Photography by Greg Autry
All Images ©Greg Autry 2014
In the early 20's, under the dark days of prohibition, Speakeasy's flourished. Kept secret by Patrons lest they be raided by the "Gendarme" of the day, they were the hot bed of music, and sensuality.
Recently I was invited to attend `TRAPEZE'. A reincarnation of a Speakeasy, in downtown Los Angeles. It was held at The Syrup Loft and when I got there about 10:00 PM, the street was full of parked cars, yet eerily quiet. I found the address, and chose to climb the three flights of stairs, rather than risk a creaky old elevator late at night, alone. Up on the third floor, I knock on the only door I see. The door cracks open a bit. I give my name, and say I'm on the list. I'm asked for a Password. I answer. He lets me inside. All very clandestine.
It's about 10 o'clock now, and there is a good size crowd (considering how early it is. 10 PM that is). Trapeze is that wild n juicy type of place where everyone feels at home. Aaron Delachaux told me, "It's an underground electro-swing/neo-burlesque party. They're usually about 300-400 people in attendance. We started them in San Francisco, but they've really been catching on all over the west coast. We did one in LA last November and everyone has been begging us to come back".
There's certainly no lack of eye candy at Trapeze. From the stage performances, to the dance floor, and the overall vibe at Syrup loft. Speakeasy's in the 20's were often held in Apartments, Basements, and any building where they would not be noticed from the outside. One notorious Speakeasy, on 82nd Street in NYC was owned by Angela Frahm Ritter, and became renowned for its sensuality and eroticism. Speakeasy's back in the day were for the most part, not big elaborate clubs, as oft shown in film and TV. They were more likely small, and the music was most often provide by a phonograph. Some did grow larger, usually with a friendly "tip" paid, and those clubs became later Burlesque houses, and Brothels.
Tonight at Trapeze, we were treated to the delightful sounds of hip hop / electro swing by DJ Elizar from Montreal, and titillated by a number of Burlesque performances by such Vamps as Maya Papaya, Iza La Vamp, Charlotte La Belle, and Chenoa Fox. Of course there were many more performances, way too many to list here. Do take a look at the Trapeze website....you'll be astounded.
Our stunningly Vivacious MC for the evening was the delicious Emma Nation. Two super talented DJ's, the one and only Aaron Delachaux and Boenobo the Klown (also the Producers of Trapeze I might add). Syrup Loft was created about 5 years ago, by `Yoni and Daphne'. Its known as Pirate Ship of underground Creativity and a magical portal. It's a private space , and home, to its founders.
Best of all, another Trapeze will emerge at Syrup Loft, this Summer, July 12. If you can't wait till July in LA, the joint will jump again in San Francisco on May 31. Mark your calendar now. The new Trapeze is sure to lure a bevy of underworld flappers, vipers, vamps, and villains to a bass-fueled night of jazz age abandon. I was definitely impressed with the bevy of amorous dames and Dandy's, and can't wait to see who will join the next naughty party.
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