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Annamarie found L.A. by way of New York/Boston/San Francisco. Before that rebellion as a high schooler in Missouri meant "going to school in ball gowns, make-up to my temples, 'Liquid Sky' hair and bare feet."

annamarieTen years ago she started dedicating herself commitedly to collecting vintage clothes and swing dancing. As she observed authentic '40s clothes getting shredded during the rigors of all that big band-fueled spinning, sliding and sweating, it occured to her that someone should make vintage styles in durable contemporary fabrics.

"At the time fidelity to the time travel fantasy was part of the fun," she says. "People were very conscious of obeying the rules of the period. Now not so much anymore. Today it's less about dressing — you see more sweatpants and sneakers. It's more just about dancing. The swing scene has changed quite a bit. But at the time my designing partner and I were like, we want to make vintage clothing but in new fabrics so that when you dance in them you don't destroy them and you can still have a look that's consistent with the swing era."

Annamarie took to the business challenge, and soon went solo as a designer. When the dotcom bubble and its exploding rents drove her business out of San Francisco last year, Annamarie embraced life as an Angeleno entrepreneur. With the mobility of her web-based business, centered on her downtown studio showroom, she's been able to thrive in the wake of the bust that's made a ghost town of those pricey Bay Area lofts.

It wasn't so long ago the swing revival, like the "New Economy," was the subject of boomtown fever. That peaked in 1998 with the instant success of the swing dancing ads that exploded sales of The Gap's standard khakis and white T's. We know the NASDAQ's on the rocks, so how is the swing scene nowadays?

"Almost completely gone in New York City. But Boston's pretty good and Chicago's pretty good. It's really hot in the midwest still and the Pacific northwest. annamarieIt's not that it's bad in San Francisco — by the time I left a lot of the clubs had closed, but there's still a core group and swing dancing is down to two nights a week. Back in '98 you had several choices of swing club every night of the week. Here you can still go dancing every night, so it's still hottest in L.A. There is an emerging swing scene in London, and in Sweden oddly enough. I have customers in Germany in Switzerland. Their swing events are like every month or two. Australia is good too, I hear.

"People who were there at the beginning claim that the swing revival started back in 1989. I didn't join until '93. It absolutely peaked in 1998. The whole Gap swing dancing commercial — the candle was lit on one end then the Gap ad burned it from the other. What happened was you had a lot of people who had never seen swing before, saw the commercial and said, Ooh! Ah! I want to go be a part of this. So they flooded into all the swing venues and it really pushed out a lot of the regulars, who were like, God, it's too crowded, I can't dance, and they stopped going. Then when the trendiness ended and people who just wanted to be part of the hot new thing left, there were only some hard core people left. But today you still get new people joining. They're like, I've only been swing dancing for a month! And I'm like, holy cow!"

Nate on "The Beat"  Main Story  Swingtime Primer

For more info:

Issue One
Previously on Five-O
Evel Knievel & more!
hitman elvis
Dark Elvis
Compelled to Kill
by the King!
swingtime strippers
Swingtime Strippers
Babes Ahoy!
isaac hayes
Isaac Hayes
Shaft vs. South Park
at the Hollywood Bowl
jason priestley
Jason Priestley
Man of Action!
The Five-O Salute
mexican wrestling
¡Viva el Santo!
L.A.'s Lucha Libre
Cinema Slam
stanley rubin
Ace Producer Stanley Rubin
With the RKO
Studio Scoop!
 werner herzog
Werner Herzog
Plotted to Kill Kinski!
Condemns Psychoanalysis!
Five-O July/Aug
Evel Knievel & more!
jeter girl
Jeter Girl
Kristielee Wilcox
From Box Seats
to the Bronx Jail!
lawrence tierney
Lawrence Tierney
Noir Superpower
The Five-O Farewell
burning man
Burning Man
Pagans Take Nevada
Five-O Undercover
40 Years
August/September 1962
Playboy Magazine
jermaine jackson
30 Years
Jermaine Jackson
Debut Album
20 Years
william shatner
10 Years
William Shatner
National Lampoon's
Loaded Weapon
my bloody valentine
10 Years
My Bloody Valentine
U.S. Tour 1992
theron productions