Hey everyone! I've finally recovered enough from the jet lag and a VERY late arriving flight to sit down and tell you how Viva Las Vegas went. In one word, I would say...
I literally had the best vacation of my life at Viva, so if you all have a minute or two I'd be happy to tell you all about my very first trip to Las Vegas and my first time going to the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend.
My hubby's and my flight touched down in Las Vegas early Thursday morning. Let me just say right off the bat how incredible it is for your body to go from winter coat weather to t-shirt weather in four hours :)
After we checked our bags into our hotel about a twenty minute walk from the Orleans Hotel (we weren't allowed to check in until 3 that afternoon) and after changing into my Ginger Dress in Atomic print, my hubby and I made our way down that way to pick up our wristbands. It wasn't all that hard to find the registration desk inside the hotel, there really was no shortage of beautifully dressed up guys and dolls who were more than willing to point us in the right direction.
Since the vendors in the upstairs floor weren't open in the morning, hubby and I decided to head out to have a look at the first day of the car show. By noon I'd say less than a third of the cars had arrived, but WOW were they beautiful. So many colours and models from so many different years, some with crazy flames and patters, some looking like they came right off the factory floor.
After having our quick look around the car show we headed back inside just to take take a load off of our feet and to really take everything in. There was a big seating area next to the Viva registration and I think we sat there for close to two hours just watching the incredibly dressed men and women walking by. The looks the attendees were sporting were from one end of the vintage spectrum to the other. From women in their proper Sunday dresses to crazy psychobilly mini dresses with corsets, and from men who looked like Don Draper to James Dean and everything in between.
I knew that this was right where I wanted to... no, where I NEEDED to be.
The Wanton Women
After resting and relaxing we made our way back to our hotel, where we grabbed a quick bite to eat and I changed into my Vintage Bustier in white and Audrey Skirt in Picnic print. Then it was time to head over to Mandalay Bay to see the Wanton Women Burlesque Show at the Rí Rá Irish Pub. Since we were so early at the show and they wouldn't even start letting people in until 10pm, hubby and I took a cab ride down to the Bellagio since I'd always wanted to see the fountains ever since I saw the movie Oceans Eleven way back when. That just by itself was an incredible show, and we even got to see a young couple that had just gotten married getting their wedding pictures taken by the fountains.
It was so romantic :)
Since we still had some time on our hands we walked back to Mandalay Bay on the sidewalks and over the skywalks, stopping in and looking at all the casino's along the way. Btw, the artificial waterfall outside of the Aria was just amazing. We might have to spend more time there next time we go.
Anyways, we made it back to Rí Rá at Mandalay, and joined the best looking pinups that I've ever seen before in line. Most of the ladies there and their guys were all friends who were talking amongst themselves, but I spotted one young lady with amazingly done victory rolls and went to tell her how much I loved what she did with her hair. The next thing I knew, we were chatting for what felt like ages. Her name is Darla Doherty and she's a pinup model herself, and VERY beautiful one I have to say. She was so down to earth and very relatable too, we had such a blast together. Anyways, before long another friend came to join us, the beautiful Kara Rexx from right here on Pinup Girl Style and we were all allowed to finally get into the pub, where we totally lucked out in getting a table near the front for the four of us.
As for the show itself, calling it incredible just doesn't do it justice. Tera Patrick, Kitten Natividad, La Cholita and Miss Karla Joy were all funny, sexy and amazing to see perform. Not to mention we got to see their boobs, so yay!!!
Darla gave Kara and I the idea to get a better seat to see the action, before too long every girl at a table was perched up on the backs of the seats just like us three. It was so fun.
In between the sets and after the show I got to talk to Micheline Pitt, Laura Byrnes AND La Cholita. I have to tell you that these women are all more beautiful in person than they could ever be on TV and in pictures, not to mention being so down to earth and approachable. The biggest surprise of the night had to be when they told me that they'd remembered me from these blogs... wow. I still can't believe that :) In fact La Cholita told me something very interesting... I'll have to see where that goes.
