September Events in Los Angeles

September 2 – 5, 2011
Queen Mary Art Deco Festival

RMS Queen Mary
1126 Queen’s Highway
Long Beach 90802

There’s still time to join the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles for the 7th annual Queen Mary Art Deco Festival aboard the beautiful Art Deco Queen Mary in Long Beach. It’s the best value vacation you can take this year! “Cruise” aboard the last of the great Maritime Monarchs at Recession–busting prices! There’s a package for everyone–the weekend is filled with tours, lectures, the Art Deco Bazaar, a grand Art Deco Ball, tea dance, Cocktails in Historic Places®, and so much more. The proceeds from the Art Deco Ball and restoration of the original art aboard the 1936 ocean liner. Go to or our Queen Mary Art Deco Festival page for all the latest information.
QM Hotel rooms for Saturday Night, September 3, are SOLD OUT!
Remember, you can still purchase a la carte tickets for the Friday night Pajama Party, Saturday night Art Deco Grand Ball and Sunday afternoon Tea Dance, you can attend lectures on Saturday and/or Sunday just by purchasing a general admission ticket for $24.95 for the day!
September 24 • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Deco Walking Tour of Hollywood Boulevard

The Egyptian Theater (Meet in the Courtyard)
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood CA 90028

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is proud to announce a brand new walking tour of Hollywood Boulevard, where the film industry took root, and flourished, defining glamour, modernity and fun for not just the country, but for the world.

On this tour you’ll see famous Hollywood and Art Deco masterpieces (The Egyptian Theatre and the Pantages Theatre) as well as unsung beauties that you might have walked by. You’ll see palaces of commerce along with pocket-sized examples that housed and continue to house a local businessman’s dream. You might think you know Hollywood Boulevard, but we bet we’ve got some surprises for you!
Saturday, October 8, 2011 • 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
28th Annual Hollywood Forever
Cemetery Walking Tour

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard
Hollywood 90036

Tour one of Old Hollywood’s most sought after “afterworld” addresses as the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles retells Hollywood’s History by the people buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This historical site is the final resting place for a pantheon of stars, movie moguls and early pioneers including Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power, C.B. De Mille, and Griffith J. Griffith, and other high-flying Angelenos.

The 110 year-old cemetery showcases an elegant (and eclectic) collection of monument styles, shrines and mausoleums, which attest that our forefathers died as stylishly as they lived. Guided walking tours will explore Old Hollywood through the lives, and deaths of these glamorous and mostly outspoken citizens, those who mapped Hollywood, and those who put Hollywood on the map. The first tour leaves at 10:00 am with subsequent tours departing at approximately 20-minute intervals. The last group leaves at noon. Each tour lasts approximately 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
20$ Entry Fee

July Events in Los Angeles

Cocktails in Historic Places®
Friday, July 8, 2011 – 6pm-8pm
Villains Tavern
1356 Palmetto
Los Angeles, CA 91003

Nestled among the seemingly abandoned factory buildings south of the 4th Street Bridge in Downtown Los Angeles, Villains Tavern transports you back to a time when shady drinking establishments, whose mission it was to separate factory workers from their wages, thrived in the neighborhood.

Restaurateur and interior designer Dana Hollister (Bordello, 4100, Brite Spot, Cliff’s Edge) has created a slightly sinister space with a nod to the Steampunk aesthetic. The dark wood interior provides the perfect setting for carefully selected antiques such as the bar top (which was salvaged from a 1880s NYC tavern), antique ironwork, and the repurposed Gothic church window.

The atmospheric 1,600-square-foot open-air patio is illuminated by candles and Edison bulbs and is complete with bar, stage, church pew seating, and shuffleboard. There is a thoughtfully curated bourbon list and hand-crafted libations with intriguing names like Poison Apple, Belladonna, Bluebeard, and Fatal Hour. Edibles include Villains’ interpretation of cozy comfort foods.
Rise of the Latin Lover Lecture
Followed by screening of The Gang’s All Here
Sunday, July 31, 2011 – 2:00 p.m.

The Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028

This is a co-presentation with the American Cinematheque.
The Art Deco Society Los Angeles Presents: “Rise of the Latin Lover.” From the mid 1930s through WWII, the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs brought images of Latin America to the average American to improve the relationships along our borders. This talk takes an enjoyable look at these images in film, fashion, animation and music, and is led by film and TV professional Veronica Gonzalez-Rubio and advertising professional B. Todi. Followed by…

THE GANG’S ALL HERE, 1943, 20th Century Fox, 103 min. Dir. Busby Berkeley. Alice Faye may get top billing, but this insane Busby Berkeley musical is most famous for the chorines holding up giant bananas while Carmen Miranda sings “Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat.”

