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Josceline's · Bower


Viva Las Vegas

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During our last vacation, we attended the 14th annual Viva Las Vegas rockabilly convention.  I had not encountered that particular subculture before (although I knew of its existence), but I noticed some similarities to other hotel-based fan conventions that I've attended in the past (most recently Teslacon).  There were vendors, costume contests, panel discussions (including one on hair and make-up), and a fashion show, as well as musical acts. This convention was much more heavy on musical acts (as one would expect, by its very nature).  It also had a large car show on Saturday. The car show was an event unto itself, with more vendors and a live music stage (where Jerry Lee Lewis, who looked every one of his 75 years but sounded surprisingly good considering the years and mileage, performed a set in the afternoon.

There were some excellent costumes.  A lot of the attendees put a lot into their outfits, and many couples danced in period style to the various bands.  I do not pick up new dance styles quickly (it's an abnormally long and laborious process for me to wrap my brain around anything involving physical coordination and spatial relationships), so I sat on the sidelines and watched.  However, photos taken at the Viva Las Vegas convention, even in black-and-white, are unlikely to be mistaken for actual 1950s photographs, because modern rockabilly women tend to have a lot more tattoos than women in the 1950s did.

The only classic car show I have ever attended in the past was the one associated with the Taste of Monroe festival, where the Barony used to do a demo.  This one was larger, and just about everyone was dressed to match the cars, which was very cool.  Richard Cheese had a merchandise booth at the show, and we stopped by to meet him (we didn't buy any CDs, since we already own them all, but we did score an autographed picture.  Elderly burlesque icon Dixie Evans was also there, hawking autographed photos, as was Elvira (whose booth was swamped) and actress Candy Clark from American Graffiti (whose booth was deserted).

There were a lot of sweet cars, some of them lovingly-maintained antiques, others modern-built roadsters in a vintage style.  I got a kick out of this one, because it appears to be the same color as Eithni's kitchen.

The other big event associated with the convention was the burlesque show.  This is such a popular happening that they present the same show three different times during the convention and still cannot accommodate all of the convention-goers that wish to attend.  We stood in a line that snaked from the showroom box office all the way through the casino to the hotel gift shop in order to secure our (free with our convention wrist-band) tickets.  I was glad we did.  We have seen a number of burlesque shows over the years, including the very entertaining local Cherry Pop Burlesque shows, and a professional show at a club in New Orleans back before Katrina reduced the variety of entertainment offerings available in the French Quarter.  This was the best burlesque show we have ever seen (I do not count Absinthe as a burlesque show, even though it had some burlesque elements).  The costumes, props, choreography and talent were all first-rate.

The MC for the show, "Miss Astrid," bore a strong resemblance to Admiral Von Grelle from Teslacon, right down to the German accent and (leopard-print) eye patch.  She also made some inside-sounding jokes about folks who pretend it's the 1950s, saying at least they're not as silly as the folks who pretend it's the middle ages, that made me think she's probably in the SCA.

All in all, it was an interesting experience, and there was some good entertainment to be had, but it's really not my flavor of geek.
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