On July 21st (as well as August 18th and September 15th,) audiences will pack into the White Rabbit for the Vintage Spectacular, a diverse varieté revue that bring classic, timelessly entertaining routines – with modern twists – to the nightclub’s tiny stage. “From the beginning of the show,” explained Donna Stewart, one of the Vintage Spectacular’s producers, “the most important element is that we have fun – the performers and the audience.”
Stewart and Laura Mitchell form one of the show’s featured acts – LoreDona – under their stage names Lyla la Coeur and Aviva Voila, respectively. LoreDona perform ‘pin-up dancing,’ an act as vintage – and as difficult to buttonhole as the entire show. “You can throw a stone in this city and see burlesque,” explained Mitchell, with the Vintage Spectacular, LoreDona wanted to celebrate burlesque as well as all that came before it.
From A Birthday Wish To A Regular Reality
“This came from a few years ago,” Stewart explained about the original inspiration – when Mitchell had dreamed of putting together a vintage-inspired show. “The inspirations were the speakeasies that were happening all over Seattle then,” Mitchell explained.
For Mitchell’s 30th birthday, her friends put together a ‘cabaret’ birthday for her – at White Rabbit. The performers and musicians came from among Mitchell’s wide, and talented, circle of friends with the evening rounded out with dancing, karaoke, and a ‘vintage’ dress code that sparked creativity – and a celebratory feeling – among attendees.
Attendees, the performers and the White Rabbit staff had such a good time that Mitchell and Stewart felt compelled to produce something regularly. Unfortunately, it took some time to clear enough room on their schedules to produce something so entirely new and unusual.
“When we got everything all lined up,” Mitchell related, “we found the booking agent [at White Rabbit] had changed.” A moment of uncertainty appeared when they faced having to prove themselves to a new set of agents. Thankfully, “they took a risk on us,” Stewart said, “and we took a risk on them,” and the way the following of the shows continues to grow, it looks like a win-win.
A Regular ‘Labor Of Love’ Reality
“We get a lot of the Fremont community,” among audiences, observed Stewart, yet, “every single show we get new people, and I will know only about 20% of the people there.”
“White Rabbit loves us,” Mitchell said, and it is understandable – they produce a popular show that audiences enjoy. They also have a winning knack for promotion. Plus, both women frequent other shows at White Rabbit and distribute Vintage Spectacular handouts to fellow attendees – even while out on the dance floor. It further helps that the venue gives them support in return, down to the bartenders who will dress up ‘vintage’ on show nights.
“It’s a labor of love,” explained Mitchell, “and it’s been amazing.” The tiny stage has given some of the acts a challenge, but it also lends the acts – and the whole show – an immediacy in engaging the audiences. “It’s performance art that is real and attainable,” explained Mitchell, “right up close.”
Every show features a full band, and the July, August and September 2012 shows will feature Mark Siano & the Enablers. For July, the show also has Miss (Opal) Peachey doing vaudeville, Lesley Rialto providing belly dancing, Cherry Manhattan doing burlesque and, of course, LoreDona doing their pin-up poses. For July, the show will also be hosted by one of the producers – Lyla la Couer.
Vintage Fundraising for CafeRacerLove.org
While all Vintage Spectacular shows bring a delightfully creative mix of performers, the July 21st show stand-outs for another reason – serving as a special fundraiser for caferacerlove.org
The website mission is to raise money for the survivor and families of the victims of the horrible shootings on May 30th, at Café Racer and in Downtown Seattle. “Among the staff,” explained Mitchell of the Vintage Spectacular show, “we have direct connections,” to the victims. To help, in some small way, in recovery from the tragedy, proceeds from the show, from a raffle, and artists’ stipends forfeited by some of the performers, will go to the charity.
“We asked the family if they felt this is the right organization to support,” Mitchell acknowledged. The women wanted to act responsibly, and investigated and got an okay from a victim’s relatives about directing the support of LoreDona to caferacerlove.org As Mitchell said, “I have some trust in them.” As Stewart observed, “The least we can do is ask the questions,” to honor the victims, “and give what we can.”
A Beautiful ‘Vintage Spectacular’ Opportunity
As a result, the Vintage Spectacular on July 21st promises not only to be entertaining, but maybe even serve as a much-needed balm to those grieving. Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets for $10, or $12 at the door.
If you can’t make it on July 21st, or just want another chance to enjoy more Vintage, a similar yet slightly different varieté revue will also take place on August 18th and September 15th.
As producer Mitchell described, “I get to sit in the back,” between LoreDona performances, “and watch the audience interact, and dancing and absorbing it all. It’s beautiful!”
- Mark Siano Takes ‘White Hot’ to West Of Lenin
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 18, 2012
- BackBar Beauties Bring Burlesque To The Backdoor
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 1, 2012
- A Bonza Halloween In Fancy Dress For Fremont
- by Kirby Lindsay, October 27, 2010
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.