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