Lindy Hop Dance Forum Archive for November
1998December, 1998 Forum
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Archive of Dance Forum Articles From December, 1998

This is the archive of DANCE FORUM articles which appeared during December, 1998

This is the place to review and savor all of those interesting articles written by our erudite readers.

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  1. Steve and Carla's Teaching Schedule (Steve Cowles)
  2. Mood Swings Updates (Ken Statsny)
  3. Bethesda Hatter (Deborah Brooks)
  4. The Marathon - Complete Report (Elizabeth Engel)
  5. Washington Jazz Update (Jamie Glover)
  6. The Untrue Story of Swing (Alex Fajkowski)
  7. The Swedish Saga Continues.... (Anna Duncan)
  8. Swing New Years Eve (Mary Pat Cooney)
  9. Volunteers Needed for New Years Eve at Glen Echo (Jennifer Manlove)
  10. What LA Lindy Hoppers Think About Swing... (Jim Kranyak)
  11. Recent Article in the NY TImes (Lizzie Hess)
  12. About Euro-Technos (Gordon Yong)
  13. Hey You Kids! (Peaches O'Dell)
  14. Lindy Hop as a Drug (Sara Fajkowski and Gretta Thorn)
  15. Room to Rent? (Janice Butler)
  16. Thrift Shop Link (Deborah Brooks)
  17. Washington Cats in 5678 Magazine (Kathy Armstrong)
  18. Fans Take a Jazz Journey (Chelsea J. Carter)
  19. Swing Dance on January 8 (Naomi Uyama)
  20. Bands at A Place to Dance (Nancy Baird)
  21. New Year's Eve Event (Steve Lavagnino)
  22. TCO on January 1! (Deb Sternberg)

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Steve and Carla's Teaching Schedule
From: Steve Cowles

A Couple of things:

  • Carla and I are now teaching every Friday at Zones
  • Carla and I are starting up swing nights at Nick's in Alexandria. It is going to be every sunday night from December 20th to January 10th. Then it is going to move to Thursday nights starting Jan. 7th until the end of the universe. The cost is $8 to get in. We are going to be teaching a beginning Jitterbug/collgiate shag lesson from 7:30pm-8:30. From 8:30 pm to 12 midnight is going to be DJ dancing. The lesson is going to start with basic six count and is going to end with basic shag. There are going to be two wooden dance floors (one large floor to dance on and one small floor to practice on) in two different rooms and Nicks menu pleases even the most thrifty lindyhoppers. For more info call Nicks at 703-751-8900


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Mood Swings Updates
From: Ken Stastny

The routine for Mood Swings Mondays is pretty well set. Here it goes:

  • First Mondays: Mood Swings
  • Second Mondays: Chesapeake Greys Big Band
  • Third Mondays: BaySide Big Band
  • Fourth Mondays: Crabtowne Big Band

These four bands will continue this regular schedule indefinitely. Since November has five Mondays we will also be presenting Annapolis Junction Big Band for Fifth Monday.

For all of December, the bands will be featuring a Holiday Swing Theme --- so, for the rest of 1998 here's the schedule:

  • Monday: December 7: Mood Swings Big Band (Special Performance)
  • Monday: December 14: Chesapeake Greys Big Band
  • Monday, December 21: BaySide Big Band
  • Monday, December 28: Crabtowne Big Band

...And then for 1999 the routine starts all over again!

The buffet has been replaced by a kitchen which features a real nice "cooked-to-order" menu featuring the best chicken sandwich I've ever had and the folks are raving about the new Fish Sandwich.

We've also added a private swing/lindy workshop with lessons before Mood Swings Mondays. The workshops last one full month. People can sign up for the workshop by calling Club Hollywood directly at 410-266-5888 and ask for ext. 115.

After the workshop we continue to offer free swing lessons at 8PM and on break. The bands play from 8:30 to 10:30. Cover charge for Mood Swings Mondays is $6.

The crowds have been real strong all month long and we're having a wonderful time. Hope to see you soon.
Thanx. ---Ken

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Bethesda Hatter
From: Deborah Brooks

Attention: cool cats with vintage hats. If your chapeau isn't making the style statement you want, check out American Hatters. With over 57 years of experience, they can help you with any recleaning, resizing, reshaping, reblocking, renewing and remodeling needs that your vintage treasures require. Also, hat trimmings, ribbons, linings, feathers and sweat bands. By appointment: 9904 Broad Street; Bethesda, MD 20814. Telephone 301-530-5576.

