1920s New Orleans came to life at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton on Thursday, April 12.
Guests arrived to a dazzling 1920s speakeasy set during the times of prohibition, only to be allowed in by use of the password, “orange juice.”
Each room in the building was decorated appropriately for the specific era, including several varieties of patterned material draped along the walls, and period production pieces set throughout the rooms.
Activities included a game of blackjack, and “faro”, a less commonly known game that is more closely related to the concept of Russian Roulette, except tthrough the use of cards.
Beginning in the 1700s in New Orleans, the game became massively popular during the 1800s. Phrases we know today such as “shoe string budget” and “keeping tabs” were derived from this game.
Faro banker, Warren Yeager, or “Quickhands” was diligent with his cards and ready for guests to set their stakes high. He was also one of three Faro bankers present on the first and upcoming second season of HBO’s Westworld.
Other activities included a live band, the “Holy Crow Jazz Band,” appetizers such as bacon-wrapped dates, creole quesadillas and New Orleans style pizza. There was also a bar, serving the drink of the night, the “hurricane”, consisting of white rum, dark rum, passion fruit, orange juice, a dash of lime juice and a dash of grenadine.
The costumes varied from flappers, to more upper class styles of fashion. The women looked glamorous and the men sharp. Details were made to be intricate, all the way down to guests using coffee mugs to carry alcohol, as was common during that era to hide the suspicion of alcohol.
Yet even then, police raids were still inevitable, as the Muck was proud to provide as more means of accurate entertainment.
Frederick Trapini was in full costume as Freddy Friday, an “undercover detective posing as a writer.” Trapini is a retired teacher and this is the eighth speakeasy he has volunteered at.
Apart from that, he’s dedicated his loyalty to the Muckenthaler throughout the years through many activities. He painted the walls of the site’s amphitheater, has done electrical work, is on the foundation board and is president of the “Center Circle,” a sub-committee of the Muckenthaler.
“This place saved me. I would’ve left Southern California had I not gotten involved in the arts,” said Trapini.
His daughter, Jillian Trapini-Huff, who lives in Maine, was attending her first speakeasy this year. She was delighted with the grandeur and in awe of all of the costumes.
“The women’s outfits have so much variability and are so time-period appropriate,” said Trapini-Huff.
This year’s event marks the tenth year that the Muckenthaler has hosted a 1920s speakeasy, yet this is the first year it was done specifically New Orleans style.
This is one of the many events hosted by the Muckenthaler Cultural Center throughout each year. The sole purpose of such events is to raise funds to support education programming, and more.
They also have a special relationship with non-profit organizations to help with these programs.
Farrell Hirsch has been CEO for the center for ten months and this was his first speakeasy event.
He would like students to know that world class live entertainment is offered by the Muckenthaler for the same price as a movie ticket.
“The Muckenthaler family gave us the mission to inspire the imagination through the arts and I feel like we added to the phrase ‘we’ll bring the arts anywhere their scarce and needed,'” said Hirsch.
For more info on upcoming events, contact the Muckenthaler at (714)-738-6595 or visit their website.