Regular American Cinematheque prices apply for the general public ($11) and students/seniors ($9) and will be available shortly via Fandango, or can be purchased on the day of the event at the door.
Parking: $2 per hour metered parking available near the theatre. $2 for four hours validated parking available at Hollywood and Highland. There are also pay parking lots on Las Palmas and Cherokee that cost approximately $10. Why not take the metro? The Egyptian is a very short walk east from the Hollywood and Highland METRO station.

ESDC 2011: Go Ninjas!

Oh my goodness what a weekend! I think this was the most exhausting I’ve been in a long time at an event but I loved every second. Other than the contests (which I’ll get to in a second) I have to give HUGE props to Sharon, Jordi, and Jana for running such an organized event. Everything was on time; the teachers were taken great care of; and the video’s have been posted faster than any other event around.

Okay, on to the contests!!

Classic: Dax and I couldn’t be happier with our experience. One of our favorite vintage clips is from Day at the Races so we thought we should give tribute. There are so many amazing dancers in the video to choose to mimic but in the end, I wanted to dress like the singer and Dax wanted to wear a fat suit. I’m actually quit proud of making that suit (I had to do a little research and thrift store shopping).
What some people don’t know (except for Sharon Davis because she’s a nerd and has memorized countless number of dance clips) is that after taking choreo from Day at the Races I wanted to dance more stylistically like Radio City Revels 1938 .

Dax rocked the fat suit so hard; we won!
Congrats to Nicolas & Mikaela. for getting 2nd (I love your routine!)

This was crazy. About a week ago, we were talking to Max and Annie about doing something for ESDC but we had nothing prepared and not sure if there was time (because at that point Dax and I hadn’t even finished our Classic routine). Also, since William and Maeva are new to the team, we do not have a lot of stuff together that everybody knows. The day the weekend started we met in the studio and only had two hours for Max&Annie and William&Maeva to teach Nicolas&Mikaela and Dax&I the routine. We barely got through learning it so it was up in the air whether or not this was going to really happen. Then on Saturday (the day of the team division), we practiced again for about an hour and just decided to go for it and see what happens.

First of all I have never done boogie in my life so I’m quite proud I don’t look ridiculously out of place. Also, I’m quite proud of the last trick of the routine. Dax and I had never done that before and we were NOT getting it during practice so I was nervous if we’d make it and we did! Go ninjas! We won!
A HUGE congrats to Argenteam for getting second. We loved the choreography and really thought it was a close call.

What a competition! I am so honored to be a part of such a division. Everyone did a fabulously entertaining job. Here is my spotlight with Marcus. This was my second time dancing with him and it ended up being so much fun!:

Check out Dax winning second with Maeva! Go ninjas!

Also Congrats to NinjaMax Pitruzella & Frida Segerdahl for winning and Todd Yannacone & Kelly Arsenault for getting 3rd! Personally, one of my favorites was NinjaAnnie &NinjaWilliam.

I am so proud of Dax and I. This is the first time doing a strictly since around the start of our partnership a year and a half ago at LONESTAR. I feel like we have grown so much in our dancing and it inspires me to see change. At first we were thinking about planning something but in the end we decided to do what we know best: Social Dance :) We got fourth.

Congrats to Skye Humphries & Frida Segerdahl for winning; Ninjas Max&Annie for getting 2nd; and Ninjas William&Maeva for getting third!!

Here is Dax and I doing our Moses Routine. We got 3rd!

Also, here is Dax with the boys doing a new jazz routine. I feel like this routine is going to go down in the history books. They got second!

A HUGE congrats to The Crazyers with “Wild Wild Party” for winning. This was euphoric. I love them as people and as dancers. This was probably my highlight of the weekend:

Please go and watch the rest of the clips available on ESDC youtube channel. There are so many more inspirational clips out there (especially the Ninjas taking the top two places in the Showcase division)! Can’t wait for next year!!!

Ninjammerz Berlin

Last weekend we attended the Ninjammerz workshop in Berlin. I really like working with Tanzbar because Isaac and Birgit are really great to us. This time around I got to see Birgit’s baby! Anyway, here are some of the videos from the weekend.

Here is the teacher’s intro. If your asking why Katja was hopping around on one leg, it’s because she pulled her calf muscle right before the weekend.

Here is Dax and I doing “Moses”. No matter how many times we do this routine, it is still so flipping hard to remember it when it’s happening so fast!

Here is some of us goofing off in a jam. We are actually dancing outdoors in a huge empty pool. It is such a fun idea!

Here is a video of one of the latest Ninjammerz routines. I can’t wait to learn this! Max, Annie, Thomas and Alice choreographed this last year when they were in Rome. It’s probably one of my favorite Ninja routines to date.

