One Night with Lulu: A Cabaret Voyage & Burlesque Galore
I love being entertained, whether by a great band, a meal, a show or a theatre place. Last friday at LAN, the entertainment was way up there courtesy of Miss Lulu Galore and Sweet Leaf.
Sweet Leaf is the newest addition to a lineup of growing lounge bossanova bands around Beijing but they separated themselves Friday by putting together an elaborate performance with costume changes, dancers, guet appearances, guitars, glitz and sparkle: Lulu’s Dream.
Lulu galore has been immersed in Beijing’s music/art scene for years now and she’s been planning one for a while taking inspiration from her burlesque experience and building on her band member’s musical chops. We won’t fault her for being from Shanghai since she’s called Beijing home for a while now but her sense of style and sophistication has something to do with that and picking LAN as a venue makes sense for it.
Sweat Leaf went through a 2 hour show that included the band’s own take on many classics, tons of costume changes, Lulu and the dancers coming into the crowd for random dances and even teasing burlesque numbers. The show itself was structured as a time travel piece, taking the audience from the early 1920s prohibition era song, going through some Marilyn Monroe-sque moments, a little Moulin Rouge and culminating in a high energy rendition of the Tina turner classic: Proud Mary. Guest performers from all over the art scene in Beijing were on hand including the Swing group, husband Jaime ( Black Cat Bone / Bad Mamasan) Des (Black Cat Bone/Blackwater)etc…
Overall, a really entertaining show that I would go see again. The choice of songs was solid, I just wish there were a few more Chinese numbers from maybe Theresa Teng or Wang Faye that Lulu can definitely sing. Hopefully, we’ll also get a few original songs at some point. One extremely commendable side of Lulu and Sweat Leaf was keeping things classy when it’s so easy to go the trashy road by just displaying more skin. They never crossed the line between cabaret and strip tease keeping the audience at bay and just teasing them… and that’s what burlesque is all about!
LAN was an interesting choice of venue for the event and one of the few ones that could accommodate/fit the style of what the show was about. The plush and glitzy decoration complemented the performance quite well. That said, for how high end they project themselves, I’ve had better mixed cocktails in holes in the wall around gulou and the staff was completely overwhelmed/clueless. That’s been my biggest complaint about that place every time I’ve gone there.
Friday, it was not too big a deal with performance + free flow of cocktails as well as a dinner buffet for 280 RMB. but if you have these events on a regular basis, you NEED to deliver.
You can check out Lulu’s
burlesque cabaret musical performance with Sweet Leaf at Fubar this thursday and then every wednesday after that for the next 3 weeks. …..