The Times of the Cabaret Cabaré Cafe Cobra Marlou Mönnig, Anita Prytz and I (from left to right) created, produced and starred in the all-female cabaret that we named Café Cobra. Opening to a full house, we continued selling out shows for the two year run, 1980-81 in Stockholm. The enamored response to the performance by press, broadcast media and, not least of all, word of mouth from happy audiences resulted in a televised special. Musicians, technicians and artists – in fact, every single person working on the production - were women. Though I had written much of the performance, the cabaret became an inspiring and challenging education, including on-the-spot adlibbing and improv. So difficult, yet what a blast! ”Only Meeee !! The only one who turns me on is me”! We referred to our everchanging opening introduction as the ’ego number’ – vintage, well-known evergreens, where we could run riot with our individually written texts. We’d bulldoze ourselves to center stage to steal our solos. In this photo I’ve captured my spotlight, while Anita eagerly awaits any sign om weakness on my part, so that she can take over. True to our type of cabaret, we were unbridled and unchecked. We pulled out all the stops in acting out our divine unrestrained exaggeration. And, what do you think of our wardrobe? I was wrapped in a lace curtain, topped off by an outdated swim cap, adorned with plastic cherries. Anita modeled an immense baby bonnet to go with her polka-dotted PJs, a nod to the dalmation she also managed to impersonate in her roles. Imagine what you can use as an outfit – putting together leftovers you already have lying around is quite liberating. ”Invitation to the blues”. How I loved singing Tom Waits wonderful song! To set the stage for that special ’after midnight’ feeling, I was supposed to smoke or, rather, send puffs of heavy mist climbing the light beam toward the spotlight. And I was to drink whisky, but, there is not an ounce of alcohol in that on-stage amber liquid. Lucky for me, since I neither drank nor smoked, but I learned that smoke rings can be blown without inhaling. Like everything in a cabaret, makeup was overemphasized. If false eyelashes were not enough, I’d draw extra long, thick lashes right onto my cheeks. Not so glamorous, but so much fuuun! Here they are – our musicians. The legendary Café Cobra Cabaret Orchestra! Left to right: Irene Andersson, piano, Lotta Hasselqvist, bass, Inger Johnsson-Smith, electric guitar and Marita Brodin, drums. At the time, female drummers were not especially known for power. Marita was the strong exception and the force always stayed with this talented percussionist! Her drum solos would shake the walls of the venue. Our off-beat ideas were seldom classy but, most often, just plain fun. Look closely at the photo and note that the fabric on the front of the dress forms a wine bottle. Virtually poured into the part, I would sing the sad heartbreaker ”I’m drinking again”. The sides of the dress consisted of netting, which meant ignoring any semblance of self-consciousness and just going for broke! The Occultist’s Corner was totally improvised. Wild, crazy, flipped out fun, whereby hilarious chaos would ensue and, to the delight of the audience, we’d often crack ourselves up. Anita was a Psychic Medium who talked to everything - to inanimate objects such as chairs, tables or anything that came to mind. I was the Host of the ’TV show’, mainly interested in my close-ups and my ongoing love affair with the camera. Marlou was the Expert, analyzing whatever subject she’d wish at each performance. Check out our especially well-thought-out wardrobe, consisting of beige stretchy jumpsuits, except for the host, of course. Worthy of the stature of being the master of ceremonies, I wore my designer evening gown that I had once worn as a song contestant. And, to top it off, we were all bald. We succeeded in establishing a true school of headstrong playfulness or, Café Cobra! Fattighuset (The Poor House) and Flygande Maran (The Flying Nightmare) Cabarets Raised in the spirit of Cabaret Fattighuset (The Poor House), Greta Zachrisson and I shared a belief regarding the significance of the wardrobe. Use what you have. And, we sure did. Tattered, torn, threadbare and shabby rags were exposed in a new light. A decrepit tank top under a frayed blouse featuring a dowdy leopard print, belted with a thrift give away and embellished with a feather boa made the perfect outfit for one of my characters. It would never be chic, but always personal. This is another photo of me, poignantly shot by Barbro Paulsson, singing the song I wrote with Bengt Carlsson. The dress I’m wearing says it all and was designed to place a wine bottle front and center. It may seem strange to profess: ”I’m drinking again”, when I had always remained a cold sober nondrinker. But, I know what it is like to covet something – it is an urge resonating with your whole being. No matter whether it is for sweets, sex or alcohol. Cravings, urges and pure lust can be felt for many things that we do not want to abstain from and I can relate to that. Feeling wanted and appreciated, Greta Zachrisson and I commuted between Cabaret Fattighuset (The Poor House) in Stockholm and Cabaret Flygande Maran (The Flying Nightmare) in Gothenburg. One of the core foundations of the cabaret is to focus on whatever was alluring, fantastic or awesome. An example would be my revealing cleavage, framed in a deep décolletage. I mean, since I was well-endowed with a perky bust, a buxomly plunge ought to be shared and shown. I was, of course, in celebrated company with world-renowned red carpet ’wardobe malfunctions’. Yet, it is my experience that these fashion flash flubs of boobs popping to attention can often do the same for a drowsy audience. Rousing, resurrecting and revitalizing theatergoers is quite a talent. Perhaps that is why I was always chosen to be the one to find and seat myself on any male attendee’s empty lap, to the delight of his friends. That poor soul would get the heaviest performer. What those crowds had to endure! All of our cabaret wardrobes bled colors on everything! I still have my body suit. I love spots.