New Blog!

I have created a blog dedicated to vintage art/fashion. I want to separate my girly desire for clothes from the dance articles Dax and I write on here :) It’s called Vagabond Chic. The name of the blog is inspired by my never ending quest to be chic and fabulous in such a vagabond life. It is truly an art form to look and feel beautiful and still have time to work and create. If you’re interested here you go!


How Far Do You Take Your Following?

MSJF was a blast! It was amazing spending time with fellow Ninjammerz and with the entertaining Sonny Allen. During one of his speeches he went off on a little tangent. In it he said something along the lines of, “You know how a negative plus a negative equals a positive? Well, when you get one bad dancer dancing with another bad dancer, you get a GOOOOD dance!”  I can’t exactly quote him but that is what I remember.

Even though it took me a few minutes to get where he was going, I loved this statement! Dax and I preach a lot about matching; about dancing WITH your partner. I can’t help but think of what Dax usually says about drunken wedding couples; two people who have no idea what they are doing on the dance floor but they are doing it together. You can easily watch them all night. Then I think about the times I see two swing dancers on the floor…one a beginner and one the more advanced. It’s sad when it appears that the advanced dancer is taking things too seriously (I’m guessing out of frustration or boredom), and as a consequence, I see the beginner looking a little stressed from the pressure. I also rarely get a chance to witness people drastically changing the way they dance to match their partner, stylistically or technically.

At what point do we get so good that we become unwilling to temporarily sacrifice what we have built for ourselves in the name of swing dancing? Let me explain more. Think of a follower in your head that is pretty advanced. Think about her style of dancing (we all have a distinct way we like to dance). Now start putting her with different style leads. Does she change her style to match her lead or does she generally look the same? I can’t honestly think of a follower who chooses extreme change. I’m very often caught doing the same thing. It’s hard when something feels so good to you and your leader is asking you to go to a place that you don’t think you’ll like or that might look stupid.

So with that thought, ask the question, “why do you like social dancing?”. One of my top reasons why I love to social dance (and why I love to be a follower) is that every dance and every leader is different. I find it an exciting challenge to feel these differences; and understand in those few minutes the way they hear the music; chose to move their bodies; and technically view leading. I believe in going beyond appreciating that to wanting to experience it for myself. I try to join my leader’s party even if it sometimes means throwing a lot of what I believe in out the window.

I can’t tell you how many times I have a dance with a beginner student and I see pictures or a video later that I think, “OMG I was doing that?” Sometimes the pictures capture me in the most funny and akward positions but what I remember at those moments is that it was so much FREAKIN FUN! I felt like I was in a totally different body. One that wasn’t mine but just as fabulous. And that is why sometimes I like dancing with the beginners more than the higher level dancers. It’s often that the higher level dancers try to show me how much technique and variations they know. Beginners don’t have much technique or moves under their belt so the only way they know how to impress me is by dancing their hardest.

If you lead me technique and fancy moves; I will follow with technique and discipline. If you DANCE with me; I will DANCE with you

Both approaches are great and function well depending on the circumstance. There is room and a need in the swing world for everything. I just am not sure people have put much importance on learning to have the ability and willingness to do it all.

What I really like about dancing with pro leaders is how I get to go beyond matching my leader. For example, if I am dancing with JUAN (and sadly, this doesn’t happen very often). I love the idea of trying to dance as if I was a female version of him. Then I love to imagine how I would dance if I was Sharon dancing with him and for those few minutes I try to find the magic that I imagine he has with her. Then of course, I get to appreciate the way I move my body. Most people talk about “styling” as an ability to change their body movement within the lead or follow (for example replacing the rock step body movement with a kick ball change body movement). I view styling more as a way of changing the style of one body movement. I try to style by exploring how many different ways I can rock step.

Here is a video from the Ninjammerz jam at MSJF. There are a few times you see me change my body somewhat drastically. There is a part in the first solo we do of the slow section where Dax decides to do some in-and-out movement extremely loose and wiggly. We make our students do this a lot and I can’t help but feel like Gumby when I do this but it’s a great challenge because it makes you find extreme looseness and relaxation. Boy does it look silly but fun! Then towards the end of the video I dance with Thomas. He is one of my favorites to dance with when I’m trying to explore things. First of all, his rhythms and body movements are insane, I can barely keep up. Second, I love Alice’s dancing and I sometimes try to think about how she would react to Thomas.

