Kool Kat of the Week: A Man of Style and Song: New Orleans Jon Serves Up a Swingin’ Soundtrack at Meehan’s Roaring ’20s Gourmet Dinner

Posted on: Jul 30th, 2013 By:

Johnny Pines, aka New Orleans Jon. Photo credit: No Rest Photography.

Johnny Pine, aka New Orleans Jon, has a well-earned reputation as the swankiest burlesque MC in Atlanta from his perfect pompadour to his after-eight moustache and signature soul patch, his Rat Pack-ready suits, shiny ties and dress shoes, not to mention a penchant for attracting a bevy of vintage vixens wherever he wanders. He’s also an ace crooner  of swing, lounge and jazz, and it’s that persona that he’ll be showing off this Thursday Aug. 1 at the latest in Meehan’s Public House Sandy Springs themed supper clubs, a Roaring ’20s Gourmet Dinner. (See our ATLRetro feature on Chef Val Domingo’s Elvis Beer Dinner here.)

New Orleans Jon began his burlesque career as the original MC for the now-retired Big City Burlesque & Vaudeville and also hosted one of the first cabaret shows at DragonCon. Recently, he has had two sold-out solo performances in Alpharetta and also hosted and performed at AnachroCon in February and MC’d the Free Range Burlesque Show at The Southern Fried Burlesque Fest in March. He also serves as MC and part of the Directorship of the vintage performance collaboration known as Musee du Coeur, but you’re likely to find him crooning and cocktailing at just about any burlesque, swing, vintage, cosplay or rockabilly event in Atlanta.

In other words, New Orleans Jon is just about the bee’s knees when it comes to Kool Kats in this city, so ATLRetro was delighted to have the opportunity to find out more about his lounge legacy, as well as his plans for the Roaring ’20s Gourmet Dinner and beyond.

ATLRetro: How did you get the name New Orleans Jon?

 

Johnny Pines: I got the name New Orleans Jon in 1999 when I moved to Atlanta after I graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans. New friends would say, “Jon’s coming out with us tonight!” “Jon who?” “Ya know, New Orleans Jon.” The name stuck and has been my stage name ever since. I thought about changing it, but that’s how Atlanta knows me.


Can you share any secrets about maintaining the perfect pompadour?

My hair is one of my best trademarks. They aren’t any secrets about maintaining it; I roll out of bed looking like this. Don’t everybody?

The flirty side of New Orleans Jon with Colette Alesi, aka Dahlia Danger. Photo credit: Dim Horizon Studio.

You are certainly a man of Retro style. Where do you shop, and what’s your favorite find or accessory?

My favorite retro find is my signature yellow smoking jacket. When I really wanna knock ’em dead that’s what I wear. I don’t really ever share with people where I find my duds, but lately my best connection has been Nathaniel Self. He knows my style and size, and when he finds something he knows I’d like he gets it for me. You can always find him alongside Jezebel Blue. She makes all of my custom accessories.


How did you get into MCing burlesque and what’s your favorite show as an MC so far and why?

I’ve been a retro/swing kid since 1997. I got into emceeing and burlesque when I was put in touch with the original production of Big City Burlesque through Evil Sarah. The director and I met, and he showed me a drawing of the character he wanted me to play, and I then showed him a picture of me at a club. And although he and I had never met, the drawing and I matched to a T. I got the gig, and 12 years later I’m still doing my thing.

Johnny Pines, aka New Orleans Jon. Photo credit: No Rest Photography

My favorite show so far is the Free Range Burlesque Show at this year’s Southern Fried Burlesque Fest. I got to share the stage with some true legends and amazing performers from all over the country and worldwide. I was humbled and honored to have been asked to do the show, and it was the best performance I ever gave as an MC. That whole weekend was career-changing for me.


What’s the secret origin story behind Musee du Coeur, and what’s its unique niche in the world of Atlanta burlesque? 

Musee du Coeur is a collaborative project in which each performer eats, sleeps and breathes our craft and history. We aren’t just a burlesque troupe. We are more of a vintage performance group. We’ve carved out our own niche because we have our hands in all types of art. We are musicians, artists, seamstresses, flyers, magicians, dances, singers, carnies, historians and the list goes on and on. We all bring something different to the group.


You seem to have a real joie de vivre and sense of adventure. What’s the craziest adventure you’ve had in the world of burlesque?

The craziest adventure I’ve had in the world of burlesque took place at this year’s Southern Fried Burlesque Fest. After Saturday night’s show, the reigning King and Queen of American Burlesque From The Burlesque Hall of Fame, THE Canadian Burlesque Legend, we’ll call her Judy, a certain journalist we know, and I went to a gentlemen’s club together. We had a blast! The dancers could get enough of Judy. It was a dream come true for me!

The Roaring ‘20s gourmet dinner at Meehan’s Thursday night sure looks delicious. Meehan’s has done a bunch of rock-themed dinners, too. Were you at all involved with the menu planning, and what can diners expect when it comes to the total experience – food, ambiance and entertainment? 

