It started, like all good stories do, with an alien visitation.
It was August 1953 and George Van Tassel was fast asleep when he was woken by a being standing at the bottom of his outdoor bed at 2am. But this was no intruder. In fact, it was not even a human. George looked past the visitor and saw a hovering space craft on his property.
This was Solganda, from Venus.
Solganda felt sorry for humanity and decided to transmit the information needed to prolong and rejuvenate human life. George formed a telepathic relationship with Solganda and the Venusian council and began to channel vast amounts of information. This information included the plans to build a machine here on Earth that would allow humans to time travel and reverse the aging process. George proceeded to translate this telepathy into plans and devoted his whole life to building the machine.
He called it the Integratron.
Rising up out of the desert like a pretty little spy base, the Integratron was crafted out of wood by ship builders in 1956. The aliens informed George that the machine worked on the energy field that surrounds the human race, and that if the field was repaired, aging would become a thing of the past.
An expensive time machine, it was designed by Venusians and funded in part by the immensely wealthy and vain Howard Hughes. Not because Hughes was interested in alien time travel, but as an aging lothario, he wanted to receive the supposed anti-aging and rejuvenating benefits of the machine.
Unfortunately for Hughes, the machine was never turned on. George’s force field ran out before it could be rejuvinated for the first time, and the machinery was mysteriously stolen (cue government theft conspiracy theories!).
Nowadays the Integratron is home to the “Sound Bath”. Huge quartz crystal bowls are played as you lie on mats underneath the aurally perfect curved wooden roof.
You are invited to lie down, relax and let the sounds wash over and through you. It is the strangest feeling - the waves moving through every part of your body, each note played resonates differently and it is incredibly relaxing. They warn you not to snore, and advise you that your body and mind will be cleansed and that all kinds of unusual experiences are possible. I desperately wanted an unusual experience but it alluded me. I had a great time though, and it was strange feeling the sound waves moving through my bones.
I am sure this was not using the structure that Solganda intended and I can't help thinking that this kind of frippery would make him a little cross. George was warned by the aliens that the reason we needed to prolong our life was so we could change the damage we had done to Earth. But unfortunately, as all the time travelling equipment was stolen, this seems the best use we can make of a building with acoustics so perfect, it is like being inside a guitar.
Maybe all that precious equipment is all lying in a government basement somewhere, and unless Solganda visits us again I assume it will stay lost forever, but for now, I very much recommend trying out the Integratron as it is.
Visit the Intergratron website for further details - www.integratron.com
Welcome to our weekly guide of what's on, where and when around New Zealand and beyond. Each Monday we will bring you a collection of the best events to attend, so you can plan your social calendar!
If you have an event you would like listed, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
ON THIS WEEK...
The 2nd Annual New Zealand Beard and Moustache Competition
Friday 28th August
Kings Arms Tavern
59 France St South
A night not to be missed if you have a beard or moustache or love people with them! Glory Days is taking place at the judgement table and will be sponsoring the Whiskerina section. We cannot wait to see the calibre of entrants this year. See our Hair of the God blog post and visit the NZBAMC Facebook page!
Friday 28th August
9 Vulcan Lane
$10 from 10pm
After a short hiatus LOST VEGAS is back and we're proud to present to you the finest raucous jazz/swing band our fair capital has to offer: The Wellington City Shake-'Em-On-Downers! Brew up some bathtub gin and get togged to the bricks! The Wellington City Shake-’Em-On-Downers are the Strait city's most swinging septet, with tunes that take you back to scintillating nights at the speakeasy.
The Liam Neeson Tribute Quartet will be in house to warm ya'll throughout the dinner service, with dinner specials as per usual - free drink with anything on the menu!
Main act on at 10pm sharp! For further details visit the event page.
The Last Hurrahs with Auckland's Wurlitzer
Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August
St Georges Rd
One of the best wurlitzers in the Southern Hemisphere has been housed in Auckland's Hollywood Cinema, but sadly the building is up for sale and the entire organ needs to be packed down and found a new home.
Two concerts have been arranged to give it a proper send off! For more information about tickets and the amazing history and preservation efforts for the Wurlitzer visit the Wurlitzer Organ Trust of Auckland Facebook page
Vintage Textile Fair
Sunday 30th August
Alexandra Park Raceway
10am - 4pm
A specialist fair selling all things vintage and antique textile related such as fabric, clothing, shoes, hats, haberdashery, linen, embroidery, jewellery.
For further information visit the Vintage Textile Fair Facebook page.
