|August, 1999 Reviews|
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Review of Dance Events During August, 1999
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Sunday August 1, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Monday August 2, 1999
Another large crowd was at Chevy Chase Ballroom and once again, Bernstein played a marvelous mix of tempos. The Reverend Arnold Taylor was there and spoke of repairing his roof ("Nearer My God to Thee...") Cherri Harris looked superb as she was clowning around with Barry Levy. Mara Levy and Dana looked fabulous in vintage, complete with flowers in their hair. It looked like Gay and Dave were doing a land office business in shoes. There are always lots of enthusiastic Lindy Hoppers at CCB and the air conditioning was working just fine.
Tuesday August 3, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Wednesday August 4, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Thursday August 5, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Friday August 6, 1999
The Bill Eliot Trio played to a large house at Nick's despite formidable competition from the Central Park Stompers at Centreville. Bill, Jim, Walt (and Vocalist Kay) provided a wonderful evening of pure swing and even tossed in a great version of Tuxedo Junction targeted at the Shim Shammers in the crowd. Bob Kleinpeter seemed to be having a great time, as did Mara Levy and her dad, Barry. Jim Kranyak was on hand to provide Hollywood styling and anecdotes about Dean Collins.
Saturday August 7, 1999
The TCO (abbreviated version) played at Nick's to what started as a small house, but grew markedly in size during the evening. At the end of the first set, it looked like there weren't going to be enough people to do a jame, but as if by magic, Cameron, Jeff, Nina, Naomi, Gay, Cherri and numerous others appeared. There was a quite extensive jam after all.
The band provided a complete evening of nonstop swing, punctuated ONLY by Moonlight Serenade at the end of the evening. The air conditioning worked perfectly throughout the night
Sunday August 8, 1999
The evening began with an oddball thing --- I went to Phantasmagoria to see Roy Carrier and the Night Rockers. Yep, Zydeco. The music certainly is lively and the folks seem to be very friendly. I went in mufti --- I can't believe that I went dancing in jeans, although I did have on a pair of vintage Jack Pucell sneakers. The dance seems to be in fours, so you can adapt almost every form of Lindy to it, especially Charleston. ("I learned that in Shreveport...") Mostly, these folks just have a lot of fun and don't take their choreography that seriously.
The event started at 6:30, and by 9:00 it was time to head on out to Chevy Chase Ballroom to check out Tom and Debra's new Sunday gig. The place was packed. I took some heat for my unorthodox attire. A nice crowd of people! Go Lindy hopping on Sundays at CCB!
Monday August 9, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Tuesday August 10, 1999
I dropped in on the events at Vienna Grille, briefly. It's always good to see Hutch and Gator. Luke White was out, surrounded by ladies, of course. The lovely Mara Levy was there and had brought along a college friend. There seemed to be a very nice crowd.
Wednesday August 11, 1999
A gang of us, including Deb Brooks, Olivier Gadas, Jim and Elizabeth, Karen and I made a pilgrimage to Felix in Adams-Morgan to hear the Eric Felten septet. Felix is a small, noisy, crowded, and smoky place, but Eric Felten makes it shine. This is one of the best outfits that you can hear and they are just superb for dancing. Alas, that means only one couple at a time, sort of a perpetual jam. We met several other Lindy Hoppers who had come on their own, so this was a great evening for switching partners and dancing.
We even had a Shim Sham to Tuxedo Junction, so all in all, it was a rather complete Lindy evening. Felix is a great place, Eric Felten is among the best --- but, bring a partner just to be on the safe side. There is now a $5 cover. They gladly give away water but stuff on the menu is fairly pricey --- appetizers start at $7 and full meals start at $18.
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel
Jim and I found ourselves in Adams-Morgan on Wednesday night and decided to drop in on the weekly Eric Felton gig at Felix. We were delighted to see Deb and Olivier and Frank and his friend Karen show up shortly after we arrived. Felix provides a conundrum - the EFO is a dynamite band with a fabulous sound, and Eric himself is a charming and talented band leader. Unfortunately, Felix is small, crowded, hot, has a sticky floor, and can be quite smoky. But the band is just so great that it's worth going up there from time to time anyway. Jim and I only stayed for the first set (it was a school night), but we got to dance for most of it and even got a few of the on-lookers involved. I just wish EFO played more public gigs in specifically dance venues. But until they do, we'll just have to keep making occasional pilgrimages to Felix to get our EFO fix.