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The Marathon - Complete Report
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel

The weather - perfect. The couse - gorgeous. The support - excellent. The spectators - sparse, compared to many other more publicized marathons (like, oh, say Marine Corps), but the last 1/4 mile was amazing - a solid tunnel of screaming spectators, with my brother and his fiancee right at the very beginning, and my folks right by the finish line.

So now the gory details. The race started well. Jim and I were right with some of our running friends from the DC area. It was in the 40's, clear, sunny, very little wind, and low humidity. IOW, absolutely ideal. It only took us about 35 seconds to clear the start line, and the pack thinned out to the point that we could run normal pace by the second mile (after we looped Eakins Oval). We were planning to run with one of our friends, Crab, but we lost track of him in the pack early on. The first part of the race was awesome - I didn't even feel like I was working at all until the one "hill" in mile 9. And it wasn't bad at all. Running through the downtown area, and then past the zoo and up into Fairmont Park on a gorgeous fall day was a joy. The water stops were all between 2 and 2.5 miles apart, and the Gatorade started at mile 7.5. We were doing great with our plan to run everything but the water stops (I can't drink from a cup and run at the same time). And we were easily on target for a 4:15 marathon (15 minutes faster than our goal).

About 1/2 way, I ran into an unexpected problem. For about 1/2 mile at mile 13, the road was steeply canted to the side, and I hurt my left Achilles tendon. (It's a lot better now - actually it was a lot better after Monday morning's massage - but it hurt for days, and I haven't been running again yet.) We kept with the run everything but the water stops plan through mile 18, despite increasing pain in my left heel, ankle, and foot. But after mile 19, I ended up walking (briskly, but still walking) for 30-60 seconds most of the remaining miles. But I am proud to say that I never walked more than 60 seconds, and I never walked more than once per mile.

Final walk was right at the mile 25 marker, after which we picked it backup. About that point Crab caught up with us and passed us, and finished I think about 30 seconds ahead of us. Even in the pain of those last 6 miles, every time we started running again, we dropped right back into our pace of about 9-9:15 miles. Once I hit the spectators, I started picking it up, and as I rounded the corner at the Art Museum and saw the finish line just ahead (and saw that if I moved it, I could break 4:22), I broke into a sprint, pumping my arms like crazy, Jim right behind me screaming, "I didn't know you still had that in you! Run, baby, run!" My parents and the rest of the crowd were screaming like crazy, too (even in us slow folks, they like the hard finish), and I felt like I was flying as I crossed the finish line.

Yes, at mile 23 I told Jim that one, I was crazy for ever getting us into this, and two, I was never doing this again. Within an hour after I finished, I was already talking about how next time I'm going to beat 4:15 ( which I think I probably would have yesterday if it wasn't for the tendon problem). And actually I think I'll probably try to break 4 hours in the next one, because I would've broken 4:15 last Sunday if not for the injury.

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Washington Jazz Update
From: Jamie Glover

Washington Jazz Updates for December 1998

  • Swing & Blues at The Aroma Company (Thursday & Saturday)
  • Latin Jazz Party at Pangea (Thursdays)
  • Live Wire Jazz Trio at Georgetowne Station (Thursdays)
  • Eleventh Hour Swing Party (Wednesdays)
  • New Years Eve at Politiki

The Aroma Company 3417 Connecticut Ave. Cleveland Park 244-7995

Thursday December 3: Aroma welcomes lounge Swing Band Chaise Lounge on Thursday from 8:30pm-12:30am in the front bar. This unique band has a constantly expanding repetoire ranging from the hi fi hits of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to the bands own take on music from contemporary sources such as the Talking Heads. Featuring Marilyn Older on vocals this band is a great Washington jewel on the jazz swing scene.

Saturday December 5: Swing Fans and Blues fans can come together on the same night to see some Jump Blues with The Jon Liebman Band. Jon is only 21, but plays the swing and blues harmonica with incredible style. He sings a great lineup of vintage tunes that are no challenge for the talented bandmates that back him up. We have enjoyed the likes of Rusty of the J.Street Jumpers, and Pete of the Nighthawks who have played guitar with this guy. If your playing with these guys you have something.

In the back lounge both Thursdays and Saturdays WPFW DJ Steven Gregory spins jazz, soul, funk, and an incredible mix of vintage vinyl. Lounge in the back room with Steven from 9 until closing (2 on Thursday and 3 on Saturday) and tune in and listen to his radio show Night Talk every Wednesday at 12 midnight, WPFW 89.3fm. Door cover always $3.

