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DIY: 2010 – Bird la Bird Getting Ready

This project will aim to enhance artists’ existing practical skills in the art of putting on make up and stimulate creative thinking around the act of putting on make up as performance.

Being taught how to put on make up as a young person is often down to gender and luck. Many don’t have the opportunity to learn how to apply make up though our efforts are often judged.

We’ve recruited two professional make up artists, Bea Sweet and Patrycja Grimm, to teach us the tricks of the trade, including foundation skills, assembling a make up kit and developing a look.

The location for Day One will be confirmed soon.

Day Two (in collaboration with the Wallace Collection) will be held in the exquisite surroundings of the Wallace Collection and include a tour of museum artifacts relating to the toilette with museum assistant and 18th Century aficionado Mia Jackson.

We will consider the act of putting on make up as performance in itself. Artists will be encouraged to develop ideas and research. Lead artist Bird la Bird will lead discussions using iconic images from film, art and pop culture. Debate will focus on cosmetics and the construction of femininity especially in a queer context.

The intention is to go beyond ‘looking good’ and explore make up in a critical, creative context. We will consider cosmetics, ethnicity and skin tone, ageism and the pursuit of youth. We won’t turn our noses up at a bit of glamour (or anti-glamour) on the way.

Dates, times and location(s):
The project will take place in London over two days but will be open to artists from across the UK (travel and accommodation not provided).

Day 1:
Sat 21 August, 10-5
Location, TBC

Day Two:
Sat 4 September, 10-5
Wallace Collection

Application procedure:
Open to practising artists at any stage of their careers who often work in a club or cabaret context.

Applicants should submit:
1) A summary of their interest in make up and its critical context
2) A brief description of a look they would like to create
3) A summary of how the course will develop their practice
4) A brief biog or CV
Applications should be made to [email protected] by Friday 16 July 2010.

The artist: 
Bird la Bird is a Show-woman and Mama of Bird Club (, a Queer Lady cabaret night for 21st Century Marthas and Arthurs. Bird Club was hatched by Bird and Maria Rosa Young in 2006 as a comedy duo. Bird went on to organise Bird Pride, the UK’s first ever Femme presence at the annual Pride march.

Bird Club in its current form aims to showcase queer femininity featuring feminist strippers on roller skates, political parody, pomo queer burlesque, sloganeering and brainwashing. Bird Club is one of the most popular queer cabaret nights in the UK and regularly packs the Bethnal Green Working Men’s club with over 300 guests.

Bird is a dialogist in the Performance Matters research project ( and is delighted to be collaborating with Lois Weaver in 2011.

This DIY project is supported by Duckie:
Duckie produce Event Culture: audience interactive performance shows that blur the boundaries between theatre, nightclubs and new mode pop and arty show business. Duckie are ‘purveyors of progressive working class entertainment’ who mix live art and light entertainment.

This project was a response to the DIY 7 Call for Proposals.

Part of DIY: 2010

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