Lindy Across the Southwest
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July 29, 1999
As far as the Austin scene goes, there's not much I can add to the missive from Mike Fischer that's already on the Jitterbuzz site. In any case, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
By: Mike Fischer (Yow!)
Austin lies at the crossroads between country music, the latin beat, and the swing revival of the West Coast. The swing dance scene in Austin reflects that variety. It also reflects the energy of what has been called "The Live Music Capitol of the World."
When you hit town check out the weekly Austin Chronicle for music listings. The Austin360 is also a good source. Four on the Floor offers a web site with a monthly swing music schedule. It may be the most accurate, as many of the local bands know to call the site and add last minute changes.
There are a few clubs in Austin to keep an eye on. The Caucus Club (912 Red River, 512-472-2873) has a strong swing and jazz lineup, and is planning to have its dance floor expanded by March of 1998. The Carousel (1110 E. 52nd, 512-452-6790) also features swing bands, and is worth the trip for the surreal decor alone. The Ritz Lounge (320 E. Sixth, 512-474-2270) has an elegant retro look and often hosts some very dancable bands. Finally, Ego's A> (510 S. Congress, 512-474-7091) is an intimate, colorful lounge that hosts a fair share of swingable acts. If you need some dance pointers, head on over to one of Four on the Floor's lessons. They teach Lindy Hop and basic swing in various locations across town.
Austin's vintage clothing scene is very active, and prices are good. Check out Blue Velvet, Flipnot ics, or Amelia' s. The music selection at W aterloo Records is amazing, and they have listening stations.I also like Duval Discs (4101 Guadalupe St., 512-459-0737) for its huge used CD selection.
Anyone who needs some more pointers on the swing scene in Austin should write us at Four on the Floor we'd be happy to help out.
If someone in DC has a free weekend, we'd love to have them
come and visit!
Also, check out these other sites in Austin
January 8, 2002
Visit Tulsa as well as Bartlesville...
Barbecue and a Small Amount of Dancing in Bartlesville, OK
In April of 1997, I made a trip to Bartlesville, Oklahoma for Business [you don't need to hear about that part]. I stayed at the Phillips Hotel (821 S. Johnstone St, 918-336-5600) which has surprisingly first class amenities for a small town like Bartlesville. They have very good breakfasts, and their homemade biscuits should not be missed.
For lunch, I was indeed fortunate to dine at Dinks Pit Barbecue (918-335-0606.) Normally, I don't eat much meat, but at Dinks I'll make an exception. They may have some of the best smoked brisket in the world, featuring the Southwest Texas recipes and techniques of the legendary "Uncle Sam" Evetts of Uvalde, Texas. They have an immense smokehouse where the back and they practice the gentle art of smoking meat with the greatest of care. My partner and I always get comments when we wear our yellow "Dinks" tee shirts to a dance; plus, I always have my morning coffee from a Dinks mug that dates back to 1976. This place is worth a drive.
In the evening, as is the custom in the Tulsa oil business (sounds like ""bidness" there) my clients and I adjourned to Jamil's (2833 E. 51st St, 918-742-9097) in Tulsa. This is a totally unique place (except for their branch in Dallas). The building is low and squat, made of cinder blocks. There is no front door---you enter by a door next to the kitchen. The place is always full from 5:00 pm until 3:00 am. The walls are covered floor to ceiling with autographed photos of everyone - sports stars, politicians, entertainers, astronauts -- you name it. The staff never turns over--the headwaiter remembered me by name and I haven't been there since 1989. You are guided to a table and the waiter immediately brings you a relish tray, pita bread, hummus and tabouleh. After a while, he brings a plate of stuffed cabbage. Then he brings a big basket of smoked ribs and lebanon bologna. Then he brings a very large tossed salad. Then and only then does he ask you for your order. (the aforementioned being the "appetizer") Steaks at Jamil's start at 22 ounces and go up to 44 ounces (bigger if you're hungry). A giant platter of shoestring fries accompanies your steak. If you eat everything, they will give you another. They also have some fish (I had a big catfish). The price of this extravaganza is $14.95. No wonder the place is always full.
