February 2nd 2005



" My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary."

Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)


Over the weekend I was telling someone why The American Red Cross is so near and dear to my heart, and they said, "You should put that in your weekly newsletter."

Well, it all started back in 1989, when I was living in San Francisco. I was driving home from work one early evening, and suddenly I had a flat tire. No, I had two flat tires... wait I had apparently run over a batch of nails, and all four of my tires had blown -- my car was bouncing around uncontrollably. I slowed down my car, and saw that all the cars around me had run over those same nails. Wait! It was an earthquake. The huge light pole across the street was doing the "hula"! Everything was shaking violently, and, it seemed, endlessly. Finally, the world was absolutely silent. Everyone was staring with wide eyes, wondering, "Would it start again?" "What should I do?" I was well acquainted with aftershocks, but thought I might just have enough time to make the five mile drive home to the Marina. Well, anyone who remembers that now infamous 7.1 quake, knows that the Marina was particularly hard hit.

As I drove into my neighborhood, I saw dazed people standing on their front yards, the sidewalks upheaved, garage doors stuck at odd and bizarre angles. By the time I got home, and made my way into my apartment, I could barely push my door open; there was such chaos inside.

My apartment, after the 1989 7.1 San Francisco Bay Area Earthquake

I had a little earthquake kit in my car trunk, so once seeing that I could no longer stay there (no electrical or water), I headed outside. By this time, fires were raging in the neighborhood. Gas fires, leaping over fences. I saw a couple I knew in a panic -- their child was trapped behind police barricades in a daycare center somewhere deep in the Marina. The police were yelling at them to get back. This couple was frantic. I grabbed them aside and said to the husband, you keep arguing with the police, and we'll slip around and get your child.

The plan worked, and we quickly made our way around the winding Marina streets. The fires were really making their presence known, and we raced to the house, pushed open the gate and ran into the backyard. There a teenager was left in charge of a dozen toddlers, who were happily playing with the daycare junglejims and toys. An adjacent fire was leaping over the backyard fence. The girl left in charge was in some state of shock, almost moving in slow motion. I barked at her to write a note, put it on the door to let the parents know that we were taking the kids to the high school. Then we tossed a child on each hip, and as they clung on, we grabbed the hands of the more able kids and ran out of there. Not wanting to scare the children, we sang and laughed our way out of this "disaster district". Once we got out of the barricaded residential district, where all the gas fires had sprung, we made our way to the high school via the main shopping street. There, we saw something odd, indeed. Everyone was walking slowly down the street eating ice cream! Here it seemed we had just come out of the jaws of a horror Godzilla movie, and now people were happily nursing ice cream cones. Well, what had happened was, all the electricity had blown, so the three ice cream stores on that street, rolled out their wares onto the sidewalk and just gave it away. I thought, "What a brilliant therapy"!

Finally, we found our way to the high school. And this is where my story brings you. All of this took place in approximately 25 minutes, and by the time I got to the high school with my little charges, the Red Cross was set up and fully functional!

Twenty five minutes! They were fully functional! They had everything set up that you could need: food, medical stations, lost persons stations... The children were immediately reunited with their parents, who had seen the note and rushed over.

The story doesn't stop there. After I dropped off the children, I wandered around and saw a group of people lining up at a pay phone. Remember, this was the days before cellular phones. All the phone lines were down, but apparently there was one payphone that was working, and people were lining up to let their loved ones know they were alive. I joined the line. It was a long line and moved slowly. I began talking to the young lady in front of me. Suddenly it hit me, this wasn't a young lady, this was a child... I asked her how old she was and she replied "twelve years old." She was walking home from school when the quake hit, and when she arrived home, she couldn't find her parents. So for the last two hours she had been walking around the streets of San Francisco trying to find them, when she saw this phone. Now I had a new charge. We checked regularly at the Red Cross lost persons station, but never found her family. So that first night, this little girl, as brave as could be, stayed by my side. We joined a small group of people who also had found themselves homeless and we slept side by side on the baseball diamond across the street from my off-limits apartment. I remember how soundly she slept, as only children can, while the rest of us stared wide-eyed throughout the night, quivering with every aftershock that riveted through the ground beneath us. Even the helicopters flying low overhead with their search lights beaming across us undeterred her sleep.

