Cheers to a new year, and cheers to a new decade! 2020 does not only mark the beginning of a new decade; it marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Roaring Twenties. That’s right, we’re going back to a prosperous era in American history when Jazz was born, flappers ran rampant, and the liquor industry flourished underground. If you couldn’t make it to a Roaring Twenties-themed party on New Year’s Eve, don’t fret… it’s never too late to make the twenties roaring again. As Jay Gatsby once exclaimed, “can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can!” So let’s come together and make this decade the absolute bee’s knees.
Binge on Twenties Era Film and Literature
Calling all cinephiles, bookworms, and homebodies! That’s right – you don’t even have to leave your house to get into that speakeasy spirit. Immerse yourself in a wild time where “the parties were bigger, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser, and the liquor was cheaper” through how it was depicted on screen and on the page.
Experience five different versions of Jay Gatsby’s chase after Daisy Buchanan and the American Dream through the novel itself by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the four film adaptations that followed. My personal favorite is Bahz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation. The film packs the most lively, colorful portrait of the era and gives it a modern spin with present-day music. Also, casting Leo di Caprio as Gatsby? Great call. Another perk is that the 2013 version is currently on Netflix.
If you’ve read and watched The Great Gatsby way too many times already, may I suggest reading Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925), a comic novel about the adventures of a young blonde flapper, Lorelei, in New York and Europe in the Roaring Twenties. The best part? Marilyn Monroe plays Lorelei in the 1953 musical film adaptation, in which she famously performed “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” While the film made the dumb blond stereotype more prominent in pop culture, Monroe still steals the show with her charm and humor.
The combination of the twenties, musicals, and comedy gets even more fun when vaudeville and murder brought together in Chicago the Musical. It’s currently the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, so if you happen to be in town, enjoy the show live. If not, Catherine Zeta-Jones does an incredible rendition of “All That Jazz” as Velma in the 2002 film. With Renee Zellwegger as Roxie, Richard Gere as Bill Flynn, and Queen Latifah as “Mama” Morton, you’re gonna want to shimmy till your garters break.
Jam Out to Electro-Swing
Jazz was all the rage in the 1920s. In La La Land (2016), Sebastian is a traditional jazz obsessive who wants to adhere to “real” jazz. As amazing as the Jazz Age was, straying from tradition isn’t always a bad thing. Electro swing is a music genre that combines vintage swing and jazz with hip hop and EDM. It takes the best of jazz, and blends it with present-day music to create a modern masterpiece. A gateway into this music genre is the Great Gatsby soundtrack, then once you’re totally hooked, you can graduate to brilliant artists such as Parov Stelar and Caravan Palace. There’s nothing that gets me more hyped for a night out than when Caravan Palace’s Lone Digger plays at the party pregame. Look up electro-swing playlists on Youtube, and pick your own electro-swing drug.
Take Swing Dancing Classes
If jazz and electro swing get you moving, take it up a notch and actually swing to it. You may think swing dancing is a thing of the past, but it’s very much alive and thriving. Classes are generally offered in every big city, and you don’t need to have any prior experience. You don’t need to come with a partner either, because in swing dance classes, you’re generally always switching partners. You don’t need to be coordinated, you don’t need a significant other… you just need to be open to having a swell time. It’s an art form for everyone, so throw your excuses and inhibitions out the window, and swing the night away!