Category: 1920s

Jazzing up the 1920s: Harley Foxx

Jazzing up the 1920s: Harley Foxx

FB: Harley Foxx
IG: harleyfoxxburlesque

Hello friends,

As you know, we are taking Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque to Boston next month, so we thought we’d take a moment to introduce you to the fabulous performers who will be joining us.

First up, meet Harley Foxx, who will rep the 1920s. This swing and jazz aficionado shares some of her favorite things about this glamorous decade, including her love for the iconic Josephine Baker.

1. What is your favorite thing about the 1920s?
My favorite thing about this era is defined by the music and the dancing. My mother used to play Duke Ellington and Count Basie records, and she sang Billie Holiday around our house. As I got older I started swing dancing and it became even more infused into my soul.

I really love listening to “hot jazz” music, and those old syncopated rhythms. I have gradually been building this collection of swing music and I am totally amazed and humbled by the never-ending wealth of great music just waiting to be heard.

But aside from that, as a DJ I like to play whatever I think will keep people dancing – whether it’s chunky, up-tempo, or even contemporary swing. Some of my favorite artists include the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Chick Webb, Django Reinhardt, Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Fats Waller (of course), Bob Crosby, as well as Wingy Manone. My love for both the music and dance are something that I try to share with everyone in my life.

Photo: Veronica Tays

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be?
I would love to sit down with the great Josephine Baker.

She had an independent spirit and had to learn to provide for herself and make her own way. This free and bold behavior led her to perform across the country and eventually she was able to sashay away to the Paris stage during the 1920s.

She was confident in her abilities and performed with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. She had a perfect blend and I try to embody her character and flair in some of my pieces. Baker went on to perform and choreograph for 50 years in Europe.

Although racism in the States often restricted her from gaining the same fame at home as she did abroad, Baker fought segregation through organizations like NAACP. I would love to chat with her about where we are now in entertainment, burlesque and politics. Things are different from the 1920’s but I definitely feel like she would be a great mentor and be able to offer some insight and guidance.

Photo: Mandi Martini

3. Is there anyone from today you think embodies the idea of the 1920s?
Beyoncé is a great pop superstar who isn’t afraid of celebrating black brilliance and has often given nods to the black women performers who’ve inspired her. Beyoncé has paid tribute to Tina Turner and in 2006, she celebrated Jospehine Baker.

Beyoncé’s affinity for Baker comes as no surprise. Baker’s control of her art and her image were unprecedented for her time. Baker, a black woman beloved by white audiences, built her name by working within the status quo to transgress social boundaries. In her later life she became a civil rights activist.

Beyoncé does the same. Beyonce has also been able to navigate a space that tended to exclude (or at the very least limit) black women for a long time. Mainstream music and pop music specifically. Her album Formation made a lot of people realize how political and “woke” Beyoncé is. But she has always given nods in her music and videos on where she stands, her support to the artists who came before her, and her black culture.

Josephine baker and Beyoncé are two artists I love and admire and the fact it’s their blackness that makes them unique. I have found I don’t have to separate the blackness from the art. If you want to participate, indulge, be entertained, you must acknowledge black lives and black issues in the process. That is what they do and what I hope to do too.

Come see Harley and the rest of our magical lineup on October 7 at The Rockwell, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, 02144. Doors open at 9:30. A portion of proceeds will benefit The Hispanic Federation to help with hurricane and earthquake relief.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 1920s HERE.

 

Decadent Photos!

Decadent Photos!

Finally! Here are some photos from Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. From Dandy Dillinger’s 1920s showgirl fabulosity to Candy Applebottom’s 2010s tribute to staying connected, we traveled through time on Saturday, April 22 and never looked back. Thanks to everyone who came out to The Triad and made the voyage so fantastic.

1920s

Dandy Dillinger kicks us off with an ethereal number reminiscent of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

1930s

Ruby Mechant gives us some 1930s glamour with just a touch of Italian sass.

1940s

Spicy L’amour blows her bugle for the boys “over there.”

