Parties, Tassie & Money raised for charity

unnamedWe’ve had a wonderful few weeks and we’re pretty thrilled about the weeks to come. We write a lot asking for support, but we were thrilled to be able to support LGBTQI charity, The Aurora Group, by performing at their Annual Ball at Sydney Town Hall and offering private performances as auction prizes. Two attendees were sufficiently wooed by our Disney/Sondheim medley (the theme was Once Upon a Time) that they purchased the private gigs, raising more than $5000 for Aurora, an organisation that supports LGBTQI community groups including Twenty10 and the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service. The whole evening raised more than $70,000!

Libby, Hayden and MaeveFor photos of the Aurora Ball make sure you check out the Star Observer and SX albums. Luckily they didn’t capture Maeve’s drunk Snow White arguing with a bouncer at an unnamed Newtown Hotel, but they DID get some snaps of Hayden’s army of handsome fans who trailed him throughout the night.

We realise we’ve launched our Patreon crowdfunding site and promised all sorts of new projects but haven’t told you what they are so a few are outlined below. We are up to $609 per month but we need to hit $1000 per month in order to finish our EP. If enough people pledge $1 (or more if you can), we’ll get there and send some of our favourite tunes to your earholes! Other projects include:

Mother’s Ruin
Maeve & Libby are working hard with Musical Director, Jeremy Brennan to write a history about the cabaret of gin. That doesn’t sound right…but you get the picture! It’ll be a departure from Lady Sings it Better, equal parts historical and hysterical, complete with a gin tasting experience with The Ginstress, Elly Clough.
Costs we need to cover: We need to pay a dramaturg and director, we need to get costumes made and photos taken.
What you get if you donate: Downloads of some of our songs, discount tickets to shows once they’re announced, warm glow of giving! Donate here.
Pushy Women
We’re bringing Catherine Deveny’s wonderful Melbourne comedy+women+cycling event to Sydney! One afternoon only for the Sydney Fringe, you can catch Tracey Spicer, Wendy Harmer, Dee Madigan, Mariam Veiszadeh, Nakkiah Lui and Zoe Norton-Lodge telling tales of their life on two wheels.
Costs we need to cover: Regular event costs like marketing, tech equipment and artist fees.
What you get if you donate: Discount codes for the show! Anyone who pledges over $8US (ie $10AUS) per month gets discount codes to our shows, including this one! We’ll offer reserved seating to all Patreon donors.
Supported by The Squeaky Wheel in Melbourne!
Late Night Library
We’re curating a season of Late Night Library in Kings Cross for the City of Sydney. We’re got 6 amazing shows including Queerstories (a killer line up of local LGBTQI leaders), Library Love Songs with Maxine Kauter, Archer: In Conversation, a Mother’s Ruin work-in-progress showing and more. Feat. Matthew Mitcham, Zoe Coombs Marr, Georgia Rose Cranko, Annaliese Constable, Jeeves Verma, Penny Greenhalgh, Jekyll X James, Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Liz Duck-Chong, the list goes on…
Costs we need the cover: City of Sydney have actually contracted us to do this! Amazing! But Patreon support helps with our company’s ongoing costs.
What you get if you donate: The shows are already free for the audience, but City of Sydney have agreed to let us reserve premium seating for our Patreon supporters.Please consider pledging to support our growing work. If everyone who subscribed to this enews pledged $1 per month, we would reach our next target! Click here

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

unnamed (3)We got the old gang back together to sing a few tunes for Maeve’s mum, Teresa’s 60th birthday party, themed Mods vs. Rockers! The night was a crazy queer celebration with far too many amusing tales to fit here, so read Maeve’s Happy Birthday blog!

Lord knows if any of you are still reading! This Saturday we’re road tripping to Canberra to play a sold out show at Bungendore Woodworks Gallery, then next week we’re off to freezing, wonderful TASMANIA for our Festival of Voices debut. We can’t wait! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for silly photos and tales from the road.

Please support us on Patreon!

patreon_logoYesterday, we launched a new crowdfunding page on Patreon. But it’s not like regular crowdfunding. Instead of one-off donations, we’re seeking a monthly pledge of $1 from each of our fans.

Ongoing support would make a huge difference to our work. We’ve produced a bunch of wonderful shows over the years but, as you probably know, Lady is our main creative baby: Lady Sings it Better is feminist comedy cabaret; it’s musically adventurous, it’s hilarious, it’s unapologetic and it’s joyful. We’ve collaborated on other creative endeavours, but always in pursuit of telling stories through music and humour, and always with a feminist or queer eye for the arts. As emerging producers, we know there are things we could’ve done better but we’ve had loads of successes too.

All this has been possible because of other people’s energy, passion, generosity and willingness to experiment. Musicians, artists, photographers, hairdressers, designers, vocal directors and more have donated their time. Audiences have returned to see our shows time and again, providing much needed enthusiastic (and at times critical) feedback. Our friends, family and fans helped us crowdfund a tour to Edinburgh, given advice, time and support. We feel incredibly lucky and happy.

As we write, it’s May 2015. We’ve performed at Slide, Late Night Library, Courtyard Sessions, Sydney Comedy Festival and Vaudevillia, and we’ve got 2 interstate Lady tours under our belt, as well as a stack of exciting projects lined up for the rest of the year. Lady is soon touring to Tasmania and Canberra (and hopefully Queensland), and we’re collaborating with some incredibly talented artists on new shows, including a folk barbarian musical, vocal workshops, a women’s comedy + cycling event and a cabaret about gin! (Van Badham,Richard Wise, Iain Isdale, Elly Clough, Jeremy Brennan, Catherine Devenyand Cate Madill to namedrop a few…)

But – and this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows a working artist – money is always incredibly tough. At times, it’s prohibitive. We’ve had to turn down two amazing touring opportunities (sorry Brisbane and Perth) because the costs of travel just couldn’t be covered by potential ticket sales. We’re really passionate about taking our work to the next level, with more collaborations, tours and shows.