Here is part two. At around 3:05 Dax and I do a solo. Check out how I drastically change my body movement styling. This time, they were my choices to dance different and not so much about how I was being affected by my partner. The first few eight counts I was trying to dance really smooth and tighter. At that time, I wanted to make it look like I was floating or ice skating (not that that necessarily happened. lol). Then as we started to swing out and I felt the music building; I decided that wasn’t enough for me so I imagined the end of the clip Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers Radio City Revels 1938 where the little girl is dancing with the large man, swiveling extremely low. I do one swingout attempting to do the same. I haven’t gotten them down but their getting there! The last two swingouts I think I just lost it and started whipping my head and poor Dax had to hang on. hahah.

Sometimes the choices I make end up looking really awkward but it has been one of biggest learning tools I’ve had this last year. I find it completely empowering to be able to not just follow or lead but be able to drastically change the way you move your body to fit your partner and/or the music and/or your mood.

So, wrapping this tangent up, I’d like to encourage people to not be afraid to dance ugly. To not be afraid to be completely technically wrong, and  to be more open to the various possibilities your body can experience in the name of fun!

Los Angeles in June

June is here! I am so sad to miss these upcoming events (Dax and I are in Europe) but if you live in the area, you should try to make it out to one of these!

June 10, 2011 – 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Celebration for Frank Lloyd Wright
at the Hollyhock House

The Aline Barnsdall Complex
Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Please join us for a Birthday Celebration of America’s most celebrated architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Friends of Hollyhock House is embarking on a major fundraiser for the next two to three years to restore and revitalize the landscape in and around Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, commissioned by Aline Barnsdall, to the original specifications of Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright and father of Eric Lloyd Wright.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and Friends of Hollyhock House Invite you to a 144th Birthday Celebration for Frank Lloyd Wright at the Hollyhock House. The evening includes tours of the first floor of the Hollyhock House ( photography permitted), swing and sway to the tunes of the Art Deco era featuring Jim Ziegler’s Swingsations and Wendy Rea, raffle, silent auction, food trucks, wine, birthday cake and swag bags. Eric Lloyd Wright will be in attendance and for contributions to the Landscaping Fund of more than $250 you will receive a copy of the book Panorama Wright; for contributions of more than $1000 Mr. Wright will personalize your book.
$65.00 Tickets on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets
Tickets will be available at the door for $80.00
June 11, 2011 – 6:30pm – 11:30pm
Vintage! An Evening to Benefit the Italian-American Museum

The Italian Hall
424 N. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

An event presented by the Italian-American Museum, Vintage! will feature live music and dancing to the swinging sensations Big Lucky (as seen on HBO’s Entourage), delicious cuisine and classic cocktails by a celebrated chef and mixologist, and a performance by the 1920s revue the Atomic Cherry Bombs. The event will also include a costume contest and fashion show with designs by reVamp Clothing, and a presentation on the museum’s design and historic preservation endeavors.

Proceeds benefit the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles and ongoing preservation efforts of the building in which it is located, the historic Italian Hall. Constructed in 1908, the Italian Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest remaining structure from the city’s historic little Italy.

1900-1940s attire encouraged.

The Italian-American Museum is pleased to offer Art Deco Society members, supporters and social networking “friends” discounted presale tickets ($55 instead of $65 and $75 at the door) to anyone who mentions the ADSLA.

To purchase tickets, or to register for the costume contest, call (213) 485-8432 or visit
Art Deco Walking Tour
of Hollywood Boulevard
Saturday, June 18, 2011 – 9:00 a.m

Beginning in front of the Pantages Theatre
6233 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is proud to announce the debut of a brand new walking tour of Hollywood Boulevard, where the film industry took root and flourished, defining glamour, modernity, and fun for not just the country, but the world.

Hollywood Boulevard is a microcosm of one of the great “golden ages” of L.A. architecture—the post–World War I boom that from which Art Deco, that forward–looking, sleek and iconic style, emerged.

On this tour you’ll see famous Hollywood and Art Deco masterpieces (The Egyptian Theatre and the Pantages Theatre) as well as unsung beauties that you might have walked by. You’ll see palaces of commerce along with pocket–sized examples that housed—and continue to house—a local businessman’s dream. You might think you know Hollywood Boulevard, but we bet we’ve got some surprises for you!

The tour will begin in front of the Pantages Theatre and end at Hollywood & Highland. Explore the neighborhood block by block to see what the area was, what it is, and what it will be!

By special arrangement, and in an ADSLA exclusive, we’ll take you inside the glorious Pantages Theatre, the historic Egyptian Theatre and the très glamorous Hollywood History Museum (the former Max Factor beauty palace).

This is one tour that you won’t want to miss! Be the FIRST Decophile in your neighborhood to experience Hollywood Boulevard, ADSLA style.

Open/General Public ticketing begins on Monday, June 6.
Non–Member (Open) Tickets: $15 per person (beginning June 6)


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