Cruise Night's First Birthday with the Blue Roses
Friday 4th September
Silverdale Village Hall
Doors open 7.30pm
The Cruise Night Rockers have been bringing you Auckland's one and only Rockabilly night for a whole year now!! To celebrate this auspicious occasion they present the Honky Tonkin' Country/Rockabilly sounds of the BLUE ROSES. These guys know how to keep you dancin', singin' and rockin' so come join us for a night with a difference. Country/Rockabilly/Roots and RnR music all night!! Cruise in, meet up, DANCE!!
For more information visit the Cruise Night Rockers event page.
AetherCon! 2015 Auckland, the Steampunk Convention!
Ellerslie Event Centre
80 Ascot Ave
10am - 6pm
A big event to celebrate everything Steampunk! AetherCon is one of the largest steampunk events in New Zealand. It is closely associated with Steampunk New Zealand (www.steampunknz.co.nz), and supports the festival there - www.facebook.com/steampunknzfestival
AetherCon has stalls, displays, vendors, and performers from around New Zealand, each contributing their own specialty or interest.
Visit www.facebook.com/aethercon for further details.
Classics Museum Pinup Calendar Launch
Saturday 19th September
11 Railside Place
4 - 10pm
The Amazing Travelling Photo Booth
Keep an eye out for further details on the Facebook page!
Following sold out tours dates across the US, Europe and the UK, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox have announced their first New Zealand and Australian tour and arrive in New Zealand at the end of this week! We caught up with the eponymous leader ahead of the tour and PMJ were kind enough to offer Glory Days tickets to give away to the Auckland and Wellington shows. Read on to find out more about the man behind PMJ and how you can score yourself a double pass to the show!
There is a very good possibility that you may have seen or heard of the terrific musical collective known as Postmodern Jukebox on an array of social media platforms. These clever and talented performances take contemporary pop hits and reincarnate them into a superb, vintage-flavored songbook standard from the last century.
Imagine a Beyoncé, Britney Spears or Taylor Swift song reworked as if they were earmarked for Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, or Nina Simone and accompanied by a rousing mini-big band that sounds like a cheekier Benny Goodman Orchestra on Red Bull.
The man behind PMJ, Scott Bradlee, began his career as a jazz pianist during high school with a standing gig at a local eatery; he began his career as a pop-cultural provocateur during high school with a “this might be cool” ragtime medley of classic rock songs. “Not much has changed,” he says of the lyrical content of pop music. “In the 1920s, in the ’60s and ’70s, today – it’s still about love and drinking and dancing.” We caught up with Scott before his tour down under to find out a little more about the internet pop remix sensation.
Photo by Braverijah Gregg
How do you choose the songs to rework?
I like to pick songs that are familiar to a lot of people, and twist them in ways that often give the lyrics a new context. For example, Taylor Swift's recent hit, "Style" had a reference to James Dean in the chorus, so I built our version around that reference and turned it into a full "Grease"-style production.
Has there ever been a song that you just couldn't make work?
If a song is already retro sounding, it's a bit tricky to go anywhere from there. For example, in Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk," they nailed the '70s funk vibe so well that it already sounds like it was recorded back in time.
You have reworked songs into every era's style of music it seems - which is your favourite and why?
New Orleans jazz is what led me to music in the first place, so there will always be a soft spot in my heart for that. It's fun, brassy, bawdy music to play, and in some ways, it was the original nightclub music. That sound is definitely a big influence on my work with PMJ
What are your goals for PMJ?
I want to give everyone in the world a chance to experience PMJ live. We have some of the best musicians and vocalists in the world touring with us, and the reception that we've received from audiences proves that live music played by live musicians is still alive and well. We know there's a demand for this kind of classic entertainment, and we're determined to fulfill it.
For more about Post Modern Jukebox visit their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
To win a double pass to their Auckland or Wellington show this week visit our Facebook page.
Glory Days' Claire Gormly continues on her travels around the USA and in this telegram goes mad for movie memorabilia...
I have to be honest, Hollywood Boulevard is a hot mess. The only stars you will find here are those on the pavement; trampled on by hordes of tourists and haggled over by pesky hawkers.
However there are gems here, you just have to look properly and not get sucked into the hype. The Roosevelt Hotel stands proud and beautiful, it may have been renovated inside but the outside remains just as it looked in the 1920s. Sadly the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has been covered up with a huge modern banner and you cant get any kind of feeling for it.
But hiding away down Highland Avenue is the best part of Hollywood, a rare remaining piece of original Hollywood, and at just $15US its an affordable trip into how Tinseltown used to be. The Hollywood Museum – a higgledy piggidly collection of almost every kind of movie memorabilia you can imagine - is housed in the gorgeous old Max Factor building.
