Monday, December 27, 2010

A Pinup Holiday

It's that time of year - champagne, delectable hors d'oeuvres, eggnog, roasted turkey, hot buttered rum, beef wellington, full-bodied red wine, sweet potatoes, hot toddies, apple and pumpkin pies, brandy by the fireside, fudge, scotch by the fireside, cakes...and goodwill toward men. As we enjoy this season of eating and drinking (have your trees, wreaths, and presents - I have my priorities), I'd like to offer some holiday-ish pinups. Now I realize it's 2 days past Christmas, but it's still within the holiday season as the New Year is not yet upon us. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

And more pretty ladies of Halloween...

Because the uploader wouldn't let me do them all in one post.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things that go bump in the night. In all the right ways.

Greetings and salutations!
To celebrate Halloween, I thought I'd post a round up of holiday themed vintage pinups and photos. Slightly spooky, sexy, or flat-out adorable. All treats! For a trick, come around our house tomorrow night and watch the candy bars magically disappear more quickly in between trick-or-treaters than during their visits. Must be a ghost...

Happy Halloween!

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We have a handsome possible candidate to join me on select future photo shoots. Every film femme needs a dashing leading man! Stay tuned.

Also, if you are on Facebook, you can fan, or "like" my Midnight Refrain page for updates and discussions. I believe there is a link to it in the top right, here on the blog page. Or you can go on Facebook and search "Laura Shaffer's Midnight Refrain".

Please feel free, here or on the Facebook page, to share ideas, music, and photos!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chinatown - set/wardrobe lust

I'm about halfway through a rewatch of Chinatown, maybe the best neo noir. I want those sets for our photo and video shoots! And the cars! (And the hats. Always want more hats.)

It's fun to recognize some of the location shots. The historic casino at Avalon is easy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New old music!

Hello Darlings,

Just a mini blog to let you know that we recorded 4 new tunes for the album today. What a pleasure to work with such talented professionals. Thank you to (in alphabetical order) Arno Marsh, Bob Sachs, Charlie Shaffer, Dave Hart, T-Bone Demman, and Toto Zara. Sweet stuff.

Swinging on a star,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

From hair to eternity

Heh heh heh heh...just a moment while I savor my corny title....heh heh.......ok. So I'm in a quest for authenticity. I have nearly always styled my hair with a vintage accent, from about age 18 or so, when I became enamored with classic movies and vintage style. But I have always used curling irons, and on rare occasions, when it's been long enough since the last time that I entertain the delusion that they will work, hot rollers. I have the misfortune of having pin-straight, heavy, thick hair. Girls with curly locks would not agree that this is unfortunate, I know, but you know the adage: Girls with curls always want straight, and a rolling stone gathers no moss. Or something like that. The point is that my hair does not hold curl. And I have tortured it for decades with heat appliances to get curl. But I finally thought "[forehead slap] Why not try a wet set? It's authentic to the era and it doesn't damage hair." [another forehead slap for good measure] So, after some research, I tried my first wet set in about 30 years. Although this is the first I've done, it's not the first I've had done. My patient mother used to set my hair at night when I was a small child. She was the suffering-est mother in the neighborhood when it came to her daughter's hair, I fear. Too wet, and it doesn't dry by morning. Not wet enough, curl falls right out. Plus, it took a mountain of rollers since I have a lot of hair. I remember my mother being envious of my friend's mother across the street - her daughter had fine hair and it took 3 minutes and 5 rollers and she was done. Meanwhile, Shirley Shaffer is slaving away across the street, endlessly sectioning, spraying, rolling, telling me to sit still. So I attempted my first ever sponge roller set a few nights ago. It took about 35 minutes and came out surprisingly well for a first draft, although not as curly as I'd hoped, and it relaxed to nothing impressive by nighttime. So, last night, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and tried again, using wetter hair and more setting lotion, and a few more rollers. And this morning before I unrolled it, I used a soft bonnet dryer (that attaches to your hair dryer) for 15 minutes, just to be sure it was dry. About an hour later I unrolled it. It was the thrill of my adult life. The first section of hair that I unrolled, and my hair is below my shoulders, sprung back up into a happy coil, sitting just above my ear. [!!!] With all the rollers finally out, and not brushed, it was a sight to behold. Tight coils all over my head, hair taken up about 5-6 inches. Oh, joy! I squealed and bounced, watching the coils spring up and down. -I'm really going on, aren't I? I'm sorry. Still excited about it, I guess. But if you're still reading you have no one to blame but yourself. So lots of brushing and lots of styling creme later, I ended up with something like Ava Gardner in The Killers, or Ann Sheridan, or this one promo photo I have of Gene Tierney where her hair is longer and curlier than she typically wore it (early in her career). I could not have been happier. Curls, glorious curls! I whipped on a darling vintage dress and red lipstick and went to meet friends for afternoon cocktails and a fantastic big band. 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes, piano, bass, guitar and drums. Swinging band, killer bloody marys, curly hair - is it my birthday? Felt like it!