Thursday August 12, 1999
The RKO Orchestra was at Timpanos and it brought out a large crowd, led by Sean and Barbara, including Lizzie Hess, Mischa Akkerman, Jane Ford, Doug Pierce, Lisa Schwartz, David and Suzanne Jacobs, and Nancy Baird (who was kind enough to do Balboa with me...). The "Flying Devoneys" were there, a rare sighting these days. Later, Lynn McCuhn and Calvin dropped by.
The band ended the first set with Sing, Sing, Sing, but a jam did not materialize --- too bad, because Tommy Barrick was really hot! I am indebted to Patty Hinshaw for grabbing me for the dance, but everyone runs out of material during SSS, especially if you have to dance to the whole song!
The second set began with Stompin at the Savoy and we got a surprising number of folks out for the Shim Sham. The Devoneys even postponed their departure to participate. Once again, a dazzling number of variants on the "Full Break" were displayed
The band kept up the high energy pace until 12:30, and the dance floor was still full, a testament to the staying power of Lindy Hoppers. This Timpanos gig is a great bet. You should seriously think about coming to the next one.
From: Sue Fedor
Steve and I had a rare, free Thursday night out and decided to spend it at Timpanos for the Radio King Orchestra's CD debut party.
Timpanos is set up with the dance floor in the middle of the tables on the first floor and ringed by a balcony with tables on the second floor.
After half a first set spent with a 3-1 ratio guys to girls, parity was quickly achieved--along with a crowd of folks slightly too big for the floor.
The band sounded great. The lead singer is outstanding and the musicianship is top notch. The only sour point (and I was there for just a set and a half) was "Sing Sing Sing" when the horn section decided to migrate off the bandstand. As they moved their horns back and forth, a doppler effect was created, making them sound off pitch.
They tried to orchestrate a jam. They tried to announce the half time lesson. They tried to call us for a second set Shim Sham. They tried to make announcements about their next gig. Unfortunately, much of what was said wafted up to the second floor where it was transformed into gibberish. Bottom line--there was no jam, Sean had to personally drum up business for a lesson, and we had to muscle in for a shim sham.
The Timpanos staff is very accomodating. I had cut myself Wednesday night doing dishes and my bandage kept sweating off. It was my right hand, which is held constantly during dancing. My wound had re-opened and I was bleeding all over Steve. The staff brought out lovely blue bandages, which stretch slightly, allowing them to stick a little better. Two seemed to do the trick for a while.
Alex Day, who was there with her family for dinner, also needed a blue bandage when someone stepped on her toe and ripped her toenail! Big Lisa suggested they just leave out a box of lovely blue bandages.
And as usual, it's such a charge to dance for folks who have never seen this stuff before. They are so appreciative and entertained. That, plus the fact that there's no cover and that the bar drinks are reasonable and generous (and speedy!), makes it such a nice place to go.
Friday August 13, 1999
Friday the Thirteenth did not prove to be a disaster for the Return of America. Things looked slow during the first half hour, but the place filled to capacity and beyond. There was a great mix of ages and skill levels, meaning that everyone had LOTS of opportunities to dance and to see Lindy at its best.
As usual, Tom and Debra taught their "Cheesy Beginner Lesson" (... their actual words...) to an enthusiastic crowd of newcomers. My new friend Karen is on her second Lindy lesson and bravely came to America. She is apparently very pleased with her new red and white Bleyers and was thrilled to meet dancestore.com's Gay and Dave. Actually, she asked me who the "cute guy with the moustache" was, so I made the introduction. So, guys, it looks like we have another rabid Lindy Hopper on our hands.
Jim Kranyak was there looking very spiffy with his Dean Collins routines. Arnold and Lil were there adding to the festivities. Also on hand was the very lovely Gail Hanson, who also seemed to have a great time. The "regulars" were well represented. Marty Lau had on a really great Hollywood outfit and reall has his slides an quickstops down cold. I also met a very nice lady named Anita who has four teenagers doing Lindy. She spent the evening with the video camera recording their progress.