The next morning, I walked her over to the Red Cross station again, and there, finally was the reunion for which we had been waiting. The Red Cross had facilitated this, too.

I understood then what an amazing organization was this American Red Cross. I realized that the thousands of volunteers are trained and ready, just living in our cities, but ready at a minute's notice to fly to their stations and help those in need.

For the next week, I was beholden to the Red Cross. They fed me. They kept me sane (they even had therapists for the traumatized... I was a bit).

It's an experience I will never forget.


(To see our Scrapbook from the evening, click HERE)
Our Fundraising Volunteer Committee


Dear Wonderful Dancing Friends,

I couldn't wait until the weekly email to announce the grand total of our American Red Cross Fundraising Dance at Rusty's Rhythm Club last Wednesday.

As many of you know, I had a personal goal of raising $1,000 for Tsunami relief. With a committee of amazing advanced line volunteers who organized the raffle and silent auction and worked throughout the evening, the sensational volunteer taxi dancers, and then YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU opening up your wallets ever so generously, we raised....

drum roll, please.....


not $1,000,

not $2,000,

not $3,000,

but $4,000!!!!!

That's right, FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! From doing what we love -- dancing.

I think that you will all agree with me that the evening had a special glow to it, a high, if you will. All of us were on the proverbial "cloud nine". The smiles, the laughter, the joy was something to behold forever.

Thank you, again, each and everyone of you.

Thanks to our organizing committee: "Captain Fun" Cathryn, Hilya, Janine, Jamee, Rita, Maki, John, Dawna, Linda, Aileen, and Colin.

The ever-lovely Jean Veloz and dashing Maxwell DeMille with hostess Rusty Frank

Thanks to all who donated goodies for the Raffle and Silent Auction: Fayard Nicholas, Aris Allen, Re-mix, Besame, Jean Veloz, Savoy Style, Frankie Manning, Janine Tuttle and Cathryn Sayre, Joanell Connolly, Thomas Greenlaugh, Second City Bistro, Stop Staring, Camp Hollywood Pass, Balboa Rendezvouz, Robert Picardo, George Takei, Maxwell DeMille, Steven Smith, Robert Vangor, Dawna Davis, Purple Orchid Exotic Tiki Lounge, Cafe Boogaloo, Fons, MiJin, Colin-Akbar, Chris Webster, Richard - Taxes, Nathan & Crystal, and John and the Fort MacArthur Museum.

Thanks to our ever-faithful and magnificent Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Maxwell DeMille

Thanks to our very own Rhythm Club DJs: "Early Bird" Nathan Eick (and congrats on your engagement to the lovely Crystal) and "Professor" Robert Vangor for bringing joyous music during the band breaks. And thanks to our mighty door "stops" Peter Livingston and Jessica Densmore.

A handful of the Taxi Dancers

Thanks to the enthusiastic, tireless, and joyful "Taxi Dancers": The Swing Shift Fliers The Hollywood Hornets The USC Ballroom Club Officers

I'd also like to thank Miss Jean Veloz, my absolute swing ideal, for making the special effort, not to mention the LONG drive, to support our evening (and even do some bidding, herself).

And, again, YOU.

I love you all for your generous and deeply kind support of my dream to combine dancing and action to "repair the world".

Most gratefully,

Rusty E. Frank 310 606 5606

P.S. Please forgive me if I left anyone out in the thanks. Let me know your name, as I will have this in the weekly email, as well.



Yes, it's that time again, "The First Wednesday of the Month" when we have our Beginner Swing Dance Class at the Rhythm Club. We offer this super easy class for those who just want to check out the scene. Maybe they're not sure enough about swing dancing to sign up for a full 4-week Lindy By The Sea course yet... This class is just meant to give them a "taste" of the dance and the people, the environment, so to speak. Let all your co-workers, friends, relatives, and others (?) know about it.

