Category Archives: cabaret
I am a (somewhat ashamed) New Year’s Resolution kinda gal. But…this year, I’ve opted out of making any of my traditional ridiculous claims to heights-a-lofty, and instead decided to keep it simple. My goal? To enjoy it.
A few triggers for this:
1) Earlier this year, I got an email from my literary agent. She commented that I’d been so busy this year and asked a very simple question: “are you enjoying it?” Now, whether or not she meant that to rock my soul, so that I’d think deeply about whether I was in fact, enjoying the ride, or whether she was simply making small talk, we will probably never know – it was, after all, written some months ago, so I doubt she’d remember her original intention even if I questioned her on it, which I wouldn’t, given that I do not wish to annoy her with my overly analytical and self-obsessed ways. YOU, however, person who has actively sought out such punishment…HOLD TIGHT! It made me question myself. Am I enjoying it? Am I? I was unsure of the answer.
2) On my first cruise in November (which I LOVED, by the way, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total Scrooge Mc-Hate-Life!), I had a moment. There I was, sitting in the most crystal blue water I have ever had the tremendous fortune to set eye on, let alone my swimsuit clad bod in, when I realised to my horror, that despite this moment where I was essentially LIVING INSIDE PINTEREST, I could NOT relax. My mind would not switch off. It just wouldn’t. It’s not that I was wound up, it was merely that state of “rolling through my to-dos, should-dos and what-ifs” like the scrolling flight charts in the world’s busiest airport, showed itself for what it was: my default setting. I was mortified. If I couldn’t relax enough to enjoy paradise, then where and when the hell could I?
3) Finally, at Woodford just gone, I realised that something ain’t working in Jenny land. I appreciated the week, I enjoyed myself massively onstage (truly, it seems sad to me that this is the one place I really can relax and have fun, but this said, it causes me tremendous anxiety and physical pain both before and after the show goes on!) and of course, love that my family truly embraces and leaps on the week of festivities with rabid enthusiasm. BUT…again, I don’t think I really enjoyed it. And this is Woodford! If you can’t enjoy Woodford (when the weather is good, of course!) then what can you? I feel like I was so focused on the next gig, the next gig, the next gig, that I couldn’t really just let go and savour the wonders. I was too tense and preoccupied. Mostly with myself. And I hate that. I want to change that. I want to act professionally without taking it all too seriously. I want to appreciate the privilege of being able to perform (I still remind myself before I step onstage sometimes just how damn lucky I am to be alive and walking out there) and indeed, to appreciate and enjoy the tremendous honour of living in a world where I can actually do this for a living. I feel like a spoiled brat even being all “poor me, I don’t truly enjoy my incredibly privileged life!” but therein lies the problem. I KNOW I’m privileged. I KNOW I should be grateful. And I am. I just need to work on how to relax more so that I can appreciate the ride more. Otherwise, really. What is the point in any of this?
I want to change. I want to focus on learning how to relax, stretching every day, treating my body well (thus far I have lost 8kg since I started eating well, so incredibly happy and encouraged by that!), planning more down-time and banning myself from any work-stuff, being more organised in my work-time so that I can be more productive to free up other time, so that I can take the time and effort to really enjoy and savour my family too.
What about you? Are you making any resolutions, complex, simple or somewhere in between?
What a week. I don’t believe I’m out of line speaking on behalf of the entire clan when I say that we’re sore, tired, high, low, socialised up, gigged out, rocked in the spaces between and now facing a house that looks like a shaken snow-globe. Such is the roller coaster marathon of wonder that is a season spent at Woodford Folk Festival!
My Top 5 Personal Highlights in No Particular Order:
1. Debuting WONDERLAND!
With the first EVER performance of this new show (yep, the one that’s coming to Adelaide Fringe and Brisbane Comedy Festival shortly!) I was understandably nauseous about this one. BUT…I’ve gotta tell you, the moment the curtains opened, the band kicked in (they ROCKED IT SO BAD I NEARLY SWEATED PRIDE BEADS!), I looked over and saw the Betties being all Betty-ish, I took in the ridiculously awesome set (designed by extraordinardo incarnate Dan Endicott, who took my instructions of “Well, I know it’s crazy but I’d love a giant gum ball machine that actually WORKS!” and turned them into even more amazeballsness than I could have ever hoped for)…I honestly had goosebumps.
