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Austin’s Jazz Age is Alive and Thriving at Vintage Vivant

published on October 26, 2011

1920’s Themed Party Pays Homage to Austin’s Penchant for Creativity and Fun

Austin’s reputation for fun has spanned decades, and now its parties transcend decades, too.  Vintage Vivant, a “monthly celebration of Jazz Age culture in Austin, Texas,” is a party held on the last Sunday of every month in downtown Austin at The Swan Dive bar on Red River. A team effort first conceived by Amelia Raley and Angeliska Polecheck, the duo describe the party as “a night for glamorous anachronists to dance, drink and delight at the bevy of 1920′s and 30′s themed entertainment.” The jazz theme spills over into vintage cocktails, from the Rob Roy to a classic Mint Julep, vintage attire and vintage inspired costumes, as well as free dance lessons.

Recently winning the Austin Chronicle’s award for “best reason to learn the Charleston,” the event is additionally becoming a best reason to get all dolled up, with new themes every month ranging from Paris J’Taime to a Night at the Circus. For October, the Vintage Vivant gang are hosting their very own Witches’ Ball, featuring big band music from The Vintage 15, a werewolf burlesque act by Sassy Delure, magic acts by Mr. Quiggley’s Traveling Miracle Show, vintage horror films projected onto the walls, costume contests, vintage and vintage inspired local vendors, DJ music by Vintage Vivant team member Westen Borghesi, also known as DJ Shorty Stump, and a photo booth from Austin photographer Devaki Knowles of Fun Loving Photos. 

Vintage Vivant received its name from a graduate school thesis by Raley, that focused on the past finding new life through the present. Austin already had a rocking monthly event known as the 2nd Sunday Sock Hop, celebrating the music and dancing of the 1950’s and 60’s through authentic LP’s and 45’s spun by four DJ’s at East Austin’s Shangri La bar, so Polecheck and Raley knew the town was ripe for a fete that favored the sounds and cultural flavor of earlier decades. Lindy hoppers are not hard to find in Austin, a city with an active jazz circuit, so their creative and marketing talents paired with Borghesi’s musical talents created the perfect storm to set a new old party in motion. 

“People go all out with the costumes, even the door girl dresses to the nines,” Raley said. Costumes can vary with the theme of each party, but extravagant and fun are the two key elements. The Vintage Vivant blog posts costume ideas, vintage makeup tips, and period information for revelers to consult if they need an extra edge to their attire or their history knowledge. A popular post included a tutorial on how to tailor a modern black dress to look like it came from any era. Raley also recommends local shops like Charm School Vintage and Amelia’s Retro Vogue for help constructing the perfect costume for a jazz age soiree. Costumed guests pay $3 less than their street clothed friends for entry; $7 for a regular monthly Vintage Vivant and $10 for the Witches’ Ball.

Brian Talley of the Regent Property Group believes the creativity of Austinites is the bees-knees. If you plan to get a wiggle on and begin a new Austin home search, contact an Austin realtor to help you find your own keen home. The Regent Property Group is an expert on swell living with a wealth of knowledge about Austin luxury homes. And if you’re a gin drinker, you’ll know just where to go to find a glass already poured.

To keep up with Regent Property Group’s Austin news and real estate info, follow @brianstalley on Twitter.

 

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