1950s

Shimmy LeCoeur shows us the devil in disguise with her tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

1960s

Hellz Kitten asks the age-old question, “will you still love me tomorrow?” with a shocking twist at the end.

1970s

Munroe Lilly loves to love us and takes another little piece of our hearts.

1980s

Luscious Lane revisits the Cold War with a “pop” of color.

1990s

Tutu Toussaint gives us montage of the best ’90s hip-hop.

2000s

Twinky Boots takes the red pill with his tribute to the Matrix.

2010s

And finally, Candy Applebottom lights up our world with her sassy futuristic moves.

Behind the scenes:

Photos: Veronica Toone

 

Party Like it’s 1929: The Bee’s Knees

Party Like it’s 1929: The Bee’s Knees

It wouldn’t be the ROARING Twenties without overindulgence. And despite Prohibition’s being in full force, there was no shortage of alcohol available. Well, maybe there was SOME shortage, but Americans are resourceful and most found a way around it.

Speakeasies, with their underground doors, special knocks and secret passwords added an extra layer of intrigue to the proceedings. And when you didn’t have a hook-up, you could always take matters into your own hands and brew up some bathtub gin. It was generally poor quality grain alcohol mixed with flavorings and juices, but when times are tough you gotta do what you gotta do.

Many of the cocktails of the era evolved to camouflage the nasty taste of bathtub liquor. Mmm, doesn’t that make you want to fly back in time? If so, here’s a recipe to sip along the way.

Bee’s Knees

Bees Knees Photo: Liquor.com
Bees Knees
Photo: Liquor.com

Ingredients

2 oz Gin
.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
.5 oz Honey syrup

Directions

Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

(Recipe: liquor.com)

The phrase “bee’s knees” was slang for “the best” back in the day. As in, “this homemade grain alcohol with a little dash of honey and lemon is the bee’s knees, baby.”

And if you need a menu to go with your drink, here you go:

20sPartyMenu

Jellied tomato cream, anyone?

Wanna read more about food in the 20s? Click here.

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1920s

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1920s

20sFFFHeaderHello! Today is Friday and we are focused on fashion! Specifically fashion of the 1920s, it being Roaring Twenties week and all.

The twenties marks a new, less restrictive era, and that shows up in its fashion. Women began saying adios to restrictive corsets, ushering in the era of a more boyish figure. Hems were on the rise as women got the vote and began to work outside the home.

Men’s fashion also became less formal, with men preferring short jackets to those with long tails and some adopting short pants or knickers for casual wear and sports outings. (Think Bagger Vance.)

Bagger? I don't even know 'er! (SORRY)
Bagger? I don’t even know ‘er! (SORRY)

Of course even “casual” in the 1920s is way more formal than we are used to today.

You're gonna love the way you look!
You’re gonna love the way you look!

Let’s face it, when people think of the Jazz Age, they think glitz, glamour and Gatsby.

Thaaaat's what I'm talkin' about
Thaaaat’s what I’m talkin’ about
Flappers gonna flap
Flappers gonna flap
Sparkly dress at the Met
Sparkly dress at the Met
Met evening gowns
Met evening gowns
Street style
Street fashion
Waiting for Uber
Waiting for Uber
Paging ZZ Top
Paging ZZ Top
Shoe-in
Shoe-in
Flapper figure
Flapper figure
Sweater? Well, you know...
Sweater? Well, you know…

As always, there are tons of resources if you want to learn more about 20s fashion and see more fun photos. Check some below:

Vintage Dancer

Glamour Daze

Retrowaste

1920-30.com

We hope you liked this, and be sure to check back every Friday as we highlight a different era. Stay tuned for ticket info for our fun show Decadent: 100 years of Burlesque, coming up on April 22 at the Triad.

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Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1920s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1920s

Hi friends! It’s Roaring Twenties week at LFF, so let’s learn a little about what burlesque was like in the Jazz Age.

Well, actually, we need to start a little further back.

