July 10th, 2011

1920's fashion, gangsters and some German phrases

Hello all! Looking for some RP help, if you please.

My setting is 1928/1929 pre-Black Chicago which according to my research, was a hot bed for speakeasies and gaming as well as having a variety of mobs. I've done a fair bit of looking into historical information of the past and I know that a German family in control would be a bit of a stretch, but there is a fight for control with a Irish group, so...

Anyways!

My questions are:

1) How taboo would it be for a woman to wear pants? I've found nothing so far, all I've found is discussions on sexual liberation and the rise of shorter skirts and more androgynous clothing.

2) What about fashion for men, I know the Zuit Suit is about a decade too advanced, but I'm looking for something similar in style - slick, tri-pieced, etc. And I'd like to use descriptive terms rather than just "suit", so anything would be helpful please.

3) Am I too early for cigarette girls?

4) Would an African-American entertainer, more than likely blues or early jazz, definitely female, be out of place in a mob owned lounge or bar? She would be out of the social circle of the men she's performing for, but she would clearly be aware of the fact she was performing in a speakeasy. Perhaps even be a favourite of theirs.

5) Okay, now for the tough question. My main character is first generation German-American, his father immigrated when he was around 15, but still fluently speaks the language and taught it to his son. I have ideas for when my character gets tired, or is in the throes of passion, he starts dropping his English, for his more comfortable first language of German. But he is also prone to German idioms, catchphrases, and the like.

What I'm looking for, which I could never ask my Oma, are:

a) German sex talk.
b) German slang and catch phrases, or expressions.
c) German insults and swear words.

Thins I have googled are: 1920s America, 1920s fashion, gangsters, German, German expressions, German curse words, flappers, Prohibition, cigarette girls, and pants (The wiki page is actually quite interesting).


ETA: I'm also looking for how Asian-Americans would be treated, having been born in America, but given xenophobia

Thanks in advance for all your help!

EDIT: I think I've gotten to everyone, thank you so much for all your help. I now have a better understanding of where to go with the character and the plot.

Public electrical torture.

 One of my characters is going to be strapped to a table on a stage in front of a crowd to be publicly tortured by electric shocks. This is not an atypical situation - this method is used to punish wrongdoers in this society, which is modern but slightly twisted. Orwellian state, and all that. 

I've looked at the effects of tasers and stun belts and I was wondering if you could have an electrical whip? The thing is, it needs to be relatively safe while still causing a lot of pain. My character is going to be shocked about twenty times, and he can't die from heart failure or anything like that. He's healthy and young, only sixteen/seventeen. So would the best method be using a prod or whip, or transmitting the shocks through the frame of the table itself? This procedure has to technically be okay for use on all ages, but usually there would be far fewer shocks involved, so he's being excessively tortured here.

And afterwards - would he suffer any permanent muscle damage due to the contractions? In my head, I imagine him having mild convulsions for some time afterwards, but I don't know if that would be accurate or not. If he was being shocked by a prod or whip, would that leave marks? I don't want him to have broken bones as a result of this either.

Details/behind the scenes of a trance/techno tour

Okay, so I've got a young DJ who's new to the scene and lucks out and gets to go on a very small tour with a bunch of other DJs. I'm just... not sure how that would work or if it would work at all. I have very limited exposure to the dance scene.

Ideally, I'd like to have a tour and if so, I'd like to get my hands on some accounts of what goes on there - preferably behind the scenes stuff. If that's just not something you get in dance culture, I would love some suggestions of what I could do to get her out of her main town and traveling a bit. (I need to get her from her start town to a specific other one for sure.)

Setting wise: California, 2005, canon's a pretty fluffy one (Power Rangers) so there's stuff I can fudge, though I'd like to know what I'm fudging.

I've been googling: techno music trance tours accounts stories blogs (various mix ups of those words) and I haven't been getting much. I think there's a couple of terms I might be missing.
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Novel research-1960s experience

Hello everyone,
My name is Efrat and I'm finishing my BA in English language and literature at the university of Haifa (that's North Israel). I'm majoring in literature and also took a cluster in cinema and media.

I'm trying to research for a novel I want to write. The story is about a high school graduate from a small town (very small),  in the midwest, receiving a full scholarship from Colombia U. and going there in an effort to become a writer. The main story is set in the sixties, and the narrator is the same girls in two periods: the 1970 college graduate and the 1990s woman who became a librarian (again in a small town) and has a family with at least one teenage kid.
Currently I'm stuck with the first chapter and asking your help in these issues:

1. Where should I set the hometown of the girl? I decided it should be somewhere in Nebraska, since it seemed a good place in the middle, with a climate ranging from very cold to very hot. It also has extensive farming, and I'm looking for a rural community. It is important for the town or the village to be established before the 1930s and to be close to a bus route. It should also be close to a regional high school that existed in the 1950s.

2. What did US buses look like in the 1960s? Did they have large luggage compartment? Were there any routes for buses that go across several countries? I'm looking to put my heroine on a bus that will take to NYC without the need to change buses at central stations.

I'm basically looking for a small town that I can look into its history and find out a little about its community.

Also, what are good sites ot albums to learn from about new york in the 60s, and the University of Columbia and the village, particularly? I suspect I'll need to know a lot about the city's inner structure.

For the specific questions at the beginning I've looked up certain definitions in Wikipedia, such as Nebraska, US buses of all sorts, and one Nebraska village named Dunning, which I also tried to Google.
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Resource links - Useful databases for writers etc.

Four databases that might be useful for fanfic, or for fiction generally if you want to find something and your best source for it is that you've seen it in a movie or TV show:

Internet Movie Plane Data Base
http://www.impdb.org
Lots of aircraft that have appeared in films and on TV.

Helicopters (some overlap with the above, gives more details about movies, TV show episodes, etc.)
http://www.rotaryaction.com/

Internet Movie Firearm Data Base
http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Main_Page
As above but guns, seems to have more TV shows.

Internet Movie Car Data Base
http://www.imcdb.org/
You have to search for specific movies / shows or for a specific type of car rather than browsing, and there isn't as much information about specific episodes or movies as there is in the other databases, but it seems fairly comprehensive. Also covers buses, motorbikes, trucks etc.