Rusty relaxes in Japan!
(see story below and her SCRAPBOOK)


To dance, above all, is to enter into the motions of life. It is an action, a movement, a process. The dance of life is not so much a metaphor as a fact; to dance is to know oneself alone and to celebrate it.

~ Sherman Paul



I want to thank everyone who volunteered above and beyond the call of duty to help in my absence. This was the first vacation I've had in three years. It was amazing. I actually got to relax! (Took awhile). But I couldn't have done it without the help of so many people who kept the homefires burning. I've never been able to leave before and keep things going. So thank you thank you thank you! Thank you to Alice, Jessica, Glenn, Jeremy, Melissa, and Mae-Lae for assisting in classes; I've heard nothing but praise for each and every one of you! Thanks to all those who helped at the Rhythm Club, running the door, setting up and cleaning up, and making sure that the club had our wonderful friendly atmosphere: Glenn, Valeria, Kristin, Nate, Nathan, Robert, Maxwell DeMille, Mae-Lae, Jessica, and Gio! I look forward to my next vacation :) (Please forgive me if I've missed anyone...)



You're on the road to getting your moves down, but now you want to start adding some personal styling to your dancing. You can keep time one the dance floor, but you want to learn how to hit those breaks AND do something interesting once you hit them! And what about that fancy footwork you see everyone else do?!

Here's the class for you -- LINDY STYLING.

(Level 2 and up.)

September 28,
5, 12, 19
406 E. Grand Ave.
El Segundo
(corner of Arena)
Level 1 2:00pm
Level 2 3:00pm
Level 3 4:00pm
September 29,
October 6, 13, 20
520 Main Street
El Segundo
(enter alley off of Mariposa to lower parking lot -- entrance at the huge wall mural)
Featured Class   7:30pm
Level 4 8:30pm
September 30,
October 7, 14, 21
406 E. Grand Ave.
El Segundo
(corner of Arena)
Level 1 8:00pm
Level 2 9:00pm
End-Of-Series Party
Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 7:00-10:00pm - $5.00
at Rebekah Lodge


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special performance by our very own Rhythm Pal
Ron Campbell with
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DJs "Professor" Robert Vangor & Rusty
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Dance Lesson and DJ on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30-8:00
8:00-11:30pm -- Dance! Dance! Dance!
(check our calendar)

Full details, click HERE
Directions, click HERE



This Week's Celebrations

* Becky Gillen
* Enio DePaz
* Liz Thompson
* Sally Hoyt
* Lee Anne Lynch
* Darby Golden
* Leland Scurry
* Nick Fox

If it's your birthday this week, just let us know at the Rhythm Club so you can get your birthday dance!



John Kanaster, a volunteer at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, asked for help in the 2nd Annual Neighbors Celebration of Local Landmarks and Legends. Specifically he asked if we could add atmosphere by doing some swing dancing and perhaps help out with his historical fashion show dating from the 1500's on...guess what era we were to represent!

A dozen swing dancers volunteered to participate in various (and often, multiple) capacities. John himself was in charge of the entire museum event, narrated part of the fashion show and even danced "in his spare time". Looked pretty snazzy in his military uniform too.

Carmen Lynn made herself available for the DJ duties and took part in the fashion show modeling a black sequined '40s dress. She even brought her sound system, no easy task, if you've ever seen what it takes to haul it, set it up and take it down. She didn't get to dance too much, but was so helpful in choosing music for social dancing. Thank you so much for your help, Carmen... and you looked lovely.

Laura Greenlund was originally asked just to model a '50s fashion, and...budding film maker that she is, also became the narrator of the SSRC "script" featuring some swing/jazz history combined with music. Then, using her skills of improvisation and fashion, she narrated the 1920's through 1950's modeled by the SSRC (and non SSRC) dancers. This was no small task as she did not know what anyone was to wear until they "dressed for the occasion" *just before* the show. She also modeled her '50s prom dress and pearls and I think I saw her dance a bit...but like Carmen, she was "multi-tasking".

Alice Infelise and Dan Danner represented '20s high fashion. Alice in a green, 3 piece outfit with matching cloche-type hat and Dan appearing as her very elegant escort. They guarded the makeshift dressing rooms so that opposite genders would not wind up in embarrassing situations... and danced.