After eating this and driving back to Bartlesville, I went to
the Downtown Lounge. I even wore my saddle shoes. Lo and
behold, there was one couple, Tom and Evie, who had not only seen
Lindy Hop but also had even taken a few lessons. I begged
permission to dance with Evie to a country swing song. The place
came to a dead stop. If we had done aerials, we would have been
put on the Bartlesville City Council. I gave out the website
address to the inevitable questions of "What is that?"
and "Where did you learn it?". My work will take me
back in a few months and I'm going to bring my partner. I can only
say that the good folks at the Downtown Lounge were exceptionally
warm and friendly--and we all stood and raised our glasses (mine
with diet Coke...) as the band played "Okie from
Muskogee" as its finale. Oklahoma, like Sicily, gets a bad
rap--it's much nicer when you go there than when you hear about
Colorado Springs, Colorado
EVENT:Indigo Swing is headlining at the Colorado Music Hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado, February 15th. This is a first for the Springs. It will be a huge event with an awesomely huge dance floor. Everyone is hugely excited. Tickets are available at TOONS (see below). (Colorado Music Hall 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave. 719-447-9797)
Rev2 is the finest for vintage wear in the Springs, with reasonable prices and often changing stock. The people there are wonderful. (Rev2 403 N. Tejon St. 719-635-4944)
Even the Goodwills and Salvation Army have great stock, however, because the scene is still in its infant stage here. You can find some fabulous deals on things that would cost 10 times as much in the specialized vintage stores of Denver.
Toons Music has the largest swing section of any record store in town. Unlike many stores the section is separate from other stock and they carry every available title under the sun. They will even special order stuff if they are out of it with no extra charge. (Toons 802 N. Nevada Ave. 719-632-8410)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
All are welcome at the New Mexico Swing Dance Society's dances in Albuquerque!
Nearly every Saturday (we get kicked out 1-2 times/year and/or shut down as too many us are on vacation (like 12/25/99 and 1/1/00), 7:30-8:30pm beginning East Coast/Jitterbug lesson, then open dancing 8:30-11pm. $5 covers lesson, dancing, refreshments. Generally there is also a Beyond Beginning Lindy Series happening, 6-7:30pm, $12 drop-in fee.
Also, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month- dance practice, 7:30-9:30pm, $2.
We rent a beautiful 2,500 square foot floated hardwood floor at the Lloyd Shaw Dance Center, 5506 Coal SE.
Our music is carefully chosen and pre-recorded on minidisc. Our focus is Lindy, but we also play tempos to facilitate East Coast/Jitterbug.
Easiest way to get to our : website.
Editor's Note: There are a number of websites devoted to swing dancing in Texas. We know that Texas is a big place and that Houston and Austin are nowhere near Dallas, but we're listing the site here, anyway.
There are also some Texas clubs without (gasp!) websites:
Lindy in Dallas
Every Monday night (through July 2002 for sure), the Carey Richards Orchestra plays the Sambuca Jazz Cafe in Addison. It's all ages, no cover, and a free dance lesson is taught by Ramiro Gonzales -- "Ramiro" as he is known worldwide -- at 8:00 p.m. The band starts about 7:30 p.m. and plays a great big-band sound until 11:00 p.m. The crowd is a mix of new-age lindy hoppers and old-school ballroom-types.
Tuesdays is the Southside Preservation Hall (a.k.a. Swing Castle) in Fort Worth. The venue is actually an historical church complex that a local group is in the process of restoring. The dance hall features a newly refinished hardwood floor with a stage and plenty of room to dance. Tuesdays are DJ'd swing nights, but once a month, Swing Castle hosts a live band. Cover is $3 and it's all ages. The crowd is mainly new-age swing dancers, but it's a cool place to bring the grandparents, as well (mine enjoyed it).
No one can miss Wednesdays at "Sons," or Sons of Hermann Hall. J.B., the most awesome swing DJ in town, spins swing, jump blues, rockabilly, R&B, and just about anything you can think to request -- he's got everything. Cover is $5 and it's also all-ages. The venue is another historical spot....the dance floor is my absolute favorite hardwood in Dallas, located upstairs in this Deep Ellum landmark. There is usually a dance lesson, and the instructors are rotated every few weeks to give beginners different flavors and styles. Sons is always a good time. Be warned: it doesn't really get hopping till around 10:00 p.m., so don't schedule any early-morning appointments for Thursday.
