Part Four – Viva 17 Recap

It is bittersweet to write the final post in the Viva Rockabilly Weekend 17 series; months of preparation all come down to four incredible days where you make memories to last a lifetime. People came from around the globe and there was nothing but smiles with good times to be had. Everyone is there to have a great time and celebrate the culture they love, no matter what walks of life they are from. It was a real treat to see old couples enjoying the weekend as much as the younger crowd; there is no age limit on this fabulous lifestyle.

welcome-to-las-vegas-series-ricky-barnardWe decided to arrive on Wednesday to get acclimated to the three hour time change, which also gave us time to take in the sights before Viva began. Thankfully the Orleans allowed us to check in upon our arrival so we could spend the day exploring with friends. Our first stop was the Charleston Antique Mall! I had heard many great things about this place and knew it would be fun to check it out for ourselves. Needless to say, there were a lot of vintage décor I wished to bring home with us but knew it was a window shopping kind of trip. Unfortunately there were no big vintage clothing finds but that didn’t stop us from appreciating the rarity of the items on display. Next, we ventured to downtown Las Vegas to take in the Fremont Street experience. Sadly, it was rather disappointing to visit during the day as it’s known for its nightlife with all the neon signs and light show. This will definitely be on our hit list for next time! Our day ended on a high note with the Neon Sign Boneyard night tour. If you want to take in some true Las Vegas history, this is the place to go. The tour was truly incredible and I highly recommend it to everyone.

IMG_2544 IMG_2547 IMG_2554Thursday began early for me with a photoshoot with Mitzi & Co Photography at the El Cortez Hotel. Luckily I got the chance to work with Mitzi and a few of the team from Studio Glam who was hosting the Beauty Academy Classes. They were all super friendly and such lovely gals to boot! After my shoot, I got my Viva wristband and joined my hubby by the pool. It wasn’t long before I started to see some familiar faces and meet news ones as well. Through the blog’s 1st anniversary giveaway, I was fortunate to connect the lovely Pinup Gigi Marie and keep in touch through social media from that time. It was a real surprise to finally get to meet her since she wasn’t originally planning to attend. We could have chatted for hours; she is such a beautiful gal inside and out. I must mention she had on the most GORGEOUS vintage earrings, given to her by her grandmother.

After spending the afternoon by the pool, we headed inside to see who else we would bump into since so many people were arriving all day long. Thursday evening we had dinner with a group of friends at Koji. Be warned, food at the Orleans is nothing spectacular to say the least. After dinner, we attempted to visit the vendor rooms upstairs but it was a mad house. There was absolutely no room to move with the herds of people, let alone do any kind of shopping. We decided to get out of there and come back once the initial rush subsided.

20140417_18433620140417_201943Friday I attended the Mitzi & Co Beauty Class on how to do Victory Rolls where I was selected as the live mannequin. They were in fact filming the whole class, so you may see it someday on the interwebs. Liz from Studio Glam launched her pinup colour palette by Technicolor Cosmetics, as seen first at Viva. I scooped up one of her fabulous peach blushes and soft pink lipstick since they are great pinup staples to have. Meanwhile, my husband was in line like the trooper he is to get tickets for the Burlesque Showcase that evening. Once those were secured, we decided to give the vendor rooms another try since they seemed to have quieted down. Initially I wasn’t wowed by the overall selection and felt rather disappointed in acquiring any unique vintage finds. On the other hand, I was quite pleased with Remix Footwear and decided to splurge on a pair of brown hand tooled leather wedges. We managed to sneak in a little more time by the pool before attending the infamous Charles Phoenix Slideshow. This particular event was completely unknown to us but so many people were raving at how incredible this slideshow was and were told not to miss it. Let’s just say, we were not disappointed. Charles knows how to entertain his crowd and share tons of great history with his epic photo slides.

20140418_11442920140418_122341Friday evening we ate dinner at the Coasta Cantina, which we are quite a fan of since they serve delicious Mexican fare and definitely one of the better restaurants at the Orleans. For us, the Burlesque Showcase was the one event we sadly missed out at our first Viva and we made a point of not missing it again. Honestly, this year’s showcase was beyond incredible; those who had been before were not shy in saying it was the best one yet! We were proud to see Roxi D’lite on stage since she is from our hometown and truly an incredible performer. The entire line up of dancers was fabulous and the hostess was so entertaining as well. All in all, we were so thrilled with the show to say the least.

