Hotel Blue has become the home of jazz in the Blue Mountains over the last couple of years with living legends like Bruce Cale, and current heavy-weights like James Greening, Gary Daley, Tim Bruer, Brett Hirst and others, performing regularly in this charming 95-year-old guesthouse. Every week you can get a dose of ‘thinking man’s’ jazz however its not every week that a true ‘jazz mistress’ performs. We’re not talking about your every day vocalist here – we’re talking about supremely experienced voices, having sung in every high-class and packed house venue in Sydney, as well as every dive-bar and dirty basement-level so-called ‘music club’ whose bricks are barely keeping the ceiling up. They have been swindled by venue bookers more times than you have sung in the shower and have also played with some of the most talented musicians the world has ever offered. Well, on the opening weekend of the Roaring 20s Festival, the wonderful Susan Gai Dowling will bring her bright jazz interpretations to Hotel Blue as part of the ‘Intimate Nights’ Series.
Susan will be accompanied by Evan Lohning and Bob Bertles. Evan is best known for his arranging skills having has written music charts for some of the top names in Australian jazz – Don Burrows, James Morrison, John Morrison, Dale Barlow, Ian Cooper, Emma Pask, Marlene Richards and Monica Trapaga. Bob has been playing sax since the fifties, having played with Johnny O’Keefe (Australia’s first pop superstar), Cliff Richards, Bruce Cale, and so many great names in jazz we’re gonna stop here. Susan and the gang will be leading the crowd through defining songs from the 1920s – a period in which commercial radio had only just begun, records production increased, dance halls became popular and jazz was born.
The ‘Intimate Nights’ Series at Hotel Blue is about intimate crowds (VERY limited seats available), great food and wine, and fantastic music. Doors open 7:00pm, but come along from 5:30pm to enjoy some pre-dinner music in the lounge (free event). $25 show-only or $59 w/ two-course meal. One night only & part of the Roaring 20s Festival!
If theatrics and grandeur is your cup of tea, Bygone Beautys is sure to enchant with these special Traditional High Tea events Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. Be transported back to the Roaring Twenties and experience true decadence through an opulent display of sparkling diamonds accompanied by a complementary glass of champagne and a hot entrée course of mini quiches, sausage rolls and vegetarian roulades. Experience the full charade of 1920s grandeur set amongst a lavish backdrop of an old world dining room. Sit back, relax and enjoy finely rolled crustless sandwiches, an assortment of homemade tea cakes and biscuits, topped off with homemade baby scones with freshly whipped cream and strawberry jam, accompanied by your choice of house tea or coffee.
Bygone Beautys have been offering Traditional High Tea since before it was trendy and, as an expert venue specialising in all things tea and tea-related, it has been steeped to perfection. It is not only the presentation and ceremony that is perfected to every fine detail, but also the quality of the service and product. With such a unique experience on offer, Bygone Beautys have won various awards for their Traditional High Tea, including the “Heritage and Cultural Tourism” Award in the Blue Mountains Tourism Awards and the “Finest Tea Rooms Award” in the UK magazine This England. Also appearing on various “best high teas” lists in recent years, including Destination NSW’s Top 10 NSW High Teas on visitnsw.com (http://www.visitnsw.com/nsw-tales/food-and-wine/top-10-nsw-high-teas/), it is a favourite for many return customers and an absolute treat for first-time visitors.
Part of it’s charm and what has made it so well-loved is the theatricality of the entire affair. Set amongst the backdrop of a unique and charming old-world dining room, the waiter, complete with top hat and tails, will deliver the decadent delight to the table with a degree of pomp and circumstance. Presented silver service style on an elegantly decorated afternoon tea tray-mobile is a triple-tier cake stand of treats, framed by two British Union Jack flags. And to top off the experience it is wheeled out by the ceremoniously-dressed waiter to the pro-British tune of Land of Hope and Glory.
