Archive for ‘Events’

April 13th, 2013

Fork the Binary – 29th April, The Zephyr Lounge

After our long period of quiet, the Cutlery Drawer is ecstatic to announce the next show – as promised in the last entry, we’re finally getting together with our friends at Rolling Head Promotions for an event in the Midlands!

This event is the companion to the DIY conference ‘Spotlight On: Genderqueer‘ held at Warwick University earlier in the day, and will showcase genderqueer performance. While we expect to incur more costs than usual with this event, any profit we do make will go to Prism, the local LGBTQ youth group. (This information can also be found on the official conference page.)

Rolling Head Promotions and The Cutlery Drawer present… FORK THE BINARY!

WHEN: 29th April, 8-11pm (doors 7pm)
WHERE: The Zephyr Lounge, 2A Spencer Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NE
FACEBOOK: click here
TICKETS: £3 on the door


Bad News Everyone – lovely folk-rock

CN Lester – haunting voice and piano

Kat Gupta – queer performance: meditation on a queer body

Hel Gurney – gender-/genre-busting poetry

Wild – acoustic songs from the wild

Alex Hilton – queer poetry

… and stay tuned for more acts to be announced!

LOCATION: The Zephyr Lounge is conveniently located next to the main bus route from the University of Warwick campus, and within minutes of the train station. To get to the venue from the University: take the U1 or 11 bus to Leamington Spa, and alight from the bus at the Parish Church bus stop, which is at the bottom of the Parade. Cross the road and walk onto Spencer Street, passing Vialli’s on your right. The Assembly lies just ahead: it’s the building with a statue on top holding a gold sphere. The Zephyr Lounge can be found just underneath the Assembly

ACCESSIBILITY:The front door has a wheelchair ramp and hand-rails. There are four toilets, which we will gender-liberate – two single stalls, one set of toilets with urinals, and one wheelchair-accessible toilet (which is up a lift). There will be no flashing lights. We regret that the venue does not allow for a dedicated quiet-space, but if you have needs that necessitate this, please get in touch and we can try to arrange something.

THE CAUSE: Prism LGBTQ is a Coventry-based organisation that is dedicated to providing services, information and support to LGBTQ young people and their friends and family.  Prism’s services are completely free, and funded entirely by donations. Their current focus is the youth group, which meets weekly and is open to young people aged 13-21. Founded in the summer of 2012, Prism is the successor to GYGL, which provided LGBTQ youth services in Coventry for 20 years.

Fork the Binary poster

Our eye-burningly lovely poster, made by Hel Gurney and Ruth Pearce


June 25th, 2012

Moulin Rage Cambridge – the final count…

After re-counting all the change and doing a little bit of rounding-up, we are pleased to announce that we took £316 for the Harry Harris LGBT+ Library! With venue hire and performer expenses, this amounts to £244 going straight into more books and resources for this amazing project.

If you’d like to donate anything (money, books, zines, DVDs) to the library, please contact lgbt-librarian(at)cusu(dot)ac(dot)uk!

I’d also like to make a public and heartfelt expression of gratitude to the heroic Alex Brett, without whom neither the Library nor this fundraiser would have happened. Alex invited The Cutlery Drawer to come to Cambridge, and took on work that would have been very difficult for me to do without spending significant time/money coming up from Brighton, such as finding a verifiably accessible venue and sourcing sound tech equipment. Alex was also able to recommend and book a number of the excellent local acts who performed, and generally shouldered a lot of administrative work. Thank you so much, Alex!

Finally, there have been a few edits to the pages on this site, and a brand new page to collect all our flyers – let us know what you think.

June 13th, 2012

Moulin Rage III: Sedition on the Seafront – 18th July

A mere month after venturing off to Cambridge, the Cutlery Drawer comes down to the seaside for what we hope will be the first of many Brighton gigs! Reuniting a number of performers from the original Moulin Rage a year on, it’s sure to be a fantastic night – and all proceeds go to Survivor’s Network, the rape and sexual assault support service for Brighton and Hove.

WHEN: 7-11pm, 18th July 2012
TICKETS: £6 (£4 concs/unwaged) – buy here!
VENUE: The Brunswick, 1-3 Holland Road, BN3 1JF
FACEBOOK: click here!


The Mechanisms – immortal space-pirates on the run from their mad creator: blending steampunk, dieselpunk, folk, rock, and more than a dash of the theatrical.

Lashings of Ginger Beer Time – radical queer feminist burlesque collective: luxe Victoriana drag, thigh-high fetish boots, Broadway optimism and 21st-century political rage. Song, dance, stand-up, and sketches: titillation for the brain.

