|January, 1999 Reviews|
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Review of Dance Events During January, 1999
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Friday January 1, 1999
Carole hurt her back on New Year's Eve, so after getting her settled with a heating pad, I set out for America on my own. It's never as much fun without Carole, although tonight, the high point for me was when I took Robin Cunningham into the jam. The place was PACKED --- Debra said that the count was something like 380!
From: Cameron Sellers Cameron.Sellers@mail.house.gov
If the NPS can put a limit on attendence at Glen Echo ballroom, I sometimes wish America would put one on itself Friday nights. Some night it just so hard to dance when the floor is soooo crowded. But this Friday it was different, somewhat. The restaurant was closed so Tom and Deb cleared the table to create more dance space. 381 people showed up so certain areas of the dance floor was really crowded, but overall, one could still dance. It was a pleasant experience. I heard this arrangement was a one night deal,so back to the crowded dance floor.
TCO sounded great and Brent sounded really good during the JAM. Terry, a student from University of Illnois was there taping the Jam, so I actually got to see some of the tricks Lisa and I did in the Jam. I saw Matt's Hollywood whip for the first time that Jeff had been bragging about and I got to dance with all my friends again. I think I did on Thursday too, but I can't remeber because I was so cold.
From: Elizabeth Engel email@example.com
How did the carless Engels end up in Centreville? Well, Ellen was doing a fashion show to promote Nancy and her Centreville gig, and she asked us if we'd mind being models. Mind? We LOVED it! It was a great time. We all drove out to the wilds of NOVA together, and we didn't even get lost.
There was a smallish crowd there, due to the big America night, but Lindy was well represented by Eric, Ann, Laura, and all us fashion show folks. Although Jimmy and the Blue Dogs are more of a West Coast-y band, they were playing pretty much all mid-tempo songs (good for practicing moves), and the room is a DREAM! The floor is awesome - springy and slick, great for slide practice - and there are mirrors all around so you can check out your moves. It's a bit of a hike out there, but I highly recommend it. We had a fine time and if I had a car, I'd make the trek every week just to dance on that floor!
From: Nancy Baird firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Frank and Carole -
From Ellen's matching knit top and skirt to Kristy's cocktail dress to Michael's double breasted jacket and silk tie, everyone looked marvelous and the crowd loved it. Chrissy's outfit was especially stunning -- I hope Ellen or Diane got pictures of everyone, because words alone don't do these outfits justice.
This is always a fun event for us, and I can't wait until we can get Ellen and her dancing models back out for another show. Next time we will let everyone know about the show in advance so you can all come out to Centreville and enjoy it with us. We may even convince Ellen to bring extra outfits so we can buy 'em right there!
Thanks again to everyone who modeled, and especially to Ellen. If you haven't been to her shop, hearts desire, at 7578-E Fullerton Road in Springfield, VA, you should make plans to go soon. The shop is open Mon - Fri from 11-5 and by appointment.
Saturday January 2, 1999
The Ice and Snow kept We at home. We hear that Glen Echo drew about 80 people and was so cold that they closed it at 10:00 (tto bad!) Nick's drew about 50 hardy souls. Here's a report from Cullen:
From: Cullen Kowalski email@example.com
Sorry, no pictures, but we stormed the place! It was Thomas, Trish, Joe, Carolyn, Daniel that guy that could pass for Lyle Lovett, myself and Marie-Helene, whoo whoo, all kinds of room, but unfortunately, no jam.
Eventually, we got word that Glen Eskimo had closed around 10h and we expected to see a lot more people, but only saw Tom, the San Diego couple and two others. The band ended with Jump, Jive and Wail at 11h, then it was disco all the way baby. We moved to the back room for our own little private party.
We saw 4 accidents on 395S on the way there, but continued on without a worry, we needed our fix. In the end, it was worth it.
Sunday January 1, 1999
From: Lisa Morgan Brown
Frank & Carole,
From: Charlie Yi firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey Hep-Cats & Hep-Kittens!
Flash! Mr. & Mrs. Lindy and all the ships at sea! On the
go, on the move, on the beat! Go, go, go! Move, move, move!
Pick up da beat! Pick up da beat! Get up! Get up! Get up, on
yer feet! That's right, gates and gut-busters, it's your 'ol pal
Charlie! I know it's been a while since the last time we kicked
some scuttlebutt around, but so much has been happening lately
with the holidays and all, I'm still unpacking from my trip to D.
C. So without any further ado... The first leg of my walk-a-bout began about two weeks ago when
I went home to see the folks back east. Upon completion of the
obligatory, family niceties, I made my way into the impeccabley
dressed, Lindy-crazed city that is the Washington, D. C. Swing
Scene! With the aid of "Frank and Carole's Lindy Week In
Review," http://www.jitterbuzz.com/, and their famous
top-ten list (of where to Lindy!!!). I found myself at Lu Lu's
Club Mardi Gras (a very cozy establishment in North West
Washington, D.C.) on a snow-covered Wednesday night; scopin' and
hopin' for a little pre-Christmas Eve, Lindy-fix. Tom Koerner and Carolyn Biczel were runnin' the swing
activities that night. I arrived a little late and missed the
lesson they gave, but I did get to see the two of them in action
as they swung-out on the dance floor. Tom is an exceptional
dancer, and has been teaching Swing out in D. C. for several
years. He and his competition-dance partner, Debra Sternberg
(who wasn't there that night), have won several titles. Including
prestegious Virginia State Open. They pretty much started the
entire D. C. swing scene from scratch. Tom and Debra are
basically the Duke and Duchess of D. C. Swing. Check out their
web-site! It's got a lot of coool graphics and stuff, including
an article that was in the Washington Post, about how the two of
them got started! A definite must read. It's at :
http://dalmatiancorporation.com/tomanddebra/ I ended up meeting
Tom later that evening and talked about dancing for the most part
(big surprise!). He asked if I had studied in Sweden! I told
them that Jamie and Elisha were responsible for the Swedish look.
Tom is one classy guy and a lawyer to boot! Who woulda figgered?
I finally met a lawyer that I actually thought was cool! Lu Lu's is actually very much like our own Pa Pa Jack's. The
dance floors are about the same size, but Tom spins the CD's
while we've got Freddie-A and his Swing Machine. And
unfortunately they both have incredibly annoying disco lights
that make the girls dizzy. I was immediately approached by
several swing dancers before I even made it to the dance floor.
Apparently everybody wanted to know if my shoes were actually
Nike swing shoes. I told them that they were a new basketball
high-top called "Son of Glove" that looked amazingly
like a pair of reverse-colored, two-tones from a distance. After
the shoe discussion that all Lindy Hoppers are mandated by law to
have, I made my way to the bar and asked a petite blonde woman,
that the fellas told me "was probably one of the best Lindy
Hoppers in D.C.," to dance. Her name was Lisa Morgan Brown and after several break-neck
songs, I found out that she was half of one of the most
successful competition couples in the area. Her and her partner
Cameron Sellers had just recently won a bunch contests within the
past month! I had read about the two of them on Frank and
Carole's web-site and had always wanted to see the two of them
dance. But Cameron was visiting his folks back in Arizona. So I
took advantage of his absence and proceeded to dance the night
away with Lisa. Lisa was a terrific follow, and with her nimble
reflexes and cat-like agility, I could see how the two of them
had won so many contests. Her styling is very Jewel
McGowan-like. Apparently Erik and Sylvia had been there the
month before and had given a Hollywood-style workshop. Lisa and her friends decided to head over to the Eleventh
Hour, a very tres-chic nightclub that had swing dancing 'til two
in the morning!! Does this city rock or what??!! Upon arriving
I was introduced to several people including a very tall guy I
thought was a basketball player. His name was Steve Cowles, and
man could this cat dance! I have never seen anyone over six-feet
(six-four I think) move with his speed and grace!! Apparently he
teaches Lindy at several colleges in the area. He also has
recently been bitten by the Hollywood bug, but keeps a lot of
Savoy styling and moves in his repertoire. The Eleventh Hour is
one swank shop. You could wear a full vintage ensemble and still
feel a little under-dressed. The decor is very much like Harmony
on Fifth in San Diego's Gaslamp. But w/o the attitude and
outrageous prices and cover. They let us in for free and didn't
hassle anybody. The band they had playing, a trio call Swing
Speak, were very jazzy and improvisational. Their bass player
could get you on your feet with probably just two plucks and a
tap of the strings-he's that good. After a few dances, I ended up starting a major debate about
the Hollywood vs. Savoy-style Lindy. It's so cool when you're in
a club full of people who know their stuff! It makes for some
seriously killer conversations. The type you always want to be
seen and heard in at an exclusive hot-spot with lots of
trend-mongering people eavesdropping! After my exhaustion level reached its peak, I said good-bye to
the DC crew and looked forward to the invitation that Tom Koerner
had given me to come to the Old Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo
Park later that week. Apparently this was THE place to Lindy.on
a Saturdaty night! The Old Spanish Ballroom should've been
called the COLD Spanish Ballroom. When I arrived for the dance
on Saturday night, the temperature was about 30 degrees
Farenheit! I could actually see my breath fog up in front of me.
The freezing room temperature soon went unnoticed once the band
started up. The Tom Cunningham Orchestra is a terrific band.
They played a lot of Count Basie that night!! Including a Joe
Williams song. The ballroom itself was huge and had that
charming antiquated feel that one gets from looking through your
grandparent's attic. I ended up meeting several people that I
had only seen on Frank & Carole's web-site. Mara Levy and Lian
Eoyang were a lot of fun to dance with. Lian was so bubbly she
just about floated and bounced on the chilly air that was
swirling through the old dance hall. I arrived just in time to see Tom and Debra finish their
class, when at the end, they called me out to help entertain the
over 300 people in the ballroom with an impromptu Charleston
contest! Tom bragged that East Coasters were king at Charleston,
and so I had no choice but to represent! West Side! After
making a spectacle of ourselves, the band blasted into some phat
tunes and proceeded to raise the roof big band style. After dancing several songs, Tom told me to find a partner for
the swing jam that they were going to have. So I grabbed Lian
and we broke out into the swing jam circle and whooped up the
crowd with some flashy moves. Lian got the guys hootin' and
hollerin' with her patented big-time, booty-shakin'/swivel-walk!!