It is an experience reminiscent of decades past when life was more leisurely, and one to make any afternoon complete. Guests have described it as “quirky” and “unique.” Simply “blown over” by the presentation, it made one guest feel “like Alice in Wonderland,” proclaiming “I think I spot the March Hare in the pot!” Other guests have stated that “the ambience was opulent and theatrical” and that “the cherry on the cake was when [the] tea trolley arrived” making it an experience that “would put a smile on anyone’s face.”
So put on those “flapper” shoes, dust off the feather boa, dig up that bow tie and join the tea party! And of course, don’t forget the diamonds!
TIME AND DATE OF EVENTS: Each Saturday in February: 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th February 2017, 2:00pm; AND every second Sunday in February: 12th and 26th February 2017, 2:00pm.
The original Blue Mountains party palace will host a regional food and wine showcase on a majestic scale at the annual Roaring 20s Festival long lunch on Saturday, February 25.
The mouth-watering feast of shared plates will begin with antipasto by Kinship Kitchen, followed by a chicken and rabbit rillettes with toasted brioche main dish designed by Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg with caper dressing and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges herb-crusted beef fillet, horseradish crème fraiche and sides of twice-cooked potato and pumpkin, EVOO and carrot, kale and celeriac salad, white balsamic dressing.
The Majestic Long Lunch will be completed with exceptional regional cheeses from the Carrington Cellars & Deli and a wickedly indulgent dessert by Josophan’s Fine Chocolates.
The upmarket repast will be held after the attempt for the largest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston hopefully reclaims its Guinness World Record with 1,000 dancers in front of the Hydro Majestic Pavilion at 11am. (Go to hydromajestic.com.au to register and charlestonchallenge.com.au to see a dance tutorial.)
Once the excitement of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge has quietened and retro revivalists promenade to glamorous effect, diners will graze on decadent regional fair.
They will also glimpse exquisite fashion from yesteryear from the Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture.
Diners are encouraged to dust off their most sophisticated `20s-inspired costumes befitting the elegant venue (eg: feather boas, spats, fedora hats) to be eligible to enter the prizes galore up for grabs on the day (best dressed lady, man, couples and hats).
Plate Up Blue Mountains food and wine advisory group chairwoman Pam Seaborn said: “The Blue Mountains is fast becoming recognised as a must-visit food destination, with so many fabulous dining venues and chefs doing amazing things with the outstanding fresh, seasonal produce to be found throughout the Greater Blue Mountains and NSW Central West.
“The annual Roaring 20s Festival is a perfect opportunity to show them off – and dress up, dance and enjoy an afternoon with friends at this gorgeous venue too of course.’’
The Majestic Long Lunch will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 12.30pm to 4pm on Saturday, February 25. Cost: $95pp includes spiced Peach Melba sparkling cocktail on arrival. Bookings and details: hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885.
To get you in the mood for The Carrington Hotel History Tours on February 4th and 5th, 2017, Paul Innes shared a brief account of a Royal visit in 1927:
In late 1926, both Echo Point and the Carrington Hotel were being spruced up in preparation for the 1927 visit of the Duke and Duchess of York.
On Thursday 31st March, the Royal Steam train pulled into Katoomba Station, where their Royal Highnesses were met by hundreds of adoring supporters and a bevvy of local and state dignitaries. after welcoming speeches, the Royal couple walked up to the Carrington Hotel for lunch.
After lunch, the Duke and Duchess were driven to Echo Point, where according to the Blue Mountain Echo Newspaper, the Duchess (in a fawn coloured outfit) was heard to say “Look at those clouds Isn’t it wonderful!” The paper reported the Duke’s (dressed in grey) reply was “unintelligible, but his face maintained its customary passivity.”
After leaving Echo Point, and motoring through Leura, this passivity was soon tested when the Royal Car was unofficially stopped outside Katoomba’s newly built Hospital, located on the Great Western Highway.
