The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

December 6, 2013

Glamorous Victory Belles revive World War II era

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Decked out in 1940s throwback tailored dresses and perfectly coiffed curls, the Victory Belles seem delightfully out of place in the age of hip-hop.

They sing big-band classics at the National World War II Museum and flirt playfully with the audience, leaving bright red lipstick kisses on the smiling faces of America’s aging war heroes. But these sexy, glam 20-somethings are not just singers in the tradition of wartime entertainers. They are a living museum exhibit about love songs in an era before texting and Skype, when saying goodbye meant you might not see a loved one for years — or maybe ever again.

With the World War II generation rapidly dying out, their performances have taken on new meaning.

“This music still makes me happy,” said Forrest Villarrubia, who served as a Marine in the Philippines in 1944 and was celebrating his 88th birthday at the museum on Nov. 20.

After the show, Villarrubia posed for photos with the Victory Belles. As they serenaded him with a soft rendition of “Happy Birthday” and applied red lipstick kisses to his cheeks, his face broke into a wide smile.

For the museum, better known for its war machine exhibits than for big-band and boogie-woogie, the Victory Belles offer a different window into the culture of the era.

“There were just so many beautiful love songs written back in World War II,” said Victoria Reed, the museum’s entertainment director who founded the Victory Belles in 2009. “People really knew what it meant to miss each other. It was such a great time for music.”

“It feels silly sometimes, putting on the lashes and the makeup,” said Cristina Perez, who joined the Belles this year, and like the other performers, spends nearly two hours achieving a period look in hair and makeup before each show.

Text Only
Features
  • 4-17-14 Trees forever photo 2 Let it grow (with Video)

    CLINTON - A new generation of trees will be planted by a young generation of Irish. Wednesday during class, Lisa Golden's Prince of Peace Prep third-graders continued their year-long biology education with the help of Clinton's Trees Forever organiza

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Communities prep for hunts CLINTON -- Easter weekend is nearly here and two local organizations are calling all children for the hunting event of the year -- Easter egg hunting that is. Both Camanche and Fulton, Ill., will host Easter egg hunts Saturday, each at different time

    April 17, 2014

  • Women's Expo set for Tuesday at Wild Rose CLINTON -- It is time again to gather the girlfriends and head out to the Ultimate Spring Women's Expo at the Wild Rose Event Center in Clinton. The third annual expo from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, hosted by the Clinton Herald, offers an opportuni

    April 14, 2014

  • Fulton housing loan Program to assist Fulton resident FULTON, Ill. -- Brian Hollenback and Beth Payne delivered good news last week, traveling to seven cities, three counties and two states, ending their journey in Fulton. Hollenback, who is the Northwestern Illinois Housing Coalition president, and its

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stutting Camanche native tapped to head North Scott schools CLINTON -- A Camanche native will return to his roots this June, after being selected as the new superintendent for the North Scott Community School District. Joe Stutting, a 1987 graduate of Camanche High School, has been away from his hometown for

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • preview-1.jpg Luau raises funds to support programming

    CLINTON -- Hundreds of supporters and volunteers gathered Friday night to endorse a lifesaving organization in the Gateway area. The 10th annual Gateway Area Red Cross Luau kicked off the night at the Tuscany Event Center at Rastrelli's with a buffet

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anderson Meet Your Neighbor: Gardening serves multiple purposes

    CLINTON -- For Kathy Anderson, gardening is something she has always enjoyed. "For as long as I remember, I have been obsessed with being outside," Kathy said. "My mother never had to ask twice for me to go outside and play." At 5 and 6 years old, Ka

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

  • Longman.jpg Stars and stripes to fly at half-staff

    Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in Iowa to be flown at half-staff from 5 p.m. today until 8 a.m. Monday in honor of a World War II airman, whose remains were recovered more than 70 years after being killed in action.
    Lt. Louis L. Longman, a 26-year old at the time he was last seen April 16, 1944, was a Clinton native. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps Air Force and when he was last seen, his unit was returning from a B-25 bomber escort mission over Hollandia, New Guinea.

    April 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-10-14 Take Back the Night photos 04 Take Back the Night seeks change

    CLINTON -- Marcia Lathrop and Kris Ayala have witnessed and experienced sexual abuse and domestic violence. According to Clinton YWCA Executive Director Shannon Sander-Welzien, someone is raped in this country every 1.3 seconds. On average, a child w

    April 10, 2014 5 Photos

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook