One week after resigning from work at UWA, I was already in two newspapers for my work as an entertainer – The West Australian (for a Cancer Council Relay for Life fundraiser show) and The Manjimup-Bridgetown Times (for a feature at Jazz in the Jarrah, supporting the Royal Flying Doctors Service and Lions Club charities).
I also secured a booking for my first show at Rigby’s Bar and Bistro in St George’s Terrace to perform my third original cabaret show: “Gatsby’s Cabaret” which is inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel and the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. A few weeks later, I was in the local papers again (Western Suburbs Weekly, twice, and once in The Post) and my first Fringe World show (a reprisal of my first cabaret show Come Fly With Me) sold out at the Ellington Jazz Club. To say I have no regrets for giving up well-paid fulltime employment at a highly respected institution is an understatement. I feel happier, stress-free, and more fulfilled than I have been in a long time.
I left work to pursue my singing career and my achievements so far include a wonderful run at the Naked Fig Cafe with Mint Jazz Band, performing with a corporate band at the Laneway Lounge, taking Portuguese lessons to learn two verses of “The Girl from Ipanema,” being taught piano by my highly talented English teacher and friend Dr Mary Ellen MacDonald, entertaining in Manjimup, appearing at the Twilight Hawkers Market, being interviewed and performing on Radio Fremantle’s The Mixed Bag, singing at three cancer charity fundraisers in one week, and enjoying a completely sold out season at Fringe World!
Many singers I admire are also brilliant actors (Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Barbara Streisand, etc.) or have acted in various capacities (Jennifer Hudson, Whitney Houston, Nat King Cole, etc.). As an entertainer, I incorporate acting into a lot of my performances. It therefore seems natural that I have turned to acting to extend myself as a performing artist.
Over the last month I have been in one promotional lifestyle advertisement for a property company, one music video for a local band, featured once in Irish comedian Mary Bourke’s show “Muffragette” and acted as one of the sexy Curtin Library hosts in the Fringe World Pleasure Gardens.
I used to fear auditions but now I enjoy them. In this past week alone, I had four auditions – all parts I would love to play. Like waiting for the call from X Factor producers after successfully completing the first local rounds of auditions, I just have to wait for the call.
In the one month since resigning from work, I have had a blast! Spending time with my beautiful girlfriend Maneera (who started her own YouTube channel and Facebook page called Beauty by Maneera), completing a barista course at Dome Cafe, working as a show promoter at Fringe World, trying out a swing dancing class, and going to the gym, are some of the activities I have enjoyed. I also joined Weekend Notes as a contributor and put my English skills to use in two reviews: a comedy show review about Neel Kolhatkar’s latest comedy show and a theatre review of “Moving On Inc.”
Keep your eyes and ears ready for more great news to come!
P.S. Tickets to “Gatsby’s Cabaret,” a live cabaret show and three course dinner at Rigby’s Bar and Bistro, are selling fast. Book your tickets today! Jake Dennis and the Mint Jazz Band’s previous cabaret shows (Come Fly With Me and Like Blown Smoke) both sold out in advance of their opening nights! 😉
Seven lucky months since my last blog post and I am determined to make 2014 a year of poetic and singing success. On New Year’s Eve 2013 I printed the first draft copy of my 50 poem manuscript “The Fledgeling Poems or Like Thought Before Movement.” This places me just one step closer towards getting my first poetry collection published; a project I have been working towards for eight years now. In seven days, one of Perth’s most prestigious entertainment venues will announce I will be part of their 2014 season. Join me on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with my upcoming announcements.
Highlights of the last seven months:
“Like Blown Smoke,” my first original song (I wrote the melody and lyrics) was launched on Twin Cities Radio FM. Produced by James Abbot and inspired by the chord progressions of AfroKingz rapper Derrick Chella, “Like Blown Smoke” is available through iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and my Triple J Unearthed profile. It is the first song I have proudly registered with the Australian Performing Rights Association. I am currently working with Abbot on a new original song, inspired by Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill, called “Burn Bright Tygers.”