I nearly fainted when I saw how perfectly the building has been kept, a pink and gold dream – even with the original counters and light fittings. Inside these counters are Max Factor's personal makeup case, recommendations from old Hollywood stars and signed pictures.
Also intact are each of Max’s rooms – one for every hair colour!
On the next level is a Marilyn Monroe exhibition. To be honest its a little confused in its curation, but the dresses on display alone make you forgive all of that. You can see how tiny she was, and the suprising thing to me was that some of the most famous dresses were actually hand me down, worn before by other actresses.
You can't help but understand what a hard life Marilyn had, shown in stark relief by the display of her empty pill bottle.
Also dotted around the museum are belongings from stars such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and also a fair collection of Edith Head's designs.
In fact my favorite item was a dress worn by Bette Davis in “All about Eve”. Stunning in its colour and styling, and again so tiny! Also memorable are the cars in the collection – Elvira’s and Cary Grant's.
The rest of the museum is given over to modern movies, including a recreation in the basement of Hannibal Lector’s prison cell from Silence of the Lambs.
The staff here are understandably proud of their museum, they mourn the fact that it is passed over for the shiny new Ripleys Believe it or Not Museum, or the soulless wax offerings at Madam Tussauds. So when you next find yourself in Hollywood, go pay a visit to the Hollywood Museum and worship at the shrine of magical movie-making history.
Visit their website here to find out more.
Glory Days' Claire Gormly continues her whistle stop tour of West Coast USA. Here she explores Route 66 from Victorville to Daggett.
There is no end of people that appreciate the aesthetic and history of legendary Route 66, it is a tourist destination and something I thought of as a national treasure.
So why then are the building and signs that make it special allowed to crumble into the dust of the Californian desert?
As we drove along the highway, potholed and broken in places it felt like I had been transported into every old American movie i had ever seen. It doesn’t disappoint – there are things to see every mile or two, and most are able to be walked around, some you can even see inside.
But the signs and the buildings themselves are just sitting there, vacant, falling down. With no sign of anyone even caring. No sign of renovation or even preservation. I give them 10 years and they will all be gone.
The Dunes was a perfect example – a picturesque sign leads you into a 1940s motel forecourt, with units set by a lovely pool. All empty, crumbling, with boarded up and broken windows. But not so boarded up that you cant see inside, probably even get inside if you wanted to.
I wanted desperately to buy it all, rescue it and revive it back to its 40’s glory. It would be the perfect vintage holiday destination!
All along the highway it was the same – defunct gas stations, diners and homes, showing the faded glory of their heyday. But now, like the transport route itself, forgotten and past over for something more “convenient”.
Glory Days' Claire Gormly has escaped a rather cold and dreary New Zealand winter to head off over to the U S of A this month for a once in a lifetime epic adventure, to explore all the weird and wonderful that the West Coast has to offer. Join us in some armchair tourism from the comfort of your lounge to see everything that she discovers along the way!
When I had the opportunity to visit the United States this year, I jumped at the chance. America is the home of the larger than life and the slightly unusual not to mention a mecca for vintage! I also thought of it as an ideal hunting ground for interesting and extraordinary content for Glory Days. Over the next few weeks I will be exploring all of the delights that California has to offer and giving Glory Days readers, particularly those stuck in a cold wet winter down under, a dose of sunshine.
When I decided to do a tour of the West Coast I knew that staying in wacky places with a vintage twist was a no brainer. The Hicksville Trailer Palace ticks those boxes and probably any other that you may think of.
The Trailer Palace has themed trailers grouped around a teeny tiny kidney shaped pool. Each trailer has been perfectly designed, and are all delightfully kitsch right down to the very last detail.
I stayed in Fifi, she is a super girly vision in purple and gold with vintage glassware and chandeliers. Designed by a wig maker in New Orleans, she has been decorated in true over the top style. I fell in love with this gorgeous little girl.
My son had his own “Cramps” themed trailer, complete with vintage horror movies to watch and a jukebox with punk records.
The whole complex is put together in such a way that you naturally socialise with your trailer mates. A spa under a sky lit up with heat lightening broke the ice, the fire pit was lit and I got to try my very first Smore. We wandered over to the Zombie hut, watching out for coyotes and rattlesnakes and visited our new friends in their Gypsy Caravan, which was a prop from a Pee Wee Herman movie in a former life.
I wanted to do it all - the BB gun range, the meditation teepee but alas I only managed a swim and a picture in the photobooth. I filled out my complimentary postcards and the manager promised she would send them all the way home to New Zealand.
I am now making it my lifes mission to visit enough times to stay in every one of those traliers!