It was way too much fun. I’ve got plenty of tweaking (and more writing!) to do between now and it’s resurrection in Adelaide (opening night is Friday February 15th) but I am just so relieved and elated that WE HAVE GOT A SHOW, PEOPLE!
2. Hanging with Betty and the Betties!
3. Having Utterly Fabulous Hair All Week Long!
After 13 years of coming to Woodford (as a performer for nearly half of that), this one marked a turning point in that for the first time ever, I had a wondrous man of Edward Scissorhands-like-hair genius stroking my tender locks each and every morn. Even to be able to type that sentence is a dream come true. Derek from the fabulous Pink Salon (if you’re in Brissie you really MUST check these guys out) was on Betty and Jenny hair patrol and my oh my. I don’t know how I will ever go back.
That the top of my crown looked so well spruced came in particularly handy during a surprise photo op with Australia’s very own PM. Whoda thunk?
PLUS…Derek’s daughter and my own (who became little partners in crime around the festival all week) succumbed to the allure of the Betty hairstyle and by the end of the week, became our very own honorary Betty Juniors!
The Great Debate!
Doing the debate is always one of my favourite gigs of the entire festival, however it is also the one that causes the most turmoil to my digestive tract. Fortunately, being able to meet Rod Quantock (a long-time hero who, it turns out, is not just hilarious but the sweetest man) AND Kate Miller-Heidke (whose Mum I met at a gig last year, after which she came to see “An Unexpected Variety Show” in Melbourne, love her and Kate is as gorgeous in person as she is onstage) within 10 minutes of going onstage to debate my buttocks off, was soothing balm for the affirmative team’s soul.
I should also point out that I have such strong memories of being a punter in the crowd and watching these debates – they were my only “I cannot miss that!” events each year, and thinking how much ridiculous fun it would be to be up there doing it. Dreams can come true. They really can.
Camping With Friends!
Between the half a gazillion gigs, my favourite thing to do in between was as little as possible back at our campsite. Hanging with friends and family that we otherwise don’t have nearly as much of a chance to catch up with properly throughout everybody’s highly busy years, this was just the bomb. And that almost all our fellow campers had kids as well was organic icing on the gluten-free cake.
PLUS…Just Soaking Up General Woodfordia Goodness!
Last year we got home from Woodford and my littlest was all fired up about doing somersaults. This year? We can hardly pry the ukelele away from him. This morning he woke me up by singing “I love you Mummy, I love Ella, I love Caleb, I love Daddy, I love myself!”
Thank you Woodford. Til next time. xx
Did you actually read that?
WE HAVE A BAND FOR WONDERLAND AT WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL!
I cannot believe it is happening – especially in light of the fact that the show itself is indeed about wonderful things happening – but in the past week, I have somehow managed to join forces with a drummer/guitarist, bass guitarist, saxophonist and keyboardist to do some musical comedy numbers AND improvised songs as part of the Wonderland show!
Excuse me while I geek out for a moment.
That these people are blisteringly talented individuals is a godsend. That they are all hilarious and awesome and nice and bloody great to work with PLUS I get to share the show with them AND Betty and the Betties, some of my favourite ladies on earth, well seriously…whatever happens, for me selfishly, THIS SHOW IS A DREAM COME TRUE.
I’ve honestly always wanted a band to do improv and comedy and jamming stuff with onstage but it seemed so “pie in the sky” ish that I never took it seriously enough to make it happen. But now it’s just fallen into place and I’m completely losing my mind about it with excitement.
After brainstorming last night with a couple of the gang after our Betties rehearsal, I was so inspired I stayed up way into the wee hours and wrote and wrote and wrote. It was honestly like I was possessed by some force telling me to not dare stop in case I woke up in the morning and the well was dry. This has NEVER happened to me before. I lost all track of time. I think it must have been three that I finally caved in and slept. I sure feel it now. BUT…I have a show!
Now to tweak, polish, rehearse AND finish writing that one pesky closing number.
I cannot wait to perform it though, and whenever I’ve felt like that about a new song/bit or whatever, like I am literally ITCHING to get up onstage and share it with the world, it’s been a good thing.
Not many sleeps now!
