From the Founder, Mary-Margaret:
Mondo Lounge must give credit where credit is due. It was inspired by many well-attended and well-thought-of events that serve niche interests, such as the Viva Las Vegas annual Rockabilly gathering, Great Autos of Yesteryear, and even the Burning Man-esque tradition – in terms of it being a totally “immersive” experience.
The events that preceded Mondo Lounge were Otto Von Stroheim’s Exoticon in MidTown L.A. at the Park Plaza Hotel back in 1995. Although I actually went to college with Otto in the 1980s, I did not have the privilege of attending this event. However, I heard such great stories and reviews about it afterwards… and knowing that THE Millionaire of Combustible Edison performed, it seemed like an enchanted evening. Although Otto never repeated the event, he went on to fame and fortune with Tiki Oasis, which I have attended and even participated in! I attended my first Tiki Oasis in 2002. It was to inspire me to create a similar event – sans tiki and avec Sinatra.
The other event that was quite pivotal was Mondo Tiki produced by Holden Westland of Tiki Farm. It was a wonderful event that brought together the Tiki Oasis Vibe to Las Vegas in 2003 at the Hard Rock hotel pool. Yes, I did inherit the Mondo moniker from him. It just seemed so fitting for what I intended to produce. Please enjoy reading on what has transpired since…
Masonic Lodge, Los Angeles, CA 2004
The first Mondo Lounge was produced in Los Angeles, CA in Fall of 2004 by Mary-Margaret Stratton as a means to get together friends across many seemingly disparate niche communities who all shared a common thread of loving the class and quality of the bygone Rat Pack era. Mondo Lounge I was subtitled “Where Cocktail Cultures Collide.” The first logo was designed Mary-Margaret Stratton.
A variation with a multi-tasking Fez-wearing Lounge man was created by the artist Josh Agle aka SHAG. That image was imprinted on highly collectible shot glasses.
The postcard design was done by Tiki artist Sam Gambino.
And the online pinup face of the event was a photo by Winky Tiki of former Playboy Playmate, Holly Madison.
Daytime actitivites included a Los Angeles vintage car rally that included the participation of AM Media Sponsor Fabulous 570 KLAC, and FM Media Sponsor 88.5 KCSN Arts and Roots Radio, the Petersen Automotive Museum, Hollywood Heritage Museum, Hollywood Erotic Museum, American Cinemateque, Hollywood Wax Museum, Hollywood Museum at the Historic Max Factor Building, and the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee.
The evening event was held at a historic Masonic Hall in the Los Feliz area of Hollywood. Presentations and educational exhibitions were done by notable author and entertainer, Charles Phoenix, as well as authors & historians Nathan Marsac, Eric Lynxwiler, Tony Merchell and Michael Palumbo.
Octaviao “Winky Tiki” Arizala brought out his best girls to participate in the Miss Mondo Lounge contest which was hosted by showman and impresario Maxwell deMille. Ribbons and awards were presented to all by Drag Queen Dyna Flo and DooDah Queen, Miss Cherry Capri. Miss Mondo was won by Pinup perfection, Matsumi Max!
Vendors on hand included: Tiki Todd Hackett, Ultrabettie, Capitol Ultralounge, Senor Amor La Brea Collection, Dionysus Records, Tiki Farm, Falling Cocos, Sneaky Tiki, Mister Swingarooney!, Soap Plant/La Luz, 8 Ball, Tiki Madness, Queen of Hearts, Mr. Swanky, and Allan Scura eyewear. Additional sponsorships, prizes and gifts were provided by the Caliente Tropics Resort, the Del Marcos Hotel, Atomic Ranch Magazine, Amazon Bar and Grill, the Dresden Room, Micelli’s Hollywood, Fitzu, Futurama, Hollywood Book and Poster, M Modern Gallery, Modernica, Museum of Neon Art, Modify Las Vegas, Sparklett’s Water, Star and Garter Magazine, Surrey Books, Swivel Industries, Tashcen Books, Tiki Ti and Capital Records Ultralounge Series.
Entertainment included sets by the Martini Kings, King Kukulele and C.B. Howlie, Lounge entertainer Buddy Worth, Count Smokula and special guest star Art Vargas and the Swank Set from Las Vegas. DJ’s included Lee Joseph of Dionysus Records, Senor Amor of Molotov Cocktail, Patrick Robinson, and Kat Griffin of Madly Cocktail. Arthur Murray provided dance lessons for swingers. And the evening was capped off with a special midnight screening of the indie movie Olive or Twist at the Vista theater.
