Michael Arenella Jan. 30 at St. Cloud in the Knickerbocker Hotel

Wit's End, January 2016

Wit’s End, January 2016

Wit’s End presents Michael Arenella, creator and founder of the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island, at the debut party at St. Cloud in the Knickerbocker Hotel, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

He is the bandleader of the world’s premier Jazz-Age dance orchestra, steeped in the hot-dance band tradition of the 1920s and early 1930s. Arenella transcribes by hand their entire repertoire from period recordings. Their delivery, as well as their instruments, attire, and equipment — are faithfully accurate.

Michael Arenella

Michael Arenella (Don Spiro photo)

Arenella’s baritone lacks pretense or sarcasm. He treasures each lyric, and has faith in the songs he sings. Even the most optimistic Tin Pan Alley tune has a disarming quality in his hands. Arenella entertains thousands every summer at his Jazz Age Lawn Party; tonight dance in the intimate setting of a 1906 hotel rooftop in Times Square.

Wit’s End is New York City’s longest-running monthly vintage dance party. Since 2009, the soirée has been held faithfully the last Saturday each month January-October in speakeasies around New York.

Tonight the party moves to its new home, the Knickerbocker Hotel, 6 Times Square, opened by the legendary John Jacob Astor IV on the corner of Forty-second Street and Broadway. After a 95-year break, it reopened in early 2015 to glowing reviews. Wit’s End will be ensconced in St. Cloud–called “New York’s greatest rooftop lounge” with sweeping views of Times Square–sixteen stories above Broadway.

Also on the bill tonight is DJ Mike Will Cut You, New York’s vintage music DJ who plays classic sounds from 80-year old recordings. He is the host of “Ragged But Right” on WFMU Radio and performs at the Jazz Age Lawn Party. The hostess is glamorous showgirl Kita St. Cyr, channeling Mae West, Yma Sumac, and a dash of Lili St. Cyr. The co-sponsor of the party is the Dorothy Parker Society, the drinking club with a book problem.

Ticket Prices:

$15.00: in advance online via Brown Paper Tickets (entry 8 pm)
$20.00: at the door
$15.00: 11 O’Clock Frolic (entry 11 pm) at the door
Must be 21 to attend.

About the Wit’s End Party:

Doors open at 8:00 pm. At 9:00 pm is a free dance lesson, taught by professional instructors Jeri Lynn Astra and Neal Groothuis. Learn classic steps such as Balboa and Lindy Hop that will be useful once the live music begins. The band begins at 10:00 pm.

Wit’s End serves cocktails made with fresh ingredients and premium spirits following the classic cocktail recipes of the Prohibition Era. St. Cloud will present a classic cocktail menu to transport you back to the speakeasy era, when guests such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Florenz Ziegfeld were on the premises. Table service is available and reservations are highly recommended. After you buy tickets, call 212-204-4980 to reserve a table at St. Cloud.

About the Wit’s End Pre-Party Dinner:

The pre-party dinner is served at Charlie Palmer at The Knick, on the 4th floor. The pre-fixe dinner menu is $45 for a delicious three-course meal. Wit’s End will have tables reserved beginning at 6:00 pm. (Cost of dinner is separate from the party admission). After you buy tickets, call 212-204-4983 to make a dinner reservation (singles are welcome).

The Wit’s End Dress Code:

Vintage and vintage-inspired clothing is recommended. Gentlemen must wear coat and tie. Not permitted: Denim, tennis shoes, flip-flops, T-shirts, shirts with graphics, tank tops, baseball caps.

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