The Soapbox Archives:
Unless your event is something I'm familiar with, it takes time to read through your lengthy press releases and announcements for that one detail that would go on my calendar listings and perhaps that one detail will determine if a reader will be interested enough to get more information or move on to the next listing.
Formatting your notes makes it easier for me to enter it into this website. Such a format would look like:
[name or type of event], at [name of venue], [address], featuring [name of band]. From [start time] to [end time (optional)]. [phone number (optional)] and/or [email address (optional)] If hosting a workshop, try to include a picture of the teacher.
Of course, if you're giving me a list of dates, then I only need the information above once along with the dates.
If you want to include other information, that's fine, but make sure the important information is at the top of your message. That immediately tells me what the priority of your note is. Any lengthy "press release" is a low priority. Unless I go to your event, I don't have any reason to put out a lot of effort for you so make it easier for me to put your event listing in the right place quickly.
Remember, you have about 10 seconds to catch someone's attention as they skim through all the calendar listings. That's the same amount time I'll give you to make me think that it's no effort to convert your information into a listing in the calendar. That makes me deal with your email first. And please, no "bullshit". It takes me time to edit that crap out.
Normally, I would add new listings at the bottom of the appropriate page. In this case, I would have added it to the bottom of the "swing section" (but above all the ballroom venues). However, I'm getting tired of not getting information from certain dance organizers who were lucky enough to get listed higher on the page just because they got on the page earlier than other venues. I'm going to rearrange my dancing venues page to reflect how often I hear from those venues. When those venues send me their current information, it means the readers of this website (their paying customers!) will get the most updated information available. I can't think of any other way to encourage these dance organizers to realize that sending their current information to me benefits their own bottom line.
For instance, I haven't gotten a listing of dance dates from Dancing Feats in at least 5 years, maybe even longer, while I get a calendar listing from Swingtime Boston (a monthly dance held in the gay/lesbian community) at least once a year so I'm moving Swingtime up on the page. I *never* hear from the MIT Lindy Hop Society, even when I write to them so I've given up on them. They move down the page. Maverick Swing has had two dances so far and I'm pretty sure they've never contacted me (I think I might have written to them) so they stay put at the bottom (I just added them to the page myself so I'm sure they haven't written to me before). No, I haven't heard from Blues Union either (until after I mentioned them here, that is. ).
If you want add your dance venue to this website or get your events listed on the appropriate calendars, make sure you send me your information. And use the right format.
And remember: you're not listing your events on this website to attract your own "community"; those people already know about your venue and have already decided they want to dance at your venue. You're listing your information on this website to attract *new* customers.
For many years now, the West Coast Swing dance promoters had organized under a common unbrella group, the New England Swing Dance Network, where they'd share information and stake out various parts of the month so they could all hold dances without comflicting with each other. They were the model of dance civility while the Lindy Hop community looked like it was in total disarray. An early attempt to organize the Lindy Hop community in a similar fashion failed because some organizers couldn't even stand to be in the same room, much less talk to each other in a civil manner. I guess the West Coast Swing community isn't as close as it used to be.
Boston Westie's new venue puts them in direct competition with one of my sponsors, The Longfellow Dance Club, official known as Club JoEllen. Jo Ellen Farricker had been a strong promoter of West Coast Swing in the Greater Boston region and one of the nicest people in the world. She spent a lot of energy to work with others and had no problems cancelling a dance if another promoter needed that weekend. She was also the only one who asked to be a sponsor of this website and got it as the only West Coast Swing sponsor of this website. It's disappointing that someone would choose to go up against her legacy and disrupt the detente among the West Coast Swing promoters.
It is rather ironic, or rather appropriate, that Boston Westie chose to run up against an long-established dance as it starts at the Crosby Whistle Stop. As you might remember, Swing City had moved into the Somerville City Club and some time later its Friday night competition, Boston Swing Central, moved into its current location about 100 yards from the Somerville City Club, albeit in Charlestown. Now a new West Coast Swing venue moves into that same location to compete against another long-standing dance venue.
To be honest, I've always thought competition was a good idea. Established venues need to know some potential promoter and some dancers might not be happy with their venue and go off to do their own thing. The market is always changing and every venue needs to decide if they want to change (and chase after a new crowd that may or may not stick around), or to continue with what made them successful all these years (and support their loyal customers). In the case of Swing City, they realized that the City Club location was not helping them and moved to Huron Avenue for good (*much* better for me, I must say!). At the same time, many of these long-time dance promoters have earned their battle scars and the loyalty of their customers over the years as many of them weathered all the lean years. Swing dancing (East or West) is still around because of those people.
Good luck to Boston Westie. I wish them success as long as it doesn't hurt Club JoEllen. However, I would have much preferred it if they had chosen to hold their venue on the *third* Saturday of the month. Then I would have been their biggest cheerleader.
Oh, one final comment and it has nothing to do what I just wrote above.
It's one thing to promote a venue by touting what's "good" about that venue. You want your friends to know that you're excited about a venue and you want them all to go there to dance with you. It's a totally different issue to deter dancers from going elsewhere. I keep hearing rumors about some dancers discouraging people from attending other venues, even if their comments are passive or unintentional.
The current comments I've been hearing is that the "young dancers" are at the venues I don't attend regularly and that they aren't at the dances I do attend all the time. If that's the only goal, then I suppose that's the right action to take. My favorite dance partner is 60 years old so obviously my priorities are different. She can dance me into the ground every time (actually, she did that last week!). The dances I attend all the time are attended by people from the very young to the very old, from the newbie beginner to the serious competitor and/or instructor. There's always someone to dance with who fills anyone's agenda (I'll settle for someone who can dance on beat).
Even a random comment like "nobody goes [to those other dances]" can hurt another venue. I tend to hear these comments about some of the longest running swing dances in the region. I go to some of those dances and I don't like to be considered a "nobody". Tell your friends to check out all the dance venues and let them decide. If your favorite venue is good (or better), then they'll come back. If they don't, then you know there's something wrong.
"I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good that I can do, or any kindness that I can show
another human being, let me do it now and not defer it.
For I shall not pass this way again."
I suppose there has to be balance in the world. I went to the bowling alley last week and there was a mini-SUV taking up two spaces at the entrance of the place. I mean, they already got lucky with a parking 10 feet from the door. Did they really have to take up two spaces? Sometimes I wish I could leave them a note.