P.S. We have only 6 days left on our pozible campaign and I have the stomach ulcer to show for it. A few folks have told me they’re a bit confused by what this pozible business actually is! Honestly, the easiest way to wrap your head around it is to go to our page on the site, but the Reader’s Digest version is this:
- it’s not a donation site, you don’t “donate” anything (because we aren’t a charity!), rather it’s about pre-buying goods and services (like tickets to our early 2013 shows both in Brissie and Adelaide, DVDs, merch, etc.) so that we can afford to do the project (which in this case, involves us touring Wonderland to Adelaide Fringe!)
- if you go onto the site, you’ll see the different prices of everything you can get. For instance, pledging $30 will get you a DVD, $50 a DVD plus show ticket, right up to a $2000 business package!
- we don’t get ONE CENT of the money pledged unless our campaign is successful. Your pledge is not processed (i.e. your card isn’t charged) until we are successful, which, touch wood, will be in six days time!) We are currently at $3320 of our $5000 goal. If we don’t make it, we get nothing.
Hope that makes sense!
How’s that Christmas shopping going?
Yeah. Me too.
I’m pretty excited to tell you that the Betties and I have put our good old noggins together and decided that seeing as our pozible campaign finishes literally DAYS before Christmas, we should put together something a little special for our supporters!
So…once our campaign is successful (we are currently at 53% of our total goal) you will receive a gorgeous Betty-fied Christmas e-card sent straight to your inbox, complete with a printable voucher (which will look lovely) to gift to your loved one with deets of the reward. Such a cool – and different – idea for a pressie, with the warm fuzzy bonus of knowing you are supporting artists make a dream a reality. Goodies up for grabs include:
- show tickets (for either Adelaide Fringe or Brisbane Comedy Festival in 2013);
- DVDs (of An Unexpected Variety Show and Wonderland);
- a NEWLY ADDED vintage hair-styling session with our resident hair expert, Bombshell Betty (this would be super fun to do with a friend or two for a big night out!);
- and of course, our cupcake serenades and/or a cabaret/comedy lounge room gig;
Writing a new show is scary.
I remember tearing my hair out when I was starting what finally became “An Unexpected Variety Show”, namely cos the whole process was just so damn messy that it left me wondering (more often than not) whether it was EVER going to actually look like anything other than a bunch of disconnected index cards covering the floor.
My sister came over yesterday and between dissuading toddlers from swallowing Christmas ornaments, we talked through the new show (which, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know the Betties are in!) and had a creative breakthrough.
It was just what I needed. Not that all problems are solved, but I think when you’re working on a major project and are plagued with self doubt, sometimes that’s all you need. Not to solve the whole Rubik’s cube, but rather, to have just the odd leap of progress to give you hope that you are indeed, gonna get there.
If You Want To See This Show of Which I Speak:
You can pledge for tix and/or a DVD of the show (you don’t need to have dates, etc. worked out, either, we sort out details later) right here on our Pozible campaign page!
So as you may have heard, I’m putting together my new show about all things awesomely ridiculous and ridiculously awesome and I would love, love, love YOUR story to be a part of it!
During each and every show I will be reading out a letter from somebody – YOU?! – sharing a story about something fabulous, wonderful and/or awe-inspiring that has happened in your lifetime.
It can be about a place, a person, an act of random kindness, it can be hilarious, it can be heartbreaking.
Whatever your story is to share, it just has to be:
- true; and
- about something that made you feel – even for a split second – that the world was a wonderland.
I first got this idea of sharing audience-generated stories when I lived in Canada and was introduced to the work of Stuart Maclean of The Vinyl Cafe, who does this often at his shows and I immediately fell in love. Another massive inspiration to me on the power of storytelling is the fantastic work of The Moth. I highly recommend checking out both these links if you’re in need of some inspiration!
The plan is to record these stories at each show, upload them online and then send you the link (hopefully we will have you there in the audience on the night to enjoy it for yourself too, but worst case, you will get a copy of the performance!) plus we’ll send you a little pack of goodies as thanks!
Keen to be part of Wonderland? Email your story here! And please let me know when you write if you’re planning to be at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival, or next year’s Adelaide Fringe or Brisbane Comedy Festival. (Note: you do not HAVE to be at any of the above to contribute, but if you are planning to be at any, let me know so that if your story is shared, we can tee it up so you’re in the audience that night!)
Wanna be part of it but just wanna share something short and sweet?