Future shows at Aroma : Thursday Dec.10 Ricky Loza(latin jazz), Saturday Dec. 12 Jerry Gordon(contemporary jazz funk), Thursday Dec. 17 Bossa Lingo(latin jazz), Saturday Dec. 19 The Onus(national jazz act, straight ahead) shows until Saturday January 2nd.

Pangea 2134 Pennsylvania Ave. adjacent to GWU and Washington Circle)

Thursdays starting Dec. 3rd: Live Latin jazz party, come out to lounge and mambo. Thursday Dec. 3rd we are having the premier party for the band Alegria and a host of friends out to create the perfect evening every Thursday. Mention the hosts name whom invited you or return this email and get 2 for 1 at the door after nine. Every one is free before nine and the party starts at 6pm so you know where to go after work. This is a very different Washingtonian event, with a vintage West Coast and New York Lounge flavor. On the first floor Latin Jazz quartet Alegria will perform from 7-11pm, while upstairs swing lounge and Latin music will play from 6-9pm with Andy. Late night Acid jazz continues upstairs with our second DJ Ricky from 9 until 2am. This is a party conceived of for professionals and socialites, artists, music lovers and the diverse crowd that Washington is known for, this is not a clique or homogenous event, this is our night, trust me the energy will be just right.

Vote: Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fall on Thursdays, let us know if you think we should continue the party those nights, we will have 3 weeks of lead in time, so cast your vote with Jamie or any other of our hosts. Forward this email, return a message or call 202-387-8894 to join our VIP invite list.

Politiki 319 Pennsylvania Ave.

New Years Eve Swing Party Jamie Glover plays host to Washington's coolest New Years eve party at Politiki 319 Pennsylvania Ave. Capital Hill. This is an all inclusive Party with **open beer and champagne bar all night(that's not a toast, oh yeah champagne all night long), **lavish buffet 8-11pm, **snacks all night, **Live Swing Music on the top floor, by DC's own Swing Set. There is a great dance floor for all you dancers. **DJ swing music all night by DJ jump **Door prizes including capitals tickets, free swing lessons, open bar parties, dinners at area restaurants. Email for prices and ticket ordering information. Make your reservations early, party is from 8pm-3:30am, discounts for parties of 10 or more. Checks & Credit cards are accepted. email us today and have the best new years ever.

Georgetowne Station 3125 M Street (Georgetown)

Every Thursday: Come enjoy dinner and jazz with Steve Barke's Jazz Trio Live Wire. They perform 8pm-12midnight, there are $3 martini's and good food, say hello to Steve for me.

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The Untrue Story of Swing
From: Alex Fajkowski

The origin of the music and dance craze known as swing, as everyone knows, can be traced back to the East Coast of the United States in the 1920s and 30s. It was in uptown New York that workers at a sausage factory, then known as The Savaloy, became fed up with the company's insistence that they always had to stop work in pairs in order to go to the toilet. Every day they saw their boss Mr Snowden (who due to his assumed air of superiority was known as "Snooty Lord" Snowden) chauffeured to work by a local taxi company, Calloway Cabs.

"If he can move about on his own" reasoned the workers, "Why can't we?" And so it came to be that the pairs split up to do different things at the same time and invented "The Breakaway", named after a popular chocolate bar of the time. To his credit, Snowden immediately saw the commercial opportunity presented by this new move, stopped making sausages, shortened the name to "The Savoy" and re-opened it as a dance club.

Everyone began to get in on the act. Even the works band of the taxi company, by reversing the name and dropping the "s", succeeded in getting gigs there. Others followed. The brother of playwright G B Shaw, R. T., started a band, as did many more. The father of our current pop hero Cliff Richard was a prominent drummer of the time. Yes, some people find it difficult to believe that Harry Webb is in fact the son of Chick Webb, who is widely credited with discovering Ella, the mother of present-day actress Tara Fitzgerald, long before she was to become the wife of famous novelist F Scott.

New moves came thick and fast. Star dancer Frank Manning invented "the aerial", a move where his partner Norma Miller was thrown high in the air clutching a piece of wire in order to improve radio reception. Years later electronics companies refined the "FM aerial" so you could hear stereo without endangering anyone.

In a spirited but misguided attempt to outdo this incredible manoeuvre, Snowden himself came up with "the satellite dish" five decades before the popularisation of extra-terrestrial broadcasting. However, as all this move entailed was nailing your partner to an outside wall of a house, no-one could really see the point of it at the time, requiring as it did nearly three months just to get the planning permission.