A few hundred people attended the first event which planted the seeds for things to come.
An event like this is never possible without the help of a great community. In addition to all the sponsors, participants and vendors listed in this program, Mondo Lounge would like to extend additional thanks to the following people: Kristien Amer, Josh Agle, Naomi Alper, Gil Alvarado, Laura Behrman, Dave Berryman, Matt Hukilau Brown, Jim and Michelle Brown, Mark Davis, Baby Doe, Dave and Rebecca Fernandez, Danny Gallardo, Tim Glazner, Val and Cooper at Hint Mint, Nicholas Hironis, Jason Holmes, Jeff Dr. Z Hrzina, Casey Jones, Fred Johnson, Hanford Lemoore, Humuhumu, Steve Luschinger, Tim Lydeen, Rei Marquez, Eric Mellem, Peter and Mara Moody, Denny Moynahan, Nancy at the Bratstore, Chris Nichols, Robert Nudelman, Octavio, Natalie Pace, Les Perry, David Ponak, Mig Ponce, Meri Pritchett, Regent Hollywood Theaters, Peggy Rosoff, Stanley Scheff, Susan H. Schwartz, Senor, Billy Shire, Smokey, Stephanie at Swivel, Kent Sterling, Cary Stratton, Lisa Strouss, Steve Tepperman, Brett Thompson, Otto Von Stroheim, Nina Weiner, Holden Westland, Michelle Whiting, Maria Willman, Karen Wilson, And lastly, Bob Petersen and the Masonic Lodge members for being such great custodians of the wonderful lodge and for not painting over their historic Millard Sheets mural!
The Aruba Hotel, Las Vegas, NV 2007
Mary-Margaret met Jason “Java” Croft of Java’s Bachelor Pad fame at the Miss Exotic World event in Las Vegas, 2006. After learning about his “Atomic Frolic” party in Illinois, they realized it was time to collaborate on something and together they presented “Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic” in January, Las Vegas, 2007.
This well-attended weekend showcased DJs, live music, burlesque acts, vendors and pin-up beauties from across the country. The event also served as a kick-off event for the Atomic Age Alliance with a 3 hour self driving tour booklet of architectural landmarks in the city sponsored in part by Sin City Modern. The Atomic Age Alliance was the first group of its kind in Las Vegas to bring people together about historic awareness and advocacy.
The weekend began on Friday Night with a Pajama Party and Neon bus tour conducted by Eric Lynxwiler and the Big Red Bus. Saturday’s black tie optional event included an appearance by Style Network’s very own Brini Maxwell! Sunday included a special showing of the indy movie “The Sophisticated Misfit” but filmaker Smee with an after movie panel with the star of the picture SHAG. And there were also screenings of both Ocean’s Eleven and Viva Las Vegas presented by Hollywood Book and Poster. Additional presenters included Michelle Baldwin, Lynn Zook and Michael Weatherford. Mark Blum offered ballroom dance lessons.
Entertainers included the Atomic Lounge Show, Cherry Capri, Clouseaux, Robert Ensler as Dean Martin, George Gagliardi, the Martini Kings, Octobop, Project Pimento, Mark Tortorici and Ken Levine.
Burlesque performers included Betinna May, Burlesque As It Was dance troupe, Erochica Bamboo, GoGo Amy, Kalani Kokonuts, Kitten Deville, Lolita Haze and Mia Vixen. Maxwell de Mille, Kay O’Hara Erich Orser, Kim Smith and Gigi Valient helped to host. The Miss Mondo Atomic contest was won by Miss Minna. Runners up were Lilly LaBotomy, Lucy Luscious, Ivy L’Vine, Roxy Rouge, Susi, Sweetie Pie, Tana the Tattoed Lady and Vita Vixen.
DJs Drew Groove, Mardou & Leo, Jay Strongman, K Billy, Caesare, Joe Maggarini, Michael Shulman, Java, Senor Amor and Second Life Entertainment were all on hand to round out the sounds. Fez-orama sponsored the best dressed fez contest.
Other vendors on hand were Allyn Scura Eyewear, Atomic Vegas, Badland Beads, BarTiki, Cinema Collectors, Coquette Furriers, Donnaland Vintage Variety, Genevieve Designs, GoGo amy, Hep Cat Pinups, La Bomba Vintage, Lampshade Lounge, Lucky LooLoo, Suzanna Anna, Swampfire Lounge, Tygerjymmy and Velvet Glass. Additional sponsors included Federal Edge, Stirrings, Liquid Salvation, M Modern Gallery, SugarKitty Corsets, Retro-a-go-go, Lili Von Schtupp, Tiki Central, Las Vegas Jr. League and PRG.
