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I'M BACK! News and Views Autumn '12 installment
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Allen Hall
MN Prince of Snark Darkness

Joined: 26 May 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject: I'M BACK! News and Views Autumn '12 installment Share topic on FB Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

News and Views from the Hall LindyJazzMobiless Trail
(Special Autumn ’12 Installment)
November 23, 2012

Table of Contents:
1. Osteoarthritis Update
2. The LindyJazzMobile is for Sale
3. Lindy is Lookin’ Up in St Louis
4. Ohio is Burnin’ with Hot Trad Jazz
5. Dance ‘n’ Jazz Odds and Ends
6. Coming Attractions


Rudy’s recovery from her July left shoulder arthroscopic surgery is ahead of schedule. On the first November weekend at the “Nevermore Ball and St. Louis Swing Dance Festival” she danced all three nights and her arm didn’t fall off, but, more importantly, she did no post-dances sniveling. Allen’s recovery from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in August is about 95% complete. He too danced vigorously and well (for him) all three days, and he only sniveled a little bit.
My next decision date for a replacement knee is right after Christmas ’12. See, my orthopedic surgeon told me I am not yet ready for a new knee because the tears are not yet coursing down my cheeks, and I am not complaining, “Doc, I jus’ cain’t, stan’ dis pain no mo’”. Be advised that there are no medical requirements for knee replacement surgery; all are considered elective. See, the reason it is elective surgery goes as follows, “Hey, You can still get around pain-free in a wheel chair, can’t you?”
Yes, we are imprudently dancing again. No, we are not going to travel widely by motor home this winter to dance (see below). We are limiting our imprudence to events we can make with one easy day of car driving with a max. of two nights of joint-obliterating Lindy Hop. That plus whatever quality Lindy Hop we can scare up in the Dayton/Cincinnati/Columbus triad. We are not apposed to flying to an event, but only after we sell the LindyJazzMobile (see below) and fill up the cash coffers.


It is now sitting on the used RV lot at Tom Raper’s RV dealership in Richmond Indiana. If you wish to look at it, Google “Tom Raper RV Dealer” and go to “Used Inventory Tom Raper RVs” and then search for “2002 Winnebago Sightseer M27C . stock # 1290712. No, I have no earthly idea how to do that. For dancers, it will come replete with 10 years of historic documentation about where the vehicle it has been, and the myriads of dances to which it has carried us.
P.S. HOT NEWS The LindyJazzMobile sold, and we netted $13,500. We bought it new and paid $60,000 for it including interest on the mortgage. We drove it 100,000 miles. Cost of fuel was huge. At an average of 8.5 mpg, and 10 year average price of, oh say, $3/gal for gas, we burned about $35,000 in gas. We lived in it 7 months a year for 10 years. Of course we had to pay to park it somewhere while we lived in it. I’m guessing that the average rent for a RV parking place was about $12 a night when we had to pay. We got lots of freebie parking at the homes of family members, about 56 days a year. So, we paid about 157 days, costing about $13,000
Are you ready to have the world’s worst mathematician work the numbers? In thousands of dollars: $46.5K cost of motor home less price it sold for + $13K to park + $35K cost of gas + $8K est. cost of repairs and maintenance = $102,500 for living in it during 2,130 days, for an average $48 per day.
I guess I could figure then the cost per night of dance, but I might shudder to see that dollar number. Oh what the hell, I guess we danced, on average, once every 2.2 days (I have records to prove this ridiculous number is true.) during those 7 months a year for 10 years on the road. So, we danced 960 days and that means we averaged spending $106 for each night of dance, plus, of course, the cost of admission to and drinks at the dance venues, plus the cost to launder all our sweaty clothes. Would I do it all over again? What do you think?


