You may have heard about Khyentse James’s 1940s WWII Era Ball held annually at the Boulder Airport in Colorado, but there is even more to this award-winning producer. Khyentse James is also responsible for the internationally acclaimed Decibelle Music and Culture Festival.
Khyentse has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Spin Magazine for her work with Decibelle Music and Culture Festival. She has also been featured on MTV, VH1, and NPR.
While attending Boston University and Columbia College, she won several awards for academic excellence, as well as an Outstanding Voluntary Service Award. The National Organization for Women presented her with its Outstanding Community Leader Award and Windy City Times awarded her with its 30 Under 30 award, twice.
Khyentse James is involved with her community and has studied women’s social concerns and environmental/political issues worldwide, while living in various places, such as Northern Ireland, Tibet, Myanmar, Brazil, and Africa.
On June 16, 2012, visitors to Boulder Airport’s Blue Hanger were treated to a window into the nation’s past: the 1940s World War II Era Ball. Movie sets, military jeeps and planes from the Second World War, and movie-star impersonators and reenactors established the mood and allowed party-goers to walk and experience the sights and sounds of America in the 1940s. This year’s ball featured a recreation of Rick’s Cafe Americain and a Casablanca theme. Guests were encouraged to dress for the event in appropriate period attire, since the event also included a costume contest. The ball is a benefit for two charitable organizations, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Spirit of Flight Center, Colorado, with net proceeds dedicated to their support.
The 2013 World War II Era Ball will be the fifth of its kind, and tickets will go on sale as early as February. Those interested in more information on the 1940s World War II Era Ball can visit the website at http://1940sball.org/1940s_WWII_Era_Ball/Welcome.html.
About the Author:
Khyentse James has been involved in organizing balls and festivals for almost 10 years. For her efforts, she was named an Outstanding Community Leader by the National Organization for Women. She has also been deeply involved in the Decibelle Music and Culture Festival in Chicago, which is fast approaching its 10th anniversary.
The 1940s White Christmas Ball takes place this year on December 7, 2012, at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. It is a tribute to the tragic events at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Set amidst a backdrop of World War II planes, movie sets, reenactors, and artifacts, the ball will give visitors an opportunity to step back into the past. Music from a big band, the Hot Tomatoes, will recreate the atmosphere of dance halls in the late 1930s through the 1950s. Additionally, a full Christmas show will be performed, starting at 11:00 p.m., and will feature hits from the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby. Swing dancing and lessons and hair and make-up workshops will further help participants to appreciate the period.
About the Author:
Khyentse James was raised principally by her grandparents, who instilled in her a love and appreciation of this period in America’s history. She is the primary organizer and creator of the 1940s White Christmas Ball and two other events that celebrate American popular culture of the 1940s and 1950s.
By Khyentse James
During the 1940s, dancing dominated American nightlife. A night out might involve seeing a show, having drinks, or eating a meal, but in many cases it also involved dancing. Frequently, dancing occurred at hotel ballrooms or dancehalls, which were fixtures in big cities and small towns alike.
At these dancing venues, live bands typically played and people danced in couples, often to the sounds of jazz or swing music. World War II had a significant impact on the spread of swing music (and the “jitterbuggers” who danced to it) from the U.S. to Great Britain, where U.S. soldiers danced at nightclubs when they were off duty.
One of the most significant ripple effects of 1940s-era dance culture was that it led to the racial integration of music. As jazz and swing music proved popular among black, white, and Latin performers and listeners, popular bands eventually integrated. Starting in the 1930s, dance clubs sloughed off their segregation policies to allow people of all races to dance together.
About Khyentse James
Raised by her grandparents, Khyentse James developed a passion for 1940s-style dancing in her childhood. Today, as organizer of the famous Boulder, Colorado, 1940s WWII Era Ball, James shares her love with 2,500 attendees during a night of costumes, music, and dancing.