There were a lot of talented couples who busted da moves, but the
highlight had to be when Tom and Debra jumped in full force with
their amazing aerials. And of course their famous "DEATH
SPIKE!!" Every time I see that move it makes my palms
sweat!! Oh, Brudder! And just when I thought I was done. Tom pulled me aside and
told me that I was going to enter the dance contest, too! So
again, Lian and I teamed up for the contest. The contest was
just for fun and about a dozen couples entered. Lian and I made
it to the finals and finished closely behind a British chap named
Sean and his partner. I figured we did pretty well considering
that it was our first time dancing with each other. After the
contest, I bid the D. C. crew "laterzz" but once again,
Tom invited to another dance gig at a restaurant in Virginia's
Tysons Corner Mall, called "America." Monday night at Chevy Chase Ballroom, was terrific --- it had
to have just about the best quality dance floor I have ever
hopped on! It was perfectly polished, but not sticky. It even
had a consistant, almost springy bounce. I spent most of the
night just cutting loose and dancing with as many different
people as I could. The Hollywood-style was really big with the
younger kids, and several of the guys came up and asked what
"style" I was doing. I told them about Jamie and
Elisha and the Swedish influences, and even demonstrated the
difference in my basic to a couple of people. Lisa was there,
but unfortunately the famous "Cameron" whom I'd been
dying to see was sick. So I missed my last chance to see this
legendary, phantom-like, Lindy Hopper. I exchanged e-mail
addresses with a couple of people and said good-bye to the DC
swing scene, and eagerly awaited my trip home. Upon returning to San Diego, the very lovely Susan and I
entered a Jack and Jill Dance Contest at the Rocket. And we
won!! Yeeeaaahhh!! We got free passes to the upcoming workshop
with Josie Say and Chachi (of the Rhythm Hot Shots!)! What can I
say? I just hope that I have enough time to unpack my stuff
before I enter another dance contest! I missed all of you guys
and can hardly wait to see you guys out on the floor! Hey
there's supposed to be a big dance at UCSD this weekend. Who's
going? And for all you jivers and hoppers outside San Diego,
gimme some mail!! I'd love to hear what you guys are up to!! Swing Or Die!
Hey Hep-Cats & Hep-Kittens!
Flash! Mr. & Mrs. Lindy and all the ships at sea! On the go, on the move, on the beat! Go, go, go! Move, move, move! Pick up da beat! Pick up da beat! Get up! Get up! Get up, on yer feet! That's right, gates and gut-busters, it's your 'ol pal Charlie! I know it's been a while since the last time we kicked some scuttlebutt around, but so much has been happening lately with the holidays and all, I'm still unpacking from my trip to D. C.
So without any further ado...
The first leg of my walk-a-bout began about two weeks ago when I went home to see the folks back east. Upon completion of the obligatory, family niceties, I made my way into the impeccabley dressed, Lindy-crazed city that is the Washington, D. C. Swing Scene! With the aid of "Frank and Carole's Lindy Week In Review," http://www.jitterbuzz.com/, and their famous top-ten list (of where to Lindy!!!). I found myself at Lu Lu's Club Mardi Gras (a very cozy establishment in North West Washington, D.C.) on a snow-covered Wednesday night; scopin' and hopin' for a little pre-Christmas Eve, Lindy-fix.
Tom Koerner and Carolyn Biczel were runnin' the swing activities that night. I arrived a little late and missed the lesson they gave, but I did get to see the two of them in action as they swung-out on the dance floor. Tom is an exceptional dancer, and has been teaching Swing out in D. C. for several years. He and his competition-dance partner, Debra Sternberg (who wasn't there that night), have won several titles. Including the very prestegious Virginia State Open. They pretty much started the entire D. C. swing scene from scratch. Tom and Debra are basically the Duke and Duchess of D. C. Swing. Check out their web-site! It's got a lot of coool graphics and stuff, including an article that was in the Washington Post, about how the two of them got started! A definite must read. It's at : http://dalmatiancorporation.com/tomanddebra/ I ended up meeting Tom later that evening and talked about dancing for the most part (big surprise!). He asked if I had studied in Sweden! I told them that Jamie and Elisha were responsible for the Swedish look. Tom is one classy guy and a lawyer to boot! Who woulda figgered? I finally met a lawyer that I actually thought was cool!
Lu Lu's is actually very much like our own Pa Pa Jack's. The dance floors are about the same size, but Tom spins the CD's while we've got Freddie-A and his Swing Machine. And unfortunately they both have incredibly annoying disco lights that make the girls dizzy. I was immediately approached by several swing dancers before I even made it to the dance floor. Apparently everybody wanted to know if my shoes were actually Nike swing shoes. I told them that they were a new basketball high-top called "Son of Glove" that looked amazingly like a pair of reverse-colored, two-tones from a distance. After the shoe discussion that all Lindy Hoppers are mandated by law to have, I made my way to the bar and asked a petite blonde woman, that the fellas told me "was probably one of the best Lindy Hoppers in D.C.," to dance.
Her name was Lisa Morgan Brown and after several break-neck songs, I found out that she was half of one of the most successful competition couples in the area. Her and her partner Cameron Sellers had just recently won a bunch contests within the past month! I had read about the two of them on Frank and Carole's web-site and had always wanted to see the two of them dance. But Cameron was visiting his folks back in Arizona. So I took advantage of his absence and proceeded to dance the night away with Lisa. Lisa was a terrific follow, and with her nimble reflexes and cat-like agility, I could see how the two of them had won so many contests. Her styling is very Jewel McGowan-like. Apparently Erik and Sylvia had been there the month before and had given a Hollywood-style workshop.
Lisa and her friends decided to head over to the Eleventh Hour, a very tres-chic nightclub that had swing dancing 'til two in the morning!! Does this city rock or what??!! Upon arriving I was introduced to several people including a very tall guy I thought was a basketball player. His name was Steve Cowles, and man could this cat dance! I have never seen anyone over six-feet (six-four I think) move with his speed and grace!! Apparently he teaches Lindy at several colleges in the area. He also has recently been bitten by the Hollywood bug, but keeps a lot of Savoy styling and moves in his repertoire. The Eleventh Hour is one swank shop. You could wear a full vintage ensemble and still feel a little under-dressed. The decor is very much like Harmony on Fifth in San Diego's Gaslamp. But w/o the attitude and outrageous prices and cover. They let us in for free and didn't hassle anybody. The band they had playing, a trio call Swing Speak, were very jazzy and improvisational. Their bass player could get you on your feet with probably just two plucks and a tap of the strings-he's that good.
After a few dances, I ended up starting a major debate about the Hollywood vs. Savoy-style Lindy. It's so cool when you're in a club full of people who know their stuff! It makes for some seriously killer conversations. The type you always want to be seen and heard in at an exclusive hot-spot with lots of trend-mongering people eavesdropping!
After my exhaustion level reached its peak, I said good-bye to the DC crew and looked forward to the invitation that Tom Koerner had given me to come to the Old Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo Park later that week. Apparently this was THE place to Lindy.on a Saturdaty night! The Old Spanish Ballroom should've been called the COLD Spanish Ballroom. When I arrived for the dance on Saturday night, the temperature was about 30 degrees Farenheit! I could actually see my breath fog up in front of me. The freezing room temperature soon went unnoticed once the band started up. The Tom Cunningham Orchestra is a terrific band. They played a lot of Count Basie that night!! Including a Joe Williams song. The ballroom itself was huge and had that charming antiquated feel that one gets from looking through your grandparent's attic. I ended up meeting several people that I had only seen on Frank & Carole's web-site. Mara Levy and Lian Eoyang were a lot of fun to dance with. Lian was so bubbly she just about floated and bounced on the chilly air that was swirling through the old dance hall.
I arrived just in time to see Tom and Debra finish their class, when at the end, they called me out to help entertain the over 300 people in the ballroom with an impromptu Charleston contest! Tom bragged that East Coasters were king at Charleston, and so I had no choice but to represent! West Side! After making a spectacle of ourselves, the band blasted into some phat tunes and proceeded to raise the roof big band style.
After dancing several songs, Tom told me to find a partner for the swing jam that they were going to have. So I grabbed Lian and we broke out into the swing jam circle and whooped up the crowd with some flashy moves. Lian got the guys hootin' and hollerin' with her patented big-time, booty-shakin'/swivel-walk!! There were a lot of talented couples who busted da moves, but the highlight had to be when Tom and Debra jumped in full force with their amazing aerials. And of course their famous "DEATH SPIKE!!" Every time I see that move it makes my palms sweat!! Oh, Brudder!
And just when I thought I was done. Tom pulled me aside and told me that I was going to enter the dance contest, too! So again, Lian and I teamed up for the contest. The contest was just for fun and about a dozen couples entered. Lian and I made it to the finals and finished closely behind a British chap named Sean and his partner. I figured we did pretty well considering that it was our first time dancing with each other. After the contest, I bid the D. C. crew "laterzz" but once again, Tom invited to another dance gig at a restaurant in Virginia's Tysons Corner Mall, called "America."
Monday night at Chevy Chase Ballroom, was terrific --- it had to have just about the best quality dance floor I have ever hopped on! It was perfectly polished, but not sticky. It even had a consistant, almost springy bounce. I spent most of the night just cutting loose and dancing with as many different people as I could. The Hollywood-style was really big with the younger kids, and several of the guys came up and asked what "style" I was doing. I told them about Jamie and Elisha and the Swedish influences, and even demonstrated the difference in my basic to a couple of people. Lisa was there, but unfortunately the famous "Cameron" whom I'd been dying to see was sick. So I missed my last chance to see this legendary, phantom-like, Lindy Hopper. I exchanged e-mail addresses with a couple of people and said good-bye to the DC swing scene, and eagerly awaited my trip home.
Upon returning to San Diego, the very lovely Susan and I entered a Jack and Jill Dance Contest at the Rocket. And we won!! Yeeeaaahhh!! We got free passes to the upcoming workshop with Josie Say and Chachi (of the Rhythm Hot Shots!)! What can I say? I just hope that I have enough time to unpack my stuff before I enter another dance contest! I missed all of you guys and can hardly wait to see you guys out on the floor! Hey there's supposed to be a big dance at UCSD this weekend. Who's going? And for all you jivers and hoppers outside San Diego, gimme some mail!! I'd love to hear what you guys are up to!!
Swing Or Die!