Chris Eisenberg and Alex Vasallo represented the '30s. Chris in her ladies' sailor outfit including sailor hat (often seen in those popular musicals) and Alex in his pinstripe suit and hat (lacking only a statue of the Maltese Falcon). Chris assisted fellow models with their zippers, etc. and Alex even took a few photos...and danced.

Alaina Yohe, Robert Vangor and Carmen Lynn represented the '40s. Alaina in a typical '40s dress and wedgies so popular among young working girls of that time, and Carmen in her black sequined dress representing evening wear. Robert Vangor not only modeled his "elegant escort" outfit (with piano-keys motif tie) but put together the CD to accompany the SSRC script...and they danced. (Aside note that Alaina drove in from the valley to do this Event...what a trouper!)

Laura Greenlund and Christian Hansen represented the '50s. Laura wore a strapless pink prom dress and pearls and Christian wore his black-and-white bowling shirt with Cadillac insignia. We note that Chris' bowling shirts did mysteriously change colors and insignias during the afternoon while Laura's prom dress alternated with a blouse and capris. Hmmm, those '50s were definitely, "changing times" (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).

Debbie Wastling brought along some of her students to sing some classic swing songs and they modeled their swing era fashions and accompanied swing era soldiers. She was also dressed in a '50's dress, the fabric having been hand designed.

Some of our volunteers couldn't make it and others (who were not scheduled) did appear. Thanks, Karla, for allowing us to draft you...and Linda and Tony, you two always get those complements for your dance style.

...and Jes just hopes everyone had a good time, both the participants as well as the audience...and writes the reports for posterity.

...and thanks all the participants profusely for their participation and allowing intrusion of precious personal time.





I took five hundred pictures, but click HERE to see a couple handful!

Ahhhhhhhh.... Two whole weeks of sleeping, eating Japanese food, reading, and walking in the mountains of Sanda region. Sound good to you? It was heavenly. My cousins, Ann and Gerry Marten, invited me to stay with them for my vacation. They have been living in Sanda for eight years (Gerry teaches Human Ecology at the local university and Ann is a therapist in Kobe). And their favorite activities: sleeping, eating Japanese food, reading and walking in the mountains! Ann actually has hiking buddies with whom she regularly explores the local wilderness. So it couldn't have been more perfect!

From day one, Ann had me out exploring her favorite trails. We walked up endless switchbacks revealing hidden shrines, we walked along a river gorge watching hawks making lazy circles in the sky, we walked along a deserted railroad track and through dark tunnels, we walked around a beautiful lake, we walked through rice paddies and tea fields, we went to a historic village, we ate in a country farm house, we had tea in a country tea house, and we spent a couple of nights having yummy meals in the nearby big city Kobe.

Here are excerpts from some of my emails to my family and friends:

October 4th:


Sooooo... it's perfect! I am having a great vaction. It's more than I had hoped for. My cousins live in a new suburb. But it still has quite a Japanese flavour, with tiled roofs and Japanesy gardens. And, of course, everyone being Japanese, helps! The town of Sanda is nestled in a little valley surrounded by lush mountains. These are the kinds of mountains I was dying to see when I lived here in 1981. Ann and Gerry love to walk in the countryside, so they have everything scoped out. And it only takes five minutes by car to get to the most stunning locations.

The first day getting here was rather grueling. Ugh. About fifteen hours of air travel and then three hours added on at the end by bus and train. Having Ann returning from a visit with her folks in L.A. and traveling with me really helped. It would have been daunting to do that last leg by myself. But with her, it was actually a perfect transition from America to Japan -- being on a commuter train in the evening with all the businessmen and school kids going home, there was no doubt whatsoever where I was!

We ate out the first night in a little family run restaurant at a subway station. They served a dish I'd never had before, which best described is a omelete pankake. It was great, and I can't figure out why it hasn't made it State-side.

Next day (after sleeping 12 hours!!), we got up and took a lovely walk around a lake in a local regional park. I was so happy because we kept coming across typical Japanese doodads like little shrines and such. Again, if there was any doubt as to where I was...