Event participation was over 300.
Additional thanks has to also go to:
Brian Alexander, Josh Agle, Senor Amor, Patrick Boyce, Mateo Hukilau Brown, Eric Caiden, Adam Camp of Neu Visions Design, Susanne Couture, Steve Evans, Jonathon Foerstel, Mai-Lis Hohmeister, Chad Hyams, Kay O’Hara, Chris Jones, Hanford Lemore, Greg McCutcheon, Mark Minelli, Jay and MiShell Nailor, DD Nave, Kristen Peterson, Maya Rodgers, David Sanchez, Ben Sander, Allen Sandquist, Kevin Seiler, Shannon, Dr. Shocker, Jet Sterling, Rod and Cindra Stolk, Cary Stratton, Mark Tortoricci, Gigi Valiant, Lili VonSchtupp, Chris “Reverend” Warner, Bruce Woodbury, Las Vegas Lynn Zook
The Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, 2010
Map – Palms Hotel 10-11-10
After the successful 2007 gathering, Mary-Margaret was determined to eventually bring the Mondo Lounge concept back to its cultural roots of Las Vegas. When Jay Nailor of M Modern Gallery approached her to help produce a party in Palm Springs in the fall of 2010, they soon both realized, this party needed to be a bigger event and it needed to be back in Las Vegas. With sponsorship from party kings 944 magazine and Seven, it was hoped to be the biggest and best and most ambitious Mondo Lounge ever. Sadly it was not to be. 944 and Seven Magazine failed to promote the event as they had promised. It was not even mentioned in their weekly “Seven” List!!!
The Palms Hotel – A Less Than Popular Location
The Palms Hotel was chosen because it had embraced the Mid Century Modern aesthetic since they first opened their doors and guests could feel at home dressing to the nines over the weekend. Attendees were given complimentary access to the Ghost Bar – a Mid Century Modern inspired lounge high above the Las Vegas Strip. It was filled with a Jetson’s futurisic experience of walking on a solid piece of clear Lucite canteliever off the edge of the sky deck on the 55th floor!
Attendees were also given free admission to The Playboy Club – an lounge complete with bunnies and supposedly inspired by the nostalgic era of the Playboy Club. It turned out to be less nostalgic inspired by the REAL elegant Playboy Clubs that featured jazz, and was more about loud thumping music. A nice treat, however was Java’s Bachelor Pad Magazine Pin-Up Pool Party held at the glamorous Palms Place Pool!
Originally, the Palms Hotel had offered to host the event all on the second floor Ballroom with meeting rooms directly adjacent. At the last minute, they rented out the ballroom, splitting the event onto two different floors – spread far apart making the upstairs vendors disconnected from the Main Stage Ballroom. They tried to overcharge for pipe and drape which was supposed to be provided by the hotel and offered no sound and lighting support. The final straw was the Palms Hotel operators told people calling on the phone that weekend”No we, do not have have a Mondo Lounge? We have a casino bar off the casino floor.” AND even better, “No, you cannot come to the Mondo Lounge Event. That is a private Party!!!” Thank you Palms Hotel.
Even despite these things working against the event, all of the participants and attendees were given a top notch time. However attendance was less than expected, due to lackluster support from key local “historic scene” community members.
The wonderful people who did show up included:
Wonderful Headliner Entertainment by Art Vargas, a Vegas institution avargas.com He had his friend, Lena Prima (Daughter of the legendary Louis Prima and Gia Maione) sing That Old Black Magic, for the ultimate Swankification.
Headliners NUTTY showed up and played jazzy versions of classic rock tunes turned inside-out and Singer Sonny Moon was fun and funny. NUTTY swung it. nuttyjazz.com
Attendees were also treated by The Las Vegas Nines parts Dave Brubeck and Booker T & The M.G.s.
And of course, it’s not a Mondo Lounge without the Thurston Howlies from Los Angeles, who play a Las Vegas Lounge Cocktail Hour soundtrack. thurstonhowlies.com
In addition, there were performances by Captain Tony (Martini Kings) and Miss Kate Campbell and Cherry Capri (America’s Queen of Modernism and Mirth! www.cherrycapri.com).
