Doing the mashed potato with Dee Dee Sharp … and Steve

Featured · Music

When we last left our friend Steve Vilarino, he was 15 years old and doing the pony at “Hollywood A Go Go,” a teevee-studio teen dance-party broadcast, behind Marvin Gaye singing (er …lip syncing) “Can I Get A Witness.”

Steve pops up again, this time doing the mashed potato, appropriately enough to “Mashed Potato Time” sung by Dee Dee Sharp. (Her real name Dione LaRue, from Philadelphia, PA)

Writes Steve, “I’m on the right, directly in front of Dee Dee Sharp. Lighter colored jacket thin black tie.”

According to Steve, “The show was filmed at Channel 9 KHJ TV in Hollywood. The time was Nov. 1965. The original show was called 9th Street West, but in syndication was renamed Hollywood A Go Go. The host was KHJ Radio DJ Sam Riddle.”

“It was the beginning of introducing Tamla-Motown music to white audiences. Although the performers were black, the teenagers dancing on the Show were white.”

“Dee Dee sang live to a music track but on the TV broadcast what you actually heard was the record recording.”

“They rehearsed the teens first. They ran thru the song once for camera angles. I remember the studio was very hot. They used fans between songs to keep the studio cooler. And the b/w cameras were huge.”

“I’m not sure why they picked me to be in front for various songs. Maybe because I had a light-colored jacket that photographed better?”

Or could it be because you were a good dancer, Steve? Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that. “I danced in all the local L.A. teen dance shows at the time,” says Steve. “My mom who drove me to the show said I was a good dancer.”

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Robert Dornhelm, who directed two prominent dance docs, to get award


​Director Robert Dornhelm, a contemporary filmmaker of great range and versatility who has worked across genres and formats, is slated to receive the 2018 SEEfest Legacy Award. The award will be granted at the 12th annual South East European Film Festival‘s opening night, April 26, at the Writer’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. A screening of his rarely viewed The Crown Prince two nights later is of interest.

The Romanian-born filmmaker, whose credentials span documentary and feature films and television, began his directing career as a documentarian in Austria, his adoptive country since age 13. His first works to receive widespread international attention were two dance documentaries: The Children Of Theatre Street and She Dances Alone, both which were selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Children of Theatre Street
chronicles the lives of the young students of the Kirov Ballet and was nominated for an Academy Award, while She Dances Alone  tells the story of Kyra Nijinsky, daughter of Nijinsky.

As part of his honoring by SEEFest, the festival will screen Dornhelm’s 2006 historic drama, The Crown Prince, which tells the
saga of Rudolf, the scion of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In a timely tale of political intrigue and tempestuous romance (albeit not with a porn star) the politically progressive Rudolf leads a rebellious and ultimately self-destructive existence that sets him on a collision course with his old man, the rigid and reactionary Emperor Franz Joseph. (Think Eric Trump gone haywire and working for Bernie Sanders.) Looking for love in all the wrong places leads Rudolf to a terrible end in a hunting lodge in the Vienna Woods. If you can tear yourself away from MSNBC for just one evening, this may hold your attention equally well. It looks very good to me. 

Movie stars a cast of prominent Austrian actors Max von Thun, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Julia Jentsch, Vittoria Puccini, Sandra Ceccarelli, Omar Sharif and Christian Clavier.

The Crown Prince (2006) | South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) | Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills | Apr 28 

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