Month: March 2017

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque of the 1960s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque of the 1960s

Hello lovers,

Welcome back to our overview of burlesque history. Well, it’s the ’60s. Between the censorship of the ’50s, when a lot of clubs were closed, and the general loosening of society, burlesque as an art form was pretty much over. Around this time, club owners began asking dancers to mingle with the audience in a bid to increase alcohol sales, a front-runner to lap dance culture at the modern strip club. It was no longer about the tease, but about the hard sell to increase revenues. As one dancer put it, “anyone willing to get naked could get work.”

In 1960, the Playboy Club opened in Chicago. While it didn’t feature dancers, it employed beautiful women in bunny costumes to serve drinks.

Despite Playboy’s later reputation, the club was swank and classy rather than sleazy. Members were known as “keyholders” and you could even take your wife, although it’s unclear how many men actually did that. Eventually, clubs opened all over the world and featured some of the most famous musicians and comedians of the era. Being a keyholder was a major status symbol.

Another fad born of the ’60s is the go go dancer, which is said to have originated (appropriately enough) at L.A.’s Whisky A Go Go. Modeled on a Parisian bar of the same name, the Whisky opened on the Sunset Strip in 1964 and became one of the most famous (or notorious) clubs of the decade, hosting pretty much every famous act you would associate with the era, from The Doors to Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles. The club is still in business today and some of the most famous rockers of the last 50 years have played there. The club featured dancers in “cages,” who eventually became known as “go go dancers.”

Another famous dance club of the era was NYC’s Peppermint Lounge, which also claims to have invented go go dancing.

The Peppermint Lounge is said to have launched the Twist craze of the early sixties, and according to lore, the go go dancer evolved out of people dancing the twist on tables. Wherever it started, the go go dancer is one of the most iconic symbols of the ’60s.

In 1964, a dancer named Carol Doda made international headlines by becoming one of the first public topless dancers at San Francisco’s Condor Club.

(She was also known for having her breasts injected with silicone, taking her from a size 34 to a size 44, earning them the nickname “San Francisco’s New Twin Peaks.”) Her act showed her descending from the ceiling onto a baby grand piano, where she would perform a few numbers before being raised up again. She is credited with launching San Francisco’s topless craze (which I guess was a thing?).

Finally, meet Tammi True, who worked during the ’60s at Jack Ruby’s Dallas nightclub The Carousel Club (yep, THAT Jack Ruby!).

60stammytrue

Ruby and dancers

She actually had to testify in Washington during the investigation into Ruby’s murder of JFK shooter Lee Harvey Oswald.

Ruby shooting Oswald

So there you have it. While burlesque wasn’t big in the ’60s, you could still see your share of beautiful women shaking and shimmying. Come back next week to explore the ’70s with us!

Check out these sites for more info:

burlexe.com
loti.com
burlesquebabes.wordpress.com
retrospace.org

Did you miss a week?

1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s

AND! If you haven’t bought tickets for Decadent yet, you can get them HERE. See you at The Triad on April 22!

xoxo

Music/Movie Monday: Elvis, James and Marilyn – the ’50s

Music/Movie Monday: Elvis, James and Marilyn – the ’50s

Music

By the end of the ’40s, Big Band and Swing were pretty much over and it was all about crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

This trend continued into the early ’50s, with singers like Eddie Fisher, Perry Como and Patti Paige, who dominated the airwaves for the first half of the decade.

Perry Como
Eddie Fisher
Eddie Fisher

Gone was the focus on orchestration, replaced by a focus on emotion. The king of this genre was singer/songrwriter Johnnie Ray, whose “Cry” is said to have influenced Elvis himself and who Tony Bennett has called the “real father of Rock’n’Roll.”

Johnnie Ray
Johnnie Ray

Speaking of which, you can’t talk about the ’50s without talking about Rock’n’Roll. Rock began to evolve in the late ’40s from jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel with a little country/western and pop thrown in. Cleveland DJ Alan Freed is credited with coining the term “rock’n’roll.”

Alan Freed
Alan Freed

Early pioneers include Chuck Berry, who refined the elements of the style and introduced the focus on guitar solos and showmanship, and Les Paul, who was known for his innovations and work with the electric guitar, which made the genre possible.

Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry
Les Paul and his guitar

Other important early rockers include Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly.

Pat Boone became the first teen rock idol in 1955 after releasing a number of pop-influenced R&B cover songs that introduced the genre to a wider audience.

