Debra Birthday, 11-22-02
Debra's Birthday, 11-22-02
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
Watch it with us!

Friday, November 22, 2002 was a very special evening at Chevy Chase Ballroom!

FIRST, Tom and debra brought together yet another great dance at CCB that drew a large number of very sociable dancers for an evening of fun

Gary and Sue brought an inflatable Santa
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley

Gail and Bob
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley

NOT ONLY THAT, but the dance has the fantastic J Street Jumpers, who are one of my personal favorites, were heralded as the City's Best Jump Blues Band during that Lindy Exchange last spring.... They (not me) said

"The J Street Jumpers are one of our favorite bands. For three years in a row, they've won several Washington Area Music Awards (WAMA) including best big band, best recording, and best jazz group. Rusty Bogart has been among the best instrumentalist nominees each year. Most of the band members have been playing this music for 25 years. They've played with the likes of Wilson Pickett, the Shirelles, Tina Turner, Bullmoose Jackson, Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bo Didley, Charlie Byrd, Charles Brown, and Slide Hampton."
J Street Jumpers
J Street jumpers in action
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley
Tom and Debra

Debra and Tom
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley
Connie and Tony

Connie and Tony
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley

NOT ONLY THAT, but the Friday dance was also a BENEFIT. Each year, The SantaCause compiles a holiday CD of local musicians to benefit local children's charities; this year they have chosen Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children. This was a wonderful way to have some holiday-season swing dance fun and raise funds for this worthy charity. At the end of the evening, Tom announced that the 250 people who attended had raised nearly $2,700 for the charity!.

FINALLY, the Eight Week Wonders put on a very special performance in Debra's honor.


Lining up
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley
8ww #1

Eight Week Wonders in Action
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley

Sue and Gary
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley
Deb's Gifts

Debra Opens Her Gifts
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley
Deb's Cake
Debra's Cake
Photo Credit: Ronnie Weinstein
Serving the Cake

Serving the Cake to 250 People
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley

For two weeks, we presented a streaming video of the Eight Week Wonders' tribute to Debra Sternberg We have removed it from the site due to its size. We have replaced it with some slide shows, below. Our very deep gratitude to Dr. Ronnie Weinstein Chiropractor to the Lindy Trade for making this video and working with us to bring it to you at a manageable size.

Here are some stills from the video:

  • Click here to see pictures from Debra's Birthday Jam
  • Click here to see pictures from the Eight Week Wonders' show

Although certain things should probably not see the light of day (e.g the making of sausage, legislation, and birthday skits), we will share this chronology with you:

On the Vintage Trip to Richmond, we were speculating on "something unique" to do for Debra's Birthday. The word "theatrical" was mentioned. Using that word always elicits "Greek Theater" --- mainly because in college (back in the dark ages) everything went back to Greek Theater

Gradually, we came to envision Oedipus railing before the Fates. In this case, someone tall would play "Tom Koerner" and the Chorus would play "Debra Sternberg" --- the chorus would wear Debra Masks. Briefly, the "Tom" character would make his usual wisecracks and the Chorus would respond with "zingers" that our Auntie deb is too modest to make herself... Most of this was "tongue-in-cheek." It is not far-fetched. A similar idea is used in the Astaire-Rogers film Swing Time, where ballet snob Petrov (Astaire) confronts 50 "Lindas" (Rogers) through the aid of masks. Tom Webster was mentioned as someone "tall" and in time came to own the Koerner role, much as Brando owns Stanley Kowalski.


As more people heard about it, the concept was thoroughly misconstrued and morphed into something that was neither theatrical nor doable. Namely, doing "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" with the masks on and conducting the "zingers" repartee at the same time.

Zillions of e-mails on the subject were exchanged on this topic; in order to just generate the electricity needed for this interchange, several million acre-feet of water had to be run over Hoover Dam.


Then there was the question of the masks. The idea was not original. It was recycled from an old Colombo plot in which a photograph tied around the head is shown to make an effective mask. Of course, in movies, you don't have to worry about getting an 8x10 photo. Fortunately, Dr. Ronnie Weinstein came to the rescue. He has an eighty quintillion pixel Tom Corbett Space camera. He also had a head-and-shoulder shot of you and Tom. Since the photos come out about 60 inches wide, we were able to crop out the heads to make the masks.

The Masks
The masks
Photo Credit: Vern Hensley

On Thursday, Sue asked me to make the eighteen "Debra Masks". I printed a draft copy and determined that this project would use more ink-jet cartridges than are consumed by some underdeveloped countries, particularly North Korea and El Ropador. Fortunately, one of the team members (who shall remain anonymous) was able to print these on a company machine. I wouldn't want to be accountable for G&A in that company, but I suspect that about 20 color copies are far below the number of "pressed hams" that are printed every month...


Sue and Gary hosted practice on Thursday. Afterwards, folks went to the Silver Diner to eat. David Seng got food poisoning and died. (Just kidding! David didn't really die, but he feels like he did)


Finally, with the intervention of Kofi Anan and Al Sharpton, we reached an epic compromise: we would gather in the hall, put on the masks, file in and sing Happy Birthday to Debra. Then, we take off the masks and do "T-R-O-U-B-L-E". Only two "zingers" from the great mass that were compiled were offered before the performance. However, any time someone made a mistake, they were to shout "Don't Look at Tom" It is sort of theatrical and we hope that everybody understood it.


Although the performance stunk, we still think that our Auntie Deb is worth every bit of effort that was expended. We hope she still loves us...

Click Here to download your very own Debra Mask

Click Here to download your very own Tom Mask

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