The Girls In The Band – They Told Them They Couldn’t Play And They Did It Anyway

The Girls In The Band - They Told Them They Couldn’t Play And They Did It Anyway
They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low-cut gowns and short shorts, they kowtowed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved (Pictured:  Anna Mae Winburn)

In the thirties and forties, hundreds of women musicians toured the country in glamorous All-Girl Bands, while others played side by side with their male counterparts. Yet by the mid-fifties female jazz musicians had literally disappeared from the workplace; their names, their contributions to music, completely forgotten. THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 30s to the present day.

Among the 90 great ladies music video clips and interviews – Marian McPartland, Patrice Rushen, Melba Liston, Mary Lou Williams, Billie Rogers, Ina Mae Hutton, International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Roz Cron, Carline Ray, Terri Lyne Carrington, Corky Hale, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Esperanza Spalding.

THE GIRLS IN THE BAND was produced and directed by Emmy Award winning director Judy Chaikin. Chaikin, has come a long and circuitous route from her early beginnings as a Las Vegas chorus girl, dancing in the show room at the Thunderbird Hotel (which later went on to become The Silverbird Hotel.) “It was a wild and wooly time in Vegas” says Chaikin, “there was lots of jazz around, especially at the great black night club the Moulin Rouge, which only lasted a couple of years, until Harry Belafonte broke the color barrier at the Riviera Hotel and signaled the end of segregation in the big Las Vegas hotels.

Since that time, Chaikin has carved out a multi-faceted career, appearing in films and television as an actress before turning her sights on a directing career where she has directed for film, television and the Broadway stage, earning two Emmy nominations, two Golden Eagle Awards, and won six Best Director Awards in Film Festivals for both her documentary and narrative films.

A New York Times Critic Pick of the Week, THE GIRLS IN THE BAND has won 5 major Film Festival Awards including the Palm Spring Film Festival Audience Award. The movie premiered at Lincoln Center in New York and is now in theaters nationally.

This Tuesday, April 29 at 6:30pm, Inspire Theater in Downtown Las Vegas will host a special Red Carpet event featuring national and local celebrities, followed by a one night only screening of THE GIRLS IN THE BAND. Director Judy Chaikin will also participate in a Q&A session following the film.

This is the first in a series of movies presented downtown by the online distributor herFlix in association with CineFemmes, a UNLV organization of female student filmmakers. The movie was partly funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation and the Hugh Hefner Foundation. Tickets for the screening are available exclusively at, $10.00 Adults, $5 Students, valet parking courtesy of the El Cortez.