Lola the Vamp
Lola The Vamp in burlesque show Milonga Del Angel
This is a four-song performance with masks, tulle, feathers, duelling parasols and a 1790’s style Sedan chair. Toured Australia 2008 from Woodford Folk Festival to Butterfly Club. “A highly developed aesthetic and a sly wit…super sexy without ever being tawdry, Lola is in a league of her own” The Age.
Lola the Vamp (born Lola Montgomery) is an Australian dancer and part of the neo-burlesque movement. She is said to be the only burlesque performer in theatrical history to perform burlesque as part of her studies for the academic degree of PhD. She completed a creative component PhD involving the production of creative product and thesis at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia 2013. No revisions to her original submission were required, (http://www.thisiscabaret.com/performing-burlesque-for-your-phd-why-would-you-do-it/). “The examiners agree on the originality of this work as a combination of performance and writing about performance that addresses issues in the feminist field as well as making a striking contribution to performance studies. By going beyond the exploitation/empowerment binary and placing her work in the aesthetic discipline required for a number of traditional forms (mask, ballet, bodily inscription, the manipulation of fetishes), the candidate moves the discussion about burlesque along and places it deep in our growing understanding of performance as a dynamic interplay between communicative craft and audience expectation” (Chair of Assessors, Associate Professor Stephen Stockwell, 17 July 2013).
Her performance history began at the Neo-Burlesque festival, Tease-o-rama, in 2002. She has performed at Go Go Burlesco in Sydney, the Edinburgh Fringe, The Big Day Out, Woodford Folk Festival, Valley Fiesta and solo tours of the East Coast of Australia. She co-founded 34b Burlesque in Sydney in 2005, making regular appearances until its closure in 2012. She was the Australian Penthouse Pet of the Month in November 2007. In 2008 and 2012 she was a headliner of Tease-o-rama. From 2009 to 2011 she operated Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Brisbane. She has performed at the Australian Burlesque Festival every year since 2010 and headlined in 2013. She has also appeared in music videos and films. In 2013, she joined Australian band, Desert Blues Cartel as a guest singer and performer. They released the single, Ma Cherie, in 2014.
Early Life and Education
Lola Montgomery studied acting, ballet and tap-dance, horseriding, dressage, flute, piccolo and piano from the age of 5. She completed her high school education through Brisbane School of Distance Education in Queensland, Australia, due to extended periods of travel as a child. She is now a student of Bikram Yoga. Montgomery was a child model with Pam Tamblyn Model Management. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Creative Arts) degree, with majors in Theatre, Visual Art and Music at Griffith University graduating with First Class Honours. As a PhD candidate, she has presented papers and performances at Tease-o-rama (2003, 2005) at A Stacked Deck (Canberra Fringe Festival 2009) and The Beyond Burlesque Symposium La Trobe University at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (2009). In 2012 she presented at the annual Australian Women’s and Gender Studies conference at University of New South Wales.
Career – Burlesque
Lola the Vamp performing at Miss Exotic World 2006
Lola began her career in 2002 at Tease-o-rama’s Evangeline Auditions in San Francisco, where she performed her first strip for Dita Von Teese, among others. She improvised a to an authentic New Orleans burlesque song and adopted ‘The Vamp’. To vamp in jazz music is to improvise. She is the only Australian Tease-o-rama headliner and the first Australian burlesque dancer to perform at Miss Exotic World, now called Burlesque Hall of Fame. A 2008 performance at Melbourne’s Butterfly Club was described by The Age as displaying “A highly developed aesthetic and a sly wit … super sexy without ever being tawdry, Lola is in a league of her own” (The Age, September 2008) Lola’s influences include the Art Nouveau aesthetics of the Belle Epoque era, Giorgio Agamben’s fetishism and the classic striptease of mid-20th century burlesque. She is known for highly referenced sets, ballet-influenced choreography and high production values. (The Happy Stripper, Jackie Willson, 2008)
She has also performed at Go Go Burlesco in Sydney. It was one of the first neo-burlesque shows to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe The Timesthe five women have some idea about showbiz so the whole thing rattles on with well-rehearsed panache. Exquisitely dressed (and undressed), it does not hurt that the five are all quite ravishing to look at’ (The Times, August 10, 2005), ‘Moreover, and this is rare in the realm of modern strip’n’show cabaret, the show tries to capture something of the original burlesque tradition – Lola The Vamp’s exotic dance with floaty scarves is one instance’ (The Herald, August 27, 2005), ‘Lola’s feather and fan dances were beautifully erotic’ (Hairline Highlights, August 17, 2005). Subsequent major shows include The Big Day Out, Woodford Folk Festival, Valley Fiesta and solo tours of the East Coast of Australia. Lola assisted Pip Branson in the foundation of 34b Burlesque in Sydney in 2005, making regular appearances until its closure in 2012. She was the Australian Penthouse Pet of the Month in November 2007 and supported Nick Cave solo and Grinderman on their Australian performances in 2007. In 2008 and 2012 she was a headliner of Tease-o-rama alongside Cirque Du Soleil, Catherine D’lish, Dirty Martini and Kitten on the Keys. From 2009 to 2011 she operated Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Brisbane, a franchise owned by illustrator Molly Crabapple. She has performed at the Australian Burlesque Festival every year since 2010 and headlined in 2013.
In 2013, she launched Vamp & Burn, a touring show featuring improvised burlesque to the music of Desert Blues Cartel. She has appeared in music videos for Tim Rogers’ “Goodnight Boys”, The Louisville Sluggers’ “All That She Had On Was The Radio,” Dick Desert’s “The Good Times”, Soma Rasa’s “I Like It” and Looking Glass Liars’ “Paper Backbone.” She was the subject of an art exhibition in 2005 titled “The Lola Show” and posed for The Archibald Prize in 2009. Lola is a model for Australian artist David Bromley. Documentary appearances include “Lola The Vamp” by Griffith Film School. Lola is a long-time model for Australian avant-garde designer Rebecca Cobbing including Melbourne Fashion Festival 2011 and Brisbane Bridal Awards 2012 and 2013. As an academic and burlesque/raunch culture media commentator, Lola has worked in media outlets including The Australian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, The Today Show, Mornings With Kerri-Anne, Getaway and other international print, film and television media. Her work appears in the books, “Burlesque and The New Bump and Grind” Michelle Baldwin, “The Happy Stripper: Politics and Pleasures of The New Burlesque” Jacki Willson, “The Secret Life of The Gold Coast”, and photography compilation, “The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women.” The character of Liza in “A True History of the Hula Hoop” (Judith Lanagan) is based on Lola.
Montgomery trained as an actress and has appeared in several short films, including The Poor Slob and The Good Fairy (Cannes Short Film Corner 2007), based on an 1899 cabaret script by Alphonse Allais. This film became part of her 2007 solo tour and continues to tour arts festivals. She directed the 2012 Dick Desert video clip Where Ya Mama, screening on the Rage television program on ABC1. Her first audition was for Jane Campion’s film Holy Smoke. She co-produced and performed in the music video for Ma Cherie in 2014.
Montgomery is a guest blogger for Vintage Shopper (LA) and has contributed articles to No Fibs (Aus), This Is Cabaret (UK), and Burlesque Bible (UK, France). Her PhD thesis is being prepared for publication (2014)