Pat Boone
Pat Boone

The mid-’50s also gave us Elvis, the Memphis-born heartthrob who conquered radio, movies and the increasingly available TV.

50selvis1

in 1957, Dick Clark took over as host of American Bandstand, helping bring rock to the mainstream by embracing a new generation that was gaining influence: the teenager.

By the end of the ’50s, teen idols like Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon, and Connie Francis were topping the charts. In 1959, a plane crashed killed Buddy HollyThe Big Bopper and Richie Valens.

50samerpie

The incident was memorialized in Don McClean’s 1971 hit “American Pie,” as “the day the music died,” and the crash, plus Elvis’ stint in the army are thought by critics to have begun the end of the genre’s golden age, although rock will remain popular for at least the next 30 years.

Movies

50srebel1

During the ’50s, the booming post-war economy gave the rising middle class more time for leisure. Marry that with the advent of car culture and the drive-in became king, with over 4,000 outdoor theaters across the country by the late ’50s.

’50s culture was beginning to cater to teens who were looking for an antidote to the dull conformity that was hallmark of the era. Seeking to assert their independence, they turned to movies like Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle, movies that showed  society’s gritty underbelly, far from the safety of their suburban, split-level ease. Actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando arrived on the scene, portraying tortured, anguished and moody anti-heroes.

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

The ’50s also gave us Marilyn, no last name needed.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Mortenson in Los Angeles, CA in 1926. She began her career as a pinup model and played minor roles in B movies until her 1953 breakout in film noir thriller Niagara. That year she also starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, one of her greatest box office successes.

Marilyn in Gentlemen
Marilyn in Gentlemen

She would go on to star in The Seven Year Itch (1955), Bus Stop (1956) and  Some Like it Hot (1959), as well as many others. In 1999, Playboy named her Number One Sex Star of the 20th Century and People voted her Sexiest Woman of the Century. She continues to be an enduring sex symbol and beauty icon.

The ’50s were also marked by an underlying fear of communism and nuclear war and these influences are evident in the sci-fi and horror films of the decade. The early ’50s mark the rise of the Monster Movies, like Them! about giant radiation-mutated ants or Invasion of the Body Snatchers about alien pod people invading earth.

Them!
Them!

Although formulaic and campy, the movies play on common fears of the era, like infiltration or the threat of nuclear war. Movies like Gojira, which introduced our friend Godzilla, are seen as warnings about the effects of atomic tests and the dropping of the A bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII.

Godzilla-illa-illa
Godzilla-illa-illa

So friends, there you have some entertainment highlights of the ’50s. There are way more of course, and if you’d like to learn more, check out the sites below.

wikipedia
fiftiesweb.com
rockmusictimeline.com

wikipedia
filmsite.org

And! Tickets are now ON SALE for Decadent: 100 Years or Burlesque and you can get them HERE.

See you on April 22 at The Triad!
xoxo

Rock and roll with Shimmy LeCoeur

Rock and roll with Shimmy LeCoeur

Shimmy LeCoeur
Shimmy LeCoeur

Instagram: @shimmi13

The ’50s was a transformational decade, taking us from war and depression to a more fun, forward-looking youth culture that would dominate the second half of the 20th century. Nothing illustrates that more than the rise of rock and roll. And who better to shake, rattle and roll for you than Shimmy LeCoeur?

1. What is your favorite thing about the ’50s? 

My favorite thing is how the music changed and transformed a generation to rock’n’roll lovers. It was an awakening of the senses and showed just how music could change the world.

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

I’d love to have dinner with Elvis Presley and have him sing for me. Wouldn’t it be amazing g to really see how he feels about changing music and becoming the real king of rock’n’roll?

It would indeed!

Come see Shimmy up close and personal on April 22 for Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. Tickets are ON SALE for this fantastic journey to the ’50s and beyond, so buy yours today!

TICKETS

Party Like It’s 1959: The Pink Squirrel

Party Like It’s 1959: The Pink Squirrel

The ’50s mark the golden age of the cocktail party, evoking images of glamorous women in sexy black dresses, martini in hand, slinking around with sophisticated, chain-smoking, white-jacketed Don Drapers.

This week’s cocktail is neither glamorous nor sophisticated, but fun and classic in its own way. And… it’s pink! And named after a small rodent! What’s not to love?

Invented (so the story goes) at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee, WI, the Pink Squirrel highlights crème de noyaux, a little-known liqueur made from the pits of stone fruits that tastes vaguely of almonds, and crème de cacao. Some recipes call for ice cream rather than heavy cream, so if that’s your jam, go for it.

