic trip back to a simpler era at Alexandra Park on April 13th, The Very Vintage Day Out will bring together the best of local vintage, with everything from classic to kitsch on display. Utilising a bigger space, food stalls, more entertainment and even more shopping, there will be a myriad of delights for anyone with an interest in vintage.
Brilliant all day entertainment with some of the country’s best Charleston, Rock’n’Roll, Burlesque, Rockabilly and Swing performers displaying their skills will keep the crowds entertained. Whilst shoppers will love the extensive range of garments, trinkets, beauty products, homewares and jewellery for sale at an array of different market stalls. Attendees are encouraged to get into the spirit of the day with spot prizes for the best dressed ticket holders.
See you there!!!
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I’ve known MisRed for the last 3 years. It truly feels like way longer. I’ve travelled huge distances to perform at her events “The Red Delicious Review” and her up to Auckland to perform for me. We have had many a roadie, late night, tiny dressing room muddle and laughs. It’s my pleasure to introduce to you, RED DELICIOUS to the Secret Life of A Producer Series!
How long ago did you start producing events?
I’ve been producing about 18 months now after I started my own show not long after I got into burlesque, mostly so I could have somewhere to perform!
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What type of things would you have on a normal “Producer” work day?
Lots of networking, especially for the events coming up this year! But other than the obvious, I spend a lot of time doing business planning, building budgets, reviewing performer profiles, structuring the show, organizing sponsors and prizes, coordinating with venues, writing performer agreements, chasing performers, setting up lists (music, to-do etc) and writing event profiles to capture the target audience. O and some where in there I eat…
“Producer” covers a lot of different jobs that you’d do in the process of putting on an event. Can you share your most and least favourite of them all?
Most favorite has to be hearing the feedback about how well as how went from the audience and from the performers Its important to me that obviously the audience has a good time, but more so that the performers do to and are treated well as that is reflected in their performances.
Your least favourite job as a producer?
My least favorite is about an hour before the show starts. I usually am checking everything has got what they need as well as trying to get myself together and have my own quite time which is damn near impossible. It also comes with the worry of meeting targets at this time as even if you’ve sold out, you’re never sure if they will all show up!
What is the most exciting event you’ve ever worked on in an organisational sense?
The most exciting is the challenges coming up for 2013, with the New Zealand Burlesque Festival. To be able to bring together the NZ community and show them the magic of our international performers, to learn and develop our own community from what they teach and to create opportunities for NZ performers to go overseas is amazingly exciting. And horribly terrifying as well!
What have you got coming up that your really looking forward to?
The next event I am looking forward to is the Autumn Revue, a showcase of my students as well as some special guests from the deep south! I’m mostly excited about it as it will be launching my first solo student onto the stage and I will have to give up my position as the ONLY independent performer in Manawatu as it will no longer be true! I am so proud of what she’s achieved and the amazing person she is; I can’t wait to show the locals what a fantastic community we are building here!
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