Monday, 21 November 2011

Vintage Events: Blind Pig - Brighton's Fabulous Fundrasing Speakeasy

Held at the beautiful and chic Proud Brighton Ballroom the Blind Pig is an event that mixes burlesque cabaret and dancing to the tunes of an electro-swing speakeasy.

Blind Pig takes its name from the prohibition era Speakeasy where owners of bars and clubs would charge guests to see a novelty animal while serving a complimentary alcoholic beverage- thus exploiting loopholes in the anti-liquor laws.

This piggy however was created for a different purpose. The night was conceived as a fundraiser for students at Brighton University studying Textile Design, their aim being to provide funds for their end of year degree show.

When asked about creating the night, Carolyn, one of Blind Pigs organisers stated:

“Many other year groups/disciplines hold fundraising nights and I wanted ours to be different, appeal not just to the student market and also be something I could continue with after graduation. Burlesque and dance is all I know and I wouldn't know how to put on another type of night! I wanted to make it accessible to a younger audience who may not have been to such an event before and have a mixed audience of all ages and backgrounds.”

Photo Source: 1 and 2 Lucid Photography and Blind Pig. 3 FD.
Some of the acts
I felt that this attitude of the organisers was certainly reflected in the wide range of attendees. The opulence of the Brighton Ballroom provides a perfect back drop for the speakeasy stylings of this event, with its deco mirrors, trendy bar serving sumptuous cocktails and its beautiful domed ceiling.

The event itself started quietly with most guests seated around the bar and table areas, but as the place filled up the acts came thick and fast! The show sessions consisted of around four or five different burlesque based acts- ranging from a male pole dancer (correct terminology?) to a pasties sporting fire eater. The acts themselves came in two blocks and began almost as the doors opened so DON’T BE LATE! Numbers were announced by compere Kat Frost and separated by perfectly selected and mashed electro-swing songs by DJ Gareth Jones.

Compere Kat and DJ Gareth
After the show portion of the night had finished the dance floor opened for a fine selection of tunes playing until the wee hours of the morning.

All in all the night ran very smoothly, with rapid turn around of acts, a vibrant buzz of attendees and still enough room to Charleston (…just!).

Photo Source: Lucid Photography and Blind Pig
Well dressed attendees!
My favourite act of the night was a lovely fan dance by Cherry Bella with seemless movement and a beautiful traditional performance.

Cherry Bella
Many of the organisers of the event were also performers at the show, and their enthusiasm for their art was clearly evident. This is the 4th event that they have held at the Brighton Ballroom and hopefully they will keep Blind Pig going long after they graduate!

In my time as a lindy hopper I have had the opportunity to attend and even perform at a few Speakeasy type events, and always enjoy dressing for the part. With this in mind I asked Carolyn about Blind Pig's attitude to costumes:

“I think people love to dress up, with this sort of theme it's quite easy as well. You don't have to go all out, just a few accessories can make you feel the part. It is always great when people do go all the way of course! It definitely helps with the mood and atmosphere, if people put the effort in before the night starts then you know they are up for a good night!”

Photo Source: Lucid Photography and Blind Pig
The era of the feathered headband
Just looking around the venue you could see that many people shared this sentiment, the popularity of the feathered headband and dicky bow-tie was clear although some extra special outfits were also seen. My personal favourite costumes were a couple dressed as and RAF officer and a 20s siren.

Photo Source: Lucid Photography and Blind Pig
Dressing Fancy indeed!
It was exceptionally difficult however to get many good photographs at the event as the lighting and quick movement was simply more than my little camera could handle. However their resident photographer Simon Callaghan at Lucid Photography more than made up for my incompetence, taking some fantastic shots during the evening (they can be found here)!

Photo Source: Lucid Photography and Blind Pig
My fiance and I
The Blind Pig will return in the new year, but the exact date is still hush hush- you never know who may be watching!

But you can find out more here or follow on @BlindPig1920 on twitter for the latest updates.

There'll be another post on my costume for this event following shortly...

Happy Dresscapades!

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