The Pink Squirrel

50spinksquirrel

Ingredients

1.5 oz. crème de noyaux*
1.5 oz. crème de cacao
1.5 oz. heavy cream

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry if desired. You’re ready to roll with Don Draper!

*If you can’t find it, try Amaretto.

Have you ever had a pink squirrel? Would you ever try one? What’s your favorite pink food or drink?

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1950s

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1950s

Welcome back to our weekly review of fashions of the past. Here’s an overview of the popular styles of the ’50s, with links to more info. Enjoy!

With WWII over, and with it, the rules that governed everything from hemlines to sleeve-lengths, fashion exploded. Bright colors, full skirts, some using as much as six yards of fabric, were all the rage. With the economy booming, people had more money to buy more clothes and fashion became a statement to illustrate one’s social status. Women too, were expected to dress up even while at home.

Last week, we learned about Dior’s 1947 New Look, and that’s the silhouette that carried over through much of the ’50s.

Dior’s New Look
More New Look
Ditto
The New Look makes its way to the masses
Skinny version of the New Look
It also comes in black
And leopard! (Want so bad!)
Balenciaga’s “sack” dress, which doesn’t even look good on the model
More sack madness
How about a two-piece sack?

For more, check the sites below.

vintagedancer.com
retrowaste.com
50sweb.com

For men, the ’50s was the era of the “gray flannel suit,” with styles moving away from the wilder fashions of the ’40s (zoot suit, anyone?) and into a more conservative era. Suits were narrower and less fussy.

Men in suits
An evening at the bathhouse
Cardigans were also a thing for men
Cardigans were also a thing for men
Hats, of course, we're de rigueur
Hats, of course, were de rigueur

Read more about men’s fashions, including casual wear, HERE.

And for more info on 1950s fashion, check the sites below.

fiftiesweb.com
vintagedancer.com
gentlemansgazette.com

Don’t forget to check back next week as we cover the fabulous, funky ’60s.

And tickets are now ON SALE for Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. Click HERE.

See you on 4/22!

xoxo

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque of the 1950s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque of the 1950s

After a golden age in the ’20s and early ’30s, burlesque’s decline began in the late ’30s. It was exacerbated by censorship in the ’40s and it continues into ’50s. But despite that, the ’50s gave us some of its sexiest, most glamorous and iconic stars. Here are just a few.

(Click on any photo for more info.)

From Burlexe.com

Blaze Starr
Blaze Starr
Tempest Storm
Tempest Storm
Dixie Evans
Dixie Evans
April March
April March
Jennie Lee
Jennie Lee
Candy Barr
Candy Barr
Wild Cherry
Wild Cherry

Read more: Burlexe.com

Happy Days: The ’50s

Happy Days: The ’50s

Well folks, we made it through prohibition, depression and world world war. What fresh hell does the ’50s have in store for us?

Hi everybody!

WWII has been over for a few years and America, having kicked the crap out of Germany and Japan, sits on the “summit of the world,” as Churchill put it. The economy is booming and so are the babies, with around four million being born each year. Unemployment and inflation are low and wages high. People are moving to the suburbs in record numbers and Fonzie is president.

Ayyyyyy

But it’s not all sock hops and shiny new Chevys. The specter of communism and the threat of nuclear war lurk in the background like so many cockroaches in the wall. So too is the civil rights movement beginning to stir – peaceful now, but setting in motion events that will change the country forever.

BUT…that’s a story for next week. Right now it’s time to grease your hair, fluff your poodle skirt and rock around the clock. Here’re some highlights of the ’50s.

1950

Jan 17: Eleven masked bandits steal $2.8 million from Brinks Security in Boston’s North End. At the time, it was the country’s largest-ever robbery, and remained Boston’s biggest theft until October 17, 2004, when Dave Roberts stole second base in game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

He then disemboweled himself in the infield, distracting NYY pitcher Mariano Rivera, who gave up a David Ortiz walk-off homer that propelled the 0-3 Sox to an improbable comeback and eventual World Series win.

June 25: North Korea, backed by the USSR and China, invades South Korea, kicking off the Korean War. From beyond the grave, Hitler suggests North Korean Leader Kim Il-Sung was just in the mood for some Seoul food. (Hitler has gotten quite punny in hell.)

Aw cut me some slack, I got Satan busting my balls 24/7 down here.

