‘Bootleggers Ball’ at Irondale Performing Arts Center

Swing into 2014: Go back in time for NYE at this speakeasy ball

The Brooklyn Paper
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We might be on the verge of 2014, but Gemini and Scorpio wants to party like it is 1929.

For New Year’s Eve, the event group is once again hosting its “Bootleggers Ball,” a swinging stroll back to a time when men wore fedoras, women were flappers, and hooch was made in the bathtub.

“People really respond well to our period events. Anything that is very visually inspiring, like circus or steampunk or ‘Star Wars’ aliens, does very well,” said Larisa Fuchs, a co-owner of Gemini and Scorpio.

For the Bootleggers Ball, the Irondale Center in Fort Greene will be decorated like a classic speakeasy and all of the entertainment with be reminiscent of a bygone era.

The main act will be the 13-piece Hot Shim Sham Orchestra, which brings back to life the music of big band bandleaders such as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

“The music has so much energy and it is so alive,” said Jessie Bunting, who plays the saxophone and clarinet in the band. “It is crucial that we play for dancers, not just people who want to sit and watch.”

As with Gemini and Scorpio’s other events, the entertainment will be constant and not just on the stage. Other acts at the ball will include aerialist Ivory Fox, strongman Adam Realman, and magician Nelson Lugo, who will circulate throughout the crowd. There will also be body painting, a vintage photo booth, and psychics.

“We like creating an immersive environment,” said Fuchs. “It’s like you are walking into a movie set.”

The dress code for the all-night event is “depression glamour,” “hobo formal,” and “desperation derring-do,” and it will be enforced — no costume means no entry.

Anyone who doubts their dancing abilities can come early and take swing lessons between 9 pm and 10 pm with local dance school Brooklyn Swings. There will also be free champagne during the lesson — which should help get those gams and getaway sticks moving, and have you jiving and jitterbugging in no time.

“The Bootleggers Ball” at the Irondale Performing Arts Center [85 South Oxford St., between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street in Fort Greene,]. Dec. 31 at 9 pm. $40–$60.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
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