Posts Tagged ‘Lewis G Burton’

Lewis G Burton

For the latest edition of Spin Cycle, we invite multidisciplinary artist, drag performer and in-demand DJ and club host, Lewis G Burton to bring his unique brand of performance back to Superstore! His work spans the worlds of fine art and underground queer clubland, fluctuating from the grotesque to the beguiling, from high culture to low culture – but the one common thread in all of his performance is an intriguing study of identity, queerness and the body. Having performed previously at The Institute of Contemporary Art, The Peckham Space and The Mori + Stein Gallery as well as East London queer club spaces, we can’t wait to see what he devises for his next appearance at the ‘store! We caught up to chat learning and unlearning, collectivity and London’s queer scene!

Hi Lewis! We can’t wait to have you join us to perform at Spin Cycle! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for those who aren’t familiar with your work? 

Hiya! I can’t wait for you to have me inside of you. Well I’m a performance artist, although people know me as a drag queen, superstar DJ, performer and all round club personality – the fat femme fab Lewis G. Burton!

Your work spans across the arenas of fine art and underground club spaces. In which ways do each of these worlds inform your work? 

Underground club spaces are a lot more fun. Having an audience of 1000 people off their tits at a rave in Europe is more exciting as you affect people in so many different ways. I feel like people in gallery spaces try and analyse and pick apart my performances too much rather than enjoying it for what it’s meant to be. I feel at home in the underground and it’s something that has inspired me and my work since I was 17. Being a part of the scene has inspired my work completely differently to being a voyeur reading through books. I get to have so many great conversations and meet interesting people from all walks of life. With my work I’m just holding up a mirror and reflecting the good and bad parts of society within these spaces. 

Did you study performance art in a formal environment? If so/not, how do you think that has influenced your approach and perspective?

Yes I studied fine art and specialised in performance at university. I had some amazing teachers from all disciplines and they encouraged me and pointed me in the right directions. My two performance tutors (Pil and Galia Kollectiv) had such a wealth of knowledge and really made me want to read more. As a queer person though I feel like I’ve had to unlearn the majority of things I’ve been taught growing up and really educate myself on my history. Identifying as LGBTQ+ and being part of a beautiful, diverse community has helped truly influence my approach and perspective. 

lewis g burton at dalston superstore

Can you tell us a bit about your process when it comes to developing performances?

It completely depends what I’m working on. For a club performance I might hear a song or get given a theme to work around and construct something around. I’m very aware in a club environment that I have to entertain and my London parents taught me when I was first starting “If in doubt, freak them out!” So there’s always a grotesque twist I like to include. When creating performances in more of a fine art sense I get the chance to collaborate and work with some really exciting creative individuals and we take each other’s ideas and constantly push each other until we’ve created something we’re happy with. There’s always a different angle to look at something or an element you can take further and working with someone really makes that come out.

If you could invite three queer icons, past or present, to dinner, who would you choose and why?

Kate Bornstein because they’re amazing and so smart, Grace Jones because she’s an absolute goddess and Pete Burns (RIP) because I was always too scared to speak to him when in a club!  

What is the most inspiring thing about London’s queer performance art scene?

The people – so many unique, talented and wonderful people from all walks of life. There are so many great conversations and discussions to be had. It’s just so diverse in terms of what people create! 

lewis g burton at dalston superstore

You have performed at some incredible venues, ranging from The Institute of Contemporary Art to Resistance Gallery. What has been your career highlight?

My career highlight will be gracing the floor at Superstore this Friday for Spin Cycle! (Tragic I know!) 

You also DJ at a number of club nights across London. Which track is currently on high rotation in your sets?

Oh god sooooo many bangers! My current faves are Robyn – do it again, Lady Gaga – Aura (Boyfriends kill the runway remix) and Tatu – all the things she said obvs! 

What exciting plans do you have in store for the rest of the year?

I’m working on an EP, I’m collaborating with fashion/art collective Fecal Matter on some projects and I’m shooting a new TV show in September were I get to take two extreme Tory supporters and open them up to the world of performance art and make them realise why voting Labour is so important and what impact voting conservative has on the community. Also I get to put them through hell which is really exciting! As well as the usual DJ, performance and hosting gigs. She’s a busy girl! 

Can you give us a cheeky hint about what you have in store for us at Spin Cycle?

I don’t want to ruin the surprise but there will be mess – a lot of mess and maybe some snogging with Anna Wall!! 


Catch Lewis G Burton at Spin Cycle this Friday 4 August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!