CN Lester – soulful and sensual musician: heartbreaking vocals, haunting piano, stripped-down alternative sound.

Sally Outen – hilarious transfeminist stand-up comedian: unpicking gendered expectations with the aid of velociraptors, moles, flies, snails, and cardboard cut-outs!

… and a selection of local poets, to be announced shortly!

ACCESSIBILITY: The Brunswick is wheelchair-accessible. The gig will take place in a room adjoining the main pub, which can be found through a door to the right of the bar area. Our room has its own toilets, which will be gender-liberated for the duration of the event. There is also a wheelchair-accessible toilet in the main pub, to the left of the bar area. We regret that there is no designated quiet space available: however, if someone requires supervised quiet space for access reasons, please contact us beforehand or approach a volunteer on the night and we will do our best to arrange something for you.

THE CAUSE: Survivor’s Network provides support in the Brighton and Hove area for female survivors of sexual abuse (whether recent or childhood), as well as the partners, families, and other supporters of survivors. They welcome trans women and are currently in the process of working out policy on survivors with other trans identities . They are currently seeking more volunteers, particularly those with relevant experience with LGBT issues.


June 3rd, 2012

Moulin Rage: Cambridge Edition – 20th June

The Cutlery Drawer is coming to Cambridge! We’re bringing you a cabaret-style night of truly excellent music, comedy, and poetry – and raising money for the Harry Harris LGBT+ Library. We’re here, we’re queer, and we hope you’ll love it!

TIME: 6pm-11pm
TICKETS: £4/£6 online, £5/£7 on the door – buy here
FACEBOOK EVENT: click here!
VENUE: Cambridge Unitarian Church

Jeff Carpenter – hilarious local legend
Ross Higman – songs and comedy
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time – radical queer feminist burlesque
Sally Outen – transfeminist stand-up
CN Lester – heartbreakingly beautiful songs
Not Right – transfeminist punk band (sadly no longer able to play!)
Amo Rex – singer-songwriter
Hel Gurney – your humble MC, and poet if you REALLY want…

ACCESSIBILITY: The venue is wheelchair-accessible: full details coming soon once we have checked it out in person.

CATERING: Delicious vegetarian and vegan food will be on sale from Clancey’s stall, as well as drinks (soft and alcoholic). We hope to offer food and drink that accomodates as many dietary requirements as possible – please let us know if you have a dietary need (e.g. gluten-free, dairy-free) so we have an idea of numbers!

The Harry Harris LGBT+ Library is a resource managed by the Cambridge University Students’ Union LGBT campaign, available to all. It aims to provide books on LGBT+ themes which might otherwise be hard to get hold of, and provide a safe reading space. It is named for the late Harry Harris, Trans* Rep during 2011.

February 12th, 2012

Bits and pieces – including £1200 for GI!

1. A belated announcement – the fundraiser for Gendered Intelligence raised in excess of £1200! We don’t have the precise figures available, because this time it wasn’t an exclusively Cutlery Drawer event – the Art Auction and catering were all down to GI’s own amazing volunteer team. As at previous events, I was doing a mixture of stage management work (along with other amazing people) and being the Master of Ceremonies. It was an incredible evening with a really diverse range of performers, and the atmosphere was just right.

2. Another fundraiser is on the way – Rolling Head Promotions presents a night of arts and music, in aid of their local LGBTQ youth group! That’s on the 28th of February, Robbin’s Well, Leamington Spa. The observant among you may remember there were plans for a joint Rolling Head and Cutlery Drawer event for Rape Crisis – sadly, various circumstances have prevented this as yet, but we’ll keep you posted!

3. Word is getting around! I was incredibly pleased to see The Cutlery Drawer mentioned on the Lashings of Ginger Beer Time blog as able to organise venues which are safe and accessible spaces: it’s something really key to what our events are about, and it’s great to be referenced as doing well at it.

4. Finally – CALL FOR ARTISTS! The next Cutlery Drawer event will be Brighton-based: please get in touch if you’re interested in performing!



November 18th, 2011

9th December – GI Holiday Party and Silent Art Auction

We’ve been pretty quiet on the blogging front recently – but fear not, wheels have been turning in the background, and the next event is just around the corner!

Gendered Intelligence (in association with The Cutlery Drawer) is hosting a Holiday Party and Silent Art Auction!

£8 entrance (£6 concessions/student/unwaged)
TIME: 9th December, 6:00-9:30pm
VENUE: Central School of Speech and Drama, Swiss Cottage

We will be having a silent art auction of around 20 or so pieces donated to us by various artists and it will feature a range from sculptures to paintings to photographs! You will be able to pay at the event with cash or via PayPal!

