As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
Some of you know of the local dancer who recently changed his/her legal name; I think it had to do with the name not reflecting the person they felt they were. I was thinking that I couldn't understand what a person might go through to make such a change in their life (sometimes not totally understanding changing one's name upon marriage, either).
Then I remembered...first grade. Back then, I was surrounded by numerous "John's", "Paul's", "Peter's", "Steven's", and so on. And there was only one "Benson". I hated my name. I hated being different from everyone else. It was many years later when I would ask myself, "What parent, in their right mind, would name their kid 'Benson'". I wanted to be like everyone else and I didn't want to stand out.
The amazing thing is that in Boston, during my high school years, that I met two other Chinese guys amongst the people I hung out with whose names were also "Benson". What were our parents thinking?!?!
Forward many years ahead.
In this day and age, "Benson" is a fairly mild name compared to some of the more exotic names given by parents to stand out or otherwise "be cool". Yet, it's still unusual enough so that there aren't likely to be too many people with that name. It's something that makes one stand out, even if you are a mild-mannered swing dancer.
I'm starting to get the idea that a lot of people recognize me by my first name. No, not on the scale of "Madonna" or "Cher", but I think that most people in our local dance scene don't need my last name (if they even know it) to figure out it's me. I find that if I mention other people among my friends, I often have to include their last name to ensure that everyone understands whom we're talking about. I almost always have to say Bill Cameron's full name when talking about his events, but "Frankie" is always Frankie Manning. I know one "Mara", one "Sheryl", one "Claire", and only one "Robbie". However, I know several "Mark's", a bunch of "Sarah's", several "Laura's", and a bazillion "Susan's", "Sue's", "Suzanne's", and "Suzi's". (It's kinda weird that a lot of women seemed to have the same name when I date someone with that name).
What made me think about this all of a sudden? I was at a dance at Boston College this weekend and someone was wondering if I was...someone else (I think she was wondering if I was Maxwell Ho....?), but she immediately knew who I was by just my first name. Well, yes, that was a bad example because there is probably only one Boston swing dancer whose name is "Benson" and is also Chinese. It was a different person, however, who recognized "Benson" from an online discussion forum at the company where I used to work...18 years ago. While I started appreciating the uniqueness of my name a long time ago, it seemed that it was gratifying that there were people who immediately recognized me by my name...even if they had never met me in person.
To be honest with you, nowadays...I'm happy my parents didn't give me a "normal" name.
On Friday I went to the club formerly known as the "NYC Jukebox". Yes, this was *not* a swing venue. The club is called "Matrix" now and plays more hip-hop and other more "comtemporary" music. Well, it's not really good for any sort of partner dancing. It was also 18+ night and I was commenting to a friend that I started going to this club (or its previous incarnation) before most of the people in line were even *born*. I found that amusing.
The music in the Matrix club wasn't particularly exciting so we went up to..the Roxy. Unfortunately, that meant paying a second cover charge. Was it worth it? No. The first thing that happens when you enter is that all the guys entering the club are patted down by VERY big bouncers. In my day, the Roxy was a pretty class joint where people normally wore suits and ties and we didn't need to be patted down for inappropriate items. From the balcony we could see that the so-called "dance floor" was packed beyond capacity. I *think* the people were dancing, though it looked like they were only just swaying to what passed for music. I couldn't see how anyone could possibly "dance" in that crowd and it continued beyond the boundaries of the dance floor. Can you imagine people paying good money to enter a place where you couldn't move (much less dance) and couldn't have a conversation with your date? (yes, it was that loud).
This wasn't fun so we went back down to the Matrix/Jukebox. Argh. The only people on the dance floor were the same group of 5 people (4 girls, 1 guy, a dream come true for him, I bet). At the some point, the DJ cranked up the music. It reminded me of people who speak LOUDER and SLOWER when talking to foreignors. Someone needs to tell the DJ that turning the music louder DOES NOT make people want to dance more. Perhaps an empty dance means the music sucks?
My name is xxxxx xxxx. I represent many performing arts accounts at the xxxxx [newspaper]. The xxxxx [newspaper] reaches 180,000 Arts and Entertainment fans every week. We have very flexible and accomodating relationships with our advertisers. We offer several unique ways to reach our audience every week including print advertising, online, trade agreements and sponsorships.I'm not sure how "legal" it was for them to send me that bit of advertisement so here was my response:
"I'm a not-for-profit website promoting dance venues all over Boston, New England and the country. I'm your competition...and it's free."