Bob Hope’s 1940s USO tours live again.
Pin-Ups on Tour, a troupe of dancers and performers, take their vintage burlesque and variety show around the country as a way to thank veterans and active-duty military members for their service. The group will provide a free show for those folks Saturday at VFW Post 4051. The public is welcome, too, but must buy tickets.
“Come out to a show and be surrounded by fellow vets,” said Jessi Foreman, Pin-Ups on Tour’s director of community outreach. “Let us thank you for your service and be surrounded by brothers and sisters.”
The two-hour show features four to five performers who’ll sing, dance and perform burlesque, getting down to their skivvies and pasties. Expect classic tunes, such as the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” vintage tap dancing to “Singin’ in the Rain,” a giant fan dance and ballet. A host lightens the mood with some comedic banter, including firing up the rivalry between the military branches.
The goal? Re-create the magic of the Hollywood Canteen that operated during the 1940s as a place for service members to let loose with dancing, drinks and entertainment before they headed overseas.
Pin-Ups on Tour was founded in 2015 by Julia Reed Nichols, who brought together a bunch of Los Angeles dancers for a nonprofit fundraiser. It was such a success that she kept booking performances and putting clips on YouTube. The shows were noticed by veterans organizations, which invited the group to put on shows at VFW posts and American Legion halls. Performers also visit with vets and active-duty service members in Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country and have donated more than $50,000 in free show tickets and cash to military- focused nonprofits.
“Everything is divided in our country,” said Foreman, “but when it come to these shows, there’s such a connection. You get to see the best of our country. It doesn’t matter what your financial income is or your politics, it’s just about the service and our nation.”
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM