Musings of an Aviation Photographer

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The Satin Dollz Pinup DancersThe Satin Dollz: You may have seen them at any number of events around Southern California or you may have just heard about them from a friend.  Whatever you may or may not have heard, one things for sure; these beautiful and talented ladies sure know how to put on a show! If you’re a fan of the classic pinup and burlesque style of the 40s and 50s, then you’ll for sure want to see them perform.  With a mix of wonderful vocals, choreographed dancing, and vintage outfits the Satin Dollz recall the times when the Pin-Up was the symbol of women of the retro eras.  Having seen the Satin Dollz perform many times, I can honestly say that their performances turn every head and quiet everyone in a room to watch them move across the stage.  These lovely gals are a group as unique as it gets, putting together many different talents into one beautiful show that many other groups can only specialize in one part of.

A bit of history behind the Satin Dollz from their website:

“Formed on New Year’s Day, 2006, the Satin Dollz Pin Up Dancers are an energetic ensemble of signing, dancing and downright charming ladies dedicated to delievering an evening of entertaiment that recalls a golden age of stage and movie musicals sponning the 30s through the 50s.  Call it tretro, call it nostalgia, perhaps even a bit campy…. by any name, it’s called fun, as in leave that hectic life at the door and escape with the Dollz back to a simpler time.”

The Satin Dollz performing at the 2009 Los Angeles Air Raid Event

I’ve had the pleasure of shooting the Satin Dollz at a few recent retro/vintage/ww2 related events.  I first saw them at the Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942 reenactment USO dance in 2009. They were one of the headline performers at the dance, and it sure brought out everyone who was attending the event to the dance floor to watch them perform.  I’d heard of their name before spoken by other people at the Los Angeles Cicada Club (a retro 20s, 30s, 40s music club) but had yet to be at an event they were also at.  Being a PinUp photographer, naturally I was interested in seeing these Pinup Dancers!  When they came out for the first time at the Air Raid, they performed a wonderful tap dancing number routine without any music.  It was very classic and drew upon not only the pinup aspect but the classic movies of Fred Astaire. I immediately knew I really liked this group.

Following the Air Raid event in 2009, I saw the gals again a few months later at the Cicada Club where they performed a few numbers for the crowd.  Filming for the Satin Dollz video 'Whatever Lola Wants'Once again, they put on a top notch show that got a very loud cheer from the audience. After their performance, I had a chance there to meet a few of the gals who mentioned they had seen the photos I’d taken at the Air Raid earlier in the year.  They loved the photos, and I gladly said they could use any of them they’d like! Sadly, following that night at Cicada I didn’t get another chance to see their performances until earlier this year at the 2010 Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942.  There was only one of the gals there, ‘Betty,’ who was filming a scene with various WW2 men in uniform for a scene from their upcoming Satin Dollz video.  I was attending the event in a World War 2 era US Army Air Force Captain (B-17 Pilot) in formal Class A uniform and was asked by the film’s director, Dan Blank, if I’d like to be a part of the filming. During the scene Betty was singing to the Sarah Vaughan version of ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ while the various infatuated WW2 servicemen stare at her handing her a Coca Cola.  My part was pretty simple, just walk through the shot, which ended up being a great transition in the finished video (which I’ll get to in a bit).  It was fun to be a part of the shoot, and even more fun to be a part of something really special for the Satin Dollz.

A few more months later, I was contacted by the main producer and director for the Satin Dollz about donating some photos from the 2009 Air Raid to the Satin Dollz for their upcoming Birthday Bash they were having in August.  Photography Showcase at the Satin Dollz Birthday BashThe gals were going to sign the photos, and the photos would be put on silent auction to raise funds for the Dollz to travel to Europe.  I was more than happy to help out picking out a few photos for them to have.  As a thanks, they offered me a table to showcase my photography work, something I’d not really done in some time. Quickly pulling out images and getting a lot of photos printed of both Aviation and Pinup photos, I put together a large portfolio showcase which I brought out to their birthday bash and displayed at the event.  I was overwhelmed at how incredibly kind and generous the gals were having me there giving me a huge table to display on right near the entrance.  The birthday bash itself was a wonderful collection of various retro and pinup dancer groups from all age groups.  The Satin Dollz, of course, were the main performers of the night putting on a few numbers for the crowd ever few hours.  It was a great event, packed to almost capacity at the Mayflower Club in Burbank, CA.  The Dollz were in GREAT form that night, and the performances they did were top notch with different outfit changes, an accompanying band, and singers from the group.  It was also at the Birthday Bash that the ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ video was finally  debuted for everyone to see.  I can honestly say I was incredibly impressed, taking the Satin Dollz to a whole new level.  It was also revealed that the video would make it’s way online in a few weeks, which I was very excited to show off! It was a wonderful honor to be able to showcase my work at their event, and I handed out many business cards and got a lot of questions about my pinup photography especially the Petty Project. A BIG thank you to them for allowing me to be a part of their birthday bash!

Flash forward now to today (September 14), where this morning the Satin Dollz released their amazing video online for all to see, which again was done by the talented Dan Blank. I’ve reposted the video below for you all to see!

What a great video huh? I’m working with the Satin Dollz to hopefully do some really great WW2 themed photoshoots in the upcoming future, which I hope to feature on here as well.  They’re a very wonderful group, and if you have the chance to see the Satin Dollz perform in person, you won’t be sorry you went out of your way. They’re a class of their own, and a fine example of keeping the retro eras alive and well!  I hope to see the Satin Dollz continue to expand and their influence reaching all over the globe!

The Satin Dollz perform at their 2010 Birthday Bash Fundraiser

For more information on the Satin Dollz Pinup Dancers and their upcoming events, you can check out their website located here, and their Facebook Profile located here.  You can also check out their YouTube channel and see various videos of them performing at functions over the last few years!

One Response to “The Satin Dollz”

Satin Dollz on: 15 September 2010 at 7:47 AM

What a lovely way to wake up this morning! We so appreciate your musings about us and have always enjoyed seeing you at the various swing events around town. We love how you capture us in your lens and you have surely captured us in our hearts! We look forward to our photo shoot with you! xoxo, the Satin Dollz