Belle Hollness photographed by Matt Black Photography
GreazeFest, Australia's All Killer-No Filler Kustom Kulture Weekender, is held every August in Brisbane and Melbourne. Regular contributor and all round vintage queen, Lady Kittyhawk, headed over to the Brisbane leg of the tour and filled us in on all the details just in time for those of you heading to Melbourne's event this weekend.
Thousands of Rockabilly and Hot Rod fans turn up for a rockin' good time at GreazeFest each year. There is something for everyone whether it be hot cars and bikes, screamin' Rockabilly bands, DJ's, fashion parades, dancing, Kustom art, workshops, or just enjoying the warm weather!
Each year thousands converge on the Rocklea Showgrounds in Brisbane (including some of us Kiwis!). It's the annual pilgrimage into total Rockabilly immersion. Outifts are carefully planned out for the Friday night opening shin dig, starting with welcoming tunes from one of the GreazeFest DJ's 'DJ Leapin' Lawrie. Music fills the air of the indoor Rockhouse stage, you start looking around and waving hello's to the friendly faces you see each year, There are plenty of hugs, hellos and admiring looks for slick greased hair, and finely coiffured do's.
7.30pm the first band kicked off. This was my kinda Friday night listening to fine live Rockabilly music. Will & The Hi-Rollers, one of the many 'WILD Record' artists that were playing the festival, rounded up Friday evening.
Saturday we were up early for the 10am start at the Rocklea Showgrounds, the skies were brilliant blue and it was perfect promenading weather. I wore a special custom GreazeFest outfit designed by Judy Dee Couture which was a tribute to the great Wanda Jackson.
You could take your pick of the indoor or outdoor stages to watch and listen to a brilliant lineup of Australia's hard working Rockabilly bands. We went to the outdoor stage to check out the gorgeous Miss Teresa and her band, then strolled around the Hot Rod, Classic custom and bikes on display and nipped in and out of the market stalls, fueling ourselves with delicious organic coffee from the Kombi coffee team.
The markets were fun, vibrant and full of so many different products. There's candy, lots and lots of clothing, both well known labels and locally made garments, shoes, jewellery, repro, accessories, vintage delights, you name it! I stop in at Western Wac and catch up with my insta gal pals, Kimmie and Mikaila. Western Wac sell a range of Freddie of Pinewood jeans and tops as well as cowboy boots and other great Mexicana gear. Next door are the gorgeous couple from Cowpunkabilly, Bernie and Kerryn. I drool over all the vintage western gear, and beautiful Western shirts and cowboy boots they have. They are the best dressed couple at GreazeFest!
There are also plenty of hair and makeup styling stalls that cater for the hoards of ladies wanting a makeover and there is a fashion parade on the outdoor stage that showcases whats on offer in the market.
On Saturday alone there were 14 bands on the roster, and they all put on a high energy, enthusiastic show. We got to see our favourites, Miss Teresa, The Hi-Boys (also signed to WILD Records USA), Regular Gonzales, The Koffin Rockers, Kieron McDonald, DJ Swingabilly Ray during the day, then we made a quick change into our evening outfits for Benny & The Flybynighters, Doubleblack, and the awesome Rusty Pinto followed by headliners, The Go Getters, from Sweden. It was non stop boppin' and jivin' with Bal and Swing thrown in for good measure as well as getting up the front of the stage taking in the vibes - it was bliss and sore feet all rolled into one!
DJ Jimmy D kicks things off on Sunday morning, and the outdoors stage is rockin' with the Koffin Rockers. Old favourites Hank's Jalopy Demons, Pat Capocci and The Hi-Boys playing all the old classic and not so well known Rockabilly favourites, with more dancing and strollin done. At 1.30pm we run to the front of stage proud as punch to support NZ's very own Labretta Suede and the Motel 6...what a show! I also loved seeing the GreazeFest Super group on Sunday. This was a genius idea, which had a mixed lineup of all the key people from different bands playing a few songs together.
GreazeFest is a brilliant festival for Rockabilly fans, and there really is something for everyone. The whole event had a relaxed vibe and the weekend pass is excellent value for money, considering all the incredible talent that's performing. Australia is lucky enough to have a vast range of Rockabilly bands and musicians to chose from, many of whom tour in the States and Europe and are signed to the iconic WILD Records in the USA.
Australia is also extremely lucky to have Lori Lee, the owner and organiser of GreazeFest. Lori and her team put on a well oiled, slick, highly professional festival across two cities which takes a huge amount of work behind the scenes to put on. Now in its 16th year the festival goes from strength to strength.
Roll on 2016, and if you're going, have fun at GreazeFest Melbourne this weekend!