Monday January 4, 1999
From: Elizabeth Engel email@example.com
By the time we both arrived home (me back to work after 10 days off and Jim after his first day of a very challenging class), we almost decided not to try to brave the cold and the wind to get out to CCB last night. Are we ever glad we did! Jim told me to write that he had his best night of dancing in ages, and that he's really missed the Monday crowd - between the marathon training and all the traveling he did this fall, he thinks it's been at least 2 months since he's made a Monday night dance. It really was a wonderful night - Jim figured out two moves he's been struggling with for a long time, I almost stole Nina's new/old navy blue jacket, and Iver got us started on Balboa. If you, like it seems just about everyone is at this point, are starting on Balboa, make sure you talk to Iver. I hink he's he only local dancer who's worked extensively on Balboa with Jonathan Bixby and Sylvia Sykes, the king and queen of Balboa, and it definitely shows.
Anyway, we've missed the floor, we've missed the dancers, and we've missed Bernstein's mix. As Jim pointed out on the way home, when you go to a lot of venues, the DJs are new at playing for swing crowds. So when they see some people dancing who look like they know what they're doing, the DJs immediately pull out every 5 minute plus 220 BPM plus song hey've got, one after the other. Before long, even the most fit dancers are exhausted. Bernstein never does that, mixing from medium-slow to medium-fast tunes, never leaving you unable to dance either because you're worn out or because the music's too slow. With Bernstein at the helm, you know you can dance all night.
From: Cameron Sellers Cameron.Sellers@mail.house.gov
Again, my Christmas holiday activities included swing dancing in Phoenix this year. On Monday night, December 21, I ventured out to the Rocking Horse Saloon, the old watering hole I danced at last year. Paul Manato, who heads the Arizona Lindy Hop Society, was teaching a beginner class before the band started. The band was good but had more of a West Coast slant. Most of the songs were slow or medium tempo. A couple of songs actually hit 200 bmp so I got to test to see if I had a heart beat.
The swing dancers are inexperienced, but young and enthusiastic, a deadly combination to compete against. Give them a year and they will probably be better than us. I recognized a couple of people from last year, both of them female dancers. They have become really good since the last time that I saw them. Both are good dancers and they learn quickly. I traded moves with them all night. I met another dancer who had just discovered lindy and had just dropped her boyfriend. I told her it was a good thing that she dropped her boyfriend. A boyfriend would only get in the way of her dancing.
Arizona is suffering the same growing pains as the DC lindy scene. There is high attrition rate among dancers. Also, there are certain venues experience dancers don't go to because the crowds are too big with Johnny Swingers. Same complaints as here. They take up too much space. They do aerials on crowded dance floors. The Rocking Horse Saloon is one of the hang out the experienceddancers attend. The next night I headed for the place that most experience dancers avoid, The Bash on Ash.
The Bash on Ash has become the swing place by default. The place is a cross between our America by the crowd size and Zones by its look. One could tell that the Bash never intended to be a swing joint. It looks like and has the feel of a Euro trash bar with a tile floor. There is a disco ball hanging rom the ceiling and smoke appears on the dance floor when hip hop music starts. Apparently, swing started there on a Tuesday night to fill their calender, but it became so popular that Swing was added on Thursdays and Saturday nights as well. Someone told me that the place would have folded if it were not for swing. All ages are welcome so the place is crawling with high school and college kids.
The night I came they had a dance contest with a prize of $100. You know me and dance contest. I met a lady, Sue Meek, who had just started lindy a few months back and we entered the contest. There a quite few out of towners in the contest. Unfortunately, Sue and I did not make the cut for the final show down, but it was fun. I also met Harry who seems well connected in the local swing scene. He knows every dancer and he makes himself approachable. He introduced me to all of the dancers there and told me what there specialty. He knew who could dance fast, who danced Hollywood, who had the best style.
The band that played that night was called King of Pleasures. They were pretty good and I like them a little better than the other band the night before. They seemed to be a local favorite along with the Swing Tips. If you didn't like the band you could always wait for the breaks because the cds they played were good. Jivin' Jamboree seemed to favorite out there.
Later that night, I probably met the best female dancer in the city, Becky Waters. She is Naomi's age and she has a Swedish style of lindy, but she has never seen the Swedes dance. She leads, follows and has style. She knew a little Hollywood, but I would have never known it because she followed it pretty well. If she had entered that dance contest, she would have probably won.
The following night, Wednesday, December 23, my best friend, his brother in law, and I headed to Club 411. This club was open to all ages, but if you wanted to drink a beer, you had to go behind a chain link fence. The Club is located in Downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue. The place is definitely a college hang out and I got the impression Wednesday lindy night was created to cash in on the fad. The club did have a nice wooden floor. There was no band but the DJ spun some pretty good cds. Sue and Becky showed up so I had a fun time dancing with them until midnight.
I went back to the Bash on Saturday night to get one more night of swing dancing before I left for DC. It was one of those nights that I should have stayed home and took care of the cold that I could feel coming on. But I wanted to see the group one more time before I left. I had heard the Bash was different on Saturday and they weren't kidding. First, you had to pay $5 to park. Second, the band sucked. I believe they were called Swing 46. They are basically a Martini Lounge band that play tunes for a lounge scene than for swing dancers. Some of the music you could really dance to. I thought, "well, there are always the breaks." Wong! Finally, when the breaks came, the place played hip hop music. This night would have a total waste if it weren't for the likable dancers. Becky, Sue, and the whole gang was there and we spent the night trading new moves. Afterwards, we went to IHOP for a late night snack. The evening was less than satisfying.
I walked away from Phoenix with some observations. First, swing is contagious. I couldn't believe how many people I met who were addicted. So swing will be around for awhile. Second, Phoenix is suffering from the same growing pains as DC. Crowded dance floors and johnny swingers. But the good news is that you can swing dance every day of the week. Third, the scene is young. I am ancient with this crowd. Is DC the only city where a large group dancers are over thirty. Also like DC there are allot of high school kids in the swing scene. Finally, I used to think DC was the only place where Lindy is treated like a social dance, but I found Phoenix to be another place where people dance with each other and not just with their partners.
So if you travel through Phoenix, make sure you check out the local dance places at the Website of the Arizona Lindy Hop Society:
Tuesday January 5, 1999
We have no reviews for this date
Wednesday January 6, 1999
From: Debra Sternberg firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL 'BUGS OUT!!!
The 6th Annual Channel 4 Health Fair is coming up next weekend, January 15, 16 and 17. Koerner and I have done our usual performance/Charleston lesson at this event since it's first year, and it's always a ton of fun. However, this year they're doing something a little different:
The event organizers are REALLY putting a strong emphasis on dance as a way of keeping fit. They will be featuring all types of dance: country line, lindy hop, jitterbug, square dancing, hand dancing, salsa, tango. They will be broadcasting the opening live on Friday night's 6 p.m. news, and we have been asked to bring 25 lindy hoppers! We'll probably be doing a little trade-off with the hand dancers, so it should be an especially good time--our goal is to make this thing a PARTY! We need Lindy Hoppers at the dance stage at the D.C. Convention Center from 5:50 p.m. until about 7 p.m. We'll be on from about 6:20 until 6:45 p.m.
I want to keep track of who's going to show up so I can make sure we have enough dancers, although the lure of being on TV should ensure that enough warm bodies show up! If you plan to be there, please send me an email message: email@example.com.
Like I said, we always have a ball at this thing and meet a
bunch of fun people. It's great exposure and your mom can watch
you on TV! Please let me know if you'll be joining us.
Thursday January 7, 1999
We have no Reviews for this Date
Friday January 8, 1999
The ice and snow cast a pall over Lindy Hopping this weekend. The bad news started pouring in about 3:00 in the afternoon: Charlie Hubbell of the J Street Jumpers called and said that the gig at Centreville was cancelled. At 6:00 we headed out to our gig with the New Columbia Swing Orchestra at the Birchmere; when we got there, we discovered that management had cancelled the event. [actually, they "rescheduled" it for February 12. The 150 or so folks who had bought advance tickets will find them honored at that date] We spent an hour in the parking lot directing folks to America and Poli-Tiki.
We hear that about 75 hardy souls actually made it to America including about ten of the folks we had sent on. Congratulations to TCO for bravely putting on the show in the face of extreme climactic conditions (remember, they kept Glen Echo open during similar weather last week) Believe me, this is one of the reasons that TCO is legendary among Lindy Hoppers --- you have to love these guys!
At the time, the roads were a bit messy to embark on a trip to Tysons Corner, so we headed to Poli-Tiki. (Our car isn't so good in the snow...) There was a large crowd on hand, including some of the hardy souls from the Birchmere. Thea and Brian gave a great beginner lesson and we got drafted into helping out with some of the people who lacked a partner. It seemed like everyone had a very good time. The room seemed to be very cozy on this miserable night -- the two 32-pane floor-to-ceiling windows at the front were iced over, although it was quite warm inside.
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel firstname.lastname@example.org
Another Friday, another fun night at PoliTiki. Even though Jim and I weren't dancing as much (he was a little sore from our experiments in Ken and Donna's Thursday night aerials class) and it was positively tropical in there, we had a great time. The crowd was as big as ever, but the dancers were a bit thinned out - snow casualties perhaps?
We did a good shim sham this week. For some reason, I have a much easier time with Tuxedo Junction that with Stompin' at the Savoy - perhaps it's because you have to jump right in with SATS, which TJ gives you a full phrase to get your act together. But sadly there was no jam.
We had a good time talking with Frank and Carole, Lisa, and Sean, and trading footwork in the corner. Jim and I got to practice our Balboa basic step some more, so I think the next time we see Iver we'll be ready to move on to learning one or two more steps.
Once we're all moved (this weekend, if anyone who hasn't contacted us yet is free!), we're going to be instituting a regular Friday night pre-PoliTiki/Zones potluck for anyone who cares to come. I'll be sure to get something to Frank for the Website once we're organized, so if you're a PoliTiki or Zones regular, keep an eye on the site - hopefully we'll be ready by month's end.
Saturday January 9, 1999
We headed over to Nick's to see a smaller version of the Tom Cunningham Orchestra. We alsway get a kick out of Robin's version of "Hey Bop a Re Bop" --- and so did the crowd, because it seemed that Robin had about fifty "assistant vocalists." We collared Debra Sternberg for about twenty minutes to go over our Lindy curricvulum at the Shark to make sure that everything that we will be teaching will be totally consistent with what Tom and Deb teach. Thus, those of you who saw us with Deb in the small room counting out whips and Charleston should not be concerned that we are learning this for the first time...
Sunday January 10, 1999
Debra Sternberg invited a whole lot of people to show off her new house. The food was great and everyone "ooh-ed" and "ah-ed" over Debra's collection of art deco furniture. There was a big crowd of folks eagerly watching dance videotapes. (Conversation? Wait --- Erik and Sylvia are on...) Debra's cat had a great day -- she decided to stretch out on all the coats that people had piled on the bed. The only negative aspect of the day from the cat's perspective was when Debra demonstrated the proper technique for giving a pill. Thanks Debra --- you have a gorgeous house!
Monday January 11, 1999
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel email@example.com
Even when you aren't in the T&D classes, it's practically impossible to come to CCB on a Monday and *not* learn something. This week, it was Dean Collins style work with Jim Kranyak and kip lessons with Steve and Carla. I managed to jones two dances out of the elusive Mr. Kranyak while working on the Collins style lindy. If I can ever remember to cross in front, it'll be a miracle, but fortunately Jim K is a very patient teacher.
In addition, Cameron helped us out on a shag move that's been driving Jim crazy - he hates it if he's not sure where to start or how to lead a particular move he wants to do, because Mr. Leo doesn't like to do it wrong. And Steve and Carla got us started on kipping. Now that we're taking Ken and Donna's class, we're getting a bit more bold, and the kip isn't that scary because I don't have to go upside down. Less risk of cracking my skull open. Carla and I discussed the possibility of aerials helmets - maybe someone could make some that look like 40's hairdos? That's probably too much to ask. I don't think we'll ever get the height that they get, but at least we have the basic motion down now.
I was amazed at all the people there I didn't know. Miss a couple of weeks - well, OK, several weeks - and there are all these new faces! At least we'll have the opportunity to get to know the incoming class of dancers this February, as we're going to sign up for the beginner class switching parts. On another note, if any of the other couples have been thinking about doing this and would like not to be the only ones in the class, we'll be signing up for the CCB classes that start Monday, February 1, and we're going to try to get into the 7 pm beginner class. This'll be a new experience!
BTW - if you're one of the Lindy Hoppers who tends NOT to get carded at Zones and PoliTiki, talk to Mercedes...she's forming a group just for us...
Tuesday January 12, 1999
Thanks everyone for helping make our opening at the Shark go so well. First, and most imortant, everyone seemed to have a great time and Tommy Barrick and the Five Wise Guys were just spectacular. We had 75 paid admissions and the restaurant set an all time record for the number of dinners served. There are a few things that need improvement: Management now realizes that there will be no furniture on the dance floor. The glitter ball will go and the TVs will be OFF for the duration. Next week, the special nonalcoholic swing drinks will be prominently advertised. All in all, we were very happy, mainly because our old and new friends seemed to be having a good time. I finally closed up the place at 1:30 am and there were still four couples on the floor. I also want to welcome "Roxy" our new mascot --- she is the older lady who spent a considerable amount of time dancing on her own to the music. So, if you come back, have a kind word for Roxy.
From: Sue Fedor firstname.lastname@example.org
The ice has melted, so I guess it's safe to venture out to dance now. Steve and I headed for the Shark Club in Bethesda for Frank's gig. Frank greeted us at the door as if we were his long, lost relatives. We'll have to start calling him "Whitey" after that much heralded bouncer turned impresario of the Savoy Ballroom.
After the second band break, Frank invited all the beginners up for impromptu Lindy lessons. He paired Steve and I off with a couple that had just moved to Silver Spring from California. We worked with them on the basic whip and circle. God knows what Frank was doing with everyone else, but every once in a while, the din was punctuated with an ear piercing "Okay, everybody!"
The place is really nice. We have a large bank of picture windows looking out onto the street. The dance floor is irregularly shaped and, unfortunately, populated with overstuffed chairs, an unused DJ stand and a couple of large plants. Perhaps they could be moved for the dancers. The floor is about as large as the one at Poli Tiki, so we were very polite and took turns. The ceiling is just a tad higher than Vienna Grille. The floor is a bit hard, but it is wood and it is in pretty good condition. The bartenders are fast and friendly (a pitcher of ice water was set up in the corner...) and the menu looked very tasty. It looks like they have seafood. Maybe next time we'll order up a plate of calamari.
Toward the end of the third set, Frank grabbed the mike once more and began to wax poetic about how his dream has always been to have a little dance and music party with all his friends...yadda yadda...and as the piano player began "Jumpin' at the Woodside" he talked about how the Lindy tradition was to have to have a jam..."Gather round everybody and watch the dancers shine!"
More like "hear the dancers swear under their breath..." There were only a few of us around to jam, but everyone rose to the occaision. Steve C/B and Carla were our anchor people, thank goodness, entertaining the crowd with all their antics--from Lindy to Balboa. Jim and Elisabeth, Deb Brooks and Iver, and Frank with his Carole substitute, Elisabeth, among others, joined in. Steve and I tossed in a few of our standard aerials for good measure.
Not a bad night. The band was pretty good and the crowd seemed pretty lively. I'm a real "freedom of choice person" so I'm always concerned about diners and drinkers who did not come in for the floor show. There seemed to be plenty of nooks and crannies for them too at the club. Overall, however, we did seem to attract the attention of a lot of spectators, who were friendly, courteous and respectful. Nobody tried to encroach on the dance floor with martinis or beers. Of course, it helps that the dance floor is fenced off by a wide counter and you have to be pretty sober to find the openings or duck under.
Most of all, it's nice to have another Lindy spot in our back yard up in Montgomery County. It takes the edge off of Phantasmagoria turning its back on swing. And it's a place I can take my Dad for a beer next time he comes down to visit!
From: Tommy Barrick tbdrum@Tidalwave.net
Hey guys, last night was a gas! The band looks forward to many future engagements. See ya later, Tommy.
From: Elizabeth Weaver Engel email@example.com
Last night, Jim and I helped Frank inaugurate the Shark Club swing night. I was playing the role of Carole for the evening, as she is currently vacationing in warmer climes. The club is very conveniently located steps from the Metro in downtown Bethesda. They serve food. It's not exactly gourmet, but it's not bad, it is cheap, the service is good.
The band - 5 Wise Guys - was very good, although they could use a little more practice as a dance band, as their numbers tended to be long jazz jams. However, they weren't furiously paced, so even though the songs were long, you could dance to an entire song without exhausting youself. And the canary, Lynn McCuhn sounded just great.
They started playing around 8 pm, by which point the only dancers present were Frank, Jim, and I, and a very nice couple named Chris and Karen who've just moved to the DC area from Santa Rosa, CA. Shortly thereafter, Iver showed up, and then the dancers started trickling in. By about 9:45 pm, when Frank and I went to do the beginner lesson, the place was jammed. We had about 1/2 dozen couples in for the "basic step and a few turns" lesson, and we had a nice little jam and a successful shim sham.
Frank and Carole don't actually start their formal lessons until January 26, and there will be a beginner drop in lesson during one of the band's breaks every week. Shark Club makes a nice alternative to Vienna Grill. It's more convenient for the DC/MD folks, it's a bit more of a dress up and dance place (as opposed to the intense practice atmosphere of the Grill), it features a live band, and, although it's $7 for singles, it's $10 a couple, so it offers a financial incentive to dress up and take your gal (or guy) out for the evening.
Wednesday January 13, 1999
We taught what was ostensibly a "fill-in" lesson at Eleventh Hour. We want to thank all of the 125 people who showed up --- we had to teach our lesson in shifts! Swing Speak was just fantastic --- they really rocked the house. The crowd was very enthusiastic and the evening was a great success with one small exception: at about 11:30, one of the bouncers decided that men could not wear hats. I had a discussion with the owner and he assures me that the policy has "changed" and that the whole thing is a simple misunderstanding and that vintage hats are not only permissible but welcome. We suggest that you go back to Eleventh Hour, but BE SURE TO WEAR A FEDORA.
Thursday January 14, 1999
From: Alex Fajkowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Frank and Carole!
Thursday was vintage shopping over at Meep's (led by the Gretta) and an interesting night in...we moved lots of furniture in my living room to roll back the rug and practice a few moves. It was a quiet night...we only stayed up 'til 3am watching movies.
Friday January 15, 1999
We had the great pleasure of attending WRC-TV's Health and Fitness fair in the late afternoon. We were joined by Tom and Debra, Iver and Deb Brooks, Jim and Elizabeth Engel, Steve Devoney and Sue Fedor and several others. Following a brief talk on the history of Lindy given by Tom, we did a little demo. Then Tom gave a Charleston lesson and we did a bit more dancing. We were followed by an excellent demonstration of Hand Dancing by Laurence Bradford and "Smooth n' Easy".
After dinner, we made our way to Zones for the Swing/Salsa competition. Everyone had a great time. Vicki Harrison and Bill Puschman were the overall winners, although David and Denise from the Sals group were very strong contenders.
From: Sue Fedor email@example.com
Friday began at about 4:30 am when Steve and I were awakened to the sound of "POP, POP, POP". Transformers exploded all over the neighborhood, throwing off sparks like Fourth of July fireworks. I never got out of bed, but Steve looked out of the window and reported to me, "ICE. Sticking to the trees." Then, the lights went out. We never really went back to sleep. We merely tossed and turned and wondered how cold it was going to get. The cat jumped under the covers with us.
We had every intention of helping Elisabeth and Jim move that day. I had taken the day off from work. Steve is usually off on Fridays. No dice. Lots of ice. [Bob Ryan says we had 36 million tons of ice fall on us!] We were stuck in the house. Somehow, Carla made it out that morning, guided by Steve Bailey (Cowles). He took one misstep on the iced over slate walkways and ended up sliding down the front yard about 30 ft. No injuries, thank goodness. But Steve, Steve, and Sue were holed up in the ice house, sans heat, temps dropping real fast. No food. Stove is electric. That afternoon, the temps rose and the ice began to fall off of the branches.