2014-04-18 18.04.31 2014-04-18 18.03.20Saturday was the big Car Show day! I was up bright and early to get my hair done by the incredibly talented Madison Jane. Once I was all ready to go, I went upstairs to the vendor rooms quickly (since some booths restock daily) before waiting in line with my hubby for the Burlesque Competition tickets. Seeing as we enjoyed the show so much the night before, the Competition was a must see for us too. We made our way down to the Car Show around 12:30pm; thankfully the huge lines moved rather quickly and were able to get in within a short time. Within minutes of arriving, Amber and I were asked to be filmed by A Vintage Vanity for her Viva Car Show fashion vlog. Thankfully, I didn’t stumble on my words when she asked us to talk about our outfits with her viewers. Here’s the fabulous video, we are right after A Vintage Vanity’s Intro…

The weather was on our side, it was a really hot day but we managed with lots of sunscreen and a handy parasol. There were some great outdoor vendors this year, I spent enough just in that afternoon alone. The Car Show was much bigger than the previous year we attended, there were a plethora of vendors and tons of beautiful classic cars to see. We spent the entire afternoon walking around, seeing some familiar faces and meeting many new ones as well. On a side note, I couldn’t have chosen a better dress for that day; I received so many compliments and was asked to have my photo taken more times than I could count. It was truly a humbling experience. With Saturday being such a big day overall, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Prime Rib Loft before attending the Burlesque Competition. It was another fabulous show filled with beautiful women who knew how to entertain the crowd. The winner was well merited as she put on the most complete performance of all the contestants in our opinions. It’s nice to see an honest competition where the crowd gets to pick their favorite and not just a bunch of silly politics.

IMG_2566IMG_2560925828_271523473017354_1666016148_nSunday was our day to relax at the Pool Party. We lined up early to get our pick of seating with a bit of shade. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day with tons of sunshine and a slight breeze. The Pool Party is a spectacular place to do some serious people watching. You’ll get to see some of the most incredible vintage swimsuit, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, and my personal favorite…oodles of tattoos! I made sure to get a few pictures with the lovely gals I knew as they walked by, something I didn’t get a chance to do much all weekend. The pool is crystal clear and large enough to accommodate everyone. This was the first year that I opted to go for a swim, it was so hot outside and a quick dip was so refreshing. One point to mention, the food at the pool is quite delicious and there are tons of special tiki drinks at the bars. The Women’s Vintage Swimsuit Competition was in the late afternoon and is known to draw a huge crowd. There were some pretty spectacular swimsuits on display and the stunning Angelique Noire won with her unique two piece yellow printed bikini.

20140420_15150120140420_145413IMG_2635Unfortunately we didn’t make it in for Charles Phoenix’s second slideshow presentation, but our friends said it was just as great as the first. Since our friends are into dancing, so we joined them to watch the Jive Competition before dinner. It was absolutely mesmerizing to see the dancers with their elaborate footwork and show stopping performances. Once again, the winners were selected by the crowd and simply random people that went up on the dance floor to compete. With the Viva festivities coming to a close, we got dolled up one more time after dinner and headed upstairs to various rooms where the bands were playing before admitting it was sadly all over for another year.

Our second year at Viva was even more memorable than the first and we have already booked for Viva 18! It is not necessarily an event that you want to attend each year but we know this may be our last for a little while. We already have a few things on our must see list for next year: Neon Sign Day Tour, Fremont Street a night, Viva bowling, etc. With so much happening all at once, you have to choose what is most important for you and make those happen before anything else. Thank you for sharing in our Viva experience and hopefully I’ll get to see some of you next year!

Part Two ~ What to do at Viva!

Time is sure flying now…Viva is just a little over two weeks away! It seems the excitement for our impending trip has finally sunk in this morning. Maybe it was due to the fact I tried on all my planned outfits this weekend and now I can’t turn my brain off about all the last minute necessities. We are flying out on the Wednesday in order to get acclimated to the three hour time difference and settled well before everyone else arrives for the festivities. There are so many events being held at Viva, here are just a few highlights of what to do to make the most of your weekend.

orleanshomepageSince we are flying in a day early, we have decided to see some of the Las Vegas sites before Viva. We’ll be meeting up with some friends and heading to the Charleston Antique Mall for an afternoon of shopping. I have no idea what to expect but fear that my Viva savings are going to deplete very quickly. After dinner, we are heading to the Neon Sign Boneyard for their nightly tour. They are even offering a little discount on admission for Viva attendees if you are able to fit it in. I’ve heard from so many people that this is one of the coolest places in Vegas as it holds decades of history all in one place. From there, we are headed to the infamous Fremont Street for the old school Viva Las Vegas experience. It will be a fun packed day and evening taking in so much of the culture that we missed out on last time.