FEBRUARY 2ND dollars-8.jpg

Dress up Vintage!


Rusty's B-Day Party -- Dress Vintage Western!

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

Michael D'Angelo
Liz Mackelvey
Maile Wehrheim
Lovelynn Jensen
Ana Diaz
Eric Floen

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


click on the image to "read all about it"


You know you're hooked on swing when you say, "Super Bowl Sunday?... I'm going to my Lindy Charleston Workshop!". I was a little worried when Jamie let us know that Super Bowl Sunday fell on our new series and workshop. But that sure didn't stop all of you from signing up!

Remember today is the last day for the pre-registration discount. You can call me, 310 606 5606, register on-line, or bring your check tonight to the Rhythm Club.


We've really got two super fun workshops this February, and I wanted to make sure that the Ladies know to signed up right away for the 1940s Glamour Day -- it's already filling up and is limited to 25 ladies in each of the two classes. The word is out, and many gals from outside our classes are already signing up. So make sure that you pre-register quick if you want to attend this workshop.


Our new Sunday series begins this Sunday, February 6th (and, yes, we know it's Super Bowl Sunday... so if you have to miss the first week, join us on the second week!). We'll be starting the "B" tracks for Levels 1 & 2. This means, the first two weeks of class will be the same material as last series, but the last two weeks will be all brand new material! So take Level 1 and 2 again, for a good review of your six and eight count basics AND learn new material! Oh, boy!

Remember, Level 4 students, you can come back through any Level 1, 2, or 3 classes for $10/each for the entire series!


(click on image to find out how it works and how you can get one!)


We have pre-registration discounts of 10% on the website. So you can register with your Quick Stop Card, or right on our site "easy peasy lemon squeezy". Go HERE. Remember, pre-register for class(es), you'll get a 10% discount off the normal prices. You can pre-register over the phone (310 606 5606), by check, or at on-line We hope that you'll enjoy taking advantage of this new offer...

Check it out here:
Subscribe to SwingShiftRhythmClub

Our mini-hoppers! Vivi Lau (daughter of Valeria and John) and Ryan Campbell (son of Robin and Ron)
New Scrapbooks! Click HERE

VINTAGE FASHION EXPO: If you had a million dollars, you could spend it this weekend at the Vintage Fashion Expo in Santa Monica. Believe me, I know. This is one of the finest arrays of vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry, that one could hope to find. A collector's dream. For those of you who have been wanting to build a vintage wardrobe, here's your big chance. Why not find something nice for the Valentine's Dance at the Rhythm Club?

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).


Many of you still don't know about our Swing Shift Rhythm Club. It's one of our best kept secrets. Now is the time to get the SSRC "above the radar."

THE SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB (SSRC), founded in 2000 by Rusty Frank's swing dance students, The SSRC has two missions:

1. Having fun! (Fun) 2. Doing good deeds! (Philanthropy)

1. Having fun: Events where swing dancers can socialize and get to know each other outside of class (vintage clothes shopping, going to a dance-related movie, dancing in the park, eating at retro restaurants before a dance, etc.).

2. Doing good deeds: Events where we bring swing dancing to hospitals, senior homes, and community events for the purpose of good deeds, entertainment, and education in the Los Angeles area.

The SSRC is a volunteer club open to the public and the events are organized by its members. There are no dues. Members can attend as many or as few events as they wish.

"How do I join?"...
Right now, fill in your email address
and click the Yahoo log (that's it!):

Subscribe to SwingShiftRhythmClub

Then you will receive updates of activities (or you can organize one yourself!). Check the yahoogroup "Swing Shift Rhythm Club" calendar here for postings of upcoming events.

Join us in making the world a better place through dancing!

Thank you for joining!

Rusty Frank, Founder
Jessica Densmore, Philanthropic Events Coordinator
Cathryn Sayer, "Just for Fun" Events Coordinator
Norman Kajikawa, SSRC Photographer

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