Rudy and I attended the recent (second) “Nevermore Ball and St. Louis Swing Dance Festival” which drew over 300 dancers. They had live bands for all four nights of dance. To wit:
Thursday at the Atomic Cowboy “The Sidemen” played, which is a damned good jazz quintet of piano, bass, guitar and drums, plus a clarinet/tenor reedman.
Friday at the historic* Casa Loma Ballroom it was “Miss Jubilee and her Bella Rue Jazz Band” a sextet of a clarinet, trombone and trumpet (Dixieland) front line, with a sousaphone, guitar and drums rhythm section, plus Miss Jubilee singing nicely while clad in a long clinging satin gown which all agreed showed that she was wearing no under-garments. I liked the band and especially the young lady clarinetist who is dynamite. (We have seen her before at Jazz Fests elsewhere.) She and the trumpet player were trading fours (soloing alternately on every 4 measures of music). At one point, she threw in a delightful improvisation musical phrase that went “outside” of the harmonic structure. This “wide-eyed” the trumpet player and me too—it is for just such moments that I prefer live music, with all its flaws, to recorded music.
Saturday was also at the Casa Loma Ballroom and playing was the New Orleans band, “Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns” a septet with a front line of two clarinetists, a rare lady baritone saxophonist, and the trumpet player who leads the hot St. Louis Dixieland band “Coronet Chop Suey”, with a rhythm section of guitar, bass and drums, and led by the inestimable, Meschiya Lake on vocals.
Although we did not attend, on Sunday the Meschiya Lake band played the dance at the Atomic Cowboy. This is a very good band but they played way too many fast numbers at the same tempo, and the other tempos were almost all too-slow. This should not be the case as this band often plays for LH dances, or should I make that Charleston dances? (see below under “EDITORIAL COMPLAINTS”)
All bands could fairly boast of excellent musicianship and the music selections were all good, but my complaint is that none of the three bands varied tempos to my satisfaction. Let me make this perfectly clear, my satisfaction is way more important than anyone else’s satisfaction. Hey! I would almost dislike dancing as much to the same tune all night as I would dancing to the same tempo.
*The Casa Loma Ballroom was opened on the 6th of September 1927. At that time there were 12 such second-story ballrooms in a 20 square block area of south St. Louis—all save the Casa Loma are now gone. However, hard times were acoming and the Casa Loma closed 6 times before 1935, no doubt thanks to the Great Depression. And, it burned in 1940 and was rebuilt in the delightful Art Deco style which has remained intact ever since, with, I believe the same Maple tongue-in-groove floor. Once rebuilt, the Casa Loma has remained open when the many other swanky large St. Louis ballrooms all closed. Swing dancing persevered in St. Louis throughout the dark ages of rock music popularity, and, noteably, I believe St. Louis is the only city which created two city-specific swing dances, Imperial Swing and St. Louis Shag, with both still taught and danced.
Frank Sinatra with the Harry James Orch. played the Casa Loma before ‘Ol Blue Eyes was a star. Also playing there were the bands of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey. There is a long list of celebrities who have played the Casa Loma, notably Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney, Tony Bennett, and the amazing Rita Heyworth, surely one of the most graceful pairs-dance followers to ever grace the movies. The Casa Loma is now open only on weekends with swing dancing every other Friday night to live music, and drawing as many as 500 to the floor, but I can assure you, not all at the same time.
Several comments follow which I shall call “EDITORIAL COMPLAINTS”: (Surely, you did not think, did you, that I was going to shoot a “News and Views” out into the ethers without bitching about something?)
1. It is apparent to me that the Charlestonization of LH is near complete. Many dancers prefer to do Charleston at tempos of 180 bpm and higher, and some dancers will do Charleston at tempos well below 180 bpm.
2. It is also apparent that much of DJed and live music for LH has hit the late ’20s wall, and is stuck there. If it went any further in arrears, we would all be doing LH to John Phillip Sousa march music recordings. Two beat music is IN, and four beat music from the Swing Era is OUT. Can you believe that Count Basie recordings are seldom, if ever, heard at a LH dance? This is an unforgivable sacrilege.

