Tag: 1950s

Fifties Fashion and Glamour with Elsa Riot and Pearl Buttons

Fifties Fashion and Glamour with Elsa Riot and Pearl Buttons

You guys! It’s already Thursday and that means we are just over a week away from our Decadent debut in Boston. We thought you’d like to meet two more Boston-based performers, Elsa Riot and Pearl Buttons, the dynamic duo who will be putting the FAB in ’50s.

Elsa Riot

Web: elsariot.com
FB: ElsaRiot
IG: elsa.riot

Elsa is producer, curator, and host of Somerville’s premier variety show Smoke & Shadows and the monthly midnight vaudeville pop-up Top Shelf Burlesque.

Pearl Buttons

Web: pearlbuttonsburlesque.com
FB: Pearl Buttons
IG: pearl_buttons

Pearl has been dancing classical ballet and American jazz since she was three, and melds her dance roots with a love for Old Hollywood and all things sparkly to achieve a truly spectacular stage presence.

Elsa and Pearl encapsulate the glamour of classic burlesque, adding a twist of their own earnest charm and signature doofy grins – perfect representatives for the 1950s’ simple luxury and cool-headed quirk!

Let’s learn more about them…

1. What is your favorite thing about the 1950s?
Elsa: The “Beat Generation” counterculture. The 1950s stand out as a stringent time in American history that wanted to see conformity and consumerism from citizens more than anything else. That pressure gave way to interesting and radical movements, styles, culture, and politics – these were the first echoes of sexual liberation, pacifism, anti-capitalism, the end of segregation, rock & roll, and so on. Our act for this show communicates a sexual transformation that mirrors the rejection of traditional 1950s homemaking in favor of freedom and sensuality.

Pearl: Movie musicals. The beginning Cold War meant that this decade was a terrifying time for a lot of Americans and I think the escapism that lighthearted films offered was really important and continues to be now.

Photo: Striker Posie

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Elsa: Marlene Dietrich! She was a sharp and fearless woman in every sense. She was a brilliant variety performer and a sharp businesswoman. She exuded glamour with flawless makeup and the slinkiest dresses and would still put on a top hat and tails to sing songs written for men. She owned her sexuality and laughed in the face of criticism from American churches. She was politically outspoken and anti-war, and as a German during WWII condemned the Nazi party and mobilized with other American stars to help Jews and dissidents escape Europe. And her impeccable style is all over my Pinterest boards. I think she would be amazing to learn from and laugh with over drinks!

Pearl: Probably Charles James. He’s described as “America’s first couturier” and Christian Dior credited him with inspiring the New Look. His designs were so amazingly structured and impeccably tailored. The Met costume institute did a display of his work and showed the inner structure of some of his most famous gowns and it was so fascinating. James also created the “taxi dress,” which was designed to be so easy you could slip it on in the back of a taxi. I love when couture designers also create work that is practical and wearable. He designed right up until his death and that passion for your art is so important. I’m a total tailoring geek and I’d love to discuss technique with him over coffee

3. Is there anyone from today you think embodies the idea of the 1950s?
Elsa: Today’s politics certainly ring familiar to the McCarthyist vibes of the 1950s, but to look at the brighter and more forward-thinking side of the ’50s, I often think about Michelle Obama as the new Jackie O. At first glance she’s a paragon of what is expected of American women – a good mother, supportive wife, smart and attractive but not intimidatingly so – but is in fact strong, independent, glamorous, accomplished, and spirited all on her own. They both stand out as First Ladies who excelled in the public eye, shifted American culture, and left a legacy separate from their husbands.

Photo: Striker Posie

Pearl: I definitely agree with Elsa on Michelle Obama. I think her grace under pressure is remarkable. I admire her ability to balance the traditional role of a first lady while being an incredible political force in her own right. They also both know how to seriously rock a sheath dress.

Come see Elsa, Pearl 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 1950s HERE.

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

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