Some do's, don'ts for Rockabilly Weekender


It's just like "Hot Tub Time Machine," but with a casino full of Elvis lookin' dudes in place of a jacuzzi.

Every year around this time, the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender gives you the chance to party like it's 1958.

And what a party it is: four days of big hair, bigger bar tabs and enough pomade to grease the runways at McCarran.

The festivities begin today at The Orleans (see a full schedule of bands and events at www.vivalasvegas.net). In order to maximize the experience, here are a few helpful Viva Las Vegas do's and don'ts:

Do: Stock up on the Pabst. This is the brew of choice by far at this event. At The Orleans liquor store, they stack 12-packs of the stuff to the ceiling in a pyramid of bad decision-making, which is sure to follow.

Don't: Order any imports. What are you, a communist sympathizer? This fest is as evocative of America's glory years as the charred Nazi remnants in Uncle Sam's beard, so your suds had better be from the U.S. of A., like the aforementioned product of Milwaukee, even if said beverage boasts the aroma of something brewed in a prison toilet.

Do: Dress like a "Dick Tracy" villain, Marlon Brando in the "Wild One" or anyone in the high school dance scene in "Back to the Future." For the ladies, take your fashion cues from Rosie the Riveter, Jessica Rabbit, "Breathless Mahoney"-era Madonna and other cartoon characters.

Don't: Wear anything that you couldn't order from the Sears catalog back when "The Flintstones" was still on prime time.

Do: Paint some flames on your Buick. One of the signature attractions of Viva Las Vegas is the Saturday car show, which is loaded with gnarly rides that look as if they were driven straight off the set of "American Graffiti." Customize your rig, pronto. Remember, if Fonzi wouldn't drive it, neither should you.

Don't: Arrive in a Prius. The emphasis here is on fossil fuel eradicating gas guzzlers the size of terrestrial aircraft carriers. The only thing bigger should be your pompadour.

Do: Raid your grandpa's record collection. Look at some of the headliners: 70-something rockabilly forebears like Duane Eddy, Royce Porter and Mac Curtis, '50s surf rock pioneers the Ventures and many more scene greats who qualify for the senior discount at Denny's. You may find these old-timers yelling at the neighbor kids to stay off their lawns, but on iTunes? Not as much.

Don't: Expect any sounds rooted in modernity. There are contemporary acts that perform at Viva Las Vegas, but their main focus is on bringing the past into the present -- you know, kind of like the fest itself.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.