I've had a lot of people ask me, so I'll address it now: swing at the Red Jacket on Thursday is DEAD AND GONE. The Jacket was one of the first to hosts a regular swing night, and their Thursday nights became famous, especially during the Summer of the Gap Commercial. Well, they finally figured out that dancers don't drink much alcohol, so they nixed swing night once the commercial appeal faded. Oh well, their loss. (It was a bad dance floor anyway.)
The first Friday of each month, Buddy's Big Band plays the Swing Castle in Fort Worth (a.k.a. Southside Preservation Hall....see "Tuesday nights," above). All ages with a $10 cover. Dress snazzy. Also on Friday, the Dallas Swing Dance Society usually hosts a "Swing on a String Dance." This is a nice group of dancers. The event is usually held at the Dallas Opera Rehearsal Center (a.k.a. "The DORC") or the Sammons Center for the Arts. Check www.dsds.org for up-to-the minute details.
Saturdays, DSDS usually hosts another dance. Again, check the website for details.
Dallas usually gets some kind of act come through on Saturday nights, like Big Daddy Alright or Elvis T. Busboy. The best possible person to ask what's going on is J.B. Castaneda (Sons' Wed. night DJ, see above). His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org . If you plan on coming out on a Saturday, he's the guy to ask because his ear is always to the ground (when he's not dancing, that is).
Here are a few addresses:Sambuca (Addison location)
15207 Addison Road
Sons of Hermann Hall
3414 Elm Street (in Deep Ellum)
Southside Preservation Hall (a.k.a. "Swing Castle")
1519 Lipscomb Street
Fort Worth, TX
Now y'all have no excuse for not coming to Big D!
For your list of vintage/retro clothing stores, I can give you some of the BEST in Denver:
Other places are in Denver as well, but I don't have all the details on them (being away from a Coloradan phone book does not help) but they are all pretty cool too:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Here's Buggsy Siegel's Creation --- The Flamingo
Lindy in Las Vegas
So you're planning a trip to Las Vegas? Well pack your two-tones along side the rolls of nickels because Vegas has been bitten hard by the jitterbug! Here's the haps as of late spring 1998, all subject to change, of course.
Now, I won't admit to watching Seinfeld, so lets just say that someone TOLD me about the Visa ad featuring Las Vegas vintage shop The Attic. After spotting the sign in the window announcing a $1 admission fee per person (credited towards purchase, thankfully) my hopes and suspicions were on high. Shielding my eyes from the selection of 60's and 70's polyester nightmares and being abused by the scary Mexican techno noise I managed to ask a member of the sales staff if they had any 1940's rayon dresses. The salesperson, who was also wincing at the noise, sent me upstairs to the second floor where, low and behold, racks of 1940's-60's frocks were patiently waiting. The Attic also carries a nice selection of vintage menswear, along with kitchy housewares and vintage furniture. There was even the suggestion of a coffeeshop in the back. Now if they'd only do something about that noise. (1018 S. Main St., www.atticvintage.com, (702) 388-4088)
Sean, one of the very sweet salespeople at The Attic, directed me to Valentino's Zootsuit Connection, and thank goodness! Valentino's is one of those more-pricey and better-stocked stores that's best to visit after you've won big at the casinos. If you're a fellow looking for a custom zootsuit, this stop is a must. They offer rentals, custom zoots, memorabilia, collectables and "Theme Party Rentals." Did I mention that a fellow in a sharp zoot is irrestistable? (906 S. 6th St., Suite B, (702) 383-9555)
From Valentino's, you'll want to cruise Charleston Boulevard to visit the rest of Las Vegas's vintage clothing Strip. To the east are Our House and The Purple House. Both shops are small in size and limited in selection, but worth a visit. (Our House: 1639 E. Charleston, (702) 384-4748, Purple House: 1647 E. Charleston, upstairs, (702) 387-7818) To the west used to be Paul's Boutique, but all that's left now is a nifty mural and a storefront for rent. Retro Vintage Couture, like Valentino's, offers upscale threads as well as rentals. (906 S. Valley View, between Charleston and Alta, (702) 877-8989)
Learn the Ropes
Scott Shea is Las Vegas's own fearless guide into the wilderness of Lindy Hop steps. Catch him for basic lessons at Arthur Murray Dance Studio Monday evenings (Runnin' Rebel Plaza, 4550 S. Maryland Pkwy at Harmon, (702) 798-4552) or for aerial workshops on Sunday afternoons. To contact Scott for locations, dates, times and fees, call (702) 650-5275.