dsc_0302Thursday is when the majority of the Viva attendees arrive as the festivities commence later in the afternoon. My morning will begin with a boudoir photoshoot with Mitzi & Co at the El Cortez Hotel on Fremont Street. Many ladies like myself take this opportunity to shoot with some of the best pin up photographers in the industry. No, you do not have to be a model or have any experience to work with them. Lots of their clients are every day ladies just like you and I. After my shoot, I’ll return to the Orleans and won’t be leaving the premises until Sunday as I don’t want to miss out on any of the festivities. If you are a fan of Rockabilly music, be prepared to be entertained for four days of non stop bands. They begin at 7pm on Thursday and until the wee hours of Monday morning.

DSC_0719 DSC_0736One of the major attractions are the vendors who bring some of the most incredible vintage and products available all in one place. They are open to the general public within particular hours and also have exclusive hours for wristband holders. Here you will find clothing, accessories, shoes, hair pomade, eyewear, art, books and so much more! Click HERE for a list of vendors scheduled to attend. If you see something you like, get it right away as it’s likely not to be there even a few hours later. Remember, thousands of people are shopping here as well and most items are one of a kind vintage finds.

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Friday the music continues along with Bowling, Burlesque Classes, VLV Fashion Show, Pool Party, Tattoo Lounge, Dance Classes, Beauty Classes, Men’s Swimwear Competition, Burlesque Showcases and Burlesque Bingo. As I mentioned in my first post, you won’t be able to get everything in as there are tons of events happening concurrently. I do suggest that you arrive early for specialty events as space is limited on a first come basis. In order to attend the Burlesque showcases, you will be required to line up for tickets (free) at the business center. Line ups start as early as 8am even though they aren’t distributed until 12pm. We missed out last time as we didn’t want to wait in line for 4 hours and miss other events. Friends of ours are huge dance enthusiasts and enjoy the chance to party with others alike. Although I have two left feet, we will be going to watch to show our support and take in the culture.

DSC_1160 DSC_0862Saturday is THE BIG CAR SHOW DAY!!! This is the main event for Viva; many attendees come strictly for the Car Show as it’s an all day outdoor event full of classic cars, vendors, music, a fashion mecca, meet & greets, VLV Pinup Contest and oodles more!  Most ladies wear the favorite outfit for the Car Show and soak in the sun while socializing with other attendees from around the globe. Everyone is super friendly and don’t be shy to say hello to the industry folks you recognize. Make sure to drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, eat and take breaks from the sun. It’s a long day and you’ll be wiped if you don’t pace yourself. One of the big events is at 5:30pm with the fabulous Imelda May singing at the Car Show. Later in the evening is the VLV Burlesque Competition which I hope we are able to attend this year. Even if you just walk around the Orleans for the night, it’s like a scene from an old Hollywood movie. Women are glamed up from head to toe, dressed in their finest evening dresses. It is truly a sight to see! The music continues into the wee hours of the morning, you can party all night long.

CSC_0709 10169090_10154096587365495_1735518782_nEaster Sunday is a sad day as you know the weekend is quickly coming to an end. The main event is the Pool Party which begins at 12pm but I recommend lining up early as it gets packed fast. Make sure to bring all your essentials; sunscreen, towels, sunglasses, etc. There’s drinks and food available so you are safe to lounge by the pool the entire day.  At 3:45pm is the Ladies Swimsuit Competition which is a blast to see. It’s women of all shapes and sizes decked out in rare vintage swimsuits. I have entered for this years competition but the final contestants have yet to be announced. Even if I’m not chosen, I will be there by the pool for the entire day as it’s such a fabulous time and so relaxing. Later in the evening, most people are saying their final good-byes and already planning for the following year.

dsc_0780 DSC_0723There is definitely no shortage of things to do in Vegas and at Viva. Most importantly, have fun and take lots of photos as it’s a weekend to remember! If you are attending this year, please come and say “hi” if you see me out and about. I’ll be posting photos on Instagram and my Facebook page throughout the week so be sure to keep an eye out.

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Photos are courtesy of Julie Abnet Photography – http://jabnetphotography.com/