I would like to give a mention to Lisa Freemont Street, wonderful youtube/blog personality. Her hair tutorials and product reviews are informative and entertaining. If you're looking for a little vintage beauty in your life, I would recommend checking her out.

In other news: In a week we will be recording our next 4 songs. This session will include Cry Me a River. The one song that no Julie London songbook would be complete without.

Always true to you in my fashion,


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rolling slowly, but merrily, along

Hello Darlings!

It's been awhile since my last post, and I've heard about it from a couple of you, thank you very much. So I'll start by admitting my neglect. There, that's done. Now, on to more important things. It's been a very busy Summer for little ol' me, so I have not been able to keep the recording schedule I was hoping to. However the first 3 songs of the album are now available for download at your favorite outlet- Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody...whatever it may be. We hope to take back up in the studio in a couple of weeks, and I will keep you posted. Please give them a listen and let me know what you think! You can comment here on the blog, or you can contact me through the "contact us" button, up top and right. If you like what you hear, please share the love with anyone you think will also enjoy it. I'm eager to move on with my diabolical plan of world domination [cue maniacal laughter], otherwise known as recreating, sharing, and celebrating beautiful vintage melodies, images, and style. Lovely to have you on board!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Tell them dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is it's own excuse for being."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Rhodora"

Lest this sound shallow, let me explain. I am just having a moment. A small inner rant which must be released. I was speaking with a friend, about the small pleasures in each day, when he revealed he had never seen a silk robe in real life. What?!? How is this possible? Civilization is in a shambles! All of which I said to him. That's basically my rant. I hope when Midnight Refrain is in full swing, it will contribute to filling a void in our harried, stressed, couldn't care less, pajamas-in-the-grocery-store world. (Cue surly comments from pajamas-in-the-grocery-store wearers.) Certainly life is messy and unpredictable, it is reality. And there is a beauty to be found in that. But it seems to me that a lovely melody, a pretty frock, kind words, and a silk robe can only make things better. Maybe I'm old fashioned. (What a surprise!) But if you didn't agree with me at least a little, you probably wouldn't be reading this.

Rant over. Now to actual information. 3 songs for the Julie London Songbook are finished and will be available for download this coming week! Silk robe being added to the planned Midnight Refrain clothing collection.

Bracing for the backlash,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse."

Which is why I'm buying some fabulous jodphurs and a ruffled ascot, because I HAVE FOLLOWERS! Hello! So to you loyal 6, I say thank you. And, Tally Ho!

On to the point of blog #3. We did our first recording session for the new album a few days ago. I am so thrilled, and so fortunate, to have such superb musicians on board. During the solos I just wanted to roll around squealing on the floor. We all are working a lot, which is great, but leaves small and only occasional windows during which everybody can gather to record. So it will be piecemeal, but we are on our way with some delicious stuff in the can. My good and faithful followers will be the first to know when songs are available for download. Also when our e-store is up and running. We plan to have a full album ready for release by the end of the Summer. And, stay tuned for new photos to be soon gracing the 'Promo' Gallery here on

The above quote is from Adlai Stevenson, by the way. Who may or may not have rocked an ascot.

Until next time, wield your riding crop with a kind hand. And watch out for that low-hanging branch.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Still going, still bold. Still a possible train wreck in the making.

Despite that, I'm lurching foolishly into blog #2. Which will be short. Which means there is a lesser chance I'll embarrass myself.

I just wanted to give a shout out to my 4 - count 'em, 4 - followers! YAY! Thanks for climbing aboard! And I wanted to report that Midnight Refrain's second photo shoot, which was today, was FABULOUS, thanks to Darryl Martin, Genius Photographer, and Carlanda Williamson, who donated about half of her vintage hat collection for our use. The proofs I've seen so far are killer.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

To Boldly Go Where I Probably Shouldn't

...Because at the moment there are a handful of people who respect me. Friends, fans, peers. This is about to change, as I am now BLOGGING. Eeek!! I'll be trying to learn this blogging thing as I go, so be tolerant of me. And please remember, I am but a chick singer.

Which brings me to the reason I am launching this blog, this courageous foray into uncharted territory. I am starting what I think will be a fabulous journey, and I hope that you will come along for the ride. I have worked in Las Vegas as a singer for roughly 20 years now, singing what I'm told to to earn the dollar. But this will be the first time that I will get the chance to sing exactly and only what I want. Heh heh heh! That's right, it's all about me! Except that it's not. What I'm dearly hoping is to put out music and related product that other people love as much as I do. What it's really about is creating and sharing beauty. First and foremost in the form of music. The great jazz and pop standards of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. But I also am a big fan of the style and culture of the era, so I will also hope to recreate that for other fans of 30's-50's fashion and lifestyle. The warmth, the refinement, the glamour. All of which was well represented in the music, and here we are back where we started. It always starts and ends with music at Midnight Refrain. So if you love nostalgia, if you love classic movies, and especially if you love the great jazz and pop standards, please join me. I love dishing with other fans. OK, also it's that I hate to crash and burn alone. Though it reminds me of this great song...