The Jam was excellent. Nina and Naomi favored us with one of their specialty numbers. Gretta and Marty looked very good with a Hollywood routine incorporating stuff from Groovy Movie. I had to explain the popularity of Bleyer Wedgies to a number of people. Steve, Carla, Marty, and Cameron put on a great performance -- Steve did "double bug" with Carla and Marty and then extended his foot to Cameron. Hilarious. Tom and Debra really hit the "Death Spike" to end the jam in fine style.
The third set began with an unusually large Shim Sham to Stompin' at the Savoy -- there were all kinds of variations displayed and the dance looked very good. The Cunningham band debuted an arrangement of Stealin' Apples, written by Fats Waller, but made famous by the Goodman sextet. This song is featured as a jam number in the film A Song is Born. The dance ended with I'm Getting Sentimental Over You istead of the traditional Moonlight Serenade
It looks like Swing is back with a roar at America
From: Lurene Haines
Went to Stars tonight to check out the new digs. We were so disappointed we got our money back and left. The venue has a lot of kinks to work out before it'll be smooth sailing. Here's what happened:
We arrived just after 9:00pm - it was said they were to start at 9:15, and we wanted to be sure to get there right at the start. That was our first mistake. Apparently the setup is that this joint is also a theatrical venue. A play was in progress when we arrived and we were cordially escorted out the back loading dock to a small dance studio on the back end of the building. Nice floor (way too slippery, though - like greased glass), mirrors and a crowd of eagerly anticipating . . . Ballroom Dancers!! We counted only a half dozen pairs of Bleyer-type shoes in total. Lots of high heels, tuxedos and ballroom moves, though. The music was canned, and Indigo Swing was on when we arrived. We picked up our complimentary soft drink, and stood around (like 90% of the crowd) checking everyone out. The music turned into a mishmash of disco, country western, ballroom and just a smattering of replayed Indigo Swing. A complaint to the lady DJ about the country western got more of the replayed Indigo Swing and an admonishment about "we are trying to play East Coast, West Coast and Hollywood-style swing music!"
Despite the promise of being moved to the main ballroom for the big Radio Kings Orchestra event by 10:00pm, 10:45 rolled around to more impatiently waiting folks, diminished air conditioning capability and more bad music. Laura and I decided to get our money back and depart. If the ballroom and band weren't ready by 10:45, it was a good chance they wouldn't be playing for a while. Despite some initial resistance, we finally got our money back, and when we left at 11:15pm they had only just finished clearing the ballroom floor of theater seats, the band was just setting up and they had begun to usher the dancers in. Since the whole thing was only supposed to run until midnight, I'm sure you can image either the evening was going to be very short or run very, very late.
The venue looked good, and if they ever get the bugs worked out on their timing and procedures, it would be worth checking out again. I just regret I never got to hear the RKO!!
From: Elaine Smith
Well in the eyes of this reporter, it was a great success. Many know this place in it's younger days as the Harliquine Dinner Theater or the Junction. Well last night and this evening it opened as Stars.
In addition to the Dinner and Presentation of Baby (which I had and saw last evening, both were very good), there was tonight 300+ for the dance portion of the evening.
Early in the evening, there was a lesson, full of anxious learners along side experienced dancers. The back room did swing (Lindy, east and west and a hustle here and there to the surprise of some). "This is going to be our format for Friday nights", Dance director Ray was heard to say.
The production was done and the risers were cleared, in record time. With the Old Junction's dance floor still intact, the RKO Orchestra had it packed! The orchestra kept the beat so well, that we even slipped in a a two step or two but we'll never tell :-) I perhaps only sat out two dances during the evening. It was wonderful.
If you have a problem or suggestion at hand, just tell Bruce, Ed or Ray and they'll do what they can.
Oh and On the way home at 1:27am, Montgomery Dounuts was still open (for those who remember), But now a 12 pump Shell is parked next door for those who need to fill up on their way home.
Change is everywhere it is clear to see, alot of fun I had and it was not just me! See you on that big dance floor, the one we used to really adore. Oh and by the way, Swing has a line dance. The Shim Sham say, it was really fun and easy and taught by Ray.
And now this reporter for tonight is through, hope to see you on the dance floor, thats what it is I like to do.