Cutting a Rug
The premier Las Vegas swing party each week is Wednesday evening 7-10pm at the Hard Rock Cafe, Hotel, and Casino. With a $10 cover that includes two martinis and dancing poolside under palmtrees, this is my idea of tropical paradise. The Hard Rock also hosts swing bands during the week, so be sure to check their schedule. If you're still jumping and jiving, Mugzy's Revenge at The Hop is the way to go: "No pool, just cool, no cover, cheap booze, huge dance floor" (The Hop: 1650 E. Tropicana).
Thursdays at The Beach, Las Vegas's own Jump, Jive & Wail
covers everyone from Louis Prima to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and
boasts the most devilish & dandy trombone-playing front man to
ever haunt my dreams...
Be on the lookout for Las Vegas's other local swing band, Uncle Sugar and the Sweet Daddies. But don't ask Uncle Sugar for his business card unless you're over 18.
If rockabilly's more your thing, you'll want to visit Rockabilly's Dancehall at 3785 Boulder Hwy. Find out about future swinging sock hops and rockabilly bops at http://sony.inergy.com/k atslikeus.
So if you're heading west, Las Vegas is the cheapest way going to check out west coast swing bands, catch a little gambling, and soak up that Nevada sunshine. See you on the Strip!
Visit the Petrified Forest while you are there...
[Editor's Note: Here is a list of regular swing events in Phoenix]
Dancing in Phoenix
The two trade marks of the lindy hop scene here in Arizona is vintage and Daddy Os (or Lounge lizards). The people here would make Frank proud. The Lindy Hoppers dress in vintage, ranging from 1930s to 1950s. However, many other persons were dressed in vintage but chose to sit at the bar and watch the dancers. It was the first place that I have been where the Daddy Os out numbered the dancers. It was kind of weird. One had this feeling of being constantly watched and scruntized.
For my second lindy experience here in the Valley, I headed for the Rockin Horse Saloon located in the heart of Scottsdale not that far away from the Cajun House. The Rockin Horse Saloon is exactly what it sounds and it looks like it too. The place definitely intends to cater to the country western crowd except on Monday nights.
Monday nights the place is crowded with lindy hoppers and daddy Os. As I entered the place wearing my grey suit, red suspenders, and vintage tie (I definitely wanted to make a statement that I did not come to this watering hole to square dance), a local cowboy was complaining about having to pay a $5.00 cover charge.
The dance floor was small but considering only the fourth of the crowd danced anyway, there was a lot of dance space. The band sounded great. Someone said the band was Jazz Blues, but they sounded rockabilly to me. They were a cross section of Swing Speak and Rockin Bones. They played until midnight so I had three hours of dancing.
I met the core group of Lindy Hoppers and in many ways they have the same attributes as us. The people may be different but the personalities are the same. I met Jody who has been dancing Lindy for three years. He was king of vintage, reminded me of Dr. Daniel or Frank. I danced with one young lady who had the same dancing style as Anne Baily. The female instructor, Lacey M., reminded me allot of Carolyn B or Aunt Deb. She has been dancing only for a year and she is already a pro. The male instructor definitely had the personality of Tom K. I danced with a girl named Kirstin who could pick up new steps as easily as Carla and Kris. Laura who is originally from Clifton, VA reminded me of dancing with Sherri Harris and Bernedette. I met a few guys who looked and talked just like Brian, Jeff, and Ryan. There was even a Ballroom instructor turned lindy hopper who reminded me of Steve.
I was bummed to learn that the holidays had cancelled the rest
of the lindy hop nights. So my Arizona lindy Hop night lasted
two nights, but the two nights here gave me an impression that
the movement will be around for awhile. I had lots of fun.