 

Gender Prince

Inferno returns this Friday with Sebastian Bartz aka Venice Calypso taking over the basement with special guests Joe Roberts and Jack France whilst upstairs Lewis G Burton brings his troupe of crazy club kids including Queen Judi and Chema Diaz at the decks. Also joining them will be the enigmatic performance artist Gender Prince who sat down with Lewis for a little tête-à-tête ahead of the party…

By Lewis G Burton

Who is Gender Prince?

I’m an artist and performer.

There’s a difficultly that when you have a tag as such, it’s quick to assume that it’s a persona, but I don’t identify with the idea of those; it’s just an inflation of aesthetic, the same that exist in my day-to-day life, just on different levels. You could call it a branding decision.

What was it that made you want to get into drag and performance art?

I don’t really recall having a calling card; I’ve always performed in my academic studies. I think growing up, I was so repulsed by my body and who I was; and the way to really overcome that was completely open it up to the point where you couldn’t look away and learn not be repulsed. The power of our bodies; my body is like no other. My work is a documentation of my own hysteria in relation to that, and creating an aesthetic vocabulary that deems my ‘non-passible’ body as trans.

I think that’s why I’m thankful for drag, and the allowance we have in our own trans inclusive spaces. And although I don’t call myself a ‘drag queen’, the power, and energy of these insane, niche communities is like no other. We’re so blessed.

When was the last time you stole an idea from someone?

I’d be lying if I said never. Whether we are aware of it or not, those around us will always influence us; and that feeds into our way of working and living. It’s just a cycle that is rich and never ended.

You’re curating a performance to Venice Calypso’s new track Malibu, how did this come about?

I briefly met Sabastian (Venice Calypso), at HOTBOX last month and with knowing Lewis G Burton; connections are made.

What can we expect from you on 26th June at INFERNO?

It’s going to be brutal, semi ritualistic. A creation, and a re-creation. You’re either going to fall in love or vomit.

You’ve recently finished your artist residency at S1 Artspace in Sheffield, what did you learn from your time there?

I’m so grateful for S1 Artspace for allowing someone like me, that doesn’t necessarily fit into their usual programmed aesthetic to have that opportunity. It offered a chance, to develop in a community that is nourishing and take the risks in a safe space that were required post university.

I would say, it also taught me that it’s okay to struggle, have your moments, and to exist in your own space. We’re artists for the rest of our lives.   

What are your favorite tracks to get you in the party mood?

I can get into any performance as long as it committed. In this very moment, Tinashe is all I need.


How did you end up getting involved with INFERNO?

I was asked by Lewis, we’ve been aware of each other on social media for a while now and finally got to meet when I performed at Grunge, the Vagina Dentata zine after party. She’s crazy, and truly one of the most beautiful people I’ve met in a while.

Living in Sheffield you haven’t been able to experience INFERNO first hand, what are your expectations of the night?

Right! I have no words; just excitement for what we’re about to experience together.

Join Gender Prince this Friday 26th June for Inferno at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Sebastian Bartz

By Lewis G Burton

The second instalment of brand new night INFERNO is taking over both floors again at Superstore this Friday! The unlikely pairing of Lewis G. Burton and Sebastian Bartz (Venice Calypso) will be taking over a floor each, with Lewis upstairs with help from JVP, Miles Metric and Ted Rogers, as Sebastian is shunned to the basement with Jack France, Twang, Joe Roberts and performance artist Synth Icorn. We caught up with Sebastian to find more about the elusive DJ and what will be going down on Friday night! 

Lewis: First of all, what is it that draws you back to East London after playing under your DJ name Venice Calypso in venues such as DV1 in Lyon and Sparta. Nel Bosco in Italy? 

Sebastian: It seems like east London is having a new lease of life, and there are a lot of dark and underground parties happening after short period of being a bit Camden-like. 

What is it that you like about techno music?

I like the relentless repetitive energy. There is something special about that sound. Something deep and spiritual. 

You’ve just launched your record label Four on Four, how did that come about?

I’m creating my own gang of artists, producers, DJs and video makers that don’t fit anywhere else like I do. If you think you fit drop us an email.

As well as that you’re also in a band with Post-Religions Alex Williams called S.A.D. which is different to your DJ persona Venice Calypso… what is the idea behind the band?

We want to challenge the dated indie bands and make music relevant to our era. We are the best band out there. Alex is also one of the most intelligent people I know and I always find it inspiring to be in his company.