So where did the name "Lindy Hop" come from? One version of the story lies in a report of a local journalist who visited The Savoy. In persistently trying to get an interview with "Snooty" Snowden, he irritated the great man beyond endurance. While looking through the office window at the frenzied dancing, he asked Snowden what it was called. "For goodness sake" snapped Snowden "It's in the paper!" The journalist glanced briefly at a crumpled newspaper which was lying on Snowden's desk before beating a hasty retreat. What he thought he saw were the words "Lindy Hops The Atlantic" and indeed this became the title of his article. Had he stayed to unfold the paper to reveal the headline in full he would have seen that it read "Mansell Indy Hopes Across The Atlantic" - the story of an English couple planning to have a son who they wanted to become a successful racing driver in the United States. Of course it did come to pass that in 1993, Nigel Mansell won the Swing Indy Car Championship, and since this is true it can have no further part in our story.

So what happened to those great dancers of the time? They appeared in many films with names like other films, but that article was in the last issue - try and keep up, for goodness sake. Frank Manning retired to be supported by his nephew, Northern comedian Bernard. His partner Norma Miller, devastated by the disappearance of her Uncle Glen during the war, became author Norman Mailer and sought solace through writing a book about the old days at the sausage factory entitled "Swilling Out The Savaloy". And what of that daring sibling duo who danced without underwear? The Knickerless Brothers are still entertaining us today with their stories of being the only act in the business who always worked without support.

So there it is. Sausages, car racing, chocolate bars and Cliff Richard. All of them have their hallowed place in the Untrue Story of Swing. To this day people still argue over some of these points - was Leon James really the father of Tiswas presenter Sally? Does a savaloy taste better with ketchup or mustard? - but for the most part it doesn't matter. For those of us who just enjoy it as a pastime, the story, like the dancing itself, is just done for fun.

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The Swedish Saga Continues....
By: Anna Duncan

Hello from the land of cold, snow, and ice....and some really great dancing. :) Well, I am still enjoying Sweden but OHHH am I homesick. Thanksgiving came and went and I never saw sign of a turkey or a Pilgrim anywhere. That is, I must admit, what really tipped me off to my homesickness. So I have decided to come home sooner rather than later. I will be back on December 15th (a Tuesday).


Last night I went for the first time to a wonderful little place called 'Stampen'. It is a jazz club from back in the 50s. Talk about ambience! Frank would have been in hog heaven with all the memorabilia hanging from the ceiling. Wowzers! I went with Eddie and Eva to see Eddie's band play. He is the lead vocalist, and what a voice on that boy! Before it got too crowded I even had a dance or two when he wasn't singing. :) Anyhow, it was an amazing place filled with an amazing amount of great vintage stuff, with an amazing band shakin' the rafters! Next week is the last night of Jesse's Jazz Club and coincidentally enough, my last week here. There is supposed to be one heck of a party!!!

Well, there isn't much else to tell except I am counting down the days till I understand what the people around me are saying! OH! Of course and the fact that tonight, after a 2 week hiatus, it has started to SNOW again. Big news for those of you running around in the beautiful sunshine back home. We have about 8 hours of dusk, and then it is dark again. No real sunlight has reached us in almost a month. bleh.... :P I can't wait for sunshine again....ahhhhh...hmmmm

All my love and great big hugs from Scandinavia,
Anna Banana

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Swing New Years Eve
By: Mary Pat Cooney

Hello, after a long period of no word, and almost no swing! I recall seeing you at an Oklahoma Twisters dance not too long ago. I haven't been out dancing bacause I injured my hip, and smooth dances are OK, but twisting and pulling are OUT. so I miss the whole crazy scene. I have been teaching a lot of tap, and we took 60 little tappers to dance for Shirley Temple Black at the Kennedy Center Honors. I'm definitely not sitting around.

I need some help from some swing dancers - would you put out the word?

I need 6 or 8 (the more the merrier, but only a few on stage) dancers to come to the New Years eve celebration being flung in the streets in Falls Church, VA. They're blocking off the main intersection at Rts. 7 and 29, putting in a trailer stage and throwing a roaming FREE new years party. Multiple locations of music and entertainment up and down the streets nearby, indoors, too. The coordinator wants people dancing in the streets at midnight. I can't think of a better way to ring in the last year before a new millennium. You'll be on the stage shortly before the clock strikes midnight, showing off probably some charleston , lindy, and east coast swing; and then showing a few basics to encourage people to swing in the new year. I will be the announcer, just for the dancing stuff.