Saturday August 14, 1999
Things were hopping at Nick's on Saturday night. Bernstein really outdid himself with a really fantastic playlist. Things began at about 8:00 when a small group celebrated Jim Engel's 29th birthday. Big things for Jim -- he just changed jobs, cut his hair even shorter and now the Engels have a car. Can you believe that!
The crowd seemed to build throughout the night. By the time that Salsa chased us off the main floor, things were fairly well packed. The party moved into the back room with a four song birthday dance for Jim. From there, a very long multi-song Jam kicked off with just about everyone getting out on the floor and showing off with everyone else. The party got even better and was going great guns when I had to leave at 1:00 am. Nick's on DJ night is a really great alternative to the inferno on MacArthur Boulevard!
The best song of the evening was a jazz-swing version of Paper Moon and the most incongrous selection was two slow "Grab You Baby and Grind" slow songs in a row. Bernstein sure knows how to keep the crowd on their toes.
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel
This weekend was Jim's 29th birthday (really!). We started the evening with a big empty table and two salads. Within a half an hour, the table (and many extra chairs) was filled with hungry Lindy Hoppers there to celebrate with us. It was a really fun evening at Nick's, full but, surprisingly for a night in which not too much else was happening, not overcrowded. Bernstein played an especially good mix, including a lot of tunes I've never heard him play before, and everyone seemed to be in a great mood - everyone was dancing with and socializing with everyone, just like in the good old days.
Extra-special thanks go to Cameron, without whose machinations and persistence there would have been no birthday lineup dance for Jim. Speaking of, I haven't seen a birthday lineup like that one in quite some time. It seeemed like every gal still in the place - and some of the guys - lined up to dance, and Jim got to pull some of his fanciest moves on Greta, Nina, Naomi, Meridith, Sarah, Deb (Brooks and Sternberg), and Steve among others. Let me tell you, two guy Balboa with two such tall thin guys as Steve and Jim is just a riot to watch.
After dancing through 3 or 4 songs straight, I came up again at the end of the line and Bernstein put on Hey Pachuco - we tried to leave the floor, but everyone started clapping again, so we pulled out some Balboa (about the only thing I can dance at that speed!). We made it most of the way through the song, but Jim was about to drop, so we retired from the floor and were rescued by Matt and Greta (as Matt pointed out later, that must have been Bernstein's especially cruel way of punishing Jim for having a birthday!).
This segued into an impromptu jam that was very loose and relaxed, and one of the best jams I've seen in a while. Everyone was just playing around and having fun - it featured lots of all gal and all guy couples, creative use of a wheeled chair, antics by Steve and Cameron, a little hand dancing by yours truly, and a terrific Meridith and Sarah kip. Thanks to everyone who helped make Jim's birthday so special and fun!
Sunday August 15, 1999
This was a marathon five hours of dancing.
The evening began at Phantasmagoria with Wayne Doopsie and the Zydeco Hell Raisers. Yes, folks another Sunday exploring the mysteries of Zydeco. First, and foremost, Wayne and company sure put on a heck of a show regardless of your musical genre preferences. They have a very nice electric blues touch to traditional Zydeco that is truly exciting. "Mabby", the accordion player is just overflowing with style. I have no idea why Zydeco with all its richness has not evloved beyond the ultra-simplistic four-move dance as practiced here in DC. (I suppose that Zydeco afficionados would argue that it is a subtle dance, more like Balboa) It really is possible to do Lindy (and Balboa) to Zydeco (a few slight modifications are necessary) and I believe that Hollywood would fit even better. I am indebted to the lovely Gail Hansen for assisting me in this endeavor. It would also be nice if Zydeco had a costume other than Bermuda shorts and tennis shoes... but then Lindy Hoppers like to dress up.
Unlike last evening at Glen Inferno (I was told), the band started on time. Apparently, they were two hours late on Saturday...
From Phantasmagoria, we made a quick costume change and headed over to Chevy Chase Ballroom to watch Marcus and Barbl showing off a whole bunch of great Lindy styling moves. No Bermuda shorts were in evidence. Bernstein had a very unusual selection of music on tap, including a really fine jump blues version of In the Good Old Summertime -- a really off beat but highly danceable tune. Also played was The Bodie Green, a number that I have not heard played since the 1950s. Great choice! There was a really fine crowd at CCB and this Sunday session is becoming a real MUST. The funniest event of the evening was Cherri Harris trying to get a dance with Marcus. She finally tracked him down and they really looked great.