Hospital staff took it into their own hands on that day to ask the Royals if they would open the Hospital. However, as the request was not official, it seems only the Duchess could do the honours – which is seen on the engraving inside the Hospital entrance.
The Duke was less than impressed with the rather direct (or could we say Australian) request, but the Duchess obliged – even though a later inquiry into the matter lamented she had to walk through some mud!
After the opening, the Royals continued their journey – going to Govetts Leap, then Jenolan Caves.
The following day, Friday 1st April, the Duke and Duchess visited Mt York, then had lunch at the Imperial Hotel in Mt Victoria, before joining their train for the return trip to Sydney.
Book your tickets now to hear stories and see photos from the Carrington Hotel in the 1920’s, with local Historian, Paul Innes. “Misbehaving flappers, a 1923 dinner menu with music and dance selections, those visiting Frenchmen, a Royal Visit, a cheeky proposal, what was on at the ‘Talkies’, etc …”
Saturday 4th Feb and Sunday 5th Feb 2017.
Tours at 11.00am and 2.00pm both days.
$12 per person. Payment on the day. Limited places.
Vaudevillian entertainer Godfrey Uke takes centre stage with an ensemble of award-winning jazz musicians in a new cabaret-style homage to the great composers of American popular song.
Arriving this February as part of The Roaring 20s & All That Jazz Festival, ‘Tin Pan Alley featuring Godfrey uke’ is an immersive return to the music, humour and showmanship of the Roaring Twenties. Performances will be staged at Hotel Blue’s Sisters Blue Restaurant, offering audiences both a captivating show and an exciting retro-inspired menu.
‘Tin Pan Alley’ narrates the comic tale of a hapless song-and-dance-man to showcase some of the most influential music from the Golden Age of American jazz. Its unique brand of comedy is inspired by classic revue style banter and the more contemporary absurdism of Spike Milligan.
The show is produced and directed by Dominic Santangelo whose previous work includes co-writing ‘Little Egypt’s Speakeasy’, a Rhythm and Blues burlesque drama which enjoyed a successful run in the Deluxe Speigeltent at last year’s Adelaide Fringe. The group also features critically acclaimed trumpeter and composer Ellen Kirkwood, recipient of the national Jann Rutherford Memorial Award for outstanding female jazz musicians.
Santangelo – who also plays Godfrey Uke – says that Milligan “…was a huge influence. I wrote the script with his voice in my head… It’s intelligent humour that is embellished with tongue-in-cheek character acting and the rich lyricism of the original music”.
‘Tin Pan Alley’ is Santangelo’s first credit as a producer-director and he says that the concept was the natural progression of existing collaborations:
“Over the past few years I have had the extreme fortune of working with some phenomenal musicians and to my mind we are interpreting the greatest music of all time. Songs by the likes of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter form the foundation on which modern pop music is based, yet performing these songs demands a style of showmanship and virtuosity that has been largely forgotten in the mainstream”.
‘Tin Pan Alley’ puts the humble ukulele front and centre of a highly accomplished hot jazz band, something Santangelo sees as a fitting metaphor for the legacy of the music:
“The uke is so unassuming; it evokes the beauty of simplicity. It’s also second only to the kazoo in terms of accessibility! However this means that the ukulele isn’t widely recognised outside of amateur settings. To me, this show is the perfect vehicle for celebrating the respectable musicality of the ukulele without losing its connection to humour and simplicity. The Tin Pan Alley era was all about that same winning combination – musical genius rendered unpretentious by an overwhelming sense of fun”.
‘Tinpan Alley feat. Godfrey Uke’ is a feature event of The Roaring 20s Festival this February and is held February 6th & 13th at 7pm. Dinner & three-course meal is $79 per person and can be booked online here or by calling Hotel Blue on (02) 4782 6922.
After the show’s opening at Hotel Blue, ‘Godfrey Uke’s Tin Pan Alley’ plays on board The Popeye on the 26th, 27th and 28th of February as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.