There will be a bar of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available as well as the possibility of snacking items! We will do our best to find snack items that cover a range of diets and sensitivities.

We also have four artists ready to perform 15 minute sets at the event:

Naechanè Valentino
Seth Corbin
Holly Hayes
CN Lester

All the proceeds from ticket sales, drink sales, food sales, and the silent auction will go towards Gendered Intelligence. It will help them continue to support trans* youth with meetings, physical activities (such as swimming), and arts based programmes to build their confidence and encouragement.

We hope you come out to Swiss Cottage in support of Gendered Intelligence this holiday! Swiss Cottage is close to Camden, for those who aren’t aware.

September 9th, 2011

Reflections: Moulin Rage! and Political: A Gender

Well, the first two fundraisers are done, and now it’s time for some reflection. Firstly – thank you, to everyone who performed, who worked the doors, who did the tech, who promoted the events in any way, and who came along and spent their time and money with us!

In this post I’m going to talk about what made these events into the beautiful and brilliant nights that they were. I’m also going to talk about what went wrong, and why. Ensuring that events organised by The Cutlery Drawer are the best they can possibly be – which includes making them into spaces which are as safe and accessible as possible – means being transparent about the problems there were, and how they’re going to be addressed in the future. I’ve organised events before, but not of this nature, so this is a learning experience for me. I’m very lucky to have the support of more experienced people, but I also recognise I’m going to make rookie mistakes – and then learn from fixing them!

Moulin Rage was a wonderful night. It meant a lot to me for reasons I’ll go into elsewhere, but far more importantly, the performers were all fantastic. The Mechanisms – playing for the first time without their creator-nemesis Doctor Carmilla – were utterly compelling, weaving the gig into their ongoing plot as a rag-tag spaceship crew and singing us stories from the dark world of sci-fi and fairytales that they inhabit. Powerful, gripping, and at times humorous, their uniquely twisted brand of space-folk ran the gamut between pathos and fury and at one point had audience members up dancing and stamping. They were also kind enough to lend us their stylish hats to take donations during one of the breaks, when it became clear that we hadn’t been brought the collection tins for Rape Crisis South London. CN Lester was a dream come true – as I said on the night, listening to CN play a set is like being hypnotised by an angel. An angel who is very sad and very clever. The music was incredible, comprising tracks from the upcoming album Ashes and covers of “Lilac Wine” and “I’m Your Man”. They also charmed the socks off everyone in between songs.

Bunny Morethan was an engaging solo act, who wrought mischief among the audience with a series of participatory numbers – the feminist true-or-false game, working Mechanisms frontman Jonny into one of her songs, and memorably encouraging two male audience members to share an embrace onstage, after discussing how constructs of masculinity often stop men feeling able to connect with each other. She also treated us to some excellent songs, including an ironic tribute to pinup girls. And finally: the legendary Lashings of Ginger Beer Time. Everyone’s favourite radical-queer-feminist burlesque collective were exquisite as usual, bringing us some of their classic numbers such as the lesbian version of ‘Love Story’ and the *cough* reimagined Hakuna Matata, as well as newer pieces such as ‘Two Butches’ (a rewrite of Cabaret‘s ‘Two Ladies’ depicting a butch/butch/femme poly relationship) and a hilarious yet unsettling sketch about the way Facebook advertisements target women’s insecurities. DJing at the beginning and during the breaks was Ruth Pearce, whose top-notch setlist can be viewed by clicking here.

So, that’s all fantastic. Now – the problems and challenges.

The biggest problem with Moulin Rage was venue accessibility. The Dogstar was in many ways a fantastic venue – the aesthetic was gorgeous, the capacity was great, and we were able to book it very soon before the gig after a series of set-backs with dates and venues. But although Internet sources said that the venue was accessible, it turned out that the Ballroom area where Moulin Rage was actually held was not. Up a set of narrow stairs with no ramp, this accessibility-fail prevented some people from coming. Venue staff told us that some people in wheelchairs had been carried up there before with no problems – but it’s not a fair thing to expect people to be comfortable with. Lesson learned: check venue accessibility in person, which we did with the venue for Political: A Gender.

There was also a problem of crossed wires regarding whether or not there was meant to be an extra performer who wasn’t listed on the billing – it’s a long story, and not especially appropriate for this blog entry, but it’s not a problem likely to be repeated. It did, however, help inform my decisions about whether or not to accept last-minute extra acts for Political: A Gender – more on that later.

