December 21, 2013

The Singing Starlet - Jennifer Keith Quintet

One of the perks of moving back to Las Vegas is discovering retro happenings around town. In a city filled with “more is more” (or “less is more” in the case of most women’s nightlife apparel), it is refreshing and exciting to find a sweet songbird who embodies class and style of a bygone era. The Jennifer Keith Quintet is a must-see for any retro enthusiast - or anyone who just enjoys beautiful talent. 

Perched on a stage surrounded by dazzling, glass crystals in the center of the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s Chandelier Bar, Jennifer Keith belts out classic songs into her vintage microphone as she dances around the stage pausing briefly to strike a perfect, pinup pose. She resembles burlesque beauty, Dita Von Teese, but her soul and sound are reincarnated from classic female singers of the 40s and 50s such as Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney.

Her quintet is led by none-other than the swing king himself, Mando Dorame of Royal Crown Revue -- the swing band that launched a retro revolution in the 90s. The Jennifer Keith Quintet performs once a month at the Cosmolitan Hotel on Las Vegas Blvd. and also regularly tours throughout Los Angeles and other cities.  You can also sample her album, Jenny is Her Name, and purchase her music through This singing starlet is vintage Hollywood glamour at it’s finest and one not to miss.

Royal Crown Revue

October 9, 2013

New Adventures in Sin-City

2013 was the year of a major life change -- relocating from Los Angeles back to my hometown of Las Vegas. When I lived here last, what was considered the “end of town” is now the middle, the mountains seemed untouchably far away and Downtown was a seedy street littered with empty booze bottles and dismantled dreams. That’s all changed now.  

We now live at the current “end of town” in a beautiful community nestled just below the mountains. What seemed as “so far away” a few years ago is now the breathtaking backdrop from our window. Freeways have been built to quickly take us into town where excitement and energy are mere moments away. In twenty minutes (for LA folks that’s nothing) we can be in my new, favorite nightlife area -- Downtown.

Elvis lives at The El Cortez
Downtown has come a long way over the last decade. It’s undergone (and still going through) a major revamp and is becoming a place for locals and visitors to merge and blend with a variety of attractions both old and new. The casinos are undergoing facelifts, yet still seem to retain remnants of vintage Vegas charm -- a charm that is increasingly harder to find as the mega-casinos dominate the Strip. Bars and nightclubs have opened with a “local” feeling while the Arts District is blossoming with refreshed culture. Downtown Las Vegas is no longer a place to avoid, but rather a place to celebrate. Where else can you see a spot-on Elvis impersonator belting out classics and then stroll a few feet to a bar dedicated to vintage video games? Or enjoy a visit to 1920s style cocktail lounge devoted to the mobsters of Vegas’ past and then take a short walk to see ferocious looking sharks circling a hotel pool? Only in Vegas, my friends.  Only in Downtown.

Vegas has and always will be my home and I’ve been visiting family and friends here regularly over the years, but living here is another story altogether. It’s a story I’m looking forward to telling as I rediscover this exciting city of mine and all of the retro glamour and kitschy culture it has to offer.

August 15, 2013

Frankie's Tiki Room - Las Vegas

If kitschy culture, cool drinks and amazing atmosphere is your style, get off of The Strip and head over to Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas. This cozy bar is covered in bamboo, carved tiki gods and thatched roofing. Some of the best tiki artists in the world contributed to the incredible island decor that covers every inch of the walls, chairs and bar. Tiki Bosko,  Leroy Shmaltz and Tiki Ray are just some of the many talented artists who helped bring Frankie’s aloha spirit to life. Top it off with tropical sounds playing in the background and vintage Hawaiian movies behind the bar and you’ve got ambiance that carries you away to an Polynesian paradise. Oh... and let’s not forget about the drinks...

The strength of Frankie’s drinks are measured in cute little Shag-like skulls - however don’t let their cuteness fool you!! Drinks such as the Kahiki Kai (my favorite and only two skulls), the Thurston Howl (four skulls) and of course their killer Zombie (a whopping five skulls - and they aren’t kidding) are all original creations and can be served in collectible tiki mugs. Frankie's is all about the details - right down to their headhunter swizzle sticks. If you can’t make it to Vegas any time soon, but want a little piece of Frankie’s in your home, you can purchase their mugs and prints in their online store.

Frankie’s is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Located just west of Las Vegas Boulevard at: 1712 W. Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89102


October 18, 2012

Becoming Marilyn - Four Eyes

Whoever came up with the old phrase, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses,” obviously didn’t see Marilyn in her spectacles. In How to Marry A Millionaire, Marilyn played beautiful bombshell on the hunt for a man with money who felt her bad vision and need for glasses took away her sex appeal. So wrong... Look how gorgeous she is in her cat-eyes! As a glasses-wearing-gal, I’m always on the look-out for retro style frames, so here are a couple of places to visit to fine-tune your four-eyed Marilyn.

I usually just write about modern day reproductions here on Retro Girl, but I couldn’t pass up sharing this amazing vintage shop called Collectable Spectacle on Etsy. They carry an incredible assortment of cat-eyes, rhinestone trimmed colored frames and vintage sunglasses from the 50s and 60s. If you are looking for something truly authentic, this is the place to visit.

Collectable Spectacle on Etsy

And here is a modern company with a line of vintage-inspired frames called Warby Parker. I have not ordered from them yet, however I really like their affordable policy - $95 for frame and lens and they also “give a pair” to organizations such as to help those in need who are not able to pay the high price tag for good vision. While they may not be as dramatic as authentic vintage frames, these 60s-era inspired glasses are a clean, updated look with a retro flavor.
Warby Parker: "Wiloughby Tennessee Whiskey"

October 1, 2012

Handbag Heaven

"Lucky Me" Kiss Lock
I may have mentioned my fondness for footwear, but I haven’t yet touched on the love affair I have with handbags. A gorgeous new bag can provide pure joy and has the power to take a simple outfit straight to over-the-top fabulous. My best bags are conversation starters, show stoppers and often envied by passer-bys . And that’s just the star treatment I receive when I tote around my Lux De Villes.

I recently purchased their Sin City Kiss Lock bag in Black (pictured below)- a first class ticket to handbag heaven. It has a very retro, yet contemporary feel to its quilted, black, patent-leather design. The silver dangle dice are the perfect Sin City accessory and the leopard interior adds a bit of drama each time you open the kissable clasps. What I love most about this bag is the seamless transition from day to night. I can throw it over my shoulder to run to the market or swing it from my arm for a night out on the town. The patent leather makes it super simple to clean and shiny black matches just about anything. Did I mention I’m in love? So much so I went back for seconds.

"Sin City" Kiss Lock
I spotted this spectacular leopard bag (above) at a trade show a few months ago and from that moment on I was infatuated. I'm very particular with my leopard prints and this bag hits it right on the mark. Since drooling is not a very classy thing to do, I had to remedy my problem asap and order the Lucky Me Kiss Lock bag pronto. This purse is a real head-turner with its luxurious fur-textured leopard pattern, 50s-style silver kiss-clasp and striking red rose accessory. While you can definitely use this bag daily, I save it for special occasions or to add a pop of “wow” to an ordinary outfit. And I’m not finished with Lux De Ville yet either... I have my eye on their sparkly Getaway Kiss Locks and their ultra glamorous Lucite line.  Love, love, love the Lux...