The planning of the menu was a collaboration between Chef Brian O’Rourke [of Meehan’s Public House Vinings] and Chef  Val Domingo [of Meehan’s Public House Sandy Springs]. The food at Meehan’s surpasses any expectations you may have of eating at a pub of any kind. The atmosphere is quite quaint and comfortable with an amazing staff. Since this theme is so different from what they’ve done in the past, they asked me to do my stuff. I’m what’s called a crooner. I sing Jazz Standards dating from the 1920s to the 1950s. I cover them all. Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and so many more. I truly LOVE what I do. I hope the guests enjoy it as much as I do.


The invitation says reservations are required. Is there any standing room, too, to hear you perform?

Reservations are truly recommended and spaces are almost filled. I strongly suggest that people call ahead for availability.

Is it true you’ve also launched a burlesque ladies night out on Tuesdays? What’s that about?

The ladies night out isn’t really a burlesque event. Anyone can come out. It’s at Atlantic Seafood Co. in Alpharetta. They do a ladies night  starting at 4 p.m. featuring me and my buddy Monroe behind the bar, and live music, by George Martini, starts at 7:30.


You’re always so busy hosting and crooning. What’s next for New Orleans Jon?

After The show at Mehann’s, I begin preparing for DragonCon here in Atlanta. I’m MCing the Pool Side Pin-Up Party at the Sheraton Atlanta, Friday August 30, and I’m performing in The Glamour Geek Review the following Saturday night!

Meehan’s Roaring ’20s Gourmet Dinner is a mouth-watering $50 five-course price fixe dinner featuring pairings with New Holland Brewing and vintage-inspired cocktails.Call (404)-843-8058 to reserve your spot. For more information, including the night’s full menu, visit Meehan’s Public House Sandy Springs Website or the Facebook event page.

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Of Cupcakes and Pillow Fights: Pink Pastry Parlor is Like a Scrumptious Slumber Party for Girls, Both Big and Small

Posted on: Jan 31st, 2013 By:

By Rachel Marshall
Contributing Writer

Brave the traffic of Buckhead and you will be rewarded with a tasty treat at Pink Pastry Parlor‘s new Phipps Plaza location where owner Tiffany Young-Cooper is offering a sweet twist on girl power. Her confectionary parlor marries those first shopping trips with Mom and baking with Grandma to produce a palatable paradise to any little princess looking to cut loose with fellow royalty for an unforgettable party. Not only does Pink Pastry promise delectable and adorable cupcakes, but there is a runway room, tea room and, yes, even a pillow fight room where girls can feel beautiful, playful and classy. The Pink Pastry also offers daycare, as well as pastry lessons if Mom wants a ladies night out to enjoy cupcakes and wine.

ATLRetro had a chance to hang out with Tiffany for some glamour shots and stayed for the cupcakes!

What inspired the pillow fight? Because that is basically awesome.

The pillow fight idea came about while I was brainstorming about what every little girl wants for her party – A SLUMBER PARTY! This way she gets a little bit of everything!

Favorite cupcake? Or if it’s impossible to name just one, name your top three.

My favorite cupcake is the Italian Dream, and our top sellers are Strawberry Fairy and It’s My Birthday Cake!

Any new cupcakes you’re just dying to make? 

Salted caramel!!!!

You mention that first shopping trip with your mom and helping grandma bake. Can you go further into detail on how these women shaped your life and work?

I dreaded spending summers in the country learning to bake with my grandma. I loved kids and just knew I would be a pediatrician. But my granny saw something that I didn’t, and all those long summers paid off! Wish she was still here.

If you had any advice for anyone looking down the entrepreneurial path, what would it be? In retrospect, what was your best first step, and what was your worst?

Advice: Save up until you can’t save anymore! So put those hair/nail/massage appointments to the side for four months and see how much of an impact that makes! My best move: Staying economical. Every business owner in my plaza had luxury cars, and I’m still driving my 2007 Dodge. Delayed gratification is key! My worst move: Location is key. I chose affordability over profitability. Continue to save until you are able to afford a good location.

Which doll did you spend the most tea-time with while you were growing up? 

I’m a BARBIE girl. I had all five in one chair!

Do you like to listen to music when you’re baking? Any favorite playlists right now? 

I jam while I’m baking! My favorites are ol’ school: Queen and Donna Summers!

You emphasize self-esteem and empowerment. When you’re down, what is the best confidence booster? 

Best confidence booster is getting all dressed up in pink, hop on the Pink Pastry runway, lights out/disco ball on/alone/after hours and blast “Anything Can Happen” by Ellie Goulding. Talk about CONFIDENCE BUILDER!

If you could say anything to the little, rambunctious girl out there with flour on her hands and chocolate on her cheek, what would that be?  

It’s time for you to be your OWN cake boss at Pink Pastry! Maybe teach me some tricks!

Pink Pastry Parlor is located on the second floor of Phipps Plaza, next to Belk. Call (404) 841-9997. Or  visit the original Pink Pastry Parlor at 8465 Holcomb Road, Suite 1000, in Alpharetta. Call (770) 650-PINK (7465). http://pinkpastryparlor.com/

All photographs are courtesy of Pink Pastry Parlor and used with permission.

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