Obligation is to be sober and able to dance to recorded music between 11:30 and 12. Otherwise you can just enjoy the party. There will be some pay.

Anyone interested? e-mail me at home -----

Thanks, and have a swingin' holiday.
--- Mary Pat Cooney
(former Drill Sergeant of Swing)

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Volunteers Needed for New Years Eve at Glen Echo
By: Jennifer Manlove

Help decorate during the day or help with clean-up that evening and get into the dance for FREE. Avoid lines and make sure that you get into the dance!

We need lots of extra clean-up volunteers after the dance (at 12:30) for approximately an hour, to help take down decorations and clean the hall.

Please Please help us out with this!

We need decorators for these slots during the day. Please note that this is a Thursday (not a holiday):

  • 9:30 - 11:30: 2 responsible volunteers to help with the balloon structure
  • Noon - 2 : 6 people to help decorate
  • 2 - 4: 6 people to help decorate
  • 3:30 - 5:30: 1-2 volunteers to assist with the balloon structure

If you can help out, please send me an email: or call me at: 202-829-9394

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What LA Lindy Hoppers Think About Swing...
By: Jim Kranyak

[Editor's Note: Jim Kranyak sent us this note which indicates that the LA Dance Scene is just a bit more polarized than the scene here in DC]

Here are some exerpts from recent "Sermons" from the First Church of Lindy Hop:

  • "Blessed is the man who dances smoothly in the counsel of the Swedish" by Reverend Peter.
  • "We openly embrace all styles of Lindy, but accept West Coast to be a creation spawned of demons."
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Recent Article in the NY TImes From: Lizzie Hess

Here's an article from the NY Times for your web site. The Library of Congress web site for the historical archives on dance instruction may be of considerable interest to some of your readers, as they include both video format and written dance manuals. Unfortunately, the emphasis is on "historical," as in pre-World War II. You won't find Lindy Hop in here. But it looks like this site is a ton of fun to look at.

T. A. Faulkner [on the site, see below] sounds like a nineteenth-century stuffed coat: "Did you ever know a lady who danced to excess to live to be over 25 years of age? If she does she is, in most instances, broken in health physically and morally. Doctors claim it to be a most harmful exercise physically for both sexes. . . . Is there any wonder that so many women of today are unhealthy?"

This is from a physically and morally broken female dancer who has outlived her allotted 25 years. Here's the article:

Click Your Mouse and Your Heels


For those who have failed to be caught up in the ballroom dancing boom sweeping people back off their feet, the World Wide Web may offer salvation.

A new Library of Congress Web site allows users to lace up their dancing shoes and learn steps for the waltz, the Charleston and the fox trot -- with no need to endure the self-conscious awkwardness that marked many of those old school-gym dance classes.

The site, An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals Circa 1490-1920 (http://memo, is a collection of more than 200 social dance manuals covering etiquette, technique and dance history. The site also includes some anti-dance treatises. The chronological series begins with a rare 15th-century source for the basse danse, a Burgundian court dance, continues through clog dances, waltzes and ballet, and ends in the ragtime era.

"This site provides an opportunity for people interested in dance to look at rare material not available in most local libraries." said Elizabeth Aldrich, a dance historian and choreographer who served as a consultant on the project.

A special feature in the works is 80 video demonstrations of assorted historic dances. The dance demonstrations are set to music and provided as links at relevant places in the dance descriptions, as well as through a video directory.

The video clips, each lasting about a minute, include close-up tutorials for particular steps. There are also selections from a reconstructed 1890's ballroom performance in the Library's Great Hall.

And what about those with two left feet? Not to worry, said Vicki Risner, a dance specialist at the Library of Congress.

"Anybody who wants to learn how to dance can do so," she said. "Recreational dancers are raving about this site, because it gives them a whole new repertoire."

Sprinkled throughout the site are rich and entertaining nuggets of dance culture like "Tips to Dancers," a 1918 dissertation on ballroom gentility by V. Persis Dewey. Among his subjects, Dewey describes the evils of the "ballroom snob," who is "grossly conceited" and does "underhanded things in the dance hall."

T. A. Faulkner, in an anti-dance polemic, "From the Ballroom to Hell," asks: "Did you ever know a lady who danced to excess to live to be over 25 years of age? If she does she is, in most instances, broken in health physically and morally. Doctors claim it to be a most harmful exercise physically for both sexes. . . . Is there any wonder that so many women of today are unhealthy?"