1951

Feb 27: U.S. ratifies the 22nd Amendment, limiting presidents to two terms. From beyond the grave, FDR vetoes it and proposes his Even Newer Deal to build monorails across America.

March 29: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for passing atomic secrets to the USSR during the war. New York Magazine features them in its April 11, 1951 issue, Six NYC Power Couples Getting it Done.

Oct 15: CBS premieres beloved sitcom I Love Lucy, about the wacky hijinks of a plucky bandleader and his latex sex doll.

1952

Feb 6: Britain’s Princess Elizabeth becomes queen upon the death of her father, King George IV.

She celebrates by drinking an entire bottle of Chambord

Nov 1: U.S. tests the first hydrogen bomb on the Pacific island of Elugelab in Enewetok Atoll. The bomb was code-named “Ivy Mike,” in an apparent effort to make the 82-ton thermonuclear warhead seem less threatening.

The radioactive mushroom cloud is named Nancy

Nov 4: General Dwight D. Eisenhower decisively beats Adlai Stevenson with a 442-89 electoral college victory to become president. Stevenson maintains he won the popular vote.

Oddly enough, the lesser known “I like Dick” slogan does not take off.

1953

March 5: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies and joins Hitler in hell, where they spend eternity hiding Mussolini’s hat and calling him “Il Douche.”

Not funny, you guys!

May 29: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first people to successfully climb to the top of Mount Everest.

They celebrate by getting really high

July 27: Fighting ends in Korea when the North, South, China and U.S. sign an armistice. Fun fact: the war technically never ended since a peace treaty was never signed.

And now we have this guy launching missiles from his mom’s basement.

Dec 30: The first color TVs go on sale, paving the way for 21st-century audiences to watch Real Housewives get their bikini lines waxed in high definition.

1954

May 17: The Supreme Court, in Brown v. The Board of Education, finds that racial segregation violates the 14th Amendment and is unconstitutional.

1955

July 17: Disneyland opens in Anaheim, CA, unleashing unspeakable evil.

Hail Satan

Dec 1: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery, AL bus, but later goes on to work at NASA and help launch the Friendship 7.

1956

Jan 27: Elvis Presley releases first hit single Heartbreak Hotel,  about a cowboy and his forbidden love for teddy bears.

Nov 6: Ike again kicks Stevenson’s ass with a 457-73 electoral college victory.

Wow, you guys must really like Dick.

1957

Oct 4: USSR fires the first round in the Space Race by launching SPUTNIK 1, the first artificial satellite.

50sdeathstar

Dec 6: The first U.S. attempt to launch a satellite into space fails spectacularly when it prematurely explodes on the launch pad.

In a press conference, Ike famously comments: “It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!”

1958

Jan 31: U.S. finally succeeds in launching a satellite into space with Explorer I, which subsequently discovers the Van Allen radiation belts, a discount auto parts warehouse in Reseda, CA.

April 17: The first major World’s Fair since WWII gets underway in Belgium. Belgians are annoyed since the only good thing about WWII was not having to put up with any World’s Fairs.

July 8: An 8.0-mag Earthquake strikes Lituya Bay, Alaska, triggering a 1,700-foot mega-tsunami… or so they say.

What really happened
What really happened

1959

Jan 3: U.S. admits Alaska into union as the 49th state. Sure, now that it’s all tsunami-damaged.

Feb 16: Fidel Castro becomes prime minister of Cuba.

And launches international cultural exchange program Up With People!

Feb 22: Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500 stock car race.

And does it while riding the entire race on the hood of his car

April 9: NASA picks first the seven dudes who will become U.S. astronauts.

Coincidentally, they all happen to own space suits.

Aug 12: Hawaii is admitted to the union, giving us 50 states and SPAM.

Sept 15: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev kicks off a tour of America, where he visits NYC, CA, DC, MD, PA and IA.

Looks like he also likes Dick

This isn’t the last we’ll see of Khrushchev. As you’ll learn next week, he also has a penchant for shoes. So be sure to come back and get a little groovy with us as we tackle the ’60s. And don’t forget to join us at the Triad on April 22 to celebrate alllllllll the decades. Click HERE to buy tickets.

Have a great week!

xoxo

 

Music Movie Monday: Big Bands and Film Noir – the ’40s

Music Movie Monday: Big Bands and Film Noir – the ’40s

Music

With the Depression over, people began returning to the dance halls and the era of Big Band Swing was underway. The top dogs in the field were Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

Glenn Miller Orchestra
Benny Goodman
Artie Shaw

Glenn Miller was killed while en route to a USO show when his plane crashed into the English Channel, and his death is considered the end of the Big Band Era.