There were fantastic burlesque performances by former Miss Exotic World, Kalani Kokonuts, Ruby Joule of Austin, TX of Jigglewatts Fame and Mexican Spitfire Ruby Champagne. In addition, glamour girls, Doris May Day, Vi Vacious, and Cha Cha Velour were all standouts.
The DJs and Emcees could not have been better.
It was the who’s who of the retro music scene including: DJ Bryan Avalon, from 2nd Life entertainment the premier DJ Entertainment Service in Las Vegas who also provided all of the stage and lighting for the event. We could not have done it without him. secondlifeentertainment.com DJ Audrey Moorehead, from Luxuria Music spun Hollywood era tunes. DJ Dan Electro blended 60’s soul, garage, freakbeat and psych. DJ Drew Groove played way out wildest Loungexotica, Mod Jazz, Spy-Fidelity, Rare Soul and Go-Go! DJ Joe Malgarini, spun an eclectic mix of retro pop madness. Luxuria Music DJ Strike from Los Angeles played retro-eclectic, rare funk, latin, and acid jazz. Film composer DJ Stephen Greaves played selections from his space age pop a go-go album Escapade Velocity. And finally, DJ Lee, Burbank club and event veteran rounded out the sounds nicely. dionysusrecords.com Jason Croft, aka Java, the man behind the Bachelor Pad Empire, was the ultimate emcee. The publisher of Bachelor Pad Magazine”The Digest of Atomic Age Culture”and the host of the popular syndicated radio program “The Bachelor Pad Radio Show” javasbachelorpad.com
Incredible Vendors for Shopping!
If the success of an event can be gauged by the quality of its vendors, then ML III was quite a success. Attaboy Vintage (mid-century kitschy furnishings from Ventura, CA), Bachelor Pad Magazine (Champaign, IL quarterly pin-up print publication since 2007), Badland Beads (San Clemente, CA reclaimed vintage handcrafted jewelry), Cake Pops!, Calo Style Clothing(Rockabilly, Vintage & Swing Style), Dionysus Records (Since 1984, home to all things retro and Americana, Dulce Marina, Fez-O-Rama (From Fountain Valley – fine hand-crafted exotica head wear since 2005), Girls Drawin’ Girls, Hawaiian Lei Lotion (fragrance of Aloha from Cathedral City), Lampshade Lounge (retro style lamps and shades from East Lansing, MI), Marc Joseph of Palm Springs was our Outstanding Sponsor of the nighttime Vintage Fashion Show, Mr. California (modern reconstructions of the famous 1960s styles from San Francisco), Mr. Smiley’s Emporium of Zazz (Tiki Mugs, Vintage decor and barware and clothing), My Sex Rocket, Retro Vegas (Local pieces full of historical significance), Stevotomic (original artwork inspired by the Atomic Googie Retro Era), Nat Reed, (LA/PS Quirky, Googie inspired prints), Vintage SwimSuits by Mary Sponsored the fabulous daytime fashion show (period perfect, retro playsuits and swimwear), Viva Dulce Marina (vintage inspired fashion accessories from Los Angeles) and finally Z’Ettiquette (Custom Carpetbags in Vintage Prints, plus fabulous clothing).
The thing that always makes Mondo Lounge stand apart from other events is their special exhibits and education opportunities. This ML was no exception. The headliner exhibit of course was Josh Agle aka SHAG, famous fine artist with paintings reminiscent of scenes ala Jetson’s meets James Bond. www.Shagthestore.com His work was presented in conjuction with M Modern Gallery who also showed work by BOSKO Witco burnt-wood carving style artwork.
There were historic exhibits such as Mike Miller’s Tribute to Vegas Entertainment 1965 through 1979, Dave Weidman animator for many cartoon classics including Mr.Magoo, Gerald McBoing Boing and Fractured Fairytales. Classic Las Vegas showing photos, memorabilia, home movies, journals and letters. And a screening of the film, Shotgun Freeway, Los Angeles, CA a seminal documentary on the history of racing. There was a Sven Kirsten Book of Tiki Exhibit! And exhibits by Architectural and Decorative Arts Society, Atomic Age Alliance www.atomicage.org and the Burlesque Hall of Fame. And an extra special exhibit of Tiki Steve’s “Stag Mag Reading Room” showcasing Classic Playboy Magazines from the 1950s and 1960s. In addition there were dance instruction and performances by Rhythmic Souls, the Dance Center Las Vegas and USA Dance Las Vegas local Chapter #4038.
Although the crowds were slim and spread out across a large area (attendance was between 2-300), those who did attend and participated were treated to a 5 star Top Quality Event.