Anyways, we were so exhausted after the show ended that hubby and I headed back to our hotel, ending a very fun first day in Las Vegas.
Vintage Underwear How To's & Shopping
After getting up early Friday morning I threw on my Rockabilly Diner Dress in Olive Green, grabbed a quick breakfast at the Orleans's Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (yes, that's how I eat breakfast when I'm on vacation) and went to Bettina May's Pin-Up Foundation Essentials about how to wear vintage lingerie. Bettina was really sweet too, which is a consistent theme I'm discovering with these pinup models :) She gave us some great demonstrations on do's and don'ts and even answered a couple questions of mine too. The gist of the workshop is that a) Bettina May is a VERY beautiful woman and b) there is a lot handy tips to learn about wearing vintage underwear :)
After a quick lunch hubby and I headed up to the upstairs vendors to have a look around. We found a little shop called 8 Ball where I bought a cute little mini gambler tote purse in red by Lux de Ville (I've wanted a real pinup purse for ages now) and the most ADORABLE high heeled shoes that matched my Olive Green dress perfectly. They were seriously the best find of the whole convention, I mean who would EVER expect to find a pair of high heels in olive green with white trip and red to match the red purse that you just bought? It was a match made in heaven :)
Making Friends Pool Side
After shopping for a little bit more we decided to head out to the car show again, only since we decided to take a different route than we did the day before, we ended up stumbling across the pool party entrance. Since we didn't come prepared we were originally just going to have a quick look around until I ran into a girl named Ericka and her friend Rebecca, who I met the day before waiting in line to buy drinks one of the hotel bars. She was so happy to see me again but wanted to know what I was doing there WITHOUT a bikini. I told her I didn't bring mine since I wasn't planning on swimming, so she told me that I should pay a visit to the hotel gift shop and join her and Rebecca in the pool before they had to leave.
Not wanting to miss the chance to hang out with two lovelies I made a beeline to the gift shop, and despite having never had ANY luck with gift shop swimwear before I found the ABSOLUTE CUTEST itsy bitsy teeny weeny little polka-dot bikini that I'd EVER seen. It was seriously so cute that I didn't take it off after trying it on in the change room, I had the girl at the counter ring me up while wearing it and I just marched right from the casino back to the pool to join Ericka and Rebecca. I had so much fun with those two.
I couldn't believe how many friends I was making.
Zumanity, a Show for Grownups & Roller Coasters at Night
Anyways eventually Ericka and Rebecca had a leave with a promise from each other to keep in touch over Facebook, and my husband and I left for a quick dinner. Afterwards we decided to take a chance and try to catch the Cirque du Soleil show Zumanity at New York New York after changing into my Netti Dress in Tiki print. We'd read about it in the newspaper just before we left and wanted to check it out and OH M GOD IT WAS BEYOND DESCRIPTION!! I've never seen a show like that before, the performers were so dexterious and co-ordinated, not to mention brave beyond belief to be able to even try the incredible acrobatics they were performing, let alone pull them off with perfect precision and timing. As for the subject mater, it's a VERY adult rated show, which was the sort of thing I'd always wanted to see in Vegas. There was barely a single act in the show that DIDN'T have bare breasts in some way.
I honestly think that between Thursday's Burlesque show, Friday's Zumanity and Saturday's Burlesque competition I saw more breasts, boobs and tits than I've ever seen in any three day span before in my life! Have I mentioned how much I love Vegas? :)
As my hubby and I were waiting in the queue outside of New York New York I heard the unmistakable sound of a roller coaster zipping by with people screaming. I asked me husband "Was that a roller coaster?" and he said "Oh yeah, there's an entire roller coaster that goes around the hotel".
I don't think I've ever told you guys about this, but I have a real love for roller coasters at night, so there was NO way that I was going to miss the chance to take a ride on this roller coaster... over the Las Vegas strip... at night:)
It was the best ride that I think I've ever been on, the view was incredible and even though I was holding onto my hair the whole time to keep my flowers from flying out I had the greatest time. I was so lucky too because I literally caught the last ride of the night, it was meant to be I guess. My hubby was nice enough to hold my purse and things for me while he waited outside the ride, which was smart as it turned out because a man sitting behind me lost his phone on the ride.
