As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
I started donating to some of these charities when a friend of mine asked for donations in lieu of a wedding present. During this holiday season, I hope you'll remember these charities as you get into the Christmas spirit.
One thing that makes it difficult to update this website is the tendency of some individuals to point me towards other sources of data as opposed to typing in that information in an email message. For instance, someone wrote to me about a milonga (tango dance) taking place in the French Quarter at a certain time in a certain restaurant. He didn't say which city it was in (I assume he meant New Orleans) or what day this dance was held. He did say that I could find the contact person and phone number in the latest Tango catalog. This is pretty frustrating since my copy of that catalog was about 1000 miles away at the time (assuming I even still had it!). As a result, my enthusiasm and priority for putting that data on my website is extremely low; the data is very incomplete and I have no way of looking it up if the submitter doesn't reply to my questions.
Sending me to another website is also a bad idea since I really shouldn't be surfing the web if I'm working at a customer site. Making me look through a website for the important information wastes a lot of my time and I spend too much time on this website every week already. I don't like looking at other websites for information because we all know that some websites are ridiculously out of date and many are inaccurate. I caught some websites copying my pages because they copied bad information that I entered by mistake. I prefer to get information from someone who's willing to back up the data.
This website is a lot of work and it gets updated every week. If you have information that you would like to see posted here, send the complete information to me early enough so I don't spend my entire Sundays typing it in (I might just put it off to a later date if I get tired).
And then I found out that he was 78 years young. This guy has to be the happiest 78-year-old I've ever met, with more energy than his 4 kids combined. :-) He was pushing his "kids" to get out and party it up. I hope I have that much fun living when I get to that age. He and I agreed about that saying I heard a while ago:
"You don't stop dancing when you get old; you get old because you stop dancing."
I heard about a recent event where many people showed up for a popular band and some dancing. Unfortunately, everyone else and their 10 closest friends also decided to go at the same time. Even worse, the proprietor let them all in. I heard that some of the customers had asked the proprietor to shut the door; they also asked for the limit of the hall but the dance organizer appeared not to know. One of my analytical-type friends asked the doorkeeper how many people got in and was told, "...about 500". Naturally, this same analytical-type person called up the Fire Department for the legal number of people who could be in that hall. The number given was 200, though I imagine that number reflects the number of attendees sitting at tables. In any case, the "dance" turned into a "concert" because there were too many people to find space to dance. Even one of my friends who goes to every dance everywhere and is quite accomodating and forgiving said that this dance "s*cked".
On that note, I think that those of you who go to the Watertown "IC" Dances each month (and get in) should thank Roger Weiss and Claire Schlosser for running a "dance for the dancers". Roger and Claire have a number for the maximum number of people that can dance comfortably inside the hall and that's the limit that they'll allow inside at any given moment. They'll also pay the bands as well as they can to encourage the bands to play well enough to get invited back. It's quite clear that they're out to provide a good dance environment and aren't out to squeeze in every last person to get their admission fee. That maximum number has even been *lowered* from the maximum *legal* number of persons allowed in (due to fire laws) so that the dancers are sure to get the minimum space needed for comfortable dancing.
Oh yeah, I heard about some "discussion" about who was responsible for building the swing community or responsible for the "revival" of swing dancing in Boston. As far as I know, there was nothing seriously going on in Boston before 1986. There's only one dance venue that's been around since then, consistently catering to several hundreds of dancers with a different swing band each month. That would be the Boston Swing Dance Network with the (now) Watertown "IC" Dances.
Johnny D's had a long strong run in Davis Square, capitalizing especially in last year's swing craze. However, over the years, they catered to the younger (drinking) kids who flocked to the bar (as well they should have). This created an environment that did not encourage the more experienced dancers to go there so they stayed away, preferring to go to places that featured more dance time and dance space than lessons and band breaks. Fads come and go so the crowds found something else to do and stopped coming around. While the more die-hard dancers heard the word that the crowds were gone, they kept remembering the format that didn't change as well as the crowded experience (not to mention the band that kept running out of swing music before the end of the night) so they didn't go back. Back during Mohan's going-away party there, someone I know predicted that Johnny D's would shut down the swing dancing within 6 months. While not having written the date down, I think he was about right on the money.
And that's unfortunate.
I finally got to dance in Minneapolis after so many trips there. I went to Famous Dave's BBQ in Calhoun Square in Minneapolis. The band, The Senders, played to an appreciative dance and bar crowd, as they do every Wednesday. Teachers from the local Fred Astaire studio gave a short lesson before the band played.
There's no cover charge, but who cares? This is Famous Dave's! The owner alledgedly got some movie set constructors to decorate the place like downtown Chicago, with it's own set of elevated railroad tracks (and hourly sound effects to simulate that). The food is great, and coupled with the live swing band, this is a great place to be on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the floor is concrete so you won't want to do heavy bouncing on the floor unless your health insurance is all paid up and you drive an automatic. :^)
Hello to Susie & Bruce Mulligan, from whom I expect to get all the cool places to dance out there.
Since all the bills for 1999 have been paid, I've donated the remainder of the 1999 DanceNet sponsorship fees to the Boston Globe Santa.
Hey, I'm done with Christmas shopping for the rest of the century!
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