Up until the 1920s, burlesque was more about comedy and satire than striptease, owing some of its roots to vaudeville and minstrel shows.

Lydia Thompson. Nice stems.

In 1868, Lydia Thompson who was to become known as the “First Lady of Burlesque,” brought her troupe the British Blondes to America. They didn’t strip, but showed off their legs in tights, which was pretty racy for those uptight Victorians.

By about 1905, there was a system in place in which burlesque performers traveled the country in geographically based “wheels,” or circuits, putting on vaudeville-style variety shows that included singers, dancers and comedians. At the time, comedy was the main attraction and some really famous names – like Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, Bob Hope – owe their beginnings to burlesque.

Little Egypt does the hoochie-coochie (and presumably turns herself around)

In the 1920s, movies began to steal audiences, so enterprising theater owners, like NYC’s Minsky Brothers, began introducing striptease to get butts in seats. The striptease is said to harken back to a performance by “Little Egypt” who did the “hoochie-coochie” at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The Minsky Brothers are generally credited with bringing striptease “out of the backrooms and into the theaters.” Under their tutelage and that of Florenz Ziegfield and his elaborate Paris-inspired Follies, the 1920s and ’30s became known as the golden age of burlesque.

Here are some stars of the era:

Josephine Baker

In the 1920s, American Josephine Baker took Paris by storm as part of the legendary Folies Bergère reviews and became a symbol of the Jazz Age after appearing in a girdle of bananas. Baker was “celebrated by all of the great artists and intellectuals of the era, with various circles dubbing her the ‘Black Pearl,’ the ‘Bronze Venus,’ as well as the ‘Creole Goddess.'” She fought for the French Resistance during WWII and later became a civil rights activist, even speaking at the March on Washington with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.

Fanny Brice

Fanny Brice, made famous by Barbra Streisand in the 1963 Broadway musical Funny Girl, dropped out of school in 1908 to join a burlesque review. In 1910, she joined the Ziegfield Follies for the first time, performing for two years. She rejoined it in 1921 and danced with them through the 1930s. From the 1930s until her 1951 death, Brice performed on radio as a bratty toddler named Snooks in the eponymous “Baby Snook Show,” which sounds like something that should make us grateful we have Netflix.

Carrie Finnell

Carrie Finnell claims to have invented the nipple tassel, which survives to this day as a burlesque necessity (burlesque-ity?). Using just her magnificent mammaries, Finnell could supposedly swing not just tassels, but bells and lights as well. Whutt??

According to burlexe.com, she also:

is credited with talking Gypsy Rose Lee into peeling on stage. She beat Mae West in a strip-off. She’s also said to have invented the nipple tassel. Definitely a woman worth remembering.

Carrie Finnell (What is she even doing?)

As you can see, the history of burlesque is complex and fascinating and worth looking into much deeper than we can here. If you want to learn more, come back next week when we examine burlesque of the ’30s and check out these sources below:

burlexe.com

musicals101.com

newworldencyclopedia.com

allthatglittersburlesque.com

IMDB.com

(And if you really like history, stay tuned for ticket info for our fabulous April 22 show, Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque.)

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A ‘Dandy’ Trip Through Time

A ‘Dandy’ Trip Through Time

Dandy Dillinger, Vintage Beauty

FB: dandy.dillinger
IG: @dandydillinger

We are beyond excited for Decadent, our voyage through 100 years of burlesque, on April 22, and we are even more excited to welcome back Dandy Dillinger, who performed with us in our very first show (in 2015!).

Dandy, “burlesque’s ‘man’ about town,” is the perfect choice to represent the 1920s because of her classic, vintage look. She even has the awards to back up her cred, having been voted Miss Art Deco by the Art Deco Society of NY last year.

She is just one of the fabulous performers who will be on hand to send you back in time at the Triad on April 22. Tickets will be on sale soon, so be sure to check back often.

