May 5TH 2004
Mark your calendars!
Rusty's Visit to Oz
I can't believe it's been a week since my return from Down Under. And, boy, did I hit the road running. I had a wonderful homecoming welcome by all of you at the Rhythm Club (and The Professor gave me flowers!). Ron and I did a wedding Friday nite, then Saturday night we did a private party, Sunday classes and my team... Tuesday classes... and here it is Wednesday (phew). Time to sum up the last few days of my incredible trip to Oz.
I can really understand why the place is nicknamed "Oz" -- as it is magical. The impression Australia and Australians make on you is everlasting. Can I tell you how close I am to moving there?! Well, anyway... the Perth Lindy Exchange -- called "Hullabaloo" -- officially began on the Thursday with a dance at a small pub. I was one of the djs that night, and it was fun putting together a set list of tunes they might not of heard yet. By Friday, all the out of towners had arrived (including a rowdy gang from Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, New Zealand, and more). The dance was held at Mustangs, which is the local Friday night shindig, featuring a terrific live band called Harry Deluxe (led by Harry, who happens to be a woman!). I've brought back a cd of theirs for the Professor, so we'll get to hear some of the Aussie swing.
Saturday morning, the classes began. There were eight instructors: Glenn & Deb Moore (locals), Peter Loggins & Lisa Ferguson (San Pedro, CA), Roger Schmidlin (Switzerland) & Janet Tolifson (Arizona), and me with Shane McCarthy (Perth local). The students were bombarded with Lindy, Charleston, Big Apple, and Balboa. The atmosphere was electrifying!
Saturday night was the big Hullabaloo Hop, held in a stunning Art Deco building called Mosman Park Memorial Hall. Built in 1921, and then modified in the 1930s, this building was the perfect environ for our kind of dancing. DJs supplied the evening's music. But I would say the highlight of that night was the Hullabaloo Jack and Jill contest. Wow! The energy was just sky high. The emphasis was on "fun, connection, fun, styling, fun...", you get the picture.
Everyone was particularly touched by the appearance of two American navy boys. A couple of big ships were in port, and a party of the sailors were at the Mustang on Friday night. The swing dancers told them about the weekend's activities, and everyone was bowled over when these two appeared in their Navy Whites! The were the hit of the party. They were just having the time of their lives in this 1940's atmosphere. I have to say, that they really added something unique by their presence. I guess it was because the event had that WWII flare, and there they were representing the American GIs...
Sunday classes were populated with an enthusiastic but weary class. I haven't mentioned the After Parties, and the After After Parties. I didn't go to them, but they were well attended (I'm always afraid of getting too tired out). I taught basic Lindy stuff, the Big Apple, and Leonard Reed's "Joe Louis Shuffle" Shim Sham, and then did a Vintage Hair Styling Workshop. The latter was a gas, as always, and a perfect workshop preceding the night's activity -- the big Ball.
Sunday nite. Ahhhhhhh. ANZAC 'Swing out to Victory' Ball! ANZAC is the acronym for their armed forces... and it was their ANZAC Day (Memorial Day). Everyone was encouraged to dress vintage military or full on vintage dress. The three ball gowns I had bought earlier in the week? I wore each and every one of them one at a time throughout the evening. This event was so utterly stunningly beautiful, I actually froze "gob smacked" as I entered the ballroom. Even now I am speechless. All I wanted to do was wander through the ballroom throughout the evening and look at everyone.
Peter Loggins and I were asked to select the Belle and Beau of the Ball, which wasn't an easy task (as everyone looked so grand). But I selected a very ANZAC vintagy Rob Goldsmith, and Peter selected a wonderful 1940s vintagy gal (can't remember her name right now). Ohhh la la... By the way, I should mention that I got engaged to Rob Goldsmith while down there. He came running into class one day saying, "We really want you to stay in Australia. And I've figured out a way. If one of us fellows marries you, you can stay! So I'm proposing!" He got down on his knees, and everything!!! "Rusty, will you marry me?" I'm engaged! In sort of a Lindy Hop way... Anyway, it was such great fun the rest of the stay to have a finance.
There were performances by the local Perth team... they surprised me with the Jeep Jockey Jump routine I had set on them last year! I also surprised everyone else with my "Three Cool Cats" routine (performed beautifully by Glenn & Deb, Reese & Paula, and Shane and myself). The musical highlight was by the Swingin' Big Band, Hip Mo' Toast, lead by swing diva Libby Hammer. She is just a fabulous singer and personality. I can't even begin to describe her version of the Theme from the Blob, ably accompanied on the pops by Guy! (Imagine a room full of swing dancers freaking out doing the twist... and you're close)
Without a doubt, another highlight of the evening was little Hope. Many of you may remember her from last year. Well now she is 6 years old and even better. She stopped the show cold when her and her dad danced Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag, and Balboa! Eat your hearts out, one and all! Her mom had slaved away to make her the most adorable sailorette outfit. Too cute for words...
