Friday, January 29, 2010

Vegas on the Brain...

Well I was going to share a picture of my lucite purse that I finally got but I left my camera cord at home. Oh well. The good news is that it looks exactly as it does in the Ebay photos. I couldn't be happier!

I was watching videos on Youtube yesterday and came across one from LisaFreemontStreet that I thought was interesting. All of her videos are interesting actually. She does great vintage hair tutorials. But this one got my wheels turning because it was about Viva Las Vegas. Heres the video:

For anyone that doesn't know, Viva is a Rockabilly weekender that takes place every year in Vegas (duh). Its tons of bands, DJ's, and dancing. Theres a burlesque contest, a Jive contest, a HUGE car show, a Tiki pool party, among others. This years event, number 13, is taking place April 1-4.

Heres a good video showing last years pool party and Jive contest. Dancing goes on until 7AM every night.

I've been going to Viva since 2001 and its always a great time. Its the only time I get to see a lot of my friends as we all live all over the place now. I've made a lot of new friends from all over the world just by going to Viva as well. In fact its where I met my sweetheart!

With it being about 2 months away now I am in total Viva mode!! I have a few new things in my closet that I'm planning on wearing but I need to get more. A trip to Boulder and Kansas City in the next couple weeks should take care of that. I also have a pile of things that need to get altered or cleaned. Not to mention that I need to lose the 10 pounds I gained over the holidays. The main thing is planning my wardrobe for the weekend. 2-4 outfits a day. Thats a lot!!

I thought I would share with you guys some photos of past Viva's and some of the outfits I put together.

My best friend Lil e (thats his nickname). This outfit is actually a vintage bathing suit with a vintage black crotchet wrap skirt over it. Its open in the front. One of my favorite pool side outfits!

These are my OG's, Tina and Tara. We do themed nights a lot. I believe we are all wearing Kamehameha halter dresses.

e, Tara, me and Emma. One of my favorite photos. Emma is wearing one of the first vintage dresses that I ever bought. I love the daisy's!!
This would be titled 'The Day After'. Me and my friend Courtney had a VERY drunken evening...
Tinas dress is a Whirling Turbin (she has like 5 of them!) and Tara's I'm not sure, but its one of my favorites that she owns. Mine is a tie top and shorts playsuit over a red vintage halter top. Its not vintage and is probably from the 90's. It looks the part though!
2002 when me and e won the Jive contest. It was a great surprise to win but I wanted to vomit afterwards. I'm wearing an oriental rayon top and a pencil skirt. Neither are vintage.

Basically, when I'm a little tipsy, I'm a total dork. I'm goofing around with Teresah and Kath.
This dress is a Kamehameha and one of my favorites! I love it more because I got it for really cheap.

If you look closely at Tina you will find a half sleeve of fake tattoos. She's funny like that. I bought that dress at the event and it was a bit too big in the bust. I was determined to wear it though and had a lot of safety pins. Problem solved!

It looks like I just slapped Seth and am laughing evily about it. But I swear I didn't!
I'm wearing a Kemehameha that e and Tina gave me for me birthday. Seth is wearing his classic Viva outfit, vintage shirt over skater jeans with sneakers. lol!

Siobahn, Renee, Oran, me and Teresah. Tiki pool party madness. I am spacing on my bikini's brand. My lucite purse is pink though so thats all I cared about :-)

Tara couldnt make it last year on account of her giving birth to twins, but we made sure she was there anyways and that she had a great time.

This is one of my favorite dresses. No label buts its vintage and its tiger striped with rhinestones. 'nuff said.

I simply can't wait for this years Viva!! All my original Albuquerque friends are going so it'll be an OG reunion. I'm really lucky to have such a great group of friends that haven't let anything get in the way. Not moving to San Francisco (e), or going to med school/Air Force boot camp/moving to Fairfield/becoming a DR (Tina), getting married and having Twins (Tara), finally finishing college (Seth), or moving to Denver (me). We've all maintained our friendships without letting life get in the way. This may be the last year that we can all get together though. Tina is about to move overseas to perform her service to the Air Force and then soon enough her and Seth will be married. I'm happy for them but sad I won't have them in Viva anymore. But I'm sure we'll figure something out!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just Dance: The Lindy Hop aka Jitterbug

This is Savoy style lindy hop done by Whiteys Lindy Hoppers in 1941. Its from the movie Hellzapoppin and it is probably the most famous clip of the dance. Lindy came out of the Savoy ballroom in Harlem in the early 30s. Essentially, the lindy hop was a completely made up dance but it incorporated Charleston, jazz and tap elements. The main highlights of the dance are the swing out and the high flying aerials, which were considered 'lewd' at that time. The aerials are credited to Frankie Manning who continued to dance and teach lindy hop until his death in 2009. This style of Lindy was much more energetic and 'wild' than its later incarnations and as Frankie put it, there was no one style of the dance because everyone at the Savoy had their own style.