We had also planned to stop by the 4 YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS EXPO. Round about 4 pm, sick of being cold, Steve and Steve and I gussied up (as best we could without irons or blow driers) and headed out. Tom and Debra did a short demo and charleston lesson. Steve and Carla demo-ed and the rest of us joined in for a jam. We were not too bad, considering we had no sleep. Afterward, we descended upon the Capital City Brewery like locusts. After dinner (the first real hot food of the day) Steve and I finally helped Elisabeth and Jim move a Trooper load of furniture to the new digs.
When we got home, the house was at 51 degrees farhenheit. I tried warming up by the fireplace. I called my dad for some sympathy. He lives in Cleveland and began telling me about the 3 feet of snow in his back yard. I said, "At least you have electricity. Imagine no cable TV!" He had no comeback for that. I took a nice, long, hot shower (we have a gas water heater, thank goodness) and put my hair up in sponge rollers for the next day's events--not knowing whether or not we'd have power.
From: Glynis Astier
My goodness - I do seem to pop up everywhere. *grin* I just wanted to say a quick thank you for your kindness and generosity. It's made my baby steps into the World o' Lindy that much more exciting and enjoyable. Perhaps, some day I'll even be a decent dancer. Practice, practice, practice.
I had an amazing time at Zones this past Friday. I had been sort of planning on a quiet evening of lying on the sofa and being a lazy lump of lard, but . . . it's hard to say no when someone suggests going out to dance! Allowing myself to be talked into competing was both exhilarating and scary. But everyone was very kind and encouraging - making me want to try even harder so next time I can put on a better show. (Oh my goodness - I'm talking about a NEXT time!) (Ack!)
I really enjoyed the Salsa/Swing dance-off. It seemed to me that the swing dancers had a better grasp of a wider range of dance than the salsa-ers (?!), but I could just be prejudiced. But everyone was great and it was a pleasure to see all of the dancing. During the Swing jam, I was standing near a couple of guys who were flabbergasted by the liveliness and athleticism of the Swing dancers. I believe most of the comments were along the lines of - That's some crazy *bad word*!
Have a great week! I guess, uh, I'll be seeing you!
From: Cameron Sellers Cameron.Sellers@mail .house.gov
Early Friday night started as a disaster. Power knocked out half of Northern VA. My Reserve Unit sent me home early to avoid the rush hour. I arrived home to have Alex tell me that America was closed because of no water. Quick we had to find another place. Politikki and Zones would not allow anyone under 21. Nicks was closed. Finally we found a place. Nancy Baird's place and she was hosting Daryl Davis. Hey, I could got to Centreville to hear Daryl Davis. Soon a plan was coming together and before I could say fortune cookie, a caravan was heading to Centreville.
Daryl Davis was good as always and the Cornell group, Alex, Gretta, Lian, Helen and I danced until the place closed at midnight. Afterwards, I prayed a Hail Mary and let Gretta drive my car to Amphora. Surprisingly she did not crash it and Ducktape mobile arrived in one piece.
Here are the names of the kids from Cornell: Juliana Perry, Melissa Vaccaro, Lucy Dunne, Josh Greenberg (left thursday), Joanna Jackson,Gina Cardillo, Eric Mcdonald, Ryan Houck (came in on friday). They do a cool Big Apple routine to Flying Home.
From: Alex Fajkowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday's icestorm really shocked everyone -- Josh had left the night before, and Ryan was being picked up at the bus station when we had no power in our house. Everyone was disappointed to hear that Tom Cunningham had been cancelled that night, we were even listening to their CD before we lost power. However, everyone's favorite Republican Lindy Hopper, Cameron, saved the day -- we all went over to Centerville (with Gretta, Helen, and Lian) for Daryl Davis.
From: Nancy Baird email@example.com
Hi Frank and Carole:
The Daryl Davis Band played for us this Friday at A Place To Dance -- the first time I ever heard them. So many people told me they were fantastic that I doubted anyone could live up to the advance billing. I was wrong - they were even better. The energy was almost tangible -- Daryl and his band kept up such a terrific rythym that even when I wasn't able to dance, I found my feet tapping out the beat. These guys can play for us anytime!!!
We had a good crowd, too. Lots of talented dancers, both local and a group from Cornell Univ., gave us a show all night long. A dynamite band and a great crowd - what more could we ask for??? Well, we got more -- the Friday dance at America was called off for the evening, presumably due to a power outage, and several people who would otherwise have gone to America came to our dance instead. As much as we hate to benefit from someone else's bad luck, we were glad to have a chance to host dancers like Cameron Sellers, Gretta Thorn, Helen, etc. Of course, now that you have all seen our place and discovered that it isn't THAT much farther out, I hope we will see you again every once in a while.
Ellen Werther made the trip out, too. I think I've just about convinced her to bring some of her vintage goodies the next time she comes and sell them at our dances. Between the Bleyer shoes, dance clothes by Apparel In Time and Ellen's vintage lovelies, we'll have every dancer outfitted properly in no time.
We were glad to see our 'Warrenton regulars' again, who are looking veeeerrrrry good on the dance floor. I can tell I'm going to have to learn some of those lifts and other fancy moves if I hope to keep up with you guys! Keith Rocco wasn't able to make it back from Petersburg for the dance this week, (he's painting a mural for the museum there) but we hope to see him back on the dance floor next week.
To round out the night, we had another birthday group and lots of the Vienna Grill Wednesday night regulars. I didn't catch the name of the young lady celebrating her 24th birthday, but we enjoyed chatting with her and hope that she and her friends come back again -- they all looked like they were having such a good time, and we love to see that. Thanks to Carol, Kermit and all the rest for coming out to dance with us and support our Friday night dance.
Special thanks to Diane Carroad and her Mom, Anne, for coming out. As many of you know, Diane has been sidelined from dancing for a few weeks, but she came out anyway just to listen to Daryl Davis (that is how good this band is!). And Anne was such a good sport about coming, even though the band was a bit loud for her taste.
I also want to thank Chris Belluzzo (Va Tech) for his help at the admissions table, and Bryan Rickerson and friends (also Va Tech) for bringing the pizzas to share with everyone.
I think everyone had a good time -- I know John and I did. And FUN is our first priority. Let's do it again next week!
Ed Burak and Ann Bailey did their usual wonderful job of
teaching the introductory swing lesson. Of course, when they
teach, it is often more of an intermediate swing lesson. Ed and
Ann have been such a big hit as instructors that we are delighted
to announce they will be teaching a 4-week session of classes
from 7 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. on Friday nights -- just before the
introductory lesson. The first 4-week session will tentatively
start on Feb. 5th. Give me a call at 703-968-7015 if you want to
From: Diane Carroad firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Frank and Carole,
Saturday January 16, 1999
From: Sue Fedor email@example.com
Saturday began at about 5 am. We left on some lights, just in case the power came back on. Indeed, it did. Just in time to disturb my sleep. I couldn't go back to sleep as I was so excited that we had light and heat. Luckily, we could hop on the Internet and get good directions to Mike and Jenny's wedding location and we could wear crisply ironed clothes.
Mike and Jenny are not big on pretense or ceremony so it's no surprise that their wedding was an informal affair. It was held at "The Other Barn" in Columbia. Columbia was pretty much carved out of farmland. The town founders preserved the two working barns. The Barn is the larger, older one. The Other Barn is the smaller one. It has a post office inside and both are used as community centers. The lofts can be rented out. TOB had just been renovated and features lovely vaulted ceilings and a nice, wood dance floor.
The bridal party processed in to the sounds of swing music. The denomination was the "First Church of Swing." Jenny giggled as she said her vows. The "hymn" was "At Last" sung by the sultry Marianna Previti. The new bride and groom danced to Indigo Swing's "Violent Love." Jenny's 40's style satin wedding dress stood up to lindy quite well. Mike wore custom zoot pants with a white jacket.
The dance crowd was evenly matched with the massage crowd, but, alas, no massages were given. There was plenty of dancing to the sounds of the J Street Jumpers, though. At one of the band breaks, one of Mike's massage buddies, a self-proclaimed "Wedding Fairie" gave the bride and groom each a "toast" (in a baggie to keep the crumbs contained), recited a poem and sprinkled the couple with Fairie Dust. Later, I saw Mike dancing rather suggestively with the Wedding Fairie (he's a guy, by the way) but then again, Mike dances suggestively with everyone, including Peter. I think that Marianna wanted to dance with the Wedding Fairie. I think I caught Debra giving WF the hairy eyeball...WF was a popular guy.
The cake was a chocolate Chernobyl concoction with gooey chocolate frosting and lovely, lacey white frosting detail. It was too pretty to cut, but, as all cakes must be, it was cut and consumed in record time.
About 5 pm, my two sleepless nights got the best of me. We headed home and I took a nice nap in my warm, well lit house. Cullen called about 8 pm and asked us to come over for movies and the rumor of the "Gypsy Kings" performing in the French bistro in the basement of his apartment building. I'm convinced that Cullen is an "International Man of Mystery." When Steve and I arrived at his Georgetown apartment, Yvonne and Mike Henry were the only folks there who weren't French! The owner of the building is French! After a quick viewing of "A Day at the Races" we headed downstairs to see if the Gypsy Kings were really playing. The bistro is "Paris Bisou" (Paris Kiss). The performers were NOT the Gypsy Kings, although, earlier, a combo playing salsa, tango and flamenco had been playing. The guys up at the bandstand when we arrived were strictly lounge--with a heavily accented singer who sang the entire Julio Iglesias songbook. Cullen walked up to the drummer and asked him if he and the piano player could toss some swing on. The singer took a break and the drummer and pianist kicked in with every swing song they knew. All hell broke loose. Cullen, Yvonne, Mike, Marie Claire, Steve and I took turns jamming. Other patrons got out of their seats and either gathered around or joined us. The bartendress asked Steve for a dance. Cullen took out one of the female spectators. Then, we put Louie Prima on the CD player and a party broke out. The tango/flamenco guys sitting behind us said, "Louis Prima? He was the greatest!" They regaled me with stories of Louie's Vegas days with the Rat Pack.
But soon, the clock struck 2 am and all good cats must head home. So we left Cullen and Mike and Yvonne and Marie Claire at the French bistro and headed off.
From: Cameron Sellers Cameron.Sellers@mail .house.gov
I spent most of Sautrday with Alex and the Cornell group. We headed over to Takoma Underground for some vintage shopping, then headed to Glen Echo Park to show them the Old Spanish Ballroom. Rick Carter of the WSDC was gracious eough to let us in to take a look. Aftwards, we headed back to Alex's where his mother and father cooked dinner for us.