Mint Jazz Band has been very successful over the last half year. Our double bassist Malcolm Mah married in spring and our drummer Chris Marquand married this autumn! I was honoured to be chosen by Mah to perform “In Your Eyes,” an original song he penned for his bride, at his wedding reception, and to sing the first dance song – a swing version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – for Marquand’s! In addition, we have been over-the-moon every time we are chosen to entertain at clients’ weddings (thank you brides and grooms and Perth Professional Entertainment Services), charity events (SolarisCare’s Red Sky Ride Appreciation Night, Mondo Community Warriors’ Lifeline Fundraising Brunch, Playlovers Theatre Hills Bushfire Fundraiser), council events (Town of Cambridge, City of Perth, Town of Victoria Park), and stylish restaurants (the Naked and Wild Fig Cafes).
You are looking at my first self-produced Photoshop gig poster. I hope you can make it to our third Ellington gig! It will be the second cabaret style show I perform this year. The first was “Spring Valentine” – a romance themed mini-cabaret I performed for the City of Perth’s Holly Wood Tuesday Morning Show at the Perth Town Hall. These will not be my last! 😉
RUDE Agency has taken us on as one of its clients and Events & Beyond made my personal dream of performing on the Forest Place stage at the Twilight Hawkers Markets a reality. E&B also booked us to perform at the City of Perth’s Home Growers Market. I am also happy to declare that we will perform at Jazz Fremantle this Mother’s Day! This will be Mint Jazz Band’s first Fremantle show. Thanks to the celebrated X-Wray Café, who have booked pianist Mark Cunniffe and I to play there every Monday in June, Fremantle may soon become our second musical home.
After many years of searching, I have finally found a supportive and knowledgeable singing teacher who helps develop my vocal technique, extend my range, and (most importantly) makes me feel comfortable and confident. Her name is Antonietta D’Elia. She is a classically trained Italian soprano and I am proud to work with her. In addition, I am still working closely with actress and singer Rhoda Lopez whose directorial and stage movement advice are brilliant. Stay tuned!
Check out these journals that contain my poetry! These represent the culmination of hard work and persistence. As explained in my previous post, Poetry New Zealand (NZ) and Lost Coast Review (USA) are international journals. I set myself a goal of sending poetry to international journals and my aspiration of being published more internationally has been successfully met. I cracked the UK market with publication in Strutco and entered the South-East Asian market with publication in Eastlit. Locally, Little Raven Press accepted one of my few erotic poems for publication, UWA’s Poet’s Corner featured one of my works, and Little Mozzie published one of my few love poems in the same issue as two of my favourite Australian poets: Bruce Dawe and Thomas Shapcott! I was also selected as Poet of the Month by Jackson for her journal Uneven Floor and was thrilled to read poems on Twin Cities Radio as well as for WA Poets Inc at the Beaufort St Festival late last year.
Melbourne continues to treat me with love: in Brief and GORE Magazine accepted poems for publication and to my immense delight, I was awarded first prize in the Right Now: Human Rights Poetry Competition for my poem “No Asians. Your Desire!” Finally, my poems about race have been getting published. Social Alternatives is set to publish “On Pauline Hanson’s Doorstep” and foam:e recently published “Guiding the Sheep.” I have also just signed off on proofs for two anthologies that will include a poem of mine: the 2014 Short and Twisted Anthology and The Stars Like Sand. Furthermore, the Peter Cowan Writers Centre Advanced Poetry Workshops have been exhilarating. I was also blessed to have my poetry mentor Dr Mary Ellen MacDonald and my poet friend Bron Bateman read my manuscript with their astute critical eyes to help me prune it further before I send it to publishers. A lot to be thankful for and a lot of hard work ahead so wish me luck!
Acting for the stage and screen has always appealed to me. Besides attending an FTI Screen Actors Boot Camp a few years ago, I also completed two Performing Arts units at Curtin University. This year, I attended a one day Acting Classes in Perth workshop and also had my first official on-screen acting role. Produced by the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office, I play an unhappy client of WA’s mental health service. My part starts at 05:10. 😉
Working at UWA has continued to provide opportunities for professional development. Creating e-modules, running LMS Moodle training classes, and co-ordinating the transformation of the School’s medical specimen museum into a Pathology Education and Learning Centre keep me busy Mon-Fri 9-5pm.
On the freelance journalism front, I made my UWA News author debut and penned another article for MeDeFacts. In addition, I was again selected as a Fringe Festival reviewer. What I most look forward to, however, is being featured in the local newspapers again. Two recent examples below. Fingers crossed that there will be more to come!