PUG Goes to Viva
After a short sleep (due to the comings and goings of a rolling spring break party seemingly located and concentrated entirely outside of our hotel room) we got up for an early breakfast, where I got met an awesome woman named Nikki at our hotel who was at the Bettina May workshop with me the day before.
After breakfast we all headed down to the Orleans for the biggest day of the convention, with me dawning my Psychobilly Halter Top in white with black polka-dots over the Vintage Bikini Top & High Waisted Shorts in red. I was making the best use of the warm weather :)
There were so many people in the car show section, but luckily my hubby and I were still able to find Kara at the Pinup Girl Clothing booth, along with so many other amazingly dressed pinup ladies. Kara was trying on a swimsuit and a couple of dresses, and I have you tell you she was absolutely stunning in them all. After looking around for just a few minutes I found the Lana Dress in Teal Firework print and the Heidi Dress in White with Black Polka-Dots, both for only $60 US!
Trying them on was an adventure in itself, there was a change room but it was already occupied, and since I didn't feel like waiting to try these dresses on I just slipped them on right there (I was in a bathing suit so it was still modest ;) ). So try to imagine me trying to wiggle into my dresses, my husband helping support me with one hand while holding my purse with his other, while two women waited in line for the change room and another woman in the change room, all in an area about 8 feet by 8 feet wide. It was hilarious!
After we bought our outfits I got in line to meet Laura Byrnes again, and to get Micheline Pitt's autograph on her hair and makeup DVD. Kara pointed out that even if Micheline had just signed a dozen copies of her DVD and posed for a picture, taken a seat for not even ten seconds, if another person came up to her to ask for a picture she would just get right back up and pose again. I have so much admiration for professionals like her :)
After the PUG booth I made my way over with Kara and Nikki to Cherry Dollface's autograph signing at the Bomber Betty booth. Again, she was just a sweet girl who was happy to pose for a picture with a fan.
After Cherry Dollface we all took a long walk by the vendors tents. I got my picture taken by a photographer who was putting together a collection or rockabilly girls and their tattoo's, and he actually knew the tattoo artist who did the tattoo of my father on my arm. What a small world eh?
Classic Car Alley
After that we starting taking in the car show and all the amazingly beautiful cars that had come from all over. When we came across one old car who's owner was right beside it, Kara and I went up to ask him if we could pose with it and he actually said "Yes you can" before we even asked! His name was Buzzy and he was just amazing about letting me and Kara pose beside, inside and sitting on his 1950 Citroen. He actually gave me suggestions on how to sit inside the car and told me it was okay to pose by sitting on the driver side hubcap. I'd always wanted to pose next to a car like that so I can't thank Buzzy enough. I even got to meet his sister who was just as sweet as he was :)
After looking at the cars we all headed to the grand stands to catch Dick Dale's show. Before he took the stage my hubby and I got to watch a few Lindy Hopping couples give an impromptu performance in the standing area, they were really talented and I LOVED their outfits. We even got to talking to a group of photographers from San Antonio and found out that just like my husband and I they were all Steampunks. We always love chatting with our fellow steampunks whenever we can :)
Dick Dale was amazing, for a man in his 70's he was tearing up that stage and it was so awesome to see the man responsible for so many songs perform live. Just a little after Mr. Dale finished Darla met up with us, and we all went to the food truck row to find some dinner. Kara found this incredible gourmet hamburger, fries & hot dog van, it was the best dinner that I think I've ever had standing up :)
After dinner I found out from Darla that Masuimi Max was actually still signing autographs back at the PUG booth, so hubby and I raced back there and got in line just before the cut off to get her picture and autograph. I've got to say that she was the most enthusiastic person I'd seen all day for posing for fan pictures, she was really having a blast and it really came through in all of her pictures. By this point as you can see I decided to put a dress on since the temperature had started to dip a little, but I was still just happy to be somewhere where you could take a walk in the evening without a heavy winter jacket.