Your aesthetic looks like its quite important to you, is there anyone who inspires your style/do you have a favorite designer?

I am always inspired by people like Klaus Nomi or Divine who created their own rules and reality. However I have no idols.

When was the last time you stole an idea from someone? 

I like stealing visual ideas and converting them to sounds. I always have a fantasy of opening the image file into logic and audio files in photoshop.

What are your favorite tracks right now?

D.A.F. is always my favourite band, but there is nothing better then Brodinski feat Young Scooter – Francois-Xavier when I want to kick back a bit. The last I/Y release is awesome.

What is that attracted you to collaborating with performance artist Lewis G. Burton to create Inferno?

Lewis G. Burton is one of the most influential personalities in London and a truly amazing person. Since we met I knew that would create something together, and INFERNO is the party that I always wanted to create. A marriage of unique crowd and great quality sounds.

What can we expect on Friday night at Inferno?

The upper floor is hosted by Lewis G. Burton and saturated with colours and up music. The dark basement with dark, underground techno and a “birth performance” by Synth Icorn. 

Join Lewis Burton and Venice Calypso for Inferno on Friday 1st May at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am. 

Lewis G Burton

Brand new night Inferno takes over both floors of Superstore this Friday! The brainchild of club kids Lewis G Burton and Sebastian Bartz (aka Venice Calypso), the duo will be hosting a floor each with Sebastian in the basement playing techno, and Lewis holding court upstairs playing pop and flanked by east London’s IT drag queens. Ahead of the party we caught up with Lewis to find out more about what to expect

Okay we have to talk about the chicken suit first. How did that idea come into its frankly a bit nightmarish reality?

It’s a project I worked on with my friend Victor Ivanov, through coincidence we ended up being in three exhibitions with a month. During the final exhibition (Platform Six) we talked about making a mask out of chicken skin as an experiment to see how it would look. It turned out very well and we thought ‘fuck it’ lets do the full body. After a six month grueling process of Victor sewing chicken skins onto my body FLESH was born.

How did you feel about the press furore over it? You had publications like The Daily Mail and The Mirror all writing about it…

We carefully orchestrated everything so it would go viral. It was an intended part of the piece to create an online dialogue so the public who would not normally be exposed to art (especially art that’s quite extreme) and see what conversations would arrive. If anything I couldn’t help but laugh at all of the comments that were being made, Victor and myself would call and text each other funny slurs written about us. But there was around 1 in every 10 people who would get it and engage with the piece and actually figured out what it was about which obviously made us happy that we were doing something right! 

Photo by Victor Ivanov

What made you want to get into drag and performance art?

I always admired people like Grace Jones and Leigh Bowery and it fascinated me how they used there body and gender so fluidly. So one day I thought I’m going to move to London and try doing this myself. Performance Art seemed a natural route for my work as I was performing to a camera to take photos, I remember being 18 at college and making this fake vagina and doing a photo shoot. Best. Day. Ever.

My favorite artists are ORLAN, Franko B and Günter Brus. They all have extreme relationships with their bodies that I like and can relate to. I also adore drag culture and have so much love for Divine and what I love about her is how she became a grotesque caricature of what drag was back then. I wouldn’t class myself as a drag queen although there is a lot of influence from drag culture; it’s why I’m always Lewis G. Burton.   

What draws you to the grotesque?

I think the grotesque is very subjective in the same way that beauty is. I just think there’s something really beautiful, raw and organic about the grotesque.

How did your series of nights CULT come into being?

I became bored and jaded with what was going on already so I wanted to do something different with CULT. I wanted to create a platform for the next generation of performers, musicians, drag queens, freaks and misfits to give them a voice and a stage to act on.

What outside of music and performance art inspires your work?

My friends and the community.

What is INFERNO?

INFERNO is the collaboration between Sebastian Bartz (Venice Calypso) and myself. We wanted to curate a night of fun and debauchery that would leave a pleasant taste in everyone’s mouth. It’s going to be the marriage of the good, the bad and the ugly. Highbrow art and lowbrow drag. Pop with techno.

If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen when would you want to go dancing?

Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory!

What can we expect from this Friday night?

Eight drag queens dancing on the bar.  The dirtiest, darkest techno. A very drunk Smiley Vyrus. A man walking around with an iPad on his head. And Britney.

If you were mentoring a young queen in the art of East London nightlife what one piece of indispensible advice would you give out?

Don’t listen to me! Hahaha!

Join Lewis this Friday 27th February for Inferno at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.