So, we’ve decided to be honest about what it costs to put these shows together, in the hope that some of our fans will become ‘patrons’ of Lady Sings it Better and our associated work. We’ll tell you our current financial situation, what we could achieve were we to have a monthly income for the company, and what we’ll give you in return for your hard-earned cash.

We want to be clear: we aren’t doing this to whinge or beg. We feel lucky to work in the arts. But we can’t ask for your money without explaining how our finances work in the first place. Let’s get into it:

How things are now:
We’re an independent company, which means Phoebe and Maeve are fully financially responsible for our exploits. When we first started our performers barely got paid. We toured them to Edinburgh through a combo of fundraising and our own savings. In 2013, we started guaranteeing a minimum $50 per gig. In 2015, we started guaranteeing minimum $100 per gig. We rehearse in Maeve’s lounge room because rehearsal space costs money. A lot of our contractors (publicist, photographer, designer) work for drastically reduced rates or nothing at all. When a tour doesn’t go well, Maeve and Phoebe cover costs with their own money. No one gets paid for rehearsals, and we rehearse at least 3-5 hours per week. Our artists pay for costume bits and pieces out of their own pockets, and Libby has spent god knows how much money on props, kazoos and novelty hats!

How things could be:
With your patr(e)onage, we could make more work, take more risks, collaborate with more artists and support ourselves while we’re at it. Essentially, you’d see your venues filled with more feminist comedy, we’d release recordings and videos of our arrangements, we’d write new shows, and our artists would be fairly compensated for their talents and work.We could make more shows, tour more, pay our performers more, record an album, make videos and take risks. We’ve also got new projects in the works: a folk barbarian musical with Van Badham, a cabaret about gin with The Ginstress, a Sydney ‘Pushy Women’ with Catherine Deveny and more. We just need $1 per month! That said, larger donations get you show discounts, private concerts, video messages (cabagrams!) and other benefits. If we hit $1000 per month total, everyone who pledges will get a download of our first EP! We love making crazy, feminist comedy, cabaret and live music events. We want to make more. Check out our page and watch the video to see if you’re up for donating.

Happy (belated) New Year!

We have so much almost-announce-able news that I’ve been holding off blogging til I can share it all. But time waits for no blog, so I’ll write a little update now and a bigger one later!

Firstly, we welcomed the BBC into our rehearsals last week for BBC World’s Fast Track special on the lead up to Mardi Gras! We sang a few of our new songs and I chatted to the interviewer about blackcat lounge and my views on last year’s Mardi Gras name change.

We are super excited about our Mardi Gras season with Maxine Kauter Band AND Brendan Maclean both launching new work! We love these kids (as I’m sure you know), so book tickets to their shows asap, before the VERY exciting billboard with our faces on it goes up at The Factory. No one will be able to resist our sexy gay faces, so get to it!

Soon, you’ll be hearing all about blackcat productions’ participation in Marrickville Council’s Open Marrickville Festival, which we were thrilled to receive a grant for. We’ve got exciting cabaret plans in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

Oh, and sales for our Lady Sings it Better Adelaide season are coming along nicely. Book for it, ok?

If you need any incentive, check out our new youtube montage, complete with Edinburgh footage…

oh hello there

We’re back! We’re all back (well, except Chandra who is roaming about Europe til January and still hasn’t sent us postcards). The hot pink has faded from our cheeks, our cobblestone injuries have healed, we’ve all stopped getting an eye twitch when we hear the word ‘flyer’ and none of us have worn a tutu in weeks!

So what’s up next for blackcat productions and Lady Sings it Better?

We’re jumping back in the cabaret saddle with a short set at Twenty10‘s thirtieth birthday shindig this Saturday night. Twenty10 is a wonderful organisation, supporting LGBTQI youth and their families and we’re thrilled to be involved. The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir will also be performing and we can’t wait to catch up with them. Speaking of which, here we are singing Whitney Houston with them (I know, I know, she isn’t a man, but we decided to branch out because this is one of the Best Songs Ever):

After Twenty10, Lady will be in rehearsal lock down to ensure we have a fabulous new show for you in time for Sydney Mardi Gras and Adelaide Fringe 2013! Stay tuned for dates and details… You’ll also meet our shiny new MD in the new year (if you are interested in auditioning to be Lady Sings it Better’s Musical Director, please get in touch).

blackcat are also looking to expand our portfolio of acts and events. We’ll be hunting young and emerging cabaret stars in Adelaide (hunting them in a nice way, not a stalky way; I save my stalking for large-bottomed lesbian comedians). We’re also planning a bunch of fabulousness for Sydney Fringe 2013 and we’re hoping to start a monthly cabaret night in the second half of the year.

So, not too much on… Ha.

What’ve you been up to?

x Maeve

Lady Sings it Better Farewell Gig SOLD OUT

Two weeks out and both of our farewell gigs are completely sold out! If you missed out, you can hang around the door hoping someone doesn’t show up, but we won’t be releasing any more tickets!

We’re so appreciative of the wonderful support of our community and are thrilled that The Factory Floor will be packed to send us off in style.

The show’s general admission and doors open at 7.30pm with the amazing Maxine Kauter Band performing first and Lady Sings it Better hitting the stage around 9pm for a 1 hour jampacked preview of the show we’ll be taking to Edinburgh Fringe!

We’ll also be raffling some great prizes (wine, massage vouchers, chocolates, meal vouchers etc) to help fundraise final tour costs, so bring spare change…

Finally, please remember to tell any friends you have in the UK about our Edinburgh season. Details here.

See you then!

xxx the blackcat team