On the site of the old Bedlam hospital, where crowds once gathered to mock the crazies, rose a Masonic tabernacle, home to clandestine gatherings and arcane rituals. Fallen into disuse, walled up and derelict, the Grecian Masonic Temple at Liverpool Street lay bereft and forgotten for decades.
This summer A Curious Invitation and the East End Film Festival will return to the marbled splendour of the City’s only original Freemasons’ lodge for a macabre night of cabaret, circus and cinema.
Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest and most beguiling secret societies. Its rituals and allegorical imagery date back to Egyptian mysticism and the Biblical construction of the Temple of Solomon. With its abstruse initiation ceremonies, secret handshakes and oaths of allegiance it has attracted such famous figures as Mozart, George Washington and Harry Houdini. Its offshoots have included occult organisations like The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which included Aleister Crowley among its members.
The Grecian Masonic Temple on Liverpool Street was built in 1912 by Charles Barry Jr, the son of the architect who designed the Houses of Parliament.
The night will begin with a special screening of
TWIN PEAKS : FIRE WALK WITH ME
David Lynch’s paranormal and paradoxical prequel to Twin Peaks, detailing the seven days leading up to the murder of Laura Palmer in a nineties Northwest lumber town.
THE BLACK LODGE
In this opulent chamber of marble and gilt adorned with brazen lanterns and a pair of stately mahogany thrones our compere beyond compare, BENJAMIN LOUCHE, the disreputable and aberrant Lynchean linchpin of the evening will present:
BAMBI BLUE – B movie femme fatale and freak show mermaid,
MALEFICENT MARTINI – broken doll ballerina and industrial popster,
LYDIA DARLING - Visceral fetish artiste and rock ’n' roll siren of doom,
DINAH-MIGHT - burlesque bombshell with her infamous big black dress,
CYNTH ICORN – purely perverted international heavy rubber model & fetish fantasist,
VENUS RAVEN & DANIELA FANETTI - high priestess & rope mistress bringing you DIVINE FIRE,
MARCELLA PUPPINI – vamping the vinyl with rockabilly, electroswing, R&B, and rock ’n’ roll.
THE CRYSTAL CHAMBER
ART MACABRE invite you to sketch a tableau from The Rake’s Progress by William Hogath, himself a masonic Grand Steward, which charts the vices and vicissitudes of Tom Rakewell, culminating with his consignment to the infamous Bethlehem Hospital, aka Bedlam, which stood on the site of tonight’s venue.
TIM MAYNARD will display for your delectation his magnificent menagerie of creepy crawlies, critters and assorted wee beasties, including snakes, scorpions, lizards and spiders.
Our GOLDEN SERVERS will pass among you hand-feeding you toothsome titbits and mouthwatering morsels of strawberry pavlova, spiced carrot cake, blackberry fool, bakewell tart, chocolate truffles and pistachio cannoli.
THE LOST WORD CABARET
SMASHLYN MONROE - brazen vixen of the sideshow underworld,
TUESDAY LAVEAU - Renegade go-go dancer & ursine undulator,
DUNJA KUHN - Burlesque blasphemer and voodoo hula hooper,
DIS CHARGE - Empress of the midnight mass and queen of queerlesque,
CLAN DEXTINE - journeying through bass and time, from swing to ska, blues to balkan & roots to rave
THE STAGE OF STORIES
The origins of Freemasonry lie in the mists of ancient Egypt. Storyteller SALLY POMME CLAYTON will delve into the dark, surreal and sensual world of Isis, Osiris, Ra and Thoth
A deft motion of the human hand can convey the subliminal greeting of a secret society or conjure up beasts, phantoms and demons. DREW COLBY will initiate you into the light and dark art of Shadowgraphy.
THE PLEASURE GARDEN
Here amid our garden of living golden statues with its gently tinkling fountain Maestro TROYLUS SEARLL will preside over a fête champêtre of serene courtly elegance.
The HELIOS COLLECTIVE will perform settings of the erotic poetry by The Pornographer of Venice - Pietro Aretino - Renaissance playwright, satirist, poet and blackmailer.
The ANNO LUCIS QUARTET will serenely serenade you with strains of Haydn, Mozart and other Masonic melodists.