For those who feel the music, or at least wish they did, the Web offers other resources that cater to dancers of all kinds and every experience level.

The United States Swing Dance Server ,offers swing music, essays on proper dance technique and Arthur Murray-style dance instructions. Visitors may order swing videos, enter chat rooms designed for swing lovers or simply peruse the latest swing news.

Another site, Dancing for Busy People, has instructions for an array of dances, including contra dancing, square dancing and quadrilles. The site also has listings of national dance events and articles about dancing.

Dancing has arrived on the World Wide Web.

So log on, adjust the volume, grab a partner and tango the night away.

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About Euro-Technos
From: Gordon Yong

Hello Frank & Carole!
Just something to share with you.

I read you had an unfortunate encounter with what you described as "Euro-Techno" types (noise lovers) at LuLus on Thanksgiving. I'm located in Asia and I'm surrounded by these Euro-Techno types and their glow-in-the-dark handphones, not to mention a whole street full of techno clubs. (yes, I hate smoke machines!)

Despite the resurgence of Swing in the US, the active communities in London and Sweden, and the Billboard placing of neo-Swing bands and Frankie Manning workshops, Swing still a LONG way aways from winning over the rest of the world. The only possibility is if Swing starts to hit MTV or some other mainstream media in a BIG way. Sometimes,what is 'cool' in America transfers over to the rest of the world.

Then again, quite a few people have spoken out on the commercialization of Swing. The Catalina Swing Camps in recent years have grown so huge the waiting lists run into the hundreds. There was a time I bought every release by a neo-Swing band, whereas now, I have to be more selective coz there's so many bands out there.

What is better? That's a tough question I can't answer.

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Hey You Kids!
From: Peaches O'Dell

A big hoochi-coo to two swell swingers. This is Peaches O'Dell a-callin... Just saw a very snappy article on Mr. Manning in GQ [December, 1998 issue, page 268]. We have just gotten "Shiny Stockings" to add to our book in honor of him.

This little message is simply to tell you two what a splendid job you two do maintaining a sense of community in Swingland. It REALLY matters. Hurrah for you!

We [i.e Peaches O'dell and Her He-Man Orchestra] will finally be going online in January; hope it's okay to add as a link. [We'd be honored!!] We'll be back at Glen Echo on Dec. 19 and for the daring, at the Black Cat for New Year's Eve. In the meantime, take wonderful care. God bless. Love,
---Peaches O'Dell

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by Sara Fajkowski and Gretta Thorn

  • the first one's free, the next one's gonna cost ya
  • it's expensive
  • it changes your life style
  • it makes you feel so good
  • some people are dealers (Tom & Debra)
  • there's special equipment
  • you can't count past 8
  • you suffer withdrawal when you can't get it
  • it is the new way to advertise (instead of heroin chic it's lindy chic)
  • you can't get enough of it
  • people outside can't understand why you do it
  • you give up things that used to be important to you to do it
  • you can only date within the lindy/drug crowd
  • dealers go to high schools in the area to get the young crowd hooked
  • there is a special lingo
  • there are many names for the same thing
  • many people try it, some become addicted
  • you think about it all the time and the next chance you will get to do it again
  • it impairs the way you see things, suddenly everything is in black and white
  • it increases your appetite
  • you begin hiding your obsession so your friends don't think anything is wrong
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Room to Rent?
From: Janice Butler

I will be coming to D.C. in late August for the fall semester at American University. I will be needing a room then. I am looking forward to coming to D.C. and trying out the swing clubs in the area! I hope to meet you then. Maybe I'll learn a few more moves by that time! Do you have a membership or a newsletter that I can subscribe to? Can I be added to your mailing list for e-mail messages? Thanks for any help you can provide with the room next summer.

Thrift Shop Link
From: Deborah Brooks

Here's a link you may want to add to your website. It's the Washington Post's Guide to Thrift and Consignment Shops.


I have it bookmarked!!!

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Washington Cats in 5678 Magazine
From: Kathy Armstrong

Hi Frank and Carole,
I hope to see you guys at PoliTiki tonight. My sister told me about this website:

They have a quote from, pictures of Steve and Naomi, as well as Tena and Carnell. talks about Naomi and Nina on their "broadcast". Since you have the capability of getting the word out could you pass this along to all the "cats" out there!!