We also overran by about half an hour, even with just the four billed acts – luckily, the venue staff were amazing and didn’t throw us out before Lashings finished! This was mostly due to initially only allowing half an hour between doors and the start of performances, then realising that it would actually take longer to get a good number of people through the door. Lesson learned: leave more time before the first act so the audience can get in and relax!

Political: A Gender was a lot more ambitious – and that ambition ultimately paid off. Getting the legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern was a triumph in itself – both because of its improved accessibility and security, and its high-profile status for queer nights. It also went up from four sets to eleven, or even more if you count Ruth Pearce’s DJing, the introductory speech from Gendered Intelligence’s Finn Greig, and my own compering between the acts! I’m not going to go into detail about all the performances here, because this time there are actual reviews up – one at Sabotage Reviews, one at Trans Youth Takes On World, and (so I’m told) more on the way. You can also check out the DJ setlist and running order at Ruth’s site here.

One of the best things I keep hearing about Political: A Gender, though, was the way it created a safe space. Two stand-out quotes:

I was brilliantly entertained and I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin. And it bolstered my courage in coming out to my mum. It’s one of the very few places where it didn’t matter how I self-identified, because I was me and that was OK. One of the happiest events I’ve ever been to.

… and…

As someone who tends to feel uncomfortable in both normative and queer spaces, I didn’t at all. It was a really lovely space.

It also felt truly diverse – although the vast majority of the acts were trans, there were also cis people who felt they transgressed gender in various ways. It felt to me like a real community celebration, but it also felt accessible to people who weren’t trans or queer – I say this last bit on the evidence of some of my friends in the audience, who were having a raging good time despite being cis straight vanilla guys.

On the note of safe space, one extra feature of the night was that the tables were scattered with copies of an A4 sheet known as the “personal luggage label” (click the title in that blog post for a PDF!) and made by the lovely Emily Monaghan (strongly influenced by Kreativekorp’s “Yay Genderform!” and Kate Bornstein’s “My Gender Workbook”).  Emily initially made it for someone on Swap-Bot, but said we could print it for P:AG! There was a plan to ask people to fill them in and then (if they felt comfortable with doing so) stick them up around the venue. This plan was abandoned when I couldn’t find the blu-tack I’d brought, but people still seemed to have fun with them, and quite a few left them behind afterwards. I’d like to think they added to the atmosphere of gender-freedom and safe-space. One thing worried me, though – at the start of the section labelled “(Gender?) Identity”, there’s a bit which reads: “I am: (colour); I could be: (colour); I could never be: (strikethrough)”. This was intended as a suggestion for colour-coding responses – i.e. tick things you are with one colour, tick things you could be with another colour, strikethrough things you could never be. Some of the responses interpreted this as favourite colours; others seemed to interpret this as race. I feel very uncomfortable with the latter – while the luggage label included identities held predominantly by racially marginalised people, like Two-Spirit and SGL, it does not directly address race, and certainly wouldn’t have done so just using “colour”. I sincerely hope that the racial interpretation didn’t impact on anyone’s enjoyment of the evening – if it did, please accept unreserved apologies. Lesson learned: if using the luggage label again, provide an example to show how the colour-coding is meant to work.

Despite the very ambitious scope of the night, everything stayed perfectly to time, even running early at the beginning! Timetabling it was a real challenge, and it still wasn’t perfect (more on that shortly). With Moulin Rage, I knew precisely which acts I wanted and the issue was getting everyone together on the same date and finding a venue. With this one, the date and venue came first – I was determined to get the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and September 1st was the nearest date available at the time of booking – and so I sent off invitations to a lot of people who I thought would be awesome onstage. Shockingly, most of them said yes. Fantastic! A chance to have an event stuffed with a massive range of queer voices! Only it’s never quite that simple – with all the different time restrictions various acts had, it was quite the task fitting in everyone with their desired set-length at a time they could do, while still scheduling in enough intervals to keep things running at a reasonably chilled pace.