After being fatted up, we headed for Nicks to hear the best DJ in the world, Bernstein. When we arrived he played Flying Home twice and we watched the Cornell kids do their Big Apple routine. After 11pm, we headed to the backroom where we continued our dancing. Tom started a jam to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Ryan Houck and Juliana braved the speed and went out. Toward the end of the song, Ryan ended up on the floor somehow as they both tried to exit Juliana ended up on the floor as well and presto Ryan join the Cameron Club. Around 1am, I said my good byes and left to get a good night sleep.
From: Michelle King MichelleKing@webtv.net
Hey Hoppers! I just had to let you know how much of a great time I had waiting on you at Nick's! It's nice to know there are people out there who know how to have a hoppin' good time. I hope to see you guys again this weekend!! KEEP ON HOPPIN'!!!!!!!!!!
From: Alex Fajkowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday was more vintage shopping over at Takoma Underground when we awoke (around 2pm). Cameron led us through obstacles finding the basement store in Maryland. Later, we stopped by Glen Echo to let the crew take a look at the old Spanish Ballroom (they will return when TCO are playing there...). After eating at my house, everyone headed out to Nick's for Bernstein who spun 'Flying Home' twice, lots of Ella and Louis, tons of other great slow swingin' stuff, and to finish off the night, Nina Simone's, 'My Baby Just Cares for Me.' We all headed back to my house and put the drivers to sleep since they had to wake up early the next day (1pm). Slowly, the Cornell gang headed back to where they came from and left me to catch up on my sleep for a couple days. :-)
Everyone was impressed with the DC scene and picked up some new moves and styles (including some Hollywood and Shag). Jeff has been trying to get everyone down for Eric & Sylvia in March...it might work for some of them. Ithaca's only 6 hours from D.C.!
Sunday January 17, 1999
From: Lian Eoyang email@example.com
Hi Frank and Carole!
heading in the travel guide, and here is more:
I came to San Luis (as it's often called) to visit my granparents and other various relatives, but like any addicted Lindy Hopper, I came with ulterior motives of dancing. i couldn't find anywhere to dance in this small town, despite it's proximity (an hour north) to the mecca of Santa Barbara, home to the great Jonathan and Sylvia. But fortunately for me, San Luis is one of those wonderful quaint towns with a lot of history and a competitive amount of vintage shopping.
DECADES. 785 HIGUERA STREET, SAN LUIS OBISPO (805) 546-0901
the first, and in my opinion the best, vintage shop that I went to was Decades, located at the heart of their commercial district. it was an awesome shop with rows and rows of shoes (most Doc Martins, but many other finds in between, including one larger pair of women's shoes actually from the 40's) and racks of clothes, many of them men's. in
fact, about two thirds of the store was devoted to men's attire, and the other third to women's wear. the entire size of the store was probably about double of mood indigo in downtown dc or half of meep's. A lot of the women's dresses were from the 70s, but like any vintage shop, some digging was required to get what you were at. A few pieces fit my 40s tastes (and more importantly were my size), and they weren't outrageously priced. I paid about $20 for an early 50s (as far as i can tell) rayon dress. there was a whole rack of coats, nice ones, leather with fur trim. the men's side seemed abundant in suits, hawiian shirts, t-shirts, and a few coats. They had a couple of bowling shirts, but again, you have to dig. i found one *excellent* bowling shirt, a beautiful color and in great condition, but they were asking $45. So perhaps the pricing here is a bit spotty. The great thing about decades is it's ecclectic collection of household items and other knicknacks. Their phonebook ad boasts that they "specialize in...50's goods." I spied an old chrome blender and toaster there, apparently in great condition. unfortunatley i didn't check out the prices...but above all the racks of clothes is a display shelf of beautiful items, and the staff is very helpful and friendly if you inquire after these or any of the items in the store. Maybe not as good as meeps in terms of selection, but if you're in town, definatley worth a visit.
SECOND TIME AROUND. 577 MARSH STREET, SAN LUIS OBISPO. (805)-543-0997
Located a couple of blocks off San Luis's main drag, Second Time Around offers a wide variety of vintage clothes. chocked full with stuff, it most likely resembles Meep's in inventory size. It has a lot of 50s stuff, which to me is a lot better than decade's 70's bent. It has a lot of old stuff at reasonable prices, but none of it my size (which is pretty small and thus hard to find). There are a ton of shoes, but most could be used for ballroom dancing, not Lindy. Again, much digging needed, and a treasure could probably be found. A whole bin of scarves was by the door, and racks cascading with purses could be found in various spots in the store. there were a lot of ties, too many for me to look through. the men's section was considerably smaller in this store, but could hold some potential. in the window are a couple of beautiful wedding dresses, perhaps pre-WW2, but i'm not in that market. ;) if you go to second time around, make sure you look at the display wall behind the counter, there are a few really nice things back there that aren't too expensive. the ambiance and goods are not as nice as decades, but the saleslady was just as helpful.
GOODWILL. 712 MARSH STREET. (805) 544-4965
Unlike the huge goodwill that I went to in Falls Church, Virginia, this Goodwill is considerably smaller, about a third of the size. It was much more picked over, as well. it could have been the day that i went, but this store had absolutely nothing that perked my Lindy interests. Worth a peek if you're in San Luis, but don't expect much.
CONSIGNMENT SHOP. BROAD STREET.
i'm terribly sorry, but I don't exactly remember the name of this store, but it's the one on Broad Street with three fantastic suitcases in the window. unfortunatley, the vintage goods stop there. Inside the atmosphere is really wonderful and the woman who was working there was absolutely charming and helpful, but most of the goods were from the nineties, not what us Lindy hoppers are looking for. but if you're looking for unique contemporary jewlery, it's got some very nice trinkets and other things.
There are lot more stores in San Luis that could potentially have vintage clothes in it, but i just didn't get to them. certainly peruse the phone book, and you're bound to come up with a whole slew of other stores. as for dancing, I think most of the action is down in Santa Barbara, but iIve heard that if you contact Jeffery Bloom of Pat Jackson's Academy of Dance in San Luis, you might be able to find a Lindy lesson or two in this fine town.
Monday January 19, 1999
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Tuesday January 19, 1999
Thanks everyone for helping make our second night at the Shark go so well. We had 75 admissions and the crowd seemed to like the Red Hot Swingin' Johnsons a whole lot. Tonight, we were especially pleased to see Chris Watling of the Grandsons sitting in on Tenor and Baritone sax. They put on a great show! We had a much larger number of beginners in our lesson and we hope that this part of the scene continues to grow. Ellen Engle and Marc Shepanek made an appearance and wowed the crowd. Later in the evening, Steve Cowles arrived and took over the dance floor. Another great night at the Shark.
From: Julianne Gade,
Wednesday January 20, 1999
We dropped in to Eleventh Hour. Swing Speak was in great form and Marc and Ellen gave a very good beginner lesson. Things really began to heat up after 11 when we got an infusion from LuLus. Again, another great evening at Eleventh Hour!
Thursday January 21, 1999
From: Dennis & Becky Owens DOwen2229@aol.com
We just got back from New Orleans and found a few other places to dance. I thought I would pass on the info.
One more note, there is a great website for info on the music
scene (dance) in New Orleans. The address is www.nolalive.com, just go to
the entertainment section then look under music scene.
Friday January 22, 1999
We had the great pleasure of working with Frank Guldseth and the New Columbia Swing Orchestra at an awards banquet for SAGA a.g., a computer software firm. Cherie Harris, Elizabeth and Jim Engel, and Sue and Steve Devoney accompanied us. The company provided thoroughly professional amenities at the Reston Hyatt. We did a short beginner swing lesson that grew into a two hour lesson as folks poured out of the crowd to get started in dancing. At one time, we had a Charleston line with about 20 people in it. Our thanks to SAGA, Frank and NCSO for a really great time.
From: Sue Fedor firstname.lastname@example.orgI had the worst day at work...not to go into detail, but I had a collegue chastize me, via e-mail...but she hit "reply to all" instead of "reply to author". As a result, my boss and the person two levels above my boss (the Assistant Secretary), received the poison missive. It was over something stupid and I spent the rest of the afternoon having to explain the situation to everyone. I was FURIOUS. Round about 3:00, Frank M. called. "Wanna earn some money and help me out?" Gotta love that Frank. Lindy comes through when the career goes south. Steve and I were enlisted to help Frank and Carol (and Jim, Elisabeth & Cheri Harris) at a private party in Reston. This evening's event was at the Reston Hyatt with a group of software marketing folks. After the award ceremony, they openned up the bar, brought out the band and the Lindy Hoppers. Frank M. broke some sort of land speed record with a 10-minute lesson. That's right. Basic six-count and an underarm turn in 10 minutes. Just enough time to get the information out, but not enough time to absorb it. So we spent the next three songs working on the basics with our intrepid volunteers. The ubiquitous Charleston lesson broke out. Everyone wants to learn it. I spent the entire evening asking people if they ski or play tennis. Most said yes. I told them to assume the position for that activity--THEN we began the charleston. Perfect every time. No twisted ankles. The highlights of the evening were many. I had some wonderful comments on my hair do from a bunch of guys who were around in the 1940's and told me I had the look down pat. I got to dance with a man from Brazil (the software company is German--come to your own conclusions about that...) who had this wonderful Latin inspired fox trot that was almost like a tango. I needed a cigarette after that dance! After the band left the stage, they put on some rock-n-roll and we got to Lindy to the likes of Eric Clapton and Sting! It was so much fun doing Lindy to something other than the classic swing repetoire. The dance feels different. A Motown tune came on and Steve and I sat back and watched Jim and Elisabeth do all five moves that they learned in their DC Hand Dancing class. What an advertisement! We were all stymied when they put on "I'm Free" by The Who. But as we turned to leave the floor, who was mimicking the drum solo but Brooks Tegler! Afterward, sans Cheri (who was smarter than we were), we headed through the pea soup fog for the Amphora.
