Subversive Femme

Two weeks until Viva!

I apologise for the lack of posts (and comment responses) but I’ve been suffering from terrible headaches lately and computer screens are making it worse.
I’ve been trying to get my head together as Viva Las Vegas is only two weeks away…. arghhhhhh!

Is there anyone else coming too?? (I know Laurence from Lost in the 50’s is going, will I see more lovely people?)

We were very lucky this year, and booked a room at The Orleans before it sold out – apparently the rooms ran out faster than ever this year.

Once again, the stress over what to bring – we’re heading to New York and Chicago afterwards, followed by a couple of days in Los Angeles before heading home. That means a combination of Australian spring and winter clothing.

Lessons learnt from last time:


  • Don’t bring anything that needs a petticoat – and don’t bring a petticoat
  • Seperates, seperates – the best thing to bring
  • Don’t always count on buying an outfit at Viva to wear – bring enough that you won’t worry
  • Fancy outfits – who am I kidding, I’m just there to dance and they’re not practical
  • If you see something amazing and it fits you, buy it – you won’t see it again
  • Don’t bother with a swimsuit unless you really love the pool – I swam once! (although, I do have a 1940’s sunsuit I’ve been saving for VLV, but it packs down small)
  • Jewellery weighs a ton, pack light
  • The water is GROSS in Vegas. You may need to buy bottled water in bulk (we bough gallon bottles and refilled from those).


  • Careful with the amount of bobby pins in your hair, or the TSA will pat your head down (hair scarves are the answer to easy hair)
  • It’s easy to get a US pre-paid mobile card (T-Mobile on Tropicana Ave, Vegas, sell them) but don’t forget to get your phone unlocked first
  • Separates are a lot more versatile and easier to wear travelling – obvious, but bring things that don’t need ironing. I’m packing some poly-blend 1940’s blouses and jumpers
  • Medicines – bring your own. We found it really hard to get the good cold + flu capsules at Walgreens (bringing my own Codral this time)
  • Bring anything specialised you might need – i.e a barrel curler and pins. Yes you can get them at Sallys but it saves time. Go to Sallys anyway and buy up
  • Gloves! Bring leather gloves because Chicago is like Antarctica!
  • Buy all the things that you can’t get at home (hello Sephora, remember me??)

Being gay in the USA

  • Not an issue in the big cities
  • Not an issue in Vegas
  • Not an issue at all at Viva Las Vegas (in fact, Jakk didnt get the comments or looks she would here, when she used the women’s bathroom/change rooms)
  • Turns out the Belmont/Lakeview/Boystown area of Chicago is the gay and antiques district – guess where we are staying?

I hope I do get to see some familiar faces there!

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  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Re “bring your own medicines” – yes, and make sure they're in their proper packaging (to prove that they are medicine) and bring a doctor's letter if you have anything unusual especially anything not licensed in the USA.

    Hope your horrid headaches go away soon.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I'm happy to hear that being gay is not an issue at VLV. I've never been myself but I've always wondered since I've encountered homophobia and racism in the 50s / rockabilly scenes in Europe.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Yay! I loved it when they had the skull cups! Two more weeks…can’t believe it’s already almost here!

    Fabulous travel tips you’ve given. I had a hell of a time packing for a weekender abroad when we attended the Rhythm Riot last year. Have a safe trip over and a great time traveling afterwards!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    The only thing that I would add to your preparedness is to photo/copy the picture/signature page of your passport. In case it is lost/stolen.
    I travel all over the world for a living and you would not believe how many people I meet that have lost a passport; having a copy makes life so much easier for replacement through a consulate or embassy.

    Have a WONDERFUL time.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Im sorry to hear that you've been having a bnad bout of headaches. My husband suffers from migraines so I know how computers and light can make the situation worse.

    Im so sad I won't be going this year. I was so looking forward to meeting everyone from the blogging world.

    I am however going to try and convince my husband to let me reserve room at the Orleans for next year. Did you have to call it in or email them? The nice thing about living in Nevada is that we can drive down and take as much stuff as we want.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Hooray! I hope you have a lovely time at VLV and visiting. FYI: the west coast (Vegas) had a warmer/drier than average winter and Chicago and NYC had a ***colder!!!*** than average one. Here in the Midwest USA we aren't even REMOTELY warmed up (we have an ice storm watch for tomorrow and a high of 2* C and same for 10 days out from today), so separates are good and Layers to keep warm or cool off are a must!
    The Wicker Park area (just west of downtown) is also pretty great (it's pretty artsy and has lots of galleries and interesting stuff to do). We stayed at a BnB run by a gay couple that was wonderful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicker_Park,_Chicago
    Safe Travels and have a great time!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Glad to see you're visiting Chicago–my wife and I live a 20 minute train ride north of Lakeview/Belmont area and it's really lovely, you'll have a great time. You probably won't have room in your suitcase for fabric, but if you happen to there is an excellent fabric store in Evanston called Vogue Fabrics that is worth checking out–one of the biggest around. I work there in the bridal department. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Cangiano
    April 3, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Wonderful tips and suggestions to file away for that distant day (surely it must be able to happen one year) when I'm finally able to head to Viva.

    As a fellow migraine suffer, please know that you have my total understanding and that I'm sending countless gentle hugs your way.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Reply
    April 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for everyone's input – I'm definitely going to take on some of your tips :).

    Rikka, that's sad about the bigots in Europe, maybe we just have our blinkers on at VLV? We didn't see it though :).

    Mariela – we called, it's much easier 😉

    Jessie and Pepper – thanks for the Chicago tips!!

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