Then we had lunch with a friend of her's in another typical Japanese mom and pop type place. This was one of those places where they give you about ten little dishes. yummmmmmmm.

Then I crashed again for 13 hours.

Yesterday we went for a three hour morning walk up in the mountains and visited two big shrines and a flower garden. I can't believe how quick I am realizing my dreams of this vacation (walks in the country and Japanese food!). After the walk, more sleeping.

Then we got together with two of Ann's Japanese girlfriends and we drove across the mountains to Kobe. Kobe is really beautiful -- to me it reminded me of San Francisco. A small big city. So it's not crazy like Tokyo, but has lot's of activity. We had dinner in a jazz club restaurant where a trio and lady singer were entertaining, and then we walked around the streets taking in all the sites and smells. I guess I have taken over a hundred pictures so far, so be prepared.

Today Ann's husband returns from Hawaii, and so we are just taking it easy. I finally hit the email. It wasn't too bad. And I'm just taking it easy reading and such. We're gonna go out grocery shopping and out for lunch. Shopping here is such a gas. The products are just fascinating to look at. Labeling is fantastic. "Happy Drink" and so on.

October 9th:


Yesterday I saw the Kazukarah Revue, a show with all women. It was truly stunning. The show has been running since the 1920s. It has several companies going at one time, and they change the show once a month. Fans follow the show for years. 99% of the audience is women. I went with a group of older women (70s) and asked them if they could have their choice which would they play in the show a man or a woman, and they each empahtically said, "A man!" Of course, the men are the heros in the show, and the parts are much better, stronger. But my opinion is that there is a deep psychological story here that tells a tremendous amount about the Japanese woan ( surpressed as housewives, wanting a more important role, etc... it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure this one out).

After the show, we went out on a terrace and had tea. There we met a group of young Tokyo college girls who were sooooo excited to see the show. Somehow we got to talking,, giggling, and dancing around. I got my picture taken with them -- many times!

October 14th:


Had the best experience today. It was basically the icecream on the cake. Went with Ann to visit the woman who collects the vintage kimonos. She met us in the train station and asked us if we wanted to go to a "recycle" shop where they sell vintage kimonos cheap. We said it would be fun. This place was amazing. Just like a second hand shop in LA, but with kimonos, too. I ended up buying a bunch of stuff, including three happy coats (for $5 each!), and two kewpie dolls (they were the first "cute" dolls introduced to Japan in the 1920s and kicked off the whole cute doll craze here -- they are still the mascot of mayonaise here), and some other interesting vintagy things.

Then she asked if we wanted to go upstairs -- there was a "dancefloor". I thought what the heck, but I really didn't understand what she was talking about. I sort of imagined a tap floor. We got in an elevator and when the door opened five stories later, it was as though we were transported right into the movie "Shall We Dance" (Japanese)!!!!!! It was unbereivable!!!!!!!! I just can't describe it better than the movie. There were about twenty middle aged - elderly people sitting in chairs on the sidelines. There was one young man (a student in university working in this part-time job) dancing with an older lady. The music changed and he danced with another lady. All the women wore fancy dancing skirts and high heels, the men were dressed nicely. There were fancy, dreamy colored lights in the room, flashing syncronized with the music. An older man, the obvious "master" of the house, came over to me and said, "jitterbug?" Our host explained that he was going to put on some dance music for me and the young man to dance jitterbug. The music was a kind of disco-y version of "42nd Street", and the kid was such fun. His swing dance was extremely ballroom style, no triple steps, really no swing. But fun, and we laughed. The second dance I quickly showed him triple steps, and we danced again. And then two more. After each dance the dancers erupted in applause. There were mirrors around the room, and each time I caught a glimpse of myself, I looked like an idiot jumping all around in the Lindy Hop style compared to his smooth Ballroom style. I imagined they thought I was nuts! I tried to match his style, and he was trying to match my style -- we laughed a lot.

Well, I swore I wouldn't Lindy Hop on my vacation, and I didn't! But I sure had a fun "Jitterbug" dance! Wow. What an adventure.

