Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hal's Roll

Last Saturday night we went out to Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association's annual Harvest Moon Swingout. Due to other conflicts we only made it to the Saturday night dance, but we had a blast! It was packed. And sweaty. ;) Stompy Jones from San Francisco played, and they always draw a crowd.

I nabbed this photo of us during a jam from Facebook (thanks Steve Hwan!). Right here we're doing the move we call "Hal's Roll" - named for its inventor, the amazing Hal Takier. Hal doesn't call it "Hal's Roll" of course. :) He just calls it the "Roll".
(I'm spinning when Chris jumps, so I'm always impressed
when I see later how much height he gets!)
What makes this move really exciting and stand out compared to most LA swing/bal-swing movements is the "pop" of energy on beat 2 (captured beautifully in Steve's photo above) - most bal-swing turns happen on beats three and four, but the Roll pushes it forward and the lead pushes the follow to reverse the direction of her turn on beat 2. This unique timing requires practice (and it helps if the follow is familiar with the move), but it's a real crowd-pleaser.

I don't think anyone's found footage of Hal doing the Roll in the 30's or 40's, but there is 70's footage of it. Maybe he didn't invent it until later? But even in his earlier days, Hal frequently used beat 2 to jump into his flashy moves, and that's part of why he looks so much more energetic than other dancers.

There's no sound in this clip unfortunately, but you can see Hal and Marge do the Roll, starting at 1:22.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Los Angeles Union Station

1940's Mother of Pearl Sweetheart pin
My jacket isn't dirty, I was trying to be clever and "age" the photo!
Last weekend we attended a wedding at the downtown Los Angeles Union Station. This vintage train station is one of my favorite Golden Era venues, so it was a treat to attend an event there! The train station opened in 1939, and was one of the last large train stations built – commercial air travel was fast becoming the transportation mode of choice, and airports were being built instead of train stations. The LA Union Station still gets quite a bit of use though – it’s the hub for several local train lines, Metrolink and Amtrak. We were quite surprised at how busy it was on a Saturday afternoon!
Los Angeles Union Station
Image Source: Wikipedia
Waiting Room in Union Station
Image Source: Wikipedia

We tried to arrive a little early to snap some photos before the ceremony, but darn LA traffic got the better of us and only had time for a few photos. (Yes, we did drive to the train station. We don’t live near a train stop!)

I wore one of my Make and Mend projects – this dress needed some repairs and the hem was long and uneven. On Chris’s suggestion I took the extra fabric from the hem and made a belt, since the original was missing. I did some dancing in this dress, and did rip the sleeve (yikes!) but it was on the seamline and is easily fixed. Back into the mending pile it goes!

If you want to learn more about the history of Union Station and want access to some of the areas usually closed off to the public, I highly recommend the walking tours run by the Los Angeles Conservancy. I’ve been on several of their tours, and even though they are all volunteer-led, the docents are highly knowledgeable and have a real passion for the architecture. I’d go on any of the tours a second or third time!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Duchie Award

I won another blog award! Lauren over at Wearing History passed along the Duchie Award for Excellence in Historical Costuming and Bloggery. It's a huge honor to be included in this group! This is a dual award for V is for Vintage and my other blog, Fashioning Beau Brummell.

“When you receive a Duchie Award, post on your blog (in any order):
  • Five things you love about historical costuming/wearing vintage clothing
  • Three (or more) blogs to pass the Duchie Award onto
  • A link back to the blog who awarded you the Duchie”
Five Things I Love About Historical Costuming/Wearing Vintage Clothing
1) Social history is one of my lifelong passions, and I love looking at history through the eyes of fashion. Like how those of us in this hobby usually distinguish between Historical Clothing as pre-WWI and Vintage as post-WWI, as there was such a huge shift in societal roles and behaviors as we hurtled into the modern world.
It requires something like a World War to take us from this:

c. 1912
to this:
in fewer than 15 years.

2) Day-to-day, I'm a pretty boring/conservative dresser, but I love hunting out, creating and wearing clothes for special events. I'm usually more self-conscious about trying out modern trends than dressing completely vintage from head-to-toe! Playing with vintage and historical fashions is where I really express myself fashion-wise.

3) I love going to period events where the setting is just right and everyone involved makes an effort. I'm not a stickler for perfect accuracy, but I prefer events that revolve around a common theme/period, and when everyone gets involved. Luckily, I live in an area with a vibrant community of reenactors and vintage lovers!

4) Patternmaking and fitting are fascinating. I'd rather work on a pattern than sit at the sewing machine. I guess that's why most of my projects average 2-3 mockups (and take so darned long to finish!).

5) Not least, I love all the costume blogs I read! It's so inspiring to see what everyone is working on, and I learn a lot from the fabulous blogs in my reader. And the community is so supportive - I think most people in this hobby push themselves to do great work, but aren't competitive with other people.

**I didn't list shopping, but that's obviously a favorite part of the hobby, right? ;)

Now I get to pass on the award! Since last time I picked vintage-focused blogs, this time I want to share some of my favorite historical costume blogs:

1) Romantic History - Sarah's might be the first historical sewing blog I discovered, and it's still one of my favorites. She works in a huge range of eras (Civil War, Regency, Medieval, 20th C. etc...) and does them all well! She does a great job of showing her process of creating costumes, which is helpful to me when I'm trying something similar. Plus her whole family goes to reenacting events (and she makes clothes for everyone!!), and her sons are just the Cutest. Ever.

2) Lady of Portland House - When I started doing research for Chris's Regency ensemble, this is blog I kept checking for references. Lauren does exquiste and amazingly authentic reproductions primarily from the late 18th Century. Though I love her occasion forays into the 1940's! If I lived nearby, I'd definitely invite myself over for a candlelight dinner - her cookery skills look amazing, too.

3) Isis' Wardrobe - I'm not playing favorites, I swear - Isis just has fabulous blogs! I awarded her other blog, Fashionable Forties, previously, but Isis' Wardrobe is at least as good, and has even poufier skirts!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Film to Reveal Origin of Jitterbug

I was playing with Google News Reader again, and came across this writeup from The Pittsburgh Press, Dec 23, 1943.

Film to Reveal Origin of Jitterbug
HOLLYWOOD -- Filming of "Jitterbugs," Pete Smith Speciality designed to show how the art of "jitterbugging" developed, will get under way soon, with Will Jason directing.
The short subject boasts a cast of five women and three men, including Arthur Walsh and Jean Phelps, Lennie [sic] and Kay Smith; Charles Saggau and Irene Thomas; and Dorothy Ford and Betty Lou Walker.

Groovie Movie (1944)

I've never heard of Dorothy Ford & Betty Lou Walker before (I'm guessing Dorothy Ford is this gal?). I wonder what their roles were supposed to be?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...