Share a short moment of awesome on my Facebook page or tweet me @jennywynter with hashtag #wonderland
Your post or tweet might be featured during the show too!
Woohoo! Yours in wonderlandish-storysharing,
Cutting to the chase: If you don’t have time to read this post in full, the bottom line is that if you are thinking of supporting our Pozible campaign, PLEASE do so either today or tomorrow! It would help us HUGELY! Thank you! And slow down or you’ll tear a ligament.
So by now you’ve heard about my Pozible campaign to get my new show up and running and down to the Adelaide Fringe – or not. Goodness knows my head has been spinning so hard lately to keep up with all the plates round here, I wouldn’t blame you for missing that crucial nugget of news. Here’s the video of me explaining the whole deal (deliriously exhausted shooting it at 2 in the morning no less) if you wanna play catch-up.
Anyhoo, point is, if you are at all thinking about getting your hands on any of the rewards (see our neat little poster below outlining some of these goodies up for grabs & YES I can ship internationally, just check out the campaign page for details) PUHLEASE don’t hold off in taking action: because you can help seriously rock this campaign’s casbah if you PLEDGE TODAY OR TOMORROW!
So…why today and tomorrow? What’s the big rush?
Well, here’s the deal. We are on a mission to get as many pledges as we can over the next 2 days in the hope that this crazy influx of support may get us to the Pozible homepage as a featured project. (They calculate it based on which projects have scored the most support over the past coupla days, you see.) If this works, this means our campaign will be in front of the eyeballs of a GUTLOAD more people than we could ever be scanned by otherwise. So if you’re already thinking of supporting, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, please pretty please could you click over and pledge today to help us try to make the homepage?!
The cool part is that WHENEVER you pledge…you don’t pay a cent. Not one. Not until the campaign is successful (it’s due to end in December) so you pledging tomorrow or Saturday makes ZERO difference to your wallet, but a HUGE difference to helping us make this thing happen.
Alrighty. Here endeth the plea.
This is Jen “self-promo slorry” Wynter signing off, hoping to report back with some rocking “we made the pozible homepage!” news early next week.
Thank you and salada!
I’m so chuffed that in the craziness of this past month, a craziness which resulted in me forgetting to even organise anybody to take still photos for the show, the kindness of strangers has reigned surpreme, by way of an audience member sending me through these rather lovely shots of last week’s show.
We had a time.
What a time. My eyelids can barely keep themselves up as I type this, so will keep it brief, but just wanted to write and say a huge WISH YOU WERE HERE! I adore travelling and luckily, it turns out, I love doing so by boat. Especially when said boat contains umpteen all-you-can-eat buffets, hot tubs and stops at delicious islands. Oh man. Even when I’ve hit the challenging parts (missing my family terribly, slight bouts of nausea, technical hitches with gigs), I’ve still reminded myself what an insane privilege it is to be paid to do this. Seriously. I am SO GRATEFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have learned:
- it’s okay to indulge in the buffet if you commit to taking the stairs at all times. It’s probably less so if you commit to the stair plan, only to back out on day 2.
- when you get off a ship, you still feel like the world is swaying. When does this feeling end?
- the cruise ship scene is highly reminiscent of college. The crew live together, work together, play together, party together…I really cannot understand why nobody has written a sitcom about this yet. Cue lightning bolt of inspiration.
- I can climb a mountain. Even when I think I can’t.
- My kids are made of rainbow dust. BRING THEM TO ME.
One more sleep! Tickets are selling, rehearsals are all but dunzo, the camera guys are getting the set-up sorted for the DVD filming, plus I have set myself a rather insane task of writing a NEW SONG for “An Unexpected Variety Show” today. Yes, I know. Ridiculous. I am. Absolutely ridiculous. I kinda disgust myself. Ugh. But as some of you know, there is one cover song in the show and I have been meaning for ages to replace it with an original, so of course, it is only once the finish line is in sight that I am prompted to get off my butt and write it. I’m not the only one like this am I? Am I? Hmmm….
We had our last Betties rehearsal last night and by golly gosh, what a bunch of fine ladies I have the privilege of working with. Seriously. Love these girls. I can completely screw up the choreography, lose my kazoo, lose myself in my kazoo choreography and they love me still. And I them.
Bottom line, tomorrow night, whatever happens, it is gonna be so much fun. And we will smell like hairspray for weeks.