St. Louis has several regular LHable dances. Every Thursday at the Atomic Cowboy, or at the Thaxton Speakeasy; every Tuesday at the Grandel Theater; two Fridays a month at the Casa Loma Ballroom; plus the first Friday at the Mahler Ballroom. How ‘bout that for a scene which is recovering from LH doldrums of several years past?


Hey, lil’ Lindy Hoppers, since you are now apparently digging old fast jazz, you should dig hot trad jazz, and Ohio is gefult mitt it. There is regularly scheduled Hot (traditional) Jazz being played in the following Ohio cities: Columbus, Healthy (Cinn. ‘burb), Dayton, London, Sylvania, Twin Lakes, Chagrin Falls, Athens, Hilliard, Cleveland and two venues in Toledo.
Rudy and I danced at the annual “Fall Harvest” event put on by the “Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society” in Hilliard, a Columbus ‘burb. Three bands played 6 sets from 1-7PM on Sun. Nov. 18th and, as lagniappe, three “mix and match” jam sets were sandwiched in. Lookie here! Columbus LHers showed up. See. the COHJS sponsors a dance club for young LHers with a special low price. And, lindy Hopper, Mandy Angler, sits on the COHJS board of directors. Folks, I am suggesting this may be a way to marry the happy merry music known as “Hot Jazz” to Lindy Hoppers. It has remained a long-standing source of puzzlement and consternation why hot jazz and Lindy Hop haven’t found one another. Hot Jazz needs a younger audience and Lindy Hoppers should enjoy dancing to live jazz. Those who don’t appreciate dancing to live jazz, should probably try out Carolina Shag, Bop or West Coast Swing—good dances all, but all are known for dancing, almost exclusively, to recorded music, most of which would strain the definition of jazz, and, in my experience, precious little of it swings.


1. Jazz and Dictatorships don’t Usually Co-exist.
In the later years of "High Stalinism," opposition was more subtle, coming in "jokes, graffiti and unsigned letters." It could be seen in the Western-influenced narrow trousers preferred by young men; in the sneaker-like rubber-soled shoes favored by Hungarian jampecek ("slackers"); in brightly colored shirts and ties that clashed with the conformist uniforms of communist youth movements; and IN THE DISSIDENT OBSESSION WITH JAZZ.” (Capitalization mine) Indeed, Jazz is that form of music most associated with the concept of freedom, which is anathema to totalitarian governments. (Note: I can’t remember where I got this blurb, ‘n hope I’m not gonna be sued for plagiarism. Wait! I am not charging for this News and Views, so could they still sue me?)

2. Dance and the Mental Fitness.
The cause and effect connection between body fitness and dance is easy one to make. Less so is the cause and effect connection between dance and fitness of mind. Still, the connection has often been made. Some people are said to lose their minds over dance….ahem!...I might be one. Others plainly, if you believe the science, are saving their aged minds by dancing. “A recent study in the Journal of Sports Medicine, reported that as little as teaching cha-cha to older adults twice a week for 6 months was enough to improve their memory and cognitive function in a number of tests.” “The New England Journal of Medicine found (reported) that ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia.” (The text in quotes attributed to Marjie Gilliam; Road to Fitness, in the 11/13/’12 Dayton OH Daily News.) The question, of course, is how, exactly, does dancing abort, decrease or delay senile dementia? I don’t know. Do you?

3. Another Traditional Jazz Fest has gone down the ol’ wazoo……maybe.
The “Coon Sanders Nighthawk Fans Bash” had run continuously for 44 years in Huntington WV, but now is kaput in that city—no doubt it died due to the inevitable actuarial fate of its elderly attendees. The organizer of the event is now trying to hold the event in Chillicothe OH with the support of the Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society. The “Coon Sanders Nighthawks Band” was formed in 1916, and was a very popular jazz dance band for many years. Go to the link below for an interesting, well-written and complete history of the band.
I now have no earthly idea what they might be, but I am reasonably certain something will occur worth writing about.
Allen Hall, Lindy Hopper (NO! I don’t do Charleston—it’s too damned hard on my balky knees)
November 23, 2012 in Rudy’s Mom’s basement in Dayton Ohio
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