Places to Dance in Phoenix
Arizona Lindy Hop Society
Report From Santa Fe
We recently returned from a week in Santa Fe and Taos which we wholeheartedly recommend for the beauty, fresh air, natural wonders, and peace, but not necessarily for the night life! In a "Best of Santa Fe" list we picked up, the authors apologized for the lack of nightlife entries. We did look up several places but ended up practicing in my cousin's living room to the awe of my relatives. However, if others head westward, here are some suggestions which our schedule didn't allow: La Fonda Hotel in the Santa Fe Plaza -- a fantastic hotel done up in southwestern/Spanish style which features a variety of live bands with an emphasis on latino -- good for salsa, mambo, etc. (Note that the La Fonda Hotel in Taos does NOT have such dancing at all.)
Rodeo Nights (which Michael calls Radio Days!) near the
Ramada apparently features country and western dancing. We called
a dance studio (located via Yellow Pages) -- we forget the name
it's one of about only three in Santa Fe and has a large graphic
the page -- located near that same Ramada -- real friendly guy
invited us to their dance party with tapes/DJ but we couldn't
it. We did, however, make it to the Taos pueblo (where Taos
still live on the reservation sans elec/running water), Taos
galleries and shops, Governor Bent's museum (he was scalped in
of several revolutionary uprisings in the late 1800s), Bandalier
Monument (amazing pueblo ruins - highlight of the trip), Los
(quite a juxtaposition to Bandalier!), Santa Fe Plaza, shops,
museums as well as Michael's favorite -- Atomic Cafe, white
rafting on Rio Grande (level III but still fun -- surrounded by
garnet-laden rocks), and even tennis!
New Orleans, Louisiana
February 1, 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.
Please try the following, as well:
When you are there, try to get to Mother's (on Poydras) for lunch; after dancing head for the Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets.
As you walk through the streets, you will be approached by street hustlers. This is their favorite scam:
What you should say is: "shoot - any damn fool can see I got them on my feet."
Have fun. You actively have to work at finding bad food in New Orleans! If you have a choice, Carole and I favor the St. Louis Hotel (French Quarter, 504-581-7300). They and their sister, the St. Marie have a lot of the old-time flavor (they are built around an atrium) They are slightly seedy but safe, relatively inexpensive and they have government rates.
Enjoy enjoy. Lassez les bon temps roller!
November 13, 1998
By: Mark Kleinpeter
I saw your review of New Orleans, and I thought that I could update it a little. The Swing Scene has picked up here in N'awlins. It is a very mixed bag, older crowd mixed in with twentysomethings and some teenagers. Despite the huge Jazz and Blues influence here, there are not a lot of "Swing Bands" per se. There are a couple of local bands that mainly play swing nights around the city and occasionally an out of town band will be booked. There are also numerous brass bands which will play swing nights at some places.
Anyway, here is a list of places which feature a Swing Night.
Thank you for the great website.
A Brief Tip
There is a new place called the Red Room in the Garden District that seems to have swing dancing Monday nights. I went there the second or third week they were open and it was pretty dead, but maybe it will pick up with time. They have a band and the place is very elegant (and expensive).
We are informed that since Dan wrote his blurb he has married and has a lovely daughter, Nina. Congratulations, Dan!
The Houston Swing Dance Society and the Rice Social Dance Society sponsor occasional big events (workshops, dances) as well as weekly classes and DJed dancing. SSQQ, a local dance studio, also has a DJed swing practice night that the Lindy crowd sometimes attends.
If you're looking for West Coast Swing, the local version is called "Whip". Some links:
If you're looking to buy vintage clothes, Houston is apparently quite the place to do it. When Nina Gilkenson was last in town, she raided one of the local stores and came back with a bag full of wedgie shoes.
I would like to get the word out that there is some swing dancing in Montana. We are few and far between but still try to keep dance nights going at some clubs and bars. I personally have a space that is open on Wednesday nights from 8 to 10p.m. The address is 140 w. Pine street. I play c.d.'s of mainly Lindy rhythms. It is an excellent floor and there is air conditioning. It is also a smoke free venue. I know of some other places around the state...if there is any interest I could find out the exact locations and times of these clubs.
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