Fire, Flirtation And Fighting Cancer At Trixi’s Grindhouse

Signature Brew Haggerston has never been quite so glamorous as it is for the inaugural Trixi’s Grindhouse, the sold out burlesque cabaret fundraiser for grassroots charity Cabaret vs Cancer. The bare railway arch briefly transforms into the kind of heartfelt, fabulous cabaret that only the Double R Club and cohorts can create.

“I’m sure you all know why you’re all here,” explains Rockshot’s own Pauline Di Silvestro, host and organiser of the evening. “It was Trixi Tassels’ birthday yesterday, and as her birthday twin I just wanted to keep the party going.” The legendary burlesque performer, fire eater and ‘world-class tassel twirler’ sadly passed from a particularly aggressive form of bowel cancer only months before, and her absence is keenly felt by both the performers and assembled crowd. Rose Thorne, founder of Cabaret Vs Cancer, explains that every penny donated through raffle ticket sales and admission goes towards projects that help those affected by cancer and their families, and indeed, all the performers at Trixi’s Grindhouse donated their time to help aid this fantastic organisation.

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips
Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips

Co-host Tangerine Tassels leads the applause to her namesake before taking the stage as tonight’s first act. The fiery red-headed go-go dancer, resplendent in emerald green, leads us in an exploration of anxiety and body positivity to Carmina Burana and then Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me. She lives up to her stage name with her swishing, tasseled lingerie as she turns her strip tease into a triumphant self-reclamation. She’s a tough act to follow, but if anyone can, it’s the founder of the Double R Club, Benjamin Louche. Announced as the ‘King of Cabaret’, he objects to the title. “I’m not sure I’d agree with that, as I’m not really into the monarchy,” he quips, his painted eyebrow arched. The songs he presents are personal to his friendship with Trixi Tassels. The Cramps’ Queen Of Pain gets the Louche treatment first as he recalls when she surprised him onstage dressed in latex, his voice rich as he artfully moves through endless poses in his ruffled, leopard tuxedo before producing a neon riding crop from his trousers which he stretches towards the front row. Louche reads a short poem to his departed co-star, a shakespearian monologue of dark humour in tragedy. He’s chosen to cover Fields of the Nephilim’s Phobia next as ‘we both had a past as goths, but do you ever really escape?’. The stage floods with dry ice as he intones his way through the heavy song with wry humour, casting very gothic shadows on the wall behind.

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips
Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips
Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips

A short break to enjoy a craft beer, or Aperol spritz, rushes past and we’re back for Marianne Cheesecake. Sultry and glittering in oranges and yellows, she twirls serenely in a full translucent skirt, a cartoonish wink painting her face. Unclipping her skirt, she transitions into a full fan routine, never losing poise even as she shimmies out of her jewelled bodice. Hélène De Joie takes a completely opposite approach for her routine, clad in a full velvet cape, black beads and a Stevie Nicks haircut as she twists and beguiles through moves influenced by bellydance. She adds a touch of mysticism to the evening with the coins which jangle suspended from her lingerie, as she flicks her hips, her pasties revealed as upside-down crosses. The seduction continues with Evelyn Carnate, founder of The Bitten Peach and The Soho School of Burlesque, who is also an ambassador for Cabaret Vs Cancer. Her every move is poised and controlled as she unclips her hair with piercing eye contact to the sound of Tom Waits, and she ticks a single red rose into her garter as she drops her silken gown in one swift move, proving why she is considered a mistress of her art.

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips
Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips

It wouldn’t be a cabaret without a raffle, and tonight is no exception. The top prize is, of course, a photoshoot with Pauline Di Silvestro, but the Burlesque lessons from The Soho School of Burlesque and tickets to The Bitten Peach’s next show must come close. A multi-sensory space experience from Room Spell, delightfully scented candles from Shadow Dance Craft, and alcoholic prizes from Indie Beer, Pillars Brewery, Lost & Grounded Brewery and Werewolf Beer were also up for grabs, plus an exclusive framed poster designed by Joni Belaruski, an adorable houseplant from Lady Des Fleurs and the latest single on vinyl from the Zipheads. It’s not just the quality of the prizes that warms the heart but also the cross-section creatives who wanted to donate to help support a good cause and remember a tremendous performer.

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips
Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips

“You’re not ready for this, and when I say ‘you’re not ready’, I really mean ‘you’re not ready’,” warns Tangerine Tassels with a laugh. Heavy Metal Pete strides onstage in skull face paint, staring down the audience and licking his lips menacingly. Equal parts impressing and nerve-wracking, flicks fire between three torches, sliding each into his mouth in turn, projecting an inferno upwards that burns from his internal furnace. Producing a sword from behind his back, he waits until our applause hits fever pitch before sliding it into his throat. As we’re still reeling from the pyromania, Vicky Butterfly glides onstage in a full length sequin cape. She lights a cigarette, flicking aside her cape to revel a jewelled body harness. Suddenly the lights drop and she spreads her glittering wings upwards, revealing twinkling lights as she pours her body into the beat, cuckooing herself in colour like a vision of the future of burlesque. Slowly, she opens her mouth to reveal a glowing bulb hidden behind her lips, the last image we have before we return to reality.

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08

Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips
Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08 - by Louise Phillips

As we’re warned that it’ll soon be time to close the bar and head back to the decidedly less glittering streets of Haggerston, we’re left with a warm glow, and not just from Signature Brew’s taps. Tremendous performers from across London’s cabaret scene and beyond gave their time to showcase an innovative and enticing spectrum of performance to raise money in the memory of a truly special person and performer, and this is the sort of event that will be remembered long after the stage lights have dimmed.

Trixi’s Grindhouse raised and donated £1650.01 to Cabaret Vs Cancer.
Donate to Cabaret Vs Cancer at: https://www.cabaretvscancer.co.uk/

  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
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  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
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  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
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  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
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  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
  • Trixi's Grindhouse @ Signature Brew E8 - 2024.06.08
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Review of Trixi’s Grindhouse at Signature Brew Haggerston on 8th June 2024 by Kate Allvey, photography by Louise Phillips

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