 

Gettin’ Jazzy with it: The ’20s

Gettin’ Jazzy with it: The ’20s

Hello friends,

On April 22, LFF will take you on a whirlwind journey through the 20th and 21st centuries with Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. Before that though, we thought we’d tease you by highlighting each decade, one by one, in the weeks leading up to the show…

…So roll your stockings, bob your hair and pour yourself some bathtub gin because it’s time to get your Charleston on. Welcome to the Roaring Twenties!

Ain’t we got fun

The decade begins on an upswing, with WWI (known then just as “War”) having ended and a housing boom underway. People are moving off the farms and into the cities. Mass production and technological advances bring never-before-seen wonders like automobiles and phones to the masses, paving the way for all those melodramatic “Don’t Text and Drive” PSAs that will pop up in your Facebook feed 90 years later.

“It can wait”…until they invent the iPhone

The economy is thriving and despite prohibition, booze is plentiful, thanks to Al Capone and Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

But don’t get too excited, because every awesome bender ends in a hangover and the Roaring Twenties’ bender is no exception. On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashes and the Twenties finds itself puking up its guts in a warehouse parking lot while getting beaten by the pimp who stole its wallet. But hey, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. A lot happens before that.

Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights):

1920

Jan. 16: The 18th Amendment goes into effect, making prohibition the law of the land.

What could go wrong?

Speakeasies and bootleggers immediately pop up everywhere, while young women known as “flappers,” drunk on jazz and actual booze, embrace new-found freedom by shortening their skirts, cutting their hair and posting selfies in Collier’s magazine.

#itgirl

Aug. 18: The 19th Amendment passes, giving women the right to vote. In 2016, they consider giving it back when they see who their candidates are.

1923

April 18: The first home game is held at Yankee Stadium between the Yankees and Red Sox. It’s also the first time Yankee fans chant “1918,” although it doesn’t have quite the same cachet as it will in 2004.

Wanna see my big bat?

1924

Nov. 27: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade marches through Manhattan, cheered on by 10,000 spectators, 243 of which will be trampled to death the next day at the first Wal-Mart Black Friday Sale.

1925

April 10: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby is published, making Daisy Buchanan a household name, and, for several generations of Boston-area college students, synonymous with date rape and Jaeger-induced blackouts.

Ah college

1926

Oct. 22: Ernest Hemingway publishes The Sun Also Rises, a novel about horrible people drinking and sleeping their way around Europe, which introduces us to bullfighting and the “Lost Generation,” AKA the 20th century version of the whiny millennial.

1927

May 20-21: Charles Lindbergh makes first nonstop transatlantic flight from NYC to Paris.

Let me show you why they call me “Lucky”

1928

Aug. 28: Not to be outdone by C-Lind, Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to South Wales. Nine years later she will disappear while trying to fly around the world. Maybe she should have quit while she was ahead? (Just sayin.)

Nov. 6: Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover elected president. Since there is no late-night TV, it’s up to Dorothy Parker to make the requisite “Hoover? I don’t even know ‘er!” joke.

1929

Feb. 14: In what will become known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Al Capone’s men murder seven rival gang members in a bid to take control of Chicago’s organized crime syndicate, compelling authorities to dub him “Public Enemy #1.”

Geez, gun down a coupla dudes in a parking garage and you never hear the end of it

Capone was convicted of tax evasion two years later, got sent to Alcatraz, went crazy from syphilis and died in 1947 at age 48 of a brain hemorrhage. However, his greatest accomplishment will still be posthumously trolling Geraldo Rivera in the 1986 special, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault.

Oct. 29: AKA “Black Tuesday.” Wall Street crashes, turning the Roaring Twenties into the Whimpering Twenties and ushering in the Great Depression.

Italy’s Crown Prince apparently had a shitty day too

The economic downtown will last until 1939, and if that isn’t bad enough, the 1930s also gives us Hitler, the Dust Bowl and The Wizard of Oz. But I guess that’s a tale for next week, so be sure to check back on Wed.

Until then,

Flapper? I don’t even know ‘er!

Stay tuned for info – tickets will be on sale soon!

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