Then, if that weren't enough, we went back to her house to see her Kimono collection. When we walked in the house, I heard Ann gasp. When I looked up from changing my shoes to her house slippers, I too gasped. Miyo had laid out all her kimonos throughout her living room. It was a fantasy of kimonos. Color, flowers, everywhere. My pictures will never do it justice.

What an amazing afternoon.

October 15th:


Whaaaaa, my last full day here. Though Ann promises a walk in the country before I leave tomorrow, today was my last glorious day in the country. We drove up to the mountains with three of her friends (two Japanese and one Singaporean). It was a windy beautiful drive. After about an hour, we pulled off the side of the road, and walked down to a river. For the next two-three hours, we followed the river up and down. The river created a myriad of small waterfalls over rocks and boulders. Along the river, lush and green everywhere, with a few red leaves, hinting at the coming of Fall. We walked through Japenese bamboo so thick, I didn't know whether it was better to crawl or stand on my tip-toes. We jumped on stones across the river. And finally we got to the end, where there was a dam, but with water cascading over the rim, creating a thin, delicate, broad wall of water. When I looked up at it, and saw the water coming down and the fluffy white clouds breezing by, my legs grew wably and almost gave way. I tell you, my heart couldn't have been more full. I was so happy. The green all around me. Standing on a boulder in the middle of the river, with water rushing around my feet, the blue sky above, and sunshine warming my face -- it was peace defined. The walk back to the car was just as beautiful, but I was sad all the way knowing that this was the beginning of my return to the mass of concrete that I live on in Los Angeles.

We got back to the car and drove down the road a piece and arrived at an Ohn-sen (country spa). This one was quite old but had been recently rennovated. We had lunch first on tatami mats... wonderful healthy food. Then we went into the spa area. I treated me and cousin Ann to back rubs, and then I went swimming, followed by soaking in the hot pools. These hot pools were the best I've ever been in. You could lie down flat in shallow water, and strong jets of bubbles hit your shoulders and your legs, as you looked out through a gigantic floor to ceiling window to the forest on the other side. This area was mixed men and women and everyone wore bathing suits. Then I changed rooms again to the womans' only area. This room you go in au natural. There are similar soaking pools and an area where you can wash. I remember this from when I was in Japan years ago. The washing area is so interesting. You sit before a row of mirrors. You have a little plastic stool to sit on in front of one of the mirrors. There is shampoo and soap, and you also have a plastic bowl, quite large. There is a faucet in front of you to fill the bowl with hot water and pour it over yourself. Then you scrub scrub scrub yourself clean as can be, as you continue to fill the bowl and pour it over yourself. This time, however, there was the added shower hose. Ah, modernity. I sat down next to an elderly lady. She was very helpful. She could tell I couldn't read the Japanese on the bottles and that I probably would have washed my hair with body soap. She gestured what to do with the contents of each bottle and smiled the beautiful smile of a life well lived. I was struck how this time no one stared at me, as they had last time -- being a gai-gin (foreigner). Even though Ann and I were the only foreigners there, there was a welcoming feeling rather than the cold stares I received last time. It was lovely. What a perfect last a perfect trip...

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SATCHMO.NETFound this site on my trip to Japan! It's brand new and something all you Louis Armstrong fans are gonna love! In their own words: "The Armstrong house, a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark, has just undergone a $1.6 million restoration and renovation. Join us for a 40-minute guided tour of the entire house, including Satchmo's much-used second-floor den." Enjoy!


Swing Shift

* Wondering what the heck a "gate"is? This was a phrase popularized by 1940's comedian, Jerry Colonna, who would holler it out every time he was introduced on the Bob Hope radio program. It was a friendly salutation to a swing cat (dancer or swing music enthusiast).


Our Swing Shift Rhythm Club (SSRC) is the volunteer arm of our local swing dance community. Through the SSRC, we visit senior homes, children hospitals, and entertain and dance at street fairs. The purpose of the club is to do some good deeds and promote the fun of swing dancing.

Anyone can join the club. The events are varied, and purely volunteer in nature. You'll get a notice through the SSRC Yahoo Group website of upcoming events, and you can chose which one(s) you'd like to attend.

JOIN NOW! -- click SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB -- send your first and last name and email address.

If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, send a blank email to