Lindy hop, now being called the Jitterbug, swept the nation and before long it was being danced in all the movies. It was also a great way for GI's to have some fun and let loose during the war. This clip from 1941's Buck Privates features the Andrews Sisters who were hugely popular during the 4o's swing era. It also shows Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan dancing, who are my personal favorites. She was the queen of the swivel and he was the king of footwork. He is credited with bringing the Lindy Hop from New York (he actually danced at the Savoy) to California and making it popular in the movies. His smoothed out style became the basis of "Hollywood style" during the 90s resurgence of swing.

1943's Groovy Movie is an essential watch for dancing buffs. Created as an instructional dance video it shows how to do styling moves such as pecking, boogie woogie, and the Shorty George. It features Jean Veloz, the queen of the quick stop, and her fabulous wedges. The dance sequence is amazing and done totally tongue in cheek in that great 40's way. There is also a fabulous footwork shot of the shag, filmed underneath them. Basically this short film captures all the fun and shenanigans that take place when dancing the Jitterbug.

In the 50s big bands were out and Rock and Roll was in. Gone were the large ballrooms. Now kids were dancing in soda shops to juke box records. Most people don't realize though that the kids were still jitterbugging, only now it was to R&B, Jump Blues and Rockabilly. As the music got faster, however, the dance got stripped down and lost most of the complicated elements that made it what it was. Social partner dancing would go in and out of style for the next 30 years.

Enter the 90s with Swing Kids, Swingers, Jump, Jive and Wail and that darned GAP commercial and there was a whole new Swing craze. Everyone wanted to learn how to swing, even though the new dance being taught was just an extremely stripped down version of the lindy hop. It did, however, get everyone dancing. All of a sudden people were looking back to the Golden era and doing everything they could to copy it. Soon though, the real Lindy Hop would make a comeback and show everyone how it was supposed to be done.

The Rhythm Hot Shots in 1994. A recreation of the dance scene done by Whiteys Lindy Hoppers in 1937's Day at the Races.

Erik and Sylvia 1998. The return of Hollywood Style Lindy Hop.

Lindy Hop today incorporates more jazz elements than ever before. Its much more musical and complicated with a big dose of the 30s rather than the 40s. Solo Charleston is also back in a big way. Todays Lindy is less about copying the old styles and more about inventing new ways to dance the Lindy Hop. Hip Hop Lindy, West Coast, and Blues are just a few of the modern ways to dance the Jitterbug. The personal style has also changed. People are not 'dressing the part' as much as they used to. Now they are wearing modern, trendy clothes. Its all about taking an old dance and modernizing it.

On a personal note: My favorite style is Hollywood style. I love the fluidity and grace in all the movements. Jewel McGowan is my dance icon and I worked very hard to perfect my swivel. I prefer dancing Lindy to big band music rather than 30's jazz or blues. Solo Charleston is very strange to me. I respect it but I just don't get it. A lot of the movement done in todays Lindy Hop is rather awkward looking in my opinion. I included the clip of Max and Annie because I think they do an amazing job of modernizing the dance while still respecting its history. It'll be interesting to see how this dance continues to change as time goes by, because I don't see it going away any time soon!

Dance Etiquette

So I did go dancing last night and had a lot of fun! The music was great and we got to Shag a lot. However, I did manage to stumble down the stairs (only 3 of them) in front of the whole room. I didn't just trip, I fell on my butt. Not only did it hurt but it was quite mortifying.

That aside, I have to rant about something real quick. I have a dance partner named Glen who I always go with. In fact we really don't ever go without each other and we spent most of the time dancing together. Well we walked in together and immediately saw this girl, we shall refer to her as M, who I'm not too fond of. She's just not really nice and I always get the impression that she likes Glen and therefore does not like me. Well she gave me a good up and down and a scowl. Figures but whatever. Then she dragged Glen out to dance for 2 songs. Quite annoying. Anyways, later in the evening he and I were practicing Shag and she butted in and was like 'we need to dance a few more because I'm leaving soon.' No 'I'm sorry' or 'do you mind?' or anything. Just demanded that he dance with her NOW! Glen gives me a knowing look and goes and dances with her because he's just too nice to say no. But later in the evening mentioned to me that he's beginning to think that I'm right about M and that she happens to be rather rude. I said next time she does that I'm going to tell her no, and to wait until we are done dancing.

I'm just annoyed with this girl. She has zero dance etiquette and is rather rude, not only to me but to my friend Emma as well. Again, I think she has a bit of a dance crush on Glen so any girl he is with is automatic competition. Which is funny because he and I are only dance partners and nothing more. But if she continues to act this way I'm gonna have to tell her whats up. Glen may be too nice but I don't have that same problem! lol!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Speaking of...

My partner Glen and I are going dancing tonight. I pray the music is better than it was last week. It was simply dreadful. They didn't play even ONE song we could Shag to :-(

Maybe someday we will be able to Shag like they do...

Just Dance

I thought I would do a series of blog posts about swing dancing. I've been dancing for about 10 years now. I am by no means a professional but it is a passion of mine. I mainly dance jive, lindy hop and collegiate shag so I will probably focus mainly on those. But we will just see where it takes us!

The dance floor at Viva Las Vegas. All of my friends that went are in this photo somewhere!