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel
Of course, the crazy Germans were in town just for Jim. Tom & Debra may try to tell you something else, but don't believe them. Sunday's workshops were amazing. The first class was a footwork class, much of which was taken from their footwork video. However, they taught several footwork patterns that we'd been unable to completely nail down from the videos, as Marcus is often doing unexpected things with his weighting to pull off those crazy steps. They also taught a little pattern that ends with the "poo-poo bump" (I can't even type that without giggling), and Marcus had us all sweating and laughing through the entire class.
The second class was a tricks class - they taught two tricks (well, kind of two and a half, since they taught a variation on one of them) and something called a lasso turn that I think we will find very useful. The beauty of taking a tricks class with Marcus & Barbl is that Barbl is not small and is a very strong woman and Marcus is not that much bigger than she, which sounds like, oh this nice couple I know...friends of mine, yeah that's it...so anyway, this nice couple tends to find that tricks that work for the dynamic duo work for them too. It was nice to be in a tricks class and actually find ourselves...oops I meant THEMselves...able to do everything that was taught.
The third class focused on improvisation and dancing to the music. An hour and a quarter was not nearly long enough. I could've listened, watched, and practiced all day. The way Marcus and Barbl interpret music is just astounding, and it was hysterically funny to watch Barbl backlead Koerner for whom, bless his heart, dancing to the music is not a strong suit, through a tune or two. And that class brought us back around to the beginning of the day as we got an opportunity to use the steps taught in the footwork class on the breaks and tried to fit appropriate steps to the tunes they played. It was fun and challenging and highly worthwhile. For those of you who missed them Sunday, they will be back for VSO, and I HIGHLY recommend you make every effort to get into their workshops.
From: Mike Michniewski
Finally there is a good place to swing dance in downtown Baltimore. On Sunday, 15 August, I went to a relatively new dance club up in Baltimore. It's called The Vault, because of its location in what used to be a bank. There was a decent sized (~50) crowd there Sunday night, with a normal distribution of skill levels. Most of the Lindy people there learned at the Avalon Studio. The Vault does swing dancing on Sunday nights from around 7:30 till 1AM? with a basic lesson at around 8:30 and an intermediate lesson at 9:30 taught by John and Samantha (http://www.zazouswing.com/). They taught a pretty good intermediate ECS lesson; I learned a couple of new moves. John is funny in a Koerneresque way, so you have to bring your sense of humor along with your Blyers. The Vault has a decent sized floor, maybe the size of the CCB, but square. It has very, very high ceilings and unlike the so-called air conditioning at CCB, the AC is so good here you almost have to keep dancing just to stay warm. There is an excellent sound system, and John plays a good selection of classic and new swing songs to dance to. I'm going to buy the Ray Gelato & The Giants: The Men from UNCLE CD after hearing a great cut from it Sunday night.
The Vault is located about 4 blocks north of the Orioles baseball stadium property, at the corner of Baltimore and Eutaw Streets. There is a parking lot next to the building, as well as plenty of street parking. This is not the best of neighborhoods; as I left, I saw several scantily clad women strolling about. Kind of unusual for a Sunday midnight on most other city streets, but Gulianni isn't the mayor of Baltimore either. Anyway, if you can deal with that, The Vault is a great place to spend a Sunday night; it has a good crowd and excellent facilties (even the bartender dresses to impress). Check out The Vault's site.
Monday August 16, 1999
Deanna Bogart played at Chevy Chase Ballroom. We have had considerable "Buzz" on the event to the effect that it was a very good evening. The major positives included accounts of Deanna playing solo saxophone while jamming with Marcus Koch, as well as very favorable accounts of boogie-woogie numbers. The negatives focused on a few odd songs from Deanna's newer acid-cajun-rock format. All in all, people seemed to have a very good time at the event.
Tuesday August 17, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Wednesday August 18, 1999
Charlie Byrd at Lunch, Felix at night
The day started with an invitation from the Reverend Arnold Taylor to attend a lunchtime concert at thye Corcoran by the Charlie Byrd Trio. As if this was not incentive enough, Arnold even offered to buy lunch --- what a great offer!