After the Masuimi Max signing my hubby and I went with Nikki to go get in line for the Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition, I wish I'd thought to grab tickets for Kara & Darla when Nikki was in line earlier in the morning, I feel aweful girls, I'll be sure to grab you seats next time around!).
If you can believe it while we were waiting in line my husband and I actually met a friend of ours from our home town's Lindy Hop troupe, we had no idea that he was going to Viva and he had no idea that we would be there either, but here we were together! It really is a small world eh?
Rockabilly Swinging & the Miss Viva Burlesque Competition
We ended up having to kill some more time before the competition, so hubby and I went upstairs again to watch some of the shows in the ballrooms. We caught the end of a group called The Devil's Daughters, they had such an amazing energy on stage and I'm now a HUGE fan of theirs :) I just instinctively started dancing by myself on the dance floor to their music when a woman saw me dancing, asked if I knew how to Lindy Hop and before I knew it we were dancing together to the music.
Again, it was just so much fun to be there.
Before we found our way into the hotel's showroom my hubby and I ran into Kara again and we got to pose with the most AMAZING looking Marilyn Monroe impersonator that was there with the convention.
Anyways, eventually they let us into the Orleans showroom for the Burlesque Competition, and the show's stage kittens were actually greeting people at the door handing out flyers for Secret's In Lace (one of the show's sponsors) while wearing new outfits from the Bettie Page line of lingerie. Eden Walton was one of the two and actually recognized me from the site here and from the PUG booth earlier. She hugged me and joked that at the PUG booth I was half naked while she was fully dressed and now she was half naked while I was fully dressed. I swear that I felt happier just being next to someone so cheerful and honestly genuine, that's how sweet Eden was :) Not to mention that in the Bettie Page Plunge Bra & the Bettie Blue Side Zipper Girdle Eden was... welll... just look at her!
Seriously, don't tell my husband but I think I might have a bit of a crush on her now ;)
As for the burlesque competition itself, the women were the best performers that I've EVER seen in my life. They were so athletic and fully committed to their characters every second of their acts. There were so many different styles of dance, music, hair, fashion, it was so amazing to see and all of those women gave me so much inspiration. I seriously have to thank them all, because I don't know how I could ever have picked a single winner from those women :)
So for one last time hubby and I went back to our hotel for one more nights sleep in Las Vegas. Sure enough the roaming Spring Break party found it's way to the outside of our door again but luckily this time I was so exhausted I still managed to get to sleep :)
Sunday was definitely our lightest day at Viva since we had to get to the airport for 3pm. Wearing my new Heidi Dress in White with Black Polka-Dots and the Fables Sophie Bikini Top & High Waisted Bottom we still managed to spend an hour at the pool party, I even managed to get interviewed by a filmmaker who was working on a follow up documentary to an older rockabilly documentary that he made called Rockabilly World with Bo Huff.
The last new friend I made was a woman reading a book laying down in the grass, I went up to her to tell her how much I LOVED her Vintage High Waisted Pinup Shorts in Leopard (they looked incredible on her) and we ended up talking about why we both love pinup fashion and styles for close to an hour.
After a quick dip in the pool and a toweling off though we knew it was time to go. So we said our goodbye's, grabbed our luggage and made our way to the airport for an Easter Sunday flight home. I'd had so much fun that I couldn't care any less that our flight was five hours late to take us home. It just meant I had five more hours to think about the new friends I made, the PUG ladies I got to meet and all the other amazing memories along the way.
So to who ever's reading this, trust me when I say that you will NOT ever regret going to Viva Las Vegas. Whether you're a die hard pinup model with a closet full of poodle skirts and swing dresses, or just a girl thinking about getting a high waisted pair of shorts because of how they flatter your tummy, this is a convention that you will love, and it will love you back.
So here are a few highlights from the trip to summarize my four days at Viva.
Seeing a young couple having their wedding pictures taken at the Bellagio.
