The award-winning cabaret superstar returns to the Assembly Festival, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with her rich vocals, glamour and sharp wit.
During August I have the pleasure of living and performing in Edinburgh. This city really buzzes in a different way this month, as lovers of performance from all over the world descend.
Of course, I would recommend sharing an hour every night with me at 22:15. I'm doing the show this year again in the amazing Assembly Checkpoint (3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 1EY, 0131 623 3030, assemblyfestival.com) which was once an Adventist Church and then became an art space ( The Forrest), which housed an arts gallery, performance space, music studio and darkroom. The funding for it crumbled but the spirit lives on in its reincarnation as Checkpoint, now under the wing of Assembly Festival. I perform upstairs, along with many other fantastic acts, and it's a treat to hear my voice ring out among the preserved majestic decay.
If I'm feeling the buzz after my show on a Friday night, I head downstairs to the Checkpoint bar for an espresso martini. It has a tiny stage where sometimes artists from different shows get together and collaborate. There's a midnight live music party upstairs this year, hosted by Alex Rossi and the Rhythmic Circus from Minneapolis, and I'm sure I'll be joining in sometime in the month with their mix of hip-hop, blues and root music peppered with a horn section.
I’m usually starving by then, and late night food is not easy to come by, so I'll head to George Square Gardens (George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH, 0131 623 3030, assemblyfestival.com ), to the pop-up food vendors. Having a tasty Thai curry or lamb burger under the fairy lights on that astroturf lawn always calms me, even if I am tripped over by drunken festival goers.
I'd most likely get up in time for a yoga class atMeadowlark Yoga (Meadowlark Yoga, 43 Argyle Place,Edinburgh, EH9 1JT, 0131 225 1220, meadowlarkyoga.com). They have a juice bar there now and so I might have a smoothie with raw cacao and chia seeds, because that is the kinda girl I am - my parents were eating like that before it was trendy.
I like to stroll through the Meadows and watch all the fun Edinburgh acrobats and buskers doing their thing. I love that in Edinburgh: great shows are happening all day long, so watching an afternoon show is easier than you think. I want to see the Ruby Dolls, above, do a fantastic feminist fairytale. I'd love to see Michael Griffiths do his Madonna show again - we performed together last month on New Zealand television.
I might head to Mum's Great Comfort Food, (4a Forrest Road, Edinburgh, 0131 260 9806 monstermashcafe.co.uk), to try something funny like vegetarian haggis. I love the checkerboard floor and the staff here, they make me laugh, and sometimes, in gratitude, I'll sing into the kitchen. It’s great to sit in an old-fashioned booth and have some pudding.
It’s always worth catching a show at the proper Udderbelly, left, in the cavernous old stones of Cowgate (Udderbelly, Edinburgh Central Library, 56 Cowgate, Edinburgh, 0844 545 8252 underbelly.co.uk). Climbing up the medieval stairs to see some strange, very contemporary comedy, has a great juxtaposition. I don't usually drink beer- I'm a martini or tequila girl- but you feel as if you'd be committing a crime refusing a pint among these ruins.
Across the street from my venue is the Hotel Du Vin (11 Bristo Place Edinburgh, EH1 1EZ 084473 64255, hotelduvin.com/locations/edinburgh/), and I've had a couple of business meetings over a glass of white wine before a show. It's housed in an old city asylum and so whenever I leave, I feel a taste of freedom. Not locked up (yet)!
Then it’s time for my show again and really afterwards I often head to where people drag me. There's often a fun party space they've created in the Studio Bar at Assembly. One year it was mojito- themed and they had mint growing all through the joint
For treats to bring back home I love The Chocolate Tree, above (123 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH10 4EQ · 0131 228 3144, the-chocolate-tree.co.uk) I stocked up on Scotch Craft Chocolate made there in East Lothian. I've found lovely necklaces at a little boutique called Hannah Zakari (43 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, EH1 2QB-0131 226 5433, Hannahzakari.co.uk)
After shopping it’s a great time for outdoor activities, and I'm sure many people suggest the walk up to Arthur's seat, and I will be another. But I'd pack a lunch from a great selection at Bodrum Fine Foods (25-26 Argyle Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1JJ, 0131 229 8376) (right down the street from the Yoga Spot) which has so many speciality items. Bring a blanket and sit on a bluff overlooking the city- it is an unparalleled experience.
Finish with a steam at The Scotsman, above (The Scotsman, 20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1TR, 0131 556 5565, thescotsmanhotel.co.uk/) . With a day fee you can use their sauna, pool, steam room or tropicarium. I'm not exactly sure what the last thing is, but I like the idea of escaping to the Tropics while in drizzling Edinburgh.
Along with her musical director Yair Evnine, Lady Rizo creates vintage arrangements and theatrical explorations of pop songs from every decade, mixed with original material, some of which will make its European debut this summer.
31 July - 24 August, assemblyfestival.com