Photo + Video: Hot Hootenanny fashion
Hootenanny comes to Irvine on July 2.
Whether it's the classic and clean pin-up style or the edgier psychobilly look, every year hundreds of Hootenanny fans dress to the nines for the annual event. Now in its 17th year, the festival continues to bring together the biggest names in rockabilly and psychobilly, Americana and country, punk and now Celtic rock, as represented by this year's headliner, Dropkick Murphys, making their Hootenanny debut. Plenty of the event's mainstays – including Reverend Horton Heat, Big Sandy, 3 Bad Jacks and Royal Crown Revue – will also take the stage July 2 at Oak Canyon Ranch in Irvine.
There may not be too many living legends on hand this time, but Hootenanny has hosted more than a few over the years, from Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry (for better and worse) and Little Richard. Other past highlights have come from next-generation heroes such as the late Joe Strummer, Chris Isaak, X, the Blasters, the Cramps, Stray Cats and Social Distortion. (Those last two co-headlined the festival in 2003, when it was a two-day bash on the Cal State Fullerton campus. Early last decade it was also held at the Hidden Valley Ranch area within Wild Rivers, adjacent to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.)
Of course, for many Hootenanny regulars, this is just a big party day in a lifestyle that involves restored classic cars, vintage bikes, '50s fashions and ice-cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. They aren't just dressing the part for the shindig; they live it every day.
Guys often don perfect pompadours held in place by pomade – or "lots of Aqua Net" as Kim Nekroman, frontman for the psychobilly outfit Nekromantix, once shared – and they still wear cuffed jeans and rolled-up sleeves, accompanied by a fresh, straight-razor shave and probably a tattoo or 12. Arturo Trujillo of the Los Angeles-based act the Bourbon Saints recommends using Murray's Pomade to keep your 'do in place during Hootenanny.
It's the way the gals doll themselves up that fascinates the most: their makeup stays perfect even if canyon temperatures soar into the 100s, and their hairstyles defy both gravity and humidity.
Orange County's Ruby Champagne, winner of the 2010 Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque competition, recommends a simple and classic updo for the occasion (including a well-placed silk flower is a bonus) and adds that lining the lips with a quality liner before filling them in with your favorite shade of red is key to giving staying power to a perfect pout. Though it may be tempting to pile on the foundation and pancake makeup for a polished completion, Champagne advises against it, recommending a little concealer or tinted moisturizer instead to keep the make-up from melting and running in the midday heat.
Elena Kay, who's inspired by the vivacious sex icon Mae West, insists that to be able to survive a full day of Hootenanny the shoes must be both fashionable and comfortable. She recommends adding cushion inserts or at the very least strategically applying a few small bandages to prevent blistering.
Though traditional pin-ups didn't have tattoos – or at least visible ones – the infusion of punk rock and traditional rockabilly music, known as psychobilly, has given that once more flawless look a bit of an edge. Roxy Gleason proudly displays her tattoo-sleeved arms and says that she loves the pin-up look mixed with a dash of sexy housewife.
At the end of the day it's all about making the style your own, Aissa Juarez of Huntington Beach says. As a Hootenanny regular she's worn various hairstyles, outfits and tried out different accessories through the years and she considers the annual fest the height of local rockabilly fashion, adding that it's hard to walk around the event without turning your head as men – and women who completely dress up, simply look fantastic.
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