Tag Archives: lindy hop

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

I really, really do. I can’t remember who it was that said, before I left, “Oh! New Orleans! I know that place! We studied it in my geography class as the city most likely to be destroyed by natural disaster!”

Wow, I really hope that ever happens. This city, for lovers of jazz, is like going home. I was staying 5 minutes walk from the French quarter, where every thirty meters there is a veritable vivi-trap, in the form of live music, amazing live jazz. Combine this with an abundance of amazing, hardcore Lindy Hoppers, and you have vivi-heaven. New Orleans is my Vegas. After five days of solid dancing, very little sleep, and one hundred new friends, it has really captured my heart!

a random band jamming 🙂

First though, I have to thank Dad for my MAD AIRPORT SKILLZ. My first flight, to Houston, was delayed two hours, because of some technical fault. Whilst this distressed me, as it meant I would miss most of the Thursday night dance, I wasn’t really worried. Surely I would make it to New Orleans that night.

When it looked like we were going to touch down after the last flight to New Orleans left, I began to panic. Staying overnight in Houston, alone in a hotel when I could be dancing? aaaaagh! I thought; what would dad do? (if he was sitting in economy). He would do SOMETHING, for sure. So I worked myself into a bit of a state, went to the stewardess and with big earnest eyes said “Please, mate, I’ve come all the way from Australia for my brother’s wedding at 9am tomorrow in New Orleans. If I miss it, it will be completely devastating!”

The river and the city form the plane window!

They found me a spot on the plane. Thank goodness! no staying overnight in texas, in an airport!

Other than that, the weekend was incredible. A pool party in the French quarter at 2am Thursday night, a giant, second line parade with a big band on Friday – we danced through the streets of the city – it was CRAZY! There should be a parade like that every day, oh my goodness. We were solo jamming all the way around New Orleans 🙂

The firday night dance was my FAVOURITE. We danced on the Creole Queen riverboat on the MISSISSIPPI. Wow. Wow. How magical, two dancefloors, so much beautiful space, the riverboat, the river, the lights, the wind, the night. I was entranced. And then Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns for the late night, and when she sang Everybody Loves my Baby the floor went nuts! I got so injured; there was absolutely NO space to dance 🙂

Saturday was dancing outside in the markets. They set up a floor suspended higher up like a stage. But under the weight of so many people pulsing and bouncing on it, it was constantly bouncing! I loved it; it felt like you were dancing simultaneously with everyone on the floor!

The competitions on Saturday were fierce. Two Swedish girls were in the showdown semifinals against Sharon and Juan, and they brought it so hardcore. It was nuts! The judges were undecided twice and they just had to keep dancing, in the sun, in the heat. They were dying, but they didn’t show it!

Saturday night at the wax museum upstairs dancefloor; please, just watch Bobby and Chance dance off 🙂

Sunday early morning (6.30 am after the amazing late night finished) we went and got beignets, which are traditional New Orlean-ian donuts! They are COVERED with icing sugar, and when Raj (trouble maker) realized I had never had them before, he picked up the full plate and just blew icing sugar right into my face, and all over me! I looked like it was snowing, or I had severe dandruff, or I was on crack or something 🙂

the beignets!

sweet and sugary

Alex, Jenny and I

And as you can see, he got it all over my pretty pretty hairdo which Alicia, a new friend of mine did for me. Check out the 20’s pin curls! I NEED to learn how to do this. I’ve never felt so pretty!

(when I took the bottom out!)

Sunday I took classes with Chazz Young and Sugar Sullivan, some original Savoy ballroom dancers! I also met Norma Miller. What a sweetheart. That lady sure does love her fried chicken though.

There was so much more – a venue hop on Sunday afternoon where all the different bands were playing at once all on the same street. You went from bar to bar and danced and drank and talked. It was wonderful. And then Tuba Skinny playing Sunday night at the House of Blues was just my favourite. Amazing blues, amazing competitions, amazing dances. A beautiful space, to top it off! Tuba Skinny rock my socks. More beignets, because they are just amazing, and then a bike ride through the city in pursuit of the perfect frock on Monday, as well as a baseball game (hilarious, so all American!)

(before the dancing really got started)

What an adventure! It wore me out, inspired me SO much, and showed me just how amazing Jazz and Lindy Hop are all over again. I guess it’s getting to sound a bit obsessive to you all, but all I can really think of doing now is dancing. It is so full of joy, and everything I love! I have been on the biggest high all week. And I made so many great friends there 🙂

(porch swiiiing!)

After all that, I just wanted to say that to Lib and the people who keep checking this, I know you’re there, and I love you!

To Michael, who sent me a mug all the way from Budapest, you are WONDERFUL.

I saw these in NOLA and thought of you :)!

To Mum Dad and Mbali; I miss you!

To Poshi, aka. Sholecia, Happy Birthday lovely!

And to Hayden, just because I know you don’t like being left out: hi! 😉

Xxx

And that’s all I have to say about that.

from the plane window, sunset over the mississippi….