We enjoyed our lunch at the Corcoran and hurried into the auditorium to get front row seats. We were definitely NOT disappointed. The trio began with some very hot Swing improvisation, built around the general framework of Crazy Rhythm. I kept looking around the hall for other Lindy Hoppers because this music really cried out for dance! Alas, there were only Arnold and Myself ... and neither of us Follow...
From Swing, the Trio moved into Samba and their interpretation of the work of Anton Carlos Jobim that has brought Mr. Byrd international acclaim for the past thirty years. The selections were drawn from the score from Black Orpheus, the highly influential 1958 film that brought modern Samba to American audiences. The songs were played roughly in the order they are presented in the film, including Corcovado, Quiet Nights, Manha do Carnival, and Orpheus' Sunrise Theme. The Samba work --- soft and subtle --- was finished with Astrud Gilberto's Girl From Ipanema
As an encore, Mr. Byrd played and sang 'Taint Nobody's Business.... After the concert, Arnold took me backstage and introduced me to Mr. Byrd --- it seems that Arnold has known him for nearly forty years, harking back to the time when Arnold was a photographer for the old Washington Star. What a great afternoon!
In the evening, I did "Work" work until about 10:00 and then headed down to Felix to hear Eric Felten. Once again, Eric put on a spectacular show. Fortunately, there were several Lindy Hoppers to help me enjoy the music even more by dancing
Thursday August 19, 1999
This was a real treat --- Karen and I went to the Sunset Grille for a special taping (by Maryland Public Television) of Bill Kirchen's show. As we have recounted in these pages before, the show is a little short on Swing dancing, but makes up for that in other ways. Specifically, the crowd --- or the "Grill-Billys" --- is sort of like a fourth member of the band.
Karen and I have been going to the Grille on Thursdays since back in 1988. At that time, Anandale was undergoing "change". The Sunset Grille featured an inch of sand on the floor, free peanuts in the shell, and a curiously mixed crowd which included hard core bikers, computer programmers, bankers and people from the "Lawn Doctor" headquarters. The Grill had perfect acoustics, but the parking lot was sort of like the surface of the moon --- with huge uncharted craters. The action has always been on the inside where the curiously mixed crowd sang along with all the numbers.
Tonight saw many of the original Grillbillies in attendance, although just a bit heavier and grayer. On the other hand, their enthusiasm on numbers like Rockabilly Funeral had not diminished in the years. Sad to say, the Grille has been cleaned up and Yuppie pasta has replaced the peanuts... but Bill's work remains first rate
A very nice nostalgia moment.
Friday August 20, 1999
From: Cherri Harris
I went to the Frederick Hangar Dance and had a blast! It seemed to have several times more dancers than last year, and there was quite a Washington contingent. Tricia, Thomas, Carolyn, Larry, Cal, Jeremy, Rob, Sarah, Bill, Trish, Chris, and Dan (the names are slowly coming back to me)and at least 10 others (forgive me for not including everyone). There was an nice tribute to several woman aviators from WWII, which included a standing ovation. The band was OK, except for when they play Living La Vida Loca but I guess that couldn't be helped, it was a special request. The World War II uniforms and costumes were in full force, including the Nazi's from last year's event (I know, they weren't Nazi's they were German stormtroopers, or something like that) The atmosphere was very friendly, and the dancing ambience was great. The band even commented that they had never seen so many sweaty people move so much.
From: Chris Bamberger
It was a fun weekend for me, though it went by much too fast. I did get to Friday's Hangar Dance up in Frederick -- Birthday boy Doug Pierce accompanied me. If he hadn't, I probably would have thrown in the towel as I am so wont to do on Friday nights! I'm glad I went. I enjoyed seeing the WWII bombers and the Berlin Airlift planes, and with such a large crowd I did lots of dancing. Arnold and Lil were there, plus Bill and Trish, Mark and Ellen (who taught the lesson), Cherri, Peter, Cal, Albert, and Genaya (sp?). Later on along came Sarah, Greta, Thomas (ve-ry dapper '20s look!), Tricia (lovely aqua '50s look!), and some other talented regulars whose names I haven't learned. I did get to meet Rob Petrie (Petry?), though... did my MTM impression for him ("oh, ROB!").