Biggest Reaffirming Faith in Humanity Moment
A girl we met lost her brand new smart phone on Friday night, only to have it returned to her by a total stranger by Saturday night. Good for that total stranger, there's still hope for humanity :)
Meeting our friend from our home town Lindy Hop class on the opposite side of the continent. We've already agreed that next year we'll co-ordinate on coming down together :)
Most Embarrasing Moment
Having a sudden gust of wind blow my entire Audrey Skirt in Picnic Print up over my waist while walking over the South Las Vegas Blvd Skywalk to the giggles of the tourists behind us. If I knew I'd be flashing my underpants to the busiest street in town I would have worn something other than plain ol'whities ;)
Biggest Thrill Rush
Riding the New York New York Roller Coaster at night, without a doubt.
Favourite Celebrity Meet & Greet
It's a toss up between Cherry Dollface, Eden Walton, Micheline Pitt, Laura Byrnes, Doris Mayday and La Cholita.
Again, it's a toss up, this time between the Wanten Women show, Zumanity and the Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition. They've all given me inspiration that's going to help me so much moving forward now.
Now that we've got the good memories out of the way, here's a run down on what I hope to do better or try out for next year.
To Do List for Next Year
Learn More Vintage Hairstyles
Thanks to Cherry Dollface's tutorial and the help of a couple of Pinup Style Girls on the forums, I think that I've gotten pretty good at pincurls. The problem is that that's the only real vintage style I know. So having been inspired by the likes of Darla Doherty and her amazing look, this week I'll be starting practice on Victory Rolls, Bumper Bangs and maybe even Cherry's Vintage 1950's Hawaiian hairstyle.
Bring Out the Captain America Dancing Girls
This one might be a bit of a long shot, but I'd LOVE to be a part of a Captain America USO Dancing Girls ensemble, even if we're not dancing and just posing for pictures together. I know there are quite a few girls with costumes that live in and around Vegas, so maybe if I can do a better job selling the convention I might get a few interested dancing gals next year. They're not exactly rockabilly, but they have vintage down easily.
I mean, just look at this video of the gals marching together and tell me that Viva wouldn't eat their act up :)
Get Better at Dancing
I had an awesome time watching those Lindy Hoppers swinging up a storm during Dean Dale's show, and I had fun dancing along to the Devil's Daughters too. Now I just have to get a heck of a lot better because I would love to be one of the dancers a crowd forms around just to watch. The classes my hubby and I are taking are going really well, so we both just have to keep at it until next year :)
Go to a Show with a Group
Hubby and I LOVED Zumanity so much that we'll probally see it again next year, or maybe another of the Cirque shows. The only difference is we'll really try to go with a group this time since these shows deserve to be seen by as many people as possible.
Bring My Own Makeup Mirror and Shampoo
I took a big gamble that the hotel's bathroom mirror would have the kind of sufficient lighting that I was used to with my own makeup mirror and that their shampoo and conditioner would be just as good as what I used at home as well. I was wrong. I will not be making this mistake again. I'll chalk that up to a rookie mistake.
Try Dressing Up Like Marilyn Monroe for Myself
It definitely wouldn't be easy, but with all the tips I think I can learn between now and next year, with a little practice on my walk, my attitude and a platinum blonde dye job, I think it's a definite possibility to pull it off and make the queen of all pinups proud :)
Take a Swim at Mandalay Bay's "Toptional" Pool
While asking the concierge at Mandalay Bay about the Wanten Women Burlesque Show we got to talking about the hotel's "Toptional" private Moorea Beach Club for the "European Bathing Experience". I'm assuming all of that is just jargon for topless sunbathing, and if we'd had another full day in Vegas I think I definitely would have been up for it.
After all, it seems like a real "Vegas" thing to do.
Anyways so that's it for Part 1 of my big Viva Las Vegas blog post. I hope you've enjoyed it all so far and I'll be back either tomorrow or the day after with the product reviews from Viva and our trips around the blogosphere in Part 2.
So stay tuned :)