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Ruby’s Accidental Encounters

04 February 2013

Welcome to my Ruby Connection column: the place where I’m going to share with you some of my global encounters and prove just how important synchronicity and serendipity can be in life.

Let’s begin with Ruby, my name. A few years ago when I came home from Europe for a summer break, I noticed that everything was suddenly ‘Ruby’: lipsticks, handbags, babies and every second burlesque performer, which is some of what I do for a living. It made me want to change my name.

Discovering the Ruby Connection, however, was different – and it seemed reasonable that I approach its editor for a chat about mixing it up with what I do and my media company, Ruby TV. So, a couple of soy, and three-quarter-length lattes later, here we are.

I’m somewhat based in Paris, and soon Algiers! (More on that in coming posts.)

I work as a performer and writer, and run Ruby TV, which profiles Australian creative talent overseas, covers festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, and provides multi-platform content for various media.

Every December/January, when the ‘minus’ temperatures kick-in in Europe, I migrate home to Australia for meetings, to perform my cabaret shows and, let’s be honest, the sun.

This Accidental Encounter is about how I first got my cabaret gig, Jazmin and Monsieur P’s Parisian Rendez Vous, at The Basement in Sydney’s Macquarie Place and why my upcoming second appearance in that same cabaret burlesque show is there again on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

I met Annie Wright, she was ABBA’s Australian record label publicist, in May 2011 at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes is funny: everyone runs around maniacally meeting as many important or potentially important people as they can in the space of 10 days – averaging around one meeting every ten-or-so minutes, and ending up with a suitcase of business cards.

The start-to-lose-my-voice day for me is around Day 7 of the 10-day festival and true to form I was bang on time. My Ruby TV director, Elise McLeod, had a meeting with a producer in the gardens of the Grand Hotel the same day and, tagging along, I kinda collapsed on a couch opposite the two of them. I was in a bit of a cold sweat from burning the candle at both ends, and wondering if it was okay to think of nothing for a few minutes… or if I had time to head to a function… or maybe just go home to edit the vision we’d captured that day… when the friend of the producer meeting with Elise plopped down next to me.

“Annie,” she said, introducing herself, and while waiting for the meeting to finish, we chatted.

For the next 20 minutes, Annie regaled me with how she ‘got’ to speak with Quentin Tarantino. It was a killer of a story of wit, guts and humour that woke me up and made me giggle.

Elise’s meeting finished, we swapped phone numbers, and a few weeks later Annie turned up in Paris. I took her to jazz bars and she impressed me with her stamina and we became firm friends.

Back in Sydney for the 2011-12 summer, Annie and I met up again over lunch in Balmoral. She mentioned she knew the booker at The Basement – the famous Sydney jazz, dinner, music venue – and as she changed into her swimmers, I made a call, mentioned her name and bam, my show was booked.
Usually you have to book the venue months in advance and they need to know who you are and your show, but my call scored a cancellation slot later that month. Without the venue knowing anything about my act, except that I knew Annie, I was in.

I postponed my trip back to Paris, re-rehearsed my show and got it up with help from the team.

“You pulled it off!” Annie whispered to me incredulously, looking around the buzzing audience the night of the show. From the ex-publicist of ABBA, I could only take it as a compliment.

Back home in Sydney, now (it was minus 7 in Paris as we took off), I’m trying to pull off an even bigger project and I’m also, on the strength of the first cabaret, performing a second gig at The Basement.

The big project is to raise half the funds for the pilot of a TV show I’ve scripted. (I need to be in Dubai in March to meet my Executive Producer with my half of the 80K needed to get the first episode done… I’m not going to panic until mid February.)

A fan of mixing a bit of business with cabaret, I’ve invited some potential investors along to the February 7 performance, because, as I joked through gritted teeth to my business advisor, “If all else fails, they’ll love the tap.” To which he replied: “Something comes of something.” Very reassuring.

If any of you reading this want to come along and see the cabaret, it’s going to be fun and I’m sure there will be an accidental encounter or two.

For Ruby members, I’m offering a discount ($25 and not $30) for tickets for the show (9:15pm), if you purchase online
or by phone ((02) 9251 2797) using the password of ‘ooh la la’.

(You can also do dinner and the show, which is always enjoyable.)

Hope to see you there or, accidentally, before.



Basement 7 Feb _2013



  • Louise Upton

    Louise Upton 7 years ago

    Met this young woman recently and she made me laugh with her stories and admire her drive. Travel is one of those things in life that teaches you about opportunities and learning how to take them...