As the camp was now officially over, I joined the gang and went to the "After Party". How fun. Everyone just hung around laughing, dancing, playing ping pong ("Australian Rules" -- meaning anything, anywhere). It really was wonderful to finally get to hang out.
The next morning, I pulled myself out of bed for one last activity -- a return visit to Rottnest Island. Like Catalina, Rottnest sits off the coast, is beautiful, and is home to the Quokka (a little rat-kangaroo like creature). It was the perfect lazy day following such an intense weekend. Even got to swim in the Indian Ocean.
Last day was spent packing, and one more nice walk in the Bush. Then on the plane, and sigh, home again home.
I want to thank everyone in Australia for all they did to host me and for everything they did and do to create such a welcoming and wonderful community there. You all are amazing.
I also again want to thank everyone here on the home front for keeping things running in my absence: Glenn, Jessica, Gio, Ron, and all of you!!!
Our Sunday classes got off to another great start with loads of new beginners. Tell all your friends it's not too late to join this series on week two (this coming Sunday). We'll be reviewing everything, and then we'll be moving on.
And as Tuesday's Featured Class -- Charleston Variations -- is incremental, people can join at any time.
AUGIE'S CARE PACKAGE -- TONITE!!
Tonite we're gonna make a video tap for Augie, our young swing dancing Marine who is currently serving in Fajulla. Rusty will be walking around the Rhythm Club with her camera, and we would love it if you would just say a word or two to Augie and his pals.
If you have a swing cd or book that you want to include in the package to Augie, you can bring it tonite and give it to Jessica. We'll be sending everything to him next week.
Thanks for all your support. As usual, you are a giving, wonderful community.
Save the date!!
FRIDAY!! FRIDAY!! FRIDAY!!
Rusty & Hilary present, direct from London,
a special Rhythm Club
appearance and swing dance with the...
|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)
This Week's Celebrations
Lee Freeman (Augie!)
If it's your birthday this week, just let us know at the Rhythm Club so you can get your birthday dance!
During Rusty's stay in Australia, she was interviewed
for the local Perth newspaper. To read this article, click HERE.
And to hear her 7:15am radio broadcast, click HERE
As you've read, one of our precious swing dancers is currently serving a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq. His nickname is Augie, swing dancing is his main passion. He'll be there for some time, and his job there is intense (to say the least). Jessica Densmore, came up with the idea of a "Care Package" from us to Augie.
We have the Swing Shift Rhythm Club (SSRC), which is a volunteer program where we, well, basically try to make the world a better place through swing dancing by community service and just plain old fun events. We often send dancers to hospitals and senior homes, and we get together to dance in fun places like the "Swing!" show and Disneyland.
Jessica, who coordinates the community service arm of the SSRC, came up with "Operation Augie Care Package". (What a gal!).
So here's the idea:
We put together an awesome "Swing Care Package" that we send over to Augie and his pals. Some of the ideas so far are:* Swing Music cds
If you would like to participate in "Operation Augie's Care Package" with a gift or an idea, or even a small monetary gift to cover the postage or a gift):
EMAIL Jessica at email@example.com. Or you could give her your care package gift Wednesdays at the Rhythm Club or Sunday's at Lindy By The Sea classes.
We thank you all in advance for your care.
Rusty on behalf of the Rhythm Club/Lindy by the Sea and the Swing Shift Rhythm Club http://swingshiftontap.com
P.S. If you would like to write Augie a letter, here's his mailing address:
Cpl Freeman, Lee A
1st Tank Bn, Tow Plt
FPO AP 96426-1671
or if you would like to email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
JOIN NOW! -- click SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB -- send your first and last name and email address.
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.
SWING CAMP CATALINA: Come and join us for one of the great historic events of our Lindy Hop world! The 11th Annual Swing Camp Catalina AND Frankie Manning's 90th birthday. Frankie is one of the people who started it all, and he's never stopped. He's always the special guest at Swing Camp Catalina, but this year, he's the Special Special Special guest. There's already a whole bunch of our Lindy By The Sea crowd heading out there; so why not join us for classes or just the dances. In any case, you'll have a holiday weekend you'll never forget.
Housing goes fast on this weekend, so don't wait. You can get a hotel room, a house, condo, or even camp out under the stars. Check around at the Rhythm Club for others going, and maybe you can find someone to share a location with.
Also, our very own Rusty is going to be a special guest at the evening dances; The Stevens sisters invited all past Swing Camp teachers to be there for Frankie (Rusty taught tap dancing at the 1996 camp).
* 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).
JOIN THE SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB TODAY!
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.