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Fans Take a Jazz Journey
By Chelsea J. Carter
Sent by: Sue Fedor

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standing in front of Louis Armstrong's home on a blustery November day, Kate Iscol closed her eyes for a moment and tried to block out the sound of the wind. She was listening for the memory of the late king of jazz blowing his horn.

"If you close your eyes, you can almost hear him," she said. For Ms. Iscol and more than 30 others gathered around Armstrong's home, this was the first stop on a tour of an unlikely jazz mecca: the New York City borough of Queens.

Tucked away in the heart of Queens, a short subway ride from Manhattan's tourist haven of Broadway and Times Square, hundreds of jazz artists -- singers, musicians and composers -- made their homes next to one another, raising their children and jamming with friends.

"It's probably the best kept secret in New York City, maybe the country," said JoAnn Jones, director of Flushing Town Hall's Queens Jazz Trail, a five-hour tour that offers a glimpse into the private lives of jazz music's very public figures.

It visits the homes of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and "Fats" Waller. Then there's the "jazz nightclub experience" -- a meal of fried chicken, barbecue ribs, potatoes, collard greens and peach punch served at the cramped, dimly lit Blue Goose during a live performance by saxophonist Harold Ousley.

"Who thinks Queens? I've lived here 30 years and had no idea," said Ruth Davis, an author and editor. The migration of jazz artists to Queens, according to jazz archivist Marc H. Miller, was planned in the 1920s by Clarence Williams, a producer, composer and pianist.

Williams moved to southeast Queens with the intention of attracting a "colony of black artists," creating another Harlem in New York, Miller said. He invited "The Charleston" composer James P. Johnson and band leader Fess Williams to follow him. Both did.

The three men became the anchor of a community that offered jazz performers a chance to buy inexpensive, spacious homes in the midst of segregation.

Bass player Milt Hinton, who gained fame as part of the Cab Calloway Band and later for his candid photographs of life on the road, followed Johnson to Queens in 1947. "Me and my wife had been living in hotels and staying at people's houses because we were on the road all the time. Then when she got pregnant, we wanted a nice, clean place to raise a child," he said. "We had visited (Johnson) and thought it was a nice place."

Within a few years, the borough became a colony of sorts for jazz artists looking to stay close to the Manhattan jazz scene but also have a place to relax.

"We didn't think that much of all of it like they do now. They were people we worked with in the business. It was kind of natural to hang out together," said saxophonist Jimmy Heath, who recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and lived next door to trumpet player Clark Terry and the horn-blowing Adderly brothers, Nat and Cannonball.

Many of the jazz greats settled in a 60-block section of Queens known as Addisleigh Park, known for spacious, tudor- and colonial-style homes. A recent walking tour through the neighborhood -- where Lena Horne lived around the corner from Count Basie and Russell Jacquet lived next door to his brother, Illinois -- gave fans a sense of the tight-knit jazz community of the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s.

"Count Basie was living out here before me. He told me it was a nice neighborhood and I better get in while I can," said tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet, who gained fame for his 1942 solo on Lionel Hampton's classic, "Flying Home." Jacquet, who still lives in the house he bought in 1949 a few blocks from Basie's, said Ella Fitzgerald followed him a few years later.

"I was delighted when Ella moved here. I could go up to her bar at her house and drink up all of her whiskey, and then go through somebody's yard and go home," he said. "That's what it was like back then."

It is the personal stories -- some sad, some funny -- told by guides Jeff Gottlieb and local musician Coby Knight that are the real gems of the tour. There's the story about how a white policeman who was mad at his neighbors sold his house in 1938 to "Fats" Waller, integrating the exclusive white neighborhood of Addleighs Park.

Then there's the one about the infamous eating contests at clarinetist Herbie Hall's house and the parties at Basie's backyard pool, a monstrosity that took up nearly a city block.

Best of all, there's the tale about the time vocalist Mildred Bailey threw a party where she introduced Benny Goodman to pianist Teddy Wilson. They went on to form the legendary Goodman Quartet.

By the 1960s, the community began to dwindle as musicians moved away or died. "All the clubs that supported jazz closed, and then it just kind of ended. The crime and drugs and stuff like that took over," said Knight, 56, who grew up down the street from Armstrong's house.

"But the tours are helping to restore the area's image, Knight said. "This may be what brings pride in the cultural history being made here."

The Armstrong archives at Queens College, home to thousands of hours of Armstrong's unpublished recordings and taped conversations, also have benefited from the tour. The number of people visiting the archives has risen from 400 in 1994 to more than 1,200 last year, said archivist Michael Cogswell.