SFLX (San Francisco Lindy Exchange)

So the people in my drug den think that I’m hardcore

Though I missed the naked kitchen dance party that happened on Saturday night, the dance party that went on in San Francisco this weekend was so many kinds of excellent that I can’t even regret 🙂

It began with the wonderful Kim Nalley on Thursday night at the 9.20 Special dance. What a packed floor! She was WONDERFUL, what a voice, what an amazing stage presence. She wore this giant white flower on top of her head and just sang all of my favourites – A-tisket a-tasket, when you’re smiling, I wish I knew how it would feel to be free….. So many more! And she sang this awesome blues number “My man has a big long slidey thing” and at the end she says “I’m talking about a trombone, y’all, get your minds out of the gutter!” it was hilarious. I loved it.

So I arrived home after the perfect night of dancing to live music, and what should I find in my mailbox!? A letter from the loveliest Hannah Jones, full not only of excellent love, but including notes from a whole bunch of people from brats!!! I was so fantastically happy, I couldn’t even fall asleep. 🙂

Jammin with Kyle 🙂

Yom Kippur was Friday night and Saturday, and though there are about 25 in my house’s Jew crew, I’m pretty sure I was the only one fasting…. Ah, Berkeley and the co-ops and all the hippies who believe only in trees and drugs… I never want to leave! 🙂

But Saturday and Sunday nights, there was more dancing, and I danced until 5 and 6am respectively. I love late nights so much – people stop trying and just let it all out, and you have the best dances ever…. I had a dance with Alex where we just held on with our pinkies 🙂

more jammin!

My favourite band was the Sunday night band. They had a wicked horn section, played to the crowd exactly, played faster music (goodness, I miss the tempo of Seattle!) and I didn’t sit down one song they played! I was so so wrecked by 4am Monday morning – Kyle and I went and got 7/11 coffee…. The one with extra caffeine… I took 3 sips and was bouncing off the walls! It should be illegal, that much caffeine… it’s like straight adrenaline into your body.

BARTing home, monday morning

But the hardcore part of the weekend was still to come – in the form of a five hour central kitchen workshift at 8am on Monday…. I had arrived home at 7am, watched the sun rise over the bay and Berkeley on my roof (through the fog, of course!) changed out of my nice clothes and stacked boxes of fruit for five hours…. Then I managed a shower, and a half hour nap before my 3 hour class began! And then, because I was in this surprisingly dapper mood (possibly still high on a weekend of swingouts), I did an hour of homework before dinner, and eventual sleep.

sunrise over berkeley, sunday morning…. the Campanile is still lit up 🙂

And THAT, my friends, is why I believe in sleeping only when you are dead.

Update of Hooray-ness!

awesome things that have happened:

  • I painted my room! its not quite done yet, but it doesnt look as bad as my ‘art’ usually does! i love random art projects, hooray!

You can only see clearly with your heart…what is important is invisible to the eye…..

this is Fat Jan, my favourite bird that I painted. She is chubby from too many twinkies 🙂

  • they restocked the fridge with blueberries. enough said!

  • our house has an amazing hot tub. I love it. a lot.
  • rhythm lounge on the weekend with a random workshop with thomas and alice mei was so so sweet! – its ridiculous how many dance superstars are around the place all the time here!
  • have already finished all my workshift for the week, woop! 🙂
  • have plans to build a loft for my bed, go dancing 5 nights this week, and finish my assignment early.
  • i got fro yo on the weekend. i am fat, and happy.
  • I had a LOVELY yontef dinner with Allison and Paul, and Viv and Howard for Rosh Hashana. Happy New Year everyone! xxxxxxxxxx Shana Tova Umetuka.
  • Today it is a month since I left for the second time. I wish I could stay here a year, not just a semester. it is WONDERFUL.
  • I got a love package of tim tams and chocolate teddies in the mail. I distributed some to the other two ozzies here, but the rest are mine mine mineeeeee…. 🙂 *jealously hoardes tim tams*
  • I am going to try blues dancing again tonight. this is its last chance!!!
  • I went to my Film DeCal class. we watched Citizen Kane and then discussed it for ten minutes. I get University credit for that! AWESOME! 😀

thats about all that is interesting at the moment! lots of love to everyone, thankyou to Zoltan for the marvelous postcard!

Now I should go to class 🙂

x’s and o’s!

Sleepless, in Seattle

I love Seattle. I could live on Capitol Hill. it is beautiful and green and well thought out, with views, and parks and dancing and meteors.

and they dance FAST. brilliantly. until 5 in the morning. oh yes, I was sleepless. dead on my feet, in complete and utter heaven. happy like a bee in honey.

not to mention it was 40 degrees sunny the entire weekend. not ideal dance weather for a city which should promise super amounts of gumboot rain. everyone looked like sea monsters approximately 30 seconds after they entered those sweltering ballrooms. and even then, the band and djs were merciless. 200 bpm an average pace. STFO heaven for Vivi.

the live music made my weekend. dancing to live music is so much more real. It is just so much more… dancing! the give and take of energy between dancers and a band playing the music you want to hear makes the room feel a little electric. zingy, in the tips of your fingers.