It was quite cool and breezy with the huge hangar door opened up, and there were soldiers and sailors galore (real and costumed), even some Germans (who looked more WW1-ish than WW2-ish, but I still couldn't bring myself to speak to them!). Chatted with a real navy flier while watching some of the above-mentioned female dancers look authentic while piling into a jeep out on the runway.
I had never before heard the band, Swing Speak. They were "OK-not-great," except for their anachronistically lounge-lizardy vocalist/emcee guy, who thinks he's Bobby Darin even when singing swing-era ballads. (He isn't as good a singer as Darin was, however!) TCO would have been a far better choice for this particular dance.
The mayor of Frederick honored some WAAF fliers, women who served the Air Corps during the war. It was gratifying to see the audience of all ages cheer for them, and Arnold and I began to sing, "Off We Go, Into the Wild Blue Yonder..."
From: Bill LehmanB/P>
The Frederick Hangar Dance was pretty good on Friday. Still a slippery concrete floor, but it was a nice night.
Saturday August 21, 1999
Peaches O'Dell played to a crowd of about 500 who braved the intense heat and humidity at Glen Echo. The temperature was a real puzzler because it was even sort of cold outside --- it was just a moist inferno inside the Spanish Ballroom.
Steve and Carla began the evening with a really great beginner lesson that moved into the whimsy of "Pecking" as well as the traditional "Triple step, triple step, rock step". The crowd seemed to forget the humidity and got into the fun of the lesson.
Peaches played three sets of wonderfully varied music that seemd to please everyone who could stand the intense heat.
During the second break, Steve and Carla hosted a dance contest, in which our own Arnold Taylor (and Tricia Reneau) tied for first place...
A really good evening!
From: Naomi Uyama
Our trip to Houston-Just a week ago Jeff Booth, Nina Gilkenson and I (Naomi Uyama) were in hot and sunny Houston, Texas to teach at the H-Town '99 workshops. We had the greatest time. DC's own Tena Morales along with her partner Carnell Pipkin, Rowena Young & Buddy Steves and their rad kids Josh and Michael from the Houston swing dance society (www.hsds.org) showed us a wonderful time. We had decided to stay in Texas for over a week, because both Nina and Jeff had relatives there, and we must have danced through the whole 9 days! Even on our first night of dancing we were so impressed with the scene down there. The energy and talent is incredible (if anyone gets the chance to dance there-go!). On Thursday night we got to attend a practice of the HSDS team, the Hepcats. Carnell Pipkin had choreographed 2 numbers that were performed later that weekend. The routines were great, they really have a talented group of performers. The next day the event began! It opened that night with a dance in a lovely ballroom, leading into the regional qualifying round for the world lindy hop championships. Texas is going to be sending some tough competition. By that time all the teachers for the weekend had arrived. We had the pleasure of meeting Chris Yee and Chachi from Chicago, and getting to see Marcus and Baerbel again (they had just come from DC). The classes began bright and early the next day. The classes on both Saturday and Sunday went smoothly and were tons of fun- all the levels were quick to pick up everything we taught. The dance Saturday night had a showing from all over Texas. We met wonderful people from not only Houston but Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. Towards the end of the evening there was what had to have been one of the best jams we've ever seen! The energy was phenomenal, everything was spontaneous and so much fun. For the rest of the weekend through when we left on Wednesday we got to hang out and get to know people even better. It was one of the best trips we've ever had, thanks to everyone in Texas, especially the wonderful people with HSDS, for making it so great.
Sunday August 22, 1999
Ellicott City and CCB
The day began with a trip to Ellicott City to check out the large number of antique stores. I really like this place --- it reminds me of small mill towns near Pittsburgh. There are a wide variety of stores and lots of Art Deco objects and clothes in abundance. You should consider taking a trip!
In the evening, I dropped around to Chevy Chase Ballroom. Tom had closed off half the space due to air conditioning problems, although the crowd seemed to fill the joint quite nicely. It looked like the gang was having a really good time!
Monday August 23, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Tuesday August 24, 1999
We have no Reviews for this date
Wednesday August 25, 1999
Fate dropped me off at Vienna Grille for Donna Barker's Wednesday Jitterbug party. I was very pleasantly surprised -- there were close to 80 people there having a great time. The music was very good and ranged from Big Band to Indigo Swing. Lots of people had some background in Lindy, and I recognized quite a few faces from Iver and Deb's last Balboa class. Wednesday at the Grille is definitely worth checking out!
