So...yeah I've officially fallen head over heels for Hobart. It was like someone blended the best bits of Germany, England and Australia and crammed them onto an island with every possible eco-system. Incredible.
On the first day, we flew in over the countryside with the most fantastic view. It's all coves and bays and rolling hills. After checking into our hotel, my brother, photographer Torsten Baumann (of www.b551.com fame) and I did a walk around the centre of the city. I was struck by the architecture ...and the bitterly cold wind! But mostly the architecture, which wasn't difficult to spot as we had to stop every 5 minutes to take photos.
Brisbane has always had a habit of destroying things with a bit of history. Anything interesting and beautiful is torn down to make way for a few more yuppie shops and apartments. Or historical buildings are left to decay until they are no longer salvageable. The people of Bris rally against this kind of insensitivity to historical beauty but it is often to no avail.
So, to walk about a town where the architecture is so eclectic is incredible. Old stone, London style terraced, mock Tudor, cottage, mixed with 60s and modern buildings. But all different. The fact that the city is built on a big slope adds to the visual charm.
Friday night was dinner with the girls at Rain Check Lounge. The girls, and by that I mean the beautiful and talented ladies of Miss Kitty's Meow (headed up by Grace Cherry) made me feel right at home. The restaurant, by the way, was a great Tapas place. Mixed crowd, very relaxed, professional service, interesting (in a good way) decor and fantastic food.
Anyway, aside from the giggling at blown up classified ads of the 'Busty Blonde. Very Friendly' sort that decorated the restaurant walls the girls got me up to speed with a little shop talk about the impending show. When we finally faced the icy cold wind to head off to bed and I felt completely assured that it was going to run brilliantly.
I also learnt (with some jealousy) that Tigerlily's boyfriend is a chef. The girl has the down-low on every eating spot worth visiting! Plus, Torsten found a place called Pretzel World when he popped out for a fag, which pretty much sealed the deal on my opinion of Hobart.
So, we bundled into Tigerlily's car for the trip to Franklin. Thankfully, Grace Cherry had taken my costumes and props the night before so I only had a pile of make-up and hair bits and bobs to cram in the boot.
This trip was to be our only opportunity to see some of the Tasmanian countryside and the trip to Franklin was absolutely beautiful. When we arrived at the Palais Theatre there was a mist rolling in from the hills our enormous dressing room overlooked the River. One other highlight was finding out that Chicken Feed is the place to get glue on crystals and Lady GaGa Cds. Thanks girls!
The usual preparations ensued, hair dramas, eyelash fixing, make up applying, etc, etc. Meeting all the other performers was wonderful and it was a real variety show. We had a magician, Bob Buchanan for an MC, Lucy Sky Diamond on aerials, Sarah Muir on pole, tango dancers, cabaret performer, all the girls of Miss Kitty's Meow including Tigerlily and Grace Cherry plus Scarlett Jezabel and the bestest stage manager this side of the equator!
Considering the stage was slightly raked, I was concerned as when I did a sound check and run through earlier in the night, it was tilted enough to put me off balance. That, and my dress fell off. Which I appreciate is the point of the act but only when I've carefully timed it. So I was a little nervous going out for my first act. I needn't have worried. The show went perfectly. And I mean perfectly, which never happens! Usually you come off stage thinking, 'I could have done that move better,' or something of the sort but I was so happy with both acts and was on a complete high when I dashed into the wings to put my dressing gown on (a very pretty one mind you!) for final bows.
I was also lucky enough to be waiting in the wings for my final act when I was able to watch Scarlett and Grace do their duet fan dance. Fan-bloody-tastic. I know, groan, pardon the pun, but it was. The colour, the grace, the cheekiness. I just loved it.
Other highlights for me were Tigerlily's bubble act which was absolutely adorable with an excellent use of props and Lucy Sky Diamond with her trapeze act. She has inspired me to finally commit to creating a trapeze performance of my own, what a girl!
Torsten of course, was snapping away. I've also popped a couple of pics up on my Facebook fan page and others are visible at his blog, including a few lovely architectural shots of the theatre.
So feeling somewhat elated we all bundled back into Tigerlily's car for the scary ride home. That beautiful mist from earlier had turned into a fog so thick we had to crawl at 40km the whole way home. Some crazy cab driver shot past us like a bat out of hell while we were on one of the most impossibly thick spots where we couldn't even see where the sides of the road or lanes were. I don't know if he had x-ray vision or something.
Later, we found out that Grace Cherry's cab driver was also driving like a maniac all the way back to Hobart. Seriously people, if you are paying for it, you have a right to tell them to slow down. Not a fun way to end a night thinking you might die at the hands of a kamikaze driver.
Anyway, a brief mar on an otherwise perfect evening.
I absolutely collapsed into bed with an enormous sense of well being and looking forward very much to a sleep in!