But I especially love Seattle because of the people. what a warm, welcoming, down to earth bunch. I felt so immediately at home, and most importantly, able to chillax and be my wacky self 😀 a far cry from LA where the number of superstars and competitions lent a tense atmosphere to the dancing. this was just about the lindy hop…. and boy can they hop!!

so three days of intense dancing flew by, leaving me sleep deprived, on another plane with muscles not talking to me….

but here I am in the east bay of San Francisco!

expect many a post on the beauty of Berkeley and how ridiculous this whole shenanigan is, but for now,

here is our stadium…

and here is a group of us relaxing n the sun in front of the Campanile (giant clock tower thing with views like heaven.)

Berkeley is something else…

so, on another note, they have this idea in the bay area that science learning should be joyful and fun. (Harris: “but science IS fun!!!”) they express this in the form of several museums around the place, in which they teach weird and wacky magical/science things in awesome ways. I play in there for hours.

today we hiked up a RIDICULOUS hill, 3 new friends and I, to this museum. I will have thighs of STEEL upon my return, I swear it. the landscape here never considered a naive australian tourist, used to miles of flat flat flat.

one of my new friends is Nathan, whose favorite sandwich is chicken salad. the other one is Joy, with whom the reason for my friendship is self explanatory 🙂

on the way up the hill, I found cherry plums, fresh off a tree, and nearly broke something scrambling to pick them. they were warm in the sun. there was juice on my fingers. 🙂

Post Camp Hollywood JOY!!!

wow. i mean, wow, man.

not sure where to start, but to keep this short and sweet, I just had one of the best dancing experiences EVER. ever!

status of any dancing ego I might ever have had = DEAD.  seriously.

I left melbourne thinking ‘yeah, i’m a vaguely competent dancer! I might even be pretty good at what I do!’

LIES! the number of super super uberstars who live in LA is almost unreal. there are 5 or 6 troupes here, each one rehearses at least twice weekly, and man, it shows. these people can DANCE, like ive never seen anyone dance.

it blew my mind!!!!!

dancing in between band sets in the big ballroom. this is a relatively empty floor!

just to summarize the highlights of the 4 nights and three days solid basically without sleep, I have to say, the Saturday night was the craziest thing i’ve ever seen.

the pro lindy comp, the showcases, they were INSANE. yes.

but none of them had ANYTHING on th UJC. the underground jitterbug championships. 2am. in a dim back room.

this was the nastiest competition i’ve ever ever seen. it was DIRTY, CRAZY,  think hellzapoppin type war. its not judged on skill, timing, technique.

this was pure entertainment. 😀

even before it actually got crazy, one couple flipped 14 lampposts in a row. in a row! everyone was yelling and counting them….

people were throwing money into the circle, and the music was jumping-at-the-woodside fast, and the crowd and the dancers were going nuts. people were just pulling out the most complicated and spontaneous areials ive ever seen, and STFOing like freaking CRAZY!

I kept expecting someone to pull out a knife 😀 carla heiney was in her slip, and kevin’s shirt was off, and laura keat was bleeding from her lip, and they were swinging out into each other to try and push each other off the floor, or trying to steal each others partners.

it was unbelievable. insane. freaking hardcore!!!!!!

and then it was 3am, and I was dying of exhaustion, but after seeing that, how can you NOT dance???!!!!!!

every night there was a gypsy jazz jam circle with jonathan stout (swing music god, plays weekly here) and mike faltesek and others, including this 17 year old clarinet player who is one of the most talented people ive ever met. (which, after knowing one bonita williams and others of her excellent calibre, is saying something!!) and every morning before class there was yoga warmups.

so, can anyone actually think of a way to make me happier? I challenge you! ive been here a week, it feels like a lifetime. LA is an amazing place.

In other news, i’ve made some new friends who are letting me stay with them, about to meet up with some old ones, am off to venice beach today and to seattle tomorrow afternoon!

this whole thing is a little too amazing for comprehension.

hooray!!! 🙂

Look, i’m no coffee expert, but even I know this is terrible!

ugggggghhhhh…. my head!!! jetlag, i kill you!!!!
first night of dancing last night, but afterwards, completely ZERO sleep….
so this morning I resemble a monster from the deep, crawling lopsidedly to breakfast.

my emergency chocolate is LONG gone, so I seek something, ANYTHING vaguely reminiscent of caffeine….
only to be greeted by this cup of EVIL. it is watery. it is instant. zoltan, it comes nothing close to the shot of heaven that can be found at jungle juice. i consider going to starbucks across the road.
5 hours of dance class today is looking better and better!!!

(LIES, i have never been more freaking star struck in my LIFE! the instructors jam last night was freaking SHWEET and they were not. even. trying. woop!!!!)

oh, p.s. yes, yes this blog is nothing but a cross between a tool of procrastiation and an arena for my whingeing. you love it. dont lie!

…oy vey…

p.p.s. am already plus one pair of dancing shoes. probably will be plus another by the end of the weekend. they are just TOO SHINY! this will mean that my dancing shoes almost outumber my regular shoes. bahahaha

lost cause = me! 😀