Thursday August 26, 1999
I am greatly indebted to some of my friends for dropping by my house to fill in the "slack" of a Thursday venue for those who live in the city. Recreating an old tradition that goes back to 1994, we rolled back the rug and danced. The floor is bigger than Felix...
Friday August 27, 1999
America was really jumping this evening. Things have tended to start slow and then build in intensity as the night moves on. By jam time, a full roster of Lindy Hoppers has arrived and things are really cooking. Bill Puschman and Kristin had a great performance in the Jam, as did Leslie, sara, Tracy and Greetta with their "Four Girl Routine". Arnold took Debra out, and they were interrupted by Steve Bailey and Lil. Next, Tom and Steve did an interesting routine exchanging lead and follow. This was a truly improvisational jam that was both pleasing to the crowd and those who are interested in the more theoreticcal/academic aspects of Lindy.
The Cunningham band continues to add new material, making America a really good bet for Fridays
After the dance, a gang of about 20 people headed over to the Silver Diner for chat and chow until about 2:00 am.
From: Mercedes Clemens
Jump Alley rocked A Place to Dance in Centreville on Friday night -- if you hadn't known it was their debut, well, you never woulda known. There is definitely an advantage to a band with a lindy hopper member (our own Keith Rocco) -- lots of very danceable numbers, ranging from jump blues to classic swing. And they played a couple of slower songs good for a nice foxtrot around Centreville's beautiful floor -- the only bad thing was that my favorite foxtrot partner was playing the guitar at the time!
And there was definitely a connection thing going on between the band and the dancers -- everyone was having fun. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys (and gals) again! (Oh, and did I mention that they were very sharply dressed?)
The other nice thing about Friday night was walking in and finding Keith's vintage source, Mike of "Swing King Accessories" (he supplies many bands with clothing, including George Gee, Set 'em Up Joe, Jet Set Six, etc.), set up with men's & women's clothing, ties, and SHOES! We're talkin' a whole BOX of deadstock shoes, and lots of them were wedgies (Mike says he has more that he didn't even bring with him that night). I think Mike & Karen will be at Centreville on the 10th (APTD is dark this Friday); if you go, girls, go early if your feet are size 7+. When I got there at 9pm, all they had left were smaller sizes. I picked up the cutest low-heeled platform sandals in brown & beige and a nice tie -- it was tough to restrain myself, though! Mike can be reached at 703-799-8886; he's recently relocated from NYC to Alexandria.
Saturday August 28, 1999
TCO at Glen Echo
OK. It was HOT. Everyone was DRENCHED. There was so much humidity that a light fog rose off the dance floor. Without beating up on the poor old Spanish Ballroom any more, let's say that the environment had the potential for killing off enthusisam in dancing
Fortunately for the 500+ people who attended, the Cunningham Band provided ample motivation for enthusiastic dancing in spite of the heat and humidity. Not only the Big Band, but also the Oklahoma Twisters who provided a spectacular program of Western Swing in the Cuddle Up pavillion during the breaks. This is an absolutely unique contribution of the Cunningham organization -- - they really take care of the dancers!
The jam was very good -- thanks so much to Deborah Brooks who got me back into it --- the highlight was a reprise of Tom and Steve trading Lead and Follwo, but this time, Carla and Debra got into the act, also trading. Very interesting!
It looked like everyone had a really good time!
Sunday August 29, 1999
Today was devoted to treasure hunting in Baltimore. We had a great lunch at Ikaros on Eastern Avenue (Taramasalata and Village salad for two was $9.14). Following this, we toured several of the small Greek grocery stores and selected a nice assortment of very fresh fruit and the thickest Baklava we could find. We took this bounty to The Daily Grind in Fells Point and had a leisurely dessert while devoting considerable care to perusing both the Washington and Baltimore Sunday papers. After this lovely hiatus, we bagan to make our way through the wide variety of antique stores that populate Fells Point. I found myself very fortunate to find a waterfall night stand that fits in with my bedroom set (it is almost impossible to find single pieces...) This is a great way to spend a Sunday aftern0on --- heavy on the relaxation and light on the trudging between stores.
Monday August 30, 1999
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Tuesday August 31, 1999
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