Rockabilly Night Market at SRB Brooklyn in Gowanus

Pinups and pompadours

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Dance like you’re wearing blue suede shoes.

A burlesque performer named Bettina May is bringing back the gee-golly good old days of the ’50s at a Rockabilly festival for fans of the era like herself who find modern life to be a let down.

“Growing up, I would watch ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Leave It To Beaver’ and I thought that’s what life would be like as an adult,” said May. “When I grew up and everyone was wearing sweatpants and pulling their hair back, I was very disappoint­ed.”

May has done a good job of creating her own reality. She dons floor-length silk dresses, wears Marilyn Monroe-hairstyles, and dances to music such as Andrews Sisters recordings.

“I love the music. It was like the punk rock of its day,” said May. “I love expressing that through my burlesque performanc­es.”

May will give one of her popular burlesque performances at the Second Annual Rockabilly Night Market at SRB Brooklyn in July. The event will also include a handful of rockabilly bands, a car show, a pinup photobooth, and a record fair.

Night Market organizer Shien Lee said that the success of the festival shows that the styles of the ’50s are back — or never left.

“The ’50s have their own elegance but also a sense of rebellious­ness,” said Lee. “It was the birth of rock and roll, so it meant a loss of innocence.”

May, who is also obsessed with vintage clothing, hairstyles, and performances, travels the country teaching workshops on how to look vintage.

“I teach them how to set and curl their hair in vintage style and teach them about vintage makeup,” said May. “I show them how cool our grandmas were for inventing these styles.”

The Rockabilly Night Market at SRB Brooklyn [177 Second Ave. at 14th Street, in Gowanus, (718) 499-1700,]. July 4, 7 pm, $10–$15.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Whatever blows your hair back. Not crazy about the McCarthy era myself. I'm rather partial to the Karen O look.
June 29, 2013, 1:03 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Well, I take it back! I just visited her website and a few youtubes, and she is fetching. You have to see her in the round, as a multi-media event, with stage shows, pin-up posters, and sexy women's garments of every era and variety. Yes, she is actually hot. "Bei mir bist du shon."
July 1, 2013, 2:36 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Well! Back again. I'm a critic, I like beauty, it looks like Bettina May has a fan. I like the photo here of her. There's a lot of rockabilly in it. She seems to be a rhythmically photogenic artist.
July 2, 2013, 7:04 pm

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