We have lost another one of our historic ladies. She had a great life right up to the end. She was adored by those who met her, admired by those who only knew about her, and was loved by so many who watched her on stage. Of course, I’m talking about the lady with the brightest red-hair, and very shapely body—the one and only Ms. Tempest Storm.
She left us to dance again on that special gold stage far-far away, where there is nothing but happiness. Ms Storm was born a leap-year baby on Feb. 29, 1928 and left us on April 20, 2021 at the tender age of 93. She will be greatly missed.
I have had the pleasure of knowing her for a great many years. When I first me her I was a teenager in San Diego. Then I met her again when I was a sportswriter in Los Angeles. And, of course, I attended a few of her shows here in Vegas, and a few birthday parties in her honor. The last time I was with her (along with about 99 others) was at another wonderful lady’s home, Ms Cindy Doumani, where she staged a beautiful party in her honor.
In my column following that particular party I explain the above encounters with this lovely lady. I have taken the liberty of bringing that column back today. Here is the original from March 2020:
Went to a party Saturday evening at Cindy Doumani’s home. It was supposed to be a small group of friends, but like Cindy said, “well it sorta got out of hand,” and ended up with about 100 of her friends being treated to drinks and buffet to watch a film. Let’s be honest we go to a lot of parties, but this one was a wee bit different.
Remember February was a Leap year month this year. That meant that anyone born on February 29, gets to celebrate their birthday once every four years. Most celebrants, however, pick either the 28th or March 1st the other three years. Now what made this one so special was the celebrant—a young lady with bright long red hair, a cute little figure, with the name of Tempest Storm, who was celebrating her 23rd actual birthday (she’s 92. Yep, folks, if you are in the upper age group between the age of somewhere like 70 and above) that name just may bring back a memory or two. She was one of the top of the ladder Burlesque Queens during the roaring 1950’s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, along with Sally Rand, Lili St. Cyr, and Blaze Starr to name a couple of the fabulous ladies that took it all off on the stages of the world.
Ms. Doumani has known Ms. Storm for years and has held a few parties in her honor over those years—and this one was going to be special in more way than just a simple birthday party. Oh, no, this one would preview a special documentary film detailing some of those 92 years.
Now, I can remember as a young teenager growing up in Los Angeles I actually went with my grandfather to a theater in downtown Los Angeles to watch Sally Rand perform. When I eventually moved to San Diego one of my neighbors managed a burlesque theater in downtown San Diego. His son Don and I were buddies and we would sometime get to go with his dad on a weekend and sit backstage and watch the ladies do their thing. Never thought about it being special, as the ladies treated us real nice, like we were part of the family. Later in my life, when I was a sports reporter covering the L.A. Dodgers and Angels, one of the hangouts after a game was a strip nightclub on Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood called the Club Largo, owned and operated by a character named Chuck Landis. He was a major sports buff, and comped reporters and sports figures when we stopped by after a game. I believe that is where I first met Tempest Storm. Man was she a beauty and believe me she still is today!
The film covers her life: the fame, a few of the warts, losses of loved ones, failing as a mother, and derision in the press when she married a black entertainer, singer/ actor Herb Jeffries, growing up in Georgia, being raped by a group of young boys when she was in her early teens, and the loss of being allowed into her daughters life. She tells the story in the film. You feel for this lady who wants nothing more than to be able to see her daughter once again, and to be able to hug her granddaughter. You sit there and watch her calling year after year and leaving a message with no reply ever. Finally, near the end of the film she goes to where her daughter lives, checks into a hotel, calls her and leaves a message “I’m at the hotel and would love to visit with you,” she said. Within a few minutes the phone rings and it’s a voice on the other end, asking “what are you doing in town…” The end result, Tempest Storm leaves without seeing her family and mails a card to her daughter.
This is a biographical movie that has mixed feelings. It’s not all goodie good stuff for its star. But, that’s what makes this film special. She tells it like it is—raw truth!
So, should you have the chance to watch the film, “Tempest Storm” on iTunes or check your local provider–do watch it. It’s a very unusual film!
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Showman Elijah Rock (“Masters of Sex”), is bringing back a staple of golden age entertainment with “The Elijah Rock Variety Show.” Premiering online, audiences can opt to watch the show on YouTube, listen via Podcast platforms, or do both directly on www.elijahrock.com. The show launched Wednesday, April 21, with two complete episodes and an additional ten weekly thereafter.
Each episode is hosted by Rock who interviews someone from his vast network of industry peers, friends, and celebrities, followed by an entertainment segment that showcases unique talents such as singers, dancers, comedians and more. Some episodes also include a segment titled “It’s the Word!”, wherein Elijah recites spiritually empowering spoken words providing inspiration and hope to the audience during these challenging COVID-19 pandemic days.
The premiere episodes features actor Jocko Sims (of NBC’s “New Amsterdam”), costume designer Ane Crabtree, actor/director Richard Speight, Jr., plus Ray Charles Robinson, Jr. (first son of musical genius Ray Charles). Additional season one guests include Vegas headliner Clint Holmes, Hollywood screenwriter and children’s rights activist Antwone Fisher, entrepreneur Sita Lewis, and legendary actress Marla Gibbs. “The Elijah Rock Variety Show” (pre-recorded) follows “The Elijah Rock Christmas Special” which was a livestream show that aired in December 2020. Both programs are co-produced by Rock and producing partner, Mylene Barretto whose expertise spans digital entertainment marketing and technical operations.
“Elijah Rock is a triple threat entertainer engaging audiences through dance, song and acting,” said Barretto. She added, “The Elijah Rock Variety Show” is just the beginning of our new digital venture providing us with a platform to expand our experiential business initiatives and build out an immersive experience to help leverage the visibility of independent artists and their brands.”
Long dedicated to upholding and aligning himself with the first-class carriage and aesthetic of timeless entertainment, singer/actor/dancer, author, and host Elijah Rock leaves no stones unturned. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Rock could be seen starring as the lead vocalist in ‘Vegas! the Show’ at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas in addition to touring the country as a solo artist. Gershwin For My Soul was the Cleveland-born baritone’s first critically acclaimed Pop Traditional album. Jazziz Magazine marvels, “Rock brings both chops and emotion to his masculine yet sensitive delivery.” Rock’s upcoming sophomore album Matters of the Heart as well as his recently published book, “The Fine Art of Romance – A Bachelor’s Handbook” will be launched via the Variety Show. For further information, visit elijahrock.com.
Well, gang, that’s about it for this week.