From: Dan LaGrone email@example.com
Last Friday, my brother and I proceeded to America to see if an extra two dollars bought anything special. It didn't. We still had to pay for water. We showed up around 9:15, and found the situation about the same. Great instructors, great band, cruddy floor, negligable climate control, and too darn many people. The starch in my shirt was gone by 9:30. The place was downright muggy by ten. Conditions cleared a bit as people shoved off, and the Jam was okay. I think everyone was hampered by the floor, though. On a personal note, Jan, a friend of mine, went out, and did just swell. We adjourned to the Silver diner afterwards for those really neat fries. Everyone musta gone to Amphora though, because we saw neither hide nor hair of 'em. Go figure.
And I wanted to ask you the whole story about men's double breasted suits of the 30's and 40's. I'm getting one made, and so far all I've got to go on is an old Sears page and A Citizen Kane poster showing Orson Welles in high-waisted pants.
Saturday January 23, 1999
We started the day at about 7:30 am. This was our first big opportunity to show off our new line of Custom Cakes. Yeah, we dance, we write and we cook... The occasion was the Twelfth wedding anniversary of Tom and Robin Cunningham, and we decided to celebrate it with the rollout of our "Fairytale Castle" model. (No. XC-1407.b32 in the catalog). This is a cake in the shape of a storybook castle, composed of two fourteen inch layers (lemon-white) with white sugar frosting and battlements, ramparts, crenelations, machicolations, etc, etc constructed of sugar cubes. The cake is presented on a blue mirror with little glass swans "swimming" around the simulated moat. A banner flying from the ramparts reads "And they lived happily ever after."
We at jitterbuzz.com are grateful to the Cunningham band for being there to support Lindy Hop from the very beginning when they would cram the whole band into Dancers back in 1994. Every week, we can look forward to great arrangements and incredible solos. So, Happy Anniversary Robin and Tom!
From: Sue Fedor firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday started off as kind of a drag. Our kitty cat, Sasha, has been sick lately. The vet recommended that some of her teeth be removed because they were abcessed. When he got a better look, he suspected that she has some sort of mouth cancer. We brought her home, all woozy and sore. She was too woozy to get to the litterbox, so at one point, she peed all over herself. I had to line the tub with towels and shampoo the cat! She was too woozy to fight back, poor thing. A few hours later, she was nice and fluffy and dry.
The vet has given us turbo-charged prednisone (steroids) along with some antibiotics. The hope is that the steroids may kick the the cancer. He said that there is additional chemotherapy we can try later, at a reasonable cost. She's only four-years old, so he's a bit more optimistic than he would be with most cats in her condition.
We took off for Glen Echo and Tom and Robin's wedding anniversary around 10-ish with our fellow Save Our Seminary board member, Eric Whitsell. He watched along the sidelines and vowed, once again, to learn how to swing dance. It was good to be back at Glen Echo and nice to work up a good sweat! Smart people did not dress for January. We went into the sparsely populated jam (most people were at LuLu's) for a change. I keep forgetting how dangerous the move where I jump onto Steve's shoulders looks to the uninitiated. Provided you can get up there in the first place, it really isn't scary at all. Brent was fabulous. Robin was her usual perfection. And I had to laugh everytime I saw Tom C's "Hank Hill" tie. There really is a resemblance.
From: Alex Day LuvDLord2@aol.com
Glen Echo was the night for beginners on Saturday. The Jam
was sparse (only a few regulars were even there because of the
contest at Lulu's), but I had the pleasure of jamming with Erica,
which was fun. It was also great because with hardly any really
really good people there, the really good people looked great!
However, the beginners were kicking everywhere, and a gap khakis
ad wannabe couple won the dance contest (I think it was someone's
From: Bob Roxbrough RRoxbrou@grpwise-east .trw.com
Having never attended a Swing Baltimore dance before, I decided to experiment last Saturday and make the long drive to the Catonsville Armory in Catonsville, MD. The event was well worth the extra time spent in the car. The band was Swing Speak, and did they swing!! Performing a wide variety of medium tempo tunes like "Straighten Up and Fly Right" and "I'm Beginning to See the Light", Swing Speak made it almost impossible for anyone to sit down and take a break. Instead, the great music compelled many of us to stay out on the dance floor for long periods. The Baltimore area dancers, moreover, were as impressive as the band! They were clearly very skilled, and I had found fantastic lindy partners throughout the night. After this great experience, I will not hesitate to make the long journey to Catonsville in the future.
Sunday January 24, 1999
From: Mara Levy Hyperly@aol.com
Well, here's the story of last weekend's great adventure:
I went up to New York by myself to attend the workshops and Battle of the Big Bands Ball that Janice had put together. I'm so glad I went! I arrived Friday evening at my uncle's apartment and decided to rest up for the long day ahead. On Saturday I started out with a "ballroom for lindy hoppers class" in foxtrot which had some useful tips on following. I then began four workshops taught by Dave and Kim, the 98 US Open Champions from LA. They were incredible - one of the best couples I've seen. They have a different style than some of the other Hollywood couples I've seen, but it looks great on them. I now want to become Kim, as well as becoming Jean and Sylvia! I took the first two classes as a lead, and then I found a woman who could lead and follow at least as well as me, so we stayed out of rotation and learned both parts together. I learned a lot of new steps, and tried to write them all down, so I'll be able to show them to you all next time I come back. The Saturday classes were fairly basic, mostly concentrating on the dynamics and technique of Hollywood. Then I went back to the apartment to primp for the Black and White Ball.
The ball was just wonderful. The room was about half the size of Glen Echo, but the crowd was almost the perfect size - full enough to be exciting, but empty enough to keep me fairly bruise-free. The floor was nice too, although a bit dirty. Everything was black and white, from the decorations to the dresses to some pure white tuxes with hats. Of course, a few noncomformist ladies were wearing red! I met people from all over, including Toronto, Philadelphia, and two lovely ladies from DC whose names I can't remember. (Why didn't any of you men come with them!) One of the men from Harrisburg that came to Nicks a few weeks ago was there also with Ari Levitt (he's the guy that dances with Lizzie in the Battle of the Bands video). I danced with a bunch of great New York gentlemen, including Chad Fasca, who I had danced with in the Jack and Jill at VSO. I met Sasha and Jennifer, who have come to DC before, and many other great dancers. And of course, my best dances of the night were with Dave and Kim. Yes, I danced with her too! I learned to lead, after all. Dave is just an incredible lead, although he's much softer than the Hollywood guys in DC. I had a great Balboa with him too - by the way, he says that although the woman is in very close, she shouldn't be putting any weight on him as I'm used to doing. The two bands, the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra and George Gee were just wonderful. I don't know who won, but I think my preference was for George Gee. But the trombone soloist for HRO was phenomenal - I've never seen a trombone played that well before! So the ball was a great success, with great music, dancers, and the special feel of a dress-up dance.
Sunday morning I managed to crawl out of bed in time to be late for the 12 o'clock class, skipping the 11 altogether. I didn't get to bed until four, after all! The 12 was Janice's speed lindy class, which didn't really have anything very useful. I'd much rather do shag or balboa! But then Dave and Kim started teaching again, and I learned some really great moves. I'll have to take my notes to the next dance and show everyone, since they did some wonderful syncopations and stylings as well as steps I hadn't seen before. Most of the steps were very lead-able, which I always appreciate. Routines aren't very useful to those of us without partners. After the classes were over I came straight back to school, incredibly eager to go dancing again.
So that was my weekend - dressing up, dancing with incredible people, learning great new steps, and even going to New York by myself for the first time! It was especially special because it was my first time dancing since I came back to school. I'm getting the opening pangs of withdrawal now, but I'll try to come home soon and visit you all. I can't wait to dance some more. Love you all!
From: Vicki and Yvonne:
Hey all, thanks for your messages last week and the concern regarding my somewhat constant battle with chest congestion. My weekend was about the same with the congestion. I first went to the doctor on Saturday morning and am now taking an antibiotic (Z-pak), cough syrup, and using nasal spray along with the echinacea and vitamin C and hot salt water gargles from before. But all this did not stop me from joining Yvonne in a whirlwind trip to the Big Apple and the Black and White Ball and "2nd" Battle of the Big Bands with Nick Palumbo and George Gee and the Flipped Fedoras and The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra.
THEY WERE FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (dramatic pause)
But really, (dramatic pause)
THEY WERE FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm so sorry I got wind of this dance so very late and did not get an earlier invite out to you guys, 'cause you all should have been there for sure. We had a great time. The room at the Metropolitan Pavilion was huge with lots of smooth wooden dance floor space. The ceiling was draped with white cloths in a dreamy 40's style which looked great but blocked some of the ventilation and air circulation and made the room a little hot. Otherwise, the atmosphere was wonderful with the tables covered in white cloths and white chairs, palm trees in the corners, subdued lighting, and two great rotating bands. EVERYONE, or at least mostly everyone was dressed in black and white and vintage clothing. We saw a couple of great zoot suits on the guys and others wore tuxedoes with tails. Yvonne even pointed out a pair of spats on one guy. Several women wore hats and long gloves, and guys, when the women twirled you could see their garters and back-seamed silk stockings, ooo la la.
And then the dancing, . . . man, oh, man, oh, man! Could those cats swing! It was amazing. It was like they were all Frankie Manning clones. The skill level was real high. We did not see too many aerials due to the crowd, but there were some jumps.
And just for Tom, there was much ATTITUDE and style on the dance floor. These guys were really into it. Everyone was very nice too. And though we sorely missed the guys (and gals) we're are so comfortable with down here, Yvonne and I were kept busy enough and worked up a sweat on the floor along with Mara Levy the only other DC person we saw around. Even though the price was a little steep, the event was well worth the cost and effort to travel to the Big City.
Did I say that THE BANDS WERE FANTASTIC!
If this is any indication as to what NYC has to offer, then I highly recommend your joining us on our next excursion on February 20, 1999, to THE WINTER '99 SWING DANCE PARTY sponsored by WBGO/Jazz 88.3 FM at B. Smith's Rooftop Cafe (771 8th Ave @ 47th St., NYC) from 9 pm - 1 am. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. You can call Sylvia Brewer @ 973-624-8880 ext. 235 for info.
We hope to stay the whole weekend and have already scouted out a swing club (Swing 46) for the after party.
Monday January 25, 1999
From: Sue Fedor email@example.com
At the Save Our Seminary "Picture Party" on Sunday (during the winter months, we have a slide show of the Seminary instead of the monthly tour), we met those great shaggers, Joe & Dolores Karam, from Silver Spring. They can usually be found at Club Hollywood in Baltimore. They're going to the Bahamas, care of whoever sponsored the "Blast from the Past" swing contest. It was judged by, among others, Leslie Coombs, who was mesmerized by their unique back and forth shag style. Apparently, it's a regional variation on the collegiate shag that all the kids are doing today. The best part is that these two are over 70 years old and beat out kids barely old enough to drink.
