With so many people walking around with handlebar moustaches and tweed vests, one can easily get annoyed with the current wave of retro-enthusiasm. Bars calling themselves “speakeasies” are popping up everywhere and every 20-something seems to be learning to play the banjo, riding a penny-farthing or waxing poetic about rye whiskey. Surely, this trend will pass and the hipsters will find another by-gone era to emulate, but for hardcore retro-enthusiasts like Russell Bruner, this is more than a trend, it’s a lifestyle!
I first met Russell on a trip to Portland back in October, where I checked out one of his swing dance nights at Kelly’s Olympian. I’d been meeting with burlesque performers that whole weekend and all of them had nothing but great things to say about Russell. When I saw him in action that night at Kelly’s, I could see why. I was blown away by his pleasant demeanour, his style and, most of all, his dance moves.
Russell is the founder of the Portland, Oregon-based production company Swing Time PDX. He started Swing Time “as a project to provide and create more opportunities for swing bands and swing musicians to encourage and help them to provide dance events to the public.” Over the better part of the last decade, he has incorporated more than just swing bands and dancers into the mix. He now hosts circus events, vaudeville shows and, of course, burlesque. All with his decided old-time flair.Arts >