– by Elizabeth Abbott
ALEV is an evening of singing, dancing and funk music at Kremlin Bar occurs semi-frequently, and showcases Canberra’s burlesque, drag and music scene. It’s a garish evening filled with incredible performances by confident singers, musicians, dancers and entertainers who entice and delight the crowd. It’s the type of fiery performance that sets You Are Here apart from other cultural festivals: it’s bold, brash and unafraid of its audience’s perceptions. Despite the fact that before Friday night I knew nothing of burlesque (except that Dita Von Teese is the postergirl for it) I came away from the performances amazed and wishing the evening didn’t end so early.
The glamorous host Melina Fahrenheit brought charisma to the stage and order to the crowd: when the audience was lamely quiet she called for cheers and when they wouldn’t be silent she would tell them to shutup.
Confidence was the main attraction as pride and allure met in sensual performances by the burlesque dancers. The costumes varied hugely: one performance involved a literal dance with the devil (in the form of a hand puppet) whilst another used giant feather fans and vajazzling. Never in my life have I seen so many pasties in the one place, and yet it was awesome. Everyone in the bar cheered for more as each item of clothing was removed and screamed with delight as the performers came closer to nudity.
Local Canberra funk band ZoOpaGOo played on the night and got the crowd psyched up with their infectious tunes. Most of the bar leapt to their feet to dance along with the band, with the lead singer being particularly involved with the audience as he danced through the crowd. Minor issues with the sound setup did not distract the singers or dancers who ignored the occasional volume discrepancies and it only made the audience more rowdy.
Ultimately, ALEV is the perfect example of what You Are Here is all about: showcasing the wonderful and diverse arts scene that exists in Canberra. ALEV was an awesome night and I would recommend that anyone with even a passing interest in burlesque, sensuality, drag or just a fun night out, heads along to their next event.
On once during You Are Here — Friday, 15 March 2013 — ALEV is held semi-frequently at Kremlin Bar throughout the year. Facebook page is here