So all you Hoppers gloating over your LuLu's win, place, and show Saturday night (and you know who you are), put THAT in your pipe and smoke it! We'll see you 50 years from now!
The good news is that Steve and I have another 40 years to get the hang of the shag....It'll take us that long....
From: Rosie Storey firstname.lastname@example.org P>
I am a new Lindy hopper here in the DC area. I recently took a trip to Atlanta and went to the Masquerade. To make a long story short, I met this lady wearing Bleyers, and she is a Lindy hop teacher! She actually hired me (I've only been dancing about 4 months) to teach her everything I learned in Tom and Debra's beginner class. She had been teaching Frankie Manning stuff from the videos.
So here is her name and phone number for your website: Rita Picklesimer 404-355-4011
She is a professional ballroom dance teacher who is very experienced with jitterbug but is just now starting to build a Lindy hop community in Atlanta. She teaches classes during the week and I'm sure if anyone from this area who has been doing this for a while went down there, she would greatly appreciate their assistance in learning to Lindy DC-style.
Tuesday January 26, 1999
Out third edition of Tuesday at the Shark went very well, even though we were up against a free dance at GWU. Much of the credit goes to the band, Lush Life. Lynn McCuhn's vocals were just spectacular. There was a large crowd, but we discovered, by accident, that we can keep the temperature quite reasonable by simply opening one of the sliding glass doors that open onto the patio outside. So, now you can be assured that no matter how many people show up, the temperature will remain a balmy 70 degrees.
From: Cherri Harris email@example.com
Larry Hale and I spent another fine Tuesday nite at the Shark Club in Bethesda. There was a nice crowd, Misha, Jane, Rayned, Patty, Lisa, Iver, Frank and Carole of course, and several others. There was even Eric, a great dancer who does a mean split. He's from NY and recognized Misha from the Seattle workshop. The band, Lush Life was pretty good, altho some of their songs were more compelling than others. Several of us had a late nite dinner, that was good too, and the waitstaff was very friendly, bringing lots of water. Frank, of course, was a host extraordinaire, earning white knight status for saving me twice that evening. For $10 a couple, it is a great night out, especially for those of us up north.
Wednesday January 27, 1999
We joined about 150 screaming fans as Dem Brooklyn Bums invaded the Black Cat. Yes, the floor is horrible and the Bums' songs are TOO long. BUT, the energy was nothing short of spectacular.
I really LIKE the Bums. After their November show at the Bayou, I have been meticulously collecting an appropriate outfit for their appearance. We rented "Lords of Flatbush" to get the genre absolutely correct. A thrift store in Frederick had the perfect leather jacket; we found a pork-pie hat in Emmitsburg. The St. Vincent DePaul store in Baltimore yielded a transparent nylon Arrow "Neva-press" white shirt from the 1950s. The brown suede pointy-toe shoes came from Pittsburgh. Modell's supplied the fingerless weight lifter's glove. The only problem seemed to be the sleeveless "A" shirt (also known as a "Wife Beater" shirt). We had to travel to Nieman-Marcus to find shirts of "danceable" quality.
We arrived at about 9:15, a bit late because I was rummaging through the basement trying to find a baseball bat for the Bums to autograph. We got to the Black Cat just in time to walk into the Jam, as King James and the Serfs of Swing were playing "Sing, Sing, Sing." This band, composed of GWU students has a lot of potential. They seemed to be having fun and they knew how to play for a jam.
During the break, Steve Cowles and Naomi Uyama taught a Charleston lesson to the vast crowd. They did a very good job --- about 75% of the people there seemed to catch on.
When the Bums came on at 10:30, we were very pleasantly surprised to see that the crowd at the Black Cat has begun to respect the dance floor. There was quite a bit of room to dance, although the asphalt tile is really the pits. As I said, I really like these guys, but in fact, their songs are too long.
Thursday January 28, 1999
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Friday January 29, 1999
>We joined a whole gang of people for an early Birthday Party for Chris bamberger. We rolled out yet another of our Custom Cakes, this one with a lemon-bananna batter and raspberry-almond icing. Happy Birthday Chris!
We really enjoyed ourselves --- there was lots of dancing and chatter, the general good times of the Lindy Party. And, Chris looked lovely, of course, as she was monopolized for about forty-five minutes with birthday dances. Their house, built in the 1930s, is a dead ringer for the house in the film Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home. We expected to see Myrna Loy or Cary Grant as we turned each corner in our house tour. The most sentimental treasure is a wedding photograph thaken in the 1930s by the original owners in front of the fireplace. Rob and Chris posed in the same place when they got married.
There were lots of treasures that whetted our appetite. The Steinway grand piano certainly captures the imagination. (Rob was very tolerant of guests who came near this priceless instrument with dirinks...) There is a wonderful Zenith console radio that is a dead ringer for the one on AMC's Remember WENN program. We were pleased to see a working WE-302 telephone and a wide variety of 1940s appliances in the very authentic kitchen.
We were simply STUNNED by Rob Bamberger's record collection. (In case you don't know, Rob is the host of the Saturday night swing broadcast on WAMU-FM) Collection is much too small a word. It is a VAST accumulation of the best of swing and jazz from the 1920s through the present that fills three large rooms in the basement of the Bamberger house. The collection ranges from 78 rpm records, LPs and CDs and is a real treat for the enthusiast. It's hard to say what I liked best because I felt like a hungry eight year old in a bakery. I think that the Louis Jordan boxed set of 78s was most appealing to me because these are SOO hard to find. I also was glad that someone had preserved the work of lesser-known jazz artists like Frank Froeba. Also, I was very much taken with a "Spoken Word" boxed set of T. S. Elliot reading Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. I could have spent at least two years in the Bambergers' basement...
But, all these Lindy evenings have to end --- and early, because one HAS to go dancing. On this evening, the crowd was heading for Poli-Tiki. Due to my lingering with the record collection, we were among the last to leave.
After what seemed like an inordinate amount of time searching for a parking place, we finally made our to Poli-Tiki. When we climbed to the top of the stairs, we found that a Jam was going on and we were thrust into the circle, with only time to drop our suitcase. (Fortunately, we had our dance shoes on from the party.) This was an amazing experience. Once again, Poli-Tiki lived up to its evolving reputation as a very warm, swing-friendly venue.
Saturday January 30, 1999
We had the privilege of teaching and entertaining at a private party held by the Deloit-Touche consulting firm at the Topaz Room in Bethesda. We had a very good time thanks to the enthusiasm of our hosts and the band, Swing Central, out of Baltimore. This is a very good band who ought to be heard more in the DC area. We worked from 6:00 until about 10:00 which gave us ample time to get over to Glen Echo to catch the end of the Cunningham band's third gig in January. We were even able to convince some of the folks from the party to come with us. Once again, we walked in just in time for the jam, another fortuitous coincidence.
You can contact Swing Central about bookings by calling Mark Cromer at (410)-426-6203 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
TCO was in great form, and it seemed that the place was packed even though there were quite a number of other events on the same night, as evidenced by the following reviews:
From: Cameron Sellers Cameron.Sellers@mail .house.gov
I met Lisa, Eric, Erika, Frank, and Margaret at the Frankie Manning gathering at the Avalon Studio. I thought the celebration was for Frankie because he has reached legand status and this year will be his 85th birday. However, Frankie made a guest appearence for the 2nd Anniversay of Avalon Studios and Swing Baltimore. Congradulations to Leslie Coombs for preserving Lindy Hop in the Baltimore Area
From Elizabeth Engel email@example.com
Since I was still recovering from the flu, we didn't want to go anywhere where I might be get chilled (Glen Echo) or where we might be out really, really late (Nick's). So we decided to check out the scene at Bethesda DanceSport again. The last time we were there was several months ago when PsychoBoy had just started his Saturday night gig there, and we had a good time that night.
Things have changed a bit since. I don't know if it's still PsychoBoy's gig or not - I don't think so, as he was sponsoring a dance out in Fredrick with the Bill Eliot Trio on Saturday. We arrived around 9:30 pm to find a handful of couples we didn't know dancing a mix of jitterbug and west coast to medium-tempo blues.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I really like blues (which I know many Lindy Hoppers don't). I also like doing Lindy to medium-tempo music, as it allows you to play more and to work on your form. And slower speeds are particularly nice when one is recovering from the bronchial flu and still in the coughing-up-a-lung stage. They did play a few fast songs, largely I think because the people who were running the evening recognized us from the last time we were there and knew we were Lindy Hoppers. I suspect that if we had asked, they would've played more fast tunes, but as we were the only Lindy Hoppers there, and we noticed that we were the only ones dancing during the fast tunes, we decided it would be impolitic. So we practiced slow Lindy, we practiced our hand dancing, and we practiced switching parts on a few of the really slow tunes as a warm up for Monday's plunge into the beginner class taking the opposite part.
Nobody asked either of us to dance (OTOH, we didn't do any asking either), but that could've been caused by one of several things. First of all, I was - an am - still coughing, so it may have been purely self-protective. Secondly, with the slower tempo of songs, we danced every single tune and never left the floor, so we didn't mingle too much. Third, we were dancing a different style than the other folks there, so that was probably a disincentive to the other dancers, many of whom looked like beginners-to-early-intermediates. At least we got to practice several moves we've been learning lately.
Bethesda DanceSport is a really nice venue - it's a big, beautiful room with a good floor, good temperature control, and lots of mirrors. I don't think it's ever going to become the hot Lindy spot, as it's more of a jitterbug/west coast crowd and as Lindy Hoppers have so many other options. But I really like it.
From: Sue Fedor firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, we headed up to Frederick, Maryland to the Bentz Street Armory. Nice place. Good floor, spacious, with lots of parking. There was a pretty nice crowd, mostly beginners and many students of John McCalla. John's partner was sporting a soft cast from her aerial accident a week ago. For the record, this one wasn't John's fault.
The Bill Elliot Trio, plus the lovely Kay, were laying down some nice swing tunes throughout the evening. Always nice to see the boys and check out a new venue.
Sunday January 31, 1999
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