Archive for the ‘Retro Music’ Category

Day or night your visit to Memphis is not complete without an amble down historic Beale Street.  Here are some snapshots from our all too short visit to this famous thoroughfare to inspire you:

Blues Hall and Juke Joint – you just don’t hear those phrases much anymore, do you? Same with Drinks to Go-!
Juke Joint and Blues Hall


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Regular readers will know of our love of The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville PA – this time of year especially, with Blobfest – the kitschy fun homage to that gelatinous mass that put The Colonial on the moviegoing map, all the way back in 1958.

This year we decided to put our money where our mouth is and sponsor a table at Blobfest to add to the festivities with a table full of vintage souvenirs for sale, and Diners of Pennsylvania book signing!


Yes, that’s right – I’m honored to play Retro RoadHostess to Kyle Weaver and Kevin Patrick -two of the 3 gents responsible for the great resource book Diners of Pennsylvania second edition. They will be selling and signing copies of Diners of PA at the Retro Roadmap booth from 12-4pm.

They will also be telling the history of the diner(s) that appeared in The Blob – so stop on by!

While they’re doing their diner thing I will be spreading the good word about Retro Roadmap as well as selling and sharing some of my vintage vacation souvenirs – vacation plates, snow globes, pennants, we’ll see what’s in the collection!

Snow Domes in Storage Retro Roadmap.com Mod Betty

I would be neglecting my duties as a citizen of Phoenixville if I didn’t share our famous Retro Roadmap Blobfest Map – including sites from the movie and local landmarks to check out:

And day wouldn’t be complete without a showing of The Blob at 2pm – this year I’m proud to say that our own Retro Roadmap fave local photographer Laura Keen Photography is sponsoring the movie showing (you may remember she took some fun photos of yours truly a few months back – what fun!) – check The Colonial’s schedule for other showing times and double features.

Who doesn’t love the famous “Running Out” scene from The Blob – with The Colonial Theatre making her glorious screen debut!

(Yes, we know this version is en Espanol, but screams are universal :-))

And finally, here’s some handy Blobfest Street Fair Information:

Hosted by Hot Rod Scott & Professor Ouch of The Roots Rockabilly Roadhouse on  WPRB 103.3FM

Special guests The Violators Motor Club

Live music by The Buzzards

There will be plenty of fun stuff to do and see including:

John’s Old School New Skool Barber Shop

– Fire Extinguisher Parade

– Costume contest

– Facade contest

– Street food

– Vintage vendors

– Classic cars

– And More!

Read all about Blobfest here on the Colonial Theatre page or visit the Blobfest Facebook Page to become a fan. Is this going to be a wicked fun day or what?!

Blobfest Saturday July 9, 2011
Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA

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At night when there’s nothing else cool to photograph and you’re in the highway towards your next destination nothing says “Retro Road Trip” more than cool old time radio shows! Though I wasn’t able to find any on the radio proper, never fear, the smartphone is here, with the Vintage Radio Lite app!

Vintage Radio App on iPhoneIf I’m lucky when I drive from MA to PA, somewhere around NYC I can often catch broadcasts of vintage radio shows at the bottom of the dial, but when we were driving through darkened, rainy Alabama to Mississippi this was a great thing to be able to listen to via the car stereo speakers.


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Looking for a cool place for a classic cocktail, live music and all around hip scene with a vintage vibe? Then look no further than The Blue Comet in Glenside, PA.

The Blue Comet Exterior Sign

I’ve already told you how excited we were to find that The Blue Comet had reopened after being closed for 2 years, and I was psyched that RetroRoadhusband and I were able to visit there recently before-and after- a show at the Keswick Theatre for a swell date night! And since I’m hunkered down at home with the RetroRoaddog tonight, what better time reminisce about some weekend fun?

Blue Comet Door

It’s a cozy space with the bar up front where you can look at the vintage barware and entertaining kitsch while you wait for your perfect Manhattan to be created by one of their nattily dressed bartenders.

Bar Scene
Ah! There it is! Come to Betty!
You can order food at the bar if you like-or wait here for a booth in the back. I like the bar scene here, as you can watch people come and go, and best of all – talk to the person next to you, as instructed by one of their TVs.
Talk To The Person Next To You

Since we were heading out to a show we did order some nibbles and decided to sit at one of the upholstered booths in the back to eat. I dig the mood lighting in the Blue Comet as it does wonders in making everyone look young and beautiful, alas not so good for the photographing of food. Which was tasty for sure!

Glass Block Wall and Ortliebs BeerFolks all around were enjoying their dinner and drinks, and if it were a Saturday or Sunday they’d also be able to enjoy live music, with a Rockabilly bent. The memorabilia above our table showcases some of the bands that had played there in the past. The best place to keep up with their schedule is on The Blue Comet Facebook page.
Rockabilly Rumble PosterSince we were off to see some live music ourselves, we reluctantly had to leave the vintage environment of the Comet sooner than we’d like, but are already making plans to go there with some pals very soon.

Glenside is a neat little enclave of independent businesses – don’t leave without enjoying the science-fiction like displays of their neighbors Humphrey’s Pest Control (in business since the 1950’s – nice!):

Damage To Suitcase By Termites

And, horror of horrors:

Slide Carousel and Slides Destroyed By Termites

The Blue Comet Bar & Grill
106 S Easton Rd
Glenside, PA 19038
(215) 572-9780

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I don’t know about you, but any time I hear music from the 1930’s and 1940’s – Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw – it makes me want to dance!