With the close of the swing era, we see the emergence of  bebop and jump blues, two forms of up-tempo jazz. As the decade rolled on, jazz and blues began to make their way into the mainstream, with such singers as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald reaching national prominence.

Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday

“Crooners,” such as Bing Crosby were in vogue and by the end of the decade, Frank Sinatra would become the first teen idol.

Bing Crosby

Crosby’s 1942 “White Christmas” is the best-selling single of all time, with an estimated 50+ million copies sold worldwide.

Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra

Singing cowboys were also a thing, with Gene Autry among the most famous of these.

Gene Autry

Movies

After a rough start in the early ’40s because of the war and loss of foreign markets, the movie industry rebounded and by 1946 was at peak profitability.

You can’t talk ’40s film without Casablanca, the 1942 romance starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The movie won Oscars for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director, and gave us such classic lines as “Here’s looking at you, kid,” “Round up the usual suspects,” and “We’ll always have Paris.”

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca

Another hallmark of ’40s film was film noir, literally “black film,” which evolved from ’30s gangsters movies and reflected a darker and more cynical mood among the country. Film noir features ominous plots, fatalistic heroes and dangerous femmes fatales (shoutout!). The first definitive example of this genre was The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart as hard-boiled detective Sam Spade and was directed by John Huston in his directorial debut.

Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Sidney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon

On a more optimistic note, the films of Frank Capra idealized the underdog and the triumph of the “common man.” The most “Capraesque” of his movies is 1946 holiday feature It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.

And finally, there’s Orson Welles’ 1941 Citizen Kane, which has been called the most influential movie of all time. The film is renowned for its cinematography, innovative plot structure and memorable musical score. Stanley Kubrick, Sydney Pollack and Woody Allen are among the filmmakers who list Citizen Kane as one of the best movies of all time.

So there you have an overview of music and films of the 1940s. If you want to read more, check out the sites below.

filmsite.org
Wikipedia
retrowaste.com

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day!

xoxo

Oh L’amour! Spicing up the ’40s

Oh L’amour! Spicing up the ’40s

Some like it hot

FB: spicylamour
Instagram: @spicylamour
Website: bloodsweatandtease.com

Despite war raging across the globe, the ’40s conjure up images of romance, intrigue and danger – the perfect rôle for a femme fatale. And who better to personify that than our own Spicy L’amour. Her name alone suggests passion, heat and drama. Pull up a chair and get to know Spicy a little better.

1. What is your favorite thing about the 1940s?

Perhaps it is uncanny that I got to represent the 40s as I just turned 40 in December. 1942 is significant to me, for no other sentimental reason than the year my father was born. And Harrison Ford. Who doesn’t love Han Solo?

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

Edith Piaf. Her signature song La Vie En Rose was a song I learned in French class, and I sing it to my daughter Artemis (aka Baby Spice) to lull her to sleep. Even though Edith herself led a life full of tragedy and loss, I think she would delight in the fact that her songs have everlasting and international appeal. And we would knock back a shitload of amazing French wine while talking about men and swapping dating horror stories. Like her, I can say, je ne regrette rien!

3. Is there anyone from today you think embodies the idea of the ’40s?

One person from the era who showed some serious girl power was Eleanor Roosevelt, so I guess I would pick Michelle Obama as an example of that. And Michelle herself has said that Eleanor was one of her inspirations, especially her idea to have a Victory Garden in every household during the war.

Come see Spicy sizzle on April 22 for Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. She joins a fabulous lineup of sultry stunners who will take you on a whirlwind tour through time. Tickets are on sale now!

BUY TICKETS

Party Like it’s 1949: The French 75

Party Like it’s 1949: The French 75

We here at LFF can’t resist anything French or anything that has champagne, so this week’s cocktail is a French 75. The drink dates back to WWI, but became popular in America in the ’40s, where it was served at NYC’s super ritzy Stork Club. It also makes an appearance in the 1942 movie Casablanca.

French 75

Photo: NY Times
Photo: NY Times

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces Champagne
  • lemon twist

Preparation

Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.

Strain cocktail through a Hawthorne strainer or a slotted spoon into a large flute. Top with Champagne; garnish with lemon twist.

Named after a French 75 mm field gun (or so the story goes), this cocktail packs quite a kick!

Check back next week for a fabulous ’50s concoction!