Note from Sue: The article did not tell you how to get in touch with the tour. I'm doing some research on this. In the meantime, check out the following website and/or call the numbers listed below.

The Satchmo Website

Queens Historical Society
143-45 37th Avenue
Flushing NY
Contact: Byron C. Saunders
718 939-0647 fax: 718 539-9885

Queens College
City University of New York
65-30 Kissena Blvd.
Flushing, New York 11367
(718) 997-5000

More on Queens---a Satchmo/Paul Simon connection....

From Queens Tribune Online


The town got its name from an Italian land developer who offered houses with a garden for sale in the area, on flyers that bore a distinctive crown insignia. The name Corona ("crown" in Italian) was adopted by new residents in the area, and Corona became the town's official name in the 1920s.

Satchmo tooted his horn in Corona. The home of the legendary musicman Louis Armstrong will soon open as a museum. Simon and Garfunkel tooted Corona's horn in their song "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard."

Another believer named Robert Moses leveled the "Corona Dumps" and laid-out parkland that has hosted two World*s Fairs. The Lemon Ice King of Corona opened in 1945 -- and still scoops out flavors to the faithful who line the streets for a lick.

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Swing Dance on January 8
By: Naomi Uyama

Hi Frank and Carole,
Nina and Naomi here with an announcement of a swing dance we're putting together at our school on January 8th. We know a whole bunch of folks will be going to America to see the fabulous Tom Cunningham orchestra but we were hoping some of the scene could come (at least at the beginning) and show these youngins how to really dance! The dance will be at our school HB Woodlawn in Arlington, VA. It runs from 8-11 with a free dance lesson at 7 (which I'm sure none of you need). we have a huge wood sprung floor (ala the gym) and we've got the Bill Eliot Trio for only $6!!! If you need any more info you can talk to Nina or Naomi or call (703) 228-6362

Thanks a ton Frank and Carole!!!!
Nina and Naomi

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Bands at A Place to Dance
By: Nancy Baird

Hi Frank and Carole:
Here is the list of bands that will be playing at A Place to Dance in Centerville during January and February of 1999:

  • Jan 1 - Jimmy and the Blue Dogs - hopefully we will have another vintage fashion show courtesy of Ellen Werther and her 'dancing models' during the band's first break
  • Jan 8 - J Street Jumpers
  • Jan 15 - Daryl Davis
  • Jan 22 - Very Small Big Band
  • Jan 29 - The New HOTS Jazz Orchestra
  • Feb 5 - Bill Eliot Trio
  • Feb 12 - Jimmy and the Blue Dogs
  • Feb 19 - Mike Lange and Boogie Express
  • Feb 26 - Very Small Big Band

Have a terrific holiday,
Nancy Baird

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New Year's Eve Event
By: Steve Lavagnino

Dear Frank and Carole,
My big band is playing for a New Year's Eve Gala at the Sheraton Premiere in Reston. Below are the details. You may remember us as the Difficult Run Jazz Band that played for the World War II Veteren's day weekend event when the Glen Echo water main broke. The ballroom for this gig will have the portable wooden floor that you would expect for a prom. The sponser that hired us found out that I liked to dance and asked me to let swing dancers know about it. Below are details:

Blast Off to '99
A New Years Eve Gala

Dinner and Swing Dancing to the Big Band Sounds of The Difficult Run Jazz Band. Thursday, December 31, 1998 at the Grand Ballroom Sheraton Reston from 8:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. Admission Includes * Big Band * DJ * Full Course Dinner* Party Favors * Open Bar * Champagne Toast * Limited Seating, Formal Attire, $105.00 admission. Tickets will not be sold at the door. For Further Information Contact Steve Lavagnino at

You can pick up tickets in person at :
Century 21 South Lakes
11868 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA
(703) 476-4000

Steve "I Love Lindy" Lavagnino

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TCO on January 1!
By: Debra Sternberg

Just wanted to remind all Lindy Hoppers and Jitterbugs that the Tom Cunningham Orchestra will be at America this coming Friday, January 1. The good news is that all the amateurs who were out the night before will be resting their tootsies and it'll be the dance nut's night to kick out the jams! A note of special delight: the restaurant is actually closed that night, so we'll have total run of the place and will be free to move out as many tables as we need to make plenty of room! Please note the special time, which is 8 to 11 p.m.--then, as usual, we can all head out to the Amphora! Should be a ball and a half, so we hope to see All 'Bugs Out!
Auntie Deb

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