The Soapbox Archives:
I had planned on going to both Swing City and the Swing Dance Depot, but I was tired and got a late start so I just went to the one I hadn't gone to before yet; the fact that it was about a 15 minute walk for me clinched it. The Boston Swing Central had the night off.
The Swing Dance Depot is held in the same place as the annual "Taste of Watertown" event; it's interesting how it looks in a different environment. The Love Dogs was up against the Winiker Swing Orchestra at Swing City. I prefer dancing to the Love Dogs and I imagine that it'll come down to which band is playing that will determine if and where I go on a Friday night. The Love Dogs played some music I've never heard them play before, more 50ish covers, but it was good energy and people stayed on the dance floor.
At this event I liked the band break music which is a nice change of pace. A lot of the current generation of swing dj's play a lot of old (as in scratchy recordings) jazz music that doesn't do anything for me because most of that music just doesn't swing and I'd rather just sit down and talk to my friends. At the Swing Depot, they had some guy playing swingable music that I used to hear at dances about 10 years ago and it had a lot more "up" energy than the stuff I've been hearing at local dances. And it wasn't too fast. Unfortunately, this DJ was probably more suited for a radio station because he just wouldn't shut up. But I liked his music choices.
I liked the front lobby area where I could have a conversation with someone at a normal speaking volume. The free coffee and munchies, while appreciated, were probably overdone. The bar? Well, I'm sure some patrons were happy to be able to get a real drink out of the place.
I heard that Swing City had a very good crowd which leads me to believe that it's probably possible to have two Friday night swing venues (but not three).
It would have been an otherwise uneventful night if Swing City flyers hadn't appeared on the cars in the parking lot. I knew it was going to happen but I was hoping that my advice against it was going to be heeded. It was ultimately a wasted effort since there was enough time to send someone out to take the flyers off the car. I was really disappointed that this happened because I made it a point on April 20, 2008 to say that it was wrong to put flyers on the cars at a competing event. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the one responsible for that particular incident issued an apology that was printed on this page two weeks ago. After something like that, everyone knew it was wrong and there was no excuse for this to happen again. I felt this wasted a lot of sympathy and support generated for Swing City two weeks ago.
One interesting point that I have to make. I try to make every Boston Swing Dance Network and Uptown Swing event because they're held only once every month and I strongly support both those venues because I like the venues, the bands, and the promoters are my friends. With multiple Friday night venues, I can afford to take a night off because something else will be happening the next week.
By the way, if you have opinions about the new Friday night venues, I'd love to hear them. I'm interested in what appeals to different people about the different places to go dancing.
I heard that there won't be a wood dance floor at the big Battle of the Big Bands which pits the White Heat Swing Orchestra against the Beantown Swing Orchestra in Morss Hall (Walker Memorial) at MIT on May 23rd.
I remember this hall very well. Back in 1991 in my first year of dancing, I remember slipping and sliding all over the place on the smooth polished stone floor. I nearly hurt myself dancing on this very slippery floor as both feet wanted to slide away quickly...in opposite directions. The experience forced me to learn to keep my feet under my weight while dancing.
While I doubt it's really marble (marble's really a fragile rock), it's still a hard surface. While I imagine that the younger dancers are a bit more resilent, some of us older dancers have been bouncing a little too long on stone or concrete "dance floors" and we feel it in our knees and our shins. That's one reason why I don't rush out to the Sunday Copley Swing during the summer.
With the speed that these two bands like to play and the fact that I'd be dancing on a hard floor, I think I'm going to save myself for the late night dancing that night. A nap would probably in order instead of dancing on a hard surface that's not too forgiving.
Someone came along to suggest that I sell those boxes on the calendars so the venue could put their logo in that space. While the idea was intriguing and no one had made a recent donation to my laptop fund, I decided that I wasn't ready to consider selling ad space on this website. But I was tempted.
Someone came along and offererd these comments:
Yeah, I kind of like the fact that you are neutral and a free resource. Commercializing it would make things difficult for the smaller venues. You'r'e sort of the big pin up cork board of the dance community. I would vote no personally.I would include the name of the person making this commentary, but I think he gets yelled at enough. :-)
The other problem of course is losing [the] impact of [the] logos. It's for the events that you use them. If you use them for all dances then it will become cluttered. Too much isn't always a good thing.
I had a non-dance event to go to on Friday night (imagine that!) so I didn't get to Swing City until the very end where my Corner Booth friends were hanging out. I didn't head to the Swing Dance Depot because I had heard Roger Ceresi & the All-Starz Band at the Swingin' 88's dance a few weeks ago. While they give out good dance energy, I much prefer listening to the Love Dogs. With the little time I had on Friday, I couldn't make it to the new location for the Boston Swing Central in Central Square.
From the rumors I heard, it's getting clearer that Boston can't afford three separate Friday night swing venues. Either that or the three venues need to work a lot harder to attract the dancers who stayed home. I'm not sure if any of the three broke even this past week. As the person with probably the most used dance calendar in Boston, I talk to a lot of dancers and I hear some of what goes on at all the venues. I've given some suggestons to a couple of the venues (because they asked) about expanding their clientele. One thing for sure, these venues cannot afford to be exclusive; they need to draw in people who might not necessarily be their in-crowd (Lord knows, I'm not part of the "in-crowd"). An exclusive group will die out eventually because it doesn't grow and people eventually leave to do other things.
One thing I would rather not be hearing is negative campaigning. The various organizers should encourage their supporters to say good things about their venue, but that they should refrain from *negative* propaganda. I've been hearing that some dancers have been telling people *not* to go to this venue or that venue. I'm not even sure if those people have gone to all three Friday venues yet or that they ever will. Negative campaigning just generates bad feelings, something that's not needed if a venue drops out and you want to attract that venue's customers.
Many people were concerned and aggravated with the idea of multiple swing dance venues on Friday night. I don't think so. I think competition is good. The old Swing City had Friday night (more or less) to themselves and I think they got complacent and didn't work very hard, even towards the end.
Now, the customers are spread out and each venue is desperate to at least break even. At least one organizer is trying to attract dancers who would never have stepped into a swing/lindy hop venue and hopefully get them to stick around for the main event. Competition is good. It'll shake up the weaker venue(s) and show them that their customer base and their focus are too narrow. There are a lot of customers out there just waiting to be invited to check out a dance venue.