I got into all of this on New Years Eve of 1999 when I stumbled upon a Rockabilly band playing at a martini bar. I was blown away by the whole thing. The music, the dancing, the clothes! It was all exactly what I'd been looking for. I started going to every show and event, I searched through thrift stores for vintage clothes and did my best to copy vintage hairstyles. After a few months of nervously watching I learned to dance and have been on the dance floor ever since. I learned East Coast first (you know; right, left, rockstep) and stroll. Then I learned the Jive which is simple but a lot of fun! After that I learned the Lindy Hop, which was harder for me because it is taught in counts which is like a foreign language to me. Once I stopped counting and just followed the music I finally got it. My current dance obsession is Collegiate Shag which is fast like Jive but complicated like Lindy.

Me dancing the Lindy Hop.

For me dancing goes hand in hand with this whole vintage lifestyle. I can't separate any of it. Sometimes when I'm talking to people that dance I am amazed to discover that they know nothing about the history of 'swing'. They have never seen the old movie clips. They don't know who Frankie Manning or Dean Collins is, nor do they seem to care. I get my inspiration from all these things so I find this concept to be strange. But I guess its what separates us vintage nutcases from the rest of the world!

Leading my friend Emma in Jive.

Hopefully this series of posts is at least a little informative and helpful. If anything it will force me to brush up on my knowledge as well! If anyone has any questions or comments I will do my best to answer them. Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010


First I want to say 'thank you' to everyone that is following me and has left comments. I left on friday with 4 followers and returned today to find 37!! That was a nice way to start a monday.

Second, I did get my hair cut over the weekend but I neglected to take pictures. I had a fabulously lazy weekend and did nothing with my hair (nor with anything else).

That being said I decided that I would do a post about a book that I own. It is called "Sunkissed" and is by Joshua James Curtis. It is a collection of photos from the 30s and 40s (some 20s and 50s) featuring Hollywood starlets in sunwear. Some are stills from movies or studio promo shots and there are some candids as well. The bathing suits are amazing and the hairstyles give me tons of ideas!

I wanted to share this book with everyone because I never see it referenced anywhere. I know that it is not published anymore and can be hard to find (I bought it twice on Ebay. Gotta love fraudulant sellers!). Luckily it is available on Amazon!
If you dont already have this book I would highly recommend getting it.

Sorry for the choppy pictures. I dont have a scanner!

I love the matching polka dot set.

The book is packed with pictures. This 30s hawaiian number is simply devine!

A collection of magazine covers.

These 3 ladies do a whole striptease down to their bathing suits.

And people thought the air brush tan was a recent invention!!

Betty Grable in a pair of white shorts I would kill for.

I love sarong dresses and bathing suits. A girl can never have too many IMO.

Carole Landis, my favorite of course.

The updos in this book are awe inspiring.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Style Icon: Carole Landis

Whenever I'm looking at old photos of Hollywood starlets, I always stop on one in particular. Carole Landis was just stunning! She was known for her curves but what I like most about her is the shape of her mouth and her big blue eyes. Oh, and her hair! It was always perfect.

She changed her look a lot during her career, alternating from brunette to blonde. I prefer her as a blonde. I also prefer her when she was around 120 lbs. At 5'6 she was wayyyy too skinny when she weighed less than that. Plus, she would lose some of her famous curves.

It really is a shame that we lost her so early. Most pictures show her as being quite happy, but there are some where you can see a hint of sadness in her eyes. She took her own life in 1948 when her lover would not leave his wife. It was her third suicide attempt.

Though her life ended tragically at least we have her on celluloid. In my opinion she encompassed that perfect 40's look and style. She truly inspires me!

I'm getting my hair cut this weekend so hopefully I can try and copy some of her styles. I have bangs so I won't be able to do the wave in the front, but maybe I can fake it. If I do I will try and post pictures.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Vintage" Goodies at Forever 21

I have to admit that my guilty pleasure is shopping at Forever 21. I would say that the majority of my modern wardrobe is from there. This is partly due to the fact that I work down the street from one.They often have really cute items that have a definite vintage feel to them. And you just can't beat their prices!!

These would be great accessories for the beach or pool.
20's style Cloche.

Adorable 50's style cardigans.

The nautical theme is big this season. I got a pair of high waisted sailor pants about a month ago that I love.

I'm buying these two jackets TOMORROW!!! I simply adore them!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Holidays

Since I finally got my camera hooked up to my computer I figured I'd post some pictures from the holidays. They were surprisingly enjoyable this year.

Our fabulous aluminum Christmas tree which I put up on November 1st. We had not one but TWO color wheels going this year. The electric bill sucked...

With the children Pachuca Lou and Calvin Wayne. I have no idea why Chucas eyes glow green.

This was the first turkey I have ever made. It turned out amazingly well! Also, dig Chuca's christmas sweater.

The man of the house carving the turkey while the children look on hungrily.

After dinner we opened presents. I got a hot pink Snuggie for kids!!!

Oscars sister works at MAC which works out EXTREMELY well for me :-)

At our friends for Christmas Dinner. They cooked German food. My stomache does not agree with German food...

On New Years Eve.

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