However, the ambitious scope of P:AG created issues of access. It was a deliberate decision to have so many acts, to make it as much as possible about celebrating diversity of voices; it was a deliberate decision to keep it running late (acts finished at 1:30am, leaving a half-hour buffer for winding down) so there was more time for people to enjoy themselves. But this was problematic for people who had come to see specific acts but were unable to stay for them; it was also problematic in that anyone wanting to see the whole event would need to stay until long after the last tube had left and then navigate the London night buses. This was compounded by it being on a weeknight. Both Cutlery Drawer events have been weeknights so far – primarily due to venues being more expensive or just already booked on weekends – but if we’re going to stay up late, then things like transport and normal working hours should be taken into consideration. I’m not sure what the best resolution would have been: on the one hand, I think most people who stayed for the entire night had a great time; on the other, a lot of people did have to go home early, and thus miss a proportion of the acts. Is it most important to put on a night of epic proportions, or make sure that as many people as possible can see as much of it as possible? One person suggested having a two-day thing, festival-style, spreading the acts over two evenings. That would be fantastic, albeit even more ambitious. I did also consider posting up copies of the schedule around the venue – but I was advised by two more experienced people not to do that, so people wouldn’t just nip in for one act and then disappear. Given the level of enthusiasm I observed in the audience, in retrospect I’m not sure how likely that was to have happened – but as a decision based on unknown factors, I hope it was the right one.

I’d really like to hear more feedback from people about the length and organisation of the event – would you have preferred specific timings of each act to be announced? Would you have preferred a shorter night, or were you happy with us having the venue until 2am and running live performances until 1:30am? I suppose one compromise would be the live performances ending early, but with a DJ set continuing until late for those who could stand to stay up. I’d like to keep gathering feedback about this. However, especially given that I’ll soon have a lot less free time, it is very likely that the next event will be shorter and more manageable.

And that’s my round-up of our first two events. Feel free to add your own comments and feedback, either on here or via email.

Where next for the Cutlery Drawer? I’m moving to Brighton for postgraduate studies, so it’s quite likely that the next event will be in that area. That said, I am enthusiastic about continuing to run events in London too – I had already moved out of London by the time Moulin Rage happened, so I already know I can do it remotely. I’d love to put on another show at the RVT – I received a very positive email from their events co-ordinator saying they look forward to working with the Cutlery Drawer again, so that’s great. There are also two semi-Cutlery Drawer events in the works: firstly, there’s been talk of collaborating with Rolling Head Promotions on another rape crisis fundraiser early next year. Secondly, after the success of P:AG, Gendered Intelligence have been in touch asking for help with their end-of-year party and fundraiser.

So that’s that: more events are on the way, and there will definitely be Cutlery Drawer-supported events from December – in the meantime, please keep getting in touch with your feedback, ideas, and offers of getting involved! It’s been great working with so many amazing people to put these fundraisers together, and I’m looking forward to carrying on with it.

September 7th, 2011

Political: A Gender – final figures!

After checking expenses, it is my great pride and pleasure to announce that we made a stunning £643 for Gendered Intelligence! Amazing!

Stay tuned for a much longer blog post soon – in the meantime, check out the amazing review we got from Sabotage!

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August 4th, 2011

Political: A Gender – 1st September

The Cutlery Drawer presents… Political: A Gender! Join us for a night to remember as we celebrate gender-transgressive voices and the powerful people behind them. Cabaret, comedy, music, poetry – it’s all here, and every penny of profit goes to gender-diversity advocates Gendered Intelligence.

£7 entrance (£5 concessions/unwaged)
RSVP on Facebook 

Open 7pm-2am, the show begins at 8 with the first of our short poetry sets! Sensational queer poetry will be sprinkled throughout the rest of the night: featured poets include Chroma editor Sophie Mayer and the legendary Roz Kaveney.

Radical queer cabaret collective Lashings of Ginger Beer Time bring us their brain-titillating mix of corsets, show-tunes, and political rage; sensational stand-up Sally Outen joins them with a set covering everything from dinosaur impressions to the lighter side of genital surgery.

The dashing pianist and singer-songwriter CN Lester treats us to their unique combination of low-fi smoky sensuality and pure angelic vocals, including music from upcoming album Ashes.

Also headlining is award-winning film-maker and artist Jason Elvis Barker, who will be entertaining us with his sharply-observed stand-up comedy

Short sets of poetry and stand-up will continue into the night: keep an eye out for Elaine O’Neill, Noah Gibney, Hel Gurney, James Webster, Jo Johnson, and Naith Payton. Killer Queen’s DJ Ruth Pearce will also be filling the air with a wide range of trans/queer alternative tunes!

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is wheelchair-accessible and has gender-neutral toilet facilities. Seating is available. There is no designated quiet space.

August 3rd, 2011

Moulin Rage! The results are in…

Well, what a success for The Cutlery Drawer’s first event! We had around 70 people enjoying themselves in the Ballroom while the performers made us laugh, think, and cry – and best of all, we took a total of £450! Factoring in expenses, that’s £385 for Rape Crisis South London, which has just this moment been paid by direct bank transfer. What a triumph! Stay tuned for information about our next event, and perhaps even a more detailed write-up of Moulin Rage itself…

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