So when I found out a while ago that Swing Kat Entertainment was offering swing dance lessons and live music dances in a vintage building in Pottstown PA, I packed up my dancing shoes and shuffled off to the ballroom – with a VERY reluctant RetroRoadhusband in tow. He’s a good egg but even he has his limits.

Ballroom On High StreetThe ballroom is on the 2nd floor, so climb the stairway to paradise along with me!

Stairway to ParadiseThe dance lessons with RetroRoadhusband were a disaster, so I had not been back here in a while, but I recently met with Faryl Codispoti – founder of Swing Kat – so I could learn more about what went on in the ballroom so I could share it with you RetroRoadmap Readers.


One thing I remembered from when we took lessons was the story that Faryl told us about his motivation to start Swing Kat.

He had never really danced at all until he was 25, when his sister was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She loved to dance so in the last few months of her life she and Faryl learned to swing dance together, bringing joy to both of them and fond memories to him. He’s been dancing ever since and teaching dance since 2003.

ReneeI’m happy to report Swing Kat will be celebrating their 5th anniversary of dancing at The Ballroom on High this September. Not only do they teach swing lessons but Jitterbug, Charleston, Balboa, along with Ballroom, Country, Salsa and more.

Everyone here is very friendly and welcoming even if you’ve never danced before, and Faryl says that’s what keeps people coming back to the ballroom. While they may be reluctant or shy at first, the comfortable environment and friendships made make the ballroom someplace to look forward to going.

Swing Kat 1st AnniversaryThe ballroom itself is in a grand building on High Street, the main street in Pottstown. Built in 1928, it was originally a Fraternal Order of the Eagles building. You can rent the ballroom for weddings or other events, with room for a live band on the stage and plenty of floorspace.

Ballroom On High(I know, there are no people dancing – do I ever take photos with people in them? :-))

One thing I think is so great about this whole scene is that live band perform at the dances held every third Saturday of the month.

Coming up this Saturday February 19 the The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn are playing and you can check the Swing Kat Live Swing Dance Events page for links to sample tunes and info about the other bands scheduled to play. There are also dance nights hosted by a DJ playing appropriate dance music for swinging and swaying like these folks:

The lessons and dances attract folks of all ages, from high school students (there are light refreshments included in admission price, but no alcohol served) all the way up to folks in their 70’s. I was charmed to hear that there is a 93 year old gentleman who comes to the dances and just sits and watches the band and enjoys the evening. If you’re not sure of your skills there is a lesson offered before each dance, ranging from beginner steps for newbies, to more advanced skills for those who have been around Swing Kat a while.

So while you may not think you can dance, who knows, you could be the next Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers!

Swing Kat Dancing
Ballroom on High
310 East High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
(610) 348-6727

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RetroRoadhusband, the dear, just surprised me with a fabulous Valentines gift – 2 tickets for us to go see Herb Alpert (of The Tijuana Brass) and Lani Hall (his wife and ex-lead singer of Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66.) These are two of my fave easy listening / jazz  1960’s music groups and I can’t wait to see the show at the historic Keswick Theatre in Glenside PA next Friday!

I used to listen to Whipped Cream and Other Delights while dancing around the basement when I was growing up, and I’ve continued to be a fan of Alpert’s interpretations of standards and his originals. Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66’s album Look Around is one I picked up while thrifting when we were engaged to be married and it always brings good memories!

We’ll start off the evening with a few cocktails at our fave vintage inspired bar / lounge / restaurant The Blue Comet just down the road from the theatre. We love the vibe and food there, and are so glad this rockabilly haven has reopened.

ahh, cocktails

Now I just have to figure out what to WEAR! :-)

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If you go to The Bookstore in Bethlehem PA…tell’em Mod Betty sent ya. Or just to be on the safe side, make a reservation.

Please Wait For The Bookstore Clerk

But you’re not reserving a book, you’re saving your place to head back in time, to a jazz-era speakeasy. And it’s the cat’s meow, honeybunch!

Classic Cocktail

I heard about The Bookstore from Drew Nugent (of Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society) as we were chatting at John Scioli’s rockin’ retro barbershop. It sounded too cool to be true, a space hidden away in an old building that served artisanal cocktails and nibbles, with a live jazz combo.

So when we heard that Drew and his crew were playing there last weekend we met up with our hip Lehigh Valley pals to check it out.

Our friends had been there before, so they knew where the discreet entrance was, on the side of an old stone building. I wasn’t kidding about the reservation part (call or email is your best bet), as the place is small, but charmingly so, and they just might not have room for your party.

Luckily the vintage stars aligned for us and the darling hostess offered to cobble together 4 seats at the bar for us walkins. We were led behind the curtain to a low ceilinged space lit by oil lamps and candles, which was a cozy scene on a freezing cold night.
Pickled Eggs On The Bar The cocktails and hand picked draught beer selections are presented to you inside books and the barkeeps were happy to answer any questions we had about the menu. We had perfect seats to watch them craft our tasty cocktails behind the bar, while also keeping an eye and an ear on Drew and his band, playing music from the jazz era. Those cats were swingin’ and totally added to the back in time ambiance.

Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society

Now I know the speakeasy trend has been in the big cities for years, but with the cool jazz and handcrafted cocktails The Bookstore was the bee’s knees. A perfect way to step back in time when you’re stepping out on the town.

The Bookstore Speakeasy
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 867-1100

The Bookstore on Urbanspoon

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